Saturday, August 4, 2018

You don't got me on this one!

David, as King of Israel, was in heated battle with the Edomites in the Valley of Salt - not exactly a lush place to be nor the top of someone's bucket list to visit.  The Edomites were descendants of Esau, one of the sons of Jacob.  Esau is probably best known in scripture as the son who sold his birthright for a pot of stew (Genesis 25) - his hunger outweighing his solid thinking on that one.  As the firstborn of Jacob, he had the full right to the inheritance of his father (a double portion as it is referred to in scripture).  In a time of weakness, hungry and weary by what life had dealt him, he "sold out" to his twin brother. I wonder how many times we 'sell out' in times of hunger, weariness, or worry?

16-17 And me? I'm singing your prowess, shouting at cockcrow your largesse,
   For you've been a safe place for me, a good place to hide.  Strong God, I'm watching you do it, I can always count on you—God, my dependable love.
(Psalm 59:16-17)

Esau's family became a band of nomadic raiders settling in the region just south of the Dead Sea - the land that Israel would realistically pass through on their way to Canaan as they exited their bondage in the land of Egypt.  Edom is recorded in Scripture as the people that would not allow the passage of Israel through their land, causing them to detour around Edom on their journey - something they would be sure to regret down the road.  King Saul mounted a huge attack against Edom during his reign and 40 years later, King David, along with Joab, his General of the Armies, destroys 10,000 of the military men of Edom. Yup, a poor decision made in haste once again by the people who descended from the man who made a very poor decision!

This huge battle is what is celebrated in this Psalm.  David cries out:  I am singing of your prowess, shouting of your largesse!  He is overcome with the protection of his God and the safety he has enjoyed in the battle - a battle that could have easily overrun his troops and caused huge casualties to his kingdom. To David, God has been a safe place to hide - a good place for him to find refuge.  Some might think that David is a little cowardly because of these words, but in fact, these are the words that describe the condition of his heart - he chose to trust God and not his own ability.  He faced his fears in the midst of battles that seemed insurmountable by placing those fears squarely in the hands of his great God.  When David brings his fears to God, he stands back and watches as God repeatedly intervenes in ways that would have been impossible through his own natural skill or military might.

I know that we probably don't face huge armies today, wielding all kinds of weaponry, preparing to charge at us with all their military might (although some reading this might be in service to our country, facing just this type of an enemy).  We DO face "armies" of forces just waiting to see our destruction - armies intent on waiting for those moments of weakness and weariness that will drive us into places where we might not always choose wisely.  Those forces are the armies of doubt, bitterness, deception, lust, pride, etc.  Enemies that stand against us, filling us with fear and unbelief.  To us, they seem insurmountable.  To God, they are like the grains of sand that get into our shoes - irritating, but totally removable!

Maybe you find yourself in the place today where you could say, "I have been trying to do this all on my own, God!  I have been trying to figure a way out of this bondage, but I am just not getting out of here on my own!"  If that is the case, you have an opportunity today to take your inabilities to God - then stand back and watch what he does with the heart that yields to his plans.  Most of the battle is not in the "sin", but in the laying down of our will.  When we finally lay down our will, step back and begin to watch, God begins to move. I am encouraging you today to be able to lay down what you have been holding onto so tightly; to be able to take a step back; and to have your eyes opened to how God will move once you do. As your eyes are opened to God's graces refilling you with his peace, setting you free from your resentments, taking you to new heights in his love, I am confident you will sing out with David:  I am singing of your prowess; I can always count on you, my God! Truly, God's 'largesse' will manifest itself, not in our moments of greatest strength or ability, but in moments of our greatest hunger and weakness! Just sayin!