I had a stab of envy this morning! I was reading Psalm 18 - David declaring God to be his rock, his fortress, his deliverer, his shield and his stronghold. David, in distress, called out to God and …
The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down
God thundered from heaven and shot arrows and scattered David’s enemies! Bolts of lightning blasted them and they fled. And then…
He reached down from on high and took hold of me
The imagery is so powerful – that God would get angry when his child is being threatened, and fly down in fury to rescue him. The boldness of His attack on David’s enemies is in stark contrast with the gentleness with which he stoops down to lift David up.
I felt the stab of envy because too often I feel un-rescued!
Part of the problem is feeling that somehow it’s my own fault – I have either done something where the attacks are deserved, or not done thing which has disqualified myself from calling out to God.
Stupid theology! It may be the way the world works, but it’s not how God works. Just because I don’t feel rescued doesn’t mean that I won’t be rescued! What is it that David did? He called to God! So I called…
I had a moment or two thinking that God just might sigh heavily, tut a little perhaps and say, “What is it now?” That didn’t happen at all. He got down to business!
“So tell me about your enemies…”
My enemies are not flesh and blood. There are people that I don’t get on well with, and probably don’t like me very much…and truth be told, I am not keen on them either – but they are not my enemies.
My enemies are the internal kind – fears, insecurities and inadequacies – the usual suspects, along with a few unusual ones!
As I sat with God, drinking a cup of chamomile tea (no milk in the house) I saw my enemies shrink to a non-threatening size.
God takes delight in fighting my battles because too often I want to fight my own battles and I don’t step aside and give Him space to bring about the victories He has planned.
“He rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Like many people today I had a little flutter on the Grand National. It’s only a little flutter – not a monthly wage packet, or the entire contents of my saving account…actually, right now that would qualify as a small flutter too. I admit to having some concerns about the race – there are a lot of runners, and a lot of fences, and a lot of horses fall, and a lot of jockeys take a tumble. I seem to remember one year the animal rights people doing something to get the race abandoned – or am I making that bit up? My husband, a man who knows horses and the betting game quite well, is of the opinion that if the horses didn’t enjoy the race they wouldn’t participate. He is also of the opinion that you just need to look at the horse at the end of the race to know whether it enjoyed the experience or not. Talking is not the only form of communication.
Hebrew’s 12:1 reminds us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
I have to confess that not only am I possibly not running any more, I am not even sure that I am walking. I think I might have just got off my horse, built a house somewhere between The Canal Turn (Fence 8) and St Valentine’s Brook (Fence 9) and planted a vegetable garden.
I have been reading the book of Ezra over the last few weeks. The people headed back to Jerusalem, after seventy years in exile in Babylon. Cyrus, a king that didn’t really know God, but had his heart touched by God anyway, had given them permission to leave, to rebuild the temple and make sacrifices to keep the royal family safe.
I guess that would be like the 40 Grand National horses setting off at a gallop towards the first fence. They left the starting line armed with enthusiasm and excitement – a cavalry charge heading to Jerusalem, to rescue and rebuild the temple. They just hadn’t anticipated the obstacles between them and the finishing line. I don’t think for a moment they thought it would be a stroll through the park – but there was so much rubble, so little temple remains and so many hostile neighbours to deal with.
Enthusiasm wasn’t enough – it never is.
Work stopped for a good sixteen years. Not only was the temple not getting built, but all the materials that could have been used to build the temple were being used to build their own homes.
Entrance Stage Left – Haggai. He was a man who was on stage for four months, who preached just four sermons over four days. He didn’t say anything that the people wanted to hear, but everything that they needed to hear. No one wanted to listen, but they just couldn’t help themselves. Haggai got to them. They picked up their tools and went back to work.
I need Haggai. I need him to tell me to abandon the house I have built between the two fences, with its vegetable garden, climb back into the saddle and finish the race!