Fear God and the King

June 24    1 Chronicles 15-16 and Proverbs 24

Once again David planned to bring up the ark to Jerusalem. However, this time he found out how to do it properly.  The last time he had good intentions, but did not do it the way God intended it to be done. “Then David said, ‘No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever.” (15:2) Previously, he had it put on a new cart, and it was always ONLY to be carried by the Levites. “The LORD broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.” (15:13) After waiting and seeking the proper way GOD WANTED it done, THEN there was much celebration and joy this time since it was done according to God’s way. It even says, “God helped the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant.” (15:26) The proper way was written down years ago in Exodus 25:13, but His ways can be forgotten if we don’t read and study them.  For us too, it’s always good to consult God and do it His way. There are so many things that we think and seem are right, but it’s not actually the way God planned it. Let’s be open to read the Scriptures and seek Him in prayer in the way we should go. 

After the ark arrived in Jerusalem there was much rejoicing.  I do not have a picture today of a site because I want you to image what it was like seeing and hearing the people praising the LORD.  It was not only sites and sounds, but smells too! There were numerous burnt offerings before God.  We often do not think of what it would have smelled like with all the burnt offerings.  Then David blessed the LORD God of Israel with song.  In fact, it is a combination of 3 different Psalms; 105:1-15, 96:1-13 (all), and 106:1, 47. “Do not touch My anointed ones (messiahs), and do My prophets no harm.” (16:22) “For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared about all god. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” (16:25,26) “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting!” (16:36)

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” (Proverbs 24:17) That’s just what David experienced when King Saul died. He mourned for Saul and asked others to do so also.  He wrote a lament and said to teach it to the children. In fact, all 6th grade Israeli school children, secular and religious are required to memorize David’s lament in 2 Samuel 1:19-27 to this day.  Our children memorized it also along with the other Israeli school children.  The picture is taken at one of our children’s school programs often celebrating biblical holidays. (As you can see there is limited seating and many children sat on the floor for the program.) It is neat in Israel by being a Jewish nation the Old Testament is studied as a subject in all the schools starting in 2nd grade until graduation. The public schools there are not anti-God or Bible, which is a good thing. “My son, fear the LORD and the king.” (24:21) We pray more will come to understand Jesus as their king along with the LORD God of Israel.

 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading at Biblegateway.com: Job 1-2 and 2 Corinthians 2 .

Lament

job 3 24

In the mid to late 2000s, I started to fall in love with music of all genres. My favorite bands at the time were artists that are Christians. In 2008, that began to start changing with my depression. I started relating to lyrics that were more downtrodden because I related to the writers of those songs. That search for understanding started out in a place of lamenting the loss of my grandfather, and the need for comfort. Throughout time though, some of the secular music I related to came from a place of seeking pity rather than a place of lament because there is a fine line between the two that is easy to cross. One song that I never got into, but you will hear in grocery stores nowadays that epitomizes pity rather than lament is “Welcome to My Life” by Simple Plan. The lyrics are meant to relate with others and trying to make others understand how the writer feels, but it comes out as a song that isolates the listeners and the writer. The chorus of the song goes like this: “No you don’t know what it’s like/ when nothing feels alright/ you don’t know what it’s like to be me/ to be hurt, to be lost/ to be left out in the dark/ to be kicked when you’re down/ to feel like you’ve been pushed around/ to be on the edge of breaking down/ and no one’s there to save/ No,you don’t know what it’s like/ Welcome to my life”

Those lyrics aren’t a cry for help, those are lyrics of someone wanting pity making it look like they’re crying for help. They’ve dug themselves so deeply into the rut of depression and the isolation it encourages, that the writer’s want for help is locked away in the back of their mind. I have brought forth this example because I want to show that there is a good way to lament, even if it seems melodramatic to some. The verses I want to look at today is Job 3. The title this chapter was given is Job’s Lament. Job 3: 1-16 are all verses where Job is proclaiming that his life would have been simpler and less painful if he was never born at all. He is correct saying this, and he is saying in mourning the pain and suffering he has endured. Job uses these verses to express the pain he is experiencing to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; men he considers friends. He beseeches them for empathy or sympathy during the most difficult time in his life recorded in Scripture. Instead, they try to ravage his character saying that surely he did something wrong. We know these accusations are false because of Job 1:1.

 

Job 3: 20-22 (NASB): “Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter of soul; Who long for death, but there is none, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures; who rejoice greatly, they exult when they find the grave?”

Verse 20 is a parallelism where he is asking God why people who suffer are given life. He continues into verse 21 saying that those people from verse 20 seek out death more than hidden treasures. You can either take hidden treasures literally, or some people say that if you look at Proverbs 2:4 that the hidden treasure is wisdom. So the verse could be taken as someone seeking out death more than treasure, or seeking out death more than wisdom. Just food for thought. Verse 22 Job leads me to believe that the context of verse 21 describes someone seeking out death more than wisdom. This is an important detail to iterate because for me, this describes someone who has become depressed to the point they have become suicidal. From my experience, people who are considering suicide tend to contemplate death, but don’t choose a way to die until they feel they cannot bear life’s pain anymore. Usually that occurs with one last event that feels rather impactful on their life. Once that event happens to them though, they have resolved how, but not when.

The time frame between how and when is the most important time for us to help people with suicidal thoughts because they usually try to find a reason to live one last time, because they don’t entirely want to die. They want comfort and for someone to help them find peace within this life. If they don’t receive that help, they’ll make the selfish decision to cease living to end the pain. This isn’t true for all cases. I’m just stating from my experience, this is what seems to happen.

 

Job isn’t the only man to curse the day he was born in Scripture. Jeremiah did so as well in Jeremiah 20: 14-18. Both of these men sought out comfort from God in times of persecution because it was unjustly given to them. Jeremiah also wrote Lamentations mourning the destruction of Israel that began the Babylonian Exile time frame.

 

The exercise of lamenting is to express grief and mourning in a manner to seek supplication or comfort from God. The fine line between seeking pity and lamenting is who are you reaching out to when expressing your mourning and grief. Seeking pity is to seek out comfort from man to make things better. Lamenting is to seek out God and ask for His comfort. Something for us all to work on is to help lead one another in times of trouble to God for His guidance and comfort, instead of trying to help fix the problem ourselves.

 

Also, a song that I believe shows lamenting well is “Vice Verses” by Switchfoot, if you’d like some music to listen to while reading, or to keep focus on the idea of lamenting throughout your day. It should be noted, if you look up the song you may come across the full album because the song and the album share a title.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Lv8z9RuPA

 

Andrew Cheatwood

Grieving the Heart of God

Lamentations 1

lamentations 1

Thursday, March 16

 

The book of Lamentations does not make it onto most people’s “Top Bible Books to Read” list. Its title actually comes from the word “lament”, which means “to mourn (a person’s loss or death)” as a verb, and “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow” as a noun. This book is a compilation of Jeremiah’s laments about the destruction of Jerusalem and all the events leading up to it. He emphasizes that all this calamity is a result of Judah’s disobedience.

 

Jeremiah definitely had a good excuse for some serious lamenting. Sometimes we wallow in self-pity parties about silly little things like how the brand-new Chick-fil-A in our town doesn’t have a play place (true story, and very sad for this momma!), but when is the last time we offered up lamentations to grieve about and lament over an injustice in the world?

 

I live in Ohio, near the crossing of two major highways: Interstate 75, which travels from the Canadian border in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to deep into Florida, and Interstate 70, which spans the great distance from Utah to Maryland. Because of this intersection, the Dayton area is a major hub for drugs and sex trafficking; in fact, Dayton recently made national news for its record-breaking number of fatal opioid overdoses (which included at least one person I knew personally). When I think of how many lives are ruined or stolen by drug addiction and sex trafficking, I feel angry and mournful. It is cause for lament.

 

There are so many other injustices in the world: babies being murdered in utero every day; murder, violence, abuse, racism, discrimination; the growing porn industry; a failing mental health system; families being ripped apart … I’m sure you could add dozens to my list that are worth lamenting!

 

However, it is not enough to just sit on our bums and lament. God wants us to be active in His work in this world. What happenings today do you think grieve the heart of God? Pray with me that God would instill a sense of unrest in our hearts that drives us to fight against the injustices in the world, and to give us opportunities to help lead people toward freedom and hope in Jesus! While Jeremiah had much reason to lament, he was also a man of action (as we will see again in a few chapters), and we need to be people of action too!

-Rachel Cain

 

(Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8GDFPdaQZQ – this link will take you to the Bible Project – with a video of hand drawings and explanations for every book of the Bible – pretty interesting stuff!)

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