Thursday, April 11, 2013

my favorite verse (at least right now)

David is one of the most fascinating characters in all of the Bible – in all of history for that matter.  God’s testimony about David is incredible: “I have found a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).  David’s desire was similar: “Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name”, David wrote (Psalm 86:11).  When David’s relatively short life was over (about 70 years), this was his “epitaph”: “He served the purpose of God in his generation” (Acts 13:36). 

David is a hero to me.  A genuine biblical giant.  I want to be like David – in heart and in purposeful effectiveness.  But while David lived a heroic life, he also lived a tragic, painful life.  Plucked from obscurity, he becomes the second man to be anointed future king (1 Samuel 16).  But his path to the throne is riddled with pain, struggle, and the constant threat of death.  Think of just some of what David encountered in those brief 70 years:

Saul, the insanely jealous king, brings him into his court to serve him and play for him so that he can watch him closely.  It is that court that he will make what will be the first of many attempts on his life.  Later, even after a great military victory over Goliath and the Philistines that saved the nation, he is banished from the king’s court and sent out to battle – presumably to be killed. For his victories in battle, he is promised the daughter of the king as his wife.  Though she (Michal) loves him, her father Saul only intends to snare David and take his life by offering David his daughter.  When warned of Saul’s’ plan by Saul’s own son Jonathan, David flees, and his wife stays behind. David spends years of his life on the run, living under the constant duress and pressure as a fugitive.  Living in caves, wilderness, and with whomever can provide aid, David lives much of his life as a man without a home, estranged from those he loves. David sees many who have helped him and loved him fall to brutal deaths because of him. David felt the loss of best friend. David knew the betrayal of close associates. David knew the pain of his own son leading revolt against him, and also experienced the unimaginable pain of the loss of a small child. David endured turmoil in his home with his children and failure in his moral life that brought about incredibly harsh consequences. His life was marked by conflict, war, personal pain, and incredible challenges. 

Yet, through all of that, David’s heart was bent towards God’s.  He wrote some of the most amazing statements of God’s power, protection, and love in the entire Bible.  When I think of the sort of life David lived and all that he experienced, I am even more amazed at passages of scripture life the 16th Psalm:

Psalm 16:1-11 (ESV)
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

That statement, “You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you” is so moving to me.  David’s trust in God – no matter what – is such a compelling and convicting example of real faith.  I want to know God like that.  And, I want to make known to others the God who is just like what David describes: Our One refuge.  The Source of all good.  The Lord, my Lord.

From that incredible passage, I draw the following inspirations and personal commitments:
From v. 3
I will love being with your people. They remind me of you, and I can never get enough of that.

From v. 4
I refuse to exchange my short life for all the lesser ‘gods’ of this world.

From vs. 5,6
I will be content with You and with whatever You choose to give me.

From v. 7
I will not ignore your guidance.  Your Words will penetrate me to the core.

From v. 8
24-7, 365 days a year, I will trust in the One thing in my life that’s immovable.

From vs. 9,10
No matter what happens to me, I will choose joy.
My security is not circumstantial. It is spiritual.  It is You.

Why?  Why do I, will I trust God this way?  Why will I see Him and seek Him as my refuge – my source of all that is good?  Because this is what you Jesus have done for me:

You showed me what real life is.
Without you, life is all shadow and death.

You alone give joy.

Not momentary happiness.  Not fleeting pleasure. 

And I know that it only gets better from here. 
Indescribable, unending, awesome.

Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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