Getting to Know You

1 Chronicles 28: 9         Living Bible

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him.”

The presumption of the Word of the Day is that God’s Word has power and inspires our lives. I hope you find this verse incites something within you for I find it very enticing.

David is a Biblical icon. Many of our best stories involve him, particularly, his defeat of the giant Goliath when David was still quite young. His faith in God was larger than any giant and that faith won the day. What I love most about David is his relationship with the Father. That relationship gave the world a glimpse into what Jesus would bring to individual lives. So, when David paused to impart wisdom to his son, Solomon, I find myself intent on gleaning the meat of his message.

From his years of experience David taught Solomon that God could be found. He wanted Solomon to know that Yahweh is not far off, but rather that he could have intimate conversation with God Almighty. Most of the people around Solomon would have had a view of a distant God, but David knew better. It was this experiential knowledge of Jehovah that David revealed to Solomon.

David gave Solomon his secret to success. That is what this passage is about. It is a father passing on his wisdom to a son. A king preparing his successor. The key bit of advice for success was, “get to know God.” God is in a realm where you can know Him. He is here with us. That is even more true now that Jesus has come. Jesus, also called Immanuel, is God with us. David told Solomon that God is not only a God who is with humanity. He is more than the God of Israel. When David said that God knows every heart, he was telling Solomon that Yahweh is the friend of individuals in addition to being the God of nations. This was a huge statement at the time because God was not generally known in this way. David said, if you seek God, you will find Him. He was trying to encourage Solomon to seek a personal relationship with God. Not only did Solomon have access to the prophets and through them access to God, but David wanted him to understand that he could have direct contact with God. The way to establish that direct connection was to seek Him. Seek God and you will find Him.

This is some of the best advice any of us could receive, and I, for one, am happy to receive advice from King David. I can certainly attest to the veracity of it. Each of us can have the same kind of close, personal relationship with Yahweh that David had. David modeled the relationship for us. I strongly recommend reading the psalms that David wrote to get a view into their relationship. Not all Bibles indicate the author of an individual psalm. If yours doesn’t, you can always go to www.Biblegateway.com and read the New American Standard Version.

What would you like the Word of the Day to address? Send us a comment or an email. Maybe an upcoming Word of the Day will be inspired by you.

Confidence

Psalm 27: 13 – 14          (NIV)

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

You know, life isn’t always easy. We know that we have the victory of the Lord, but sometimes living in the fulness of that victory is a challenge. I want to encourage you today. Don’t give up. Don’t despair. If we persist, we shall see the goodness of the Lord and I have no doubt.

This passage was written by David. He had a most interesting relationship with Yahweh, our God and Father. In fact, I think it is a good exercise to read David’s psalms solely with an eye on relationship language, looking at how he interacted with God.

David went through some trials, to say the least. One of the most informative examples of his life was how he faithfully served Saul only to find himself persecuted by the very same Saul to whom showed such honor and servitude. There is a life lesson there alone. Young David found himself pursued by Saul’s troops for no reason. He had no peace or rest, in the natural, but learned to find his solace and peace in the love and protection of the Father.

David urges us to stay strong and take heart as we await the goodness of the Lord. It is what he did. Although Saul persecuted and harassed him, God established the throne of Israel in David. In fact, Jesus is of the house of David. So, although David may have, at times, been down, he was never out, and he knew it because he knew who his father was. He knew that God would not fail him and that he would see the goodness of the Lord on this side of heaven.

My hope is that David’s experience and his words offer encouragement today. God is alive and He is attentive. He loves you and sends this word to lift your spirits and give you hope. Be blessed.

Shift Gears

Psalm 30: 2      GW

O Lord my God, I cried out to you for help, and you healed me.

What do you hear when you read this? I can hear emotion and waves of relief. David’s anguish turned into relief. You almost want to take a deep breath for him.

This verse reminds me of 2 Kings 20: 5, “I’ve heard your prayer. I’ve seen your tears. Now I’m going to heal you.” Oh, I love that one. Of course, I believe we should speak words of faith. I think we should be strong in our belief. There is a time, though, to cry out to God. However, one of the things I have learned by reading David’s psalms is that although he may begin with the most forlorn language you have ever heard, he always ends his song in praise and thanksgiving. There is something powerful to be gleaned from that. Cry with all your heart. Bare your soul to the Lord (not to others), but when you are ready, when your grief and despondency have waned, shift into affirmative language about the greatness of God. What does that look like?

You may begin by telling God how sick you are, how bad you feel and how desperate you are. Keep it up, tell him everything. Just pour out until you have emptied yourself. Then, shift gears. “Father, though I feel sick, alone and like I will never fully heal, I know that you are the healer. I know that you sent your word and healed me. Father, the Word tells me that I was healed by Jesus’ stripes and Father, I thank you. Thank you for sending your beloved to earth to take all my sin, sickness and pain. Thank you, Jesus, that you bore, on your body, the stripes by which I am healed. Father, I confess before you that I am healed. Jesus has made me whole. I am not cursed but rather blessed. I am blessed coming in and blessed going out. I am blessed when I lie down and blessed when I arise. I am blessed, Father, when I inhale and when I exhale. You promised your healing power and Jesus has fulfilled every one of your promises. I may look sick, but I am healed. Father, I claim this healing blessing which you have provided for me. I declare, in Jesus’ name and by his precious blood, that the healing power of the Ezekiel river is running through every vein, capillary and vessel in my body. Every cell of my body is saturated with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and I declare and decree, in the name of Jesus, that I am whole. I am healed from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. And I thank you Father. Thank you for your love and for your faithfulness. Amen.”

Copy that down. Print it out. Read it out loud when you aren’t feeling your best and speak loudly. Say it until you feel the belief rising up within you and then say what you wish to see manifested. “My knee is healed, praise God.” “I shall live and not die and will proclaim the goodness of the Lord.”

Cry out to the Lord with a loud voice. Complain, moan, groan and whine, but then shift gears. Get in sync with that power which is within you and proclaim the healing in your body. End with thanksgiving and praise. You are going to feel better. I promise.

Forget Not

Psalm 103:1 – 3

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget none of His benefits.
3 Who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.

When we began this series, did you realize how many times God spoke about healing? Health and healing is not one of those topics with only two or three verses. God has been clear from the beginning and has reiterated His position that He is our healer.

So, it turns out that one of the benefits of life with Yahweh is that He heals all your diseases. Apparently, He pardons all our iniquities too. Do you find it easier to believe this one than the former? Certainly, we hear more about the forgiveness of sins than we do healing, so it puts that benefit more in the front of our minds, but we need all the benefits of the Lord.

David, the author of this psalm, was preaching to his own soul. He would not let his internal self deny the grace the Lord had bathed him in. He commanded his soul to remember the benefits God has bestowed on His children but also, he ordered his soul to bless the Lord. I think that shows his relationship with God. He, David, certainly appreciated the benefits like healing, but he always backed it up with adoration and praise for the Father. He clearly was not taking his healing for granted. He wasn’t ignoring it either, and that is a key for us.  Acknowledging the benefits and the benefactor seems to be the key here.

Fully appreciate the benefits. Don’t deny them or ignore them and in the balance be thankful and bless the Lord.

Of Friends and Family

Proverb 18: 24

God’s Word

Friends can destroy one another, but a loving friend can stick closer than family.

NIV

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I have been thinking about friendship much lately. To capture what I have been thinking I need both translations above. First, a good friend can be a source of tremendous joy and support. There is a type of friend who loves, accepts and supports better than family. They honor their friends and appreciates their achievements without being judgmental of the failures. If you have the great fortune to have this kind of friend, hang on to them. They are a pure joy, a blessing from heaven. David had a friend like this. King Saul’s son, Jonathan, loved David like a brother, or even better. Their hearts were knit together.

There is also the other kind of “friend” mentioned in the verse above. Some people call themselves a friend but are more likely to bring you to ruin than to help you grow. They truly have the power to destroy and they wield it. It is sad when friends injure friends, but it happens. In those times, you realize they were not truly friends at all. True friends should be as Jesus, sacrificial. They should exhibit the Christ like ideal of serving others rather than being so self-absorbed. One of the problems we encounter in the world is that people are damaged commodities.

None of us get through this world unscathed. It is only the love of the Father and the healing touch of Jesus which repairs the injuries we pick up as we travel through the world. So, those who do not allow themselves to be healed, will often hurt others. It’s not that they intend to cause harm, but they are so busy protecting themselves and looking after their self-interests that they will cause injury to others. Of course, they have a way of justifying their behavior. Mostly, they will blame the person to whom they owe fealty but abandon. To put it plainly, they will stab you in the back, yet blame you. In their brokenness, they must find a way to excuse their behavior because in their hearts, they know they are wrong.

Most of you have experienced both kinds of friends. The one who love you better than your family is a treasure more valuable than gold. The other kind of friend will cause you deep pain, hurt and confusion. Here is my advice for both kinds of friends: thank God for the former and pray for the latter. Certainly, do a self-evaluation and prayerfully consider whether there is something within you which needs addressing but don’t carry other people’s damage in your heart. Pray for them and let them go.

Spend time with Jesus and become close with him. Actually, spend enough quality time talking with him that he feels like a good friend to, you. Tell him your thoughts and invite him to your events. You may find there are times you don’t want to be around other humans because it interferes with your time shared with Jesus. Don’t apologize for that. You need it and Jesus wants to hang out with you.

I want you to have close human friends upon whom you can rely. I want you to enjoy what those special friends can bring to your life. However, I also want you to be so close in your relationship with Jesus that you are never alone. He is the ultimate friend, the friend who loves you even more than family, the friend who will never let you down. He is the best friend any of us can have.

Better than Sheep

Psalm 145: 21        TPT

I will praise you, Lord! Let everyone everywhere join me in praising the beautiful Lord of holiness from now through eternity!

Now here is someone who really loves the Lord! I bet you can guess who wrote it. If you guessed David, you are right. You can see one reason why God called David a man after His own heart. It was the love David showed Him. I find myself wondering how David developed such a strong affinity for God. The answer is perfect for a trying time of lockdown and isolation.

David was a shepherd. His brothers were older than he and were soldiers. While the brothers were off fighting the Philistines, David was home watching sheep. He spent many lonely nights with those sheep. All that time alone paid dividends though. He learned he was not really alone. He began talking to the one who was with Him, his God. In the lonely watches he learned to communicate with the Father, and he learned to wrap his life around the Father. He fell in love with Father and he also came to know the Holy Spirit, which few in the Old Testament can boast of.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. In this case, David turned loneliness into a close, intertwined life with the Lord. We can do the same. If you are finding yourself still alone a lot, talk with Dad. You could come out the other side of Covid with more than long hair and an extra couple of pounds. You could become a David, knowing and talking with the Father with ease.

Exploding Heart

Psalm 145: 1

I will exalt You, my God, the King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever.

How nice. Then again, how dry, tamed and devoid of emotion. Per usual, I took the verse from the New American Standard Bible. Now, see it from one of my other favorite translations, the God’s Word Translation, “I will highly praise you, my God, the king. I will bless your name forever and ever.” That is a bit better, I would say, but when you know more context for this psalm you might still question the uninspired choice of words. This psalm is a “Song of Praise by David.” It sure does not sound like David. Now, allow me to share the Passion Translation’s rendering of this verse, “My heart explodes with praise to you! Now and forever my heart bows in worship to you, my King and my God!” There you go! That’s better. Those words sound like David.

The NASB is my preferred version, but I use many Bible translations in order to get at the fullness of meaning. Today’s verse is one of those times when the NASB needs some help. It shows our stoic, rather constrained, British Biblical heritage. David wasn’t a western thinker though. He was a man who poured out his heart to God in hundreds of songs. He praised God with his entire being, singing and dancing with abandon. I think David would make me a bit uncomfortable. I quite like the restrained nature of some church’s worship. I must ask, though, is it really worship and can it qualify for praise. I find, too, as time goes by, I find myself less satisfied with it and will even admit it feels a bit stifling. Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready to dance like David, but I do find myself wishing I could.

Many of us would criticize people who praise like David. They make us uncomfortable. We used to condemn them as “too emotional.” I have begun to question myself in this regard because we are discussing praise to an entity who describes Himself as what we would define as an emotion, Love. Maybe Yahweh is emotional. Maybe Jesus is. We seem to have made this verse over in our image. We praise God with our hands in our pockets while David danced so energetically that he danced his clothes off. I am certainly not ready for that, but I bear in mind that God called David a man after His own heart. Then I think about how David praised God and sang love songs to Him. Thus, I begin to question my style. Maybe Father would like for my face to look more like there is feeling behind my words.

David could not refrain from shouting and singing. He couldn’t hold still because his heart was bursting with his love of God. There is no way I can criticize him for that, even if I am secretly glad he isn’t standing right next to me in church. Maybe someday, I will praise like David. Maybe someday the whole church will lose its inhibitions. Then perhaps we will all shout and sing our praises to God!