Sunday, March 18, 2007

The View from Above (1 Samuel 22:1-2)

One of my last summers in college I was riding out the remains of my groceries and protecting the small bit of gas money I was saving to travel across the country for a ministry internship. My meals consisted of things like eggs, green beans, refried beans, pancakes, etc. I barely had enough to last until I left. Then came a knock on my door.

Standing outside were a brother and sister from Ecuador that attended my small Christian College with me. She needed a place to stay for a while and to be able to fix meals for her and her brother. They came without provision so it was my unique assortment of foods that fed us at first.

I'll never forget the feeling of having next to nothing and being asked to extend it to my neighbors in need. Sometimes when you feel you have nothing to give, God calls you to to feed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21). Leading you to act upon faith instead of ability, God plans to provide and intervene. Because He is your God, you can freely give.

This incident reminds me of David, in hiding at the cave of Adullam, while his family and four hundred distressed and outlawed persons gathered to him for leadership. He literally had fled for his life, having to approach the priest in Nob for bread and a sword. This was a desprate measure for a man in crisis. We don't find David sitting upon a seat of wealth and leadership. We find him hiding in a cave.

That cave, though, was a place for remembering and transformation. The caves of Adullam were located in the Elah valley. High upon a hill where he could watch for coming attacks, this hill overlooked that valley of significance. Waiting and watching, David was overlooking the place of his victory against Goliath. The hard knocks of life had David seeing the Giant from a new perspective, but this was a great place to stop and remember what the Lord had done through his faith in days past. I believe he gained strength and new hope from remembering what the Lord accomplished in that place.

When the many began to gather under David's leadership uninvited, David had to turn his perspective away from his own difficult situation. God forced him, in the midst of trial, to lead with others in mind. The time of remembering only lasted for a moment, and then David had to move on with his newly formed band of four hundred men.

God requires much of us some days. He wants us to grow in making decisions according to His ways and provides opportunities for us to practice an ever increasing gift of faith. May we push on toward our goal in Christ Jesus, remembering the victories and facing trial through the eyes of faith.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Where Will Help Come From? (1 Samuel 21)

The storyline of 1 Samuel is intensifying very quickly. From the euphoria of being devinely favored to the desperation of fleeing for his life, God's promise of David's future reign as king seems under attack. Does the adversity in David's life threaten the spoken will of God? Is David able to rise up as a king amidst his life's chaos?

David first fled to Ahimilech, the priest at Nob. We have no explanation as to why David chose to deceive the priest. Yet, we are told that he lied in order to receive provisions and the sword of Goliath. There in the midst of the nation's worship and their relligious leaders, David found momentary provision. Yet, even while pretending to be great (on a mission for King Saul) he was not safe from danger. Doeg the Edomite, chief shepherd, saw him there. David was forced to leave a sacred location of worship in fear of his life.

Next, David escaped to his enemies in Philistia. With the sword of Goliath, the huge Philistine that he conquered, David enters into the chief city of Gath. His renown as God's champion has not been forgotten. The enemy remembered David. In response to their recognition, David chose to pretend to be useless, a madman. Drueling and scribbling, the king rejected the Hebrew madman from his presence.

Neither the priest nor the enemy could offer David refuge. At most he finds temporary support. Where will his help come from? David used desperate human ideas protect himself, but ultimately learns that he must rely on God to find strength, daily rest, and peace. This chapter should leave us with many questions. In narrative style, we can see that David used sinful ways to protect himself. Yet, the author does not give us a moral absolute. We are watching a life rather than laying down law in 1 Samuel. Through relationship and life experience, God has something to teach us about Himself, His promises, and His relationship to us as sinners.

Through our questions and the unknown ahead, we and David must trust that God's sovereignty is still active. A human situation cannot nullify the will of God. As you go on your way today, consider what situations in your own life seem to threaten you. Is there a promise in God's word or a characteristic about Himself that you can rest in and learn to trust?

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Beauty of the Lilly

Strong she stands amidst her fellows.
From kindness to kindness,
She is a gift.

To radiate glory
To reveal His praise.
No voice to sing, she is but a flower.

Silently waiting,
Yet ever teaching
Should her beauty begin to fade

Her life well lived,
She gave Him glory.
Scolding the anxious by beauty great.

Solomon will know
His glory was temporal
At best a showing of what will burn.

Then what will I
A simple worker
Set my heart upon at last?

Should clothing fade
And skin so wrinkle,
Will my beauty within endure?

Clothed with splendor
Washed in blood
I have been dressed by heaven's hand.

The lilly's beauty
Sits before me,
Striking my heart and humbling my head.

Truth be told
The Master has spoken
The lilly's beauty began in heaven.

Sometimes I worry about my clothes. I let my simple life and looks be compared to the creative and fun styles that are beyond what my wallet can afford. It is a selfish, though common, worry for women.

As I sat upon my bed in quiet moments talking with the Lord a few days ago, I looked to the boquet of flowers my housemate had given me in thanks. I had seen them so many times, being "wowed" at their beauty. They caught my eyes differently this time, realizing that the big beautiful ones were lillies. My mind remembered the Lord's teaching in Matthew chapter 6. The sweetness of the Lord's timing, with the worry in my heart, was both discipline and love.

The beauty of the lillies in my room, though they will fade quickly, reminds me of a great Provider and Lover of my soul. I can rest in Him.

© 2007 by Kendra Hinkle