Category: Devotional

God Isn’t Your Good Luck Charm

There are many things you can point to as proof that the human is not smart. But my personal favorite would have to be that we needed to invent the helmet. What was happening, apparently, was that we were involved in a lot of activities that were cracking our heads. We chose not to avoid doing those activities but, instead, to come up with some sort of device to help us enjoy our head-cracking lifestyles. And even that didn’t work because not enough people were wearing them so we had to come up with the helmet law. Which is even stupider, the idea behind the helmet law being to preserve a brain whose judgment is so poor, it does not even try to avoid the cracking of the head it’s in.

Jerry Seinfeld, watch his delivery here

Jerry’s take on helmets came to mind when I was reading today’s passage. The high priest has two sons who are terrible people. They rob from the Israelites and from God, they are promiscuous users and abusers of their priestly office.

God warns Samuel that he plans to visit a terrible fate on these boys because their father refuses to discipline them. When Samuel tells their father, he essentially seems fine with God’s judgement.

Where it gets interesting is when the Philistines attack Israel and they decide that if they’re going to win, they’ll need some extra “oomph” behind them. So they bring the Ark of the Covenant (the covenant which they have abandoned, by the way) along with them and the two wayward priests oversee the whole thing. Well, turns out the Israelite army suffers heavy losses and the Ark is stolen by the Philistines.

What does this have to do with Jerry Seinfeld? Israel dragging out the Ark is like the rest of us inventing helmets. It’s not addressing the root problem that LED to their being oppressed by the Philistines, but rather trying to protect themselves from the consequences of that oppression. And of course God refuses to dance when the people clap or throw a nickel at Him. If you make ZERO attempt to walk in the path God has set before you, don’t be surprised when He isn’t there when you need Him. If you tell Him to go away, don’t be shocked when He does! We need to keep God at the centre of what we do. We need to make sure we are not trying to put on a helmet in a bad situation instead of getting out of the bad situation altogether.

If you ask Him to leave you, He will. If you ask Him to lead you, He will.

1 Samuel 1:9-4:11 | 099/365

The Prayer of Jabez Revisited

If you like genealogies you will LOVE today’s reading. But there is some more interesting tidbits sprinkled in here as well. Like the conclusion to the story of Ruth & Boaz as well as Elkanah’s just… really terrible attempt at consoling his wife. But what struck me most today was the prayer of Jabez. He disappeared from the Biblical account as quickly as he entered it, but his prayer was included by the author for a reason. What can we learn from this prayer.

Jabez called out to the God of Israel, “If only you would greatly bless me and expand my territory. May your hand be with me! Keep me from harm so I might not endure pain.” God answered his prayer.

Jabez prays four things. 1) That God would greatly bless him. 2) That God would expand his territory 3) That God would be with him 4) The God would keep him from harm. Let’s take a quick look at each of these.

  1. That God would greatly bless him — We get nervous about asking for God’s blessing because of name-it-and-claim-it preachers and theology, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for God’s blessing! We see a great many Biblical figures do so. We just need to remember not to put a fence around what God’s blessing “should” be. We should consider ourselves blessed when we can use whatever we may have been given to bless others.
  2. That God would expand his territory — We are told that if we are faithful with little, we will be trusted with more. If you have been using what you have been blessed with for the glory of God, you should not be surprised that God is “expanding your territory” and trusting you with more.
  3. That God would be with him — As the Lord has been teaching me this year: I am very capable of doing a great number of things on my own. But this means that I often tell God to “sit this one out” because I don’t NEED Him. This is — and has been — an error on my part. We should have a standing invitation to God. We should ask Him to be a part of everything we are doing.
  4. That God would keep him from harm — I think this would be our desire, but one we ought to hold loosely. We should remember that it is a privilege to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus did. Paul did. Peter did. I would not mind being mentioned alongside these fellow.

Let’s try to employ these principles as we pray, seek the Lord, and try to live lives worthy of the One who saved us.

Ruth 4:13-22, 1 Chronicles 2:9-55; 4:1-23, 1 Samuel 1:1-8 | 098/365