servanthood

God gets His hands dirty.

God gets His hands dirty.

Nehemiah 2

This chapter, for me, held another stunning example of what God is like, as observed in the actions of His ambassador Nehemiah. After hearing about the state of things in Jerusalem, Nehemiah had prayed to God that restoration would come to that great Israelite city. He determined that, at some time, he would have the opportunity to speak to the king about what was on his heart.

The Sacred Chestpiece {ex28:29}

exodus-high-priest-the-sacred-chestpiece-poem.png

By the time Jesus came,
the office of the high priest
was highly sought after,
often secured by bribery
and fraud
and murder.

The position had become
synonymous with
power
and prestige
and an opulent life.

But it was never meant to be that way.

The high priest was supposed to be
the one man in Israel
most like God:
consecrated to a life of service
sold out to truth
dedicated to all things right

his only luxury
the burden of bearing the beloved
forever close to his heart.

 

God puts His heart into His work.

God puts His heart into His work.

2 Chronicles 31

Today’s blog will center around the last verse of this chapter: "In everything that [Hezekiah] undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered." (vs 21) This is the key to prosperity and success in God’s universe—working for God with your whole heart, no matter what you do. This is what God does.

God is a song.

God is a song.

2 Chronicles 29

As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but notice the emphasis on music. Particularly this verse: "Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel." (vs 27)

Dinner Guest {ex24:11}

Photo © CreationSwap/CreationSwap

Photo © CreationSwap/CreationSwap

What kind of God is this,
who issues an invitation
to a personal dinner,
an intimate feast?
Just a little get-together
for seventy of His
(I-hope-you'll-choose-to-be-My)
closest friends.

Indeed, one gets closer
as the courses proceed.
For this mountaintop banquet
was just the amuse-bouche on God's menu
of spiritual nourishment revelation.

None of those seventy elders
could have imagined
the truth about the God
who stood on the veranda of
brilliant blue lapis lazuli,

that His invitation
to feast with Him
would eventually become 
an invitation
to feast on Him,
that His offer of dinner
would soon be
an offering of Himself.

His body and blood,
our bread, our wine,
our life.

Has it not always been so?

 

God needs you.

God needs you.

2 Chronicles 17

One thing I noted about this chapter was the number of devoted people who were in Judah at the time. King Jehoshaphat was, of course, devoted to the Lord. The text points out that he even "removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah." (vs 6) Then there were the Levites who traveled through the nation, teaching the people about God from the Book of the Law. And then, toward the end of the chapter, there was mention of all the fighting men who surrounded the king, including "Amasiah son of Zikri, who volunteered himself for the service of the Lord." (vs 16)

God rules with service.

God rules with service.

1 Chronicles 11

What is, hires more. Have you ever heard that saying? Basically, it’s one way people comment on their bosses. Sometimes it’s a compliment. If you think you’re a brilliant person, you might say that your boss hired you because he is also brilliant. Or if you’re disappointed with the poor quality of your coworkers, you might say that only a lazy, stupid boss would hire lazy, stupid people. (Of course, you better be careful with that way of thinking if you work there, too.)

God uses the subtle witness.

God uses the subtle witness.

2 Kings 5

I had a hard time titling this blog. I knew exactly what I wanted to convey, but couldn’t really think of a good way to communicate it in a title. So, I hope by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll understand what I had in mind.

My thoughts about God and the subtle witness are based on two portions of this chapter. First, this: "Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, 'If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.'" (vs 2-3)

God's ways are everlasting.

God's ways are everlasting.

1 Kings 12

What a beautiful little nugget there is tucked away in this chapter of 1 Kings. Solomon has died, and his son Rehoboam has taken over the throne in Israel. The people—who had endured hard labor under Solomon—came to Rehoboam and asked him to ease up on them a bit. After asking for some time to think it over, Rehoboam consulted his father’s advisers. This is the advice they gave him: "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." (vs 7)

God's way brings peace.

God's way brings peace.

1 Kings 4

At least starting out, Solomon did things the right way. He had a heart for others. With his newfound power, he was more worried about having the wisdom to judge his people fairly than he was worried about accumulating wealth or honor. And here, we see that God was true to His word: He gave Solomon what he asked for... and everything he didn’t ask for.

God exercises true power.

God exercises true power.

2 Samuel 20

There is an interesting parallel between this chapter and 2 Samuel 8. Both contain a list of David’s officials. The list in 2 Samuel 8 comes after David has advanced to the throne, subdued the enemies of Israel, and returned the ark of God to Jerusalem. In other words, he has followed God’s leading all the way to victory for Israel. The second list (in this chapter) comes after the mess David created for himself with Bathsheba, Uriah, and the ensuing family chaos. See if you can spot the difference between the two lists:

God is a servant.

God is a servant.

2 SAMUEL 5

So, finally David is inaugurated as the new king of Israel. And something very short and simple in this chapter stuck out to me: "All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, 'We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, "You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler."'" (vs 1-2)

Master Maker {gn39:2}

Photo © Unsplash/Zulmaury Saavedra

Photo © Unsplash/Zulmaury Saavedra

The recurring theme of the Bible is
how the
Lord sticks His divine nose into our
business and turns what
was expected into something
surprising
with no prior warning.
Joseph had been sold as a slave,
so he expected to be treated like
one, but
he didn't act like one. Instead he
succeeded in all he did, because he
determined
in his heart to do
everything he did like a boss. He
decided
he would be the very best slave
those Egyptians ever
did see, and
as he committed all
he did as a slave to the Lord, he
unwittingly
served them as God serves all His
creation. And
in serving even his enemies in this
way, Joseph
the slave became a free man, ruling
over the
house of Potiphar and revealing that
the true Master
of his heart is in no way deficient in
his power, even to this day, to turn
Egyptian oppressors into admirers,
as the slave becomes the
master.

 

God gives the best gifts.

God gives the best gifts.

NUMBERS 18

After the blogs on defiance over the last week or so, I’ve been itching for a short and sweet blog. And Numbers 18 gives me the perfect opportunity for that. Nestled in amongst instructions to Aaron and the Levites about their priestly ministry in the sanctuary is this little nugget: "But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift." (vs 7)

God is all about freedom.

God is all about freedom.

LEVITICUS 25

There is something really beautiful in this chapter of Leviticus: "Even if [an Israelite slave] is not redeemed in any of these ways, he and his children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." (vs 54-55)