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January 28th, 2013

Wait with me

"My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord" Psalm 84:2a

On the slippery walk to work today, I felt very homesick. Throughout the morning hours as I woke up and drifted back to sleep, I replayed the scene in my head. How I miss him! I have a funny tendency to miss characters from books even though they've never been with me. I started that in 5th grade. I was reflecting on how lovely a scene when I thought, "Lord, it's You that I miss!" I hesitate to think much about His return; and even in this moment my mind rolled off the tangent of the concept like a repelled magnet. Maybe it's because it's such an important thing and I'm afraid that I'll pollute the moment with sloppy thinking. Maybe it's because it's too intimidating. Maybe it's because it's too close to my heart and hurts too much to consider. But how I long for the courts of the Lord... How I've cried through that Psalm 84!

I reached the traffic light at the corner and watched the rain draw patterns in the puddle. It's so hard waiting. I know so many who wait. They wait for family or for packages in the mail or for future plans or for the new creation. Christians live as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10) in a posture of patient waiting. "Receiving the end of your faith..." (1 Peter 1:9) "Though now you do not see Him..." (1 Peter 1:8) "That the genuineness of your faith...may be found to praise, honor, and glory..." (1 Peter 1:7). When will I see Christ? When will I be home in the courts of the Lord? "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young - even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God." Psalm 84:3

"How can I wait for you, Father?"
"I am with you, child."

I looked back at the puddles and saw His fingerprints in the dancing circles. They were beautiful. The traffic light turned and I started across the street with my umbrella. Even though I still have to wait, I don't have to wait alone. I will wait for you and with you, Father.

Battle speech!

Wow! I didn't know that God provided Israel with words to speak before battle in order to encourage her troops. But He does in Deuteronomy 20, verses 2-4:

"So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.'"

I can't find any direct quotations of this passage later in the Scriptures, though there may be some. I did find the following speeches and prophecies in the histories:

Abijah: "Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you." 2 Chronicles 13:12

Asa: "Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!" 2 Chronicles 14:11

Jahaziel: "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's...' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you." 2 Chronicles 20:15-17

Quoting 1 Kings and the Torah

Jehoshaphat's prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:5-12 is rich in references to earlier portions of the Bible. He testifies of God's power and might as well as His rule (shown through the Exodus around 500 years earlier), recounts how God gave them the land of Israel and the temple (about 500 years earlier), points to a portion of Solomon's dedication prayer in 1 Kings 8 where he speaks of God's salvation in various situations (about 100 years earlier), and then brings before God their current need for salvation from enemies - enemies who had been shown grace during the conquest of Canaan. I want to be so steeped in the ancient Biblical texts that I pray with such confidence in God's acts throughout history :)

As the kings

"...[the king] shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book...And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life..." Deuteronomy 17:18-19

To have my own copy of the Scriptures, I have the privilege of the kings of old!

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