July 3, 2007

keep us

Every once in awhile, I will read a passage of scripture that will stay with me for days. My mind will keep coming back to it. It is usually a passage that I don't ever recall reading before and I don't recall anyone else reading to me.

The passage that I posted about a couple of days ago has been like that for me. I know I said this in that post, but it all started with a little curiosity over the "it is written" when Jesus rebukes the Devil and says that "man cannot live on bread alone but on every word of God."

This last weekend I was asked to give the devotional on Sunday morning. Our checkout time was 10:00 from the cabin that we rented, and it just wasn't possible to get all of us ready and out the door and to a church on time, so we decided to have church right there. The "service" ended up just being me giving the devotional, but that was alright, we were about out of time.

I shared that passage from Deut. 8, because it was still so fresh on my mind. I don't know if anyone else got anything out of it, but I have simply been drawing off of it.

Here is an example of this passage in my own life: This next little while, I am going to be alone. My wife and my children are all spread across the nation visiting relatives but I am down here, bringing home the bacon. That is OK, because me and the dog need bacon. It isn't necessarily that I need companionship from anybody, I usually turn down or avoid most dinner offers, but I do start to miss my family.

Like that passage says, I start to get hungry. I want my family here. I don't like to live alone. These aren't bad things that I want, just like the Israelites desiring food. They weren't wanting or hungering after something bad, but God will sometimes let us go hungry, just to see what is in our hearts.

Hezekiah went through something similar. Consider II Chronicles 32:31,
"Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart."
Sound familiar, doesn't it? We know that God didn't actually abandon Hezekiah, but God left him on his own to reveal his heart.

My first response was that I needed to just prepare myself for these times, but Spurgeon, in his devotional book called Morning and Evening, had a little bit of a different response. And I love the way he puts it,

"Therefore let us cry to God never to leave us. Lord, take not they Holy Spirit from us! With draw not from us Thine indwelling grace! Hast Thou not said, 'I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day'? Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when in the valley, that we murmur not against Thy humbling hand; keep us when on the mountain, that we wax not giddy through being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited of our wisdom, we may therfore prove greater fools than the young and giddy; keep us when we come to die, lest, at the very last, we should deny Thee! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us laboring, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need Thee, O our God!"
May "keep us" become our heart's cry!