Read Ephesians 4:31-32; Romans 4:18-22;1 Samuel 30:1-9; 1 Samuel 23:15-17
As one year wanes and a new fresh 365 day cycle begins, many people ponder the idea of making one or sometimes, even more than one resolution. Desired improvements run the gamut from getting in better shape and dropping a few pounds to becoming more proficient in an area of study or perhaps being more patient with loved ones. All worthy goals. One thing many people do at this time of year is removing excess treats from their homes, sending them to party gatherings to be enjoyed by a crowd. Expanding on that idea, some people even use the end of a year to refresh their homes by doing a bit of organizing. There are lots of plans for this activity, but may I suggest my own?
A simple way to tidy up a bit is to throw away, tuck away or give away. Most everything that needs sprucing up can be altered by one of those three activities. What if we read God's Word with those three categories in mind and then acted upon them. Perhaps having these ideas in mind as we look into the Bible might result in our honoring God more and more than we already are doing.
1. We Honor the Lord When We Throw Away What He Says to Discard:
It happened more than 30 years ago, but I doubt that I'll ever forget it. My husband and I had disagreed about something. I don't even remember what the issue was, but when I woke up in the morning, I was still carrying around the weight of it. I remember turning on the radio and listening to a teaching. Who told that preacher that my attitude needed adjusting? He preached about the very thing I needed to do. I don't recall the scripture or even the name of God's man, but I laughed when I was made aware of God's timing and my need to repent. It was past time to throw away my anger and practice the forgiveness that had been lavished on me by the Lord, Ephesians 4:31-32. Throwing away any thing that keeps us trapped in a wrong attitude brings refreshing for us and honors God, , causing us to resemble the Savior a bit more each time we obey His leading 2 Corinthians 3:18. When God prompts us that an attitude is wrong, it is time to dump it as we might get rid of that little dab of food that has languished in the back of the refrigerator for way too long.
2. We Honor the Lord When We Tuck Away A Truth About Him or A Promise That Especially Nourishes Us:
I love the scriptural examples we have for today. Sometimes, when we think of Abraham, we remember how he and Sarah went ahead of God and the resulting incidents concerning Hagar and Ishmael. It is surely true that when we take matters into our own hands, led by our own devices, there are often painful consequences. However, there is more to Abraham than that one incident. As is true with all of God's children, there are shining examples of faithfulness in Abraham's life. Paul highlights this when he tells us about Abraham's trust in God, especially the reminder that Abraham believed that God was able to do what He had said, regardless of how impossible God's promise seemed, Romans 4:18-22. I wonder how many times the old patriarch encouraged himself with God's promise that he had tucked away. God would give him a son. His descendants would outnumber the stars that shone brightly in the night sky, Genesis 15:1-6.
Then there is David in 1 Samuel 30:1-9. I love the way the Bible often speaks with simple clarity. We are told that because of the kidnapping of David's as well as his men's wives and children and the pain of it, David was distressed. And Why was he distressed? Because there was talk of stoning him. Really? Distressed? I would have been more than distressed at the thought of rocks being thrown at me. Yet, David encouraged himself in God, 1 Samuel 30:6. Whatever the king-elect had tucked away about the Lord helped him in this time of need. Then strengthened by truth, David was able to seek God's direction for the next step to take.
One scriptural truth that I have tucked away lately has been that God has chosen to live through me, Galatians 2:20. There is much deep truth in this one verse, but I have been nourished by the thought that even on a day when I have sinned, acted foolishly or simply feel weak, God the Creator/Redeemer still chooses to make Himself known through me. That truth encourages me.
3. We Honor God When We Give Away His Truth:
In 1 Samuel 23:15-17, We see how Jonathan encouraged David by reminding him of truth that he already knew. David needed this because his hard circumstances had lingered. David would be king. God had promised him, 1 Samuel 16. Yet, Jonathan encouraged him through the repetition of what he already knew. Sometimes, when we read passages from the Bible that we have read many times, we might be tempted to think that "everybody that we encounter already knows that". When thoughts like that come to mind, we think that we don't have anything to give away that day. Yet, who knows if there might be a David that crosses our paths. Someone, who may know the very truth we read that morning but the weariness of his circumstances may have hidden the blessing of it from his eyes. Since the Word of God is alive, Hebrews 4:12, we cannot know how the Holy Spirit will use what we give away. We simply need to be faithful in sharing what we have received.
Lord, Thank You for making Yourself known to us. Help us to do what honors you by throwing away, tucking away and giving away, prompted and enabled by Your Holy Spirit.