Solomon and Fidelity

20 08 2008

Solomon Building the Temple

This past Sunday the sermon was from I Kings 11; how Solomon’s heart was turned by the love of foreign (or strange) women.  The man who built the dwelling place for God, began building places of worship for other gods.  It got me thinking about fidelity and being a one woman man.  As I listened, I also thought of the injunction to love our wives as Christ loved the church. 

I’ve often thought of that mostly as a sacrifical kind of love, but I began to consider something more, Christ’s fidelity.  When he was tempted, Satan was offering him the “nations of the world.”  I have always interpreted that as a political kind of temptation, but I wonder if Satan was really offering him another “bride.”

Instead, Christ submitted to the will of the Father to receive a remenant or bride from Him (John 10:29) which would come through his death and ressurection. 

I recently did a three part series for Moody Radio on fidelity in marriage.  You can listen to it here if you’d like.

From John 10:

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”


Preservation and Hope

26 03 2008

Fledgling, 2006

From Psalm 39

 19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
         Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
         Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
         In the presence of the sons of men!
 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
         From the plots of man;
         You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
         From the strife of tongues.
 21 Blessed be the LORD,
         For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
 22 For I said in my haste,
         “I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
         Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
         When I cried out to You.
 23 Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints!
         For the LORD preserves the faithful,
         And fully repays the proud person.
 24 Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart,
         All you who hope in the LORD.

In the Fields of Boaz

12 02 2008
Ruth in Field
Ruth in the field of Boaz, courtesy of the Library of Congress

We recently finished reading the book of Judges and started reading the book of Ruth again. Tonight we read the second chapter and I was challenged once again by Boaz. The book of Judges ended with the words “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Yet here in the book of Ruth we meet a noble and honorable man who does not do what is right in his eyes, but rather, demonstrates his character and righteousness by upholding the law of God regarding harvest, reaping and the providing for the stranger (Leviticus 19:9).

The example of Boaz has made Pamela and I consider ways that we could apply these laws from Leviticus in our own modern, non-agricultural lives.

One way we have applied this principle is in our own neighborhood which has a very large immigrant community from Mexico and other Latin American countries. There are trucks that drive up and down the alley picking metal objects from the trash to recycle as scrap (something like $.05 a pound) so a few years ago we began to purposely leave metal scrap for them to pickup (radiators, shelves, etc.) as well as other items that we know we could resell, but know that they would be of use to them (a working freezer and an old frig). When we were rehabbing the house, we tried to place all items that could be recycled in the alley, instead of the dumpster for this very reason.

On a recent blog for our church, Pamela put it this way:

Understanding that the farmer sows a field as an investment for both provision and profit, we see in Scripture that it is right that he not overly account for all his assets in an attempt to recoup each and every possible expense from sowing and gathering the harvest. At the end of the season, he has brought in more than he had put forth, and the surplus is a blessing to be shared.

So our way of leaving perfectly resalable items is one way of expressing, “We received from it what we had invested in it, and that is enough. Let someone glean it who needs it.”

And on several occasions we’ve had the opportunity to greet the scrap collectors, offering to help load it on the truck and expressing to them our gratitude; that they’re doing us a great favor by taking it even as we’re doing them a favor by setting it aside.

The strength of the gleaning principle is that the person who receives the blessing of the harvest also receives the blessing of being able to work for it. There is dignity in that.

It is our prayer that Boaz will continue to serve as a vivid reminder to our family of the scriptural mandate to be people of compassion as we become people of the book–because the LORD is our God.

From Leviticus 9

‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

12 12 2007

Train track

“What’s Around the Corner?” 2007

From Matthew 6

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Drink Deep

23 09 2007

Ghana Faucet, 2006

From Psalm 63

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.