A Garment And Wings

July 31, 2019


He asked her, “Who are you?” She answered, “I’m only Ruth, your servant. Spread the edge of your garment over your servant, because you are my related redeemer.”  Ruth 3:9

God never meant for any of us to live in the center of tragedy.  It goes against the very reason we were created; to worship God and to behold His glory.  To go down to the deep, away from the heights of God’s glory, is to subject our soul to dark plots and despair.  If our eyes focus on nothing but sad things, how can know joy in the midst of pain?

I’ve been feasting on the beautiful love story in the book of Ruth.  Her life had taken some dark turns and loss had become her companion.  With no husband, no heritage, no children, and living in a land as the most vulnerable of widows, she looked up from her circumstances long enough to to cry out to the one who could redeem her story.  She approached Boaz in an outrageous moment, as he was sleeping on the threshing floor to protect his store of grain from being robbed.  She startled him, and then proceeded to ask him to spread the edge of his garment over her.  Symbolically, it was an intimate request.  To be under His garment, his tallit, was to be united to him in covenant love.  In Hebrew, the account reads like this ~ ‘she pulled his wing over her.’ The four corners of a Jewish man’s tallit symbolizes being under God’s wings.

Jesus’ tallit, his shawl and outer garment, was touched by many who were sick and they became well.  He spread his garment over Jairus’ daughter and raised her from the dead.  The woman with the issue of blood, a woman who was ceremonially unclean, entered the crowd in an attempt to just touch the fringe of Jesus’ tallit. In doing so, Jesus felt spiritual power go out of Him and the woman was healed.

In the aftermath of our son’s death, a death that came in a most horrific way, it is easy to get pulled into the darkness of the plot.  We need to grieve but we are not to grieve without hope.  We are not to dwell in perpetual darkness where we rehearse the tragic event until it overwhelms us.  God’s tallit beckons.  He offers to lift us up out of the darkness and then hide us under His wings where there is protection, perspective, and healing.  Near to Glory Himself, the darkest story is being transformed into a narrative of redemption.

David said, “When my heart is overwhelmed, I shall cry to You from the end of the earth; lead me to the cliff that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower against the enemy.  I shall stay in Your tent forever: I shall trust in the cover of Your wings.”  Psalm 61

There is an invitation to dwell in God’s tent, in the cover of His wings.  In doing so, we are lifted out of tortuous thoughts to praise our Healer and Redeemer.  He lifts us up to the cliffs, away from the carnage of the valley, where the billows of His wings descend upon the shoulders of the afflicted.  The cacophony of this world gone awry subsides. A holy calm invades to drown out the storm.

I am under Your wings, listening to the music of Your promises.  There are no hopeless tears, Jesus.  They are the faith-filled groans for redemption.  Amen

 

When I Momentarily Give Up On God

July 29, 2019


There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. PSALMS 4:6-7

David and his closest advisors are on the run from his son Absalom. The king and his royal court are living in hills and caves. How un-king like. Doesn’t this give us a picture of the political shifting in the Middle East today? Leaders are deposed quite easily by an overnight revolt. David is innocent. His son is evil – following the promptings of the prince of darkness. Things appear to have deteriorated permanently. His closest advisors certainly think so as David overhears them ask the question, “Who will show us some favor, Lord? Will you?” They refer to the Aaronic blessing from Numbers. ‘May the light of His favor shine upon you and give you peace.’ They long to see proof of it. Momentarily, they have given up on God because of their dire circumstances.

David, amazingly, hasn’t lost sight of who God is and what God has promised him. He sincerely tells them that God has put more joy in his heart, in his present circumstances, than the joy his enemies feel as they sit on their stolen throne. There has to be a lot of spiritual preparation before a storm for a child of God to know such things. All the more reason for me to prepare for dark times because they will come to all of us. My response is shaped ahead of time ~ in the light.

Has God’s favor left me when I am persecuted? No more than it left Jesus as He walked to Calvary. Jesus could separate His circumstances and the hatred of others from the favor of His Father and his awaiting glorification. When I’m giving up on God, what can I focus on?

  • I am still forgiven of every thing I’ve ever done.
  • I am still dressed in the undeserved righteousness of Jesus.
  • I am still walking toward a destiny that no man can steal.
  • I am loved unconditionally by my Father though I suffer the arrows of another’s scorn.
  • I can rest in every single promise God has made to me. Not one has been taken back.
  • I am bathed in the favor of God and every spiritual enemy can see it.

Though I may look at others today and see that their personal power is at its height, that their grain and their wine abound, I must know that it is fleeting.  Present circumstances mean nothing if they beg to nullify the awaiting glorification of God’s children.

I consider all the reasons I might give up on You. None of them will stand. In Jesus’ name, Amen