December 14 – Day 14
Ornament – Crown
When they arrived, Samuel saw Elian and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
“There is still the youngest.” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent for him and had him brought in. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him. This is the one.”
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.
1 Samuel 16:6-7, 11-13
In Hebrew, Pappa’s words literally were ‘I’ve seen a king.’
Samuel was called to recognize kings, even when they were utterly unrecognizable. He served the kings before they were crowned and while they reigned. He anointed them, reminded them and refused them when their flesh raged and overshadowed their hearts.
When Samuel laid eyes on David, his quest wasn’t to fill a throne, but to find a cauldron for Pappa’s heart. One that would boil over, pour past the surface and pursue the God that filled, leaving no nook and cranny empty.
A people had clamored for a king who would do for them what they were created to do with their God. Saul couldn’t fill Pappa’s shoes and now, before Samuel was the ruddy remnant of a family line, armor too big for him and heart bursting from him. Pappa sought one who wasn’t afraid to grow into the fulness of Him.
David was a king that Samuel recognized. He declared him to be after God’s heart. Before he ruled a kingdom with crown, he stewarded creation with his heart filling his hands. Trees, rocks, river and breeze were his temple then. Whether surrounded by sheep, lion or giant, God’s heart was his Tabernacle.
As king, he would more than manage, he would meet God. From trial and triumph, his reign would be marked by worship. Most psalms written during his rule poured onto parchment from the Temple and time spent in Pappa’s Presence.
Though David had slain giant, he didn’t seem one himself, upon first sight. What Saul built would require strong arms and sword to maintain. Samuel surely saw struggle and strain ahead, but surrendered to the Voice of God, whispering wondrous things.
Some would argue over the double-sided resume David would carry as king, when considering him a man worthy of the title “after God’s heart.” He of epic triumphs and massive fails. He, greatly generous, yet often scheming for political advantage. He, humble, yet commander of the count of his kingdom’s contents. He was forgiving, yet vengeful. And at times, he sent men to be murdered, even as he cried out for his own life.
But after Pappa’s heart he was. Transliterated that phrase means, “found facing God.” In delight, despair and disobedience, he was ever ‘kata kardian” or “toward God.”
Not easy would it be to walk upon the breaking branches of Saul’s rule. Maybe this is why the tree of Jesse was a stump awaiting a shoot. The things of man need pruning. Pappa’s work and ways never die at the hands of man. But they do prosper within the heart of a one meager enough to cling to God’s might.
But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s commands. 1 Samuel 13:14
The phrase Samuel spoke to Saul was ‘kilbabo ki’ which meant “like, as or in the same way.” Samuel took the reins from Saul and handed them to one with a heart that mirrored God’s.
It would take David a bit to stop trying to carry a kingdom himself and let it rest on the shoulders of the One Who was and He Who was to come. He often tried to give wheels where wings were needed. There would be days, as he grew into his crown, where he would place the holy things of the Lord in wagon instead of upon sacred scapula.
David was not marked by what he tried to get away with, but what he would willingly confess and cry. His movement was ever towards Pappa. Repentance was his up and down motion, the ladder for his love. He opened doors for us to stand before Pappa and share our struggles and strengths, our joys and jostles. He revealed the path back to God, so we might always be found facing the One who saves and satisfies.
This king came through ranks, not nobility. He was indeed undignified. He knew the heart of the people because he was one of them. Nothing would separate him from their plight or problem, and he couldn’t help becoming part of the praises they raised to Pappa.
Once he was compared in stature and strength to his brothers, but among his people, he removed crown, robe and ring, that those with him might see they were meant to be one. For the One. A crown of gold and gems brings a man no closer to Heaven’s hold. But a heart crowned with praise draws the desperate directly into Promise’s keep.
David was patient in the face of diversity and easily moved when the time for victory was at hand. He never needed a fire-formed crown upon his head, for He saw the crown to come reflected in His God’s eyes.
As I write, a beckoned blanket falls heavy from Heaven. You see, I told two little boys they would awaken to snow. I’m not one to be rash with words like that. But I believed it. It seemed that creation wanted to reveal a crowning in days made for it.
It was raining when I took tender steps toward the window. So, I fell to my knees and asked, for flakes instead of drops. And they came. And now treetops and tamed wood are capped and crowned.
My caroled phrase in these crowning days has been “fall on your knees.” Each time I whisper it because in this now, it feels like it needs to be whispered. I picture Him, Jesus, falling to His knees in Gethsemane’s garden. No bend was this, for He fell fierce, shaking soil and stilling sound. He fell for me. Jesus fell for me, and I can barely bear the weight of my King’s passion and pound. And me, I have fallen for Him, so sometimes, I need to be felled and remember that even snowflakes fall from Him.
Photo credit: <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/photos/celebration‘>Celebration photo created by Racool_studio – www.freepik.com</a>
Sundown 5 – WORD
The candle that will alight our sundown is that of the light of God’s Word. Jesus, God’s creative Word. The outward form of His inmost thoughts of us. The Word not formed from pen and papyrus, but sinew and blood. Through Jesus, the Word became available and accessible to all.
Isaiah said and sang the coming and communing of the Word. He brought God’s Word to life. He made real, enlivened and prophesied the Word that would become flesh.
Through his own encounter, Isaiah lit the way for us to receive God’s Word and allow it to completely resurrect within us, so our lyrics would linger within His, a sound never separate.
Pappa’s creative ways spoken through His people resonate still and remind us of our own breath’s call. We create when we speak and say. The weaving of His Word recites the treasure Isaiah received as a coal and the triumph we receive though the blood of the lamb:
*He wipes off our sins (Isaiah 43:25)
*He forgets our sins (Isaiah 43:25)
*He removes our sins–as far as east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)
*He throws our sin behind his back ((Isaiah 38:17)
*He buries our sins at the bottom of the sea (Micah 7:19)
As you bask in the light of this candle, I pray you will literally wallow in the width and depth of the truth it shines. The message given to Isaiah is ours this day. Sins forgiven. Guilt removed.
A definition of the Hebrew word for guilt is “slavery”. Take a minute. Swim around. Not only is the act of sin removed, but the binding of slavery to that sin is unloosed. Why? So we can return. For that is what repentance was created, intended, to bring–our return.
Isaiah returned when he dwelt in the presence of God and he saw all revealed there. Concealed things are only able to stay that way when we don’t look. Eyes wide open, Isaiah saw the glory of God and the future of a Kingdom.
Tonight celebrate our returns and all that is revealed in them.
Go and do things that reveal your return.
Bring forth fruit for the meetings of repentance. Matthew 3:8
Your word is a lamp unto my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
BEATITUDES (Let this be our attitude)
Blessed (abundant) are they the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
At its core, mercy is forgiveness. In the Old Testament, this is called ‘racham’ and is considered a gift.
There are two words in the Hebrew language for “gift”.
‘Minchah’ is spelled mem-nun-chet-hei and paints the picture of “a new beginning with Yehovah counting on His grace which results in deliverance and rest.”
‘Mattanah’ is spelled mem-tav-nun-hei. Three of these letters are contained in ‘minchah’ and has a tav in place of the chet. Tav is the picture of crossed wooden sticks and has the meaning “to seal, to covenant.” This gift is the promise of the cross.
We “give” mercy, don’t we? Beyond grateful that we were enabled to receive it!
Mercy implores us to offer a “to the brim” cup of redemption to another, for we ourselves drink from the deepest well.