Almost caught up... I added a bit of current writing to this one. I'm working on not feeling "guilty" about it. Sometimes I dislike studies divided up into chunks like this because I get into the mindset that I shouldn't go back and revisit them, that I should leave them as I completed them during the assigned weeks. What a "college mindset." No offense to any students out there. It's only that God doesn't work that way!
The chapter unfolds with the king settled in his palace receiving some well-deserved rest. I've discovered that sometimes God offers us rest we do not accept. When was the last time you accepted God's invitation to receive a little rest?
Have you ever noticed how the body rests more readily than the mind? We may seize the opportunity to put our feet up for a while but the mind stays in overdrive. I think David had a little difficulty getting his mind to rest. Certain thoughts occurred to David "after ... the Lord had given him rest" (v. 1). You and I have had similar experiences. Sometimes we are so busy we can't even think. Then things settle down and our minds begin to crank! Right or wrong, all sorts of plans seem to pour like a waterspout when things get settled. (workbook, p. 111)
This is very true for me... Right now, for example, I have finished the major part of a big project, and I looked forward to a rest. I suspect that God knew that I wouldn't rest mentally. Why did I become sick physically? So that I would sleep! But often I don't sleep deeply until the illness begins to pass.
We don't live in a society that promotes rest. If you work full-time and have good benefits, you might get a few sick days a year. But more and more companies are discouraging people from applying if they have any kind of condition that deems them unhealthy. People expect themselves and each other to be able to work five days a week, come home and take care of the fam AND do something "fun" (and active) at night, get out and about on Saturday, and go to church on Sunday. The only rest time, if any, that seems to be "allowed" is on Sunday afternoons--and if you have kids that doesn't happen either. Kids don't learn to rest. Kids run the show: they want to be active, so the family is active.
Being sick is difficult for me. A lot of it, I think, has to do with years of being expected to go out and remain active in spite of illness. I have wondered how much of my life I spent running around doing things in spite of bronchitis, migraines, seizure things, etc. I never told anyone because doctors said I was "fine." So I acted "fine." But eventually that wears a person down. I spent so much of the last four or five years battling serious medical problems, and I've finally had a good stretch of a few months. I think that part of me is afraid it won't last. I've learned to give myself the occasional day or two to rest. But this current bug has been hanging on for three days--I've been in bed since Thursday afternoon! THAT I'm not used to, and it sends me into a panic. Panic plus whatever this is plus a migraine do not make a good combination. So getting that rest has been difficult.
But someone must have been praying for me very dilligently. I slept like a rock last night and am feeling a bit better this morning. I'll take advantage of the "up time" while I have it and nap later if necessary.
Is there anyone to whom you confess your faults and seek counsel when you feel you have offended God? ... If your answer is yes, does this person offer godly counsel? (workbook, p. 111)
These questions reveal an important issue that I've been thinking about lately. The concept of "accountability partners" has become very popular, and it's a very good thing. It's also something that should never be taken lightly. Am I a good person for someone else to seek as an accountability partner? Do I care enough about my own spiritual condition to be in a position to rightfully hold another person accountable? What do I look for when I need someone to hold ME accountable--because essentially I am giving that person at least a small place of authority in my life. I need to make sure that the person will be faithful with that authority. I had a good relationship with someone like this in Florida. Ultimately, I'd like to find a local person who could fulfill this role. It hasn't quite happened yet, although I can see some possibilities. I will have to keep praying and trying doors.
"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family that you have brought me this far?" I have asked the same question more times than I could count, but not for the reasons you might assume. Yes, for reasons I will never understand, God has given me opportunities for ministry in this season of my life, and I praise Him for that. Yet, the moments which most often move me are extremely intimate and private. Because they are so personal, I will probably never share in a testimony some of the most wonderful things God has done for me. What David was feeling was not about grand positions- it was about personal petitions. We each have countless opportunities to be overwhelmed at the goodness of God in our behalf. (workbook, p. 114)
This resonates strongly with me. The most powerful moments in my life are the moments when I realize that God has used me in a specific ministry, not areas where I personally am recognized.
How like God to keep giving and giving! David was stunned by God's words of prophecy over his family. What more precious promise could God have given David than to assure him He would remain with his offspring long after David was gone? What peace we can have in knowing God will bless our children! (workbook, p. 114)
I have to admit that I struggle here. These words just remind me that I live in a world where a woman's worth is defined by her family--and I have no family. When I die, I will leave no legacy. There will be nothing more for God to bless. It shouldn't matter, but it does. I'm glad that other women doing this study can find comfort in this; but it hurts me deeply. I can't even adopt a child, and I want nothing more than to be a mother. Devastation that should have been joy.
God had promised David that He would give the nation of Israel rest from her enemies. David did not sit on the throne and simply wait for God to fulfill His promise. He obeyed God's beckoning to the battlefield to participate in the victory! When God assures us of a promise, He desires for us to respond by assuming a posture of cooperation in the fulfillment of that promise. At other times God directs us to sit still and wait. Wisdom involves learning to know the difference. Whether God tells us to sit, stand, or move, He calls us to respond with a spirit of cooperation. Christ, the coming King, did more to exhibit a spirit of cooperation than anyone who ever lived. Each name listed in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11 represents a spirit of cooperation. (workbook, p. 118)
This is worth noting. I tend to think that when God promises something it will come about without delay, that if battle comes this means I heard wrong. This doesn't represent a spirit of faith and cooperation on my part.
I need to revisit this day. Brain was fizzling out.
David did not hesitate when Ziba informed him of Mephibosheth's handicap. In the Old Testament people considered physical imperfection to be shameful, but David summoned Mephibosheth exactly as he was. How reflective of the heart of God! So many wait until they can get their act together before they approach God. If only they could understand, God calls them just the way they are; then He empowers them to get their act together! (workbook, p. 124)
I am trying hard to take this into my heart... Today [when I wrote the notes] is one of my less-faith days. I want to believe. I feel that I should have more faith after all these years. Lord, please meet me where I am. Help my unbelief.
Have you had a specific experience which has directly caused you to become more sympathetic to others? ... If your answer is yes, what was the experience and how has it affected your personal opportunities to minister to others?
Second, we can reach out to a sympathetic God. David was exhibiting the character of God as he extended sympathy to someone who had experienced loss. You can depend on a sympathetic God in your need. David knew the disappointment of reaching out to others for sympathy and not receiving it, but he learned from his experience that God is always compassionate and sympathetic. (workbook, p. 127)
My illnesses have caused me to become much more sympathetic and also more sensitive when people are trying to reach out to me. These have also forced me to rely more on God.