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Saturday, January 30, 2016

PSALM 20
 
"Let's go to war, shall we?"
The Opera
 
This psalm was a back and forth kind of opera between the priest, David, and the people, singing as David left the tent of the tabernacle to go fight probably the Ammonites and the Syrians (Those were the guys with lots of horses and chariots as we'll see later).  Hmm.  Can you imagine our leader, our president, leaving church and singing with the preacher, the generals, and us in the chorus?  The only similarity is that we are still fighting Syria, yes even after all these years.


 
 
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob
set you securely on high!"
 
I'll take that when I go out to fight my battles, even if it's in Walmart or the Hwy 20 into Yuba City or political posts on Facebook.  The name of the God of Jacob refers to Jacob wrestling the Angel, who was the Angel of the Covenant, Christ Himself.  Of course, back then they didn't realize it was Jesus.  Sometimes it's like that for me.  I don't realize who was back there, that it was Jesus wrestling me, working things out even when I resisted Him. 
 
 

 
Wrestling with God.  This takes us back to Jacob, Genesis 23:24ff.  "Then Jacob was left alone.  Oh no!  How scary to be left alone with God!..."and a man wrestled with him until daybreak."  Sometimes the night time wrestling matches are the most difficult.  That's when you can't see what's in front of your face, what's ahead of you, only what's behind you that you wish you could wipe from your memory.  "Then (H)e said, 'Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.'"  Then there was the weird thing of the thigh socket being dislocated.  Now if my thigh socket got dislocated in a wrestling match, the first thing I wouldn't think of was asking, "I won't let you go unless you bless me."  Hmm.  "So (H)e said to him, 'What is your name?'  And he said, 'Jacob.'  He said, 'Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel (He who strives with God); for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.'"  Then (H)e went ahead and blessed Jacob/Israel anyway.  "Jacob/Israel named the Peniel (the face of God), for he said, 'I have seen God face to face, yet my life (soul) has been preserved' and he was limping..." 
 

 
Ooo, Ooo, I want to be set securely on high!!!   Sometimes we might get there limping along.  It might take a little striving with God and with men.  Remember they were singing this little bit of opera as David was going to battle.  Nevertheless, I do want to be set securely, on high.  That's in relationship with God, actually.  In right relationship with the One who is on high. 
 
 
 
David had just left the tabernacle offering the sacrifices, and the priests and people sing," May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion! May He remember all you...offerings, and find your burnt offering acceptable!"  Sometimes a little backup from the choir hymns sung on the Sabbath are a nice way to go out and fight the battles.  Lord, please find all those things I left back there on the altar acceptable so I can go forth to victory.
 

 
Now we're getting to the God part!  "May He grant you your heart's desire And fulfill all your counsel (purpose)!  Hmm.  It makes me think of course of Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires of your heart."  This is not genie talk here.  But if you are dealing, even wrestling with God, it is so that He can put the right desires in your heart, that "He may grant you," give you "your heart's desire," to put the right ones right there in your heart bank.  If we wrestle with God, we better hope that we come out with His desires becoming our desires.  This is how we fulfill our purpose.  Isn't our heart's desire to fulfill the purpose God put us on this green and smoggy planet?  Sometimes, like David, you have to go to battle to get there, but God goes before us.  He knows how it is going to end, who wins, it is Him.  That's why they could sing,
 
 
"We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners...
Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
Some boast in chariots
and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name
of the Lord, our God."
(verses 5-7)
 
 

 
Psalm 33:7 says,
"A horse is a false hope for victory;"
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength."
 
While writing, I got a robo-phone call about threats in a nearby high school that is also making my son's middle school be on lockdown.  Yesterday, there were perceived threats against the community's other high school which proved to be false.  Yet, today's threat is at a school that did suffer a terrible shooting years back, before Columbine.  So it must be taken seriously, even if it is a copycat threat.  It supposedly was because of gang violence and threats of shooting.  The same day two young men in Sacramento were arrested for making online violence school threats in their area.
 
Also yesterday, my son and his friend were brave enough to call the police about kids smoking pot waiting for the school bus.  The school dealt with one, evidently kicking him out while disciplining the other.  Since my boy and his friend waited for the police to make their report and missed the bus, I took him to school but had to warn them that there might be threats against them because of their actions.  So it was a little disconcerting for him to go to school with police everywhere, the swat team with the armored car, the Humvees, etc.  Do you want to go to battle out there on the school grounds nowadays?  We don't trust in horses.  That sounds silly now, but it just means that even when an enemy appears bigger and stronger, we don't have to be like them to be strong.  We don't have a false hope for victory.   Our one true hope is in the Lord.  Our children must be brave, facing battles we don't.
 

 
"They have bowed down and fallen ,
But we have risen and stood upright.
Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us in the day we call."
 
 
 
Don't be like the bowed down and the fallen.
Be like the one who has risen and stood upright.
We know who answers when we call.
(verses 8-9)

So ends the opera, "Save, O Lord,
May the King answer us
in the day we call."

Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us.
He says, "Excuse me, but I need to take that call."
Perhaps the opera will be our ring tone
that He hears when we call. 
                 
 
 

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