Objects of His Infinite Affection

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  Psalm 139:16

psalm201392016

Spurgeon writes, “Before we had a being in the world we had a being in His heart.  When we were enemies to Him, He knew us, our misery, our madness, and our wickedness.  When we wept bitterly in despairing repentance, and viewed Him only as a judge and a ruler, He viewed us as His brethren well beloved, and His bowels yearned towards us.  He never mistook His chosen, but always beheld them as objects of His infinite affection.”

 

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”  2 Timothy 2:19

9b10648e386f6371e207394c3d0d57f4

Father, You are my God.  You knew me and know me.  You love me despite my failings.  You saved me out of the depths of Your love.  You have my name in Your Book and I am Yours for always.  One day, I will stand before You and will know the love that You have always had for me.  Oh, how blessed I am to have You for my Father.  Thank You, thank You.  I am so very humbled.  I feel so adored, so cared for because You are such a loving God.  I have far to go in my walk with You but I want to be near You and to continue to learn to walk in Your Ways, to imitate You for I am Your child.  I will stand firm on the Foundation of the Cornerstone.  In the Name of Jesus, Your Son.  Amen.  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  Ephesians 5:1

Above All Names

I love You, O LORD, my Strength.  

The LORD is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer,
my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge,
my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold.

I call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.  Psalm 18:1b-3

psalm 18

In three small verses, David calls God powerful names.  They are each words that we would use to suggest power, might, and protection.  God is all of those and so much more.  He is strong  חֵזֶק chezeq …in the sense of help, our Strength.  He is  סֶלַע cela` … security, a stronghold of Jehovah, a safe haven, our Rock.  He is our Fortress מָצוּד matsuwd …fastness, a strong place, a defensive position.  As Deliverer, פָּלַט palat … He brings us into security or safety from a danger, an insecurity, a dark place.  The Rock, צוּר tsuwr …a slightly different Hebrew word for Rock than above …”the rock where they took refuge,” the refuge and protection of Israel, God is the Rock still.  As in a rock, He is our Refuge, חָסָה chacah …to trust in God, confide or hope in Him.  God is the Shield, מָגֵן magen, …the Protector, carrying the shield before the enemy, before us in whatever or whomever we may find ourselves in and amongst.   He is our Horn, קֶרֶן qeren ...as David says, “the horn of my help” or “the horn of my liberation,” taken from the image of animals using their horns for defense.  The Horn of my Salvation, קֶרֶן יֵשַׁע qeren yesha` …placing both words together, God is the God of our help (salvation), safety, welfare, our Saviour.  He is our Stronghold, מִשְׂגָּב misgab …God is the lofty place affording shelter and security, a refuge.  He is the LORD, יְהֹוָה Yĕhovah …the One true God, “the Existing One.”

psalm-18

LORD, You are my All in all.  You defend me.  You hold me in the cleft of Your rock.  You hold me near.  You shield me from fears and darkness.  You protect me.  You have saved me and will bring me into Your Kingdom one day.  Oh, LORD, I am ever so grateful and fall to my knees in adoration of You, the One and Only.  You are truly worthy to be praised, my Father.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 

Graphics:  http://www.heartlight.org

Like A Weaver’s Beam

And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.  1 Samuel 17:7

And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.  2 Samuel 21:19

And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.  1 Chronicles 11:23

(Who were those who slew these men?  These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.  1 Chronicles 11:10 …David’s mighty men.)

As a weaver, myself, these verses struck my curiosity chord.  A weaver’s beam…  In technical weaving terms, it is a strong beam, one usually at the top and another at the bottom, bracing the loom.  As pictured in this Navajo loom below, the beams are where the warp is looped so that a weaver can weave over and under those warps with the weft or woof (either name is correct).   There are many types of looms but they do all have some type of supporting beams.

vertical_loom_colours
Three main loom designs were used in the biblical world. On a horizontal ground loom, the warp threads were stretched between beams pegged to the ground. This type is apparently referred to in the Samson story (Judges 16:13-14), as it would have enabled Delilah to weave his locks while he slept. When Samson jumped up, he pulled away the pin(s) of the loom (Judges 16:14) which secured the beams to the ground.

adding-the-loom-305x172
In some vertical looms, the warp was stretched between two beams fixed in a rectangular frame. Work proceeded from the bottom of the loom, and the woven cloth could be rolled onto the bottom beam (Isaiah 38:12). This permitted the weaver to remain seated and to produce much longer finished products.

220px-Rug-weaving,_Hamadan

Another type of vertical loom had the warp threads attached to an upper beam and held taut in groups by a series of stone or clay weights.  Weaving was done from the top to the bottom, and the weft beaten upwards. Large numbers of excavated loom weights testify to the popularity of warp weighted looms in Old Testament Israel.

weave
In all of these looms, there is a rather large beam.  Each verse above speaks of the warrior’s spear being“like a weaver’s beam.”

In the Philistine army, there was one particularly impressive soldier, named Goliath. He was a large man (“six cubits and a span” can be anywhere from 8’5″ to 9’2″), and he had armor and weapons to match his size.

And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.  He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.  And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders.  The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron.  And his shield-bearer went before him.  He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul?  Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.  If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants.  But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”  1 Samuel 17:4-9

We know the outcome of this most familiar story as David tries to tell Saul of his abilities:

Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”  And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”  1 Samuel 17:36-37

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.  1 Samuel 17:50

Power in the things of this world and physical strength of man is not of God.  God uses His servants when they are willing, faithful, and surrendered to Him.  We are His weaver’s beam when we allow Him to use us in all we are, do, and say.  Our strength is in the LORD.  We weave our lives day-to-day.  Regrets, wrong turns, blessings, and right turns all roll into the woven fabric of our lives.  Instead of taking up that beam to beat down the devil as he confronts us or to beat down ourselves for poor choices or when we walked away from God, we must get down on our knees, asking God to protect us with His strength, His power, His might, and His lovingkindness.  We must pick up His sword, the Word of God, using it as Jesus did in the wilderness when tempted by the devil.

Father, God, You have called me to honor You in all I am, in all I say, and in all I do.  I want to honor and respect You as I should.  Father, protect me from the evil one, holding me in the cleft of Your rock.  When the Goliaths of this world come near me, I pray that I trust in You as David did.  Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”  1 Samuel 17:45-47   May I know in my heart and mind that the battle is Your’s and that You will give the enemy into my hand.  I do not need a weaver’s beam for battle, only to use it to weave a beautiful cloth for You.  May my heart be filled with wisdom as I do this work for You.  Oh, Father, I love You.  I pray in Your Son’s Name.  Amen.

Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.  Exodus 35:35

Mesmerized

$_3

These three girls are so mesmerized in this book of fairy tales that it looks like nothing could drag them away.  We had this painting/print on our living room wall for the years I was growing up as we were a family of three girls, no boys.  We read a lot in my house too.  I imagine my mother saw this print or painting back in the 50s and just had to have it for her living room.

Have you found yourself so enthralled with a book, an artist, a National Park, some ‘thing’ right around you?  So taken that you can barely be led away?  So into that book that you stay up well into the night reading?  Sitting on a park bench with beauty all around you that makes you forget to eat lunch?  Oh, I certainly have been mesmerized by many things.  My mind wraps around and won’t let go of a place like Yosemite National Park with gushing waterfalls in the springtime, with snow atop El Capitan or Tuolumne Meadows covered with untouched snow in the winter, or with leaves colored aglow each fall.  I have fallen into books and can’t seem to climb out because I want to stay there in the delight of the story.  I have sat in the National Art Gallery pondering a painter’s incredibly detailed paintings.  Yes, I become mesmerized.  

Do I have that same incredible draw into God’s Word?  To be with God in prayer?  To sit listening for God?  Oh, I do sometimes.  I am willing.  I have the desire.  I really want to, but … do I?  Not enough … for I do not give God the time He wants from me each and every day.  And that’s what it takes.  Daily time.  Committed time.  Desired time.  Not a time set because it is ‘have to time.’  Not a time made because I ‘feel guilty’ for NOT meeting Him regularly.  Not time spent with an attitude that says to God that I would rather be elsewhere.  God wants me to be with Him because I want to be with Him 100%.  Because I love Him.  Because I want to be obedient to Him, to honor Him.  I want to be mesmerized by the words that He has placed in His Word for me to read so that I will get to know Him, the God Whom I serve.  He wants me to be so captivated with His Son so that I can grow to be more Christlike.  He wants me near because I want to be near to Him.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.  All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.  We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.  May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.  He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light.  Colossians 1:9-12  

Abba Father, I pray that the words I have just written above are truly from my heart and that I will be delightfully drawn nearer to You each and every day, to listen for You, to read Your Word, to study that which Your Holy Spirit is teaching me, to pray to You while standing before You on Holy Ground.  I want this for myself as well as to please You for You are my Father and I want to be obedient with love in my heart for You, the One Who loved me first, Who created me, and Who holds me close.  Guide me, Father, in all I do, say, believe, and hold dearly.  May I learn to honor You in all ways.  In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.  Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.  Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.  2 Timothy 1:12-14

 

 

Painting at top:  “The Fairy Tale” by Sir Walter Firle, 1859-1929, Germany