Lord my Rock
Psalm 18:2 (H5553 )
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
This word is translated as in the KJV:
rock 57, strong hold 1, stones 1, stony 1
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. (2) My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: (3) Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. (4) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (5) They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. (6) Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee? (7) Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. (8) When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. (9) For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. (10) He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. (11) As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (12) So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. (13) He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; (14) Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape. (15) But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (16) They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. (17) They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. (18) Of the Rock that begot thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (2) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) And did all eat the same spiritual meat; (4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
1 Peter 2:1-8 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, (2) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (3) If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (4) To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, (5) Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (6) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (7) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
This compound name of Jehovah seemed for me at first to be commonly known and easily understood, but the more I look at this and the more that I think about it the deeper and more profound it becomes. Rock and stone are used extensively throughout the Bible in such a wide array of situations. . .
Rock of God is the foundation upon which my salvation rests. My salvation must be built upon something solid. The foolish man built upon sand. Sand is tiny little bits of rock. We must be wise and build upon the solidness of the entire rock, not ground up bits of it. The altar of God upon which I repented and came to Him, the altar upon which I sacrifice my old man, my old flesh must be made of Rock not hewn by the hand of man. It must be the raw, unprocessed material to be a proper altar. Any touch of man upon that rock is pollution. . . in a sling, a rock will kill a giant. . . use rock for a pillow and your dreams may be of God like Jacob's. . . endless life giving water came to the Hebrews from a rock in the desert. . . The Law was first given on tablets of rock hewn by and then written on by the finger of God. . . it goes on and on. . .
My head spins. . . Rock is deeper than anything else. It is unchanging, and eternal or again at times flowing and fleeting. . .common and all but worthless or yet extra-ordinarily rare and precious in its various forms. I started out thinking it a mundane and easy name. . . I leave this study more baffled than I began. . . such is God. . . all of our attempts to comprehend Him must utterly fail and yet no other purpose for our lives is of any worth or satisfaction. . .
I love you my God. . .
The Rock of my life. . .
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Lord my Rock
Thursday, November 22, 2007
2 Chronicles 5:11-14
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: (12) Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) (13) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; (14) So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
The Lord likes to be thanked. In the passage above it is presented as an association, there is a relationship between the lifting up of the voices and music of the musicians and singers and the filling of God's house with glory. Again I say it, God likes to be thanked.
Are we any different. I am not going to pretend otherwise. When I give a gift, I expect a thank you. Sometimes we become so accustomed a the word or a phrase that it loses some of its meaning. What does it mean to thank someone? Is it only the saying of the words?
It would be interesting to count one day, just how many times we say 'thank you'. Most of the time we say it without even thinking about it. Someone holds the door for us, a receptionist pages someone for us, someone moves their shopping cart slightly so that we might get through the aisle. . . depending upon our activities it surely would often be in the dozens of times a day, maybe even a hundred or more times a day, but is merely saying the words 'thank you' in the truest sense giving thanks? Or does it fall into the category of a mindless automatic response?
We often say the words in association with, but I do not believe that thanks are necessary in an encounter of transaction. When I purchase something I give money and they give me something that I value. Is it necessary to give thanks? I place my quarter in a vending machine and pull the handle. Do I give thanks to the machine? The machine or by extension the owner of the machine received my money. I received the gum. There is no sacrifice on either one of our parts. I can always give thanks to God for my need being met by a machine where I 'needed' it, but between the owner of the machine and I, each received something of value from the other and in the strictest sense no thanks is needed.
The occasions on which I indeed need to give thanks are when I receive something that I have done nothing to merit. Even occasions which on the surface seem to be like this are actually events of transaction. In our exchange of Christmas gifts, there is an unwritten/unspoken equation of correctness in giving and receiving. It varies according to our social status and economic means, but we have an unspoken appropriate range of value for each hierarchy of relationship of people in our lives that we buy gifts for. I don't suggest that you actually do this, but even mentally violate those unwritten rules. Just imagine for those close family members whom you always buy gifts for, buy them nothing or some very cheap trinket. Give each of the members of your immediate family an elaborately wrapped item from the same gum ball machine and then watch their faces. Or conversely choose some very causal acquaintances, say co-workers and shower them with extraordinarily expensive gifts and watch the consternation you will cause. We pay lip service to the statement, 'it is better to give than to receive', but watch the turmoil if you violate this equation of appropriate giving.
Please, do not go beyond what I am saying. I am not advocating buying cheap thoughtless gifts for your family. I am not advocating, 'not saying thank you.' I am just trying to illustrate that the everyday circumstances where we 'give thanks' are not really in line with the fundamental meaning of the word meant on THIS DAY, the day of Thanksgiving. . .
The thanks that we offer up to God on this day, necessarily must not be mere words, but to be appropriate must be a deeply felt and humbling admission, a posture of bowing ourselves before Him, a pervasive mental attitude that we have done nothing to deserve anything that you can name that He has given us. From every breath that fills our lungs, every beat of our wondrously designed hearts in our chest. . . every sunrise. . . every sunset. . . every bird chirruping. . . every family member. . . every friend. . . every star in the sky. . . every morsel of food. . . we deserve none of this. There is nothing we can do to make this in anyway a transaction, where we offer Him anything of value to deserve what we have been given. All we have that is of value to Him is our gratitude, our thankfulness. . .
Every day it is my goal. . .
To thank you my God for everything. . .
To love you. . . .
I thank you. . .
Posted by David Stokely at 11:23 AM
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Lord of Hosts
I Sam 1:3 (H6635 )
1 Samuel 1:3
And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
Here are the ways that this word is translated:
host 393, war 41, army 29, battle 5, service 5, appointed time 3, warfare 2, soldiers 1, company 1, misc 5
Here are some other verses that use this name:
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? 15 And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
1 Samuel 1:11
And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
1 Samuel 17:45-47
Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands.
2 Samuel 5:10
And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.
1 Kings 22:19
And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
1 Chronicles 11:9
So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.
I have been waiting and meditating and praying about this compound name of Jehovah for weeks now. . . nothing comes to me. . . I wait. . . Today dawns, the 11th of November 2007, with the realization of what this day is. It is variously across much of the world called Veterans Day or Remembrance Day. . . poppy day. . . remembrance of the armies. . . remembrance of the hosts that have gone before and purchased that which we have. . . It is the day on which World War I ended. . . the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a terrible war drew to a close. Just another terrible war, one more in a long seemingly endless line, not a war to end all wars, just another period of terrible slaughter and suffering coming to an end. . . a war of pain, destruction, suffering and sacrifice coming to an end 89 years ago today. We remember today, not just the end of that war, but the losses, the suffering, the sacrifices of soldiers in all wars. . .
Our God is known as the Lord of Hosts. . .Jehovah-Sabaoth. . .The Lord of an army. . . The Lord of Soldiers. . .
To be a soldier is to be intimately familiar with sacrifice. Those reading this who had thrust upon them, in whatever circumstance performed the duty of 'soldier' offered, but were not for what ever reason chosen for the ultimate giving of our lives. . . The offer was made. . . but not yet required. . . Abraham offered Isaac and through that offer thereby God knew his heart. . . It is through an offer that a man or woman's heart is known. To serve as a soldier is a selfless act. To throw one's self upon a grenade for the sake of others is as valiant an act as one can imagine regardless of whether the grenade goes off or not. . .
Being a soldier is about doing the right thing the right way. Honor and respect are important to a soldier. Honor and respect are important to the God of soldiers:
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? (14) And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? (15) And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
A repeat, very similar words to what had occurred with Moses and the burning bush so many years before.
And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. (5) And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Joshua knew what Moses did not. A soldier knows what a shepherd did not. Joshua fell to his face and worshiped. Moses, the shepherd stood and asked questions. Joshua, A soldier, did not. He immediately fell to his face and worshiped. Even on the field of battle, in the midst of a siege holiness, honor and respect were due. . .expected and given. . . Joshua was a soldier and the Lord of Hosts led him all the days of his life. . .
And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.
To be a soldier is not based upon your feelings. It is a commitment given, an oath taken, then followed and fulfilled. A duty, not the stuff of glamor and heroics except in the movies, a price paid, something greater than yourself purchased for someone else. . . a gift for future generations of someone else's. . .
To be a soldier is not determined by a smartly worn uniform and fancy ribbons displayed upon the chest, but by the loyalty to cause and passion of beliefs of the heart beating within that chest. . .
To be a soldier it is not required that the flash and stench of battle surround you. To be a soldier, it is necessary merely that you be in the army in whatever capacity required. Every soldier has the same commander-in-chief. Every soldier whether on the front lines or in the rear echelons and supporting roles is sacrificing in some way to the cause and necessary for the accomplishment of the mission. An army without food is as weak or weaker than an army without guns.
To be a soldier is in itself an act of faith. It is a demonstration, a persons actions based upon, reflecting an internal commitment to something greater and much larger than yourself. Wars may end. . . but the call to commitment and sacrifice never ends. That call continues on another battlefield, the same commander in another army, with a different objective on a different day, but no less today the soldier than then. . . the salute. . . the sign of respect. . . the honor due. . . remove thy shoe. . .bend thy knee. . . always when in front of God the ground upon which you stand is holy ground.
Let us remember today:
We remember today those who offered and lived to fight another day. . .
We remember today those who offered the ultimate price and it was required. . .
We remember today that the Lord of Hosts is our God, our commander. . .
We remember today that regardless of gender or age,
as we ever continue to draw breath,
as long as our hearts continue to beat within us. . .
We remember today that we are in His army fighting, not merely for ourselves and for our own salvation, but under His banner. . .
for His kingdom. . .
for His glory. . .
for Him. . .
First comes remembrance and then thanksgiving. . .
We give thanks to you God.
We give thanks to the soldiers who have offered and sacrificed before. . .
We give thanks to those serving and offering today. . .
We give thanks for the soldiers yet to come. . .
Friday, November 2, 2007
I search. . . I question. . . I pray. . .
Looking at my life. . .Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want to be when I grow up? So much I do not understand. What is a man? What is his purpose?
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
God formed man. . . a common man, an earthy man. God did not create him a king or royalty. He created a down to earth basic man. . . a solid creature. . . after His own image. It was God's creation to do with what He wished. God could surely have made Adam a wonder to behold. . . upright and a model in every respect, but Adam fell short almost from the outset. We are not the first in our lineage to stumble, Adam was made of the dust:
1 Corinthians 15:47
The first man is of the earth, earthy:. . .
Earth is not homogeneous. . . Earth has variety. . .always recognizable, never confused for anything else, but still for its universality, coming in a bewildering spectrum of differing textures and colors. . .Earth a mixture, not purely any one thing. . . Earth is not finely sifted and smooth. . . a clump of earth will have stones and sticks, bits of grass. . .the organic and the inorganic. It must have a balance of moisture, too dry and it is mere sand, too wet and it is muck. . . Earth is made from tiny pieces of the mountains, but never found for long upon the summit. The places of earthiness are the valleys. For all our inorganic bits of mountaintop within us, we always gravitate to the valleys, the low estates, these are the places of growth. . . We are not little gods. We would be cast in some elaborate mold, and filled with a bright and shiny exquisitely rare metal if we were meant to be worshiped ourselves. No one worships mere earth. . . it is surely common and yet good earth is in its own right worthy and to be treasured.
Adam surely made mistakes. He had no earthly father as a mentor, as a friend. . .He had no role model, thrust into husbandhood, fatherhood. . . thrust into the role of a man with no knowledge of what that meant. Adam did not complain. He named all living creatures, but as a paradox, he without doubt had trouble naming the shadowy deeply emotional things within himself. God in His wisdom recognized that Adam was lonely. Like many of us. . .we live our lives always searching, questioning, praying. . .making missteps. . . stumbling. . . recovering. . . continuing on. . . living with our mistakes. . . living with our flaws. . . doing the best we can, with what we are. . .
Life does not spring forth from us. We surely participate, but it is in a theoretical and in a difficult to visualize sense. It does not define us. A woman is in many ways defined, often in her own mind, if only there, by what she has birthed. God created we men, with a hole, an emptiness completely through us. In many ways we are as an earthworm. We eat our way through life, our various hungers providing the motivation to crawl further forward every day. As men, in many negative ways, our hungers are so great that they actually turn upon us and at the last, attempt to consume us. Money, power, lust. . . our flesh wars with us continually. . . we battle and we maintain, not so much defined by our base appetites. Those are common to all. The greatest impact upon our lives is how and in what direction we choose to satisfy those needs. The jail where I minister is filled with men who chose the wrong trough at which to sate their cravings.
David hungered. There is no surprise in that. That is common to all earthy men, but David went not to the women who sang his praises:
1 Samuel 18:7
“ . . .and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
David was a hero, but he had a deeper purpose. He surely could have easily knocked and asked and gotten bread at any of a multitude of pantry doors, but he chose not the profane, but the profound for his sustenance. He went to the house of God, asking of the priest, even placing himself in danger, making himself vulnerable in asking the priest to bend a rule:
1 Samuel 21:3-4
“. . .give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. (4) And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread”
As men we hunger. That is a part of us. Being made in His image and a dim reflection of Him, therefore it must also be that God hungers passionately. . .His word surely speaks of that. There is no shame there. It is in our choice, of where we satisfy that hunger that defines our character. Where do we feed our hunger? The question of our lives is re-asked and re-answered over and over again every day in a multitude of ways, do we strive for the common fare or for the hallowed bread?
Encourage every man you meet to seek after the holy and to reject the common. Let us satisfy our hunger with manna, not mammon. . . We need to shout this message from one to another. . .Uplift your brother whether he admits to needing it or not. . . never stop. . .We need each other. . . We are brothers. . . we are men bound together by the blood of Jesus. . .
Another day. . .
Another battle. . .
Another question. . .
Another answer. . .
I love you God. . .
I love you all. . .
Posted by David Stokely at 11:40 PM