While I completed my reading the past couple of days I did not make time for writing, and while this is not something required of me-it is the time in which I stop to consider the words I have just read. I find that in writing these things down they have a greater tendency to stick with me. Perhaps that is because it forces met to be purposeful in considering God’s Word?
I do love it when I pull out nuggets from each of the readings for the day. First, we have Naaman. I have heard this story since I was a little girl-a miraculous healing from leprosy. Now when I read it I see it as a wonderful representation of our life in Christ. Naaman is angry that: 1- the prophet Elisha did not even bother to come out and meet him; 2-there was not a great show made of his healing; 3-he was not given some great task to do but rather told to wash in a river which he considered inferior to those of his homeland. Thankfully for Naaman he was surrounded by wise servants: Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean. -2 Kings 5:13-14
Jesus calls us in much the same way-to come and follow Him, to repent and be saved, to be washed in the blood of His sacrifice and in doing so be transformed from those who are unclean to totally and completely clean-restored like little children.
The rest of my nuggets have to do with prayer. Paul puts it first on his list for Timothy: First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. -1 Timothy 2: 1-3
A good prayer to use in my own prayer times.
Next, we have this wonderful prayer from Daniel, a prayer prayed in response to what he has just read from God’s word. Such a prayer of confession and repentance-a total acknowledgement of how Israel has rebelled against God, and of God’s faithfulness in keeping His Word-which in this case meant that Israel’s current suffering was a result of their rebellion and God was perfectly righteous in carrying out the punishment for their disobedience-they are a people without excuse. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from Daniels’ prayer:
Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. (I like where he starts-acknowledging who God is in light of a sinful people.)
That theme continues in the next verses and I have underlined those that speak to me about who God is:
Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.
Having laid it out so clearly, Daniel acknowledges that we sinners have no merit at all on our own-we owe all to a God who is merciful and compassionate:
O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.
And we know from the rest of this chapter that God did hear this prayer, and in fact sent the angel Gabriel to Daniel while he was still praying-and weary from his efforts I might add. “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”
Wow! Never, ever, underestimate the power of prayer!
I won’t copy them here now, but the Psalms today are psalms of praise and thanksgiving…and a bit of prophecy as well…
The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:22-24