Monday, July 7, 2008

A Day of Mixed Blessings

“Ziba answered, ‘The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat, and the wine is for those who become exhausted to drink in the desert.’… Shimei said, ‘Get out, get out, you worthless murderer! The Lord has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul in whose place you rule, and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. Look, you are in trouble because you’re a murderer!’” (2 Samuel 16:2, 7-8 CSB)

David had a really bad day, as noted in 2 Samuel 16. It was a day of mixed blessings, to say the least. His son, his very own flesh and blood, Absalom, had succeeded in taking the kingdom from David, so David was fleeing from Jerusalem with those still loyal to him. Along the way, a man named Ziba, who was the servant of Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, son of Saul brought went to meet David and give him so provisions for his family and his men. That was a blessing David appropriately acknowledged. A little further along the way, a man named Shimei came out to meet David and hurled rocks and curses at him, accusing him of murder with regard to the house of Saul. Ironically, David actually expressed some appreciation for this curse when one of his men thought Shimei should be struck dead. David said that he thought that if the Lord heard Shimei’s curse, maybe He would be merciful and restore the goodness of His blessings. So, it was a day of mixed blessings for David, but whether blessing or cursing, David continued moving forward, because he knew the task that was ahead of him had to be carried out, even though it was one he did not look forward to.

We all have them, don’t we? We have days when some pretty rough events come our way, along with others we’re not very sure about. These events can rock us and cause us to dig deep for more sand for the sandbags. What needs to be done is often obvious, so the best we can do on days like this is to just keep moving forward the best we can in the strength the Lord gives us, trusting ourselves to Him because we know He loves us.

Sometimes a stray dog may wander into a neighborhood where there are lots of other dogs. When that happens, a sudden cacophony of barking erupts. The little critters all stand at their gates or fences, some running back and forth, but all letting this stray dog know this is not his turf. The stray dog never goes up to one of the fences to have a friendly conversation, though. He just keeps on moving, pretty much ignoring the others, moving to wherever it is he is going.

We don’t want to press that example too far, but we do learn a lesson here: in times when things may not go quite as well as we might like, we simply need to stay focused on where the Lord wants us to go, and just keep moving toward that goal.

We move forward because we first know that the Lord is trustworthy, that He loves us beyond any measure, and that He will use every event that comes our way for our good ultimately, whether we see it at that point or not.

Lord, We give thanks to You for all the blessings of this life. You have truly blessed us abundantly. And even for those events that don’t feel very much like blessings, we thank You that You will find a way to use them for our good and Your glory. Amen.

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