Devotion - June 3

All this week our devotions are from members of the West Side family. Since we are separated during this time, and you are hearing a good deal from me as your pastor but less, perhaps, from one another, it's a gift to hear and join in how others in our fellowship are walking with Jesus during this time.

Today's dev
otion is from David Brenner, a lawyer who left full time practice to devote more time to non-profit work and also Pastor Laurie's husband.

Psalm 4, Psalm 5, 2 Chronicles 7:1

Over and over, in various formulations, the Psalmist says, “God puts my life together”. Two of these verses are nearly adjoining at Psalm 4:8 and Psalm 5:3. I love how Eugene Peterson paraphrases these verses in The Message: “At day’s end, I’m ready for sound sleep, for you, God, have put my life back together... Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend.” There’s my goal: to daily submit to God’s reordering of the pieces of my life.

Both of these are Psalms of David. Because David wrote so many of the Psalms, we know more about his interior life than any other figure in the Bible. The Bible has long passages by and about others – Jesus, of course, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Paul – but nowhere else are we privileged to share so personally the internal struggles of a life of faith as with this outlaw warrior, powerful king, poet and musician.

We know, for instance, about David’s sleep life. Sometimes, even in the midst of great threats, he sleeps soundly and securely (Psalm 3:5). Other times, he cries out to God or ponders God’s words as sleep eludes him (Psalms 22:2, 63:6). These verses help me too. I’m the world’s champion at getting to sleep (often under 10 seconds), but staying there after a couple of hours – not so much. So like David, I crave sound sleep and when it comes, I know my life is in order.

David’s greatest personal goal – to build a permanent temple for God in Jerusalem – alluded him. God told him he had shed too much blood, but his son Solomon would build the temple. I find peace in this as well; it allows me to let go of the life aspirations I once held while pursuing what is still clearly on the altar. David did build many altars, including the altar at the threshing floor of Araunah that God instructed him would be the site of the future temple. I Chronicles 21:22. Remarkably, that was the place where God paused his plague-carrying angel of death in the wake of David’s sinful census and offer of self-sacrifice. When Solomon completed his powerful prayer of dedication of the temple, II Chronicles 7:1 recounts how “fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” David did not get to see that fire, but daily he watched for a version of it in his own life.

Daily surrender, watchful expectation and trust, acceptance of outcomes, sound sleep. What a life!
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