Love – God’s Greatest Weakness?

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 2 Corinthians 13:4

Weakness – dfn. lack of physical strength; lack of power, influence or strength of character; a weak point in a system or somebody’s character. (Source: Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Can God be weak? Is it possible for the great God of glory to exhibit any weaknesses? Or can God “choose” to be weak to achieve a much greater purpose and cause? One thing is certain and one thing we all agree upon is that love is weak. Love does not operate from a position of power or strength. Love assumes the position of weakness, giving instead of taking and being the recipient of pain versus the one causing the pain, And the list goes on. That stated, how do we respond when the Bible says that “God is love” (I Jn 4:8,16). If God is love and love is weak then what does this say about God’s person, nature, being and character?

As we probe this a little further we will find out that God does and always has a plan. And His plans are perfect. And His plans have always centered around one goal and purpose – to show all of creation how magnificent, how wonderful and how glorious He really is (Ps 145:10-11, Is 6:3, Col 1:16, Rev 4:11). And we will discover that this whole subject of weakness has an astounding ending. Let’s dive into this a little.

 The Progressive Works of God

In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth in a miraculous display of creative power. We know that, but what we sometimes forget or do not think about is that these acts of creative power were not conclusive.  After each day of creation God said that “it was good” six times (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21 & 25). The number ‘six’ is the number of man, the number of incompletion. This tells us something. It tells us that God had something else planned that would supersede His “good”. What is that? The answer is: God’s ‘best’. God said that His acts of creation were good. What God did not say was that He was “finished” with His work of creation. It would take 6,000 years before He would say that his work of creation on earth was “finished”.

God’s way of revealing His character and will through HIs sovereign acts and ways is progressive in nature (Is 28:10, 13). His plans unfold the way photographs were originally made. Photographs used to be formed after light-sensitive photographic paper was immersed a chemical bath called a “developing solution” after being exposed to a light source projected through a film negative. Images would slowly emerge over the paper’s surface while the solution swished over its surface until the entire scene photographed appeared. Such is the revelation of God, a step-by-step progression of events unfolding to culminate into the complete understanding and knowledge of all that God is.

Progressive Steps – A Man, A Family, A Nation & A World

God’s first step in revealing His character and nature started with a single man, Adam. Adam, the first created being made in God’s image was his first choice to begin exposing who He was through communication and fellowship. Adam failed in fulfilling all that God planed for him because of disobedience. So, as God always does, He moved on. God then chose a family to work with and continue to unfold his perfect plan and will. The man was Noah and he found grace in the sight of God (Gen 6:8). The Lord worked through Noah and his family to preserve a remnant of mankind from judgment (the flood) looming over earth’s inhabitants. After Noah and his offspring fulfilled their God-given role He moved on to something bigger – a nation.

The Lord chose the people of the nation of Israel (through the faith of Abraham) as the next step to reveal His will. The Lord started what would be a journey of almost 2,000 yeas to prepare a people who would glorify Him and be a witness of his power, mercy, goodness and grace to a darkened world. Again, the plan fell short of its intended expectations. Israel would eventually become divisive, indifferent to the ways of God and fall into relative oblivion amongst the nations of the earth.

After failing to achieve perfection yet again, God in his last and final attempt to fulfill His perfect plan decided to take matters into his own hands. This final plan would supersede all others in scope and power and go beyond the limitations of human futility, family frailty and national hostility. God’s final and perfect plan would encompass the entire world and involve all of Heaven, including Himself!

But God faced a dilemma. Because of the nature of this final plan Heaven could not be its launching pad or its  operations center. Why? Because this plan demanded a part of God that He had up to this point not revealed. This final plan demanded God’s total and complete commitment of His love and forgiveness only attainable through profound weakness. And He was up to the challenge.

Earth – The Manifestation of God’s Greatest Weakness, The Perfection of God’s Magnificent Power

Heaven is a place of eternity and timelessness where demonstrations and exhibitions of God’s glory, might and power are in full display. Heaven is not a place for weakness. When God determined it was time to manifest and reveal the most glorious aspects of His character, nature and being He would have to do it at some other place and in some other form. And He did. It is the place we know as planet Earth. God designed earth for two  purposes; to heal the breach of sin in Heaven (Lucifer’s rebellion) and on earth (Adam’s fall/man’s sin) and to reveal to all of Creation the glory of of His character and manifestation of His greatness weakness – His love. To gather together IN ONE “all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10).

He began the process on earth as a child in the “likeness of sinful (weak) flesh”:

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:30-33

God himself stepped beyond the curtain of Heaven’s glory and power to become weak, weak like you and me.
However, he did it unlike you and I. He became flesh and lived without committing sin. Jesus was truly the Lamb of God. Perfect. Sinless. Blameless. Guiltless.

First we need to ask a question: Was Jesus really weak?

He became sin who knew no sin (Is 53:12; II Cor 5:21)
He laid down his life so others might take their life up (Luk 22:19-20; Rom 8:32; I Jn 3:16)
He chose death so others might have live (Joh 10:15-18)
He became poor so others might be rich (II Cor 8:9)
He relinquished his God-given power so others might be empowered by it (Mark 5:37-39; Joh 7:37-39; Acts 1:8, 2:38)
He was a lamb before a merciless company of fearless beasts (Is 53:7; Mark 15:32)
He was speechless and defenseless while being falsely accused (Mark 15:3-5)
He loved and forgave the who betrayed him (Mark 14:18-21Luk 22:47-48)
He loved and forgave all who hated him and were ashamed of him (Luk 23:34)

Can we conclude that Jesus indeed chose weakness over power? Is that not how true love is supposed to work?

God’s plans are foolproof. If he fails to accomplish something one way, He will always have something behind the scene that will come through when needed.

Satan thinks he has it all figured out. He believes his dominion over the world is unchallengeable, his death threat forever intact and his plan of deception and destruction over mankind unequaled. Being the father of lies (Joh 8:44) he is the chief deceiver,  deceived and dead wrong.

There is one thing Satan never experienced in Heaven nor will he ever understand about God. And that is: God’s weakness and the profound love of God birthed in that weakness. Satan and his hordes of fallen angels are  completely dumfounded by continually being defeated by the power of God’s love. God’s love has the capacity (unlike any other agent known on earth) to attract the human soul beyond sin’s gravitational pull and cause it to fall in total surrender before its Creator. As one lady radio announcer phrased it: “God’s love is the most compelling force in the entire universe”. It most definitely is.

And here is how. God’s power is perfected in weakness:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

The word “strength” in this verse is the Greek word “δύναμις” [dunamis] which is translated into English as “force” or specifically, “miraculous power”. The word “dynamite” is derived from this same Greek word. What does this all mean?

This tells us that God, in the most infinitely weak form possible, came to this earth in the “likeness” of sinful flesh to perfect His power. God became infinitely weak through his death on a cross so that He might become …………. infinitely powerful! So powerful in fact that Jesus is now worthy to receive all of the fullness of God’s glory, might and honor – “even in him” (Eph 1:10). Now that is something to get excited about.

From “It Is Good” to “It Is Finished” – Jesus, Our Seventh Day Of Eternal Rest

As mentioned at the outset, God said after each act of creation the words “it is good” (6x). This tells us that God had one more act of creation to perform – an act to bring everything full circle and complete His final, perfect plan waiting to unfold from the beginning of time.

According to God’s Word one day with the Lord can be 1,000 years or 1,000 years as one day (2 Pet 3:8). Therefore it is not coincidental that Jesus Christ appeared on earth exactly 6 days (6,000 years) after God’s work of Creation. God in the Old Testament rested on the seventh day from His work of creation (Gen 2:1-3) and also reserved this day for mankind’s physical rest (Mar 2:27). In the New Testament, Jesus offers those who believe and trust in him a new life with a new beginning (2 Cor 5:17). Jesus can be seen as the seventh day from creation offering mankind the gift of eternal ‘spiritual’ rest (Mat 11:28-29; Heb 3:11, 4:9-11; Rev 14:13). The Lord completed or finished His final creative week of seven days when Jesus fulfilled the Father’s perfect will.

What was that final act or work of perfection God needed to perform?

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4:34  

God’s perfect will was to manifest Himself in weakness as the Son (flesh) of God on earth to offer salvation to a fallen world through his sinless blood and give the hope of eternal rest (life) to those under the power of sin and death by the god of this world. It was through this sacrificial act that God revealed to the world the most magnificent and profound nature of His person being – His deep, profound love.

The death of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God and Savior of the world was God’s seventh and final ‘work’ that fulfilled the Father’s will and ‘finished’ His creative plan on earth:

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30 

In conclusion, God’s perfected power is expressed and manifested in the form of the God-man Jesus Christ. Jesus is the embodiment of that perfected power and rules “at God’s right hand” in the seat of Heaven having all authority and power over all of Creation (Rev 1:12-18). All because of weakness and all because of love. God’s love. For God is love.

Be Blessed & Be Free in Jesus’ Name. Amen

(Credit: Photo of baby & finger)

The Treasures of Darkness – Self

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. (Isaiah 45:3)

Have you ever wondered about what good can be gleaned in the “dark” or  perplexing phases of life? Has the thought ever occurred to you that some of life’s most valuable and eternally enduring things can only be birthed in difficult circumstances? If not, let’s travel this road together because God’s Word has something to tell us about this.

A Painting That Was Not Quite Right

First there is a story to tell. Years ago there was an oil painting hanging on a conference room wall of a lake cove and shoreline. The artist’s intent was to capture a driving wind that invaded the tranquility of a normally calm lake cove with vibrant blue, green and white brush strokes. The scene was colorful and detailed. But, there was just something missing. Something didn’t “register” or captivate the viewer. Instead of drawing one’s attention in towards the painting, the opposite effect occurred.  Upon looking at the picture you seemed to take a glance and then abruptly turn to look somewhere else in the room. What was it?  What was missing in the scene that the artist failed to capture?

Then one day after visiting this room many times the thought occurred: “I see it. This painting has no shadows”. The scene was shallow and uninteresting. Why? The painting lacked dimension and depth because the light source upon the lake was not clearly defined.  The artist failed to master one of the hardest skills essential in painting – the proper handling of light and darkness. The painting was simply devoid of the contrasts between light and dark, differentiation between the shadows, dark areas and bright reflections of light on the objects being painted.

The objective here is not to disparage the artist’s honest effort, but to make a point. Life without shadows and darkness is shallow and one might say …. “lifeless”.

I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see   …………….. Amazing Grace

I think you “get the picture”.

As the opening scripture states there is a reason and purpose for dark seasons and difficult places in life. For it is here where God will give you some of life’s real treasures and riches.

Treasures of Self, Souls & The Savior

In our investigation into these treasures of darkness, we will look into three areas: Treasures of Self, Treasures of Souls and Treasures of the Savior. For it is in these three areas of our life that the Lord specifically commanded our attention and fulfill His greatest commandment:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  Mark 12:30-31

Treasures of Self – Repentance, Redemption & Revelation

One cannot possibly “save” someone from sin unless they are first saved themselves. The first treasure from God has to start with ourselves – The Treasure of Self. What are  these treasures the Lord has for us? Whether we like to admit it or not, as indicated in the opening scripture, they originate in our own darkness, the darkness of our own personal sin.

Before we begin, can we be candid here for a moment? God is not easily impressed. In fact, God is not impressed at all about us. And how can he be? After all He does know everything does he not? So, how can a God who has all power, presence and understanding be taken off-guard by anything we might say, do or think? If this statement holds water, then what can we possibly give to Him? What do we possess that God might take and do something with? One thing. Our brokenness, brokenness from the effects of sin. God can take and use the darkness of our brokenness and give us something better:

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3)

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:18)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalms 51:17)

And what is the treasure to be mined from our brokenness? It is called repentance. Repentance must always precede our receiving deeper treasures available to us from Jesus. Of course, people have talents, gifts, personalities and endearing traits which the Lord will use for his kingdom. But, the bedrock of salvation must be founded upon this first treasure – Repentance.

Treasures of Repentance

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. John’s sermon notes were not complicated and did not change from Sunday thru Saturday. John had one message to preach. Repentance.

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.(Mark 1:4)

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:1-2)

The message of repentance did not stop with John. Jesus took John’s message and carried it onward:

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.(Matthew 4:17)

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.(Luke 13:3)

And the early church continued with its importance as a requirement in God’s  salvation plan for mankind:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent ….  (Acts 2:38)

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Repentance of sin is the first step in positioning ourselves for the great things of God – to receive deeper treasures He has for his church. And one never graduates from it because classes at the University of Self and Mt. Saint Flesh College are always in session. Furthermore, repentance cleanses our heart and mind in preparation to be a vessel where God can place his name. How does that happen? Through baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

Treasures of Redemption

Now moving out of the darkness of our sin through repentance we can receive another treasure in our lives – the name of Jesus Christ. A bride takes on the name of her husband. The church being the bride of Christ can now receive the treasure of the name of Jesus:

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)

The Lord always places His name and blesses the centers of worship of His choosing. In the Old Testament, the Lord chose the Tabernacle as a center for worship. He placed his name there and blessed it:

And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. (Exodus 33:7)

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. (Leviticus 9:23)

The Lord also chose the Temple as a center for worship. He placed his name there and blessed it:

And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.(1 Kings 9:3)

The Lord did the same for the city of Jerusalem. And he blessed it and put His name there (I Kings 11:36, II Chron 6:6). In the New Testament, the Lord no longer put his name over cities or buildings of worship, but over people – His spiritual body, His church:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ……  (Acts 2:38)

The name of the Lord is placed over one’s life when they are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. As one writer penned it, “Jesus did not say in Matthew 28:19 to baptism believers in his words (Father, Son and Holy Ghost), but in his name.”

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Ephesians 5:23)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)

Through baptism, one’s life is now a place of worship where God places his name upon and blesses:

And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:38-39)

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Acts 19:5-6)

Another Treasure of Self available for the believer is the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Having come through the cleansing waters of repentance (tears & remorse) and baptism (water immersion), the infilling of God’s spiritual waters is now available to you (John 7:37-39) to complete the cycle:

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:47-49)

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

The treasure of God’s Holy Spirit is the sealing of your soul over the power of sin and a down payment of the future promises awaiting you in Heaven:

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Treasures of Revelation

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

The God who spoke light into the darkness as recorded in the Book of Genesis is the same God who gives the knowledge of His glory through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

What revelation? The revelation of who Jesus is. The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John around 96 A.D. Notice the book is entitled “Revelation” and not “Revelations”. There is only one revelation, the revelation of the Mighty God in Christ (Rev. 1:1; 4:2, 10-11;5:1; 14:14; 20:11 & 21:5).

Why is revelation important? It is one thing to know someone’s name. It is another thing to know the person behind their name. Now having a heart purged of darkness (repentance), the washing of sin and the name of Jesus (baptism), the power of the Spirit (infilling of the Holy Ghost) and the revelation of Jesus in your life, you can pray, witness and live with authority and power:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12  

God has some profound treasures to give us only available from the depths of our brokenness and darkness. And there are more to come. Be Blessed!

Coming Up: Treasures of Souls & Treasures of the Savior

Fingerprints

Fingerprint: (noun), an impression or mark made on a surface by a person’s fingertip, especially as used for identifying individuals from the unique pattern of whorls and lines. A distinctive identifying characteristic, the impression of a fingertip on any surface. (Merriam-Webster)

Forensics play a critical role in a criminal investigation and is instrumental in solving a crime. A fingerprint or fingerprints is one of the most highly sought after forms of physical evidence. Why? Because it can uniquely identify someone. Having a record of someone’s fingerprint is proof of an individual’s physical presence.

On a more light-hearted note, fingerprint smudges are the bane and drudgery of the home dweller. Especially those of the neat and tidy sort with little children who know inevitably that greasy, smudgy fingerprints will soon grace a freshly cleaned window or glass sliding door. They are unsightly and the first reaction is to get out a cloth and window cleaner to wipe them away.

However, there are some places where fingerprints show up where we might want to reconsider having them immediately erased. Let’s explain.

God’s Fingerprints

God is a Creator of uniqueness and diversity. Our unique set of fingerprints are one way God intended to show that each of us are specially crafted and designed creations. Our fingerprints are evidence of that.

The obverse is also true. God is uniquely God. There is no one else like Him. God has His own set of fingerprints:

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. Isaiah 45:5-6

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18

And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. Joel 2:27

The phrase “I (am) the Lord” occurs 163 times in the King James Version of the Old Testament. The Lord is not and will never suffer an identity crisis. God knows who He is. And the Lord is adamant that others would even dare to look and replace Him with an imposter.

Window Panes of the Heart

Charity never faileth: … I Corinthians 13:8

God’s love never fails. The only way God’s love can fail is if we walk way from it. The only way. Jesus will do all that he can to probe, prod and provoke us to win our hearts over.

And Jesus desires to have all of our heart. Eighty percent, ninety percent and not even ninety-eight percent is acceptable with God:

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30

Whether we realize it or not, our hearts embody a reflective surface. This surface is a mirror or window of sorts:

As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man. Proverbs 27:19

And if we will look closely enough we might see some fingerprints plastered on the window panes of our heart. These unique, distinctive and truth-bearing marks are evidence of God’s presence attempting to get our attention. He is looking, seeking and searching to find hearts that will accommodate His presence:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:23

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27

Will we brush it off and take out our little bottle of spiritual Windex to wipe those marks of love away?

The bumper sticker stated the words best:

Life Is Precious

Life is precious. Each moment, each heartbeat, every day is a gift from God. You are His special treasure. Will you wipe all evidence of His wooing away? The choice is ours to make.

Those fingerprints on the window panes of your heart very well may be from Someone who is peering in to see its contents. What will He find in there? Don’t wipe them away. For they are fingerprints of true love:

And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7

Tattered Garments

And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. II Samuel 13:16-20

The account of Tamar, the daughter of King David, ranks as one of the most tragic accounts of a woman recorded in the Old Testament. The Bible records many woman who suffered either by their own mistakes and shortcomings or due to circumstances beyond their control (Eve, Naomi, Rizpah, Esther, and Hanna, to name a few).

But, Tamar’s story is unprecedented in its scope and poignancy. The pure, innocent, virgin daughter of the King is sexually abused and then unmercifully rejected by her brother, Amnon. The Lord pronounced judgment over the household of King David in response to his moral failures over Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. And judgment came swift and severe.

There is a payday for our sins. And that is reasonable. But, oftentimes the innocent are affected because of the sins of others. Such is Tamar’s case.

And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? II Samuel 13:12-13

Tamar was left destitute, humiliated, shunned and forsaken. Absolutely tragic. The scene as recorded in II Samuel chapter thirteen ends with Tamar living her days “desolate” in her brother Absalom’s house. Her life so impacted her brother that he even named one of his own daughter’s after her (II Samuel 14:27).

Tamar’s life descended on a trajectory starting at the wind currents of shame (vs. 13) and ended at a personal tsunami called desolation (vs. 20). Not a very promising outcome for someone beaten by the ravages of life.

The name Tamar in Hebrew (תָּמָר) is derived from a root word that means ‘upright, as a palm tree’. Palm trees are associated with areas refreshed with springs and fresh water. Palm trees are also known for their resiliency and durability to withstand severe storms and the most violent weather conditions.

But, it’s interesting to note that Tamar’s story does not end in II Samuel chapter 13. Nothing else is recorded in the Bible concerning her life …… except in one more place. And a most unlikely place at that. Tamar is mentioned one more time right here:

These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister. I Chronicles 3:9

In the midst of the Book of Chronicles, the official document chronicling the generational tree from Adam to Noah, the ancestry of fathers and sons of the ‘who’s who’ of Israel’s patriarchs, stands a shining light.

Tamar may have been forgotten and forsaken by her natural family, but not by her heavenly Father. I Chronicles 3:9 has God’s fingerprints all over it. This is how God operates. God is good. He never forgets. He never forgets the things people go through. God is a righteous and merciful judge.

God made sure that Tamar’s life did not end in obscurity. Her legacy lived on. She lived up to her name – a palm tree dwelling in the midst of the true living waters of life and forever sealed in the granite of God’s eternal word.

No Tamar, your life did not end up desolate and cloaked in shame. No, the Lord made sure that your name, your legacy would stand tall and strong, just like the meaning of your name said it would. And Tamar, there was no need after all to rend your beautiful coat of distinction. For God was there with you the whole time.

These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister.

Do you know any Tamar’s?

God is good!

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Lost And Found

We have all lost or misplaced things. It is normally the usual stuff such as car or house keys, wallets, purses, and gloves. And let us not forget the inevitable lonely and unmatched sock that seems to surface in almost every other load of laundry!

You know there is something about lost things that also gets God’s attention. As we read the parables about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (Lk 15:3-24) we see a caring, merciful and detail-oriented God wondering about things lost or out-of-place. Apparently, Jesus is also discomforted and concerned when things are amiss in his kingdom.

In the O.T. King David faced a similar situation. The Amalekites attacked and pilfered the city of Ziklag and abducted all of the women and children:

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 1 Sam 30:1

It was a devastating and embarrassing defeat for the king. The enemy directed a blow right at the heart of David and his men; their wives and children. (Are these not the same battle tactics the enemy uses today as he mercilessly takes aim at the sovereignty and cohesion of the family?)

The defeat was so demoralizing to the soldiers that they wanted to stone him (1 Sam 30:6).

Sometimes it takes losing something ‘dear‘ that we might find something ‘divine‘.

It did for King David. After discovering that his two wives were abducted we are certain that his imagination (as well as the imaginations of other men) must have tried to process some of the possible horrors that their families and the other women and children were now experiencing.

The king lost something dear that day, but he also found something divine. What did he find? He found his prayer life, his lifeline to glory. And he desperately needed to find it real fast:

And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David enquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. 1 Sam 30:7-8

The spirit of the Lord beckons us to rediscover and reclaim what we have lost in the heated battles of life. The Lord knows all about the ‘lost and found’ departments of our life.

Because, the Bible records in 1 Samuel 30:19 that:

… David and his men recovered all.

Everything. All the wives, sons and daughters were rescued.

The Lord is a perfectionist and does not take pleasure when His creation lives out of kilter to His perfect plan. Like the lost sheep (shepherd), the lost coin (woman) and the lost son (father) in the parables, Jesus will do all within his power to restore things that are lost. Someone once wrote: “You have never looked into the eyes of anyone who does not matter to God.” Jesus cares for lost souls.

What else is it that we could possibly have lost?

Let us revisit prayer one more time. Am I really praying until I am positive that those prayers are airtight and bottled in heaven (Rev 5:8)? Airtight from leaks due to: fear, doubt, sin, unbelief, insincerity or self-centeredness? Is my prayer life consistent and meaningful to both me and the Lord?

If I have lost my prayer life then I need to find it and get it back.

Or how about faithfulness? How faithful am I to the Lord? Do I give 100%, 95% or 80%? Do you know that if one is 99.91% faithful to one’s spouse that in one year (8760 hours) eight of those hours is spent being unfaithful? How would that make you feel tonight when you look over at your spouse lying next to you knowing that he or she is only faithful 99.91% of the time? Is eight hours of unfaithfulness acceptable to you? Or how about four hours of unfaithfulness (99.95% faithful)?

How do you think Jesus feels about his bride, the church he is coming back for (Rev 21:2, 22:16-17), that is maybe not faithful 100% of the time? It is something to think about.

If I have lost my faithfulness then I need to find it and get it back.

And then there is the study and meditation of the Word of God. Have I been spending quality time in the Word? Am I putting aside time to allow the Word to speak to my spirit and allow its light to shine and direct my path (Ps 119:105)?

If I have lost my daily devotions and quality time reserved to study God’s Word then I need to find it and get it back.

And then there is holiness; indeed a very ‘touchy’ subject these days. No apologizes, but without it one cannot even see the Lord (Heb 12:14). How well have I been keeping my inner person sanctified and crucified to corruptible things?

If I have lost holiness then I need to find it and get it back.

Do you feel like you have lost something? Is there something missing in life? Perhaps it is the Lord speaking to our spirit telling us that we have lost some precious things and need to go and find them.

Heaven’s ‘lost and found’ department is open 24 hours a day.

Oh, I think I just heard my number being called!