Monday, May 7, 2007

Elvis has left the building

Recently on American Idol, through the wonders of modern video technology, Celine Dion sang a duet with Elvis Presley. Wow, what a moment! When finished, I recalled the phrase attached to the closing of "The King's" concerts, "Elvis has left the building."

Have you ever felt like leaving the building?

I don't mean checking out of life completely, although I guess what I want to say would apply to that also.

I mean: do you ever just want to give up on things, the present circumstances, the relationships, your job, your walk with God, etc.? Okay, so more than once I've said, "Doug has left the building!" Usually I've said it in a "feel sorry for myself" moment.

The Psalmist David had such an opportunity to leave the building. Psalm 11 is his response to those who encouraged him to run when King Saul was after him.

Psalm 11 starts not like other Psalms with a lament, but rather with a statement of faith. 1
In the LORD I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
"Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.

David realized that fleeing only put himself in a place of vulnerability—as vulnerable as a small, hunted bird in the moutains. In fact he realized that already there were those waiting with bows ready to shoot him down.

The Word says that Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Here's a thought, I've never seen on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, a lion roar just before it bounced on its prey. Instead it hid itself in the grasses looking for the right moment to spring. Roaring came later, after the kill. Before the kill, only stealthful stalking.

David new that leaving the protection of God's refuge would mean disaster. For quietly, without warning, from the shadows would come a close or fatal encounter with the enemy. Why risk it?

So David finishes the question with: "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

His answer is in verse 4:

The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD is on his heavenly throne.
He observes the sons of men;
his eyes examine them.

God never leaves the holy place of watch over those who are his own. He is ever watching, never sleeping, not even dozing. The "REAL KING" never leaves the building! Therefore, I will not leave the sacred place of refuge afforded those in his care! It's not worth the risk.

David ends with the promise for those who persevere, "Upright men will see His face." The ungodly flee, but the righteous, prevail, seeing the face of God, both now and for eternity.

However tempted you may be to "leave the building", to forsake the assembling of yourself with others of the faith reconsider. Remember, you're only putting yourself at risk. God never leaves His place of watch over you, do not leave His place of sacred refuge.

His for The Journey!

The Squinting Eye of God

This past week Carol and I visited a fast-food eatery, specializing in tacos and etc. And now when pressed we can say, relunctantly, we went there once! Fortunately, they had pictures, because even under normal circumstances, it was impossible to read the posted menu and prices. Admitedly, the contact I was wearing for distance reading was an old one, as I'm awaiting a replacement. The only way I could begin to read the prices was to squint. Finally, I gave up and chose a pictured carne asada plate. (A greasy, bad choice!)

Later that day, I read Psalm 11:4:

The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD is on his heavenly throne.
He observes the sons of men;
his eyes examine them.

KJV puts the last part like this: "his eyes behold, his eyelids try"... Meaning, God's eyes are always squinting in our direction, on our behalf—viewing each detail of our lives. Not like a God with a fly swatter, ready to hit us when we land someplace we don't belong. Instead His concern is a benefit to us, as He searches the depth of the soul, and our slightest glances (Treasury of David). In this the Psalmist took refuge (v. 1) knowing it was better to stay in the refuge of an ever watching God than stray to a place of vulnerability, away from God's protection.

Remember, you're never far from the squinting eyes of God! (BTW: God doesn't have to squint, it's a picture to us of His attention to the most minute detail of our lives.)

His for The Journey!