27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert.”
It may well be because of the way things are going in Harmony Church and the books I am currently reading (Graham Truscott), but the bold highlighted verse somehow spoke to me. Here we have a King David, on the run because one of his sons has conspired against him and it is best to stay of the scene, to lay low and David and his men end up going into the rugged country side/desert, while Absolom his son is playing Kind in his father’s Jerusalem.
So, when David and his men are generously provided it is because “the people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert”. But there seems to be a spiritual side to it. What seems to me significant is that David and his men are not just short of food, the are also away from the hard won Ark that had been returned to Jerusalem by David. In a sense David and his men were not just short of food in the physical sense but also in a spiritual sense where they were separated from the presence of God in between the cherubs of the Ark. And as we can read throughout the Old Testament that is what the Ark is all about, it is about God‘s presence with all the power and glory that comes with that. So in a sense David and his men were also cut off from the spiritual food and the living water that keeps us alive spiritually. It does not take too much imagination to figure out what happens when we are deprived of food and water: without food we will weaken and without water we will surely die, we may last somewhat longer without the food if we have sufficient fluid but we will surely decay in power and ultimately we will still die. It is not too hard to imagine that this process will speed up if it is (as in the case of David and his men) accompanied with substantial physical hardship such as traveling through the desert.
The hungry, tired and thirsty church
Is this not striking for what has happened with so many churches: as a result of deprivation of the presence of God: the word as the living bread but more importantly the spirit as the living water, they managed to survive but grew weaker in power. In effect the churches and their members grew hungry, tired and thirsty but in a spiritual sense and whether they realized it or not. There was the physical presence still but it lacked the power and given the absence of spiritual food and fluid (living water), resulting in declining numbers and ever decreasing lack of power.
Many have been around that have been longing for the spiritual food and the living water so as to see the rejuvenation of the church, of the congregation and it’s individual members. The rejuvenation of a church that got tired and thirsty wandering around in a spiritual desert of religious legalism that required a lot of works without being provided the required spiritual bread of heaven and the living water to survive under these harsh circumstances. Yes we are talking about a church and a religion that became more of a “life-after death-insurance policy” where as long as you pay your premium, eternal life in heaven was “covered.”
But God is not a God just for the hereafter, He is the God of the here and now. I can no longer accept rationally and by now experientially a God that is being transformed into something or someone distant, abstract and in any event no longer present in our daily lives. And with me many individuals as well as churches. And I guess that is thew good news.
All around, very similar to other periods in history we see how people are seeking God’s presence, the (spiritual) Ark so as to be revived with the bread from heaven and the living water, churches, congregations and individual members actively seeking God’s face so they may be rejuvenated with His food and water. I can not understand how someone can say:
I know God should be present in my life but somehow I do not experience it as such.” (See: http://www.jjabeenakker.info/)
I guess this is important for me and I am still working my way back through my own history which is filled with years of absolute skepticism against anything religious, but I guess it has a lot to do with placing man made religion before the divine relation. It is I am finding that it all starts with the relation, with the acute presence that the Law becomes the promise, the presence provides with peace and purpose and why would God get into a relationship and subsequent covenant with us? It is not because He is almighty and therefore He sets the rules: it is because He loves us and only wants the best for us.
I found an important clue on the ration of any covenant in 1 Samuel 18:3:
3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
See that: a covenant has nothing to do here with setting the rules because He can, and all with love. The covenant is all about loving the other party like we love ourselves. So, all of a sudden the Law becomes something we want to live up to, a promise. And with that comes the seeking His presence or to be in His presence, which as can be read throughout the whole Bible, comes with power and glory, in David’s time as much as in our here and now. Ain’t it great to see that people around the world are hungry, thirsty for His presence and with that His food, His water, His power His glory, His peace, His love.
Al of this because (considering the ratio of a covenant) He loves us like He loves Himself and vice versa we love Him like we love ourselves: with all out hearts, minds and spirits.
Just to be clear here: I am not trivializing a relationship wit God here, or considering Him to be some great “buddy”; far from that. It is because of the marvel of even being in a position to have something like a relation with the Creator I write this. Like all of us, I am far from perfect and in desperate need of salvation, like some of us I have found that there is such a thing as His amazing Grace and it is in gratitude that I write this post.
If you think I lost the plot or am off the mark (biblically) by all means let me know. I’m just going from the heart here.
To be continued.