Our family certainly is adventurous. We love trying new things. Mountain biking, rock climbing, snorkeling, white water rafting... Daddy and the oldest boy even went paragliding. The rest of us are wanting in on some of that action! Maybe next time.
One of the surprising activities we discovered is available here is archery. I loved it from the first time I went! We went in this large room. Across the room were several targets posted on a wall. On our side of the room there was a line on the floor. We were not allowed to cross that line while shooting was going on. We had to shoot at the targets from a distance. That's the nature of bows and arrows. They must be shot from a distance.
Psalm 64:2-4 "Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not."
The wicked aim at their targets from a distance. They sharpen their tongues and words and speak in secret. Like an archer who keeps his distance for safety and to hit his target, these people make sure they are not close to those who they want to hit when they release their weapons.
Have you ever had an attack like that? Have you ever listened to an attack upon someone else? Have you ever been guilty of shooting verbal arrows at someone from a distance?
Gossip is no laughing matter. Slander is an evil practice. God doesn't look lightly upon those who use their tongues as weapons.
Psalm 64:7 "But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded."
God also has words that are weapons. His Word is sharp and cutting.
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
God's Word is true and it hits right to the heart. His Words hit their target every time. He will defend the upright.
1) If someone shoots arrows of gossip or slander your direction, trust the Lord to fight the battle for you. Don't be afraid of the arrows of the wicked and trust in the arrows of the Lord.
Psalm 64:1-2 "Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:"
2) If someone approaches you to shoot arrows at someone else, put a stop to it. Don't take part in their wickedness.
Proverbs 20:19 "He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips."
3) If you are shooting arrows at someone, being a talebearer or a gossip, stop it! You are behaving like the wicked!
Proverbs 6:16-19 "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."
OK, you can laugh a little.
Honestly, my daughter and I laughed a lot.
Since my son recently went into Army Basic Training, I have been scouring through every photo posted from his battery on the internet. I haven't seen my son since July when he returned to the States, so these pictures are priceless to me. Every morning I get up to see if new pictures are posted of my SIT (Soldier In Training). I go to bed at night thinking about the possibility of pictures being posted. It's my last thought at night and my first thought in the morning. When pictures are finally posted, I go on a "Where's Waldo" adventure... Only, all these Waldos are wearing the same clothes! There is only one difference. Sometimes they are wearing color-coded and numbered jerseys.
About a week ago, the first round of pictures was posted. I spotted him in two pictures! My heart soared! I saved the pictures to my phone. I even put one on my phone as a wallpaper. It was a side shot of him putting on gloves as his platoon was in formation. They were wearing toboggans and his collar covered part of his face, but I would know my son's profile anywhere! The other picture was from a distance and slightly blurry, but he was tall and stood just like my son. Yep. That's my boy!
This week, a new set of pictures was posted. There he was in several pictures! Two of them were close-ups. Definitely my boy! But I noticed his jersey number in these pictures was different than in his other pictures. I thought that was very strange, so I did some research. I asked other Army Moms and wives. They assured me that the soldiers always wear the same jersey number. So for a week, I have had the picture of some stranger's son on my phone thinking it was my kid and staring at it every chance I got!
What a thrill to find the real deal, though. Sometimes we think we know our kids and that we could spot them anywhere. We think we know what they are like. Then we realize we didn't know them as well as what we thought we did.
We are like that with the Lord, too. We are convinced we know Him, but then as we get into the Word, we learn what He is really like. Just as my son's real jersey number identifies him without a doubt, the Bible points to the real God so that there is no mistaking who He is and what He is really like.
What if we had the same level of hunger to see Him that I have had for my son? What if He was our first thought in the morning and our last thought at night? What if we went scouring through the Bible daily to seek Him?
Psalm 63:1 "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;"
Psalm 63:6 "When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches."
Psalm 63:8 "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me."
Often we have imagined in our minds what God is like, but if we had a hunger and appetite for Him we would get into the Bible to see what He is really like. Just as finding the real pictures of my real son gave me great satisfaction and confidence, so does getting in the Word give satisfaction and confidence because we get to know who the Lord really is. When we have a false view of God in our minds, it's like having some other mom's son's picture on your phone. It will make you smile until you realize that isn't your son! Then it will make you feel quite silly. I could keep that other guy's picture on my phone and pretend it's my boy, but why do that when I can have the real deal? And why be satisfied with a facsimile of God that we have created in our own minds when we can get in the Word and get the real picture of who He is?
Psalm 63:5 "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:"
How hungry are we for the real deal? Are we satisfied with a fake view of the Lord? Are we hungry enough to go searching, seeking Him early and daily? Are we convinced we know Him enough already? We just might be surprised that our view was wrong all along.
So why did my boy join the Army?
Was it because he wasn't smart enough for college?
Ha! Hardly. The boy was scoring college level on his national tests at 6th grade. He almost won the geography bee when he was a 4th grader going against 8th graders. He dominated the first and second rounds. He defeated everyone, but they had to have a competitor to hold a third round. The kid is brilliant.
Was it because he had nothing better to do?
He has been dreaming of this his whole life. Always in camo. Always collecting the gear. Always reading books, memorizing history and weaponry, and studying Christian military heroes. He told his grandmother, "I just want to do something that makes a difference."
Maybe he is doing what we have always taught him. We drug him to the other side of the world to make a difference. We taught him to run toward danger instead of away from it to rescue people from the fire physically and spiritually. He didn't hesitate to help dig people out of the rubble when a disaster hit the week of his 16th birthday. When most kids are celebrating their licenses, he was helping distribute emergency food. When most kids were cruising the roads of the USA wasting time, he was building emergency shelters and loving it.
Did it surprise me that he chose combat medic as his MOS? No, actually... somehow it seemed to fit just perfectly.
Does it make me sad that we are on the other side of the world and will not get to be there for his graduation in March? Yes, a little. But we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, and he is doing what he is supposed to be doing. Somehow God has used that to bring comfort, knowing we are all where we are supposed to be.
Jude 1:22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference:"
An untested faith is an unreliable faith.
It is easy to say we trust the Lord completely, but when we are put through the heat of trials, that's when the depth of our faith will be revealed. David knew about the refining and revealing nature of trials. He gives two main declarations:
1) Trust only in the Lord.
Three times in this Psalm, David uses the word "only" in reference to God.
Psalm 62:2 "He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved."
Psalm 62:5-6 "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved."
Wait ONLY upon God. He ONLY is my rock.
We declare we completely trust Him, but when trials come, what do our actions, attitudes, and words say we trust? David said there was a temptation to trust in other things.
Psalm 62:10 "Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them."
Oppression: strength, "strong-arming" your problems, control
When a trial comes along, do you depend on inner strength? Fortitude? Positive attitude and nature? Talents? Skills? Don't trust in how you can control (oppress) the situation. David was tempted in this area. As king, he had access to a great army. He had amazing resources at his disposal, and yet he chose to trust in his God.
Robbery: Taking something that isn't yours.
When a trial comes your way, do you resort to things that are off-limits to Christians? Do you scheme and plot? Do you try to use your own logic to solve the problem instead of following the lead of the Spirit and God's Word? Sometimes God has a plan that doesn't make sense logically. He sometimes tells us "no" to things that aren't necessarily sin... they just aren't His will for us. When we try to go down a path that God says no to, it is like robbery. That isn't our path to take.
Riches: Financial security, assets, and resources. House, job, bank account, car, health, etc.
When trials come, is your confidence in your resources? Do you think your job is secure? Do you think your home is safe? If God allows these things to be taken away, will your faith be shaken? Will you be consumed with depression? Will you still serve Him if your health is taken from you?
2) Trust in Him at all times... good and bad!
Psalm 62:8 "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."
It is so easy to praise Him and trust Him when things go smoothly, but the real test begins when things are not easy or comfortable. David says to trust Him at all times. He says to learn to make calling out to Him your first resort and your battle plan for when trials come instead of relying on your strength, logic, or financial stability.
What do you do when trials come? When the next trial hits, take note of what you default to in order to solve the problem.