Dec 30, 2009

December 2009

December months have always proven to be a disconcerting season. Year on year, December repeatedly causes me to be sullen. It is not quite a joy; to see a year coming to a close. Closure is never easy. A survey of 2009 reveals only that small sprinkling of high points. It is sad, to have a year, marked more by gulleys and trenches rather than by peaks, and ones not quite soaring, to add.

The year is faster closing. The season forces a recount of how I have spent the year. The reality is that 2009 will soon be gone, and that nothing I can ever do will bring it around again. A truthful review always tinges me with regret. The opportunities lost and squandered. The gifted days, so casually wasted. There is no replay. The moments are either captured, or lost. The only surety now, that holds my focus, is that I would be called to account for them all, on Judgment Day. Then again, I know full well, in our youthfulness, we temper our shortcomings with promises to look into the “should haves” and “ought to’s” in the future. So we would watch the sun set on 2009. We await the first sunrise of 2010. Somewhere in between, perhaps, we would compose ourselves and make our resolutions. Our speckled regrets though sincere and real, are temporal. A tear or two may help soothe the conscience, but true sorrow is hard to find. Come year-end 2010, will I find myself in the same quandary? Such vessels of clay, we are. Still, the LORD would choose us, as His own.

For the 300 plus days gifted, we could reminisce the good times we have had; the parties, the holidays, the birthdays and the weddings. We have grown older by a year, accumulated providentially more knowledge, gained some experience and perchance wisdom. We celebrated our blessings. On the flip, we remember and mourn the loss of friends and loved ones. We would miss their voice, their presence, their touch, their very being. We yearned to party in the company of our bosom-friends. We wish that the times and distances that separate us would simply shrink or disappear. All in all, our mutual ardency is commendable. In all our gaiety, one could ponder; of our highs in 2009, how many were centered on the LORD? Does our dedication to friend and family overwhelm or pale in comparison with our accord for the Friend, our Lord. The writing on the plaque is more likely to be the truism; He was the silent Listener, the unseen and overlooked Guest, and a wall-flowered Visitor. Our garish inconsistency, of purportedly wanting to spend an eternity with Him, but not quite, as evidenced in the days of 2009 does not smite us as appalling or leave us privately aghast. In our busyness and the prime of our youth, who will fault a forgetfulness of the LORD? If not for His faithfulness, His love. And His grace that causes Him to endure our despise of Him. How true it is; that the LORD has never dealt with us, according to the measure of our sin.

One would also ill imagine that our daily walk with the Master in 2009, would not have had a more profound and significant influence over our lives. It is impossible; that the power of the Holy Counselor is inadequate to effect sanctification in those who closely listen to His Word. This begs several questions. Professions have a knack for coming around to haunt and heckle us, always. I guess, for me, they are most persistent in the months of December. It is comforting then to remember, and rest in the provision of our Lord’s righteousness; a thing we do not cleave to closely.

Would it not be good then, to close 2009, together, in repentance, but with much thanksgiving and praise, for the One who could, and would, love us still?

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (Ecc 12:1)

God bless.


Dec 16, 2009


And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (Luk 2:10-11)

Christmas is around the corner. Throughout the Christian world, stores are lit and most are busy shopping for the season. Christmas is the time for giving. And little children wait with eager anticipation for their Christmas presents. Centuries ago, the angels gave us ‘the good tidings of great joy’. They “brought us” the good tidings; ‘unto you’ is born this day. “For God so loved”, He gave.

Giving has from time immemorial been the outward expression of love. It is not in the nature of the beast to give. Even as animals would feed their young, they are merely responding to a wired need to preserve their offspring and genetic signature. Observe how lions will dispose of all earlier cubs sired by the vanquished. To be enabled to love is a God-given gift. God is love. Humans are able to love because we have been “made in His image”.

Scripture prescribes that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. It goes without saying, that one is first truly blessed, before, one has the capacity to give; one cannot give what he has not first received. The bible commands giving in many forms. Giving is not limited to the material. We have been severally gifted, in order that the Church may be edified and made complete. Again we have been first gifted from above, that we may in turn give to the community of believers.

The LORD is good. The year of 2009 is fast approaching its end. The LORD has faithfully provided all our needs; beginning with the very basics. Distracted by our plenty, we bear less cognizant of His more significant gifts of grace, mercy and peace. Once again the tidings of “peace on earth, goodwill to man” rings in the halls and across the globe. Again, we remember, the giving and birthing of the Son. What gift have we prepared in response? Love is most clearly demonstrated, by giving. What gift have we contemplated for the Father? for the Son? And for the Holy Counselor?

Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) (Exo 23:15)

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee. (Deu 16:16-17)

These texts evoke an ancient requirement from days past that we may wish to re-examine. Again, would it not be wise, not to limit this “empty-handedness” to material items only? There is that reverberation reminding us, of justice and mercy even.

A blessed Christmas to all.

God bless.


Dec 9, 2009


David, the son of Jesse, was an enigma. A survey through his life would present many inexplicables. He was reputedly a ruddy lad; handsome with beautiful eyes. Yet his father had ‘forgotten’ about this son when asked to present all his sons before the prophet Samuel. He was assigned the duty of watching over the flocks whilst his elders attended to more urgent matters; was he a lesser? A tiresome youngster, a pesky nuisance, his brothers had rebuked him for leaving the flocks in search of excitement. Still this less than bashful lad would challenge the mighty Goliath whilst the whole army of Israel wilted in a miasma of fear. Unfettered zeal? Youthful naivety? Optimistic derring-do? But this kid, who claimed that he had killed a lion and a bear, was now ready to take on Goliath for insulting the Name of the LORD. He donned no armor, was armed with a slingshot and a few pebbles.

With the house of Saul, he showed much regard. There is more about Jonathan than about his own siblings. His own cousins had larger roles in his army and life. David would not retaliate against Saul though presented with several opportunities to do so. Saul, his father-in-law, who hunted him like an animal, forcing him to hide and run in hills and caves. A demented king plagued by bouts of attacks, would launch spears at the one who could play his lyre to calm the spirits that so haunted him. A young man of valor, a man of war, handsome and prudent in speech, a man of music! And the LORD was with him.

He spent his time as a wandering warlord but did not abuse the local people. He slaughtered all his enemies. He allianced the Philistines, and would have been in the invading army had not the Philistine princes distrusted him. He could have by force, exacted tribute but chose instead to make requests for consideration from the likes of Nabal. When offended in front of his army, he was quick to convene a response force, but stopped short when placated by Nabal’s wife, Abigail. This same lady was widowed and was subsequently proposed to, by David.

Inaugurated King of Israel, he commanded the nation, and could require harems of fair maidens from throughout the empire, yet he had to have his comrade, Uriah’s wife. He commanded her presence and profaned the house of Uriah. A scheme was conceived to entice and deceive his loyalist to return to his house to conjugate his already pregnant wife. It was executed without success. This escalated to a plot to have Uriah betrayed and killed in battle, an opportunity capitalized by his cousin Joab to rid himself of several others; quite a few of David’s own strong men. David was hamstrung, but showed no regret or remorse on the murder of those who were his able and faithful lieutenants nor was there any evidence of anger or accounting for Joab. David summarily thought that he had put matters right; by marrying the woman!

He would willingly suffer the bilious attack by Shimei, when he had to flee his own Absalom. He imbibed the full measure of his son’s rebellion. He thought that it was the LORD who commanded Shimei’s vitriol insolence. His own fate would not have been in dispute had Absalom been successful. Words were not enough for Shimei as he continued to follow, cursing and throwing stones at David and his fleeing army. On his return, he would so mourn the death of his treasonous son till his generals doubted his sanity. In the general amnesty, he decided under oath, in the Name of the LORD, to assure Shimei of his life and released him. Yet on his death-bed, he commanded Solomon not to allow Shimei any consideration when the next opportunity to dispatch him appeared! It was also at his death-bed that he commanded retribution for Joab; for all his earlier conspiracies, but could it also be, for Joab’s slaughter of Absalom?

Yet this was the same man, the great psalmist who penned so many of the psalms in praise of the LORD. This was the same man who was described as a man after God’s heart, a man who would do much in preparation for the Temple, a man who would not have his Lord confined in a tent whilst he lived in a house, a man who would dance and sing before the LORD till his wife could stand him no longer! This same man wrote;

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. (Psa 27:4)

His testimony was of his single desire, his one pursuit in life; to dwell in the house of the LORD with the view of beholding His beauty, and to strenuously search and enquire into His word. Quite a confession; the distilled essence of nights of contemplation in the fields and in distress whilst on the run? Did David live and end well? Towards the end, he could not even keep himself warm. His sons were running wild; Absalom usurped the throne and made a public display of violating his concubine wives. Adonijah conspired with Joab and Abiathar for the throne. He had lost control though a king. There is a marked paucity of psalms from this era.

If I would seriously examine the life of David, as a man after God’s heart, I will have no restraint in attesting him a misnomer. Many of his knowing actions would not pass the test of a decent man, much less a godly man. David is no hero of mine. He proved himself to be severely wanting. His life story however, would be a glorious testament of a fallen sinner, saved, only by grace. A testament, all of us share.

And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant's house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God. What can David speak more to thee for the honor of thy servant? for thou knowest thy servant. O LORD, for thy servant's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. (1Ch 17:16-20)

God bless.