Saturday, October 23, 2010

Battle Ready!

For forty days, twice a day every day, he swaggered out and shouted to the four winds.   Had he grown tired of battle?   Was he frustrated because no worthy opponent had come forward thus far?  

""Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us."  And the Philistine said, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together!"  (1 Samuel 17: 8-10)

This was the Goliath of Gath... the splendor of the Philistine army.   Ten feet tall, weighing in at over 400  pounds.    His armor alone weighed at least 200 pounds with its bronze helmet, coat of mail, leg armor and bronze javelin.   His spear was as large as a tree branch.

Everyday he created a stir among the chosen people.    No one would dare go up alone against this megalith.   He was more mighty and powerful than any of them.    Good grief! His biceps probably measured 2 feet in diameter!    With his armor, he weighed at least one third of a ton!   Anybody would be a fool to try and take him on alone.     The Israeli soldiers spoke in frightened whispers of his size and might.

Goliath was defiant and intimidating.    He was cocksure of himself and knew he had no equal.   He was the largest of the giants, taller, more muscular, more mighty.    In a land of giants, he was the champion.

The army of Israel was terrified of him.    When he came into battle, they would scatter and flee in horror.

He thirsted for battle!   He was anxious to fight and kill... to destroy his enemy.  

The two armies were camped out on mountaintops with a valley between.   The valley of Elah in Ephes Dammim, meaning the edge of blood.    Israel was camped between Sohkoh and Azekah.    In Hebrew, the word Sohkoh means 'hedge' and Azekah means 'a field dug over, broken up." 

So Israel was entrenched outside their hedge,  between it and the broken ground leading to ephes Dammim, the edge of blood.      

Israel was at a standstill... unsure of their fate... unable to defeat their own  fear, much less overcome the army and giants standing in front of them.   They had forgotten their past and the victories that God had given.

Except for David.    The young shepherd.    The least of his brothers.   David  figured that if with God’s help, he could defeat a Lion coming at him with all his fierce muscle and weight and 20 razor sharp talons, then one ugly giant was a pushover.

King Saul, hearing of David's boldness, and desperate for some solution to his dilemma, called David to his side.   King Saul  offered his own personal armor to David.    David tried it on and couldn’t move.  This was the armor of a man, a warrior king.  It didn’t fit.   He hadn’t tested it.  Hadn’t proved it. 

He didn’t need it.

David was clad in  the armor of God.  With him, it was tried and true.    He had spent years in the field perfecting it.    Singing praises to the Lord, spending time with Him.    Fighting off the bears and lions that would come against him.       He was comfortable in this  God armor.    It fit well and he trusted it.      He had taken it’s measure.   It was reliable.

Goliath issued this challenge to Israel twice daily...  "One on one combat!   Winner takes all!"

Today would be his final challenge!

Except it wasn’t one on one.    This giant’s shield bearer went before him.  He carried a shield and a sword.    He was a giant also.   He had to be a giant.    He carried the shield and sword to protect Goliath.   If he was a normal sized man, what was he gonna protect?   Goliath's  kneecaps?

He’s there to ward off attackers so that the Goliath has room to throw his deadly spear.   The giant of Gath needs a  giant of a body guard!

Here is young David, alone with a slingshot and five river stones.   Up against two grizzly grouchy bullying giants!

Goliath is almost insulted that his only opponent is a boy.  One with no armor and no weapon, at that.   Practically naked before him with no protection.   He’s taking David’s measure.  Goliath is using the wrong measuring stick.

He didn't consider that God had already taken David's measure.

Here is the young Israelite without any visible means of defeating this armor clad, battle seasoned, oversized warrior.

But the battle is over before it ever starts  as these bold and defiant  words explode  from David’s mouth! 

 “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied!  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I will strike you and take your head from you.  And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.   Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear, for the battle IS the Lords and He will give you into our hands.”

With that exclamation of faith, David races towards Goliath, swinging his loaded sling.  With the hedge behind him and the broken ground before him, he almost flies towards the edge of blood.   Towards the enemy of his people and of his God.

If Goliath was cocksure of his  own might and fighting prowess, David was even more confident in his God's ability to conquer any enemy.

With one throw from his sling, David knocked Goliath out with a stone.    The giant fell unconscious to the ground.   His insulting tongue stilled.   His powerful body was rendered limp and useless.  

David took the sword from the champion of the Philistines and before the amazed eyes of the two armies, he cut off the head of  his enemy  Goliath.  

 The completely demoralized Philistines ran away like frightened children.     If one Israelite boy without any visible armor or weapon could defeat their champion, what could the entire Israelite army do against them?   What would the God  of Israel do with them?

They were totally defeated.

If the Israelites had forgotten all that God had done for them, David’s faith and miraculous victory reminded them.   Once Goliath was dead, Israel  marched forward and defeated the Philistines.

We all have giants that come against us.      Finances, Family problems, Work, Sickness, Death, Divorce, Disappointments.      Just like a giant Goliath, they don’t  come one on one.   They  hit you from all directions.       

We have everyday giants.   We have monumental life altering giants.    They all come from the same place.   The devil doesn’t fight fair.      He sends his sword bearing shield bearer before him to trick us, confuse us, distract us and keep us from focusing.    The little things.   We think we can handle it.   Then BAM!  He shows up with deadly force!.     The thing that get us right in the heart.   His javelin or spear.   We lose our job.   We lose a loved one.   We have a life threatening illness.    We’ve been double teamed. and we could so easily be struck down, but for the Armor of God.

Paul tells us to put on the armor of God...  He never once told us to take it off.     In Romans 13: 12  he calls it the “armor of light”.   Unapproachable Light.

When you are wearing this armor, you are not only protected, but you stand out as a victorious warrior!

Our armor is our faith.  It is our sure knowledge of the faithfulness of God.

Life events take our spiritual measure.  Like David, before we go into our daily battle,  we should make sure we have a good fit.   We should remind ourselves of the times that God has come through for us in the past and that He will do it again now.   

Don’t try to enter into a battle wearing some body else’s faith.    We’re each given a measure.   It is formed and forged just for us.  We need to test it and try it and become so accustomed to it that it fits us like our own skin.

Like the Israelites, we tend to forget how God has provided and been victorious in our past.    We need something to remind us.

David took Goliath’s armor and kept it.    In my imagination I see it standing in a focal point in his home.  A daily reminder of how God came through for him and for Israel.

There are many times in the Bible when it is mentioned that the Israelites made a marker , set up stones, as a reminder of what God had done at a particular time or place.

I have several items in my home that are reminders to me of what God has done in my life.   A bowl of seashells on my coffee table.   A Santa Claus figurine holding a sign with the word "JOY".   A photograph of a beach at sunrise.   These are all reminders of the huge things God has done in my life and of His promises.

The next time you go into battle, be prepared.    As your enemy takes your measure, race toward him or it with the sure knowledge that God is with you and has gone before you.     

Call to mind what God has done in your past and trust Him for what He is doing in the present.      When the victory is won give Him the glory!    Then just in case you're forgetful like the Israelites, make a note of your victories.   Keep a reminder, something visible, as a reminder of how God did a miracle in your life.

And give Him the glory!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The king is enthralled by your beauty.   Honor him, for he is your lord.  (Psalm 45:11)
Yes!   The King thinks you are beautiful.   He looks on you and can't take his eyes or His mind off of you.

We may look in the mirror and see every flaw.  He looks at us and sees an extension of Himself.   He sees in us the beauty of His creation and the perfection of His plan.   He sees His bride in preparation for the wedding day!   

His excitement over us spills  into the heavens and He gives us gifts of beauty!      He honors us with His presence and encourages us with the intimacy of His voice calling our names.  

He does battle for us and defeats every foe!    He shares His heart and knowledge with us and draws us near in an all consuming love.

With playful laughter and open arms, He lifts us up in our hearts and fills us with joy.    He whispers sweetness in our ears and His music resonates through our minds.   His fragrance is breathtaking and falls on our skin like dew anointing us with His essence. 

Yes, God IS enthralled by our beauty.     He loves us so deeply that He placed His most beautiful and  precious gift inside  each of us that call on His name.   The gift of Himself... His spirit.

What an incredibly wonderful God!        He makes us beautiful.   He leaves us breathless!  We are His heart's desire.

And He is ours.


Glimmering rays of light begin to shine in the distance, slowly increasing in brightness until the dark dawn is become daybreak. Deep velvet purple gives way to pink and orange hues of light  with splashes of red ochre drawn from the blazing heart of the sun itself. The reflection thrown back from the surface of the deep expresses mutual admiration from earth to the heavenly body which is just beginning to reveal its daily glory.

As he surveys this majestic display, the artist smiles to himself in appreciation. "Another masterpiece! Seems a pity it only lasts for those few minutes."

"Aah.. Well. Tomorrow's dawn will come. The canvas will be waiting."

Water splashes and foams against his feet, gently calling out to him as he casually moves a little farther away from its endless voice.

Embers glowing, the fire he built before sunrise is perfect for braising that catch of fish.
Occasionally prodding the fire with the branch of driftwood he has picked up on his morning walk, he sits and waits patiently for his friends to arrive.

Noticing the sand on his feet, he smiles and brushes it away. Every step along the shoreline had brought with it grains of sand and pebbles clinging to his bare feet, as though the sand itself leapt up to take part in his early morning activities. While he walked, his feet had compressed the sand beneath, forming unique prints in that soft moist earth.

Strapping on sandals, he sits cross legged and looks at his legs and feet, once again amazed at the intricacy of his physical body. The creator within surveys and approves such marvelous handiwork.

Softly humming to himself and watching the waves, he recalls memories of these waters. He has seen them raging and pounding! He has seen them still as glass. Today they are soft and gentle as a lover's caress against the shore.  Playful gusts of wind blow in his dark hair, and with salt crusted fingers, he pushes his hair behind his ears to keep it out of his eyes and face.

Almost absentmindedly, he places a few fish on the fire and flattens bread on the hot stones ringing the burning coals.

Squinting his eyes against the morning sun, intently he watches the horizon, knowing it won't be long till he sees the boat coming in.

His friends will be surprised to see him. It's been a while. They may not recognize him. For certain, they are not expecting him. This thought brings a chuckle and a grin to his weathered and tanned face. His anticipation grows with each second in time. There is so much he wants to say to them. So much to share.

Off in the distance, the sail finally appears. It nears the shoreline and he quickly comes to his feet.  Cupping his hands to his mouth, he calls out loudly to the men in the boat, "You have caught no fish! Cast your net one more time on the right side of the boat!"

Doubtful that it will work, but almost desperate, for some reason the exhausted fishermen do as he says and their net is filled with fish! It is so full they can not carry the load. They will have to drag it to shore. It's an unexpected and amazing catch, and they begin to question their turn of good luck.

Suddenly comprehending what has happened, the fishermen  recognize the man who is still standing on the wind driven sandy beach.

"It's the Lord! It's the Master! Jesus!"

Earth, wind and sea seem to echo their cry of recognition. "The Master is here!"

Without hesitation, Peter dives into the water and heads straight for Him, not waiting for his fellows in the boat. Deprived of his companionship for too long, the men all anxiously head for the shore and their friend. His conversation and presence is what they have been thirsting and hungering for.

"Come!" Laughing for joy, He shouts once again to his friends across the blowing salt  breeze. He can't wait to see them and talk with them again!

"Come and break your fast!"

It's All Joy

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.   (James 1: 3-4)

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;   (Phil 1: 4-7)

How do you count it joy when you are in the middle of one of life's storms?   How in the world could anyone, including God, expect that from us?    

A few years ago, I would have answered "It's impossible."   That was before I encountered a God that filled me with such spiritual joy that it overflowed into my daily existence and into everything that I do. 

Paul is not speaking about happiness.    He is talking about the joy of the Lord.   That joy is strength and steadfastness.   It is power and it is peace.       "Do not sorrow; for the joy of the Lord is your strength."  (Neh 8:10)  

Happiness is dependent upon circumstance and surroundings.   We are happy when things go our way.   We are happy when life is what we call good.   We are also joyful and thankful in those good times; however, as Jesus said, we are going to have  hard times in our lives.    Times when we won't be so happy.

The joy of the Lord gives us the ability to go through any trial, any trouble, any storm ... with the sure knowledge that God is working in our lives just as He promises that He will.   Our joy is dependent upon God and what He has done in our lives.  It is not dependent upon our circumstance.

Times of hardship test our faith.   We ask questions that seem to have no answers and have to trust that God knows what He is doing.  

Without faith in God, we stumble and break in hard times and crumble in despair when our hearts break.  

And although we may feel as though our lives are shattered and broken upon the rocky road we are on, we must keep walking, crawling if need be, because we know that with Jesus there is hope for the future.   And we will look back upon that journey with amazement and wonder in the mighty and loving God that brought us through it.  We will realize that God does not make mistakes and we know that there will be a story to tell, a testimony of God's work and His faithfulness.  That gives us cause for great joy even in the middle of our pain.

Also, during life's valleys, God is perfecting us... perfecting our faith.   He is growing us into  the person He planned us to be; "perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
So rather than thinking that God let the devil after us to mess up our lives,  we should look at our valley as an opportunity for growth and testimony.     You know... "what the devil means for bad, God means for good."

There is nothing that happens in our lives that God does not know about in advance.   He has a plan and a purpose for us.   His plan was in effect before ever we were born and He is going to carry it out in us.    He knows our past, present, and future.  

Are  you saved?  Are you born again?   Are  you a child of the King?   If so, then you have reason for great joy.   Because God has a plan and a purpose for you.   

As His child, if we are going through a trial, it is because God has not only trusted us with it.   He has entrusted it to us.        He is using it to perfect us and complete us.   In doing so, He is completing the good work He began in us.    

Has God called you into a ministry or service and you think it will never happen?   It's impossible?   Your life is too confused or messed up and you've taken too many wrong turns?     You've gotten distracted too many times or just plain given up on it? 

God has not given up.  He has not lost sight of you where you are.   His plan for you has not changed.   Your circumstance is part of His plan and He trusts you in it.  He has given you the measure of faith required to see it through.    It is not up to you to complete it.   He is the one who completes it.   But you must participate by acknowledging Him and allowing Him to do His work.   You must participate by standing firm in His word and by rejecting satan when he lies to you.

Take joy in knowing that whatever your situation, God is acting for your benefit and on your behalf.   He is completing you.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Have you ever googled your own name?

I did. 

Well... first I googled my  AOL screen name. Elredcrow.

Got amazing results.

My computer popped up with this question:  "Did You Mean Oldcow?"

No. I am not kidding. 

Stop laughing. It's not that funny.

Not to me anyway.


After that depressing and demeaning result, I was almost afraid to type in my real name. Finally I got up the courage and entered my name in the search engine.

Kathy Ellis.

Incredibly enough, pages and pages of information with the name Kathy Ellis, and variations thereof, appeared on my screen. 

Searching each page to see if any of these doppelgangers actually referenced little old me, I quickly became discouraged and gave up after about the 35th screen.

It seems there are several of me out there. Some are doctors. Some are executive directors. One is an award winning swimmer. One is an oceanographer.

Another of my many identities entered a story in a local newspaper in Pflugerville USA about soldiers. No I didn't read it. She obviously doesn't read my stories. She can't. They can not be found under my name or otherwise. 

Hundreds of Kathy Ellis references abound on the world wide web. If fine tooth combs are still available at the local five and dime, you might buy one if you are interested enough to look me up. Who knows? Maybe I will show up on the kazillionth screen if you can hold out that long.

Apparently I am non-existent, nada, invisible, a figment of my own imagination. A chimera, if you please.

Being non-existent gives me great freedom, I suppose. Invisibility has it's perks. 

I just can't think of one right now.

If I had an inflated sense of myself, it is gone. I guess that happens when you realize you are no where to be found.

Coming to terms with my lack of uniqueness has not been easy. In my effort to be significant in the world, one might say I have been 'put in my place.' 

If you find that place, will you please tell someone? I am waiting to be found.

Depression could set in and take up residence in my spirit if I did not believe that my significance is found in the Lord Jesus. He whispers to my heart of how much He loves me. He sings songs of joy over me in the night and wakes me with memories of them in my mind. He fills my life with vision and purpose.

I googled the web.

Bet if I could google the Lamb's Book of Life, my name would easily be found. My Savior knows right where to look in that book for me. He knows exactly where I am all the time, and He is always thinking about me.

If I go to the ends of the world, He will find me.

I am unique after all!

But I am not alone. Jesus offers His salvation and love to every one. Only He will give you the meaning you seek in your life.

"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."    Psalm 9: 10

Dwelling Places

I was talking with a friend this morning about life, the universe and everything.   Of course, God is the key element there and He was also the central topic in our conversation.

Reflecting back on our past decisions and actions, we discussed  both  our right  and wrong choices and how they have affected our present and our future.  You know...  Girl talk!    Haha!

Life throws us a lot of  stuff.   Some of it just happens and some of it is our own doing.   But regardless, life is a series of ups and downs.    The major stuff, like births, deaths, marriages, divorces, illness... those are the ones that obviously shape our character and our life stories.  Yet the smallest incident can have the greatest effect on us.    An alcoholic begins his/her struggle with that very first drink.   An addiction to a drug begins with that first "hit".      A first glimpse at pornography catches the eye and mind.   Life is changed forever by those first "small" occurrences.   

Eden is a nice place to live.    It's a place where everything is beautiful and the blessings just seem to flow one after the other.    On the other hand, the deepest pit in hell is, to say the least, a tad on the miserable side.   I have been in both places at various points in my life.   I prefer being on the mountaintop of blessings in Eden.     But I don't always get to choose my circumstance.    And I really don't believe that our lives are intended to live continually in Eden.     

Let's face it.   We are human beings and we begin to take things for granted when life is good.  We lower our guard when we are living in peace and plenty.   That's when  sin creeps into our neighborhood and tries to foul things up.    Our faith is tested by temptation.  It may be a small thing or a large... a choice to make or a new circumstance.     Temptation comes.  We come face to face with a world of degradation and lies.   Our response to the  lure of sin or to the new situation is the elemental device that God uses to teach and meld us into the likeness of Him.  Something changes in our life and we see it as a terrible event, when actually it is the very thing that God uses to shape us into the creation He has planned.

The world was perfect for Adam and Eve.   Yet Adam and Eve were not perfect.    The lying serpent didn't get into the garden by his own strategy.    God saw it coming and allowed it to happen.  He knew that Adam  & Eve would not withstand the onslaught of lies.   Although they were capable of obeying God, as are we,  they  were overthrown by this small "first"  that forever changed life for  humankind.   Or did it just set God's plan into motion?     He knew beforehand that sin would come to destroy His creation and He made arrangements at the beginning of time to send Jesus as the Lamb to be slain.    Only by the blood of Jesus are we, including Adam and Eve,  made perfect.     

During the last major upheaval in my life (going through the break up of an almost four decade long marriage), I journeyed to Galveston to see the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.   I saw not only the destruction caused by the storm, but also the cleanup crews at work and the reconstruction of  the structures and the lives of those affected by the storm.  

I wrote the following words in my Bible:  "Sometimes it takes the hurricanes, the overwhelming flood, the rot and destruction in our lives.. so that we can be gutted... with nothing left but the framework so God can restore and rebuild our lives anew."

Various paths were set before me during that time of my life.   Choices were made... some good and some not so good.    But none were a surprise to my loving heavenly Father.      He has used each of them to direct me in the path that He REALLY wants for me.   Thankfully, Jesus paved that path for me a long time ago.

Talking with my friend this morning, I reminded her and myself of just how God had changed my life so drastically.    Let's just say she is not living on a mountaintop right now and since I am such a fount of wisdom, (hah!) I thought maybe I could give some advice.     Lord, I just hope the advice came straight through me from YOU.

I told her that during another one of the most miserable  'pit of hell' experiences in my life, I finally caved in and  cried out to God  asking Him to restore the joy of my salvation.       Being the gracious and loving God that He is, He granted my request.  Others may not know this, but God did a miracle that night!    My life was forever changed by His answer to a simple prayer.     I was still living in a pit... my circumstances did not change.   But God changed something inside of me and I was filled with His joy.    Because of Him, my attitude changed, my heart changed, and I drew closer to Him than I knew was possible.   The pit became a place where God taught me about His love and faithfulness.   His joy gave me the strength to endure.

No, I am not glad I was dwelling in a pit.   It was probably a pit of my own creation.  Regardless, who the heck wants to experience pit living?    Looking back, that pit was the circumstance  or experience that  God used to change my life and bring me to Him.   I am thankful and glad that I finally came to that place in  my life where there was nowhere to go but God.  

So if you are living in Eden, enjoy!    Beware!   Be Faithful!   One of those 'firsts' might show up and try to drag you out.

But if you are in one of life's pits, remember that you are not alone.   Remember that our God is in control and  He is the only one with the power and love to  help you survive the pit circumstance and come out strong on the other side. 

Nehemiah 8: 10   "....Do not grieve.   For the joy of the LORD is your strength."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Road Trip

I woke up Thursday morning and debated with myself whether or not to hit the road. My 'vacation' week was winding down. I had cleaned out and organized my little office/computer room. I had traded my car for a pickup. I had taken my tax info by the accountant to FINALLY do my 2009 tax return.

The original plan had been for a road trip to somewhere, anywhere, get away from the hacienda and do something different. But the weather was a bit nasty this week and I postponed the trip to nowhere thinking that I would go later in the week when the rains had gone away.

When that day came, I almost argued myself out of the trip.

But, reasoning that I would kick myself in the rear if I didn't go, I packed my backpack with a change of clothes, grabbed my computer and put the truck in gear.

My pastor's wife, Abbie, had told me about the missions in San Antonio and I had decided that I wanted to see them.

I finally found my way to Mission Concepcion (after going in circles in San Antonio trying to find the right road). It is a beautiful and magnificent building and I took a few pictures. Then I made my way on down the trail to Mission San Jose. I never got to the other 2 missions. I spent so much time on these two.

Lucky me! I arrived on a weekday when the kids are back in school. So there were hardly any other tourists around and I practically had the whole place to myself. I felt like I had gone back in time to an era that has been romanticized by the fog of years.

Life must have been so hard for the Franciscan monks and for their converts, the local Indians. Growing their own crops, milling their wheat. Every basic need required hard work... monumental effort. And on top of the day to day chores and back breaking work, they had to also defend their missions against the Commanche Indians who regularly attacked...killing and stealing from them.

Yet even with all the hardship and danger, they managed to build these wonderful structures. The architecture is beautiful and the statuary and ironwork amazing. Even with all the hardship and danger, the monks managed to carry out their mission of bringing the message of Christianity to these people.

Such dedication to their calling and purpose amazes me. It made me reflect on my own commitment to the calling God has on my life. Would I be willing to go to a strange and foreign land and put my life on the line in order to tell others of Christ?

Missionaries have done this for centuries... Lived and died for the call of Christ.

It's very humbling when you think of it. It is hard to get a perspective on it. There are contemporary missionaries that are living this out even as I write these words. I have been receiving regular email from one for a few years now. She uses code words in her email so that the local government will not know that she is talking about Jesus. I am in awe of their love and commitment to Christ.

I was talking with God about this on the way home tonight. His calling on my life hasn't changed. Study His Word. Share His Word. Write devotionals and share them with others. Teach / speak when given the opportunity. No, His calling on me hasn't changed. But maybe I have been changed by walking a day in the past. Maybe my commitment to carrying out His command is more urgent and solid... more compelling.

The only wild Indians attacking me are my own inadequacies and weaknesses. I am not in fear for my life. I'm not called to a dangerous mission. My God is strong and loving enough to have His hand on missionaries to guide and protect them. I believe He can probably help me out with my shortcomings.

Lord, thank You for the men and women who have lived their lives to bring the love of Christ to the world... Thank You for those that have given their lives in that cause. Father God, keep me mindful of Your purpose for me and help me to be bold to do it. In Jesus' precious name.. amen.

A Story of Uriah...The Lord is My Light

King David. THE King of Israel. His army is at war. He stays behind relaxing. He takes a little R&R in the luxury of his palace while his men are deprived of their wives and children's company. While his men fight and are injured and die in battle.

What has happened? This is King David. The man that leads his army into the fray in the name of the Lord God Jehovah! The man that God has blessed with victory after victory. Yet here he is at home when he should be leading his army.

He's restless.... can't sleep. So he rises from his bed and walks on the roof of his palace where his eyes fall on the beauty of a woman bathing. And he is undone. All of his vows to live for the Lord are overthrown and he is held captive by her sexuality and his lust.

But she is married. Not only that, she is married to one of his 'mighty men', Uriah the Hittite. Uriah is no ordinary warrior. He is a Hittite. He shouldn't even exist. Centuries before, God had commanded the Israelites to go into Canaan and utterly destroy those who dwelt there. The Hittites dwelt there. But Israel did not carry out that command and they allowed some of the Hittites to remain in the promised land. Thus the existence of Uriah.

Uriah the inexplicable. He bore a Hebrew name meaning "The Lord is My Light." He is listed in 1 Chronicles 11:47 and 2nd Samuel 23:39 as one of David's mighty men. He's in the inner circle of those that David trusts with his life. He had sworn fealty to David the King. To be loyal to him and to do battle for him. To help David be the victorious one. God had made that same promise to David when he was a boy and anointed him King.

Yet these promises and relationships faded into a fog of nothingness in David's mind as he squashed his relationship with the one true God for what was meant to be a one night stand with a beautiful woman. He minimized his relationship and his friendship with Uriah, the Lord is my Light, as he plotted and planned to have her in spite of every obstacle.

Who would know? It wouldn't matter. He would have his way with her and send her home. Uriah was away. He would never discover the truth.

But that one night of guilty and sinful pleasure resulted in a pregnancy... What should have been a welcome and happy occurrence in a marriage became evidence of sin and wrong doing for Bathsheba and David.

He was guilty and now the whole world would know that King David was faithless and weak.

Like Adam and Eve in the garden, hiding from God, David begins to plot and plan how to cover his sin. He orders Uriah home from the battle upon the pretense of obtaining a military report and tells him to go home and be with his wife. If Uriah lies with her, then he will think that the child is his own and David's secret will be safe.

But Uriah, the faithful warrior, refuses to accept the comfort and luxury of his home and bed while his God and his men are at war. He said to David, "The ark, and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing." (2nd Samuel 11:11)

Stalwart Uriah! Loyal Uriah! He stood firm against a temptation that must have been almost overwhelming to him. To be at home with his wife if even only for a short time would be a welcome and unexpected respite from the discomfort of camp and peril of battle.

He was truly a mighty man. He was living up to his name, the Lord is my Light.

And David was stopped in his tracks by this mighty man....Caught in his sin by this descendant of pagans who now worshiped the Lord.

Perplexed and anxious, he fills Uriah with food and drink, figuring that if he is in a drunken state that his resolve will melt away and he will give in. That he will just go home and do the thing with Bathsheba. In David's thinking, there's no way that Uriah would be able to stand with drunken wobbly legs on what David believes is shaky moral ground. In David's thinking, he was underestimating Uriah and trying to bring him down to his own level. David feels that he can influence The Lord is my Light and use him to cover up his wrongdoing.

David forgot one thing. The Light of the Lord sheds light on our sin. It will never be used to cover our sin up as if it doesn't exist. The Light of the Lord exists to expose sin.

Of course, Uriah did not comply with David's plans. Somehow his inebriated mind retained some shred of strength and he fell asleep with the servants. He didn't go home to Bathsheba.

In David's state of forgetfulness and in his frantic efforts to cover his sin, he loses any small bit of righteousness and sanity left to him and orders Uriah back to the heat of battle. He orders him to the front where he is sure to be killed. Uriah is slain by the enemy and by the order of King David, "a man after God's own heart".

Rather than face the consequences and beg forgiveness of his friend and his Lord, David had become a murderer. David killed the "The Lord is My Light". He made sure there was no way that The Light could be focused on his sin.

But the mighty David had fallen. Not by a sword or an arrow... Not by the small river washed stone from a slingshot... Not by poison or garrote. He fell from great heights and power by his own failure to do what God had told him to do... to be what God told him to be. He fell by his own hand. He may as well have attempted spiritual suicide.

Though Uriah was gone, his death shed the Light even more powerfully over David. His actions and his sin could not be hidden from God. His relationship with his God was broken and gasping for breath.

David knew that the Lord was displeased with him.

In time, the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to confront him and accuse him. "Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon . 'Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' (2nd Samuel 12: 9-10)

When God spoke these words (through Nathan), David could no longer keep up the facade of innocence and he confessed to Nathan "I have sinned against the Lord!" and Nathan said to David "The Lord has taken away your sin. You shall not die." (2nd Samuel 12: 13) "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die." (2nd Samuel 12:14)

God forgave David the sins of adultery and murder. There were dire consequences to come, but the sin was not held against him. Although his reputation was damaged and his people had seen him fall, David could start anew with a restored conscience and relationship with his Lord.

As Christians, we can think or believe we are so close to God that He won't mind if we take a break, a little R&R from Christianity so to speak. We get comfortable in our relationship with Him and take for granted our status as His precious and privileged children. Maybe we are weary of the constant battles in life and like David, we see something or someone and think that we deserve a little pleasure or fun. After all, it won't hurt anybody. We deliberately sin. Then we try to cover it up. We make every effort to kill and silence our guilty conscience... our Uriah. We make excuses. We try to justify our actions and some times we even use holy scripture to do so. Failing at that, we put a distance between ourselves and our God and eventually our relationship with Him is in tatters and we are living a life where we don't welcome God's Light.

Thank God for this story of Uriah and his moral strength. Thank God for showing us that even those we see as the most spiritual and most righteous can fall. When we think that our relationship with God is so close that "I would never do this.... There's no way." we should thank God for this warning that we must ALWAYS beware of the devil crouching at our door waiting for the chance to trip us up. None of us should become so sure of ourselves that we think there is no way we could give in to life's temptations or that we will not be held accountable if we do. We should keep our "Uriah" close to heart as a constant reminder to take a stand for our faith. Be quick to confess our wrongdoing and swift to set things right.

Thank You God for allowing us the opportunity to ask forgiveness when we fall. Though we may have consequences to our sin, we have forgiveness and a new beginning through Jesus.