Devotional Week 4 Tuesday
“How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! Your children take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.”
Psalm 36: 7
The Shadow of God
“There is a shadow that calms our cares,
There is a curtain that brings us light,
There is a cloud that the Father wears
When His love is too strong for sight;
When the fire of His presence draws too near
He brings me down to the valley’s shade,
And His glory is hid from eye and ear
In the cloud that His love has made.
I thought at first when my sorrow came
It proved that my Father was far away,
And in all the world there was no name
To whom my soul could pray;
But when, ‘ere ever the cloud passed by,
I felt a strength in the midst of gloom,
I knew that my Father must be nigh,
And my heart burst into bloom.
I have reared in shadow my flower of love,
It has bloomed, O Father, by night to Thee;
It has opened its petals to hopes above,
To a day it could not see;
And in time to come I shall fear no foe,
Though the sky be dark and the air be chill,
For I know that the flower of love can glow
When the sun has set on the hill.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And Elisha said to (King Jehoash), ‘Take bow and arrows.’ And he took bow and arrows. And (Elisha) said to the King of Israel, ‘Put your hand upon the bow.’ And King Jehoash put his hand upon it, and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.”
II Kings 13: 15, 16
“Of Bows and Arrows” Part 2
“The Hands That Hold You”
“God can give only according to His might; therefore He always gives more than we ask for.”
Are there times in my life when I felt so weak and powerless that I didn’t think I could be effective in anything God might ask me to do?
Can I think of a situation I faced when God helped me by His power?
“The work done by human effort cannot be compared to the divine work done by God in the creature by His goodness for the sake of the creature.”
“All the resources of the Godhead are at our disposal!”
Recently while studying for our upcoming devotionals, I came upon an artist’s visualization of what the scene would be like which captures today’s study text. In the picture, a young King Jehoash, muscles flexing, holds a bow and puts one arrow in place as he prepares to shoot. But the king wasn’t the person that attracted my attention. The artist captured, with great detail an elderly Elisha, with his body rising up from his bed of illness, and a determined look on his face while his arms are outstretched over the king, looking amazingly battle ready.
One can only imagine how the young king felt when the infirmed Elisha told him to pick up his bow and arrow and prepare himself for the task at hand. I can’t help but think of all the times Elisha had, throughout his life, been called to the royal palace when Israel’s ruler at the time, many of whom were tremendously disobedient, wanted his Godly advice in handling some imminent threat posed by a foreign nation. Elisha himself had found the Syrians surrounding his abode in Dothan with a well-armed army. And while Elisha’s helper was terrified at the sight of so many soldiers, Elisha’s vision gave him comfort and strength for he was able to see the heavenly army sent to protect him.
As I reread this story in Scripture, it helped me understand even more clearly why it is so critical to “keep in the word.” As we learned last week, our “eternal walk” can begin now, even while we walk an earthly path each day. Elisha’s life was positive proof that when we recognize that we are on an “eternal” journey in the here and now, God will give us vision to see His hands at work, even though we are here on earth.
For Elisha, his eternal walk certainly became a reality the day he left his families’ lucrative business and proceeded to take up life with Elijah in a battle for the spiritual hearts and minds of the people of Israel.
Now at the end of his life, the war-worn soldier for God, willingly provided encouragement to the wayward Jehoash. The gracious kindness shown by Elisha was a convincing witness of the way our heavenly Father deals with His children here on earth.
In no way do I deserve the loving-kindness of my heavenly Father which falls like morning dew upon my life each day. But yet, even knowing my weak and stumbling ways, my Father willingly says, “Take up the bow and arrow for I want to use you.” And then He places His strong hands upon my feeble hands and His strength becomes my own.
So often when we take up our daily activities, we think that it is what we “must accomplish,” but in reality, if we will ask for God’s guiding hand to be laid upon all we do and then if we obey God’s word, we too will find that the challenges we face are more effectively handled for it is not our power at work. As the Apostle Paul so eloquently shared with the young Christian Church in Ephesus: “By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, how rich is His glorious inheritance to His set-apart ones, so you can know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength” (Ephesians 1: 18, 19, Amplified Bible). All I can say is “Thank You Lord for Your hands of strength.”
As together we, in our mind’s-eye, picture the faithful servant of God with his hands upon the wayward young king, may we also recognize the power and strength gifted to each of us by our heavenly Father’s touch. With God’s strong hands laid upon all our tasks, no challenge or painful heartache is unbearable for the might of His power is even stronger in our weakness. In the words of author Roy Lessin, “your heart can depend totally upon the Lord, for His strength never weakens, His might never diminishes, and His power never fades.”
Many years ago, in the late 1800’s, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, after hearing the hymn, “Lead Kindly Light” written by John Henry Newman, wrote the following hymn. May this be our heart’s longing as well.
“Lead gently, Lord, and slow,
For oh, my steps are weak,
And ever as I go,
Some soothing sentence speak;
That I may turn my face
Through doubt’s obscurity
Toward thine abiding – place,
Even tho’ I cannot see.
For lo, the way is dark;
Through mist and cloud I grope,
Save for that fitful spark,
The little flame of hope.
Lead gently, Lord, and slow,
For fear that I may fall;
I know not where to go
Unless I hear Thy call.
My fainting soul doth yearn
For Thy green hills afar;
So let Thy mercy burn –
My greater, guiding Star!”
“And I will place within them as a guide my umpire conscience, whom if they will hear, Light after light well used they shall attain, and to the end persisting, safe arrive.”
He Leadeth Me
“He leadeth me! O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whatever I do, wherever I be,
Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea –
Still ‘tis His hand that leadeth me!
Lord, I would clasp my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ‘tis my God that leadeth me.”
J. H. Gilmore
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus