“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Daniel 9:17 (NIV).
God is loving, merciful, honest, and it’s because He’s God, not because we deserve it. After learning that God is God and I’m not, this is, perhaps, the next most important thing any of us could learn about Him. God doesn’t give and provide to us because we deserve it, because we’re wonderful, or even because we need it. He does these things because He is God and these are fruits of His nature. It’s who He is; it’s what He does because He is the supreme being of the universe.
It’s a humbling thought, you see. And that turns out to be another very real blessing.
I don’t know about you but I struggle with humility. I’m very proud, and I have a few rare talents that God has given to me. Hard work has taught me to make the most of them, and while I give all credit to God that He gave me these things, I’ll admit: sometimes it’s REALLY tempting not to. Sometimes I really want to take the spotlight, bask in it, and enjoy playing center stage.
That’s a good time to remember that, because of my pride, because of anger, because of a host of sins, most of our lives are desolate without faith in Jesus. Sure, you can be a non-believer and say and do ‘good’ things and be applauded for them, but when the applause stops, you’re left feeling lonely and abandoned. It could even be that your world has fallen apart and your life has become that desolate sanctuary Daniel mentions. You know the one: the hollowed-out shell of the once hallowed building that was your life (or was God’s Temple). If you don’t turn to God at those times, there really is no comfort for you.
Except that there is. Many (maybe most) churches (except the one I attend) usually incorporate the blessing found in Numbers 6. Go look it up and read the words that God Himself spoke to Moses (to speak to Aaron). Even in the troubled times, the Lord blesses and keeps us. Even when we feel desolate and lonely, the Lord makes His face to shine on us and is gracious to us. Even when it feels as if all is lost, we get to remember that the Lord turns his face to us with His favor and gives us peace.
Remembering that makes it much easier to remember He’s God and I’m not, and I shouldn’t get too big for my britches.
For further reading: Numbers 6:24-26, Psalm 80:19, Daniel 9:18
Lord God, You bless and keep us, You shine Your holy face on us. You give us Your blessed peace. Keep me humble so I might better appreciate and share these priceless gifts.
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