Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spiders, Idols, Desserts & Typos: A two-part devotional

PART I: The Itsy Bitsy Spider Syndrome

"He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! Yet they kept on with their sin...." Psalm 78:16-17a (NLT)

Remember the little nursery school song about the itsy bitsy spider?

The spider starts crawling up the water spout, down comes the rain, washes the spider out, out comes the sun, dries up the rain, the spider starts climbing up again.

How stupid was that spider, anyway?

I mean, getting almost to the top and having that cold rushing water knock you all the way down had to hurt! And yet, as the song goes, he does it over and over and over again.

Reminds me of the Children of Israel.

Over and over while they wandered in the dessert, God provided for their needs with amazing miracles.

How much more amazing can you get than to have water come out of a rock in the middle of dry dessert -- enough for the thousands of people and their animals to drink their fill (Numbers 20:8)?

Despite these types of miracles and the daily and nightly presence of God in the form of fire and smoke, they sinned over and over, more than once in willful rebellion to God's direction.

How stupid, right?

Yes, and not unlike our own behavior. Come on, be honest.

Everyone does it; sin that is. It's in our genes; sin is in our skin. It's the curse we're stuck with until heaven is our home.

It's the never-ending struggle of every Christian; albeit a noble struggle.

That we are afflicted with having to deal with sin is annoying and some of the ways we deal with it are stupid and costly.

Maybe we should just stop climbing up those water spouts!

But when we do, just like with the spider, the sun does come out over and over. If we acknowledge, confess, and ask forgiveness for our sins, the Son shines our souls and hearts clean again (1 John 1:9).

Lamentations 3:22-23 promises, "Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Why would His mercies (compassions) need to be renewed every morning unless He knew we'd need them fresh every day?

Writer Ed Welch states, "When the sentry of our hearts is not vigilant, idolatry is like an instinct. It happens naturally....the Hebrews needed hourly reminders of the character of God. Apparently, we can never have enough reminders of God's extraordinary character. We can never meditate on it too much."

So, we need to avoid water spouts, guard our hearts, meditate on His Word, and when sin trips us up quickly lean on His mercies.

And, above all, don't be like that stupid spider!

Or, spiders.....

PART II: Dessert in the Desert? Typo sins

"In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wasteland they put God to the test." Psalm 106:14 (NIV)

So, have you stopped laughing yet? Did you catch the “typo” above? You know, "while they wandered in the dessert."

A sweet image for sure, as opposed to "desert" where it's hot and sandy.

Even though I'm at least a would-be wordsmith, there are a few words where the spelling always trips me up. American English has its quirks.

After typing "dessert" it felt wrong and maybe I looked it up to be sure. But then, maybe I decided to leave it in as an object lesson. Maybe.

Going through life as a Christian can sometimes feel like a trudge in the desert.

Pressures and challenges pour down on us like a hot, relentless sun. The sandy terrain shifts under our feet just as we think we've got our footing. A little dessert break would really be nice, and then the shimmer of an oasis -- or is it a mirage -- appears in the distance.

Sin can be like an ignored typo in our lives. We weren't looking for it but there it is!

Something comes along that doesn't seem quite right yet looks really sweet. We sense in our spirits that it's probably wrong. Maybe there's something in the Bible to guide us?

But, caught up in the preoccupation of the moment, we don't take the time to "look it up" and figure we've endured enough sand and deserve a treat anyway.

We don't stop to think. We act. We indulge. We binge. And then we pay.
This is why we need each other.

One of the toughest things for any writer to do is proofread their own material.

Why? We don't see our own errors; we"see" what we thought we actually wrote and typed. Typos are virtually invisible to the typoist.

One solution is to slow down and read the writing out loud. Another is to have someone else proofread it. In publishing, a whole string of people are involved: proofreaders, copy editors, content editors, and more.

To protect ourselves from "typo" sin slip-ups, we are called to bear with one another, encourage one another, be merciful to one another, love one another, forgive one another; in a sense, be Christ to one another.

That's what church, small groups, godly best friends, and accountability partners are all about.

What's the real dessert in the desert?

As Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the [dessert] from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true [dessert] from heaven. For the [dessert] of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” John 6:32-33 (NIV).


Are you surrounding yourself with godly friends who can help you spot the "typos" in your life? Please share your thoughts and reactions in the comments section!

Of course, we do do idol worship, do we?

Thank God that He forgives our "typos" unlike potential employers. And the viewers of the this TV show...

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