Monday, November 4, 2013

Answers in a Bottle

You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.  My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.  This I know:  God is on my side!  I praise God for what he has promised; Yes, I praise the LORD for what he has promised.  I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?  What can mere mortals do to me?  I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.  For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping.  So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.    Psalms 56:8 - 13 (NLT)
Young David was a wanderer – not by choice, but because Saul the King wanted David’s hide nailed to the palace wall.  David knew Saul’s hot, paranoid pursuit was unwarranted; David had only wanted to serve the king, but Saul was driven insane by jealousy over all Israel’s adoration of David’s achievements. 
David seemed to be in a lose-lose predicament.
In the midst of David’s wanderings he penned Psalms 56.  David wrote not about a little pity-party of sorrows.  His was a flood of heartbreak, as he shed buckets of tears for his king and the people.
Ancient people had a custom at funerals to wipe away the tears of their friends with a cloth and squeeze the tears into a small bottle or earthen glass.   It would be carefully preserved as a memorial of the friendship and sorrow.[1]
David was certain God had something of a tear bottle containing all his sorrows.  But, for what purpose would God memorialize David’s suffering and sorrow? 

The same reason He keeps yours! 

We wander….like David, chased by a world system that can be wildly hostile.
We are weak….like David in the caves, worn out from life’s draining events.
We need answers….like David, we wonder how long you have to be faithful and do the right thing before the world turns right-side-up again.

The Good News

Even in the wandering and caves filled with tears David knew the Lord was near and God was on his side.  God would provide what David needed. 
Even in his weakness and temptation to give up, David could praise God for the future, because David knew God was in the future.
Even in the bleakest of outlooks, David would remember to “pay his vows” (keep serving with everything he had), because in serving God we discover light while we’re in the tunnel, and hope for the new day at tunnel’s end.


Remember the old hymn, “Tell It to Jesus”?  Sing it this morning (go ahead…if anyone’s listening it’ll do them good, and you need the humility anyway).
            Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden?
                        Tell it to Jesus.  Tell it to Jesus.
There are answers, life-giving light for you in God’s tear bottle.

[1] Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament, 2nd Ed., ©Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1999, Parsons Technology, Inc

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