Tuesday, July 17, 2007

His Own Great Heart

"You know that I am but a dog, yet you have decided to honor me! O lord, you have given me these wonderful promises just because you want to be kind to me, because of your own great heart."

This morning I am sitting on the back porch, in the middle of eight acres of wooded land in rural Arkansas. As the sun comes up behind me, red cardinals fly from bush to tree, a couple of rabbits chew on the green grass, fresh with the morning dew. I look for the deer that often wander close to the house and, though I can’t see them, I’m sure, peering from behind bushes, they can see me.

With coffee cup in hand I read the words of David who just received word that, though he will not be allowed to build the Temple, Jehovah promises that He will honor and bless his lineage, that his name will be honored throughout history. Humbled, David returns a prayer of blessing with a thankful heart. Caught up in my surroundings and reading the words of the ancient king, I close my Bible and paraphrase David’s prayers, “You have blessed me Lord, just because you want to be kind to me, because of your own great heart.

In one week I will be back in New Delhi. Deer and rabbits will be replaced with screaming hawkers walking down the narrow streets in overcrowded and polluted city. The only birds I will see will be crows and kites. Chances are the flight pattern will shift and jumbo jets will descend a couple of thousand feet above our second story flat. Well, I will enjoy this peaceful setting for another week and will at least have this morning as a cherished memory. But even in the noise of the city I will still be able to say, “You have blessed me Lord, just because you want to be kind to me, because of your own great heart.

Being a follower of the one true living God is a blessing within itself. God is good to me, not because I go to a shrine to entice him to show favor to me, not because of some empty ritual I perform or mutter some meaningless chant. David, no doubt, saw the religion of idol worshipers when he said, “O Lord, there is no one like you – there is no other God. In fact, we have never even heard of another god like you!” I have visited forty countries, observed the religious practices of millions, and, I agree David, there is no other god that is like the God of heaven.

Of course, it was through the lineage of David that the Messiah was born. Through Christ, a gentile dog like myself, has access to the eternal promises of God. I am granted favor, grace, not because of my birth, nor my good works, but just because I believe in the son of David, the Son of God. And this promise of God’s favor is to anyone, not because they are good, but because He is good.

I’m not sure I will ever get back to this serene back porch again. Life has a way of throwing a curve when you least expect it. Well, the whole world is unstable, isn’t it? But I won’t dwell on that today. Instead, I dwell on David’s concluding words knowing that it transcends time and space, “for when you grant a blessing, Lord, it is an eternal blessing.