Lord. Have. Mercy. I went to a different church last night than I usually go to so I was sitting there with my stinkin thinking: man, I’m gonna miss the message at the other one. Then during worship, they played Do It Again by Elevation Worship and I knew You were gonna talk to me and I just needed to sit there and listen. Lord, You constantly meet us where we are. Lord, if I could just learn to seek You like a quarter of how You seek me, woah.
That man preached on 2 Samuel 10. We read the story about how King David sent two deputies, two mighty men, as an act of kindness to pay respects to the King’s father who passed. The King was naive and listened to the little birds in his ear telling him that David sent spies instead of paying his respects. So, the King shaved half their beards, cut their robes showing their derriere, and sent them back. David saw them coming back and sent someone to tell them to stay in Jericho until their grow back, then return.
The first point he made was that Luke 17:1 says we will be offended, we will be hurt, we will be violated. He said that was a fact and sooner or later it would happen. But he also said that the worst offense will bring out the best in us. He told us about how New Zealand has a bunch of no flight birds because there are no predators. Their wings don’t develop. Predators create the need for wings. The same way that airplanes take off into the wind, they need resistance to create the lift. He said the opposition will drive us to our knees. He said that was the whole point, so that we go out and get our own faith, not just hearing about the preacher’s faith. He said those mighty men got attacked doing what the King told them to do. The enemy will do all he can to stop us from doing Your perfect will.
But the King told them to go back to Jericho. Go back to where they were offended and humiliated. Go back to where their pride and dignity were taken. Don’t come back in that condition. Don’t come back looking like what they’ve been through. Go back until there is healing, until there is love, until there is forgiveness, until there their beards grow back. The preacher said it was like when the prodigal son returned, the father ran out there and covered him. He didn’t want to add to their humiliation, to their shame. He wanted to cover it, to heal it, to let them grow from it. The preacher said that Jericho means sweet fragrance. The King literally told them to go to the sweet place. The preacher told us to stay sweet, our dignity will come back, our honor will come back, our authority will come back. He said don’t get into it with them, don’t retaliate, don’t defend. You will restore our identity. Your word says to forgive. It doesn’t say forgive and forget. It doesn’t say that there won’t be justice. It says vengeance is Yours, Father, that You will have the final say, that You will fight our battles. It doesn’t say that vengeance is wrong, it says that it is righteous, but that it is Your job, not ours. He says stop shifting blame, stop throwing fits. At some point we have to go to Jericho. Then he said as Christians, we have the fruits of the spirit, but until someone takes a bite out of the fruit, we don’t know how sweet the fruit is. He said forgiveness is a point of reference to show how far we’ve come. We don’t look like what we’ve been through. He said I don’t care what you’ve been through, your beard is growing back. The garment of praise will come back. He said forgiveness is not about keeping score, it’s about losing count. He said forgiveness is not like a squeezable bottle of ketchup, its the glass bottle. It’s hard. The contents are under pressure. But there is a sticker strategically placed to tap to relieve the pressure. He said we just have to open the lid and tap. Be open and keep on tapping. Start knocking at forgiveness. He said prayer makes the connection. I read in The Art of Spiritual Warfare that “prayer legalizes Heaven’s interventions.” Lord, in Psalms it says: forgive us as we forgive them. As we forgive, it’s a continuous act.
Father, I have been struggling for almost two weeks with why I surround myself with all these hard personality types, when I have a soft one. I hand-pick hard people to be around. I selfishly wondered if I am constantly picking people that are hard to love does that mean I am hard to love too? Lord, I put so many walls to keep people out, to keep from being hurt. Then the ones I let in only seem to hurt me, over and over again. Which totally defeats the purpose. Lately, I am trying so hard to put boundaries up instead of walls and learn the healthy way to love and be loved. In the song it sings: “Walking around these walls I thought by now they’d fall But You have never failed me yet.”
So, that is my prayer. Lord, You never failed me. I pray that I keep learning to forgive. Abba Father, thank you for Jericho. Thank you for heaven’s interventions. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for healing. Thank you for grace. Thank you for mercy. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for love. Thank you for seeking me. Thank you for delighting in me. Lord, I am so unworthy, yet you never fail me. You never leave me. You never say I’ve hurt you enough, I’m done, I’m walking away. You don’t put up walls to keep me out. You just love. Father, I am hard to love. Thank you for loving me still. Thank you for loving me enough not to keep me that way. Thank you for loving me enough to cover me. Thank you for loving me enough not to keep me in that condition. Thank you allowing me to come to you. Thank you for accepting me as I am but loving me too much to leave me that way. Thank you for restoring me, instead of adding to my hurt. Thank you for using my pain for your glory. Thank you for taking my hurt place and turning it into a place of healing, restoration, and growth. Thank you for your greater plan and your greater purpose. Thank you for showing me to focus on you, focus on the cross, instead of my walls. Thank you for writing my testimony. Lord, I am still in your hands, thank you for that. Thank you for continuing to teach me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.