Crystal Writes A Blog

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A King of Hearts


As the song in the video says, God is The King of Who I Am. To be that King, God must also be a “King of Hearts.” For me, He is the king of my heart, and He sought my heart even when my fleshly desires drew me away from what I believe He planted deep within each of us in our creation. He longs for us to obey Him, not because He wants servants, but because a servant’s heart is a tender heart, and He can lead and guide us better if we are tender to His guidance. As I have drawn nearer to Him, here are a few things I have learned about God…

  • He is not a king of clubs (and bats) who beats us into submission to do things His way;
  • He is not a king of spades (and shovels) who says we must work for His gifts;
  • and He is not a king of diamonds (and gold) who is only in it for riches and pride.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 17:14 through Deuteronomy 17:20 (the end of the chapter), Moses speaks God’s words to Israel about a desire Israel will have when she enters into the land God is giving her. God knows that when Israel looks at the people of all the lands surrounding her, they will see kings in those lands, and they will likely desire a king for themselves. When this happens, God’s word is that Israel must appoint the king that He chooses for them. The king must be one of their own kinsmen and not a foreigner, and he can’t be in it for himself.

The king God will choose for Israel must meet strict standards. First, he must not acquire many horses because that requires a trip back to Egypt, and God has told the people never to go back that way again. Next, the future King of Israel must not acquire many wives for himself because it will turn his heart away from God. Finally, the king must not acquire excessive quantities of silver and gold. We’ve all sin what the love of money can do to those in leadership, and we know that the selfishness that creates a love for money is the root of all evil.

While this part of the portion is a short reading, I find it powerful. The next few verses give all the advice the king will ever need to prolong his own reign and that of his children in Israel. God says that the king should have a copy of the Torah from the scrolls used by the high priests and the Levites. The king is to keep it with him, and he is to read from it every day, as long as he lives. His reading will teach him to fear The Lord and keep God’s words and laws in his heart that he may obey them. He should not turn to the right or left from the good deeds God desires, and above all else, the king should never think he is better than his kinsmen.

We know from the rest of biblical history that God always desired humble kings with servant’s hearts. Those kings who thought themselves better than others, both in the Bible and in other recorded histories, have often come to humiliating ruin. I’ve read stories of King Herod that were disgusting in their descriptions of his loss of limbs to diabetes and the insanity he faced from multiple STDs. We know that King Nebuchadnezzar went crazy and crawled around in a field like a wild animal. Kings and kingdoms where the kings exalted themselves as if they were the gods of their people (a fool says in his heart that there is no God), crumbled and died the deaths of fools.

Oh, but how God loves a servant leader. He loved King David because David was a man who sought God’s own heart. When He robed Himself in flesh, Our Emmanuel (God with us) came as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and yet He did not exalt Himself above other men. He was born humble, He was convicted in humility, and He even allowed Himself to die in humiliation. He proved that what He asked Israel to do in appointing a king, He was willing to do and become Himself. He rules over our hearts, and He rules from His heart, so He is a King of Hearts, and He is THE King of my heart. What about you?

August 17, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Dinner Fit for a King


Dining Room CC Copyright = Attribution/Share Alike

Dining Room by Flickr User Christopher Lancaster
CC Copyright = Attribution/Share Alike
Click on image to view original and others by this photographer

In today’s reading from Genesis 43:16 through Genesis 43:29, eleven brothers–including the youngest brother Benjamin, have returned to Egypt. As soon as Joseph sees that Ben is with them, he orders his household manager to prepare a meal and instructs him that all the brothers will dine with him at noon.

Once the brothers are taken into the house, they are certain it is because they have been found out for having the money from the original purchase, and they are scared. They confess everything to the house manager and tell him they have brought it all back along with the money for the new purchases they need to make. The manager then tells them that it was a gift, and it was he who put the money back into their packs. He then brings them their other brother, Simeon, from the prison.

The manager gives them water, washes their feet, and feeds their animals, so they are ready to meet Joseph. When Joseph comes in to join them, they bow down before him, and he begins to ask them about their father. While still prostrated before him, they answer his inquiries and tell him their father is well and is still alive. He then asks about Benjamin and blesses him by saying, “May God be good to you, my son.” And that is where the story ends for today, but I know the best part of the story is yet to come.

Because I am a visual thinker, I cannot really read this story without imagining myself there. I may not always imagine myself as one of the guests or something–maybe just an invisible guest in the room. But I can anticipate the emotions these guys must have gone through with not knowing who Joseph really was or why they were invited to a royal dinner. I’m certain they had mixed emotions between fear and excitement. I know I used to make believe that I would be in school, and someone would come in with a note for the teacher that I had a truck waiting outside the school gate filled with beautiful clothes and the truth that I was actually a princess instead of just a short kid who got bullied and called “teacher’s pet” because I got good grades. I was certain that if people could know who I really was, they would never make fun of me again. As it turns out, I am a princess. I am the daughter of The King of The Universe. So, I guess I can say dreams really do come true, and one day I, and all those who have given their hearts to Christ will have the chance to dine with our King.

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tribe that Needed A Lion


The story from today’s reading in Genesis 38:1-30 (the entire chapter) is all about Judah. Since our Messiah is The Lion of the tribe of Judah, it would seem he should be the son whose offspring naturally lead toward the aspects from which would come a king. Unfortunately, it does not come out that way.

First, even though he prevented murder, Judah participated in the sale of his brother as a slave. Then, he went to another country and married a foreign girl (which generally meant the worship of false gods in the family). He had three boys, and two of the three were evil in the sight of the Lord.

We’re not told what the evil was in the life of the eldest, but we are told that God took his life. After he died, Judah sent the next brother to the widowed wife and asked that he raise up children to his brother to keep his lineage. The younger sibling did not want to create children that he could not call his own, so he practiced birth control and prevented the pregnancy. The disobedience was evil in the site of God, so He killed that brother as well.

A little note here: This is the Scripture often cited incorrectly as “It is better to spill your seed in the belly of a whore than to waste it on the ground.” No such Scripture actually exists in any texts we know of today, but similar statements have been made in scholarly texts. Just an FYI for those who have heard it and wondered if it was something actually in the Bible. I believe the sin here was in the disobedience of the father and in the disrespect and dishonor of the brother.

As the story goes on, Judah tells the widow Tamar to go back to her parents and live as a widow until his youngest son grows up enough to father children with her. But then Judah is so afraid that son might die as well that he never sends him. Finally, the woman takes off her widow’s clothes, dresses like a prostitute, and covers her face so she is not recognizable. Judah finds her and thinks she is a prostitute, so he gets her pregnant. But she is smart and makes sure to take something of his to show who is the father of her child. Later, when the order is given for her to be killed, she displays the items and he realizes what happened. He calls her more righteous than him because of his broken promise to her in not sending the younger son.

The last paragraph tells the story of the twins she delivered. This is the story where the first boy stuck out his hand and a midwife tied a scarlet string on it just before he pulled it back in. The other son was born and then the one with the ribbon, but the second born was considered the first because of putting out his hand.

The human foibles I’m reading here shows me just how weak we are and how God can bring strength out of weakness. It even explains to me why Yahshua selected disciples mostly from a band of misfits. And of course, that gives me hope in His ability to use this misfit, and any of the rest of you who have ever felt unqualified to be whatever He has called you to be. I’m sure as the story continues, we will see more craziness, but I am certain from what we’ve read already that this tribe was in desperate need of a King and a Messiah. We all need Him.

November 26, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like Father, Like Son


We have another very short reading today. This one runs from Genesis 26:6 through Genesis 26:12; just seven verses. And in today’s story, we have almost a repeat of the story between Abraham and Sarah, only this time it is between Isaac and Rebekah.

So what is it with these guys who look for a loophole to saying they’re married for fear their women will be taken, and they (the husbands) will be put to death? Was that an Egyptian custom back then? If so, I haven’t learned about it yet, but it sure doesn’t sound like a nice one. Whatever it was, Isaac did exactly as his father did with King Abimelech and told people that his wife was his sister. And then, just as happened with Sarah, the King spotted the two of them together acting more like lovers than friends, and he knew.

After seeing them, Abimelech confronted Isaac with the possibility that he could have brought a curse on his entire kingdom if anyone had slept with Rebekah. Then, since Isaac advised him of why he did it, the king declared to the entire nation that they were not to touch Isaac or Rebekah, and that the penalty for doing so would be death. And once that was done, Isaac went about his work, and whatever crops he planted that year yielded him one-hundred fold. And, again like his father, Abraham, it says that God blessed him.

These shorter readings do make it a bit harder on me to come up with much commentary, but I’m wrestling a bit more tonight because my mind is thoroughly in fiction mode from writing my NaNo story. I’m wanting to stop and describe the scene here and everything. But I think you, my dear readers, understand the gist of this little story anyway. So I’m thankful you stopped by to see what’s happening in the progression of the Bible story, and I’m thankful to say I have also surpassed 6400 words in my novel efforts. We will visit again tomorrow when we see how Isaac deals with men who get jealous of God’s blessings on him. Bye for now and may God richly bless you and your children and beyond.

November 3, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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