Well fed, lean soul

Been awhile once again since reflecting on God’s word with y’all. After my own private devotion time this morning, I started to get right to things when after receiving a text message from a friend about the challenges of parenting adult children – because, well, that job doesn’t stop when they move out, marry and have children of their own – I realized how easily I’ve slipped into morning routines dictated by culture….coffee, calendar, chores. Since leaving full-time ministry, I have allowed morning routines to trump this one regular discipline of mine of reflecting on God’s word – which I commend to others so often – a discipline that never fails to inform those others and makes such a difference in how I enter and live the day.  

I was paused at the first reading (lection) appointed for the day, Psalm 106. About Israel – God’s chosen people to be light and salt to the nations – and their journey with the Lord. The psalm recounts their story with God from Egypt through the wilderness, to the Promised Land. A journey over years and years and the times of trusting the Lord, not trusting him, trusting him again.  It is their story – one Walter Brueggemann describes as times of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. These verses from the psalm illustrate this idea:

12 Then they believed his words * and sang him songs of praise.

13 But they soon forgot his deeds *and did not wait for his counsel.

How often and frequently I forget God’s deeds – his actions in the world, and in mine, and in the lives of all those I love.  And by not taking time to recount the deeds as the psalmist does, I often lose my biblical-footing before taking in the day’s readings or taking on any given day. In forgetting, I’ll get impatient with a word or whisper from the Spirit urging me in one direction or another, or worse, I miss entirely the word or whisper and wisdom, eludes. Truth is I have gone for long stretches of time without hearing anything from the Spirit. And preached during those seasons as if I was in great communication, confident that God’s wisdom was infusing the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart.

Like the people of Israel I sense the periods of my disorientation have been far more frequent than those of re-orientation. Yet, also like them, faithful.  Maybe I need to look back over my journey – recount it – from God’s point-of-view, as the psalmist does here for God’s people.

My journey with the Lord that began, when?  How many times in my periods of disorientation have I prayed for a ‘thing’ or need instead of for wisdom and understanding? I wonder what my season in the wilderness has looked like to God. Have I, did I, pursue His counsel? Did I give Him thanks for the trials brought my way? Did I learn? Have I learned? I wonder.

Reading further in the psalm, I pause again reading, “… he gave them what they wanted “, what they thought they wanted – food that would sustain them, but did not strengthen or feed the deep well of their soul – their being, which I take to mean that the people chose the easy way, thinking they knew how to meet their own needs.

14 A craving seized them in the wilderness, * and they put God to the test in the desert.

15 He gave them what they asked, *but sent leanness into their soul.

Comfortable coffee-calendar-chores-like mornings. How many of us chose this easy way to start every day? Maybe we throw on an audio mediation or even take a quick view of the day’s news headlines. as we head out the door. And at our phone fingertips, a million apps to launch us into the new day – the day the Lord has made, mind you – but doing little to strengthen our souls, where God’s wisdom lands.

God’s heart for Israel allowed him to give what they asked for in their impatience, but how his heart longed for them to have trusted him – to not have forgotten his promises and deeds throughout their journey in the wilderness. To have not petitioned for the easy fix – feed us! – without regard to the relationship and history of trust being developed over the journey. How God longs for us to have full, meaningful lives – every single day that we are on this side of the dirt. And we don’t get there willy nilly. We need to seek God’s counsel, God’s wisdom. Not quick fixes.

And for me, that begins with dwelling in His word and pausing where God would have me pause, to hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people on this day.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Daily Office Monday: AM Psalm 106:1-18; PM Psalm 106:19-48
Hosea 14:1-9Acts 22:30-23:11Luke 6:39-49

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1 Response to Well fed, lean soul

  1. jamesjabus says:

    Tried to post comment, but couldn’t quite get it to work:

    Excellent! Thank you, dear LBC+. The journey continues throughout this life…in my lingo, it’s connection, disconnection, reconnection. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

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