Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 21

I Samuel 29:1-31:13; John 11:54-12:19; Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 15:24-26

It’s spring in California and we’ve got bees!

We’ve got a swarm of bees in our front yard. They are massed together under a bush and they’ve been there for days. We aren’t sure what to do about them as we know bees are needed for the pollination of crops and flowers, but they are a bit ominous and we have grandchildren who come over.

And my daughter, Mary, had a swarm in her lime tree in the backyard. She said it was terrifying when the bees suddenly left the lime tree while she was in the garage. She ran, screaming for Mike and the kids, who were in the front yard, to run into the house.

David writes that His enemies surrounded him like a swarm of bees (Ps. 118:12). His enemies were armed soldiers who were on a quest to kill him! I’ve had enemies, too, but not ones who wanted to kill me.

One of my enemies was my next-door neighbor in Austin. We bought our lot and had our house built before the subdivision was finished and there was a large vacant lot next door. One day the surveyors came and staked the next house to be built. I went outside to look at the stakes and I realized that the house next door would be Next Door. Though we each had a half-acre lot, their house was staked to be built 10 feet from the lot line, and unfortunately, ours was built close to that same lot line. I was devastated by this plan. Why, with land to spare, and since I couldn’t move my house, please would they move theirs? I talked to them and presented my viewpoint, winsomely, I hoped.

That same day, in the spring, I read this verse. And I thought of the truth of it. If God could protect David from enemies bearing swords who were swarming around him like bees, surely he could protect me from my neighbor’s house intruding on what seemed like “my rights.” And he could keep them from becoming my enemy even if they didn’t move the house stakes. “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation…I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely but he has not given me over to death “ (Ps. 118:13-18).

The neighbors didn’t move the stakes. Their house was built right next to ours. I claimed this verse and they did not become my enemies. And it turned out all right, after all. Their house was built at an angle tilting away from us and ours was tilted away from theirs so, except for that front corner, there was actually plenty of room between the houses.  And years later, the owners told me they were sorry they didn’t listen to me, but, thank you, Lord, I was over it by then.

I had chosen what Proverbs 15:24 says: “The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave. “ Because of the verses in Psalms about bees, I chose life and good relationship with my neighbors.

In the days ahead we will read of David’s sin that will change the trajectory of his life’s path. He will be defeated by an enemy, but not one with a sword.

In John, we see Mary’s lovely anointing of the Savior who will die. Her spiritual discernment leads her to perform an expensive and beautiful act for Jesus; she anoints his feet and the fragrance of the perfume fills the house.

Lord, you give us counsel in Your Word to keep us from going down to the grave. May we be like Mary in honoring Your spiritual authority in our lives and making daily choices to obey You in simple ways that have bigger consequences.

- Nell Sunukjian

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