Torah reading: Leviticus 16-20
Haftorah reading: Amos 9:7-15
“On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” says the Lord who does this thing. vs. 11-12
Long before the time of Amos, the northern kingdom of Israel had rebelled and rejected the house of David. Here God promises to restore David’s royal line in preparation for the Messiah to come whose titles include ‘Son of David’. Previous to these verses the prophet has been warning of judgment upon Israel but suddenly there is this abrupt change from the stinging rebuke. It is now declared that the reason for the divine judgment was not revenge, but the only way to usher in the restored order on which the heart of God was set.
God’s intent in rebuke and judgment is ALWAYS restoration. He disciplines those whom He loves that we might walk more uprightly before Him.
The Tabernacle of David calls our attention to worship for that was it’s purpose: to be a place of worship and exuberant praise to the Holy One of Israel. To be sure David had no easy life. He faced many trials but what was his strength? He had a passionate love for God which was expressed in exhilarating worship. From his heart came such words as: ‘I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’
David knew the LORD to be not just the God of our good times but the God of all our times. Therefore He is also the God of our worst times. He is our God when all is going well and He is our God when troubles surround us. He is our God when we have plenty to eat and He is our God when we are hungry. In every and any circumstance, He is our God and worthy of our worship.
Worship is more than songs and the utterance of certain prayers. Those may be experiences of worship but in truth our entire life is to be an expression of worship to our God. Learning to honor Him and maintain an attitude of thanksgiving towards the LORD throughout our daily life, whatever our situation, is a process that never stops. We will continue to learn it to our last breath.
You may be thinking ‘I don’t have trouble thanking God and praising Him for all the blessings He has given me but what about the hard times? What about when tragedy strikes or I’m going through a very difficult season of life?’
My answer is a question: What’s the difference between a potato, an egg and a coffee bean? (I can hear you saying, ‘What?!? Did I read that right?!?) Yes, you did. Stay with me.
A potato is hard when you put it in hot water. After boiling it for some time, it becomes soft, mushy and weak.
An egg is protected by its shell until you put it in hot water. After boiling it for some time, the egg becomes hard.
A coffee bean starts out hard, but when you put it in hot water it doesn’t get harder and it doesn’t get mushy, instead, it changes the water into something better – fragrant, aromatic coffee!
So – praising God and thanking Him for His kindness and goodness, even in hard times, is a matter of choice.
Will I choose to be like a potato whose spirituality weakens when I face something difficult?
Will I choose to be like an egg and harden my heart with bitterness and resentment in difficult times?
Or will I choose to be like the coffee bean? To immerse myself in the love of God when times are hard and change myself into something new and better despite the ‘hot water’ I’m going through?
These comparisons are not original with me. I read a story on Facebook where a father used these very examples to help his daughter get through a very difficult time in her life. They were too good not to pass on to you.
My fellow coffee-lovers out there, next time you sip your brew ask yourself, ‘Am I letting God change me into a better person not in spite of but because of what I’m going through?’ Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker, it’s still a great question!
In Tune with Torah this week = whatever it takes to develop a lifestyle of worship is well worth the investment. For our God is worthy of all our worship and praise – all the time and in all our ways.