Friday, July 29, 2011

The Priest

Dear Readers,

(Note: I hope you enjoy my next series of blog posts. I designed the posts to try to encourage you. They are written in story format, and I took some literary license to tell “how it might have been”. This story is based mostly on I Chronicles 22, 23. )

Our King David wanted to build the temple, but he said that God told him directly that he had too much blood on his hands. I know that King David is loved by God, so I don’t pretend to understand why God didn't let him do it. Well, God knows best, and I learned a long time ago not to question Him. Look at what happened to Uzzah when all he did was reach to steady the ark so it did not tip over. Uzzah instantly fell over dead. God has an order and a plan, and I know as a Levite that it can't be thwarted, even innocently.

God said that Solomon was going to build the temple instead. King David has so many sons, so I'm not sure why he chose Solomon to become king after him, and to build the temple. Well, again I think of God’s plan…..

Has King David gone mad in his old age? He's like a man possessed. He's been gathering foreigners all over the place! What's he doing? They're mostly stone-cutters and craftsmen beyond number. He's contracted with them to supply vast amounts of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Even though King David seems almost obsessive-compulsive about the temple building, I've rarely seen him so excited about anything. During his years of fighting he was much more serious. Now he's like a child making delicacies. At his age I hope he doesn’t have heart failure.

He's also been organizing us Levites. There are thirty-eight thousand of us and twenty-four thousand of us he said will be in charge of the temple. He then separated us into divisions. I'm in the division of Kohath. I'm proud of my ancestry being a direct descendant of Aaron who was the brother of Moses. What an honor! I hope I can live up to this great heritage. I sometimes doubt myself.

David sat us down and gave us detailed instructions of what we're going to be doing in the new temple when it is finally built by his son. It was an exciting time. We were instructed to sit down on the hillside by division and King David and the appointed leaders of our respective families yelled out our instructions.

Again the king seemed more excited than I have ever seen him, save the time when he brought the ark back to Jerusalem. Nothing can compare to how happy he was then. He danced with joy like I have never seen before.

Well the instructions are set for each family of Levites. All we have to do is await the final stone being laid and the temple dedicated. I'm sure there will be many practice runs to make sure we carry out our instructions properly. Some of my fellow Levites in other families will be in charge of temple preparation and maintenance. Some will prepare sacrifices and take care of the altar. Some will get the utensils ready. Some will bake bread without yeast. I'm glad I won’t be doing that. I always was a terrible cook.

Guess what my job is to be? In a way I'm honored, in a way overwhelmed, and in a way almost embarrassed that I don't have to do more. While some others are slaving away with sweat dropping off their brow, I have a completely different duty. My job, and the job of my family of Levites is to praise the Lord. Yes, you heard it. My main responsibility is to stand at attention in the morning and thank and praise the Lord for His goodness. Then again in the evening I will stand at attention and praise Him for His goodness for the second time. Also we'll repeat the process at the special New Moon feasts and appointed festivals.

What does all this mean, praising the Lord? Why is it so important? Why would David appoint a family of men to just praise the Lord, and that is the bulk of their task? It seems exciting now, but will praising the Lord each day eventually become a mundane and boring routine task? I don’t know. Only time will tell.

Also, where's all this leading? David seems so excited and I 'm not sure exactly why. He's getting old and won't be with us much longer. Why would an old man, almost ready to pass away from this earth, put so much energy into this temple and priest thing? Is there something I'm not seeing? Does he know something I don’t know? I do know there has been some talk of a future Messiah. Is that what this is all about? Again, only time will tell.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Old Dog

Dear Readers,

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. How many times have you heard that saying?

Now that I am approaching sixty years of age the saying hits closer home. A few weeks ago I was with my son registering for college where I saw numerous young people, mostly still in their teens, in the process of registering. I wondered to myself “what separates them from me?” All of a sudden I had the urge to register for classes myself just to show everyone, and myself, that I am not washed up. Plus the urge to learn was re-inspired within me. The college bulletin board had all kinds of study tips and things that an employer is looking for, things that I never even thought about before after roughly forty years of employment.

There is also a recent trend in the church whereby I have heard pastors and others say when they want to go to more modern way of worship with a stage-like appearance, colored stage lights, etc. They said there is proof that the younger generation is where the future of the church lies. They went on to say there is proof that old persons without the Lord in their lives are much more likely to never give their hearts to the Lord.

While I agree that the future of the church might lie within the lives of the younger generation, I bristle when I hear church leaders and others tout the fact that older persons will never give their hearts to the Lord, so there is no need spend much time or energy trying to reach out to them.

I prefer the saying, “You’re never too old to learn.” And I especially like the Bible verse in 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV): “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” “Everyone” means even “old dogs”.

See you next time,