“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it , but am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts.”

2 Samuel 2,  Rev 21:1-8

2 Samuel 2 recounts the civil war that grips Israel after the death of King Saul.Disputed succession plan, competing political interests and power struggles. Opposing sides engage at Gibeon, and young men, 12 representatives of both  Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, and David, Judah’s king are killed without a decisive outcome, forcing a full scale battle to ensue. Chaos and conflict. The detail of Abner, Saul’s commander, killing the runner Asahel,brother of Joab, David’s commander is personal and gruesome, setting the scene for later retribution… Abner and Joab broker a truce. The dead, and grievances are counted, and Bethlehem is full of mourning. Death, tears,crying and pain.

In this chaos, God’s purposes move forward. David  sought God’s guidance for his future in line with God’s promises, and God answers and directs his course, v1, triggering civil war in Israel.

Conflict and chaos may not be in your life now, but it will, some day, in some form.While we are blessed to live in an affluent, advanced,  democratic country, free of civil war, starvation and mass population migration, stress in family and work  situations, internal conflict or health issues can leave us worn and weary by life. Loss of opportunities, health, dreams, relationships take a toll. The world we live in…

Which is why Revelation 21:1-8 is such a heart healing passage. What life steals from us, God gives in His grace. This is such a big vision. In one verse, the end of one reality and the arrival of the New is covered! Bang. Celebration time and the beauty of the bride. However more detail is given  to the relationship God establishes and creates. The gentle , tender heart of a powerful God- who has always sought relationship with His creatures made in His image- wants to live, to dwell, to tabernacle, to be  Emmanuel, with us.  Breathtaking! God’s presence, up close, wipes away the old experiences of tears, death, mourning, crying and pain. “Too good to be true ?” say those worn by life’s experience, which is why it is emphasized that these words are trustworthy and true, v5. God says it will be so. He alone can do it. So certain is it that it is already done! v6. The vision is not wishful optimism, but reality, because God’s will prevails. He is in fact above and over time-  before and after – boundless; solid rock foundation to majestic height.

We were created for God, to worship, depend on and follow. He, in His Grace desires to dwell with us.That is the big picture of the ultimate reality. Relationship, closeness, unity. The thirst we have for an end of chaos,pain and loneliness, is a desire God meets, by His presence. His presence is the water of life, the energy, the very source of life from which we are invited to drink freely and drink deeply.

We are encouraged to overcome. v7. Living in this world of chaos, experiencing its strife first hand, God wants us to live by faith in His promises and purposes, trusting  and obeying rather than giving way to cowardice, unbelief and idolatry. We need God’s grace to overcome the world and live in the light of the future which God holds.

We overcome by Jesus, His work and effort on our behalf. His Spirit refashioning our hearts and knowing that in the chaos, in your pain, tears, unbelief, cowardice and failure, Jesus is with you, with you always- to the end of the age (Matt 28v20).

So today trust that. Live with His presence, strength and the life that He brings. Now and always. May that move you this morning as you turn to Him in prayer.

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2 thoughts on ““I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it , but am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts.”

  1. Thank you Philip. We have appreciated your remarks. Good old Gandolf!

  2. Phil thank you for your thoughts today….absolutely wonderful! Yes may we “practice the presence” of Christ in our lives by His spirit. We will be caught up in worship. This is one thing we take into eternity.

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