Sitting here with my grandson on my lap, the words of a song came floating into my soul, a song often sung on Sabbath evenings. It’s No. 210 in Warrior Songs, written by Rose Tiedeman: “The Sabbath Steals Upon Us.” The words I especially liked were in verse two: “Dear holy day, when God, our Heavenly Father gathers so close His children to His heart….”
Isn’t it wonderful that God describes Himself as a Father? In the godly norm, fathers are the strength and defense of the Christian home, and it often falls to their lot to gather the family together for prayer or devotion or simply to organize a little clean-up detail out in the yard. At best, the father establishes a special relationship with each of the children, such that each one has his or her own kind of love that’s unique, and each feels at home with him.
And so with our heavenly Father: now and then we feel a special need for security, and He has provided that for each of us in our own individual need. No two of us knows our Father the same way; and conversely, He knows each of us uniquely. That’s a wonderful truth to return to as often as we need it.
“The Name of Jehovah is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe,” says the Proverb (18:10). That’s one picture, and thank God for it! But I love the idea of running to my Father’s lap and finding safety there, too. The Bible doesn’t actually say that, but it does reveal what the opposite would look like. The returned exiles heard it in Jerusalem, straight from their governor, Nehemiah, when he gave them a characteristically vigorous object lesson: “Also I shook out my lap, and said, ‘So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performeth not this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied.’ And all the assembly said, ‘Amen,’ and praised Jehovah. (Nehemiah 5:13).
To be shaken out of God’s lap would be a disaster, wouldn’t it? No matter what happened with my grandson, I wouldn’t be inclined to shake him off and onto the floor! (Well, hardly ever….) And we need not ever fear this from our Father who is in Heaven. He is a God of love, and He cares for His children beyond anything an earthly father (or grandfather) could demonstrate.
It occurs to me that perhaps we all need this, right now, in the midst of political and cultural upheavals the like of which we’ve never seen before. Sometimes we could almost get frantic, wondering what’s coming next. But as someone shared in our Friday meeting this morning at Fairwood, there are two constants that we need never lose sight of: God is Good. And God is Sovereign. Now let’s add a couple more: God ordained the Sabbath, with all its blessings. And God’s lap is always open for His children! Putting all these together, we have a wonderful prospect: there’s a good God, who sovereignly ordained a Day of Rest and saw to it that the Seventh Day would be restored as that Day, and finally He has provided Himself a place of refuge. In fact, He is that place of refuge.
So this evening, or whenever you read this, how about turning off the news, turning our back on the ‘cares of this life,’ turning off our overactive imaginations, and just climb up into that unshaken and unshakable LAP, reveling in that Refuge. His arms are open to us. Why wait?
I love my Father, don’t you?
Amen, and Amen.
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