The King’s Friend

Hushai was “just” the king’s friend.

Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend. 1 Chronicles 27:33  

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 (ESV) 

These are two verses that seem strange to put together. But that is what I felt the Lord doing recently. What could these verses have in common I wondered.

  The first verse comes after a long list of King David’s royal officials and their important responsibilities. One was in charge of the king’s storehouses, one was in charge of the field workers who farmed the land, one the vineyards, another the olive and sycamore trees. There were officials in charge of the cattle and the other livestock, the king’s property, the king’s sons, and Ahithophel the king’s adviser.  

And then at the end it says, “Hushai was the king’s friend.” As a performance-oriented person, tempted to salvation by works, that jarred me. Just his friend. The word for friend used here is a Hebrew word which means friend, companion, intimate. It comes from the verb form which means to be a special friend. But still, just a friend. 

So, what does that have to do with joy and peace in believing? I decided to look into the meaning of the Greek word for joy used in Romans 15:13 and I was pretty shocked. 

The Greek word is chara (χαρά). It means “cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight.” The verb form is chairo which means “calmly happy” according to Strong’s i

This surprised me because I’ve always thought of joy as expressed like David dancing with all his might – singing songs at the top of my lungs, jumping and clapping and dancing. 

Joy always has seemed like a doing thing to me, even something I had to manufacture, some kind of outward expression. Certainly not calm delight.  

There is another Greek word for joy or rejoice, agalliao (ἀγαλλιάω). And that one does mean “jumping for joy.” It is the word that Mary used in her song of praise: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices (jumps for joy) in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). 

But the joy expressed in Romans 15:13 is a different kind of joy. It’s a believing, firm, standing on the Rock, I know-it-in-my-knower kind of joy. So, it makes sense to me for this calm delight to be paired with peace. Peace is the Greek word eirene (εἰρήνη). It means, among other things, the “tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God.” 

According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament peace is, in its widest sense, the “normal state of all things.” Wow, I love that! Peace is what is supposed to be the normal state of all things, but especially between me and God. It is peace of soul. “Peace of soul is meant in Rom. 15:13, although this peace is possible only through the saving work of God which restores our normal state … it is a positive state inseparably connected with joy and faith.” 

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 4:25-5:2 

Let not your hearts be troubled (agitated, troubled, anxious, distressed, take away your calmness of mind). Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1 (ESV) 

But what does all of this have to do with being a friend of God? It’s the “doing something” thing again. The salvation by works thing. All of King David’s royal officials had works they did. But Hushai was “just” the king’s friend. I see now that there is no “just” about it in God’s mind. 

The miraculous thing is that God wants us all to be called the King’s friend. I believe it is His ultimate goal and passion. 

I don’t know about you, but the command to be joyful has been accompanied by a certain amount of guilt for me. I am not always happy and jumpy and clappy. I get weighed down with the effects of sin and the oppression and sorrow in this world. But I know – I know – that I am the King’s friend. Calmly delighted and happy, tranquilly assured of my salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord. 

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, being the special friend of God, having peace with God, is my normal state. And that is joy. 

I have called you friends … John 15:15 

You too can be God’s friend – Salvation

i Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

Image copyright Jack Bair 

Rest

“‘Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.’ Yes, for Him. Seek not only the help, the gift, seek Himself; wait for Him. Give God His glory by resting in Him, by trusting Him fully, by waiting patiently for Him. This patience honors Him greatly; it leaves Him, as God on the throne, to do His work; it yields self wholly into Him hands. It lets God be God.” — Andrew Murray, Waiting on God

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Immeasurable Peace

Wow, I love it when God does this! These came almost one right after another in my inbox today. A message for all of us.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus had moments where He would withdraw from the crowds because He needed to fix His entire being on God. Our souls find clarity and peace when we step away from the world so we, too, can be with our Heavenly Father. We will undoubtedly encounter the healing our souls and even bodies need when we sit still in His presence. — blogged by Estera Marian, Eyes of My Heart  https://theyesofmyheart.com/2021/02/26/rest-for-your-soul/  

Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: “May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country, or relationship fulfill my deepest desire”? But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burnout. — Henri Nouwen 

May I ask you, what is that thing that is pressing against you? That thing that causes pain, brings tears, and appears as though it can never change. Just want to share that God is able, nothing is too hard or impossible for the Almighty and Sovereign God. Please allow me to encourage you to look up and know that God loves you and is with you in this season. — blogged by Beholding Him Ministries   https://beholdinghimministries.org/2021/02/26/trust-god-in-the-hard-place/  

Jesus knew the disciples needed the kind of peace that would see them through any and all situations. He told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” … Jesus added, “not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). This wasn’t going to be the so-called peace of a numb, zoned-out society. Nor would it be the temporary peace of the rich and famous, who try to purchase peace of mind with material things. No, this was the very peace of Christ himself, a peace that surpasses all human understanding. 

When Christ promised the disciples his peace, it was as if he was saying to them and to us today: “I know you don’t understand the times you face. You don’t comprehend the Cross and the suffering I am about to face. But I want to bring your heart into a place of peace. You won’t be able to face what is coming without having my enduring peace in you. You must have my peace.” — David Wilkerson, “Immeasurable Peace,” World Challenge Daily Devotional 

Who is Able to Keep You

So many times many of the blogs that I follow each week have a similar theme. I believe it is “what the Spirit is saying to the churches,” or at least what He is saying to me! Thank you to all you great bloggers out there!

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3  

Is your mind stayed on God or is it starved? Starvation of the mind, caused by neglect, is one of the chief sources of exhaustion and weakness in a servant’s life …  

Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him. You should seek to be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This will be one of the greatest assets of your faith when a time of trial comes, because then your faith and the Spirit of God will work together … 

“We have sinned with our fathers…[and]…did not remember…” (Psalm 106:6-7). Then prod your memory and wake up immediately. Don’t say to yourself, “But God is not talking to me right now.” He ought to be. Remember whose you are and whom you serve. Encourage yourself to remember, and your affection for God will increase tenfold. Your mind will no longer be starved, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright. Oswald Chambers, From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition 

Perhaps you are feeling right now as if your strength and your hope have perished. Perhaps you feel very far from a place of peace. Maybe you realize there is a troubled, unsettled spot deep in your spirit. Could this be the very set-up for a rebirth of your hope and peace? It is no mistake that the Bible tells us in Hosea 2:15 that God will sometimes take us through a gloomy, deserted valley called Achor [trouble] as a ‘doorway of hope.’” (blogged by Derek Prince Ministries) 

 
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind Romans 12:2 

If it is our duty … 
  to redeem time, 
  to walk with God, 
  to do all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
  to follow the example which He set for us when He was upon the earth,  
  and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling 
–then it must of course be our duty to avoid a conformity with the world in those vain and sensual diversions, which stand in as direct contradiction to a spiritual frame of mind, as darkness to light. — John Newton (blogged by The Whole Armour of God https://steverebus.com/2021/02/07/this-precept-is-very-extensive-and-important/

We must keep in mind also that the grace of God is infinite and eternal. As it had no beginning, so it can have no end, and being an attribute of God, it is as boundless as infinitude. — A.W. Tozer (blogged by Beholding Him Ministries https://beholdinghimministries.org/2021/02/10/wisdom-wednesday-the-infinite-god-021021/

I remember my affliction and my wandering, 
    the bitterness and the gall. 
I well remember them, 
    and my soul is downcast within me. 
Yet this I call to mind 
    and therefore I have hope: 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, 
    for his compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; 
    great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:19-23  

The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? If so, then your ability to see God is blinded. You will be powerless when faced with difficulties and will be forced to endure in darkness. If your power to see has been blinded, don’t look back on your own experiences, but look to God. It is God you need. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬) — (Brooklyn Tabernacle via Facebook) 

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  
― A.W. Tozer 

To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling … Jude 24 

Photo, Edge of Frosted Creek, copyright 2021 Jack Bair

Perfect Peace

Could God be saying that our hearts were formed, were created, to trust in Him?

Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears (reverences, honors, holds in awe) the LORD … He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. Psalm 112:1, 7-8 

This verse was in my daily reading yesterday and it really hit me. Because I have been living in fear of bad news for a while. One bad thing after another – what’s next? I had been crying out to God for a while, but not receiving an answer. This had even caused me to be in danger of doubting God’s promises and becoming bitter. So, I decided to look closer at these verses. And God, in his great mercy and unfailing love, answered me. 

Where it says “his heart is steadfast trusting,” the word translated “steadfast” is the Hebrew word kuwn. It means established, prepared, made ready, fashioned. According to the Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testamenti, ” [t]he root meaning is to bring something into being with the consequence that its existence is a certainty … bringing into existence, of a thing.” 

It is the same word that is used in Psalms and Proverbs here: 

Your hands made me and formed (kuwn) me; give me understanding to learn your commands. Psalm 119:73 

When He established (kuwn) the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep … Proverbs 8:27 (NASB) 

The word for the little cakes formed by the hands of women in Jeremiah 44:19 is derived from kuwn. Could God be saying that our hearts were formed, were created, to trust in Him? And that if we are not using our hearts as they were intended, not trusting, we are fearful – that we will have what David Wilkerson called “foreboding fears of the future”? And if we are trusting – as our hearts were made to do – we do not fear? 

Look at the next verse (Psalm 112:8): “His heart is secure, he will have no fear.” The word translated “secure” there is the Hebrew word camak. It means supported, upheld, sustained, borne up. It means someplace to lean or lay upon, rest upon, lean against. This is the word used here (which verse God sent me through two different sources yesterday!):   

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast (camak), because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 

One of the sources for this verse that I received in my email was a recording of a message preached by David Wilkerson in 2009. Right at the beginning he says that he wasn’t going to leave his seriously ill wife and come to church, but God told him to go and deliver this message because there were people who needed to hear it, there were people with “foreboding fears of the future.” That’s us.

Isn’t that amazing? Eleven years ago, God gave a message for me, for us, in this very fearful time. If you are like me right now, fearful and doubting and verging on bitterness, listen to the whole message. It is for you. Let God bring you back into his arms where you can rest upon His mighty heart. 

God Knows, David Wilkerson, 2009  https://worldchallenge.org/sermon/david-wilkerson/god-knows?ref=em1120  

Photo by Jack Bair, 2005

Peace, Peace

You will keep (guard, watch over, preserve)

in perfect peace (peace, peace)

him whose mind (purpose, framing, framework)

is steadfast (supported, upheld, leaning upon),

because he trusts (is bold, confident, sure, secure) in you.

Isaiah 26:3

 

Image from Matthew’s Island