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Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 102: Nacah

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 15-17

Every craftsman, artist and worker--anyone who uses a tool in their labors--has something in common. They all know that a good tool makes all the difference in the ease and outcome of their work.

I am a cook. It is worth my hard earned money to have good knives. My kitchen tools are invaluable to me. They save me time and frustration.

I am a painter. A good brush, despite the cost, is worth its value in gold. It allows my strokes to be accurate and brings great joy.

I am a writer. When my computer is on the fritz, I am out of commission. When I can't locate my good resources, I go bonkers.

I am a nurse. Accurate equipment and pure medicines make a difference in my vocation. Gloves that are weak, needles with burrs, impure medicines are not only annoying, they can be dangerous and life threatening.

Ask any woodworker, farmer, teacher, lawyer, business person and they will tell you tools, reliable co-workers, organized sources and responsible parties make life a joy.

The word for the day is nacah. It means "tested and proved." It appears in 1 Samuel 17:39, but I think it is a theme in today's reading.

Saul tries to give David his armor, but David refuses to use it because, as he says, "I cannot go with this armor for I have not tested--nacah--it."

David knew and trusted his slingshot and stones. They had served him well in the past and he knew they would respond in a way he could trust. His tools were faithful---tested and proved reliable. They were nacah.

But this theme is introduced earlier in our reading.

God was testing Saul to see if he proved reliable--nacah.

God gave Saul a simple command. Go, fight, annihilate, bring nothing back.

But Saul did something we know from the book of Judges is dangerous. He "did not do as the LORD commanded" and instead "did what was right in his own eyes." The Bible calls this meree--rebellion or disobedience. God tested Saul, as a tool in God's hand, and as a tool, Saul failed. Saul could not be trusted. So God went looking for a more trustworthy tool. God basically said about Saul what David said about the strange armor.

I cannot go with this man for he does not pass the test.

I cannot trust him.

The questions of the day are these: When God tells you to do something, how much do you shape the command to your own way of thinking? When God picks you up as a tool in God's hand, how trustworthy are you? When God tests you, do you prove to be faithful?

Most of us who love the LORD want to be used by the LORD. We want to be where the action is. We have great enthusiasm to be laborers in the vineyard. But God doesn't like unreliable and irresponsible tools in God's hand any more than I like a dull knife, a paint brush that splays, a computer that crashes or a pair of surgical gloves that tear and ruin a sterile field. Just as I throw worthless tools aside and grab for ones that will consistently do the job right the first time, "God sees not as [someone who is inexperienced sees], for [that person] looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart;" (1 Samuel 16:7) God looks at the nacah.

If we who are sinful can discern a faithful tool, a faithful co-worker, a faithful friend, a faithful spouse, how much more will God be able to discern those in his creation who are not rebellious but obedient, tested and proved.

May we be nacah as God employs us in the work of the Kingdom.

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