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Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 175: Give me a break...

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 15:1-24; 2 Chronicles 13-16

Nevertheless, for David's sake the LORD his God gave Abijah a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son (Asa) to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong.
1 Kings 15:4

Sometimes I find myself reading along in scripture and getting involved in the big picture and all of a sudden, a word jumps out at me. Often the word catches my attention because it seems out of place or strange in the context. So it was today. I'm reading along about the kings and their battles and their idolatry--themes that seem to be the norm--and suddenly I stop. God is giving Abijah "a lamp" by raising up a son. What a strange choice of words. God is calling the gift of a son, "a lamp."

The Hebrew word here for "lamp" is "neer" which carries with it the understanding of breaking through, cutting through, as a plow would cut a furrow in the land. A lamp is that which breaks through, cuts through, the darkness.

In Genesis, we learn that darkness separates when light is ushered in. A lamp sheds light and cuts through darkness. God is giving Abijah and the people of Judah "a break,"--a lamp in the midst of their darkness--for the sake of their great grandfather, David. Despite the disobedience of the present generation, some of the generational blessings left over from David's faithfulness are still being bestowed.

Asa is born. His name means "healer" and he immediately begins healing the land by destroying idol worship and returning to the temple of the LORD God, reinstating the priests and humbling himself before God.

And because of this Lamp, this break, whose obedience is true before God, God gives the people of Judah rest from war.

I'm wondering if the story of Asa is the root of the phrase we use quite often when we are distressed---"Give me a break!" It means, "cut me some slack," "ease up a bit," "give me some breathing room."

I think it is a wonderful thing to realize that even in our disobedience or in our frazzled lives, we can say to God, "Give me a break! Send me a lamp! I need some light on this, please."

And God said, "Let there be light!"

"And God sent forth his Son," who made the claim, "I am the Light of the world."

Then Jesus says, "You are the light of the world." You are the lamp on a lamp stand.

Did you ever think that your witness, your testimony, your faithfulness to God might just be the "break" someone has been praying for?

You might just be the answer to some one's prayer, "Give me a break, LORD."

"LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let darkness prevail against you."
2 Chronicles 14:11

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