Scripture Diving

1 Chronicles 16:11

Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!”  
-1 Chronicles 16:11
(& Psalm 105:4)

Observation about who God is in this passage

God is strong. God is capable. God has done amazing things! God is also available. His presence is available to be found when we seek Him and He is also available to help and strengthen us when we ask. If He were not, there would be no use in looking for Him or asking for His help and His strength.

Observation about context and/or how this fits with other parts of scripture

This psalm (song) of David’s is a joyful one but it also carries some big reminders, things that when I remember them I am able to praise the Lord right away and rejoice in Him. When I forget, I am weakened and potentially face feeling alone and overwhelmed.

This song was sung after the ark of the covenant had been recovered and was on it’s way back to Jerusalem. Previously it had been taken by their enemies and then it was miss-handled – so much difficulty, uncertainty, and suffering that could have been avoided just remembering how amazingly capable God has always shown Himself to be.

Life application lesson(s)

Initially I think its easy to look at the backstory as God being harsh, but upon closer observation, verses 1-5 explain more about what God wants me to know about Him. I think one thing that He wants me to understand about Him is that He is completely capable of handling everything in my life, even the things that look like catastrophes or look impossible, or maybe even like an attack on Him or His glorification. He reminds me here (and so many places in His Word) that I should stay focused on Him. Rather than doing things my way or with whatever strength I have, ask for His help and His strength.

I worry about a lot! And there are plenty of times (dare I say daily?) that I forget just how capable He is in every situation. I make plans, I set goals, I get in touch with the “right” people, I do the “right” things, I take safety measures – all without a single word to God, a single request for His help. Sometimes, I even try to convince Him (and myself) that I’m being irresponsible if I don’t do all these things and even think that somehow God won’t get praised or get the glory and attention if I fail at whatever. But at the end of the day, I am just more tired, overwhelmed, discouraged, and scared than when I began.

But when I do remember to seek His presence continually, I am encouraged. I am at peace. I have more joy. I am energized. I am relieved. I feel like dancing like David did! Why? Because when I remember to seek His presence, I actually get His presence. And I remember, just like this psalm, just how amazing God is and all the ways He has so faithfully and capably taken care of every single one of His creation. I find myself being relieved because its actually not all on me and my strength. Its all on Him, and He’s totally got this.


Father, thank you for always being faithful. Thank you for showing me your strong hands and reminding me just how capable you are to handle everything. Thank you, Jesus for the reminder with your life that even when people (or even I) don’t “get it” or fail to let God lead the way, that it doesn’t diminish His power or even His love. Thank you, Lord for these reminders in your own Word to me. Your reminders in scripture are like precious gold to me and they lighten my load and brighten my path. When I am tempted to worry and do everything on my own, please show me sooner the gallery of your amazing work. Thank you Holy Spirit for being with me and speaking to me so that my trust for my Father increases and so that His presence is magnified making me more and more aware of it. Thank you, Lord for your strong arms, always holding me without faltering, no matter how I squirm and make a mess of things. Thank you for being attentive to help me and answer me, and thank you for showing me that when I look for you, I can in fact find you. Your love for me and faithfulness is overwhelmingly wonderful. May your children all remember and recognize your strong and capable arms and may we respond with loving trust of you, our Daddy.


Sweet, Sweeter, Sweetest

How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119: 103


Many Christians (myself included) often begin January with a kind of “reset” – a specific re-focusing on our individual relationship with God through renewed or increased prayer accompanied by fasting of some kind. Some go all out and do a “Daniel’s Fast” or further still some fast solid foods for a couple of weeks (so far the Holy Spirit hasn’t led me to do that one!). Usually I look forward to the beginning of the year reset and fast time. Usually I have a fresh excitement about giving the first-fruits of my entire year to God. Usually I ask the Lord a couple of weeks prior to the start of our “21 days” about what I should be praying about and focusing on and sacrificing as a constant reminder to talk to Him. This year however had a very different start. I don’t really know why (I haven’t given my very analytical brain the space to dive deep into that question), but I ended up not sacrificing anything and really justifying not fasting anything at all for the first 10 days of our 21 day fast. I had my quiet time with the Lord every morning and almost every morning would question what I should fast and if I even should fast. I wound up having full discussions with myself going back and forth: “To fast or not to fast? That is the question.” … My justification not to fast was that the only thing I seemed to be able to come up with doing was to fast sugar and I thought that was “too easy” and it felt more like a diet than a reminder to stop and talk to God. So I didn’t do anything.

But God, with the grace and perfect love for me that He has, continued speaking to my heart and one Sunday morning His voice was a little louder. Our pastor was talking about fasting just for a couple of minutes and mentioned something along the lines of “…if its so easy, why not just do it?” It was so brief and that wasn’t even the topic of his message. It was one of those God-voice things and I immediately latched on to it.

The next morning during my quiet time the Holy Spirit reminded me again “If its so easy, what is holding you back from doing this fast? What will it hurt to fast sugar in favor of extra time listening to The Father? Do you think He cares whether or not you started on the ‘right’ day?” (another of my justifications for not doing the fast) “He cares for your attention. Just start.”

So I did. I gave up sugar for the remainder of the 21 days. It didn’t all the sudden become hard, nor did I have huge, earth-shattering moments and even the temptation for sugar wasn’t that bad. But I did experience something different – a different sweetness.

The week that I gave up sugar, I was reflecting on the choice to fast sugar and again feeling like “Why am I doing this specific fast? Does it even mean anything?”

God is so good. His love is so tender. … and sweet.

As I was reflecting and reading, the Holy Spirit whispered to me that God Himself is the sweetness that I long for.

The name of Jesus is the sweetest name. His Word is sweet, “sweeter than the honeycomb”.

I gave up sugar, a physical sweetness, and then I saw even more all around me the sweetness of God. And He took me further and showed me that He wants me to be sweeter, just like He (my heavenly “Daddy”) is. He wants me to be sweeter towards others – to use kinder, more gentle words, to consider others before myself, to have more patience with my children and co-workers and family, to brighten someone’s day with a sweet smile, to speak life and hope and love – those sweet things that we all need to hear.

Throughout the rest of my sugar fast I was reminded again and again of the sweetest Name, the sweetest One, the sweetest Word, the sweetest Gift. And each time I reflected on my fast, I was warmed by the sweetest Love of God for me and also challenged to be the sweetness of Christ to the people around me.