Over the last few weeks, maybe even months, I've been thinking and praying for some friends who I know are feeling the pressure of walking with God at the moment. I've often wondered what I could or should say to them. Wondered what encouraging word I could share with them, or what gift I could give them to let them know that God is still there for them and still loves them and still hungers for them. Something that will let them know that whatever the situation is at the moment, set in the context of eternity it's so very small.
So here's something really simple that sits in the back of my mind and occasionally comes to the forefront.
King David was a great poet, that much we know. He was skilled in many things musical and things to do with looking after sheep. He was described as a man after God's own heart. But he made mistakes. He messed up big time with Bathsheba and paid a heavy price for his mistake.
One of the things God says about David is that he was a man with a good heart. David wanted to build a temple for God, he had the plans drawn up and the money set aside. He did all the work he could, but he didn't get to build the temple. Solomon got that job. In the story, not building the temple, was a direct consequence of David's moral failure. But although God punished his sin, he never denied his heart.
When it came to the temple, God said he didn't need one, he was happy with the old tent, but he knew David had a good heart and meant well with his plans, so he accepted the temple. When it came to David's sin God challenged him, rebuked him, punished him and forgive him, but he never rejected David's heart. He never told him, "I don't want your temple now you've messed up."
God simply said, "It was good that David it had it in his heart to build a temple" (1Kings 8; 2Chr. 6).
I wonder about what it is in your heart that God is saying, "It's good that you have this in your heart." You may not see the fulfilment of it, you may have to hand it over to someone else to do, but God says of you: "It was good that you had this in your heart."
These words were precious to me when I realised that my first ministry was to come to an end. 18 months before moving on, God spoke through these passages of the Old Testament and I realised that if I was going to walk with God then I needed to have a light hold on everything I considered my ministry to be.
Maybe they will be precious to you too.