Ships to Tarshish

O thou my threshing, and the winnowing of my floor, That which I have heard from the LORD of hosts, The God of Israel, have I declared unto you. – Isaiah 21:10, JPS Tanakh 1917

Time marches inexorably forward and I awoke its prisoner by God’s will in day number 14,746 at 6:30 A.M. when my wife’s alarm went off. It is now 10:30 and I just finished a bowl of oatmeal and the twice-daily inhalation and pill-popping routine I have termed “The Million-Medicine March.”

I stayed up all hours reading The Stand again. Earlier in the evening I took the kids to church for their Wednesday group and to pray with some saints who gathered. At the start of the meeting Brother Ronnie, an elder who hears from God, explained that the other day he had been praying for various people in the church, including me. He said the Lord spoke to him about me in particular, along these lines:

That though I am tried, even by fire, it is certain that I will come through the testing, because the Lord is pleased by my constant faith. That the house is being cleaned and swept, and when the house is purged and the things of the past that have troubled me have been removed, I can be assured that nothing will be able to come back in. That no troubling spirit or opposing thing of the past will find entrance, because the Lord has completely filled the house.

It was encouraging for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it’s nice to know that some people actually pray for other people. Brother Ronnie is a man with many serious trials and tribulations in his own life, yet he spends time in prayer for others. This shouldn’t be unusual, but I believe it is. For another thing, it’s good to be reminded that God cares about our situation and that He remembers our frame, that we are but dust. My spirit bore witness that Brother Ronnie’s words were from heaven, confirming the promise I have received.

Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You. – Psalm 119:38

On hearing his words my thoughts turned to those things that are being flung skyward by the winnowing fork like the threshing of wheat, to my frequent desire (expressed in prayer) to have a burning coal from the altar applied to the historically unclean areas of my life.

Pride. Stubbornness. Desire to be right. Slow to hear, quick to speak. Even my writing and desire for health in the past have been tainted by self-serving vanity.

Lust. Expressed through several channels of iniquity, seeking instant fulfillment.

Wrath. Impatience. Taking control to force the issue. Anger directed at men, at my wife, at the Church, at God.

Insobriety. Food, drink and sex being an escape from reality and the process of God, like a ship going to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

These are some of the trees whose shade has been pleasant, under which I have sought comfort to my harm and to my family’s detriment. These are some of “the things of the past.” May they be consumed. And may the Lord find a place of satisfaction and rest in the midst of His people.

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Author: Steve Hobbs

I live and write near the beaches of Brunswick County, NC. I entered this fallen reality in 1975. My wife Sikki and I were married in 1997. We have five children. I am a follower of Jesus and a seeker of truth.

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