Grizzlies On The Prowl
Travis grew up in Midlothian, TX, but has moved far north, almost to Canada to Havre, MT. When he was back here for his grandpa’s memorial celebration, and before the family meal after the service, I got a chance to catch up. “How’s it going in Montana? How do you like living in the north country?” “I don’t like the cold, but the camping and hunting make it worth it. Last spring I rented an old Ranger cabin a little south of Glacier Park, took my hunting rifle and hunted bear for several days. Saw a lot of signs but didn’t get to take a shot. Bear or no bear—the time in the wilderness was amazing.”
Travis is a lot braver than I am. Rifle or no rifle—Mary and I have close friends in Montana and the natives stress that grizzlies aren’t just the hunted. They do the hunting. I don’t want to be alone when a killing machine is on my trail, and the Kaph section of Psalm 119 stresses that there are deadly enemies seeking to take out the psalmist.
He is persecuted by those who reject God’s inspired statutes (Ps. 119:84). They didn’t come after him with a gun but dug pits to snare him (Ps. 119:85). One of their strongest attacks was the lies they spread about him (Ps. 119:86). He pleads for God to comfort him (Ps. 119:82), and cries out for God to bring justice against those who attack him (Ps. 119:84). He feels that he can’t hang on much longer, but he never turns away from his commitment to obey God’s Word. He’s confident that God’s Hesed will give him life.
“They almost did me in on earth, but I did not abandon Your instructions. Rooted in Your Hesed—Your loyal, gracious covenant love—give me life and I will obey the testimonies of Your mouth.” - Psalm 119:87-88
The Hebrew term Hesed is my favorite Hebrew word in the Old Testament. It means the LORD has entered into a relationship with me and that He will faithfully keep His side of the New Covenant He has with me rooted in His Son, even when I’m weak and don’t have the strength to keep serving Him.
LORD, thanks for protecting Travis in the Montana wilderness and thanks that you will protect me as I travel to teach the next couple of weeks. My enemies are not often physical. They are more internal, like doubts about whether You will keep using my teaching gift or whether or not You will continue to sustain Truth Encounter. I join the psalmist and cry out for You to give us life because of Your Hesed.
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