Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Singing Servant...

I will begin today by confessing that I feel like I've just been to a funeral. As the book of Deuteronomy concludes with Moses' death, I'm sad in the same way I feel when I've finished a great novel that has no sequel. The characters I've grown to love are not going to be a daily part of my life anymore and I've learned from experience that I eventually forget about them.

In this case though, Moses is gone but will not be forgotten. The man who led the children of Israel out of Egypt will show up again in passages from the New Testament. Many scholars believe that based on the circumstances of his burial and the right understanding of the last book of the Bible that he will be one of the two witnesses referred to in Revelation 11.

Two things stand out to me today. Chapters 30 through 34 of Deuteronomy not only provide details of Moses' death, they also include Moses' final words to his people. Specifically, in chapter 32, Moses recites (or sings) a song that God instructs him to share with the Israelites that is to serve as a reminder to them in the coming years of all that has transpired and what is promised to them for their future.

It's amazing to consider that God chose to use music as a means for expressing history and prophecy so that it could and would be chiseled in their minds for generations to come. As a music lover, I can attest to the fact that song lyrics I heard as a young child are still indelibly etched in my brain. I couldn't forget them if I tried. Sometimes, just a phrase, a picture, or a person can bring to mind an old song. Other times, an old song brings to mind a moment in time so clearly that it's almost eerie.

For that reason, I want to encourage you to listen at some point to a few very old songs that have messages that will serve you if their lyrics are committed to memory. These songs are rarely sung anymore in churches--they've been set aside for more culturally relevant and stylistically appealing tunes and choruses--but their messages are timeless, and during times of crisis, fear, and even celebration their words will offer comfort and peace in much the same way that scripture can.

So, here are a few songs that I hope you will listen to someday because their messages are timeless:

A Mighty Fortress
And Can It Be?
Be Still, My Soul
Be Thou My Vision
Blessed Assurance
Grace Greater Than Our Sin
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Have Thine Own Way Lord
I Know Whom I Have Believed
It Is Well With My Soul
Nothing but the Blood
To God be the Glory
Trust and Obey
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

and finally, a favorite of mine, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Ater his song, Moses ascended the mountain in obedience to God's instructions, and was given one last opportunity to see the Promised Land from afar. Scripture says that he then died and was buried by The Lord. Imagine that, God himself buried Moses and then wrote his epitaph! Verse 5 of chapter 34 says, "Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in Moab..."

There are many good things we can aspire to in this life--but none more honorable than being rightfully called a servant of the Lord. It is the highest goal for us as Christians, but the truth is, it isn't desirable to serve, is it? Whether or not we are genuinely servant-hearted is usually revealed when we are treated like servants by others.

So, as I conclude today, I'm asking myself some tough questions. What is in my head and heart when I am treated like a servant? Is it humility and meekness or irritation and indignation? Am I even remotely close to becoming servant material? You may be wondering what difference it makes whether or not I'm able to serve others with the right attitude when that really doesn't have anything to do with serving God. But oh, it does. Consider the words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 25:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!

Moses served God. Today, I pray with all my heart that when my time on earth is up, God would write my epitaph and it would read, Sandy, servant of The Lord. I have so far to go and so much growing to do, but it's a goal worthy of my best effort and I hope it will become yours too.

Father, I want to be your servant but I fail you every day. Thank you for reminding me that it's in humble submission and the practice of serving that I am most pleasing to you.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Yes!

    Challenging words. I can only hope that God would make the desire of my heart change to want to be His servant! My heart is so selfish. I too hope that God Himself will look upon my life and call me His servant. What an honor that would be.

    Great words:)