Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What We Can Learn from Mutlag-- The Heart of an Armor-Bearer and His Purpose

This is a three-point realization.  :)  Get ready.  

Point 1:  The Stance of an Armor- Bearer 

 Today I was reading Bertha Spafford Vester's book published in 1950 about her remembrances as a daughter of the American Colony founders. Our  Jerusaleman American Family in the Holy City, 1881-1949.      I read a short section about  a visit she and her husband had with a local sheik.  

She wrote "Our city horses trembled on the slippery rocks, while those of our Bedouin guides skipped over them like goats. I asked one of our three friends his name, judging from his fine sword and other arms that he belonged to the sheik s family. He answered, "I am your slave Mutlag." It was an unusual answer and I wondered at his humility. After a while I ventured another question: "Do you belong to Sheik Diab s family?" "No," he replied, "I am his slave; this is his sword; I carry it for him." Here, in the twentieth century, was the Bible made alive. An armor-bearer, like Saul s or David s, was guiding us to Heshbon" (221). 

"I am his slave; this is his sword; I carry it for him," the armor-bearer said.  

Mutlag was one who stood nearby--waiting, reserved, ready--prepared for his master's need of him.   That was his identity and his purpose:      נֹשֵׂא כֵלָיו     no-se kelav  (v. 6-- I hope I transliterated correctly) 

Nasa (from which no-se comes)  means (among other things) "to lift up, exalt, support, aid, assist, to carry, bear continuously."

Don't we want the same attitude and readiness to be present in our hearts and lives and possessions at all times for Messiah-- to be available, quiet, attentive, and ready for His use? 

  6Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.”7His armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart; turn yourself, and here I am with you according to your desire.”

                                    According to BJ from The River Walk, this is Bozez and Seneh-- the cliffs Jonathan and his armor-bearer climbed.  He says Seneh is the cliff on the left that they would have climbed. 

Point 2:  Renewing how I think in order to experience lasting change 

Later, I read a devotional I really love-- Time With G-d by John North.  

Romans 11:36–12:2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

John writes, “To Him are all things.”  We know that is true, and we want to live our lives for God. And so we sometimes get so very frustrated with ourselves when we seem unable to change and live the way we want to live!
But notice that Paul tells us how to be changed—how we will be able to live the way we want to. He says that we can be “transformed”. That means “changed from the inside out”—like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. The change taking place inside results in an outward change. And how do we experience that inward change? “By the renewing of your mind!”
The fact is, the spiritual battle for your life will be won or lost on the battlefield of your mind. If you are fighting a losing spiritual battle, the way to victory is not your willpower, it is your mind. Renew how you think."  

I have been battling in the areas of self-discipline and order and rhythm-- home organization and optimal health-- specifically

  • eating too much
  • too much clutter
  • ineffective home organization  (not having systems in place that work consistently) 
  • needing comfort and direction from the L-rd -- listening better so that I get filled up instead of overwhelmed or worn out. 

I've been reading, taking notes, and implementing Kathi Lipp's ideas about home and personal management after I heard her speak on a Focus on the Family broadcast a few nights ago. 
She offers down-to-earth and practical solutions for problems I face every day (and stress about).  I'm already less stressed as I follow her easy steps.  From her I read that my "house needs to go on a diet."  :)  She is right. 

I've been thinking about each room and possession's purpose.  Does it fit?  Does it help achieve the purpose for that space?  Does it pay enough "rent" to stay there?  Is what I need available for my purpose-- or is it out of my hand or inaccessible in some way?

Part of the way I like to interact with the Bible is to do a word study of a verse that particularly catches my attention.   Today's verse--

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  

particularly tugged at my heart.  I  looked at the previous chapter to see the context--- why the "therefore" was there.  That chapter was about fulfilling G-d's plan and walking humbly as a Gentile believer so that others might want intimacy with Messiah as well.  

I looked up the word, "present" and found

Strong's G3936 - paristēmi

1) to place beside or near
a) to set at hand
1) to present
2) to proffer
3) to provide
4) to place a person or thing at one's disposal
5) to present a person for another to see and question
6) to present or show
7) to bring to, bring near
8) metaph. i.e to bring into one's fellowship or intimacy
b) to present (show) by argument, to prove
2) to stand beside, stand by or near, to be at hand, be present
a) to stand by
1) to stand beside one, a bystander
b) to appear
c) to be at hand, stand ready
d) to stand by to help, to succour
e) to be present
1) to have come
2) of time

Here are the interesting ways that word, "present" (Strong's # 3936)   is used in the Newer Testament:  
Mat 26:53[G2228] Thinkest thou 1380 that 3754 I cannot 3756 1410 now 737pray 3870 to my 3450 Father 3962, and 2532 he shall presently give3936 me 3427 more 4119 than 2228 twelve 1427 legions 3003 of angels 32?
Mar 4:29But 1161 when 3752 the fruit 2590 is brought forth 3860 , immediately 2112 he putteth in 649 the sickle 1407, because 3754the harvest 2326 is come3936 .
Mar 14:47And 1161 one 5100 of them 1520 that stood by3936 drew 4685 a sword 3162, and smote 3817 a servant 1401 of the high priest 749, and 2532 cut off 851 his 846 ear 5621.
Mar 14:69And 2532 a maid 3814 saw 1492 him 846 again 3825, and began 756to say 3004 to them that stood by3936 , This 3754 3778 is 2076[one] of 1537 them 846.
Mar 14:70And 1161 he denied it 720 again 3825. And 2532 a little 3397 after3326, they that stood by3936 said 3004 again 3825 to Peter 4074, Surely 230 thou art 1488 [one] of 1537 them 846: for 2532 1063thou art 1488 a Galilaean 1057, and 2532 thy 4675 speech 2981agreeth 3662 [thereto].
Mar 15:35And 2532 some of them 5100 that stood by3936 , when they heard 191 [it], said 3004 , Behold 2400 , he calleth 5455 Elias 2243.
Mar 15:39And 1161 when the centurion 2760, which 3588 stood3936 over1537 against 1727 him 846, saw 1492 that 3754 he so 3779 cried out2896 , and gave up the ghost 1606 , he said 2036 , Truly 230 this3778 man 444 was 2258 the Son 5207 of God 2316.
Luk 1:19And 2532 the angel 32 answering 611 said 2036 unto him 846, I 1473am 1510 Gabriel 1043, that stand3936 in the presence 1799 of God 2316; and 2532 am sent 649 to speak 2980 unto 4314 thee 4571, and 2532 to shew 2097 0 thee 4671 these 5023 glad tidings 2097 .
Luk 2:22And 2532 when 3753 the days 2250 of her 846 purification 2512according 2596 to the law 3551 of Moses 3475 were accomplished4130 , they brought 321 him 846 to 1519 Jerusalem 2414, to present3936 [him] to the Lord 2962;
Luk 19:24And 2532 he said 2036 unto them that stood by3936 , Take 142from 575 him 846 the pound 3414, and 2532 give 1325 [it] to him that hath 2192 ten 1176 pounds 3414.
Jhn 18:22And 1161 when he 846 had 2036 0 thus 5023 spoken 2036 , one 1520of the officers 5257 which stood by3936 struck 1325 0 4475 0Jesus 2424 with the palm of his hand 1325 4475, saying 2036 , Answerest thou 611 the high priest 749 so 3779?
Jhn 19:26When Jesus 2424 therefore 3767 saw 1492 his mother 3384, and2532 the disciple 3101 standing by3936 , whom 3739 he loved 25 , he saith 3004 unto his 846 mother 3384, Woman 1135, behold 2400thy 4675 son 5207!
Act 1:3To whom 3739 also 2532 he shewed3936 himself 1438 alive 2198after 3326 his 846 passion 3958 by 1722 many 4183 infallible proofs5039, being seen 3700 of them 846 1223 forty 5062 days 2250, and2532 speaking 3004 of the things pertaining 4012 to the kingdom932 of God 2316:
Act 1:10And 2532 while 5613 they looked stedfastly 2258 816 toward 1519heaven 3772 as he 846 went up 4198 , 2532 behold 2400 , two 1417men 435 stood by3936 them 846 in 1722 white 3022 apparel 2066;
Act 4:10Be it 2077 known 1110 unto you 5213 all 3956, and 2532 to all 3956the people 2992 of Israel 2474, that 3754 by 1722 the name 3686 of Jesus 2424 Christ 5547 of Nazareth 3480, whom 3739 ye 5210crucified 4717 , whom 3739 God 2316 raised 1453 from 1537 the dead 3498, [even] by 1722 him 5129 doth3936 0 this man 3778stand here3936 before 1799 you 5216 whole 5199.
Act 4:26The kings 935 of the earth 1093 stood up3936 , and 2532 the rulers 758 were gathered 4863 together 1909 846 against 2596 the Lord 2962, and 2532 against 2596 his 846 Christ 5547.
Act 9:39Then 1161 Peter 4074 arose 450 and went with 4905 them 846. When he 3739 was come 3854 , they brought him 321 into 1519the upper chamber 5253: and 2532 all 3956 the widows 5503 stood by3936 him 846 weeping 2799 , and 2532 shewing 1925 the coats5509 and 2532 garments 2440 which 3745 Dorcas 1393 made 4160 , while she was 5607 with 3326 them 846.
Act 9:41And 1161 he gave 1325 her 846 [his] hand 5495, and lifted 450 0her 846 up 450 , and 1161 when he had called 5455 the saints 40and 2532 widows 5503, presented3936 her 846 alive 2198 .
Act 23:2And 1161 the high priest 749 Ananias 367 commanded 2004 them that stood by3936 him 846 to smite 5180 him 846 on the mouth4750.
Act 23:4And 1161 they that stood by3936 said 2036 , Revilest thou 3058God's 2316 high priest 749?
Act 23:24And 5037 provide3936 [them] beasts 2934, that 2443 they may set1913 0 Paul 3972 on 1913 , and bring [him] safe 1295 unto 4314Felix 5344 the governor 2232.
Act 23:33Who 3748, when they came 1525 to 1519 Caesarea 2542, and 2532delivered 325 the epistle 1992 to the governor 2232, presented3936 Paul 3972 also 2532 before him 846.
Act 24:13Neither 3777 can 1410 they prove3936 3165 the things 4012whereof 3739 they 2723 0 now 3568 accuse 2723 me 3450.
Act 27:23For 1063 there stood by3936 me 3427 this 5026 night 3571 the angel 32 of God 2316, whose 3739 I am 1510 , and 2532 whom 3739I serve 3000 ,
Act 27:24Saying 3004 , Fear 5399 not 3361, Paul 3972; thou 4571 must 1163be brought before3936 Caesar 2541: and 2532, lo 2400 , God 2316hath given 5483 thee 4671 all 3956 them that sail 4126 with 3326thee 4675.

"Peristami" (present) is used in the Newer Covenant in verses like
The Father will give (present) Yeshua with angels who are available right now if He asks...
The harvest is come--- present --ready
One of them [Peter]  that stood by drew a sword and  cut off the ear of the servant of the Cohen Hagadol
The maid who accused Peter of being with Yeshua was standing by...
the one who dutifully slapped Yeshua (who stood by Him) when the High Priest directed him to...
Those that "stood by" at the foot of the cross, some of the Jewish leaders, the centurion, Yochanan with Yeshua's mother, Miriam....
the angel, Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the L-rd
the dedication of Yeshua-- to present Him at the Temple
Yeshua showing to many that He is alive
the angels that appeared beside them after Yeshua was no longer visible
Showing the lame man who was now healed-- showing the dead woman who is now raised
Showing the "kings of the earth" standing up against/ presenting themselves as opponents of G-d
Providing transportation
Clearly stating the facts
Standing as a witness

Rav Shaul is asking/commanding/beseeching/ encouraging/ praying for us that we will present our bodies to the Lord and calls it our reasonable service.

The takeaway for me that brought amazement is this....

Everything in my house should exist for and be available for my purpose-- or even for His purpose.
Clutter happens when things are not available for the right purpose.  They are inaccessible or in excess.   If things are not accessible and available, they are worthless clutter.   I need to THINK about where is something used, where does it live, how is it labeled, and is the pathway to that object unobstructed so that it is right there and available as needed?

Even more importantly, I should THINK of my body as a tool for Messiah-- not my own--- but available for His purpose.  I should make a consecration-- a dedication-- of it, so that it is set aside for His particular purpose at any time.   I should keep myself  clean, sharp, attentive, ready, near by,  ready to follow Him if He is climbing up cliffs or entrusting His mom to me, clearly displaying anything He wants.  

I see that my THINKING has to change from
I want to stay up late
I want to eat that
I want to buy that
I don't feel like exercising

to a stance of a mind that is quiet, a heart that is listening, a body ready to move, ready to hand over whatever is asked of me as I "stand by."   It means being accessible to Him in the moment and not pursuing my own agenda.  It means, as John North said recently,  if it's a choice between His desires and my desires becoming crucified, mine are the ones I need to surrender.

The take away?  Resolve to think and respond like an armor-bearer to Yeshua for whatever the L-rd asks.   Present myself-- my body-- my stuff-- all I am and have-- for His immediate request.  

To say and act upon ""Do all that You have in mind," His armor-bearer says. "Go ahead; I am with You heart and soul."