DAY 15 - JESUS, THE SAFE LEADER

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Read the Bible verses related to each devotion.

  2. Then follow the actions and prayers for yourself and a nonbeliever at the bottom of the page.


READ Song of Solomon 3



Do you remember the shrimp boat captained by Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise)? They had met during the Vietnam War. Forrest was able to heroically save Lt. Dan after he had been severely injured during a firefight. Unfortunately, Lt. Dan lost his legs from the knees down permanently landing him in a wheelchair. Lt. Dan, who was angry with Forrest for saving his life, felt it was his legacy to follow his other family members. They had all perished in every single American war.


Years later, the two had a chance meeting. Lt. Dan was still extremely angry at how his life turned out, and continued to blame Forrest. Thankfully, he willingly forgives Gump and joins Forrest in the shrimp boat business. Then, when things are going poorly and there aren’t any shrimp, Lt. Dan is viciously mad at God. He yells at God and asks Him, “Where are you?” But as Gump acknowledged, “At that time God showed up.” How? It was a raging hurricane that flattened the shrimp boat industry. Only their boat remained. Miraculously, Bubba Gump shrimp flourished, and eventually went on to be a household name.


After the storm, Lt. Dan makes his peace with a very Patient God. Later on, he grows independently wealthy, marries a beautiful Asian woman and respectfully shows up at Forrest’s wedding. Surprisingly, he is walking, wearing newly constructed legs, but walking with a limp.

Maybe sometimes you feel a little like Lt. Dan—walking with a limp through all of life’s ups and downs. You may feel your legacy (that horrible one handed down to you) has left your life in a bad place (remember Lt. Dan thought he was supposed to die in war). Perhaps, you feel like a peasant who is forgotten off in the distance, with no one that cares about them, disrespectfully forced to work someone else’s land. Or possibly you feel invisible to your family, friends, or co-workers.


Lt. Dan saw the “dark” in his life but not the “lovely.” He could not understand that God enjoyed him even in his weakness; God had a plan for him. He could not see the future that was in front of him. Instead, his overwhelming circumstances caused him to agree with the darkness around him; his plan was to die. God’s plan, however, was to win his heart through a flurry of violent storms and bring him to eternal peace. Which is better, a life of contentment or a life of regret? Forrest Gump is a fictional movie, but it does make a point.


I have felt like Lt. Dan many times throughout my life; hopelessly lost in the path my life is seemingly choosing. Since I had such low self-esteem, I thought life was something to dread, not anything to be excited about. I felt that I was never smart enough, not good enough in sports, not cool enough for different groups, not a good enough leader. Worse yet, and the most painful, there were times I felt that I was disqualified from my life of serving God. It was not just because my painstaking sin had made me feel disqualified, which it had. It was because like Lt. Dan, I could not see what God had planned for me. Why? Honestly, because I did not know that God loved me even in my weakness. I did not recognize that God found me lovely when I wrongly scrutinized myself as dark. I pray that you can see yourself as God sees you—lovely. He does have a well-thought-out eternal plan for you.


So, where did we leave the Shulamite? Oh, she had just gone through a test. A 6-part test to be exact, and now she is going to see the safe leadership of Solomon. Today, I hope and pray, you are going to realize that through life’s ups and downs, through every circumstance, God is a safe Leader. Both in our lives, and through Bible history.


So let’s READ Song of Solomon 3:6-11


6Who is this coming out of the wilderness [of this fallen world] like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the merchant’s fragrant powders? (Song 3:6)


Someone is narrating (someone is always narrating), and this narrator has the right perspective. Not all narrators have wisdom in mind. Who are the narrators in your life? If they speak with wisdom, then they will give you God’s perspective. If they speak with half-truths and lies, then they will give you their perspectives. And (you really need to ask this question), “Where do their perspectives come from?” The Shulamite’s narrator is none other than the Holy Spirit. He is the one that actually searches the deep things of the Father’s heart (1 Cor. 2:10). He always tells the right story. But you actually have to have the fear of the Lord in order to hear wisdom, because this is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10).


The narrator declares that king Solomon is the bridegroom king, whose leadership is safe. Imagine this scene: the Shulamite is standing in her hometown. (She is remembering the day king Solomon came to her hometown and took her to the palace.) Then over the crest of the hill, just before you enter the town, coming out of the wilderness is king Solomon.


The first reason he is a safe leader? He has come out of the wilderness. The king left his chamber to come and get the Shulamite. He came for her. He was willing to go through the wilderness to come and get her. In the same way, Jesus, the Pre-incarnate Christ came to earth to capture the heart of Israel and lead them from the garden, to Egypt, and then strategically and specifically wander through the wilderness until they could enter the promised land. And Jesus came as a child, to die upon the cross—our Savior, Bridegroom King, and Judge, came to take us from this earth into eternity. And…


Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,

And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. (Ps. 19:5)


Remember what David wrote about the safe leadership of Jesus. He is like a Bridegroom coming out of His chamber and rejoices like a strong man that is running his race. This is who king Solomon was.


The Shulamite was remembering His safe leadership when he came to take her away. And Jesus came as a child, to die upon the cross: being our Savior, being our Bridegroom King, and being our Just Judge—coming to take us from this earth into eternity. David looked at the sun, cresting over the horizon, bursting forth with all its power, and was reminded of the eternal love story, the eternal plan, in the heart of the Bridegroom King. Just like the radiant sun, Jesus the Bridegroom is coming, majestically coming for His Bride. He loves us in our weakness, and is willing to go through the wilderness to come take us home. This makes His leadership very safe.

The second reason that king Solomon is safe? He has wealth. Everyone wants to have wealth. If something goes wrong, then you know there is enough supply to rescue you. As the king, he is wealthy. As he travels, the merchant’s fragrant powders are all around. Only the wealthy could do this. In the same way, Jesus, our Bridegroom King, is wealthy. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10). But not only that, He also owns all the hills. Jesus took His great power, given by the Father, and used it to capture our hearts (Rev. 11:17). He could just snap His fingers and make everything perfect, but that is not love. Instead He gives of His wealth to capture your heart. His leadership is safer still.


7Behold, it is Solomon’s couch, with sixty valiant men around it, of the valiant of Israel.

8They all hold swords, being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh because of fear in the night. (Song 3:7-8)


The third reason that king Solomon is safe? He has an army. This is awesome and amazing. He is traveling with 60 valiant men. These are men that he has trained and provided for with his wealth. They are experts in war. They have been tested. Therefore, no matter what enemy approaches, the king is protected. The king cannot be touched by those that viciously hate and destroy them. Imagine being able to sleep at night because you are protected and safe.

Jesus is also the safest leader because of His military might. He is protected and cannot be moved by the enemy. He is protected by what? Great question. He is protected by His Sovereign power. He can absolutely never be moved off His Throne. He is also surrounded by the most intelligent creatures ever created. Four living creatures, who never stop crying out, “Holy, holy, holy.” And then, He is all powerful, because He is surrounded with countless angels, all ready and willing to follow His ways.


9Of the wood of Lebanon Solomon the king made himself a palanquin: 10He made its pillars of silver, its support of gold, its seat of purple, its interior paved with love by [for] the daughters of Jerusalem. (Song 3:9-10)


The third reason king Solomon is safe? He is coming for a wedding. The king is inviting the Shulamite in love. He is not inviting her just to serve at a distance as a servant. He loves her, he is romancing her, he is set on capturing her heart with loving devotion. He is taking her into his own palanquin (eloquent chamber that was carried by an even number of people). His palanquin is paved with romantic love.


God the Father loves you as a child, while Jesus loves you as the Bridegroom (in a non-sexual way). You are a child of God, and will receive His protection and provision. And, you are the Bride of Christ. You will receive His romantic love forever. You are a child of God and the Bride of Christ at the same time. Today, He is safe because His intentions are paved with love, and He has come for you.


11Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart (Song 3:11).


The fourth reason king Solomon is safe? He is crowned by his mother for his wedding day. His mother was Bathsheba. She was married to king David, under the most horrid of circumstances. She had entered into adultery with king David, she became pregnant, he had her husband killed, and then their first child died. But God is rich in mercy. God does not give us what we deserve; He washes us clean from our sinful mistakes. So, in the midst of queen Bathsheba’s brokenness, God redeemed her, and she was able to give life, wedding life, unto the next generation. And this brings deep gladness into the heart of king Solomon, and this makes him safe.


Jesus is also safe because of His rich mercy and crowned with Bridal love. The book of Revelation declares,


“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Rev. 19:6-8)


This is all moving toward a wedding day. But like Lt. Dan, there are lots of storms before we get there. But the Leadership of God is safe as He leads people’s hearts towards salvation, winning the lost, defeating darkness, and drawing us unto the final Wedding day between Jesus and humanity. Before Jesus comes again, He will shake all.


Before Jesus returns there will be seals, trumpets, and bowls (we find this in the book of Revelation.) The seals are specific events on planet earth, struggles that are a part of God’s Sovereign leadership over earth and humanity. The trumpets are seven “feasts of trumpets” over seven years; seven moments that describe the coming of our King to earth. The bowls are God’s power defeating darkness in planet earth. He is the Sovereign Leader releasing His end time plan upon the earth, one seal at a time. He is the Safe Sovereign leader, shaking heaven and earth, with each yearly trumpet blast. And he is the Safe Sovereign King, driving darkness off the earth, one bowl at a time. And He does this all out of love.


So, what about you? Are you like Lt. Dan? Have you been through some storms? Have you made your peace with God? Or are you still fighting? Are you resting in His place of love? Are you waiting for the Wedding day? Are you pursuing the God that loves you?


ACTION4U

Today, stop and reflect. What part of this message has touched your heart? Do you know that God is safe? If you want to know that God is safe do this: Put on some worship music. While the music is playing take a moment to dialogue with God. And then pray this prayer.


PRAYER4U

“Father, I trust You are safe. But there are areas where I don’t trust. Help my unbelief. You are awesome and safe. Take me. Take my heart. Show me You are safe. (Hand Him all areas of your heart.) Father, fill me with Your safe love.”


ACTION4ONE

On this day, take time to walk and pray. Take 5 to 10 minutes to just get away. And Ask God, “What do you think about __________?” Capture in your heart what HE says, and then craft a prayer below.


PRAYER4ONE

“Father, I thank You for Your safe leadership. I know You love ___________. Thank you for sharing Your heart. Thank You for letting me know (what did He share about who you are praying for; say the revelation back to Him.)” (Now pray as God leads you.)


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