So, we are driving down the street in our green Dodge van with UN-tinted, fingerprint covered windows. I cannot explain why the children touch the windows so much. Me- with my addiction therapist husband in the passenger side, my home school kids in tow, and my big black purse, off to the soccer field we go. It’s my husband who’s playing tonight. Going- because I love to see him play. Going- because prison work (the husband’s) is hard and it’s good to have a field where you can play hard with other men who sweat and work in the world where weeds grow and thorns prick. So, here we are on our way. I slow down at the light, then stop. Go. A truck comes up on my right. My husband rolls down his window and sticks his head out, shaking his head at the boy who’s driving that truck. He’s hitting a pipe (not a tobacco pipe mind you). My husband says, ” Maybe he’ll head home. I wanted him to know I saw him.” Then, side by side we drive. I look over. My husband looks over. The boy looks back at us, grins wickedly, and hits his pipe- long. He lets the smoke flood out of his mouth. He’s proud and angry and Lord knows what we represent to him- maybe just a possibility to display all that is going on inside him. We all long for that. We all stop at the red light. The boy cranks his music, bangs his head, and hits his steering wheel repeatedly. My husband reaches for the phone. The kids ask questions. I pray.
I plead for mercy on behalf of him because someone prayed for me-
My phone is in my big black purse. And right here is where my husband can’t relate. He wants the phone now, but it’s somewhere at the bottom. He uses both hands to dump it and I scold, “Don’t you dump my purse”. There is tension. The boy bangs his head, hits his pipe. The light turns green. Chaos for a moment and then I find the phone. My man calls the police. Calm and thoroughly, he gives details. North bound- the road name, the license plate, make and model. And we part ways. We head to the soccer fields. He takes the exit onto the interstate. The dispatcher is given the last bit of information. Gone. Moments later we are at the soccer field. Our kids jump out of the car whooping and hollering. We all laugh. There might have been chaos for a moment, but we let it drive away with that boy. I pray. I pray he gets caught. I pray that one day- he will cry. That he could cry and say, “Help me God. If you are real, help me”. I pray one day he will smile, a sincere, redeemed, sane smile.
A twelve year old boy asks my husband what’s wrong with marijuana. He thinks it will be legal in Tennessee soon. My man, not much for preaching, asks, “Just because something is legal, does that make it right?” They talk. He learns the boy’s step dad uses. He thinks the boy does, too. My man plants seeds of truth.
We are asleep. A crash wakens us. We run outside. A big ole man is crashing to the ground. He’s maybe twenty years old. He can’t stand and he is so intoxicated, that he is not even trying to catch himself. A woman, who is just as drunk, tries to help him. I stand. My man stands. They live around the corner. They stumble down the road. We pray. We watch. We go inside. We pray again. We pray for misery in the morning- the obvious misery will be there. But, we pray for a double dose- the kind that won’t go away and drives a person to their knees. We pray for repentance.
Two girls are by a dumpster sharing a joint. They didn’t expect me to make a bee line towards them. Neither did my kids. I did. They dropped the joint, hid it, and looked as innocent as possible. I told them I knew. I told them to get away from trashcans. And then not knowing what to say, I prayed. I lifted my hand and blessed them with Jesus. I told them I used to hang out by dumpsters. Dumpsters are for garbage not for girls.
Fantasies– This world is full of them, pictures created in minds, making what is NOT glamorous, glamorous. And the pictures, they end up in the reality of dumpsters because God is the King in Israel. A man named Elijah said those words. He spoke them to a man named Ahab.
Ahab- King of Israel- married to Jezebel- worshiper of Baal.
Ahab is said to have been more wicked than any of Israel’s kings before him. And he was king. But when Elijah spoke, he said, “God is King in Israel“. Who is king? God is King.
And Elijah told Ahab. Ahab, who thought small, pansy thoughts of this God, had a fantasy that ended up in a dumpster.
No puffed up, self will run riot fantasy ends up anywhere else. Why? Because God is King in Israel. This King deals in reality. He gives us His Word rooted in real history. It is futile to act as if He did not or does not exist- as if someone else were king, as if someone else establishes the laws. No, this has no power and it will end up at the dump.
We have all ended up at the dump, maybe multiple times.
And God says, “You’ve tried being king, but guess what? I AM the KING in Israel“.
And just what does it mean to be the King of Israel? It means he is the king over all. Because this is precisely what Ahab forgot. He forgot the history of the founding of the nation Israel.
The history. The story. The beautiful, soul stirring, spirit redeeming, true story. God choosing a man, Abraham out of an idol worshiping, dump dwelling people, and giving him a son of promise in old age named Isaac. Then He is found in Scripture giving that son Isaac a son who wrestled and submitted- wounded and limping… Jacob, who earned a limp in place of his pride filled dump, was renamed Israel by this King-God. Jacob became the one who had the tribes.
The 12 tribes- Israel’s 12 sons who would be the tribes hence the 12 tribes of Israel. The promise that Abraham had been gifted with- the one about children numbering the seashore, children of faith- The tribes would be the sons who marry wives, who have babies. They would go to captivity for 400 hundred years. Then they would leave following a deliverer, (Moses following THE DELIVERER) and they would conquer the land.
Why? Because God is King in Israel.
And they would be a megaphone to all the world all the way until now. They would tell of His character- The God- King who comes to the dump and delivers and fights battles on behalf of a people who He foreknew would wander back to dumps. This God- who let Israel reject Him as king for one they could see with their eyes. Then through the line of repentant, God adoring David from the tribe of Judah would be promised the rightful King who would reign forever. This is the history that Ahab forgot to remember.
Then fast forward past Ahab and the rightful King Messiah would come and spill blood as the biggest testimony to our propensity for dumps. The Son of God tortured and killed by the human hands He came to save.
The blood that was spilled that day would pay for dump living once and for all and He offers freely His salvation and His kingdom to those who repent. His words spoken, “Come all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”, would now hold the weight of His blood. It was finished. He gave all of Himself. Then He would give more.
On that day of Pentecost, the promised Spirit would come in tongues of fire. Indwelling. Sealing the heart of the believers and whispering, “Believe, beloved, you were bought with the blood of the King who overcame death- rescuing you from the dump.” That Spirit is given to all His children who come by way of the blood, forsaking dumps and fairy tales.
Because God is King in Israel.
He does not change.
Not for the boy hitting the pipe- cursing the world.
Not for the boy who justifies intoxication.
Not for the drunk girl who stumbles unable to help her falling friend.
Not for the dumpster girls smoking pot after school.
Not for you and not for myself because He is love. 1 John 4:7-8 Love always does what is best for the beloved.
He is the King and if we are redeemed then we are the megaphone:
Israel and those grafted into Israel.
The megaphone- a privilege to proclaim that the law is being fulfilled in us who walk not by the flesh but by the Spirit. Romans 8:4
Like Ahab, who thought he could go on- being the picture maker- taking holy sacred Israel and painting the landscape with altars to false gods, seating idol worshipers at the table to eat and serve to point others to these false gods. Like this king, we are placed in a time period full of picture painters, life builders, scene makers, self promoters- and the opportunity to follow suit.
This, though, is not your destiny not if you are a child of the King.
Your destiny is freely walking with the King in His purity and simplicity, boldness and power, peace and confidence because you know this King intimately and sit at His feet letting Him deal with you and are learning to hear and obey Him.
You, if blood-bought- are a megaphone and it must be only in His power. Surrendered servants are getting it (Take note: I did not say past tense got it).
The Lord bless you, dear reader, with pasture dwelling where you hear the voice of your Shepherd guiding you. Bless you with His rod and His staff serving as your comfort in those places where you are tempted to run to a dump for cover. Bless you in this generation to proclaim and minister, like Elijah, that God is indeed the King of Israel and that He is coming back.
To the King! To King’s Ways!
In Christ Alone-