Awaken to the holiness of God (so He doesn’t have to wake you up)

psalm 145

My daughter has one default answer to the question, “How are you?”

Most people default to, “Fine,” “Good,” “Okay,” or even “Great!”

I’ve heard people answer, “better than can be expected.”

And even, “blessed” or “still alive.”

Not her.  She has one response, “My tummy hurts.”

You may catch her in the middle of jumping up and down or running full-force outside on the playground.  Even then, if you ask how she’s feeling, she’ll pull a long face, drop her hand to her stomach and groan out an agonized, “My tummy hurts.”

Sometimes she’ll get really wild and crazy and say something totally unexpected like, “I have a headache.”  That’s just to keep us on our toes.

But when she started complaining this week of a stomachache, I fell into my normal mom-stance of skeptic complacency.

Sure, a stomachache.  So what else is new?

But it was new and different.  It was for real this time, a true illness that would confine her to the couch with a bucket for three days and counting.

She sure showed me!

How complacency blinds us and binds us!  One minute we’re living out the daily routine blindfolded and half checked out and the next minute we’re thrown awake, eyes wide-open, forced to pay attention.

Oh, for real this time.  This isn’t the normal.  This is new.

And we need to be shaken awake.

God didn’t design us to live life and live faith halfway asleep and mostly disengaged.

He wants our full attention.

So, He’s not above surprising us sometimes.

Maybe David needed a surprise like that.

When King David announced that the Ark of the Lord should be brought home to Jerusalem, the priests should have followed proper protocol.

Instead, they loaded what probably seemed like an old and generally meaningless relic from bygone days onto a cart and sent it on down the road.

They broke the rules.  God told them exactly how to handle His presence—carried on poles on the shoulders of priests, not bumbling down a bumpy road in a cart entrusted to animals.

So, when the Ark started to tumble off onto the ground, Uzzah the priest reached out to catch it, thinking surely he was doing the right thing, the good thing, the honorable thing.

But he was struck dead by the holy might of Almighty God.

No one should have touched the Ark.  Not ever.

Max Lucado writes:

Uzzah should have known this.  He was a priest, a Koathite priest, a descendent of Aaron himself.  The ark had been kept in the house of his father, Abinadab. He had grown up with it.  Which may be the best explanation for his actions…..The message: don’t grow lax before the holy.  God won’t be loaded on convenient wagons or toted about by dumb animals….

King David snapped to awake.  Of course, he snapped to anger also, exploding at God about the injustice of Uzzah’s death.

And then He worshiped in awe.

The truth is, all those years living in the same house as the Ark hadn’t impressed Uzzah; it had made him complacent, like he was handling little more than a dust-covered knick-knack from a living room shelf.

All those years living in the same house with my daughter, and she still manages to surprise me.

All these years of marriage, I still discover my husband and could there be any better than falling and falling and falling in love?

And, all these years with Jesus, surely He still surprises.  And amazes.

Just when you think you know what size box God fits in, He loves to show off His might.

Just when you think you know how far faith will take you, He asks you to go farther.

Just when you think you understand how deep His love is, He draws you down deeper.

David’s praise became rooted in a God who is great beyond comprehension:

 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

    his greatness no one can fathom (Psalm 145:3 NIV, emphasis mine).

God sure can surprise us.

In fact, He can shock us right out of our socks and shoes some times.

How much better, though, to lean in and listen….

To quiet our restless hearts…..

To be still….

To pause and deeply look….

To awaken to the holiness of God and live life in awe of His presence, expecting His glory this very day, this very hour, this very moment.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.





They say knowledge is power, but language has its own particular potency.

After all, when you can finally cram all of your emotion, thoughts, and need into one or two perfect words, it helps relieve the pressure.

It was true for my oldest daughter when she was still wobbling between baby and toddler.  My job as a mom was to help harness some of her passion, help her direct some of that God-given strength—all by showing her how to put into words what she needed and how she was feeling.

But at little more than one years old, what is there to say?

So I taught her one powerful word to capture my attention instead of tantrums, screaming  514885-R1-24-24fits, and bouts with hysteria that turned her face red and plain wore mommy out.


When you can’t figure out the puzzle, when the toy isn’t working, when you can’t reach, when your buttons won’t fasten….. when life is difficult and you just can’t do it on your own and you’re collapsing into rage and tears of frustration and failure….”Help!” is all you need say.

It quickly became the favorite, most oft-used word in her vocabulary.  “Help, Mommy” I’d hear all through the day.

What I failed to teach her, though, was how to gauge the seriousness of the situation and adjust the volume and tone of her “help” accordingly.

Thus, friends on the phone would hear my little one screaming “Help! Help!” at the top of her lungs when all she needed was the top yanked off a marker or a new outfit buttoned on her baby doll.

I can’t say I’ve figured it out any more than she did, when to scream out “help” in desperation and when to quietly lift my hands high for assistance, when to whisper hushed pleas for intervention and when to just sob and let the Holy Spirit intercede for me.

But I know that sometimes, maybe lots of the time, what I need is help.  It’s not any more complicated than that.  I can pray at God (or nag at Him) for hours; I can explain and complain, whine and appeal.

Really, though, “Help” would do just fine.

The Psalmist knew this.  He asked, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?” (Psalm 121).

It’s a traveler’s Psalm, a song of ascension sung by the Israelite pilgrims on their journey to Jerusalem to worship.  The Psalmist literally lifts his eyes higher and higher along the skyline, a reminder of just how small he really is—just a regular guy on a valley trail beside the vastness of a mountain’s peak.

So, where to look for help?  To nature, to fellow travelers, to the material goods he’s packed neatly into his bags for the journey?  To false gods who weren’t even mighty enough to create the very mountains in his view?

No, he declares, “my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

God formed these very mountains.  He’s so grand, so magnificent, so creative, so capable. All of these other idols I’ve been looking to are weak, helpless, disappointing, and distracting. 

And if I’m screaming out for “help” or dropping to my knees in a confession of weakness, it’s a God that mighty I need to answer.

And He does answer.  That one word, “help,” always gets His attention.

The pilgrims explain it in metaphors from their journey.  How does God help?

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
  indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
  the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

Protection from scorching heat and the coolness of night, the rocks along the path and the obstacles in the road; this is what God gives them.  This is what He gives us.

In the original Hebrew, the Psalmist pushes His point in verses 7 and 8, saying essentially: “The Lord is your protector! The Lord will protect you from all harm! The Lord will protect your life! The Lord will protect your coming and going now and always!” (Beth Moore, Stepping Up).

Our translations soften the repetition, saying instead

The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

But the intent  of the repetition is to say it so clearly and so often, to repeat it so much that even a forgetful, wayward, worrier of a soul like me can’t miss this promise:

The Lord Will Protect You.

We only need lift our eyes to His face and ask for His help.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King