Covid-19 Devotionals

Irritation and Ointment

The grass was rather long before I cut it on Friday. It was almost two weeks since the last cut and during that period it rained quite a bit. In Pretoria, we have summer rains, and together with the warmer temperatures, we can expect all plant life, trees and grass to grow faster. It is great because the grass is lush green … but the negative is that when one cannot cut the grass at least every seven days the growth is substantial.

This was my situation on Friday … long grass and long edges. Although I have a reasonably new weed eater, one with the motor at the top end, I struggle to get the line to come out of the line holder without switching the machine off and releasing the clutch manually to pull the line out. For me this is frustrating … so much so that I have resorted to cutting the edges with a sheep shears (skaap sker). How long it takes to cut the grass growth on the edging depends on the length. Normally it takes me between 2 and 2 ½ hours. On Friday it took much longer due to the length.

I have a piece of sponge that I kneel on. So, there I am kneeling on the sponge on the grass cutting the edges. After I completed the task, I mowed the lawn. To give you an idea of the grass length, I filled up 2 ½ green garbage bags with cuttings. I showered immediately afterwards. When I woke up on Saturday morning, the inside of my left arm was very itchy … I washed it and applied some Tiger Balm, and although this soothed it for a while the pain continued throughout the day. I applied various things we had during the day and night. I had a hot shower this morning, which helped.

After breakfast, devotions and watching the online service, I went to Clicks Pharmacy where they helped me with tablets (one per day) and a cream. To me it seems as though I had an allergic reaction to the long grass (and possible tiny insects on the grass), because the itchy bumps spread to the other forearm and the legs from the knees down. That is, all the bare spaces exposed to the grass. In no way was this that serious, though one tends to scratch where it itches and that makes the bumps bigger, redder and itchier. The cream and tablets seems to be helping to rid me on the irritation.

Spiritual irritation (sin) is only solved, removed and healed as one applies the ointment of God (The Bible). Take Psalm 119. There are many tremendous spiritual “ointments” in this Psalm … yet focus on just one stanza:

Ps 119:73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.

74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.

75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.

79 May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.

80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

Because the Psalmist (and you and I) has been created by God, God knows exactly how to infuse spiritual wisdom (v73) as the Psalmist (and we), trusts in God’s Word (v74). Then, God’s unfailing love is his (and our) comfort, supported by God’s compassion as he (and we) meditate upon God’s precepts (His Word). Then, not only will those who fear God and understand His Word support him (and us), but his heart will be blameless towards God’s decrees (His Word) resulting in the Psalmist (and us) not being ashamed or guilty because of whom we are and whom we follow. The bottom line is that God’s Word is the Psalmist’s delight (v77 end), and when applied to the heart, God’s faithfulness in affliction (v75 end) is understood and appreciated. I am sure you are able to see how the Word of God becomes spiritual ointment or balm when applied to the heart.

In the same Psalm, the Psalmist writes:

Ps 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

(The whole of Psalm 119 is the benefits of applying the Word of God to the soul.) In verse 11, the Psalmist says he has ‘hidden’ God’s Word in his heart. The concept of ‘hidden’ is interesting. One needs to have the Bible and use the Bible as the starting block. Then one needs to read and meditate upon the Word, seeking to understand the Word and apply the Word to the heart. This would imply making the necessary changes to one’s understanding of the Word (God and His requirements) and its implications on your morals, ethics, behaviour and general response to God as He speaks through the Word.

But it goes further … it includes memorizing the Word and then, once the meaning is learnt and changes have been made, the memorized Word is ‘hidden’ … lodged, remembered in the heart so that when sin lures and temptation beckons, you are able to recall that memorized Word as is applicable and work through it again. Then, as this Word is recalled and its teaching is remembered, you are empowered to resist sin and honour God. Never forget that the writer to the Hebrews says:

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God’s Word is always working … always active … always achieving its intended goal. Our part is to call upon the Lord as the Psalmist did:

Ps 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Remember, God requires holiness for He is holy, but He also provides the way to holiness. For all God’s blood bought children, His Word is the healing ointment for the soul.

Dear Loving, Gracious, Generous God, thank You for the salve that aides the healing of my sin-infested heart as I apply it daily to the soul. Help me to love Your Word more to serve You better, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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