Joshua 1:5: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you, I will not fail you nor forsake you.”
There’s a somebody I’m longing to see
I hope that he, turns out to be
Someone who’ll watch over me,
I’m just a little lamb
Whose lost in the woods,
I know that I could
Always be good
To Someone who watches over me.
I can talk bravely of my faith in God to others, how I am trusting God for ministry breakthroughs that never come, healing’s that never come, deliverance from the consequences of past failures and mistakes that just keep rearing their ugly heads, but the truth is that many mornings I wake up in a funk over all these things. This morning I picked up my I Pad and I was in such a funk that instead of hitting the App for my Hebrew Bible I hit the ITunes App and accidently queued in the ole George Gershwin song, Someone To Watch Over Me. Inside I felt like that little lamb that was lost in the woods. Where is the Shepherd who leaves his ninety and nine to search for this little lost lamb.
I finally found my way to my Hebrew Bible App and began reading in Joshua and here I see God give a wonderful promise to Joshua that he will never leave him nor forsake him. I like to think that would apply to me also, even though it was directed to Joshua. Have I not, like Joshua, been faithful and ready to serve? I sure deserve similar treatment.
“Hmmm! I wonder if I decide take a trip behind my Looking Glass hanging from my Daleth I might find the Shepherd. So, I leave my desk and head for my Looking Glass Unknown to me at the time Raphah (fail) and Azav (forsake) jump out of my Hebrew Bible leaving behind Lo (not) and follow me through the Looking Glass.
I find myself in a very thick forest. There are many different trees surrounding me and it makes it almost impossible for me to move. There is the tree of financial distress, ministry failure, the tree of past mistakes, failure, I see a failing health tree and, oh, so many other trees. All these trees are whispering to me: “Things are really bad.” “God has abandoned you.” “God has given up on you.” Suddenly I step right into a pit of miry clay and I am stuck and sinking deeper and deeper into the miry clay. I cry out for help and suddenly all three letters of Raphah (failure) appear and its three letters, Resh, Pei, Hei, jump on my shoulder and the Resh (self-righteousness) whispers in my ear: “Pull yourself out. You can do it, you’ve been good, you are a lot better than all these people who are prosperous and healthy. You deserve to be free from this miry clay.” Well, Resh, is right, my righteousness will get me out of the miry clay. Then Pei, the second letter of Raphah (failure), starts jumping up and down on my shoulder shouting: “Yes, pull yourself out, you are righteous, you’ve done good things, pull yourself out.” Of course Pei represents the mouth and its shadow is always speaking too much, speaking things that are out of harmony with God. Yet, Pei keeps encouraging me to pull myself out. Then Hei, the last letter of Raphah (failure), climbs down my leg to examine my situation. This is the Shadow of Hei which represents being stuck in brokenness and self-deception. He raises his voice and yells, “Yes, Yes, you can pull yourself out, you are righteous. I did not realize, however that Hei (self-deception) is only causing me to sink faster into the miry clay.
I look at my right arm and hand and I see a swarm of Reshes (self-righteousness) like little ants covering me. I feel they are there to give me strength so with my right hand I grab my left arm and I start to pull and pull, trying to pull myself out of the miry clay. The Shadow of Resh (self-righteousness), the Shadow of Pei (speaking to much out of harmony with God) and the shadow of Hei (self–deception) all start to chant, “Pull, pull, pull, pull yourself out.” I pull on my left arm with my right hand, harder and harder, but I am failing to pull myself out. I keep crying out: “Oh God , where are you why don’t you give me more strength to pull myself out, I need more strength if I am going to pull myself out of this miry clay.”
With that Azav (forsake – Ayin, Zayin, Beth) jumps on my shoulder and yells in my ear, “God has forsaken you, He has abandoned you. Only you and you alone can pull yourself out of this miry clay.” I keep pulling on my left arm with all the Reshes on my right arm tugging for all they are worth, but I keep on sinking deeper into that miry clay. The Ayin (blindness) from Azav (forsake) covers my eyes so I cannot see that all my efforts at pulling myself out are accomplishing nothing. The Zayin (over aggressiveness) from Azav (forsake) keeps encouraging to pull harder and the final letter of Azav, Beth (feeling spiritually superior) keeps telling me how much more spiritual I am than others and that I can do this with my great spiritual accomplishments and strength.
Suddenly there appears the word Lo (no, not) who heard my cry and left Joshua 1:5 in my Hebrew Bible and journeyed behind my Looking Glass to find me. Lo (Lamed, Aleph) was now hanging over me from a tree branch. The long arm of the Lamed in Lo which represents prayer is reaching up to heaven. The center of the Lamed which represents my heart is wrapped around the branch and the other end of Lamed has a firm grip on Lo’s next letter Aleph which represents God. I immediately stop pulling on my arm and grab Aleph instead. Suddenly Raphah (failure) and Azav (forsake) disappear and they are quiet. I realize that Lo (not) has caused them to cease to exist. Lamed Aleph pulled me out of the miry clay and once out they followed me back to my office through my Looking Glass. When we arrive back in my office Aleph tells me that God was there all the time but I was so busy trying to pull myself out of the miry clay that I did not notice Him and did not reach up to take His hand. Together Lamed Aleph spell the word for No or Not and I failed to invited them on my journey behind the Looking Glass so Raphah (fail) Azav (forsake) followed me without the Lo (not) and I became trapped in the miry clay. God will not fail (Raphah) nor forsake (Azav) me. Both Raphah (fail) and Azav (forsake) are in a hiphal form, God will not be caused to fail or forsake me, but I am the one who believes that He has failed and forsaken me and if I believe that then it is that unbelief that blinds me to see that He is there searching for his little lost lamb. As long as I keep trying to pull myself out of the miry clay by myself, I will fail to see that His extended hand ready and waiting to pull His little lost lamb out of the miry clay.