Thursday, January 28, 2010
Skipping Stones at Besor
I have never been to Besor. They say it is a brook. I don’t know if it is a brook that trickles or one that floods over in the spring. I don’t know if you can leap over it. I don’t even know if you can swim in it. I do know this, though, it is a place where I want to skip stones.
I have always loved to skip stones. I don’t know who taught me to skip stones, but I can always remember doing it as a kid. At times, I have skipped so many stones that I thought my shoulder was going to fall off the next day. Christy and I have had contests under cliffs in Scotland. I don’t know what my personal record is, but to be honest, I don’t care. There is something more about skipping stones than distance between jumps or the number of skips.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Before I go into the reasons why I want to skip stones, I need to tell you about Besor. Besor is a place in the history of Israel, which was made famous by David. The writer of 1 Samuel tells us this story in chapter 30.
David and his men were making their way back from trying to help the Philistines. That’s another story in itself. David helping out the Philistines? Never! Anyway, as they drew close to their village, they saw smoke rising. The village had been destroyed and their wives and children had been captured!
I can’t even begin to imagine the horror and pain they felt. David lost his two wives. Then to make matters worse, his own people turned on him. They blamed David for the loss. In their grief and anger, they wanted to stone him.
Tough times. We all go through tough times, don’t we? Hopefully not as bad as David’s, but we do go through tough times. However, David’s actions provide us guidance. He did not lash out. He did not run and hide. He sought the Lord in prayer. He went to God to find strength, wisdom, and discernment. There is a saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” In David’s case we might say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get godly.” In tough times, David stood tall. He did the right thing. He leaned into God. He became godly.
When the Lord told David to pursue the band of people who had attacked their village, he and his men went off as hard and as fast as they could. Eventually they took a breather at Brook Besor—only to realize that some of the men could not go any further. Can you imagine their exhaustion? They were so worn out that they could not continue to look for their own families. That is running hard. That is exhaustion. Still, because they had to continue their pursuit, David and some of the other men went on.
On their way, they came across an Egyptian who had been left for dead. Amazingly, they stopped and reached out to him. They even nursed him back to health. Here is David and his men in hot pursuit, but they stop and help someone. Amazing! How many of us would have run by muttering to ourselves that we are justifiably in a rush. This is an emergency. Not David. He was acting godly. He acted like the Good Samaritan. He was loving his neighbor who was in need. In David’s struggles, he became aware of God and aware of others. He did not stray from his primary calling. He continued to love God and love his neighbor. His awareness and need of God became stronger. His compassion grew deeper. When the going got tough, David got godly.
God blessed David and his men for their kindness to this man in a remarkable way. The man knew who had attacked their village. He even led David to them. All of their families were safe, and David and his men got back all they had lost.
David then did something unheard of. He spread the wealth captured from the looters. He showed grace. He showed grace even to those men who had stayed behind at the brook. He also sent treasure out to other villages that were in need. God had given grace to David, and he let that grace spill over into the lives of others.
As I said before, I want to go to that brook and skip smooth stones there. There is something special about choosing the stones, isn’t there? It takes time, a catch-your-breath-and-enjoy-life time, a life-giving time. It’s a time to relax and have a conversation with Jesus. I often think that David had had this sort of time when he was choosing the perfect stones to hurl at Goliath. I imagine him deliberate yet peaceful. I could be wrong, but that’s what I picture in my mind. Like David, I want a good stone that has a smooth rub to it and a good weight to it. Such a stone will produce a lot of skips and come nicely, majestically out of my hand as it sails above the water, gently kissing it every few feet.
I want to skip stones with Jesus at the same brook where David was tough and aware of God. The same brook where he was godly. I want to talk to Jesus about this story and, as we skip stones together, I want Him to speak into my life and transform me. I want Him to sit me down at times, say the hard things, and correct me. I want Him to encourage me. I want Him to love me.
I want to skip stones at Besor and be like David. I want to be more aware of God—not only in the peaceful times but, more importantly, in the tough times. I want to be aware of others around me and love them the way Jesus has loved me. I yearn to be like David—not to be so consumed with my own issues but sense the needs of others around me.
I want to throw those smooth stones of loving God and loving others into the brook and watch them skip and spread ripples across the water. For I do not want to live in isolation; I want to make an impact on others around me. I want others to see me and emulate me, not because of who I am, but because of their desire to skip those same stones with Jesus. For some it will be knowing God’s love for the first time. For others it will be to deepen that love. I want those ripples to spread out even further. I want to skip stones in such a way that others see my joy, my passion, my love.
Skipping stones at Besor. A life with Jesus. A life that responds to tough times with godliness. A life of being aware of God and others. Loving Jesus. Loving others. Making ripples. That is how I am choosing to live.
Skipping stones at Besor. Oh, yes, the name, I almost forgot. In Hebrew, Besor means “good news.” Don’t you also want to skip stones in the brook of Good News?