Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: King David

A home with two people and three cats

We share our home with animals.  I know that there are people who find this horrifying.  I guess we just don’t know any better, having always lived this way.

There is another cat who earnestly desires to join the three under our roof, but I think we have reached our limit.  The others came into our home one by one as kittens and have adjusted to each other.  To bring another adult cat into the mix would surely upset the ecological balance, or something.  It would at least upset the lives of all three cats and both people.  This cat has a home in the village two km away.  Twice we have taken him there only to find him back here a couple days later.  He is welcome at the farm next door which has three barn yard cats, but I suspect he has noticed that our cats have a warmer home and get better food.

The interaction between our cats is fascinating.  Panda, a black long-haired Maine Coon Cat is the grumpy old maiden aunt.  She has been with us for 11 years and has greeted each newcomer with pretty stern language.  Angus is 2 ½, a large all black Siamese, if you can imagine such a creature.  Pookie is 1 ½, a flame point Siamese.  He is the smallest, cutest and the most belligerent of the lot.  All three now cohabit peaceably.  We were quite sure that we didn’t need a third cat when Pookie showed up on our doorstep a year ago.  Now we see that it is all to the  good that Angus and Pookie have each other to tease and plague, it saves Panda a lot of aggravation.

Many years ago the prophet Nathan came to King David with the story of a poor man who had one little lamb that he had raised as a daughter, letting her eat the food he ate and drink from his cup.  Let us pause here and consider, if this was not a story from the Bible and if we didn’t know what followed, how many of us would be disgusted at this story and say the man deserved no sympathy for having this lamb taken from him?

That was not David’s reaction.  It all made perfect sense to him and his indignation  was directed toward the one who had taken the lamb.  Surely it was the softness of David’s heart, as revealed in this account and elsewhere, that caused God to call David a man after His own heart.

I hope that my love of cats, and my tolerance for their foibles, is  teaching me to show the same love and tolerance toward people.  There are too many people today who profess to care deeply about mankind, but can’t seem to stand people.  Let me not be one of them.

The tabernacle of David

There was only a river between the Israelites and the Promised Land.  But that river was in full flood mode, filling the whole valley and spreading beyond the banks.  Joshua told the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant to march straight into the water and told the people to follow.  It wasn’t until the priest’s feet touched the water that a path opened through the flood and that great mass of people crossed over on dry land.  It was clear to all that God was leading, His Shekinah presence visible as a cloudy pillar above the mercy seat on the Ark.

A few days later, the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant were again on the march, walking around the fortified and walled city of Jericho, the people following silently behind.  We know the story, once around the city for six days, seven times the seventh day, and the walls collapsed inwards.  Once again it was evident that God was leading.

On both of these occasions, the people sanctified themselves before God led them in such miraculous fashion.  Several generations later, the people were manifestly unsanctified, yet thought that if they took the Ark of the Covenant into battle against the Philistines God would surely give them the victory.  This was a lapse into pagan thinking, that somehow they could manipulate their God into doing what they wanted.

It didn’t work.  The Israelites were defeated and the Ark captured by the Philistines.  Now the presence of God above the mercy seat was manifested: the statue representing the god of the Philistines toppled, breaking in pieces and wherever the Ark went the Philistine people suffered plagues.  The Ark was returned to Israel in a manner clearly showing God was in control.  His power was shown again in the deaths of the Israelites who presumed to open the Ark and look inside.

The Ark was removed from the tabernacle of Moses to be taken into battle against the Philistines and it never returned.  Eli, the high priest died upon hearing of the capture of the Ark and his place as spiritual leader was taken by Samuel, who was not of Levitical or priestly lineage.  All the time of Samuel’s ministry and through the reign of David, the Ark remained separated from the tabernacle of Moses.

When David captured Mount Zion and made it his home, he installed the Ark in a new tabernacle he built on Mount Zion.  King David put on priestly robes and offered sacrifices to sanctify the new tabernacle.  No other sacrifices were ever offered at the tabernacle of David.  In their place, a form of worship was established that included songs, prayers and preaching (this is the true meaning of the word rendered “record” in the AV).  Meanwhile, the high priest continued offering the daily sacrifices before the tabernacle of Moses located at Gibeah, a tabernacle that did not contain the Ark and the mercy seat.

Solomon built the temple on Mount Moriah, brought the Ark of the Covenant into the Holy of Holies and established the priests in their functions.  It is notable in Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple that he included all mankind in the promise of salvation: “For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm” (1 Kings 8:42).

It is also notable that when the walls of Jerusalem were built, Mount Zion was outside those walls.  Yet the memory of David’s tabernacle upon Mount Zion, where God dwelt above the mercy seat among His people without the sacrifices and rituals of the law, thrilled the heart of the prophets.  “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken” (Isaiah 33:20).  “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this” (Amos 9:11-12).

Many years later, the followers of Jesus gathered in Jerusalem, in the shadow of the temple, to consider whether Gentile believers needed to be circumcised and follow all the laws given to Israel.  James, the brother of our Lord, recalled those prophecies and saw their fulfilment in the salvation of the Gentiles and came to this conclusion: “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.  And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.  Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.  Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God” (Acts 15: 14-19).

Pet Therapy

But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.  And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.  And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die (2 Samuel 12:3-5).

Nathan knew how to approach the king in a way that would touch his heart.  Other men may have scoffed at the foolishness of the poor man who fell in love with a lamb.  Not King David, his heart was still the heart of a shepherd.  His indignant reaction opened the way for Nathan to bring him face to face with the reality of his own sin.

Falling in love with an animal has helped many people through times of sorrow and stress, or even mental illness.  A stray cat found its way to the home of a lady who was showing signs of paranoid schizophrenia.  She felt sorry for the half-starved creature, began to study the care and feeding of cats and was rewarded with an affectionate pet who has been with her for many years.  In the process, her symptoms diminished and she is better able to cope with life.  Being responsible for the feeding and care of a dependent animal helps to take a person’s mind off their own problems.

Farm children who are given a calf or a pony to care for may avoid many temptations that other young people fall into.  A lonely single lady will rejoice at the thought of her dog who eagerly awaits her return.  A dog who needs to be taken for a walk can lift his owner from the slough of despond.

I can spend hours at my computer doing bookkeeping, growing more frustrated by the minute with a client’s slaphappy record keeping.  Then I become aware of a pair of golden eyes staring at me, silently and patiently.  After I have spent a little time combing my cat and fussing over her, I return to the keyboard and find my frustrations have vanished.  We have another cat who doesn’t want to be held.  But when I a sit in the recliner and put my feet up he will jump up on my lap, curl up and fall asleep.  I find it especially endearing when an aloof cat shows such evidence of trust.

There are cat ladies who want to take in every stray in the neighbourhood.  There are people who thought it would be a good idea to have a pet, but do not have time or patience to care for it.  I am not talking about such instances.  But when a poor family showers affection on a cherished pet and takes good care of it, let’s not scoff and say they are wasting money.  That pet is probably doing more good for the family than we imagine.

%d bloggers like this: