I’ve been listening this week to several podcasts from Dr. Tony Evans on Detours. His series is about the detours the Lord gives us, and he is using the story of Joseph to illustrate his message. The Lord uses detours to refine us, to make us ready to fulfill His purpose for our lives. This morning I read the following devotional from Lora Bloomquist published at (in)courage.me. It’s a great reminder that with changes in our lives, the same Lord who watches over the lesser creature of the earth, watches over us. If God watches over the exits and entrances of this animal kingdom, how much more must He care about our human exits and entrances, since we are made in His image, His most precious creation?
I read this Psalm 121 in my study Bible this morning, and there was a reference in Deuteronomy that I found important. “All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:…You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” (Deut 28:2, 6) The Lord will bless us IF we obey Him. Dr. Charles Stanley illustrates this point in Life Principles 21: Obedience Always Brings Blessing. “When you choose to obey the Lord, He will bless you. This is because obedience always leads to blessing. I have always told people who say they do not understand why God is asking them to do a certain thing that if they will obey Him, He will reward them with a sense of peace and joy that compares to nothing this world has to offer. Therefore, set a goal to obey the Lord and watch Him work in your life.”
I sipped my coffee, tiredly waiting for the caffeine to hit my system, and watched while my daughter scurried around the kitchen, retrieving her items from every counter to fill her backpack. My teenagers know mom’s not a morning person and can luckily fend for themselves for breakfast while I attempt consciousness.
Although my eyes were barely open, my ears perked up to a low, deep, whoo-ing sound outside the window. I tiptoed quietly outside to the deck, not to disturb the preparations of the morning, and also whatever was making the sound.
There, high up in the cottonwood tree, silhouetted in black against the dim blue, early morning sky, I spied the telltale pointed ears of a Great Horned Owl. Even from my vantage point I could tell he was of considerable size. The long, low whoo, whoo continued. Nighttime is his comfort zone and he was ready to make his exit with the day arriving soon.
As our dog barked to go outside, the Great Horned owl took flight, it’s large wingspan unfurling into the brightening sky. As I held the leash while my doodle found a suitable spot, I heard my neighbor’s new rooster cock-a-doodle-do-ing. His crow harkened a new day, waking up the neighborhood.
The owl was exiting his night, and the rooster was entering his day.
Exits and entrances.
Our God is a God of order. All of nature follows the rules He has put in place. The owl knows when his night shift is over, and the rooster instinctively crows at the crack of dawn, awaking all to the day. If God watches over the exits and entrances of this animal kingdom, how much more must He care about our human exits and entrances, since we are made in His image, His most precious creation?
Psalm 121 says,
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
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.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
This chapter first became meaningful to me on a college trip to Europe. My passport had been stolen and I had to stay by myself in a foreign country with strangers until the paperwork was resolved. My parents had no idea of my situation. It was just me and the Lord.
God assured me through this psalm that He was watching over my coming and going, my exits and entrances across borders of countries where I didn’t know a soul, on trains where I wasn’t sure I’d be able to understand the language enough to get off at the planned stop. Trusting my welfare to strangers, because I had no other choice. Which is a lot of trust for a girl that grew up in a tough, inner-city environment.
So when I heard the owl asking “whoo, whoo” the other morning, I was reminded to answer, “You, Lord.”
You know what I am exiting at this stage of my life, and You know what You want me to enter. A difficult year is ending, and a new year is beginning. Exits and entrances. The rooster is harkening a new day, and I am assured that my God is ordering it all.