a pseudo book review**My friend Peggy talks about “nuggets” — the best part of a message, what she takes away from it. My “pseudo book reviews” are just that: the one or two things I will remember, maybe all from one chapter. It may be a particular phrase or thought that changed the way I see something, or a quote, or a new take on Scripture. The nuggets are the very best parts. I’d love to hear your take on any of these books, too!
If you don’t know the story of the Brook Besor in 1 Samuel, it goes something like this. David and his 600 men returned from the war front to find that the Amalekites had destroyed their village, looted it, and taken the women and children. David went to God, who told him to go after them. The men are exhausted, angry, and about to give up. In fact, 200 of them do. When they reach the brook, these soldiers dismount and lie down to rest. Can you imagine — too tired to go after their own families?
I bet you’ve been that weary before. I know I have.
David continued forward with the rest of the men, eventually catching up to the raiding party (with the help of an Egyptian slave they’d left behind) and killing or scaring off the Amalekites, rescuing all the women and children. Every one. Their wives and the ones of the men who were still hanging out at the brook. Probably playing poker. On their way back, victorious, loaded down with loot, David’s men were furious that the other 200 men were lazing around instead of helping, so they decided to keep it all for themselves.
But David wouldn’t hear of it. He gave the men at the brook an out (announcing that they had stayed with the supplies), respecting their weariness and helping them save face. And then they all shared equally in the spoils.
Max Lucado wrote, “Isn’t that what the church is intended to be? A place for soldiers to recover their strength?” And then, “I wonder how many could do the same. Too tired to fight. Too ashamed to complain. While others claim victories, the weary sit in silence. How many sit at Brook Besor?”
It was like neon lights went on, flashing the name of a friend before me. I do some work with this person, and I’d been feeling unusually frustrated at what I saw as her failures. I was feeling particularly self-righteous at that moment. Not only was I working my butt off, but I felt like I was picking up her slack, too. She was the bottleneck in my productivity. For the past few days, I’d really struggled with this situation.
And then I read this:
If you are listed among them, here is what you need to know: it’s okay to rest. Jesus is your David. He fights when you cannot. He goes where you cannot. He’s not angry if you sit….
Brook Besor blesses rest.
Brook Besor also cautions against arrogance. David knew the victory was a gift. Let’s remember the same. Salvation comes like the Egyptian in the desert, a delightful surprise on the path. Unearned. Undeserved. Who are the strong to criticize the tired?
Are you weary? Catch your breath. We need your strength.
Are you strong? Reserve passing judgment on the tired. Odds are, you’ll need to plop down yourself. And when you do, Brook Besor is a good story to know.
The flashing lights in my head (notice this! notice this!) showed me two things:
A) My friend was one of the weary at that time. And it was OK. My job was to respect her, honor her for coming as far as she had, and know that after she rests, she’ll get up and start moving forward again.
And B) Since when did I start thinking of myself as the strong one? I’d been struggling for literally years, weary as all get out, feeling like I couldn’t find my way back to God — and then suddenly, just like that, I found I was there. Back. Walking with Him again. It didn’t look exactly the same as it used to. But He was there again. (Truth be told, He had never left. I just refused to recognize Him for a while.)
Thank You, Lord, for the way you speak, for the way your Word is living and active and penetrates to the very core of my soul. Thank you for defusing my frustration, showing me my errors, and helping me see that I already have everything I long for: You. Beside me. Always. Even on the days (weeks, months, years) when I find myself collapsed on the banks of the Brook Besor.