1 Chronicles: 14:1
And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel.
When Anthony Bourdain’s travel and food show ‘No Reservations’ featured going back to Cambodia, it felt like time warping with him. Only mine landed two years prior his episode for my sister-in-law’s wedding, while his interview with the locals moved him to Pol Pot’s massive massacre thirty plus years ago. It was heartbreaking to see that those ruins saw the death of 1.7 million able and promising Khmers. The Rouge saw to it that their history records were all burned as well. It was an episode less appetizing, but with more heart to it. The simple dish prepared by the farmer’s family was probably the tastiest of all considering what they went through to survive. It made the world’s vanities fade into background - - so pale compared the truth of Bourdain’s closing words: ‘It’s (just) good to be alive.’
If we’ll time warp to Jerusalem at the time of this chapter’s writing, we’d probably see the remnants clueless on how to rebuild their once-great nation. As seventy-year-captives, they were more used to servitude and low self esteem. Like those ruins, they were broken too. Settling down was a big pill to swallow, almost difficult to grasp. T’was heartbreaking to see them pick up their puzzle pieces. God, feeling their fragile state, moved His chronicler to copy-paste two verses in David’s early life as king. First, He wanted them to see that He who provided David with the building materials for Zion from King Hiram of Tyre, is the same God who worked in the decrees of kings Cyrus and Darius to fully cover their expense. Imagine your empty pockets filled up with royal treasuries. It was overwhelming. But as always with God, it’s not done until you’re bursting with praise. He added the beautiful truth that David’s establishment as king and the kingdom’s exalted spot in history were for this reason: it was for the sake of His people. “US?!” They sure stared at the chronicler in disbelief. God’s love seemed distant in a foreign land. But now that they’re back in their homeland, it all made sense. It’s undeniably grace. What others saw as ruins, they see home. What others called pitiful, they call life. Others may belittle their history, but they believe that hope was alive.
We were heartbroken hearing the news last week that my ninong was missing. As chief cook in a seafaring vessel, his work included inspecting galleys for storage and cleanliness. His last chat with his wife points to his going there. They found him gone the following morning. Initial investigations said he might have accidentally fallen off. It was shattering news. We were crying for days, pleading for a miracle. Our hope is in the God who can bring him back home. But if He chooses not to, if our ninong’s already home in His comfort, then we will hope that the dark ruins in his family’s life today will soon meet His gracious provision to rise anew. That though others may expect it as void, they’ll experience His fill. That although God took him away, they’ll praise Him still because he was first given to them. Our hope for a beautiful future can be traced back to the time that God established David’s Branch and exalted Him above the nations. It was because of His love for us, His people, that Jesus came to live. He is the One reason why we can look forward to life. He makes the world’s vanities fade into background - - so pale compared to His words that gives eternal life. Oh, it’s just so good that God is alive!