“The devil’s in the details”

The other night I flipped open the Bible I keep by my bed and rather than just taking up where I had left off in the Gospel of Mark, I asked, “Lord, what would you like us to read tonight?”

I opened the pages, saw I was in I Chronicles 28, and so began reading. When I read verses 11-19, I slowed down, went back and re-read those verses…

Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things.

He gave him instructions for the divisions of the priests and Levites, and for all the work of serving in the temple of the Lord, as well as for all the articles to be used in its service.

He designated the weight of gold for all the gold articles to be used in various kinds of service, and the weight of silver for all the silver articles to be used in various kinds of service: the weight of gold for the gold lampstands and their lamps, with the weight for each lampstand and its lamps; and the weight of silver for each silver lampstand and its lamps, according to the use of each lampstand;

the weight of gold for each table for consecrated bread; the weight of silver for the silver tables; the weight of pure gold for the forks, sprinkling bowls and pitchers; the weight of gold for each gold dish; the weight of silver for each silver dish; and the weight of the refined gold for the altar of incense.

He also gave him the plan for the chariot, that is, the cherubim of gold that spread their wings and overshadow the ark of the covenant of the Lord.

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”  (Emphasis added.)

“The devil is in the details,” I was thinking. The Holy Spirit said to me, “So is God.” Wow. “God is in the details.” And what details!

He reminded me that the patterns for the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were given to Moses in great detail, and every bit of material they needed to build them was on hand, provided by way of the Egyptians. (See Exodus 12:35-36, Exodus 25 ff.)

Here in I Chronicles, David is recounting that God had given him detailed directions for the Temple that would be built by Solomon. And he had enabled David and the people to gather all the materials they would need. Read through those lists of materials sometime. It is impressive!

Details matter to the Lord, I remind myself. Sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees, but the reverse is also true. We don’t always take time to see the individual “trees,” the little moments, the little happenings, those small building blocks that go into the big picture.

While the big picture certainly matters, the little picture also matters. That means, whatever I do during the day, wherever I go, whatever I read, or meditate on, or write – even down to the day and time I do it, matters to the Lord.

Like the time of day I went to the grocery store yesterday. The new-to-me cashier was grumpy and unfriendly, but I smiled, said a few friendly sentences to her, and most importantly – I prayed for her. Perhaps she was my only reason for being there on that day, at that time. Because she matters to the Lord. Her life matters. The details of her life matter to the Lord.

 

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White House prayers

As I was praying about various things this morning, the Holy Spirit began to talk to me. Here’s what he said:

Many ordinary people work in the White House. They have ordinary concerns, interests, hobbies, fears, anxieties and worries. Some have financial problems, some have family conflicts, some have health issues. Some have feelings of frustration or anger.

Not all are military or law enforcement personnel, but of course some are. They have extra concerns that civilian employees don’t have: security of people and property, intelligence, keeping constant contact with higher-ups and each other, always with an eye out for any hint of danger.

And with all their extra training and duties, these people have the same kinds of life concerns as all the rest in the White House.

Think about all the normally behind-the-scenes people who work to maintain the White House complex. Those who mop and vacuum the floors, polish and rearrange the furniture. Designers and decorators. Those who select and care for the many floral arrangements. Those who wash the laundry, fix the plumbing or replace the light bulbs. Chefs, cooks and bottle washers. Helpers of many kinds in many departments.

Think about the inside and outside maintenance staff, like electricians, plumbers, painters, carpenters, brick masons. Gardeners and groundskeepers. Heavy lifters to carry and move whatever, whenever, wherever it’s needed. HVAC and other mechanics who see that every piece of machinery works how it’s supposed to. The White House is a pretty old building complex, after all.

Then there is the administrative staff, the secretaries, clerks, assistants, aides, the audio-visual and digital technicians, not to mention the various communications personnel. The social staff necessary to help with calendars and planning for necessary events, travel, meetings, invitations given and accepted for the First Family and their personal aides.

White House historians, photographers, and audiovisual experts are tasked with keeping detailed records of comings and going. For every staffer who is seen, there are many folks behind the scenes. How many might there be in all, throughout that complex?

Some of them are doing the best job they can, whether out of loyalty or in hopes of a promotion or raise. Some are doing the least they can, keeping out of sight and out of the way, hoping not to get fired.

And naturally, some in the middle are working dutifully, concerned more with the paycheck and providing for their family, less concerned with the politics of it all (national politics or job-site politics).

Some White House workers despise the current President, although they tend to keep their opinions to themselves. They disagree with his politics, dislike his personality, and if given the odd chance to throw monkey-wrenches into the works somewhere, they might consider it. In the meantime they keep a low profile.

But others genuinely like or admire the President and his family. They may not like his tweets or his occasionally colorful language, but overall they are glad he was elected and happy to be working where they are.

So, why bring all this to mind today, I asked?

Because every one of them needs prayer. Intercession. Petitions. They need the Gospel. God’s grace. Forgiveness. They need Jesus as Lord and Savior, they need his favor, his provision, his Word. They need the filling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit to do whatever job they have.

All those things you’ve been praying for the First Family over these last months? All these people also need those things. Don’t forget them, when you pray for the White House.

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