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"May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD,
my Rock and my Redeemer."  

Psalm 19:14

I cannot remember why or when I started praying Psalm 19:14 before I preached or taught a Bible study, but I have done this since I graduated from seminary. I will never forget my ordination service with the Evangelical Free Church of America in the 90s. I preached the message, and I opened the sermon by praying Psalm 19:14.

After the service, My Aunt Nancy embraced me. She told me with a tear in her eyes how my grandfather, Delmar Halstead, always prayed Psalm 19:14 before family devotions, teaching Sunday School, or praying during the Sunday morning worship service. My grandfather died when I was two, and I have no pictures or recollection of him, but his prayers and life still impact me today. 

I was thinking of this when I read the Book of Ruth, and I wondered if King David knew his grandfather Obed. The Scriptures state: "So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son...Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David." (Ruth 4:13, 21b-22) 

Did David ever meet Obed? Did he remember him when he was the king of Israel? What impact did Obed have on the faith of David, the King of Israel? Did David know the faith story of his grandfather Obed? 

I treasure the faith story of my grandfather Delmar. He was laid off from work during the great depression, and my father (a little boy) became very ill. Orie Crismore, an elder at the Ellettsville Christian Church, helped save my dad's life by taking him and Delmar to the doctor. Mr. Crismore paid for the doctor's visit and the precious medicine that saved my dad's life. He also invited Delmar and the family to his church.

Soon after this event, my grandfather Delmar and my grandmother Anna professed faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. My grandfather eventually became an elder and deacon at Ellettsville Christian Church and physically helped build their new church building. When my dad was leaving for the Navy during the Korean War, Delmar gave him a pocket Bible with Psalm 19:14 highlighted. I have that precious Bible, and I treasure it today. 

Did King David consider the story of Boaz and Ruth and reflect on how his grandfather came from their story? Do you ever reflect on those who went before you and how they influenced you to know Christ as your Savior?

The Jewish poet and storyteller Noah ben Shea tells a parable that serves as a valuable reminder of those who went before us in life:

After a meal, some children turned to their father, Jacob, and asked if he would tell them a story. "A story about what?" asked Jacob. "About a giant," squealed the children. Jacob smiled, leaned against the warm stones at the side of the fireplace, and his voice turned softly inward.

"Once, a boy asked his father to take him to see the grand parade that passed through the village. The father, remembering the parade from when he was a boy, quickly agreed, and the following day the boy and his father set out together.

"As they approached the parade route, people started to push in from all sides, and the crowd grew thick. When the people became almost a wall, the father lifted his son and placed him on his shoulders.

"Soon, the parade began, and as it passed, the boy kept telling his father how wonderful it was and how spectacular were the colors and images. The boy grew so prideful of what he saw that he mocked those who saw less, saying, even to his father, 'If only you could see what I see.'

"But," said Jacob staring straight in the faces of the children, "what the boy did not look at was why he could see. The boy forgot that once his father, too, could see."

Then, as if he had finished the story, Jacob stopped speaking.

"Is that it?" said a disappointed girl. "We thought you would tell us a story about a giant."

"But I did," said Jacob. "I told you a story about a boy who could have been a giant."

"How?" squealed the children.

"A giant," said Jacob, "is anyone who remembers we are all sitting on someone else's shoulders."

"And what does it make us if we don't remember?" asked the boy.

"A burden," answered Jacob.

My grandfather died when I was just two-years-old. Before he died, he bought seven burial plots for his family. The plots were for his five children and their spouse, Delmar and his wife Anna, and Orie and his wife Leatha Crismore. Every year, I go to the Ellettsville Presbyterian Cemetery to put flowers on each grave site, and I always make a special visit to Orie's grave site. I thank the Lord for his impact on my family: for saving my dad's life, leading my grandfather and grandmother to faith in Jesus, and how his devotion to Jesus has impacted my life. 

Whenever I preach or teach a Bible study, I pray Psalm 19:14 and think of those who went before me. I picture my grandfather praying Psalm 19:14 over me and others. I wonder if David ever considered Obed and the impact he had on his life.

How about you? Do you remember those who went before you and impacted your life for Jesus? Or a better question is this, "Are you a giant or a burden?"

"May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD,
my Rock and my Redeemer."  

Psalm 19:14

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