The Tents of Kedar

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A friend, a terrific pastor and church planter in California wrote out of frustration…

“Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech, that I live among the tents of Kedar!” laments the Psalmist (Psalm 120).

According to the commentaries, Meshech and Kedar are generic stand-ins for bad places to live. The Psalmist explains why living there is so bad: “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” His values, his desires, his life purpose are vastly different – opposite, in fact – from the residents of the country he finds himself in. He just doesn’t fit in. He wants shalom, they want war. He wants well-being, they want violence. It may sound melodramatic, but I found that this Psalm perfectly captured my feelings about the place where I live. The community is not interested in community, neighbors are not interested in neighborliness, spiritually wandering people are not interested in finding a home. So why am I trying so hard? Have I been a fool this whole time, working so hard for something that people don’t even care about? That thought suddenly pierced me.

A day later I thought of the prophet Ezekiel, whom God sent with these words, “I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me.” God describes the people as “stubborn,” “hardened”, and “obstinate,” but assures Ezekiel, “I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint.” Sometimes being hardheaded is exactly what God wants. We should be hardheaded about seeking peace, doing good, sharing the gospel, building community.

I’m honestly not sure if I need to continue on being hardheaded about these things here, or if it’s time to shake the dust off my feet and move on to somewhere more interested.

One Response to “The Tents of Kedar”

  1. Aidan says:

    this is so true to me. I would hang out with the cool kids because I felt like I wasn’t popular. But then I would become like them and turn really disrespectful and cuss all the time. Also, There are a few kids that are giving me a really hard time at school and sometimes it feels like I am becoming one of them. So I also sojourn in Meshech! Too long have I wandered toward the cool people, who have no respect or feelings. I dwell too much on what wrong someone has done to me. And I become one of them. 2) Deliver me, O LORD. AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!

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