Cling by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

One of the fondest memories of my grandmother was at Christmas-time when she would sit at the piano and play the song, The Old Rugged Cross. She was one of those who would roll over the keys, just like you would hear from an old-timey player piano. There’s a line in that song that says, “I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown.”

Here’s how Merriam Webster defines “cling”:

  1. to hold together
  2. to adhere as if glued
  3. to hold or hold on tightly or
  4. to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence

We just spent a very quick 24 hours with our new grandson, William Bradley Worley, and one of the things I noticed is that when my daughter-in-law Bailey feeds William, he grabs on to her with his hands. The only word that can describe this is that he “clings” to his mother because he is helpless right now and needs his mama for nourishment.

And I thought, That’s what the LORD wants from us, to cling to Him for our sustenance—for life. So in today’s devotion, I want to share three principles about clinging to God.

1. We must cling to God alone. The word “cling” is used in Joshua 23. As Joshua, a great warrior of God, was nearing the end of his life, he encouraged the Israelites to forsake other gods and cling to the LORD rather than any other god. He said, But cling to Adonai your God, as you have done to this day. For Adonai has driven out from before you great and mighty nations. As for you, no one remained standing before you to this day. One of you can put a thousand to flight, for Adonai your God, He Himself is fighting for you, just as He said to you (Joshua 23:8–10. TLV).

I am sure many of you have been through some hard times. We’ve all had them, but instead of wondering why God is allowing the troubles, we need to cling to Him and remember how He has fought for us in previous situations. Instead of questioning, we must thank Him for how He will work through our troubles. Why? He’s done it before and if we believe it, He will fight for us again.

We don’t want to go back to our old ways of coping. Joshua issued a warning to the Israelites in that same passage: For if you ever go back and cling to the remnant of these nations that are still remaining among you, and intermarry with them, and you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that Adonai your God will no longer drive these nations out from before you (Joshua 23:12-14, TLV). We have to be confident in the power of God and cling to the One True God in the good times and the bad. We want Him to fight our battles and work behind the scenes on our behalf.


2. We have to CLING to His Word.

Psalm 119:31-32 says, I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart. Sometimes we don’t give God our whole heart. We can get busy, and the Word of God gets slighted.

With a new grandchild in our family, time has been tight. Last week was a busy week, and when I get busy U can race through my quiet time—to check off the box. But we all need to cling to the Word. When we’re the busiest, it should be more important than ever. The Word is a lifeline.

Think about a person who falls overboard from a boat. They throw him a life preserver, and he or she clings to that. We can think of a preserver as the Word of God that keeps us from drowning. We need direction from the LORD even in the busiest of times.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. Cling to the Word.

3. We cling so we will be blessed and prosper.

King Hezekiah was one of the righteous kings who held fast to God. 2 Kings 18:5–7 says in the TLV:  He trusted in Adonai, the God of Israel. Indeed, none of all the kings of Judah after him was like him—and none before him. For he clung to Adonai. He did not turn away from following Him, but kept His mitzvot, which Adonai had commanded Moses. So Adonai was with him. Wherever he went he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.  He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territories, from watchtower to fortified city. King Hezekiah clung to the one true God and he experienced victory after victory. Do you need a win right now? Cling.

And you may know that when Hezekiah was told he was going to die, this righteous king pleaded for more time and God relented and gave him another fifteen years. Why? I think it’s because he loved God, he followed His law, and he clung to God. He remained glued to God.

I have learned that I must hold onto God for dear life in order to make it in this world. It’s not going to get easier so I try to pray over everything. My desire is to live a life pleasing to God. I am like my little grandson holding onto his mama for what he needs to live, except I have grabbed hold of my Abba Father.  

And one day when God calls us home, it will be a natural thing to grab ahold of Him, because we practiced clinging in this life.

And I’ll cherish the old rugged cross (rugged cross), Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross, And exchange it some day for a crown.


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