How to Read the Bible and Completely Miss the Point!

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”(John 5:39-40 ESV)

Pharisees by Wilmer Murillo

Jesus said this to Jewish religious leaders. As you read the Gospels, it seems that if Jesus had a bone to pick with anyone, it was the religious leaders.

Among the religious leaders in Jesus day, the Pharisees were the most faithful to the law, the most zealous, the most “righteous”, and also the most conservative. They had the entire Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) memorized and were extremely well versed and educated in every detail of the law, the histories, and the prophets. And yet, with all their zeal and Bible knowledge, they were missing the point. They had lost the plot.

If you ever have the chance to see the movie, Matthew – Visual Bible, you should! Bruce Marchianno was brilliant in the role of Jesus. I have read his biography, In the Footsteps of Jesus, in which he shares that his goal was to play every scene as a love scene. God is love, after all, and Jesus is God. The way he portrayed Matthew 23 was so powerful!

Matthew 23 is a rebuke to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He starts out by saying that no one should be called “teacher” or “father”, and that we all are brothers. All are equals in the kingdom of God!

Start at 3:05:00

The “woe to you” portion of Matthew 23 starts out with Jesus saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (vs 13)

Watching him portray Jesus speech to the religious leaders made me both uncomfortable and inspired. What was it that made Jesus so upset and angry? What was at stake that caused this confrontation? What was the big deal?

Would you be angry and upset if someone was trying to seduce your spouse into leaving you? That’s sort of what was happening here, only far more serious. People for whom Christ came to rescue were at stake, including you and me. These religious leaders were misrepresenting God to the people. The fact that God wanted to love and be loved and have us live in love toward each other, was all but lost in all the hypocrisy and hoop jumping and demands made by the Pharisee’s religion.

Legalism

Legalism says that obedience to the law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle in redemption. That seems to be the problem here with the Pharisees. They were careful to dot every “i” and cross every “t” in their efforts to keep every detail of the law in order to win God’s approval, and so save themselves. Yet they neglected love and justice, mercy and faithfulness altogether.

Based on the amount of divine revelation they had thus far, would the Pharisees have come to any other conclusion? How would they have known that it was faith in God’s grace rather than strict adherence to every detail of the law that “saves” us? Here are three things they had:

  1. In Genesis it says that Abram “believed God and God credited to him as righteousness”. So they knew righteousness comes by faith in God.
  2. They had the commands of Moses to love God with their all, and to love their neighbor as themselves. They ought to have known that love was at the center of a life of faith.
  3. They had a conscience which convicted them of guilt. When Jesus said, let him without sin cast the first stone in the story in John 8, not a single one could say they were guiltless. Every last one of them dropped their stones and walked away. Would not guilt drive anyone to God to seek his forgiveness and grace?

The Pharisees practically had the Bible memorized and from sun up to sun down their lives were consumed at every moment with God and his word. They were experts in all-things-God! But apparently the point of a life of faith is not to become Bible experts. In fact Jesus said to these bible experts, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33 NIV)

Did Jesus love the Pharisees? Of course he did! The apostle Paul was an especially devout Pharisee and it is likely that some of these same men who heard his “woe to you” speech were among those who eventually came to believe in him (Acts 6:7). Of course many (perhaps most) who heard his “woe to you” speech that day were the ones spitting on him, beating him, mocking him, and condemning him to a cruel death on a Roman cross just a short time later.

As I read through the Torah I wondered, “Would they get it? Would they get that this is all about love?” Cause I sure didn’t! Even though I went to Bible college and became a “Bible expert” myself, I struggled for years with a self-righteous judgmental religion and ended up loathing myself.

The Scripture that I started this post has echoed in my ears for years. I have spent most my life studying the Scriptures diligently, trying to formulate a philosophy (a world view) that would help me make sense of God and the world, and how I fit with either one. I was fairly content with all my philosophizing… and justifying myself… until I realized that my heart was empty when it came to grace. Empty when it came to love. Empty of life. Empty of Jesus. I was a proud “bible scholar” and the Lord needed to give me a much needed spanking! Thankfully, he did.

Eventually I came to realize I knew nothing at all if I didn’t love, and Jesus is the source of love. We must come to Jesus! The one to whom all of Scripture testifies about.

Jesus is the point! His love is the point! Without Jesus and his love we are nothing. Without Jesus and love we have lost the plot. Without Jesus and his love, our lives become meaningless and empty.

The following story is the Scripture that God put on my heart to share to end this post:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 NIV)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”   26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Deuteronomy, Love God and Do As You Please!

St. Augustine once said, “Love God and do whatever you please.”

What do you think about that? I once shared this quote in a sermon and received a few puzzled looks. But it’s true! Think about it. If we love God, would we ever wrong him? The quote goes on to say, “for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” If we love God we will obey God. If we obey God we will love others. So love then, is the key.

It’s All About Love!

Jesus was once asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV)

Moses, in his sermons of Deuteronomy stressed love for God and obedience to God:

“Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always… love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul… love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him… love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life” (Deuteronomy 11:1,13,22; 30:20 NIV)

Love and Obey.

Moses was not the only one to stress the relationship between love and obedience. Jesus makes it crystal clear that if we love him than we will keep his commands and if we don’t love him, then we won’t obey him.

“If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth… 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them…  23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” (John 14 NIV)

What is Jesus command? What is his teaching? These next few verses from John’s Gospel really spell out exactly what command Jesus wants us to follow:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15 NIV)

So Loving Others = Loving God?

So to sum up what Jesus is saying: If you love me, then you will obey my commands, my command is to love others. So, if we love God then we will love others.

“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:2-4 NIV)

The apostle John tells us that we can’t pretend for a moment to love God, if we don’t love others (see 1 John).

My friend shared this quote with me tonight, “We only can love God as well as the people that we love the least”. What do you think about that?

Story time!

After my parents divorce, my brother was living with dad and I, with our mom just three blocks away. I remember as a teenager my brother calling me up one afternoon. He had experimented with LSD with some friends and had a really bad “trip” and was in terror of the demons. He asked me to come over and read the Bible to him. I ran over as quick as I could and I started reading to him from first John.

After a couple of chapters of 1 John I’m thinking to myself, “He is probably bored stiff with this. Is he falling asleep on me?” When I finally finished reading through the whole book he turned to me and said, “That was awesome!” And I knew he meant it. The terror had left him and God’s peace had come.

(Take some time to talk with God today about your love for God and for others. Ask him to show you ways you can show love to those around you today.)

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ps. Francis Chan is a teacher I greatly respect and admire. He wrote a book called Crazy Love which I’d recommend. Here is a video that I think you will find inspiring: Click here for a Francis Chan message (You can download the video and burn it to a DVD, or just burn the audio to a CD to listen to as you drive, but I encourage you to take the time to hear what Francis Chan has to say about our love for others.)

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Jesus  (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

Numbers, Are You a One in a Million?

Remember: all I'm offering is the truth

Blue pill or the red pill?

I remember watching the Matrix for the first time. It was amazing, eye-opening, and inspiring! I also thought, “this is one of the most prophetic movies to ever come out!” Such is the perspective of a young man in his early twenties.

One of my favorite lines of Morpheus: “Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

The “path”, to me, meant Jesus. Jesus once said, “I am the way”. Following Jesus is like the Matrix in some ways. For one, it is true that we all are, or were, slaves to sin and so under the control of evil forces.

Consider this Scripture in the Gospel of John:

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…”

“…I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:31-32, 34-36 NLT)

This reminds me of something else Morpheus said to Neo: “You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.”

My point is not to prove that the Matrix is some sort of incognito message from God to us, but that it speaks to people (like me) because there actually are elements of the truth here.

The correlations:

  1. We were made for more than this. (“This” meaning your current experience of life – your “reality”).
  2. There are powerful evil forces at work (even within yourself) keeping you from becoming free as God intended you to be.
  3. It is extremely likely you are helping these evil forces right now and so fighting against the truth and hurting yourself.
  4. Jesus wants to free your mind from fear, doubt, and disbelief and make anything seem possible. Because with God, it is!

It takes a very special person, one in a million really, who will do what it takes to find their freedom. Who will do the hard work of obeying and trusting and loving God and living in the truth. And what is the “truth”?

Jesus! Yes, “truth” is a person.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

In Numbers we read about some men who believed in God. They were virtually untouchable because the Lord watched over them and protected them. They did amazing feats in battle, performed miracles.  They knew God. This last one was the most important element to their freedom. They knew God! Remember Jesus words? “They will know the truth and the truth will set them free!” Above all else we must know God, and trust him with all we’ve got.

The good news is that we are also just as human as Moses, Caleb, and Joshua. These men were among the one-in-a-million who followed, loved, and trusted God in Israel. Here is what God had to say about them:

12 The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they have wholeheartedly followed the Lord.’ (Numbers 32:12 NLT)

The above verse is referring to the following statement of the Lord where he basically says all the rest of Israel grumbled against the Lord and so he prolongs their stay in the desert until every last man from that wicked generation died.

26 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. (Numbers 14 NIV emphasis mine)

Out of 603,550 battle ready men 20 years old or older, 603,548 of them grumbled against God and were strangers to him in their heart. No wonder the Lord says to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? 12 I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!” (Numbers 14:11-12 NLT)

But, by the grace of Jesus, any one of us can be like Moses, Caleb, Joshua, or Enoch, Noah, Elijah, Daniel, John, and even the apostle Paul. We could move into a future of greatness in the Lord’s eyes (probably not in the worlds) and walk with Jesus as close friends. We too can be a one in a million who follows Jesus.

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Leviticus, Jesus Paid it All, All to Him I Owe

I must admit, I was dreading reading Leviticus. What am I going to write about in Leviticus? Now, after reading it, I have so much I could write about but don’t have the time to get it all in. I was surprised that many of the issues brought up in my last blog were directly addressed in Leviticus.

 “You must be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” Lev. 19:2 NLT

Holy God. Sinful people.

How can the two coexist? Rebellion and sin won’t be tolerated in the presence of the Almighty Holy God. But then, what can God do with a people terrified of him? If God is executing his justice left and right (which he did) as his people flagrantly sin (which they did) then the people will panic and will be driven even further away from him. Then the intimacy that he desires to have with his people is compromised by their sheer stark terror for their lives. As you can see, this is a huge problem!

In Leviticus, God is now enabling Israel, giving them the tools they need, to be in relationship with a holy God.

The Sacrificial System

This practice of connecting the butchering of animals to worship had it’s origins with God. He was the first to sacrifice an animal to clothe Adam and Eve and somehow Abel knew to bring him the “fat portions from some of the first born of his flock” – incidentally “the fat portions” is exactly what Moses specifies as the offering to the LORD.

God required the fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver to be a burnt offering on the alter in every animal sacrifice. The people were then forbidden to eat the fat or drink blood. We all know that animal fat clogs up our blood vessels and arteries and isn’t good for us, right? I just did a little research about kidneys and liver and came across this interesting article:

Eating Liver and Kidney: Would you eat a sink strainer or the air filter from your car?

Both the liver and the kidneys are responsible for removing toxins and the filth from our bodies (kidneys produce our urine!). So God is claiming the most polluted parts of the animal for himself (the fat, blood, kidneys and a portion of the liver) and this for our own good because he loves us and then he says it’s a “sweet smelling aroma” to him. Indeed it was a sweet smelling aroma – like burger King venting the smell of frying burgers – and the tabernacle was strategically placed in the center of the camp with that delicious smell wafting through the camp making everyone hungry and more than willing to bring in a peace offering to share with God… clever. (I realize that this is a silly way to look at it – more on peace offerings later – really exciting stuff!)

Question to ponder: Did God really forgive the people their sins because of the blood of these animals? Or rather was it because this outward action created faith in people’s hearts to receive and enjoy God’s forgiveness? Think about it. All those in the camp with a guilty conscience looking for grace would come with their offering and meet God’s requirements thus giving their hearts the freedom to say, “Now I am forgiven and cleansed”.

The writer of Hebrews later writes, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10: 4 NIV)

Scripture explains that the sacrifices were a looking forward, by faith, to the perfect sacrifice God would provide. For those in Israel who had been paying attention, they had access to the story about Abraham in Genesis 22 where God tested him regarding his son. Consider this prophecy of a future provision of a sacrifice, “So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:14 NIV)

the-blood-of-jesusI would argue that it was this faith in God (and ultimately the future sacrifice of Jesus) that cleansed them – not the sacrifice. But would the faith have happened without this sacrifice? Not likely. And it would have never, on such a grand scale, served a nation as well as this sacrificial system.

We know from the New Testament that Jesus and His shed blood was the real atoning sacrifice for sins that brings all who trust in him the pure joy and freedom found in forgiveness.

“He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2  NIV

When was the last time you felt the joy and freedom of forgiveness? Why not experience that once again today? Take some time right now and talk to God about this.

The Grain Offering

The grain offering is interesting, because now not only do we have the smell of yummy meat on the grill but now the smell of fresh baked bread! I found it very interesting that he says, never forget to add salt to your grain offering “to remind you of God’s eternal covenant” (so just how long will this covenant with Israel last?).  Frankincense was added to this burnt grain offering which not only smelled nice, but it cleansed the air of undesirable germs. It was also a natural mosquito repellent. God is so amazing! He thinks of everything!

The Peace Offering

This is by far my favorite offering. Whenever people are slaughtering an animal for a meal they would bring it to the tabernacle and offer the fat and other select portions to God as a peace offering and then share the meal with friends and family that same day.  What a cool idea! Incorporating fellowship with God and others every time you grill out. This offering was usually an expression of thanksgiving. Fellowship with God over a meal is an idea that is also carried into the New Testament with the Lord’s supper.

Consider this amazing Scripture where Jesus says this to the believers in Laodicea:

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20

That’s so awesome!

The Law of Love

When we talk about the “law of God” we often forget that his law is a law of love. Every command is for our highest good and for the good of the community. As the Scriptures say:

“Whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10 NIV

So do we really want to wage war against love by choosing to sin? Or wouldn’t you rather rid your heart of love’s greatest enemy (sin) out of your life? You can do this right now by bringing your sin to Jesus. Recognize the sacrifice he made on behalf of sin, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness, a cleansed conscience, and yes, even a restored innocence! Isn’t it amazing that we have somewhere to go with our sin?

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 NLT

I wrote a song based on the above verse that I would like to share with you called “Bring Me to the Light”. Be Blessed! JESUS PAID IT ALL!!!!!

Jesus, we pray that you would take take our sin away. Even as I pray that I realize that, through your sacrifice, you already have. But, we do need to acknowledge and receive your sacrifice on our behalf, and so we do. Jesus, we want to feel that joy of a cleansed conscience and restored innocence – of restored fellowship with you, the Source of all love. We pray that you would transform our hearts in this moment as we bring all our sin into your light. Thank you that your blood has covered all our sin and set us free.

ps. Here is more Scripture that sheds light on the sacrificial system and how Jesus is the fullfillment: Hebrew 7

Exodus, a Rebellious People and a Patiently Forgiving God

In the first blog I included a verse about God’s love to those who fear him. But what is often overlooked and rarely spoken of is that God’s holy loving presence is deadly to rebels, to sinners, to the ungodly. Sin cannot be tolerated! (This isn’t just a problem for sinners in the Old Testament but also in the early church – see Acts 5). The problem in Exodus is that the Israelite camp is full of rebels and sinners. How can God continue to be with them and among them and not have casualties along the way? This is the problem God is dealing with in Exodus.

God wants these Israelites to be different from the sinful corrupt world around them. Different from the proud Egyptians. Different from the Canaanites whose land God is giving over to his chosen people. But they are not.

Apparently, there are so few actual godly people of faith among them that God is ready to start over with Moses. He says this regarding them:

Exodus 32 9 “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

These people were rebellious, hard headed, hard hearted, complainers, doubters, unfaithful, and wicked. In spite of all that God had done for them, bringing them out of slavery, through the Red Sea, and promising them a bright future in a land flowing with milk and honey, they still don’t trust him. They hardly even believe in him (“is God really among us or not?”) though they saw his miracles and even his glory! They are willing to abandon him at the drop of a hat (Golden calf incident). They constantly complain to Moses, “Did you bring us and our family out here in this desert to kill us? Were there not enough graves in Egypt?” “We want water!” “We want meat like we had in Egypt!”

They had no faith that He who delivered them would provide for them, keep them safe, and sustain them. And as God tests them, they fail… time and again.

But, would any of us be any different?

Here is the account of when God appeared to all of Israel:

Exodus 19:16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.

God, the Creator of all the universe, appears in his glory and with a booming voice delivers the Ten Commandments publicly to over a million terrified Israelites. “Have no other Gods… make no graven image…”

Exodus 20:18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” NIV

Don’t be afraid… but fear! I once looked up this word translated “fear of God” and in the Hebrew it means to reverently trust in God.

God reiterates the second command again:

Exodus 20:22 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. NIV

Moses then receives more laws about being a decent human being and the people all agree to the covenant:

Exodus 24:3 When Moses went and told the people all the LORD’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” 4 Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said.

Then Moses goes up to meet with the LORD to recieve the rest of the law and instructions regarding worship and the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God into stone tablets.

Even after God speaks to the whole congregation the Ten Commandments, what do the Israelites do while Moses is on the mountian, in full view of God’s glory on the mountain, but make a golden calf.

Seriously? The very thing God reiterates to them specifically (as if he was predicting this very thing), this is what they decide to do? Come on people!

But, would any of us be any different?

Philip Yancey in his book Dissapointment with God, writes about the hiddenness of God and our struggle with faith. He points out that here in Exodus, God is not hidden at all. Did this produce faith? Not in the least. The whole of the Israelite community abandons God and his explicit instructions.

So, what made Moses different? Whatever it is, this is what we need in our own lives if we are to be different from the corrupt and rebellious world around us.

Hebrews 11:25 said this of Moses: “He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.” Scripture also later states that Moses was the most humble man who ever lived. Moses trusted God. He was obedient and faithful to God.

Why was he all these things?

As I reflect back to Genesis, specifically Jacob, I believe it has everything to do with God’s choosing. God had chosen Moses to be different from birth. God was watching over him, shaping his character, nurturing trust in Moses all these 80 years of his life (40 of them spent as a shepherd in Midian) before finally calling him to rescue the Israelites.

As I reflected on this, I realized that God had also chosen these Israelites and what God had been working into Moses heart his whole life, God is now working into the heart of a nation. What we read here in Exodus and following are just some of their growing pains.

How long has God been working on you? Don’t get discouraged. If your reading this, I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been 80 years yet (but given your long attention span, I would gamble that your not that young either). Even though he was frustrated with the Israelites, He didn’t give up on them, and he won’t give up on you either. Not if you don’t give up on him.

Do we choose faith or does faith choose us? Either way, if you choose to trust God, it hardly matters does it? You are in his family and among his chosen people. We must say “yes” to God each new day and then this promise comes into play in our lives:

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT

Prayer:

“Dear God, please make us more like Moses. Humble, trusting, and obedient. We do want to be a good friend to you. Forgive us for all the times we have been rebellious and distrusted you. Thank you that as we trust in you that you are at work in us to will and to do of your good pleasure. We say “yes” to you God!”

What are some of your favorite parts of the Exodus story? What are some thoughts that this blog brought up for you? Leave a reply below!