Posts

Showing posts from March, 2017

Covered: That's A Promise

Image
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears” (Psalm 18:6).

There is a lot of that going around these days—a lot of calling out to the Lord. If you read the rest of the psalm you discover how the Almighty answered David as he cried out to the Lord. It’s impressive reading. But the words of this particular verse from the psalms came to mind as I was reading Exodus 23 earlier this morning.

These have been challenging days, days of huge concern, sorrow, confusion, doubt, and even a little fear. And each has been met, in some way, by some form of reassurance that the call for help from the Lord will not, and has not, gone unanswered. This morning was no different.

Israel is still at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses is still furiously taking notes as God tells him what is required of the nation-in-the-making. Then the Lord says: “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and t…

On Eagles' Wings

Image
Genesis 19 is so rich, but my heart was drawn to verse 4 and held there by recent events.

It’s been a week full of the unexpected. A more-or-less routine surgery, that was in itself successful, turned into a disaster. Not my surgery, but that of a very dear friend. On Monday night the doctors gave her very little chance of survival. Many people went to prayer on her behalf. By yesterday both the surgeon and the ICU doctor were “cautiously optimistic.” We are a long way from out of the woods yet, but we know that we are in the presence of a miracle. That’s why Genesis 19:4 caught my attention this morning.

You yourselves have seen what I did in Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.”

Moses and the Hebrews have come to Mount Sinai. Here Moses will climb the mountain and receive the commandments that the Israelites are to follow as a nation and as individuals. There is an impressive protocol to follow as they prepare for this momentous event. But before t…

Our Daily Bread

Image
This morning I took meat out of the freezer for this evening’s supper. I made soup and dessert. I filled the bird feeder. I don’t usually overthink these tasks. But I did this morning.

I had read Exodus 16 earlier in the day. That story finds the Hebrews  out in the Desert of Sin. Apparently they had run out of food and begun to complain to Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!” they muttered, but loudly, “There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (16:3).

Really? You sat around all day stuffing yourselves with prime rib? What happened to being slaves under vindictive taskmasters? What happened to making bricks without even the raw materials to work with?

But let’s move past the “spin” being put on what had been a bad situation now conveniently forgotten.

For the next forty years, while one generation gave way to another, God would provide daily food f…

This is Our God!

Image
Some deny Him. Others ignore Him. A few despise Him. Many diminish Him. Even those who believe sometimes doubt Him. But think again! Moses’ wonderful song after the incident at the Red Sea says it all. This is our God!

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:
“I will sing to the Lord,
   
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
   
he has hurled into the sea.
2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense;
   
he has become my salvation.

He is my God, and I will praise him,
   
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a warrior;
  
the Lord is his name.

4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
   
he has hurled into the sea.

the best of Pharaoh’s officers
   
are drowned in the Red Sea.

5 The deep waters have covered them;
   
they sank to the depths like a stone.

6 Your right hand, Lord,
   
was majestic in power.

Your right hand, Lord,
   
shattered the enemy.
7 “In the greatness of your majesty
   
you threw down those who opposed you.

You unleashed yo…

On Being Still

Image
The Lord put them in an untenable position. In part it was to show them His power and cause them to fear Him and to trust in Him (Exodus 14:31), but twice in Exodus 14 Moses records: “The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord” (vs. 18).

Instead of sending His people directly onto a path of relative safety, God places them with mountains on either side and the Red Sea in front of them. There is no place to go. The Egyptians are behind them. From any human standpoint they are trapped. Moses was told by the Lord that this episode was divinely planned (14:1-4), but when the Egyptians approached the Hebrews were terrified (vss. 10-12). It was then that Moses reassured them (it appears he hadn’t told them what the plan was) that all would be well.

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (vss. 13, 14).

Psalm 46:10 tells us, “Be st…

The Key

Image
I have a collection of old rusty keys. I also have some nice, shiny ones. They come in handy. They connect to Calvary.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” —Genesis 3:15.
The story begins in Genesis with the first couple and the first sin—at least as far as the historical record is concerned. God’s plan to deal with what He knew was inevitable began long before time began, as is suggested in Revelation 13:8 when John refers to the “…the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”
It's a pity. No sin, no need for a Saviour, or a cross.
James Kennedy remarks in Cross Purposes, Discovering the Great Love of God for You, that we seldom if ever hear the word sin used today—not even from many of our pulpits. Many people go so far as to deny that such a thing as sin exists. We have invented more “politically correct” terms to describe it—and excuse it. Kennedy once used the foll…

Night Watch

Image
Tucked away at the end of Exodus 12 is a verse that hit me today as it hasn’t before.

A little background first.

This chapter describes the last plague—the plague to end all of them—the death of the firstborn of animals and humans. The ritual needed to prepare for this disaster—and to prevent it from impacting the Hebrews—is described in detail. There is the selection of the lamb, its preparation, the instructions to the people to be indoors when the angel of death passes over, the need to paint the doorposts with blood so that “…when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (vs. 13)

As promised, the angel of death passed over Egypt at midnight. The Lord watched over his people, keeping His promise, “When  the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you do…

The Good, the Bad, and the Sometimes Ugly

Image
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).

This was part of a message that Moses was to deliver to Pharaoh. It caught my attention. With all the current horror, or glee, with which we greet those who come into authority over us, there is an overriding truth we need to remember. The Scripture is clear as to Who does the final choosing of those who, for better or worse, are handed the mandate of command over our affairs.

Daniel prays this prayer: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things, he knows what lies in darkness and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:20-22).

Jesus reminded Pilate that his power was limited: “Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from …

Gotcha!

Image
Anyone remember this song?

Annie: Anything you can do I can do better
... I can do anything better than you
Frank: No, you can't
Annie: Yes, I can
Frank: No, you can't
Annie: Yes, I can
Frank: No, you can't
Annie: Yes, I can, yes, I can

Frank: Anything you can be I can be greater
... Sooner or later I'm greater than you
Annie: No, you're not
Frank: Yes, I am
Annie: No, you're not
Frank: Yes, I am
Annie: No, you're not
Frank: Yes, I am, yes I am


I had no idea it had so many verses, (there are many more) but where two people are trying to compete for supremacy, the “I can…no, I can do better” may go on for a long, long time.

When we get to Exodus 8 we find ourselves well into the story of the acts of judgment that God brought upon the people of Egypt. Up until now the Hebrews have suffered along with the Egyptians. That is about to change.

But something else is about to change as well. As the chapter opens we find ourselves in the midst of froggie heaven (or the opposite) as …

Forcing Faith

Image
You shouldn’t expect regenerate behaviour from unregenerate people.

You can’t mandate righteousness.

You can’t force people to believe as you do.

This is a truth that many forget.

Moses might have liked to have Pharaoh fall into line with God’s plans to rescue the Hebrews from slavery and establish their own nation. But Pharaoh did not believe in the God of the Hebrews so why would he obey Him? There were times when pagan rulers DID acknowledge the God of the Jews and order things to happen that went against their own best interests and that of their people even though they themselves did not believe. But in those circumstances, it was a God-driven initiative that came from within, not a force from without yielding a stick big enough to demand obedience.

In Pharaoh’s case, God had some business to complete with Egypt that required their resistance to Moses’ request. In Exodus 7 the Lord says to Moses: “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonder…

Only God's to Give—or Take

Image
Let the baby die.

It would have been safer. Who knows what the punishment might have been for anyone trying to hide a child from nosy neighbours bent on carrying out the Pharaoh’s edit to destroy all the Hebrew male newborns? (Exodus 1:22)

It would have been less stressful. I read this morning in an advice column about a mother who wondered what nice thing she could do for her neighbours to compensate them for the many sleepless nights they might have suffered listening to her crying child through the thin walls of their townhouse. Babies cry. Under normal circumstances that is stressful enough. But when the child’s life depends on silence, the stress levels rise exponentially.

It would have been more convenient. After all these two parents already had two children. Another mouth to feed under slavery conditions—especially under these dangerous conditions—would make any parents wonder about the wisdom of trying to keep this child.

But Jochebed and Amram, for so Moses’ parents were named …