Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Power of Prayer

When we reach Exodus 32, Moses is having this pretty incredible experience with God on Mount Sinai. Joshua is up there with Moses but the rest of Israel, who have just made a covenant with God, are getting antsy waiting on Moses. So they ask Aaron to make them a god they can worship and Aaron, who God has told Moses to set apart as his chosen priest, makes Israel a golden calf, ticking God off completely. 

God's pissed. I don't know if he's putting Moses to the test or anger and holy jealously get the better of God because he abandons the idea of Israel as people when he talks with Moses. 

"Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt,have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 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.” (Exodus 32:7-10)

Israel is now Moses' people that Moses brought out of Egypt. God's ready to do away with the and start fresh with Moses. 

But I like Moses boldness. It might not be the boldest prayer from a request standpoint. But given that Moses is on the Mountain with God and God is mad as all get out and ready to kill all of Israel, asking God to remember his promise for these people is pretty ballsy. 

"But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened." (Exodus 32:11-14)

Moses comes before the Lord and petitions for the people of Israel and God hears Moses and turns away from his anger. The people still had to reap the consequences of what they had done but considering God wanted to wipe Israel off the face of the earth...

Be bold when presenting your requests before God. He's listening. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

God CAN Use You

Abraham was too old. Jacob was a liar. Joseph was rejected by his family AND had a criminal record. Moses was a murderer with self-esteem issues. And that's only in the first 2 books of the Bible.

Our shortcomings don't keep us from doing the work and will of God. Our failings allow God's power to shine.

Wherever you are, God CAN use you!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Good Advice

Even God's chosen need advice from the older and wiser from time to time. Even Moses, who was in direct communication with God, took advice from his father-in-law.

"The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves." (Exodus 18:13-26)

Good advice is good advice. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

For God's Glory

I think Pharaoh gets the shaft most of the time. Sure, he was a dick to Moses and the Israelites but God, admittedly, hardened his heart to do so.

But I love what God says about Pharaoh.

"For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 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 9:15, 16 NIV)

"Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord .” (Exodus 10:1, 2 NIV)

God is using Pharaoh so his glory can be seen and his name glorified. Pharaoh, despite being a major pain in Moses and the Israelites butt, is still being used by God to further His purposes.

It's an extremely encouraging passage of Scripture. Even when life seems like a pain in the neck and nothing seems to be working in your favor, God is at work. And there's no situation that he can't use to bring His name Glory.

Monday, February 4, 2013

God Cares

I love moments in scripture when God's character is revealed.

Yes, I know, the Bible is all about God's character. I get that. But I think we'd all agree that there are moments when we read something that reveals something special. Like what makes "Jesus wept" such a good verse is the verse that follows.

"The people who were standing nearby said, See how much he loved him!" (John 11:36)

You see how deeply and genuinely Jesus loved his friend. Even though he was about to bring him back to life, the death of his friend and his loved for him caused him to grieve outwardly. 

Exodus 2 ends with the verse "So God look on the Israelites and was concerned about them." (Verse 25).

The Israelites are in slavery, being mistreated and have been crying out to God to save them. God hears their prayers and is concerned for his people. It was a great reminder that God cares about us and what happens to us. It was a great reminder that when things aren't going well or life is tough that God hears us and more than that, he's concerned for us.