Archive for January, 2010

Go, and…

Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

Exodus 4:12

In Exodus 3 and 4 God is miraculously speaking to Moses through the burning bush and is calling him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  Moses tries to offer excuse after excuse as to why he can’t do it.  In verse 10 of chapter 4, he tries the excuse that he is “not eloquent” and is “slow of speech”.  God shoots down this excuse in the next verse with the pointed question: “Who hath made man’s mouth?”.  I wonder how Moses felt after hearing that.  We often come up with what we think are great excuses for not doing what the Lord has commanded us.  But, in reality, an excuse is just another sinful way of questioning God. 

Where God calls, he equips.  In verse 12, the Lord tells Moses again, “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say”.  Notice that the going comes before the teaching.  If we will obey God and do what He commands, He will teach us and equip us as needed.  We must step out by faith and follow Him.  Our job is to go.  He has promised to be with us and to help us.  Are we following him in obedience by faith and going, or are we sitting on the sidelines, stubbornly clinging to flimsy excuses? We need to obey Him- He will not send us alone!

Am I in the Place of God?

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.

Genesis 50: 19-20a

In this passage, Jacob (Israel) has just died and Joseph’s brothers are again fearful that Joseph would take out his revenge on them for their earlier sin against him.  Who could blame Joseph for harbouring some bitterness?  But he did not.  As bad as his brothers had been to him, he was able to see that is was God who had been leading his life.  He was able to see that, even though his brothers meant evil, God is more powerful than his brothers and is able to work good out of seeming evil.  Joseph was not so arrogant as to put himself in the place of God to decide what was best for him and his life.  God knows what we need and when we need it.

How often have we been wronged?  How often have we been wounded or embarrassed or lied about (sometimes even by a Christian brother)?  How often do we cultivate that seed of bitterness after we have been wronged?  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve never been sold into slavery by those closest to me.  I think that the wrong done to Joseph is far greater than any wrong done to you or me.  The next time we are wronged or offended and want to lash out in revenge, it would be wise to say as  Joseph did: “am I in the place of God?”.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28.  As long as this verse is still in the Bible, we have only to trust in the Lord, no matter what comes our way.  The phrase “all things” is a great one- it’s not “most things” or “the things that we can see and understand”, but “ALL THINGS”.  That is a promise that we can surely rest on.

God Did It

“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”

Genesis 45:5

In Genesis 45, Joseph tells his brothers who he is and they were, understandably, afraid. After all, they had sold their own brother into slavery years before out of jealousy. But Joseph tells them three times in the chapter that it was not them who sent him, but God (vs. 5, 7 and 8). I’m sure it was easy at that point for Joseph to look back and realize what God had done and it was easy for him at that point to see God’s hand in everything he had been through- from being sold into slavery to being lied about by Potiphar’s wife and ending up in prison.

But I wonder how easy it was for Joseph to see God’s hand while he was in the midst of those trials.  It’s always easy to look back at the road we’ve traveled to see God’s hand, but it’s difficult to see God’s hand in the midst of troubles and trials.  Whatever we may be going through as Christians, God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.  He knows where we are and He only wants us to trust Him and have faith in Him.  As we may be walking through the shadow of death at some point in our lives, we must remember that He is with us all the way, guiding us.  What a great and comforting thought!

Forgetful Folks

Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.’

Genesis 40: 23

Have you ever done a good deed that was soon forgotten? Have you ever loved someone who didn’t seem to reciprocate that love? Have you ever had a kindness repaid with bitterness? Have you ever worked hard for little or no recognition? I think we all have. People, as a general rule, are self-centered and quick to forget others. Joseph found himself in that position at the end of Genesis 40. He had a deal with the chief butler in verse 14: “…think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me…”. Joseph gives him the interpretation of his dream and asks only that he will remember him and mention his name to Pharaoh when he is restored to his former post. You would think that would be an easy thing to remember. But does the butler remember? Nope. Just as we have found ourselves many times in life, Joseph was the victim of someone forgetting him.

But guess who didn’t forget him? Genesis 39:1- “And the Lord was with Joseph…”. Genesis 39:21- “But the Lord was with Joseph…”. Genesis 39: 23- “…because the Lord was with him…”. We all know the story of Joseph. The chief butler did remember Joseph. But he remembered him in God’s time. It may not have been Joseph’s ideal time, but God was in control and HE never forgot about Joseph. People may forget us, but God knows exactly where we are and what we need. “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” People will let you down, but He will not.

The Almighty, Eternal God

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

In my Sunday School class, we are currently studying some of the great doctrines of the Bible in an effort to strengthen our faith and nail down what we believe and why we believe it.  We are now on the doctrine of God; specifically, the doctrines of the Trinity and the eternity of God.  These are doctrines that, as humans, I think we have a hard time grasping.  It is difficult, if not impossible, for our finite minds to grasp such concepts as eternity and a Triune God.  Here are a couple of thoughts that I’ve been having trouble wrapping my mind around:

God is both eternal and omniscient.  Thinking about either one of those things is somewhat difficult, but when you put them together, it becomes even more amazing.  God had no beginning.  He has no ending.  He is eternal.  He always was, He is now and He always will be.  He is also all-knowing.  He knows everything.  He knows everything about every one who has ever lived and who will ever live.  He knows our actions and our thoughts.  He knows our desires and our motives.  He knows everything we will do and think for the rest of our lives.  If you think about either of those things individually (eternal or omniscient), you can begin to realize just how small and pathetic we are in comparison to God.  But when we put them together we get this:

As humans, we see things and think about things in chronological order.  We think about things that are in our past.  We think about what is going on in our lives right now.  And we can think about future things.  We live in the present, we have a somewhat flawed, skewed and limited remembrance of the past, and a very dim, clouded view of what might happen in the future.  We have had a beginning, and while our souls do live for eternity, we can only see the here and now.  We live in a very limited sphere- our lives have occupied but a few years and have been limited to a small geographical area.  God has none of these limitations.  Where we see only those things that deal directly with us at this present time, God is able to view the interconnected whole.  God is not bound by time and chronology.  God knows our future.  We may not be able to see everything or understand everything, but when we think about knowing the God who literally does see everything and know everything, it should give us great comfort.  “Be still and know that I am God”.  In the stillness of our deepest thoughts, we begin to dimly see the glory, power and majesty that is our God.  I desperately want to know Him more and deeper.

Thinking On Our Ways

I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

Psalm 119: 59

How many people today run through life not even stopping to pay attention to where they are going?  Thinking is fast becoming a lost art and I think I can make that statement on some authority, as I teach junior high and high school students every day.  We want to live and keep ourselves moving and busy.  We are running a race, but where is the race taking us?  David speaks in this Psalm of stopping to think about the direction his ways were taking him.  When he took the time to examine and think on his way, he realized that he needed to turn his “feet unto thy testimonies”.  This turning implies a change of direction.  We can’t go in two directions at once.  We either follow Christ and the Holy Spirit or we follow our sinful flesh and the Devil.

Galatians 5 speaks of “walking in the Spirit” and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh.  We are either walking in the Spirit, obeying and submitting to the Holy Spirit, or we are walking in the flesh, trying to “do our own thing” and run things ourselves.  If we are trying to walk in the flesh in any area of our lives, we need to turn our feet to the Word of God.  We need to think on the direction that our fleshly way is taking us- Galatians 5 goes on to give a very vivid and specific list of the directions our flesh wants to take us.  If we don’t want those destinations, we don’t need to walk that direction!

Luke 15 gives us the story of the Prodigal Son.  He didn’t change his direction until “he came to himself” (vs. 17)  We won’t change our direction until we “come to ourselves”.  We aren’t going to “come to ourselves” if we don’t think.  David thought on his ways and it caused him to turn his feet.  Our prayer should be that the Lord would help us to ponder our ways and turn our feet in obedience to Him if we are found to be heading the wrong direction in any area of our lives.

Justified Freely

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 3: 24

The inspiration for the name of this blog came from this passage.  I can not think of a more amazing thought, a more humbling idea or a more powerful doctrine than that of justification.  Justification is defined by Scofield as the judicial act of God whereby He justly declares righteous one who believes on Jesus Christ.  When I look at my account, I see a wicked sinner.  I see my flaws and my failures.  I see my rebellion and my disobedience.  I see my unbelief.  When God looks at my account, He sees only the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  That thought is almost too wonderful to think.  The righteousness of Jesus on my account. 

Romans 5:1 tells us that “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.  O that we would let those words sink into our hearts- “peace with God”.  But not peace with God through anything we have done.  Men have, through the ages, attempted to come up with a human way to make peace with God.  The pages of history are littered with their efforts.  But Jesus Christ gives us a way.  I pray that it will never cease to amaze us that a perfect, righteous and holy God could be at peace with a vile, sinful man.  Only through Christ.  He is truly “worthy to receive glory and honour and power”.