Saturday, April 16, 2016

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES: THE BOOK OF EXODUS #1

"HOW COULD A LOVING GOD...."
So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” (Exodus 5:22-23)

Moses had already been in a most unique position, vis a vis his relationship with the One True God of Heaven, as we all know, going back to the “Burning Bush” encounter with Yahweh. Most of his direct conversation with Christ, could not be classified as prayer, as it was with the majority of our great Bible heroes. However, this one qualifies as a prayer.

Moses had seen the hardship which a furious Pharaoh had laid upon the Hebrews, with compound interest, after Moses approached him to “let My people go” (Exodus 5:1)  and was very concerned. We may have the same question. Sometimes we may do exactly what the Lord prescribes in His Word, communicated to us via the Holy Spirit – the same Spirit Who guided Moses, and then things just seem to get either worse, harder or even completely out of control. 

Here we have the former Prince of Egypt, educated in the best universities of the known world but having spent forty years as a humble shepherd in the wilderness, his outlook, character and pride were transformed from pagan Egypt to a humble servant. God used those forty years to get the Egypt out of him. So he could not grasp the trial by fire which people who are being freed by the Lord go through, will go through and will most definitely continue to go through!

Moses made three important statements in this short prayer and they are so real, you and I can see ourselves doing the same….and committing the same error!
STATEMENT #1: (“Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Vs 22b)
Right off the bat, Moses commits and unforced error.  He blames God for bringing trouble on the Israelites due to Moses’ God-directed intervention on their behalf. The problem is, God did not cause the trouble. Pharaoh did. God does not bring evil upon people. He does bring judgment and it feels horrible. Well, ask the Egyptians about the Ten Plaques. 

Just recently, one of them threatened to sue Israel and the Jews for these same plagues that occurred over 3500 years ago! Because of the sinful and rebellious nature of mankind, the reaction to a direct command from God WILL be met with an equally forceful disobedient action. Life would be so much easier if we humans obeyed God, surrendered to His will and follow His narrow path. Anything else leads many to blame natural and supernatural events on God Himself.

STATEMENT #2: (Why is it You have sent me? Vs 22b) In other words, Moses is asking the Lord “why did You send me to do this in the first place?!” William Carey, the great Baptist minister from England is known as the “Father of Missions”. He  felt called to go to India as a missionary where he never won a single soul to the Lord for years and years, while losing his lonely and sad wife to a disease. He could have said “why did You send me, Lord”. But William Carey did not. He pressed on and plodded on, amidst adversity, heat and losing things and people precious to him. He and every other missionary or preacher or even a Sunday School teacher, can legitimately question the Lord when things go bad in the area, in which they were called. When that happens, the key is not to lose courage or even question your calling in life. 

The key is to remember how we got there – God called us…and if He called us, He will never leave us.  It will also serve us well to remember that every one of the Disciples of Christ except the Apostle John, died as a martyr to the Faith among many others to this very day. Most of all are never called to such an extreme sacrifice, even though sometimes it feels like persecution in our churches and towns. We would do well to remember that the same God Who called us to His Service will never leave, forsake or abandon us to the wolves. He is always with us.

STATEMENT #3: (For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all. Vs 23) This statement of blame against God, by His servant Moses, is also priceless. In statement #2, he not only questioned why he was even chosen to be the great “emancipator of Israel in Exile”. But now, he underscores it as if God did not hear him complain the first time. We do the same thing, trying to be too cute by half.  Moses is basically blaming God for Pharaoh being twice as brutal to the Hebrew people since the Almighty sent Moses into demand the ruler of Egypt free the Israelites.  Doubling down on something, which no other prophet of God in the Old Testament did, Moses accuses God of noticing the sheer evil of the Egyptian ruler and doing absolutely nothing about it. 

You and I hear it all the time Whenever some lunatic goes in and shoots innocent people, or a tidal wave, washes away a village, or even a strong earthquake, the unredeemed and even some Christians would ask rhetorically “How could God allow this…..”?  A mainstream news anchor, who is known as a non-believer, once raised the question, during an evening national newscast “….how could a loving God let this happen?”. This has been the refrain for all the centuries as one horrific event or natural disaster occurs. The answers remain the same - sin!

Sin is the reason for the total depravity of man and a fallen state of the natural world. Whether most people who ever lived, believe this or not, the Fall of Man in Genesis Chapter 3 affected more than just Adam and Eve. All Creation was defiled as sin and death were brought into this world.  We know from the prophesies of the Creator Himself – Jesus – that things will get increasingly worse. Natural disasters will increase in intensity and the evil of man will know no boundaries. All these things are predicted until the End comes.

The responsibility of each and every Christian is to know the Mind of Christ the Creator by knowing His Word from Genesis to Revelation – all 66 Books. We know His Mind by reading and studying His Attributes, His Ways and His reasoning. From the Beginning, God has always never spoken in secret but to the redeemed, He has spoken plainly and succinctly. While His Ways are not our ways, His Word is clear. His mercies endures forever and His Love is never-ending.  How can God allow anything? He can because He is God, we are not and are alive today, only by His Grace. For this, we are eternally grateful. 
“In the Wisdom of God, the world through ITS wisdom, did not know Him” …1 Corinthians 1:21 – (Emphasis mine)



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