Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It was His Idea

Exodus 3:4 -"When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"And Moses said, "Here I am".

As I read the story of this first encounter between God and Moses, I'm reminded of How God is the one who always takes the first initiative to reach out to us. If you think about it, Moses wasn't particularly an extraordinary man. He was a child from the Levite tribe as many more of his contemporary isaraelite fellows. He wasn't particularly spiritual, or was at the dessert as a way to offer penance and look for God. No, he was there as a result of wanting to take justice on his hand and fleeing for his life as he was sought after to be killed by Pharaoh. Furthermore, if we check the way Moses responds to God, we can see how little he actually tought of Himself. However, God in His infinite wisdom and grace chose him for a very special mission. Here we see God approaching Moses, taking that first step and chosing him for a holy and history changing task.

I have seen this the bible quite often. Even when He first called Abraham to become the very first man to be part of God's chosen people. He drove him out of his pagan family. Why Abraham? Because of God's prerrogative. Nothing else.

In the same way He loves us and chose us, because He wants to, because He wills. No because we deserve it. He quite often find us in the most deplorable or indiferent conditions. Actually sometimes more than once, even after we have given our lives to Him after that first encounter. And then the doubts come.
I'm here then reminded of my worth in Christ is not based on how I see myself, and not even how effectively talented, spiritual, popular or succesful I am in life. But my worth is based on God's love for himself and determination to fulfill his purposes in this world and thru my life. Such determination and love led Him to take that first step, to give his Son's life for me and them draw me near to him to be part of His purposes. What more reassurance do we need?
I know the never ending controversy between the doctrines of predestination and free will have divided many. however, regardless of what position you take on this matter, it's only thru God's first move to reach out to us to Christ, that we can even consider coming to Him! He's just awesome!

Thank you God for thinking so highly of us that you consider us worthy of calling us your children. Thanks for making us part of your family and making us active part of your unfathomable purposes. Let us always be reminded of this when shadows of doubts about our worth in Christ are cast over our hearts. Thank you for loving us and choosing us first.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Difference Between Complaining and Intercession

Numbers 11:14: " I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me".

Even as this passage has a sad end, I was reminded of the power of intercession. Though Moses was the leader of Israel, this wasn't a model prayer of intercession. We see that Moses also was a human had been bit by the illness of exhaustion. This is the second time that we see Moses overburdened with his leadership of Israel. The first time he was adviced by his father in law to get elders to help him judge among the people. So apparently Moses took his God-assigned responsibilities with much zeal and continued giving far and beyond on his call for duty. I think God knew this, and It's amazing how God saw thru the fog of his hopeless cry for help and still responded with wisdom and help. I think that is the beauty of Intercession. That He always respond to it according to his infinite wisdom. We may not get exactly what we ask for, but we normally get what He thinks is best in that specific situation. In this case Moses got the help that he needed thru 70 more elders.

Now, God is not pleased with complaining which is a blunt rejection of his perfect will. Thus, the resuults of complaining are always dim and we can clearly see how God wanted Israel to learn that He's certainly powerful to respond to their needs, but also a God that loves discipline so that we learn to ask Him in a way that is pleasing to His will.

Lettting God Set the Pace in Your Life Journey

Numbers 10:33: 'So they set out from the mount of the Lord three days' journey. And the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them".

Interesting how God gave the Israelites green light to start a new phase in their pilgrimage towards the promised land. They needed to get the instructions and the preparation they got from their stationary experience in Mount Sinai. In the same way, God has a special purpose for every season He allows in our lives, and we need to learn to be led by the Holy Spirit so we can walk thru and stay in every season in complete sync with the creator of the journey and its destination. As my youth pastor once told me, don't be afraid, if you trust Him, he'll never let you get lost.

Obeying Even When it Doesn't Make Sense

Numbers 9:18: "At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp".

Insteresting how the Lord would make them stand in the camp for longer periods of time and without an explanation. It almost looks like being in a boot camp with God to learn to obey. Interesting how it seems that the Lord was preparing his people for obedience so that they could accomplish the plans He had set for them. He knows that fulfilling our God's given purpose requires to follow him step by step even as very often we neither understand His every move neither the whole picture. But let's take heart, someday we will!

Balancing Honor wth Responsibility in Leadership

Numbers 7:11: "And the Lord said to Moses, "They shall offer their offerings, one chief each day, for the dedication of the altar".

This passage makes me think about the place of honor that God has given to husbands in marriage in Ephesians 5:23-33. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior".  However that privilige doesn't come freely, it comes with a weighty responsibility. Look at how Paul describes the wives' responsibilty to submit to and respect their husbands in just two verses, whereas he takes almost ten to eleven verses to describe the responsibilty of husband, which include dying for their wives. In the same way the chiefs of the houses of Israel were called to lead by giving a generous and special offering from their own treasure. They were called to lead by example with their own lives. I bet they were the first ones to go our to battle.

A Different Task for Everyone, the Same Glory for All

Numbers 4:49: "According to the commandment of the Lord through Moses they were listed, each one with his task of serving or carrying. Thus they were listed by him, as the Lord commanded Moses".

I just love the way God in his perfect wisdom doesn't disregard the community for the individual nor the individual for the community. This conflict between individualism and community is an old dog in the ranks of the "isms"..but only in God's design for humankind can we find perfect harmony between these two. God has designed every person witth a specific set of features to fulfill a unique role, a role that would make the community he is part of more complete, to make it function better. And as in a cyclical way, this enhanced community would help every individual fulfill his purpose. All happening thru the power of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God.

I know this passage refers primarily to the Levites in the O.T and is mostly applied to the church in conjuction with Paul reference to the parts of the body in 1 Corinthians 14. But I think we can also apply it to the community as a whole. After all, God's vision of community is paralell to his vision for the church.

God is the One who Trains our Hands for Battle

Numbers 2:2: "The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers' houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side".

I know, it's true. God has already won the victory for us. Satan is defeated. However, until his sentence is executed, he's trying to take down with him as many as he can! That's why we need to be ever prepared for battle. This chapter makes me think about how God was preparing Israel for battle. He had already told them that they will be victorious. He had already given them the land He promised to them. But they still had to fight and take it over. Not on their own strenght, but God's.

I see in these verses that God wanted to make sure that His presence -"the tent of meeting' was at the center of the camp. So when God is at the center of our lives we are victorious. Also he was giving them precise intructions and strategies. In the same way is the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit and our willing obedience that guarantees the victory that God wants to pass on to us. What a great picture and insight on how to fight our present spiritual battles.