Wednesday, August 08, 2012

God Hears the Cries of the Israelites -- Exodus 2:23-25


Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died.  And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.  So God heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.

We leave Moses momentarily and return to the scene in Egypt.  We do not know how long exactly the “in the course of those many days” refers to.  But it was a long time.  The king or Pharaoh of Egypt had died and it appears that the new king was much tougher on them now.  The influence of the old Pharaoh’s daughter who had adopted Moses no longer had any impact with the new Pharaoh.  It is possible there may have been some relaxation in their treatment in that babies were no longer likely being killed.  The Egyptians were happy to just oppress them, let the Israelites multiply under the pressure, and then misuse more and more of them in slavery.  So much so that the text tells us the Israelites “cried out”.  They suffered under present bondage and they feared even worse bondage ahead.

We would note that there is no indication that the ‘crying out’ that took place was indeed a calling on God for help and we learn later in Scripture that many had wandered away from their God, as they lived in Egypt.  Still, the Scripture says their ‘cry for help’ eventually rose up to God.  The implication here is that either they, in their struggles, finally started remembering God or, in spite of their disobedience, God chose to hear their wailings though not necessarily directed to Him.  The next line in the text referring to that reads, “So God heard their groaning…”.  It suggests to me it was the latter – God chose to hear their cries.  They groaned and hurt.  God heard it and He was moved.  Either way, God was certainly keeping on eye on His people.

The text here suggests God sometimes acts even when we do not ask Him to.  It suggests He can act even when we are ‘groaning’ rather than praising Him and simply asking for His strength to carry on.  He sometimes acts even when we are not dependent on Him.  Having said that, we also must point out that there is no indication that all the Israelites were ‘groaners’.  There is a possibility that God also heard the prayers and supplications of the faithful ones that had never forgotten Him and they cried to Him as an act of dependence and utter trust in Him as a Deliverer.  Not unlike a child in distress calling out to his/her father.

In any case, the Bible says that as a result of His hearing them, “God remembered His covenant.”  We can rest assured that when God makes a promise, He’ll keep it.  It was true of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and it is true of all the promises we find in Scripture, some of which can correctly be applied to each of us through the ages right up to today and beyond.  One does not need to read too far into the Old and New Testaments to find these gems.  They are there for us just when we get weighed down with the disappointments and challenges of life.  Heavy hearts and lost hope can be turned around when we realize that “God remembers” His promises to us.

I love the last portion of this passage.  It implies that God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of long, long, ago.  And because of that promise, God still saw the sons of Israel many years later, and takes notice of them.  What promises of Scripture have you carefully claimed as applying to you as well?  The good news is we can count on God to deliver, in His perfect timing.  In the meantime, trust and obey.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Moses Marries in Midian -- Exodus 2:18-22


When they came to Reuel their father, he said, "Why have you come {back} so soon today?"  So they said, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock."  He said to his daughters, "Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat."  Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses.  Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land."

With Moses’ help, the daughters of the Midianite priest named Reuel returned to the house from their water-fetching duties much earlier than usual.  So Reuel asked them, “How come?”  Their reply was most interesting.  “It was an Egyptian,” they said that not only helped them, but they felt Moses had “delivered” them from the hands of the shepherds.  Moses must have still been wearing some of his expensive Egyptian royalty fashions.  But more interesting is that it seems he continued to play the role of a “deliverer” as he did for his Hebrew brothers back in Egypt when he smote an Egyptian in their defense.  Seems, from what we will learn later about his purpose in life, being a deliverer was indeed what God had in mind for him.  What he did in Egypt and what he did by the well in Midian was simply a foretelling of not only what he himself would be called upon to do for his people the Israelites living in bondage, but also of what the ultimate Deliverer, Jesus Christ, would do for the world.

So what does the father of the girls do?  He asks, “Well, where is he?  Why did you leave him there?  Go get him and have him eat with us.”  Yes, that’s Middle Eastern hospitality at its best that still continues today.  But Reuel, I am sure, had something more in mind.  Surely this Egyptian would make an excellent husband for one of his daughters.  So, the text says he had Moses “invited” to join them.  Moses was the ‘deliverer’ and the family had to “invite” him in.  I don’t know about you, but I sense a slight parallel here to how we are to “invite our savior” in to join us.  Like Moses, who had already delivered the young women from the shepherds, Jesus has already delivered us from our sins by what He did on the cross.  We need to first recognize it and then “invite Him in” to our daily lives as our “Deliverer” and Lord.

And what does Moses do?  The Scripture says He was “willing to dwell with the man”.  Moses stayed as Jesus wants to stay with you and me.  And if that’s not enough, Moses takes a bride from among Reuel’s daughters.  That’s what Jesus does – when He comes to stay within, we become part of His Bride, His Body -- the Church.  The parallels are there to be appreciated if we so choose, but never to be exaggerated beyond the obvious.

The woman that Moses married was Zipporah.  We’ll hear more about her later, but for now suffice it say that the meaning of her name is “a little bird”.  Well, we’ll see about that soon enough.  And speaking of his new in-laws, we’ll soon come across more implications of names and who’s who in this whole clan – watch out for Jethro vs. Reuel (later in Exodus) vs. Hobab (in both the books of Numbers and Judges).  But that can wait.

For now, let’s focus on the facts we know.  Zipporah gave Moses a son whom Moses named Gershom.  Moses called him that because ‘Gershom’ means being a “sojourner in a foreign land”.  That’s how Moses felt about his situation at the time.  And here any parallelism between Moses and Christ may seem to break down, but perhaps not totally.

A sojourner is a person who resides temporarily in a place.  And that place is often seen as foreign ground.   Jesus certainly came to earth from His heavenly home and sojourned among us for thirty-three years.  But He is coming back.  The rest of us, including Moses, started off here on this earth and when we leave it, we’re headed elsewhere.  In a way, we’re all sojourners.  There is much good we can and must do while we’re here, but ultimately, for the Christian, this is indeed a foreign land.

Before we return to Moses, we would do well to think about our own personal temporary residence.  How can we make it better?  How can we occupy until He takes us home or until He returns?  At the least, we should never forget that our real citizenship is elsewhere.  I pray that God, no matter what your circumstances are, will give you courage and patience to serve Him well until such time.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Moses’ Life Takes a New Direction At a Well -- Exodus 2:16-22


Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.  Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock.

These verses begin a new chapter in the story of Moses’ life.  We learn of a priest who was part of the tribe that descended from Midian (the son of Abraham by Keturah, Abraham’s wife after Sarah’s death -- Genesis 25:1).  You will remember that Moses himself was from the tribe of Levi.  Much later it was charged with the responsibility of providing the duties of the priests for the Israelites.  So, in one sense, Midian’s family was from a good or acceptable line.

The storyline moves to a well, where Midian’s daughters came to draw water for the family and to fill the troughs for their father’s flocks.  Even this early in the Bible, wells have played a repeated important part in the unfolding of God’s plan for His people.

In Genesis 16 we read of the angel of the Lord visiting Hagar by a well and telling her she will bear a son, and she names the well Beerlahairoi reflecting her joy that God was “a Living One (who) sees me” and responds to her need.

In Genesis 21:19 God provides a well for Hagar to feed her sickly son, Ishmael, so that he may live.  Later in the same chapter Abraham and Abimelech have a disagreement over a well which led to a covenant being made between them.

In Genesis 24, a servant finds a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, by a well.  Later in that chapter, we read of Isaac on his way to meet Rebekah his chosen bride, going by the well where Hagar had been met by the angel of the Lord in Genesis 16.  And in Genesis 25 we read of Isaac living there and prospering after his father Abraham had died.

In Genesis 26, Isaac’s servants, after the entire family had left Abimelech’s area, dug a series of wells in order to determine where best to settle.

In Genesis 29, it is by a well (verse 2) that Jacob first meets Rachel and helps her get water for her family which was later to become his family.

In Genesis 49:22, Jacob in his last blessing to each of his sons, utters that Joseph is like a “fruitful bough or branch, by a well or spring”.

So, it is by a well again that Moses’ life takes a whole new direction.  It is by a well that he stands up for the daughters of Midian (seven of them if they all came to draw water), allowing them to have priority in their drawing over the shepherds who had tried to drive them away.

We would be wise to stop here and reflect on the “wells” God has provided along our life’s path – to change our direction, our destiny and the means by which we would serve Him and others.   Wells provide water.  Both God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament use these sites to introduce men and women to spiritual water – living water.  Many of us live years on end without seeing any wells these days, but God still uses the “or equivalent” in our lives to either draw us to Him in the first place or to strengthen our relationship with Him.  I pray we will be sensitive enough to recognize it when He meets us in those pre-ordained appointments, be it personally, via His angels, or His human servants.  These are appointments we don’t want to miss.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.