Thursday, September 27, 2012

God States He Intends To Use Moses - Exodus 3:9-10


“And now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.  Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Here God repeats what he had already mentioned earlier -- the fact that “the cry of the sons of Israel” has reached Him and that He had seen the oppression the Israelites were suffering under the Egyptians.  God is not always one of many words as you may have noticed through your reading of the Bible.  So when He takes the time to repeat something, it’s important.  And when what He repeats is a loving and caring expression of His concern for us, then I take great heart in it.  And so it is with these repeated statements that can be applied to us.  He hears our cries to Him.  He notes our sufferings.  He is fully aware of our situations, whatever they may be.

But He does not stop there.  The next word He utters to Moses (and thus to us) is “Therefore” and then He commences to outline His plan for getting the Israelites out of Egypt and freeing them from their oppressors.  God is moved to action when His heart is moved by what He hears and sees.  And we note that our God is a God of ‘planned action’.  His steps are well thought out in advance and His sense of timing is critical.

And then the next phrase is an example of how God approaches His children with respect to His plan.  He says to Moses, “Come now”.  Those are words of love from a Father to a son.  They remind me of the words in Isaiah chapter one, verse 18, where God says to the wayward Israel, “Come now, and let us reason together.”  God is forceful but He is not dictatorial.  He invites us to be part of His solution for mankind.  But we also must not neglect the significance of the word ‘now’ in the phrase “Come now.”  I am reminded here of the numerous times one of us adults (parents and grandparents) of my grandchildren calls to one of them and says, “Come now and see . . .”.  But instead, they dilly-dally and take their time and when they do get to us, the wonderful thing we were going to share with them (the Blue Jay at the feeder, the salmon in the river, the snake in the grass, the bee sucking nectar from a flower, etc.) has gone.  They’ve missed the opportunity to be part of the experience.  So it is with God; when He calls and says, “Come now” we can’t saunter over at our own pace; not if we’re going to be at His service.

Then God proceeds to give Moses his task.  He will send Moses to Pharaoh and it will be Moses that brings God’s people out of Egypt on God’s behalf.  What a privilege for Moses to have God want to use him in this way.

This whole scenario is a prototype of what God was going to do when He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ to deliver all of mankind from their sins and the oppression those sins cause.  Jesus had the awesome opportunity to be in His Father’s Service.  And God uses men and women even today to accomplish His plans for one, for a group, for the whole world.  There is much to be done at each of those levels.  Our job is to find out what God is doing and wants to do, commit ourselves to being available, stay close to His side when He utters the words, “Come now” directly to us, and then rely fully on Him to enable us to do what He asks.  Are you willing?  Are you ready?  He is able.

[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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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

God Sets His Rescue Plan in Motion - Exodus 3:8


“So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from the that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.”

God has seen the suffering of His people and heard their cry to Him.  And then we have this fascinating opening phrase from God in this verse: “So I have come down.”  Can you imagine that – God has come down from His heavenly abode to set His plan of rescue for the Israelites in motion, to take action on the injustices that they are experiencing.  He has ‘come down’ to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians.

As I read this, I cannot stop but think of the fact that He is delivering them from ‘evil’.  And that’s exactly what we all pray whenever we utter the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer that says, “deliver us from evil.”  And this will not be the only time God ‘comes down’ to do just that.  In fact, in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, God came down and brought us the ultimate deliverance.

But right here in this passage, Moses is being told that God has come down now to physically deliver His people.  Can you imagine what is going through Moses’ head as God is saying these words?  If his physical stuttering problem had not already started or been with him since birth, it could have well started now.  This was incredible news.

But suppose for a moment God were talking to you and said, “My child, I have come down to deliver you from the evil power of your taskmasters, so tell me who and/or what they are so that we’re both on the same page.”  What would you say to God?  Could you list your enslavers?  Are you ready to be freed from them?  I believe God is in this business of delivering His people from the power of those people or things that have imprisoned us.  I challenge you to face God and tell Him what you want freedom from.

Chuck Smith, in his C2000 Series commentary on this verse says this: “Some of you have been very oppressed by people. You've been lied against. You've been rejected. You've been hurt. You think, "Nobody knows what I'm going through. Nobody knows what I'm dealing with." Oh yes, Someone knows.”
 
Now just how was God going to deliver His people?  Here’s what I find interesting.  He was not going to do it by changing the Egyptians or Egypt.  No, God was going to deliver His people from their sufferings by personally bringing them out from Egypt and leading them to a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey, which was already occupied by a host of other people.

Here are a few things to realize.  God does not just send us somewhere.  He either takes us there or comes along with us.  He’ll never ask you to go where He is not willing to be Himself, right there, with you.  And that includes the journey along the way to your destination.  He does not fly first-class while you take the night train and arranges to meet you later at the appointed spot and time.  He walks right there beside you, through the desert if need be.

And the place He will be leading His people Israel to is “a good and spacious land”.  It was a place on earth that He Himself handpicked and promised to the patriarchs some 400 years previous to this.  David Guzik in his study guide for Exodus 3 says this: “The land of Canaan belonged to Israel since the day God promised it to Abraham. God will move Israel there now because of the compassion of His heart. The actions were ordained long ago, but the timing was prompted by God's heartfelt love for His people. 

And there was going to be enough room there for everybody.  No overcrowding.  The land would flow with milk and honey.  It was going to be a land of abundance, but not just any abundance but the kind that gave strong nourishment (milk) and great enjoyment (honey) to those that drink and eat therein.  William A. Troth has written a book entitled, The Milk and Honey Man: Happened to them. . . written for us (WinePress Publishing, 2010) in which he takes that phrase that God’s used and develops its full “spiritual” meaning that God had and has in mind for each of us.

This verse (Exodus 3:8) ends with God listing all the various Canaanite or Canaanish nations currently living in the land of milk and honey.  God knew them by name.  Every one of them had already been referred to in Genesis.  Canaanites had become the merchants of the land.  God was taking His people there for a reason and of course, these nations would all play a role in just how His people and He developed their relationship with each other.

[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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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, September 25, 2012

What God Saw and Heard and Felt - Exodus 3:7


And the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.”

Dr. Charles Price, in introducing some teaching on the prophet Isaiah, commented about the ‘old covenant’ that God had with His people Israel and how it was made international in nature when He established the ‘new covenant’ through His Son, Jesus.  And since God is constant, much of what we read about (with the exception of some actual specific events that applied to Jerusalem and the country of Israel or Judah physically) could well be taken to apply to us today.[1]  That came to mind as I read this verse.

I thought of all that the world and in particular, God’s people today, Christians, were going through.  I thought of wars where innocent Christians were being killed and of enslavement or persecution of Christians by those who hate Christ and what He stands for.  I thought of the crippling power of illnesses, disease, drugs, and broken marriages and families.  I thought of people being mentally taken advantage of by false doctrine, commercialism, and the like.  I thought of lives being ruined by sexual, physical, mental, and/or social abusers.  I thought of the lies of the Enemy that were devastating lives.  I thought of dictatorship or the movement towards it as well as the goal of Islam to take over the world.  And I applied this verse and God’s words to all of that, and to us today.

God says He does “surely see” the affliction of His people.  God is fully aware of everything that is going on here on earth – in your house, in your city, in your country, and in our world in general, especially where His people reside.  It is as clear to Him as was the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt.  And in fact, with all that is going on in Egypt today and the persecution of Christians and others there, we can safely say that both the old and new covenant members of “His people” in Egypt today are under His watchful eyes.  What a comfort we can take in that.

God has seen our suffering, but He also hears our “cry” if indeed we are “crying out to Him”.  You may well ask, “Doesn’t He know what is going on without us having to cry out to Him? I mean, He’s God, isn’t He?”  Yes, of course, He does and He is.  We already know that He sees our affliction.  But He can’t hear a cry that doesn’t exist.  We were created to be dependent on God and to be in fellowship with Him.  We were intended to be not only His people, but also His friends.  Can you imagine a marriage where the wife is struggling with something physically (like pulling the fridge out to clean behind it)?  Her husband is nearby reading (or watching television) and he hears her groans as she tries to pull the fridge out.  Yes, he can get up and help.  But he’s also careful not to interfere in something he may know she has wanted to handle by herself in the past, and so he’s reluctant to do so.  (Those of you who are husbands can probably identify with this.)  However, when he hears his beloved wife say, “Honey, can you give me a hand with this; I’m really finding it tough this time.  I must be getting older.  I need you” he smiles, says nothing, and jumps up to help.  His wife has shown her need of him and he’s only too willing to join forces with her.  That’s how it is with God.

Our verse under consideration here also speaks of His people’s “cry” being a result of their sufferings under their ‘taskmasters’.  Who are your taskmasters today?  Is it an abusive spouse, employer, church leader, or even a politician running your country?  Is it something other than a person – is it television, or sex, or the love of money?  Is it social media? (I can best identify with that latter one and have to set limits for myself; I have to find ways to stop trying to respond to all the posts I receive or to try to answer everybody’s questions.)  Is it a cult you are slowly getting involved with or one you’re already in too deep with?  Who or what is your taskmaster?  Is there more than one?

We need to take some time on our own to answer these questions and then cry out for help to God asking to be “released from our own taskmasters”.  My prayer is that you will have the willingness and courage to do so.  And then to do whatever you know you have to in order to stay free.


[1] Sermon preached at The Peoples Church, Toronto, September 23, 2012.

[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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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, September 24, 2012

Moses Hears From the God of the Ages - Exodus 3:6


He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

I love this verse.  Here with one simple statement is the God of the Ages reaching down to a specific man and telling him who He is.  That’s it.  It’s so simple.  This is no new entity Moses is learning about, but the same God that guided his ancestors Jacob, and before him, Isaac, and before him, Abraham.  This God has not changed.  This is the God that was then willing to guide Moses and those that came after him.  And the God Who did so.  This is the God that wants so much to guide and lead each one of us today, regardless of how we have treated Him in the past.  He is constant.  He is faithful.  He wants to have a relationship with us.

But in order for Him to do so, we need to have a right relationship with Him.  And Moses shows us how that happens.  He recognizes the awesomeness of God – His righteousness, His majesty, His authority.  And his first impulse and action is to show that he has by exercising respect and hiding his face, fearing to look at God.

I believe that many who come to Jesus Christ as Savior fail to grow in Him or to stick with Him, because they have not first recognized Who they are coming to and secondly have not realized their own sinfulness, grieved over it, and with a broken heart repented for it.

Before we move on to see what happens next between God and Moses, let us not miss this opportunity to check our own relationship, right now, between the God of the Ages and us.  Do we fully understand all of Who He is?  Do we realize who we were or are in comparison?  Have we truly repented for our sinful nature?  I pray we have, for only then can we take advantage of His specific message to us, and His unique purpose for us.


[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.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How Amazing Is That Grace & Why Are Others Missing It?

Church was special today.  With our daughter and her husband away, we were able to take all three of our grandchildren who live with us to our church -- a rare treat as their family attends another church regularly.  But with taking care of children for the weekend so mom and dad can get away comes some privileges.

Not only did the message stir my wife and I -- it was all about the role and message of the prophets in Scripture and how their hurts and experiences helped them share the message as well as better understand God; and of course, we have similar opportunities -- but the worship carried out through singing was most meaningful for me today.

One of the songs was the favorite "Amazing Grace" but for some reason, with all that is going on in the world today, its words struck me a little differently this morning.  Tears actually flowed down my cheek as the large congregation belted out the words of the well known arrangement.  No, I had not just gone through a difficult experience.  No, I was not in a weakened state of mind.  And besides, if that is what it would take for me to be in tune with what I sing on Sunday mornings, then that's okay too.  But I wasn't.  Whatever stirred me, was not coming from me.

If it was something 'technical' that stirred me, it was the fact that we were led in the singing of all the currently existing verses of the hymn, rather than just the well-known ones.  If you search for the lyrics of 'Amazing Grace' on the Internet, you won't easily get them all.  You'll have to dig a little harder to do so.  But I believe I was moved by more than that too, because my heightened sensitivity to the words was constant during our whole rendition of it.

Every statement in the song, based on my own limited knowledge of Scripture, is indeed a 'word' or a promise given to us in God's love-letter to mankind, the Bible.  The songwriter just had this incredible way of putting the words together.

I listened to the words of verse one, trying to sing along with the others.  There is no doubt that I considered my past wretchedness.  I knew I had been lost.  I knew I had been blind.  And I rejoiced in the fact that now I was saved, found, and able to see.

Undoubtedly, I appreciated that the fears of my heart for myself and my loved ones were indeed relieved.

As I quickly, almost involuntarily, reviewed my life to this point, I had glimpses of the dangers I had been through and those that I imposed on others; I remembered my struggles and I recounted the snares of the enemy that God had kept me from by closing certain doors that I perceived as opportunities.  And I realized that it was indeed His Grace that made it all possible.  That's why I'm still alive after six and a half decades of breathing -- 'safe thus far' as the third verse says.  And will arrive safely 'home' when my time on earth is over.

But here's the truly amazing "and there's more where that came from" part.  God has indeed promised His children 'good' and a 'secure hope'.  (We have been hearing about 'hope' for the last four years or so and especially these days as we approach another season of decision-making in America.  But those promising that hope just do not seem to be able to deliver it.)   The hope God promises is secured by His Word.  And He will both protect us and provide for us as long as we live.

The fifth verse drew to my attention to the fact that I cannot fight mortality.  My life will one day end.  Yet, as a child of His, I will be ushered out from this life, passed through that curtain called death which separates the present from eternity, and walk into an everlasting life of joy and peace.

The most moving and challenging of the verses, however, for me was the sixth one in light of my current preoccupation with the rise of Islam in the world, the potential nuclear armament of Iran, and the potential Israeli strike against her.  Coupling those possibilities with what many of us believe to be signs of Christ's return and indeed the end times, makes this verse so meaningful today.  The world as we know it, will soon be gone, the sun will not shine any longer, and only God will remain and He does love me.

The hymn ends with the familial idea that no matter how long we'll all be in eternity singing praises to our God, we won't have put the slightest of dents into or touched the timeline set aside for such worship.

That's "how amazing this grace" of His is.  But as I sang this morning, I could not help but face the question that my mind was being bombarded with, "Why are so many others missing this grace?"  Why were so many others not even aware of His grace?  I had no solid answer as long as the question was phrased in that manner; as long as the question tried to explain why so "many others" were missing what I had.  I couldn't answer that any more than the little boy of the famous "throwing a washed ashore sand-dollar back into the ocean as he walked with his dad" story could have saved all the sand-dollars he came across.  But he knew he could save each of the ones he picked up and threw back in.

By rephrasing the question to "Why is my neighbor, my colleague, my friend, my relative missing this amazing grace?" I was able to get a perspective of what I could do to help one, two, three, four, or more of those that were the "so many others" in my earlier question.  These at least could learn about Jesus Christ.  They could have opportunity to share in this AMAZING GRACE.

How amazing is the grace you've received from God?  Share Him.

(Below are all the verses of this hymn that I could find.  Enjoy.  Reflect.)

Amazing Grace Hymn

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The world shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun refuse to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.


-->
[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.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Gruesome Possibility of Missing God -- Exodus 3:4-5


When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses!”  And he said, “Here I am.”  Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

You will remember that Moses had seen the blazing fire in the bush and had noticed
it was not being consumed or burned up.  So, he turned (or went towards it) for a closer examination of the phenomenon.  And I love the beginning of this section, “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look”.  God was watching Moses’ moves.

He knew that Moses was getting too close to the bush.  It wasn’t the potential impact of the fire God was worried about for Moses’ sake; it was that this man was getting too close to the Holiness of God.

The Scripture commentator David Guzik points out that it is important to note that God did not speak to Moses until He had his attention.  Moses turned to see how it was that this bush was not burning up and then God spoke to him.  If we want God to pour into our life, we need to give Him our full attention.  As we run the race of life, many of us treat God like one of the bystanders cheering us on instead of us our Trainer and Coach.  But we must go even beyond that.  Guzik says, “The burning bush was a spectacular phenomenon that captured Moses' attention; but it changed nothing until Moses received the Word of God there.”  God getting our attention does not necessarily change anything just as the Coach getting our attention doesn’t make us run better or faster.  The change or impact comes in accepting the instruction and implementing it.

So God watches our moves.  Not only to instruct us, but also sometimes to protect us like a loving father wants to protect his child.  When we get too close to danger, God does not forcibly stop us, but He sends out warnings that need to be heeded.

And these warnings are personal.  God called Moses by his name, uttering it twice.  It did not matter how Moses now felt about himself – having come from a key position in Egypt to being what Guzik calls “a forgotten shepherd on the backside of the desert”.  God still knew him by name and he was important to God.  Can we find encouragement in that today?  Now matter what you were or what you are now, God loves you.  He knows you by name and He is calling out to you.

Matthew Henry says God gave Moses a gracious call because He had his attention.  Had Moses neglected what he had seen in the bush, dismissing it as something not worthy of notice, God may have left the scene, having said nothing to him.  What a thought. What a disaster to miss out on God’s presence and His special word to us because of our neglect to notice the supernatural in our lives.   But Moses did notice, and when he heard God call, he responded readily.  Can you imagine the surprise he must have felt.  There he was in the middle of the desert looking at a burning bush (like you or I staring at our night’s campfire on a solo camping trip in the middle of a National Park) and then hearing God calling his name.  And what a delight it must have been for God to hear His servant replying, “Here I am.”   Have you heard God calling you by name?  Have you delighted Him in your response?

Robert Jamieson, another commentator of Scripture, describes the significance of this revelation of God’s presence as follows: “The manifestations which God anciently made of Himself were always accompanied by clear, unmistakable signs that the communications were really from heaven. This certain evidence was given to Moses. He saw a fire, but no human agent to kindle it; he heard a voice, but no human lips from which it came; he saw no living Being, but One was in the bush, in the heat of the flames, who knew him and addressed him by name. Who could this be but the Divine Being?”  When God calls you and reveals Himself to you, you will know it.

Henry goes on to suggest that God wants us to draw near to Him, but not so near “as to pry”.  He suggests that we must have our conscience, not our curiosity, satisfied and that we must be careful not to become too familiar with God socially as to breed contempt.  We must be aware of and “deeply affected with the infinite distance there is between us and God” as the author of a later book in the Old Testament tells us in Ecclesiastes, chapter 5, verse 2.  While I believe we can approach God with boldness, we must remain fully aware of Who He is and who we are.

So what does God (as Coach and Trainer) tell Moses to do?  Two things.  First he tells him to not go any closer, to keep his distance.  In fact, it really meant, “Stop right there.”  Matthew Henry suggests God is saying something akin to, “Moses the ground you are about to step on is holy ground, and you can’t be allowed to trod upon it with soiled shoes.”

And further to that, God secondly tells him to show reverence for His own presence by telling Moses to take off his sandals.  Because God was there this spot, this location, this place, demanded special respect and honor.  By so doing, Moses would be showing his humility before God based on the fact that the poor and needy and the servants of this world have no shoes.  Willingness to exercise this act of humility signifies Moses’ acceptance of the immediate presence of God, or in being in His ‘house’.

Some have suggested that taking off ones shoes in that ancient culture is similar to us taking off our hat when we enter a place of worship or some otherwise solemn building or event (e.g. a funeral) or when we pray in public.  But Jamieson notes a difference: “The Eastern idea is not precisely the same as the Western. With us, the removal of the hat is an expression of reverence for the place we enter, or rather of Him who is worshipped there. With them the removal of the shoes is a confession of personal defilement and conscious unworthiness to stand in the presence of unspotted holiness.”  Moses understood what that meant.

Have you got your relationship ‘distance’ just right with God?  Do you marvel at His Holiness, yet bold enough to approach Him?  Have you got a good understanding of your shortcomings as a sinner and of your worthiness being solely due to what God has done for you through His Son, Jesus Christ?  I encourage thinking hard about getting those two things correct right away.  Then, as we will see with Moses soon, you will get to know God better and have a clearer understanding of your mission in life.

[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.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Man’s Curiosity and the Supernatural -- Exodus 3:3


So Moses said, “I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”

This very short passage describes one of the closest encounters between a human being and the God of the universe in the Old Testament.  It also lends itself to a great application for our lives.  God’s presence in the ‘burning bush’ appeared to Moses as a blaze, a flame that he initially did not identify as the living God.  It was the supernatural phenomenon of the bush not being consumed by the flame that sparked Moses curiosity and caused him to look more closely at it.  In verse two, earlier in the chapter, Moses had already seen the flame and noted that the bush was not burning.  But here in verse three, his curiosity causes him to look more closely and intently at the spectacle.  He even calls it a “marvelous sight”.

Here’s the application.  When something out of the ordinary occurs in our lives, something that we didn’t expect, something that we are either pleasantly surprised by or in awe of – do we even notice it as being something ‘special’ in our life?  Or are we too busy or too over-stimulated by the world that we miss it completely or take it for granted?

If it does by chance cause us to wonder at its presence, do we stop long enough, and are we interested enough, to further examine its possible source and/or to investigate its properties and purpose?

Moses did just that and he became a different person following that experience.  It is my prayer for us all, that we live life in such a way that we can notice the unusual, pursue our understanding of it, and find (as we see later in the chapter) what Moses found.

[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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Angel of the Lord Appears in a Burning Bush -- Exodus 3:1-2


Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

So Moses stays in Midian, marries Zipporah, daughter of Reuel, has a son they name Gershom and he works as a shepherd taking care of his father-in-law’s flock.  In this particular text, Zipporah’s father is referred to as Jethro, not Reuel.  Why is that?  The commentators are all over the place on this one.  First there is the possibility that people had more than one name as per the ancient Near Eastern practice.  (That would mean Jethro and Reuel were one and the same.)  Then there is the idea floated by some that Reuel was really a title or a “family patriot” who actually gives the younger women his blessing.  As the chief patriarch (grandfather, or great-grandfather), he arranges or approves the marriages for the female descendants of his clan.  (This would mean that Jethro was Reuel’s son.)

The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia tells us that the different names of Jethro puzzled the Talmudists (authors of the Talmud, comprising some of Judaism holy books).  Some of them thought that his real name was "Hobab," (whom we will come across much later in the Scriptures) and that Reuel was his father; others thought that his name was "Reuel," interpreting it "the friend of God”.  Some modern scholars hold that his own name was "Reuel," and that "Jethro" was a title, meaning "his Excellency". According to Simeon b. Yoḥai, a famous 1st-century sage in ancient Israel and active after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, he had two names, "Hobab" and "Jethro".  The Jewish Encyclopedia goes on to say that it is, however, generally accepted that he had seven names: "Reuel," "Jether," "Jethro," "Hobab," "Heber," "Keni" (compare Judges 1:16; and 4:11), and "Putiel".  Somewhere in these options lies the truth and one day we’ll know.

In any case, Moses leads his father-in-law’s flock to the west end of the Midianite wilderness or desert and comes to Mount Horeb, the “mountain of God”.  This is the first time we come to hear the name of this mountain, but it is understood to be another name for Mount Sinai from which God (much later) gave the law to Moses and the Israelites.

It is there the “angel of the Lord” appeared to him.  This is the third record that we have to one called the “angel of the Lord”.  The first was in Genesis 16 when he appeared to Hagar.  The second was in Genesis 22 when he appeared to Abraham.  And now he appears many years later to Moses.  The term is used later in Scripture as well.  There is much that has been written about who this angel is and a search on Google will give you much of that.  Generally speaking, especially as his presence progresses through Scripture, there is agreement that this “angel”, for many reasons, is none other than the Lord or God Himself.

We then have here the famous reference to the “burning bush” (a misnomer) in which the angel of the Lord appears.  In actuality the bush was not burning at all.  The Scriptures correctly state there was a “blazing fire” in the midst of the bush, but it did not consume the bush.  It is understood that the bush was a thorn bush (with all the symbolism that can present and which many draw on) and because of the very dry desert environment and the acacia (thorn) being brittle, it is possible for it to easily be lit by any small spark, which would start a blaze.  The event was very rare and Moses was clearly attracted to it.  The equivalent for us would be to see what we think was a log fire but the logs were never burning.  Upon closer examination, we could detect that in fact what we thought was a wood fireplace, was a gas fireplace being fed by a continuous supply of natural gas.  The logs are never consumed.

So what then is the application for us today?  Let me suggest that we need to stop long enough and ask ourselves the following questions: “Am I aware of the ‘burning bushes’ that God places in my life, especially in my desert?  Do I realize His presence in them and am I attracted to it?  Do I realize the continuous availability of His power and sustenance to my life?  Am I dependent on it?”

I challenge you today to realize that without Him, you have no power to live a victorious life.  With Him, and in Him, and through Him, you have already won against the enemy.

[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.