Found and restored ∙

Found and restored

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? – Luke 15:4

Deuteronomy 8:2-5

 2 You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

 3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

 5 Thus, you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.

The story is told of a young couple on their honeymoon. They went to a resort with a large harbor connected to the Atlantic Ocean. The guy, being a guy, decided to go sailing on a sailboat. He had never used a sailboat before, but how hard could it be? He had been a Boy Scout and had read all about sailing when he was younger. So off they went, the wind in their sails. Within a few minutes, they were a good mile or two from the shore heading directly into the Atlantic Ocean.

Well, the guy decided it was time to turn back, and then he suddenly realized that the wind was behind them, blowing them out to sea. They were about to be lost at sea, without radio, food, or drinking water. He quickly realized that turning the boat around would not work because they would be heading right into the wind. Did I mention he had read books and easily recalled diagrams? He remembered an illustration on tacking.

Sailing boats cannot move directly into the wind. To get where they need to go, they have to tack. Tacking is a sailing maneuver where a sailing vessel is directed toward the wind at an angle in a zigzag fashion. About an hour and a half later, they returned safely to the marina.

For one reason or another, people wind up lost in the Scriptures. Often, they wind up wandering in the wilderness. The wilderness, by its very nature, is harsh. But the wilderness experience is familiar to most all children of the King. In the Father’s kingdom, time in the wilderness, while difficult, is a place of preparation for what comes next. The Father uses the wilderness experience to prepare people to join Him in the work that He has for them. So it was with David, Paul, Abraham, Moses, and many others.

After he killed the Egyptian, Moses found himself lost in the wilderness. His physical and emotional experiences are captured for all time in words from the movie, The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille.

All about is desolation, and he cannot bless or curse that power which moves him, for he does not know from where it comes, learning that it can be more terrible to live than to die. He is driven onward through the burning terrible desert, where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged for God’s Great Purpose. Until at last, at the end of human strength, beaten into the dust from which he came, the metal is ready for the maker’s hand.

REFLECT & PRAY

Even when we are lost, we are never truly alone. Our Shepherd King is there to rescue us.

Father thank You that You love me. When wandering in the wilderness, encourage me to remember that I am never alone. You seek me, and You find me.

INSIGHT

But there is also a very sweet aspect about being lost in the wilderness, particularly when you are a sheep. Sheep tend to go astray. When the Father handed out intelligence, sheep were at the very back of the line. By the time they got to the front, He was just about out, and the Father only had one-half of a tablespoon left. Thus sheep are not the brightest of all of the Father’s creatures. They desperately need a shepherd (1 Peter 2:25).

Luke 15:4-7

 4 If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?

 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.

 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’

 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

When a sheep is lost, it is in danger. Sheep are pitifully helpless and defenseless. Each sheep is on the shepherd’s heart. Good shepherds always seek that which is lost. While good shepherds are responsible and committed, their love and devotion for each sheep compel them.

Sheep become lost because shepherds fail to carry out their responsibilities to them. Often it is done out of pure greed and selfishness on the part of the shepherds. They do not merely neglect the sheep; instead, they benefit themselves at the cost of the flock. Much damage is done (Ezekiel 34:1-10). So it was with the failed shepherds of the nation of Israel. Their abuse of the people was widespread and systematic.

But our Shepherd King promises to undo the damage and make things right.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

 11 For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep.

 12 I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day.

 13 I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the places where people live.

 14 Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills.

 15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD.

 16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes – feed them justice!

He comes as the Good Shepherd to intervene to undo the damage. He promises to reverse in a systematic, step-by-step fashion the harm done by the failed shepherds. He seeks the scattered and gathers and feeds them. He protects them and gives them safety and security. He acts as their Shepherd King (ESV notes).

As children of the King, we have in the Lord Jesus Christ the greatest of all shepherds and guardians.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd.

As human sheep, we get “lost” when we are not cared for but rather are abused and neglected. Serious emotional scarring and wounded hearts are the results. The Lord Jesus Christ systematically undoes all the harm that has been done. Finding and restoring the sheep provides great joy to the Shepherd.

Rather than playing hide and seek, His love should motivate us to play found and restored.

¯\_()_/¯ 10-20-2

© Dr. H 2022

Running fast but getting nowhere ∙

Running fast but getting nowhere

If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? – Jeremiah 12:5

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

 6 Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

Far too often, we feel mired, trapped in predicaments where we try as hard as we can and seemingly accomplish nothing.

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice was dismayed after much running to find she and the queen were still in the same spot. “Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else – if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen., “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that.”

If you are running as fast as you can, how can you run any faster? Alone in the natural, fallen world, you cannot. To run faster, you have to get outside of yourself.

Perhaps this could be best understood by a negative. Although Cain and Abel were brothers, they were polar opposites of one another. Abel was compliant and obedient. He wanted to do the right thing in the right way. Cain, on the other hand, was rebellious and defiant. Doing things the right way did not matter to him. He wanted to do things his own way.

Cain was limited by the selfish, self-imposed walls he had built around himself. He was disappointed and grew angry, sullen, and dejected. Cain attacked Abel and murdered him. When he was confronted, the Father asked, where is your brother Abel?

Cain’s answer was brusque, defiant, and harsh, “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?

Although Cain ran as fast as he could, he was very slow.

One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others (Lewis Carroll).

Isaiah 32:8 Generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.

But if you get outside of yourself and ask what is best for others and then implement it, you will find yourself running faster than you could ever imagine. It begins when you put others before yourself. It is about focusing on others and fulfilling their needs.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father encourages us, but He also challenges us. He speaks soft words, but He also speaks strong words when we need to hear them.

Father You know the path that You have laid out for me. Strengthen me to endure and overcome.

INSIGHT

Jeremiah was curious and a bit dismayed at the circumstances in which he found himself. The Father God did not console Jeremiah, nor did He answer Jeremiah’s questions. Instead, the Father used the situation as a teaching moment. He provided a bit of caution with His counsel. If Jeremiah could not cope with the current state of affairs, what would happen when severe difficulties arose?

The Father sets forth a simple case of “from the lesser to the greater.” The lesser requirement involves a foot race with men. The point is, if mere men wear you out, how can you contend with the greater demand of trying to keep up with horses? In other words, if a small problem takes the wind out of your sails, how can you possibly withstand overwhelming difficulties?

The Father uses turbulence and trials to reveal where we are, strengthen us and increase our ability to not only withstand but also to overcome. He does not use hard times to destroy us.

Romans 5:3-5

 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope.

 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment.

The Greek word translated as endurance is hupomone. Hupomone literally means to remain under. It has the sense to persevere, to bear up under, having patience in difficult circumstances. It is associated with hope and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial (Zodhiates). Hupomone is like a muscle. It grows and develops over time as a result of the proper responses to the vicissitudes of life. The Father wants to develop in us this exceptional quality.

Ephesians 4:23 Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

As the Holy Spirit renews our minds and attitudes, we are able to rejoice in the face of difficulties knowing that his endgame is to develop confident hope, not disappointment.

¯\_()_/¯ 10-18-2

© Dr. H 2022

Staying power ∙

Staying power

Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; instead, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most enduring symbols of what the United States of America represents to hundreds of millions of people down through the decades since her creation in 1886. She is recognized as the universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and her left hand carries a tablet inscribed with Roman numerals “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776). She stands 305 feet tall, including the pedestal. The copper statue itself is 151 feet high. She has stood tall welcoming newcomers to America for over a century.

As it approached its centennial, this icon of freedom was rapidly deteriorating. A French-American restoration committee was established in 1981. Substantial work was needed to ensure the Statue’s preservation into the next century. Thousands of holes pitted the copper surface caused by a century of salt-air exposure.

The most severe problems for Lady Liberty were the disintegration of the torch-bearing arm and the platform at the head level. Support girders in the center of the structure were significantly eroded. The insulating layer between the copper sheet of the statue and the iron bands had deteriorated. The torch was irreversibly damaged and needed to be replaced.

The renovation of the Statue of Liberty required $230 million in private funding. The copper skin was repaired and replaced where necessary. The flame and upper portion of the torch were replaced entirely with an exact replica of the original torch.

On July 4, 1986, America threw a birthday party for the Statue of Liberty. President Ronald Reagan declared, “We are the keepers of the flame of liberty; we hold it high for the world to see.”

She has real staying power.

For children of the King, staying power comes from confident faith. Confident faith is a mindset, an attitude of faith that each child of the King can have. Charles Stanley calls this “great faith.”

Our outer frame can grow old and waste away, but our inward self can be renewed, revitalized, and strengthened daily. What happens within is not controlled by what happens without. From a spiritual point of view, life is climbing up a hill that leads to the permanent and eternal presence of the Father (Barclay).

REFLECT & PRAY

Yard by yard, life is hard! Inch by will inch, life’s a cinch (John Bytheway)!

Father I have finally begun to understand the staying power of ongoing, daily inner spiritual rejuvenation You provide. Thank You for Your wonderful gift.

INSIGHT

Why was Paul so confident? His indomitable outlook is driven by logic. If the Lord Jesus Christ conquered the last enemy we face, death itself, why be distressed with subordinate concerns? He truly had nothing to fear from life or death (Wiersbe). Death is swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54) and, along with it, anything of lesser magnitude.

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore, we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner self is renewed daily.

The Greek terms translated do not lose heart, do not despair are ouk egkakoumen. The Greek verb takako has a broad semantic range and can be translated: become discouraged, give up, shrink back, waiver, neglect one’s duty, grow lax, despair, misbehave, give in to evil, lose courage. In colloquial English today, we might say, “throw in the towel and give up.”

Although outwardly, Paul’s body was wearing out, his inner spiritual vitality was revitalized and growing daily. As Paul relentlessly pressed on to fulfill his service to the Father, his physical strength was depleted and worn down. Yet the more Paul spent himself physically for the gospel’s sake, his spiritual resilience grew. Awareness of this proportional paradox changes everything. We can grow weaker and yet stronger simultaneously. He was onto regenerative health way before its time in the 21st century.

A.W. Tozer stated that the invisible world described in the Bible was the only “real world.” The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 had staying power because they “saw the invisible” (Hebrews 11:10, 13-14, 27).

Paul wrote with eternity in view. Paul explained that while the “outward person” diminishes, the “inward person” undergoes daily spiritual renewal. The Father provides whatever grace, mercy, and strength we need when we need it (Hebrews 4:16). When we learn to live one day at a time, confident of the Father’s care, outward circumstances remain, but our inward stress and care are reduced. Though we weary outwardly, we are continually strengthened inwardly.

Staying power and spiritual vitality are the Father’s gifts for each child of the King. Inward peace and rest are now within our grasp.

Philippians 4:6-7

 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Paul echoes the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount regarding anxiety. Children of the King are not to be anxious, but we are to entrust ourselves into the hands of our loving heavenly Father, whose peace will guard us in Christ Jesus. It is the peace of God. Because God is sovereign and in control, Christians can entrust all their difficulties to him, who rules over all creation and is wise and loving in all his ways (Romans 8:31-39). An attitude of thanksgiving contributes directly to this inward peace.

The Philippians are to fill their minds with things that will inspire worship of God and service to others (ESV, Notes).

Paul echoes the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount regarding anxiety. Children of the King are not to be anxious, but we are to entrust ourselves into the hands of their loving heavenly Father, whose peace will guard them in Christ Jesus. It is the peace of God Almighty. Because God is sovereign and in control, Christians can entrust all their difficulties to him, who rules over all creation and is wise and loving in all his ways (Romans 8:31-39). An attitude of thanksgiving contributes directly to this inward peace.

Paul counsels us to take “everything to God in prayer.” “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything!” Talking to God about everything allows the “peace of God” to guard our hearts and minds (Wiersbe).

¯\_()_/¯ 10-12-2

© Dr. H 2022

Being in the way ∙

Being in the way

Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who has not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren. – Genesis 24:27 – KJV

Genesis 24:4- 27

 4 [Abraham said] go to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac

 7 For the LORD, the God of heaven . . . will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son.

 12 “O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham.

 14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ – let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.”

 15 Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out . . .

 17 Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.”

 18 “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink.

 19 When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.”

 26 The man bowed low and worshiped the LORD.

 27 “Praise the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The LORD has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.”

Life used to be somewhat simple. It became far more complicated in the latter part of the 20th century. And now, in our future-shocked 21st-century world, it has become almost impossibly complicated.

Getting Things Done, or GTD is a system for getting organized and being more productive. The GTD method simplifies organizing to-dos, priorities, and schedules. They become manageable. GTD makes it easy to see what you have on your plate and choose what to work on next. It emphasizes getting your to-dos out of your head and into a workable format you can refer to. This clears your mind of any mental distractions that keep you from working efficiently (https://lifehacker.com).

The goal is to spend less time doing the necessary things to have more time for the things you want to do. It focuses on capturing the work you need to do, organizing it, and choosing what needs your attention.

GTD provides five steps for getting and staying organized:

  • Your to-dos, your ideas, your recurring tasks, everything. Put them in a pen-and-paper notebook, a to-do app, or a planner. Capture everything as soon as it occurs to you so that you don’t have to think about it again until it’s time to do it.
  • Don’t just write down a vague objective “Plan meals.” Instead, break things down into actionable steps so there’s no barrier to doing the task. 
  • Assign due dates and set reminders. Pay special attention to each item’s priority and make sure they’re in the right buckets for later.
  • Look over your to-dos to see what your following action should be.  Review periodically, monitor progress, and adjust your priorities as needed.
  • Choose your next action and get to it. Your to-dos are organized by priority, placed in categories, and broken into manageable, bite-sized chunks. Work the plan. (https://youtu.be/Xduzwk04l2E)

How did the Father’s servants in the Scriptures get things done? Some were meticulous planners, Luke. Others, not so much, Peter. Others, such as Abraham’s servant and had an assignment, had specific criteria, moved in the right direction, and prayed for guidance. He was organized, yet he depended on the Father for guidance and intervention.

He had specific criteria for the woman who would become Isaac’s wife. He sought a woman who was generous, caring, and loyal. The servant was not vague, looking for a hopeful outcome or simply God’s “best.” He made a specific request.

Genesis 24:12, 14

 12 He prayed, “O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success today.

 14 This is my request. I will ask one of them [the women coming to draw water], ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ – let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.”

How did that work out? Perfectly! The servant was wise and knew how to get things done. He had mastered the art of allowing the Father to speak to him while formulating his plans and praying. He knew how to pray because the Father had input into his thinking. The Father worked with him in small increments, providing the “to-do’s” and their completion. Also, the Father moved in the hearts of all the players necessary to accomplish His perfect will.

Genesis 24:27 And he said, blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who has not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me.

As soon as the Father worked, the servant prayed again and thanked Him. He worshiped and praised Him for what He had done.

But there’s more. Rebecca was a remarkable woman who was willing to serve and do more than what was asked for. Rather than seeking to do as little as possible, she took requests and “supersized” them.

REFLECT & PRAY

Isaiah 65:24 I will answer them before they even call to me. 

Father thank You for always being at work and inviting us to participate. Even as we pray, You have already provided the answer.

INSIGHT

As servants of the Father, we should see our relationship with Him as a long journey that ends in our Father’s house. The Lord Jesus Christ is gone on ahead and prepared a place for each child of the King (John 14:2).

Servants have one task: to serve their masters loyally at all times. But there’s something special about this anonymous servant. He was utterly devoted to Abraham and lived only to please him. His favorite name for Abraham was “my master” (Wiersbe). Being anonymous was just that. He didn’t even get an honorable mention.   

As a servant, he received his orders from his master. He did not question them, make suggestions, or change them. He asked a few clarifying questions and then committed to obeying. Abraham’s servant was “all in.” 

He had perfect faith that the Father would see that his assigned task would be accomplished. While he formulated his plan to get things done, he was enabled by the Father. He purposely took time to pray and to seek guidance and direction from the Father. He repeatedly prayed and watched to see what the Father would do. In one of the many ironic twists of the Scriptures, while he was praying, God sent the answer. Before he finished praying, the Father answered. 

Isaiah 65:24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

¯\_()_/¯ 10-27-2

© Dr. H 2022

I AM the LORD! ∙

I AM the LORD! ∙

They did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor. – Exodus 6:9

Exodus 6:1-9

 1 Then the LORD told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!”

 2 And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh – ‘the LORD.’”

 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai – “God Almighty” – but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.

 4 And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners.

 5 You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.

 6 Therefore, say to the people of Israel: “I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment.”

 9 So Moses told the people of Israel what the LORD had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.

Dr. Shane Lopez was a Senior Scientist at Gallup and one of the world’s leading researchers on hope. Dr. Shane taught that hope is contagious. Here are some of his observations. “The tiny ripple of hope you set in motion can change the path of someone’s life. Hope is created moment by moment through our deliberate choices. It happens when we use our thoughts and feelings to temper our aversion to loss and actively pursue what is possible. How we think about the future – how we hope – determines how well we live our lives.”

He believed that hope could be engendered by:

  • Modeling hope and treating others with the kind of love, compassion and kindness you want for yourself.
  • Caring enough to support others who are in need of help.
  • Becoming a Super-Empowered, Hopeful Individual who believes the future can be better than today, and you can make it happen, despite the obstacles in your way (psychologytoday.com).

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me’” (Billy Graham).

“Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement” (Joyce Meyer).

“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come” (James Whitcomb Riley).

When the Father promises to do something, the children of the King can rest assured and trust that it will be done. Frequently, before a promise from the Father can be realized it is preceded by a change in the status quo. The Father makes waves. He has a way of shaking things up. When he appeared at Sinai, the earth shook. In the future, He will shake both the earth and the heavens. His goal is to shake things until all of the things that can be removed, are removed (Hebrews 12:26-27).

In a similar fashion, to a much lesser degree, the Father also shakes His children. We do not desire to be shaken or rattled. His touch is often viewed as an unwelcome intrusion or disturbance. Often things often get worse before they get better. 

Upon returning from Mount Sinai, Moses goes to Pharaoh and asks him to let the children of Israel go. Pharaoh rebuffs him. Moses fails and his failure brings sadness and adds misery to his people. He blames himself and questions why the Lord asked him to do it in the first place. It is easy for most of us to identify with the failure of Moses. He starts with great enthusiasm and falls flat on his face. He complains and whines. He wonders if the Father made a mistake in choosing him. He seems so inadequate for his assignment. But that is exactly the point, Moses is adequate for the job. That is why the Father chose him to do the job.

But the gloom and doom of pessimism are often contagious. After 400 years of suffering and servitude making bricks for Pharaoh, what could be worse? Try making bricks without straw. The people were discouraged. They stopped listening to Moses and hoping in God. They did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency (Exodus 6:9).

The Hebrew word translated as broken, despondency, and discouragement is qotser. Qotser means shortness. When used in conjunction with the spirit, it has a sense of impatience and dejectedness. They were beaten down, and their spirits were broken and crushed. They were discouraged and exhausted. They had given up (UBS).

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.

“When we feel oppressed and our spirit groans, it is difficult for us to believe the good promises of God regarding our welfare” (Stanley). Instead of being long-suffering, they figured they had suffered long enough. They had had enough. All hope was lost.

REFLECT & PRAY

Physical suffering pains our bodies, but emotional suffering and discouragement bring leanness to our souls and ravages our hearts.

Father remind me again and again, and bring to my mind that no matter what my circumstances are or how gloomy and dire my situation seems to be, your answer always begins, “I am the LORD!”

INSIGHT

The irony is that initial failure lays the groundwork for ultimate success. Pessimism and doubt are the fertile soil in which promises are fulfilled.

Matthew 19:26 with God all things are possible.

The Scriptures are replete with examples of the Father doing the impossible after all hope is lost. But a few examples: the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the preserving of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, the miracle of the Red Sea, the angelic hosts guarding Elisha and Gehazi, and the greatest of all, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The problem has never been with the Father. The problem has always been with our discouragement and lack of faith. The Father wants us to know and believe that He is the answer to all of our problems and circumstances. Every aspect of our physical and emotional well-being and eternal salvation depends solely on His character and eternal attributes.

Why did the Father allow Moses to fail at the very beginning of his mission when he went to Pharaoh the first time? Perhaps, if Pharaoh had released the nation of Israel the first time Moses asked, Moses would have been given most of the credit. Instead, his attempt totally backfired. As a result, he had to shoulder all the blame.

The people were convinced that Moses was incapable of leading them to the Promised Land. Only the Father could bring them out of Egypt by His mighty hand (Exodus 32:11). The longer Moses and Pharaoh quarreled and wrangled over the release of Israel from bondage, the clearer it became.

The Father was teaching His people to put all of their trust in Him. In due time, they discovered that when all else failed, the one thing they could count on was the One who said, “I am the LORD” (Ryken and Hughes).

His answer is always the same, “I am the LORD!”

“Exodus is a God-centered book with a God-centered message that teaches us to have a God-centered life. Whatever problems we have, whatever difficulties we face, the most important thing is to know who God is. We are called to place our trust in the One who says, ‘I am the LORD.’ . . . When nothing seems to go right, and it is not certain how things will ever work out – even then he says, ‘I am the LORD’” (Ryken and Hughes).

¯\_()_/¯ 10-17-2

© Dr. H 2022

%d bloggers like this: