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Posts Tagged ‘Moses’


Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to t...

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It’s funny because the last couple of days I keep reading, and rereading, the Book of Ruth. Even though you’d think that Esther would be the book of the week.

I have always loved the Book of Ruth. One of the first school reports I ever wrote when I was young was about the Book of Ruth. There was just something that resonated with me about a young woman who loved Naomi, her mother-in-law, so much that she would sacrifice the life she could have had by going back to her own family for the great unknown of following Naomi into the future.

Yet, there’s so much more to the story than that of Ruth, who gave up everything she could have because of her great love for Naomi, and, in the process, ended up with it all given back to her in spades. I mean, really, she ended up marrying one of the wealthiest guys around, who was taking care of her before she even realized it. And, by marrying Boaz she secured a life for both herself and her mother-in-law. Not only that, but she was King David’s great-grandmother and, as such, in the lineage of Jesus as well.

This week, as I read and reread the story, it occurred to me that the Book of Ruth isn’t actually about Ruth at all. It’s about the Lord’s faithfulness to Naomi. Now this thought may have crossed my mind before, but I don’t remember it, and it certainly didn’t have the impact on me that it did this week.

The book starts with Naomi, it ends with Naomi, and in between is the Lord’s provision for Naomi in the form of Ruth and Boaz. When you look a little more closely at the story, it becomes apparent that sometimes our lives are woven in such a way as to be a deep and abiding blessing for someone else.

In other words, the Lord may, and usually does, form our lives to fulfill His promise of care and provision for someone else, not necessarily ourselves. Just like He did with Ruth’s life which was formed in such a way as to provide for Naomi.

This doesn’t always sit well with any of us, we want our lives to be about us, not anyone else or the Lord’s provision to them. Yet, in scripture that’s all you really see, how the Lord uses His own people to take care of others, from Abraham who took care of Lot, to Joseph who took care of his family, to Moses who took care of the people of Israel, to Rahab who took care of the spies, the list goes on and on, showing how God uses the lives of His people to fulfill His promises of love, care and provision to others.

This idea really shouldn’t come as such a surprise to us, even though it does. Because after all, didn’t Jesus do the same?

“Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Praise the LORD who has not left you without a family redeemer today.'”

Ruth 4:14

 

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View from an ancient prison

Image by Natasha Lloyd via Flickr

Sometimes you just need to believe God.

We’ve all been there, hit that wall where it looks like nothing will ever come around to what it seems like God has said it will be.

I’m thinking of Moses. He, a prince of Egypt, ended up tending sheep in Midian for what must have seemed like forever to him. From Egypt, the super power of the ancient world, to the backside of nowhere in what must have seemed like a split second. Then staying on the backside of nowhere for over 40 years.

And, basically what was he doing? Waiting, learning and maybe even sometimes trying to believe this God of his people.

Just like Joseph in prison. Joseph who despite some youthful arrogance, that we all can claim quite frankly, did everything right, and still found himself in prison after he had been promised in his dreams that would be a leader.

Even though Joseph was in prison, taking care of the other prisoners and rising to prominence within the prison system, it must have seemed like he was on the backside of nowhere.

And, like Moses, basically what was he doing? Waiting, learning and sometimes even trying to believe this God who had sent him dreams.

Sometimes there is a close relationship between being put on the backside of nowhere, learning skills that seem meaningless at the time, and trying to still believe God. The wall of unbelief is sometimes so high, so wide and so long, that there is no way we can see our way around it, and I’m sure that both Moses and Joseph felt the same way.

The funny thing is that in their waiting they received the training that they needed to do what God wanted them to do. Moses, a shepard, had to lead God’s people out of Egypt and then take care of them for 40 years in the wilderness, while Joseph learned administrative skills both in Potiphers house and in prison that would help him to take the reins as overseer in Egypt.

These are the more obvious things they learned that played directly into God’s plans for them all along, but the less obvious lesson was that God was bigger than their doubts, their fears and, yes, their unbelief when everything looked dark and despair must have certainly set in.

They learned that although their unbelief must have seemed insurmountable, that didn’t have any affect on the God they served and His faithfulness.

Sometimes it is in our Midian’s when we find ourselves on the backside of nowhere,  that we learn who He truly is.

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!””

Mark 9:24

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Kohi Sunrise

Image by Chris Gin via Flickr

I am. Two little words that pack a punch, and we use them all the time.

Of course, typically we shorten them to ‘I’m’.  “I’m going to the store.” “I’m walking over to the cookie plate because I love chocolate chip cookies.” “I’m going to apply for that job.” “I’m happy.” And it goes on and on, ‘I am this’ and ‘I am that’, but are we?

I just went to the Women of Faith Conference this past weekend.  Beyond all the great speakers and wonderful musicians, there were booths out on the concourse for World Vision.

World Vision is an organization that allows you to sponsor a child living in a third world country. Your donation allows that child to have food, clean water and an education, all for about $35 a month. When you sign up to sponsor a child, it’s a commitment to continue that support until they are at least 18 years old, sometimes longer if you choose to do so.

As I passed by these multiple booths with their descriptive cards, each showing a photograph of an individual child in  need of sponsorship along with a description about what country they were from and other information about them, I couldn’t help but think that any of us could just close our eyes and pretend they didn’t exist.

But that wouldn’t change the fact that they do exist. That they are. That each of them, like us can say, “I am” and it would be true because they exist independently of whether we want to acknowledge that fact and do something about it, or not.

It struck me that this is what we do with God on so many levels. Even though He is, we act as if He is not. Even those of us who call ourselves believers sometimes like to close our eyes and pretend He doesn’t exist. Especially if He’s asking us to do something we don’t want to do, or don’t think we have time to do, or something that is just way past what we are able to do, or even something that just makes us too uncomfortable to do.

Instead of saying, “here am I, send me,” like Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8), we say things like  ‘I don’t really know if that’s the Lord speaking at all’ then we close our eyes, and hope He’s still not there when we open them back up.

The reality is that He is, and He is in a way that is much more than anything else that exists. Instead of existing in the same way that an individual person exists, He exists in and of Himself, not because someone created Him. He is literally the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, you can’t exist anymore than He does.

He is the ultimate reality and try as we might to close our eyes and pretend He doesn’t exist, every time we open our eyes He is right there, because He doesn’t just say “I am”, He is the only one whose name is “I Am.”

“Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them? God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

Exodus 3:13-14

 

 

 

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