Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Got the Grumbles?

The Israelites had just been delivered from slavery when they began to grumble against Moses and Aaron: If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this assembly to death.

There are two lies that are believed when we begin to grumble.

The first lie is God is not wise. The Israelites really believed they knew better than God as He had made a mistake bringing them into the desert. If God really knew what He was doing, He would have left them in Egypt where slavery was so much better! Really? Remember the bricks? Here is the truth about the person of God - He is all wise, even when we do not understand His ways. We become convinced that God does not need to work on us any more and really, if we are happy, he should leave us alone. But God is interested in change and grumbling resists change. A thankful heart knows that in God's great wisdom, trusting that He is bringing us to a better place.

The second lie is God has abandoned His people. Would God really leave His people to die in the desert? Did He not make a covenant with them? Did He not just deliver them from a powerful army? Did He not declare "I am the Lord"? We have so many assurances God is leading us and will never abandon His people. Grumbling forgets the promises and person of God.

Grumbling is a matter of the heart, resulting in a sinful view of God. Knowing God and holding onto His promises will produce a thankful heart as we know all that is given is far more than we have ever deserved.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Expecting Trials

John 10.28 is a verse not only of great comfort but one that teaches us to live life with a certain expectation. We read I give them (my sheep) eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

The great comfort is easy to spot - the promise of eternal life and never perish. What a great God! But before we meet our Father in glory, the believer must live the Christian life knowing that he or she is on Satan's hit list. They are a target as Satan and his demonic forces come to visit you, your family, your life, seeking to "snatch" you from the Father's hand.

Jesus is teaching His disciples to live a balanced life - one which has the believer's feet firmly planted in the promises of God and at the same time aware of the vicious, subtle attacks. Do you know you are under attack? That when you repented and put your faith in Jesus, you were put on Satan's hit list? This awareness will spur us on to rely on God's great promises as well as live with great boldness. Satan may attack but God will prevail as the victory has been won for God's people.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

An Essential Question for Holiness

Moses had two choices - life surrounded by all the riches of Egypt as adopted son of Pharaoh or life among mistreated slaves serving God. Seems like a no brainer, correct? Moses thought so as we read in Hebrews 11.26: He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of far greater valuethan the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward.

For Moses, he chose life among God's people even when he was surrounded with all the pleasures of Egypt. How did Moses come to this conclusion? How did he resolve to battle sin and momentary pleasures filled with self love?

He asked one simple question which is brought out again and again in the entire sermon to the Hebrews: what is better? Are the momentary treasures of Egypt better than the everlasting treasures of God? Are the sinful self filled moments better than the self-sacrificial calling of the believer? Moses answered - Christ and His path have much greater value and his life showed his answer to this simple truth.

When you are tempted, begin with this one question: what is better? What is of greater value? And as Hebrews says, Christ is better - a better sacrifice, a better covenant, better blood and better promises. Moses was right - this is a no-brainer.