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The book of Deuteronomy is primarily Moses farewell speech to the Israelites beforethere is a way they go off to conquer the Promised Land and he goes off to a mountain to die. In some respects it’s not such a happy speech. Honestly Moses seems a bit ticked off. And why shouldn’t be be? God’s people, Moses’ people, whom they led through the wilderness lo these forty years are going off to the land of milk and honey, and all Moses gets is a t-shirt and a view from a mountain top. Moses traces his sad state of affairs to an incident that occurred shortly after they left Egypt.

They had made good time getting away from Egypt and were soon knocking on the door of the Promised Land, preparing to invade, when some wise guys suggested to Moses that they send in spies to check out the land and the best route to invasion. In chapter one of Deuteronomy Moses said, “it seemed like a good idea.”  Looking back, he surely reflected that it was the worst idea ever and ultimately led to his exclusion from the Promised land.

The spies came back from their recon mission and while all of them declared that it was an extremely abundant land, most of them said that the inhabitants were as big as giants and the walls around the cities were huge, and that they would all be killed if they tried to take the land.

The Israelites all panicked and God got angry and instead of the Promised Land, they received a promise ban. God promises that that generation would be prohibited from entering the land and that they would wander in the wilderness until all the chicken hearts die and a new generation grows up that will follow God into the land of milk and honey and take possession of it.

So why was it such a bad idea to send spies to search out the land? Because up to that point they had trusted God wholeheartedly. He laid down the plagues on the Egyptians and Pharaoh finally let them go. Then the Egyptian leader changed his mind and chased them to the Red Sea. God parted the waters of the sea and the Israelites escaped while the Egyptian army drowned. Then God led them through the wilderness with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He delivered them, protected them and guided them to the doorstep of the Promised Land, and then the people stop trusting him, and decide they know best. “Okay God, we can take it from here” they seemed to be saying. It was all downhill from there, both for the people and for Moses.

Verse 34 of chapter one says that the LORD was angry and solemnly swore: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give to your ancestors, except Caleb because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.”

Verse 37 is the nail in Moses coffin. “Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, ‘You shall not enter it either.”

What seemed like such a good idea ended up being a terrible idea. From Exodus through Deuteronomy, Moses is talking to God. Maybe if Moses would have taken some time to talk to God about the spy plan, things would have turned out differently and would have had a happy ending for Moses and the troops.

That’s kinda like us sometimes. We hear a suggestion, and it seems like a good idea, and we go with it, only to have it go sour on us later on down the road. Many times these suggestions come from the World, the Flesh or the Devil. That’s why some ideas seem good, because they appeal to our fleshly appetites. Rather than run the idea by God, or Godly counselors or the Bible, we just run with it. Sometimes we pay a terrible price for an idea that seemed good at the time. Sometimes our families pay as well.

My wife and I are cooperating with God and partnering with Foundation For His Ministry to help needy children in Oaxaca, Mexico. At the home here are almost 60 children who are being cared for. Many are here because of decisions that their parents made that seemed good at the time, but then went terribly wrong. Some of the children have been abandoned by their parents. Others have parents in prison or parents with addiction issues.

Fortunately, all the children here learn that God loves them and wants them to be happy. They learn to make decisions based on God’s Word. They have godly house parents who they can turn to for advice. They learn that the best decisions that they make are decisions that they have invited God to be a part of.

We have all been like Moses at times and have made decisions that seemed good at the time and ended up being big mistakes. Thankfully we have a God that forgives us, picks us up, shakes the dust off us, wipes our tears away, and continues to walk down the road of life with us, encouraging and guiding us. Let’s go with God all the time and not take a path away from Him that simply seems like the the way to go because it feels good at the time.

 

may god go with you

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A long time ago,  in  a  land far  away, lived a king, a big king, a big king named King Og.  King Og reigned in Bashan, a land fair and bright; a land full of prospects, but not really all right.  King Og was sure prideful and full of himself; calling  his kingdom, the Kingdom of Og.  He was a giant, so some people say. In a bed 13 feet long, 13 feet long did he lay.  He thought he was great, was sure he was strong; of greater and greater conquests he longed.

One day a messenger came into his kingdom; carried he a message; some people wanted to come.  ‘Twas a message from Moses that was read by the King.  The message requested permission to pass, to pass  through the Kingdom of Og really fast.  “We don’t want to fight,  we don’t want to meddle, we’re on our way, the Promised  Land to settle.”

King Og read the note with a snort and a smirk, “What’s Moses think?  I’m some kind of jerk?”  He rallied his forces, he rallied his men, he gathered his army and it was to war that he went.

Now God was with Moses, He led him along.  For forty long years did God lead him along.   Led him through desert,  led him through plain, with great strength, to the Promised Land they came.  Meeting the vast army of prideful King Og, God comforted Moses, saying we’ll chase him home like a dog.

The Hebrews rose up and went out to King Og.  With God by their side they did  battle and slay.  They fought and they routed old king Og that  day.  They smote all  his soldiers and took all their loot.  They took all their land and houses to boot. Fleeing in terror, the Ogites did run.  Close on their heals, with hearts full of joy, the Israelite soldiers chased them into the sun. God loved his dear people and helped them to win.  He fought right beside them again  and  again.  They won  a great victory, and happy were they.   They won  a big battle and rejoiced big that day.

So what is the point of this short moral tale?  When your walking with God, you’re going to sail.   And what can you learn while you’re reading this blog?  When you see God is coming, don’t be like  King  Og.

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I was reading Deuteronomy, chapter three the other day, in the old King James version.  I read the story of the demise of King Og.  The story stuck in my mind all day and I was working with it to make a kind of Dr. Seuss type story.  It’s not that great, but was kinda fun to write.  I must admit, I took some “artistic license” liberties, but in general it is fairly accurate to the real account.  The Bible says he was a “giant” about 13 feet tall.  The bigger they are, the harder they fall.  King Og is also mentioned in Numbers and Psalms, among other places.  God is always telling his people “to remember” or “do not forget”.  Remember what?  Don’t forget what?  That God loves his chosen people and wants them to be happy, triumphant, and obedient.  That He will be beside us, over us, behind us, in front of us, and, if need be, carry us, when we face the enemy.  Our enemies are the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, according to Martin Luther, and we do battle with them every day.   Depending on God for our strength assures us of the victory.  Whether that victory is sooner or later, only God knows (and He ain’t tellin’), but the important thing is that He is with us in the battle.

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As you go on your way, may God go with you.
May God go before you to show you the way.
May God go behind you to encourage you,
beside you to befriend you,
above you to watch over you,
and within you to give you peace,

In the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

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Next blog – Finding Happiness in the Mess