Posts Tagged ‘Redemption’

“’So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’  But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’” Exodus 3:10-11 (NIV)

One of my earliest childhood memories, of which there are many, is that of constructing a home-made bomb that I nearly threw at a neighbor’s house.

I must have been around five or six years old at the time. One day our neighbors across the street had unexpected company and as a result I wasn’t being invited in to play with their children that day. It really messed up my plans! I got so mad that I thought I would construct my own bomb and throw it at their house!

The idea actually came from a television show that we had watched as a family some days prior to this. I can’t recall the name of the show but the lead character was being stalked by the bad guys on an island. To defend himself he found some gunpowder and rags and stuffed them in a hollow gourd he found in an old shed. Covering a strip of the cloth in gunpowder as a fuse the bomb was complete!

I followed my television counterpart by finding a small glass jar with a lid. I stuffed strips of cloth and soaked them in lighter fluid my father had for his cigarette lighter. The bomb came complete with a fuse which I was ready to light when my parents caught me looking for matches. Fortunately disaster was averted and my punishment was swift! Discipline was administered soundly in those days although I do recall my parents being more merciful than just!

Looking back on the experience, on the positive side it took real creativity, initiative, planning, and bravery to pull that off that stunt.  But you could also call my actions childish, selfish, stupid, cruel, and yes – evil!

That was my first and last experience of constructing bombs, although I grew quite fond of fireworks! Fortunately my life has not been defined by that mistake. However, since that time I have made other major blunders, mistakes and even evil practices that could so easily define me. I’m sure the same could be said about you.

In the passage quoted above God appears to Moses as He speaks from a bush that continues burning. It’s one of the most critical passages in all of Scripture where God commissions the His new leader of the nation Israel. Moses will go on to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt through the wilderness right to the brink of the Promised Land, a journey which will last for forty years. There are many things that define the life of Moses and his faithful leadership of His people under God’s direction. He’s known as one of Israel’s greatest leaders.

It’s not often that we reflect on the fact that Moses is also a murderer who some years earlier had killed an Egyptian slave, hid him in the sand and then fled to Midian. We tend to focus more on Moses’ identity as a chosen leader rather than a murderer but somehow in God’s economy there is room for both.

A significant lesson here that continues throughout Scripture is that God is continually redeeming people, especially in their sins and failures, and using them for His own powerful purposes.

Upon hearing God’s voice Moses first response was, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

Neither God nor Moses make any mention whatsoever about the murder incident that is recorded just a few verses earlier, although it may have occurred around forty years previously. I wonder if Moses, after all those years still felt unworthy of such a role as God had for him.

Whatever we think of our sins, failures and shortcomings, either our own or others, it’s important that we don’t allow them to define or control us. I think God showed Moses and every generation since then that failure need not be final but even in our failure God can bring us on to a better place if we allow Him to do His work in and through us.

The lesson for us is to believe in ourselves and others despite their failures. And more importantly to believe in our Lord and Maker who in His Son Jesus is bringing redemption and restoration to all who turn to Him in faith.

If the Bible’s record is accurate – and I believe it is – it’s good to know that if there’s a second chance for murderers there must be many more chances for all of us. Yes, even for childhood explosive experts!

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God’s Dream Job

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.” – Psalm 107:13 (NIV)

Rescued after ten years in bondage. The world has been watching with interest the developing story in Cleveland, Ohio where three girls have been rescued after having spent perhaps as long as the past decade in captivity in a house without the slightest suspicion of their bondage from the neighbors living in the area.

As the story unfolds and the truth emerges little by little, every loving, responsible person shudders at the thought of something like this happening to any child – particularly one of their own.

I’m fascinated by the actual details of the discovery of these girls and their rescue. It seems from one report that a neighbor passing by the house heard the cry for help from one of the girls who had managed to wedge a door open far enough to cry out and be heard. Obviously, once she was discovered, it didn’t take long for things to develop rapidly.

I’ve often reflected on how rewarding it might be to have been directly involved in a rescue operation like this. In this case, the girls who were found and freed will probably forever remember with gratitude those who first came to the scene and became the answer to their prayers.

A couple of years ago while doing my daily Bible reading I came across Psalm 107. It was one that I had not read in quite some time.  Even though it is a lengthy, ancient Psalm it speaks of the reality that behind every human rescue operation we find the hand of God.  He is the one who reaches down from heaven personally and rescues us humans who have gotten into trouble and distress.

If you look at the Psalm you will find four stanzas. Each one speaks of feats men and women have attempted through the ages. In each of the cases, people have fallen onto hard times – some through rebellion or foolishness, and others due to the natural consequences of life. In each case, when they cry to the Lord in their distress, He is there to rescue and lift them to a place of safety, security and blessing.

In reflection, I see that God has been the Great Rescuer in my own life – reaching down to bring me out of despair, even when I wasn’t fully awake to my lost-ness, but just cried out to Him for help.

When we hear stories such as the one in Ohio, we somehow think that rescue is pretty rare. I think it’s actually much more common than we realize. God’s been rescuing people for a long, long time. Of course, He uses other people in the process, just as He sent His own Son Jesus to be the ultimate Rescuer of Mankind.

We all have a picture in our mind’s eye about a dream job we’d like to have. I think God actually sees rescuing people as His dream job. He’s an expert at it and has been doing it for a long, long time.  

When we take sides with the Almighty God we join His plan of helping in His rescue operation for the precious souls of others. We may not always see as dramatic results as the story of these girls in Cleveland, but we can be sure we’re following the One who will come to the rescue when people cry out to Him from the heart.

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