The Beatitudes, or Sermon on the Mount conclude with Jesus giving us four warnings. We spoke last week about the first two: 2 Gates: Choosing either the narrow gate or wide gate and 2 Prophets: Choosing either fales teachers or truth teachers.
Here are the last two warnings: 2 kinds of disciples and 2 foundations. Check it out and spend some time in self-evaluation.
I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, this 2022.
During this wonderful season of Christmas I’d like to encourage you with three thoughts from that very first Christmas.
#1 Mary and Joseph lived in the days of Herod the Great. He was a cruel puppet king over Judea who brutally killed family, friends and foes indiscriminately. The land feared his edicts, and were severly oppressed by his unfair taxes and decrees. It was not “Happy Days” living during this time.
#2 Zechariah and Elizabeth, childless priests, were told they would give birth to John the Baptist – the voice. Thinking that they were beyond the age of being birthing parents, nevertheless, they bore a son named John, who grew as a prophet and became the voice pointing to Jesus.
#3 Mary, the young, favored and overshadowed virgin, was chosen to bring forth the Savior of the world. With questions in her troubled heart and mind, her response to the angel was to allow the Holy Spirit to empower her to bring forth what had been planted within her.
What this means to you, today:
#1 These days that we live in are wrought with fear, oppression, increased taxes and ungodly decrees. And if we were to look only at the rulers in the political arenas it would be easy to grow weary and become discouraged. But like Mary & Joesph’s days, this is the exact time that God will bring forth good from evil, light from darkness, a voice and the Savior.
#2 Alive right now, are many godly believers/priests who have yet to see the fulfillment of the promises that God has spoken to them. They are ripe now and ready to bring forth their promised VOICE to the world. The roaring voice from deep within them, that of a lion, pointing to Jesus – the way. This is a season of the release of the VOICE of the people of God.
#3 The seemingly impossible circumstanes you face, the troubled heart and questioning mind within you will all be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit. That power will ignite to life the seed of the Heavenly Father within you and produce the Savior – Jesus. YOU, will burst forth, with the life of Jesus and you will share that life with those in your world.
You see, Christmas time is the season of darkness and oppression that produces a voice in that wilderness that points to Jesus, the only Savior of the world.
Are you a voice pointing to Jesus or are you a carrier of Jesus? Both are birthed at Christmas time.
Although my head tells me this should be a Christmas blog, (I am writing this Dec. 20 after all), my heart knows we need this very important part 4, and next week’s conclusion, before the new year is upon us. All of this, is a very firm Word in my Spirit for this next year.
So, where are we?
We’ve been looking at the setting for the great Exodus from Egypt led by Moses, as found in the book of Exodus chapters 1-6 and understanding the many similiarities between what happened to them then, and what is happening and about to happen to us in these days. Please catch up, as you wish by reading the previous 3 blogs:
#1 – God Sees
#2 – God Shows Up
#3 – God’s Signs
As we pick up today’s portion we find Moses and Aaron going before the Pharaoh of Egypt-
Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.”” But Pharaoh said, ” Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”
Exodus 5:1-2 ESV
Notice, God wanted freedom for His people. That is His desire for all of us, to be free from slavery. But Pharaoh didn’t know God, so he refused. In fact, in Egypt, it was he who was considered a god, a child of the Sun and friend of the gods.
Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh in the authority they had been given by the Lord God of Israel. They spoke those words as a reminder to themselves and all listeners that their words would be acted on by that very God.
Pharaoh’s refusal was an attempt at exerting his own authority over God’s. But God’s response was, these things will happen so that you will know me, the God of Israel and you, too, will obey my word. You don’t know me now, Pharaoh, but you soon will, because I will set my people free.
With this dueling authority, the gauntlet is laid.
I must insert here, there is no authority greater in your life than the Lord’s. Whether you know Him or not, His desire is to see you freed from sin’s slavery and make His power and name fully known to you and the world. He will be known as the Omnipotent Creator.
Things from here on out get worse for the Israelites. In fact, things got much worse before they got better. They were expected to keep making their daily quota of bricks but now, because of Pharaoh’s fury, they were to do it without being given straw. If they wanted straw, they had to get it themselves.
Finding straw of course, took more time, which prohibited them from producing the same amount of bricks. And so, because straw makes for stronger bricks and because of it’s acid content helps the mortar stick together better, they went off to find straw, roots, and other things to mix in for their bricks.
Archaeology confirms that bricks of all kinds have been found in Egypt. Some have chopped straw, rough roots and other odd things. Some have been found that have no straw at all.
The results of Moses first visit were defiance and further hardship. The trouble that came upon the Israelites seemed like evil. The immediate effect was to make it worse. What God allowed made it seem even worse. The Israelites couldn’t believe making things worse could be part of God’s plan.
There are times in our life and in the life of our society that is seems things are getting worse and not better. Trouble increases. Authority duels are obvious in many areas of life. Our workload is unfairly increased and our God seems absent.
Things commonly go backward with the saints before they come forward, so the corn groweth downward ere it grow upward.”
“It is the darkest before the dawn.”
The Israelite leaders blamed Moses.”You’ve put a sword in their hand to kill us”. The people, in their trouble called out to Pharaoh for help- not God, or even Moses. Pharaoh seemed like a friend when they were his slaves. In the previous chapter, they believed God was with them, but now their excitement was gone.
But Pharaoh was cruel and did not care about them. He called them names, insulted them, commanded more work and allowed no time for religious duty to God. He punished them for it and for even wanting it.
Even Moses, with his insecurities ressurfacing, asked God,
O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?… You have not delivered your people at all.”
Exodus 5:22-23 ESV
From their perspective, their world was topsy-turvy.
God, however, does not see as man, nor are His ways like man’s.
God is interested in way more than just freeing Israel. He knows they need transformation to become His people, fit for the Promised land. He knew they needed to learn endurance, patience, and complete trust in Him. He knew defeating Egypt’s evil would not come quickly or easily. And He knew their faith & trust would come with countless opportunities for surrender and obedience.
What He was interested in was them trusting Him in their trouble so He could use it for their good and His glory.
No Israelite was exempt from this. Not Aaron, and not Moses. Moses’ fears of inferiority came rushing back when things got worse not better. He still doubted that he was the right guy – Why did you ever send me? He hoped the liberation would be easy and now that is wasn’t he doubted who he was and whether God could really use him. (he’s not anything like us, right? ha ha )
God was working through the trouble, hardship, and worsening conditions to produce a people who would trust Him and His ability to use them for good and His glory. 2 Peter 4:12-14, 19; 3:8-9, 14-15
There was blame enough to go around, but God deserved none of it.
He was seeing beyond the immediate, to the long term victory. To the wandering and complaining years, To the warring and possessing years. To the reigning and prosperous years. To the years it would take for these people to be His people. To you and I. To our struggles. To this day. To our times. And to eternity, when His son would have for Himself a spotless Bride, fully devoted to Jesus.
The the Israelites and their leaders believed that God had done evil to His people by allowing such trouble. They believed because it was getting worse and not better, it could not possibly be God’s will.
But these events in Egypt were demonstrating God’s last straw. The straw that would set in motion a massive exodus. For them, then and I believe for you now.
God is at work in our nation, and although it appears things are getting worse and not better, let’s let Israel remind us that He is at work in the now and for the long term. He is preparing us, transforming us and equipping us.
We are facing the days of God’s last straw in our lifetime. The days of His preparation for our exodus from slavery into complete liberty. But first, we must learn to trust Him and be wholly confident in Him and obedient to His voice.
Don’t lose heart as things get worse. He’s working on us in the midst of things getting worse, preparing us for our exodus.
We are living in serious days, spiritually and this video lesson does not pull any punches in calling out compromise. I trust because you are reading this, you will follow through and hear it all. Click play and prepare for self reflection.
In this third of our five part series, you will see how God chooses to use you in bringing deliverance to others and helping them to believe. But first He will give you signs that will scare you, encourage you, and teach you to listen to and obey His voice.
These thoughts are based on Moses and the Exodus account you will find in Exodus chapter 4.
After “God shows up” (in Exodus chapter 3 & our previous lesson), we find Him telling Moses that he has been selected to be the comissioned leader and carry His name to lead His people out of Egypt into the land God promised to give to the Partiarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Moses is given a project, one of seeming impossibilities, with ridiculous odds of failure, and that required 100% faith and focus on God. Moses questions whether he is up to the task and responded to God with a series of questions all of which revealed his doubt in God’s decision.
Moses first said to God,
BUT they won’t believe me or listen to me…”
Exodus 4:1 ESV
I love the BUTS of the Bible, they reveal so much about humanity and God’s amazing dealings with us. Moses doubted that anyone would listen to him. Who was he afterall? Here he was just a shepherd going before the King of Egypt with all of his powerful magicians and political advisors.
God answered Moses, “What’s in your hand?” The same thing that God asks of us, “What’s in your hand, Debbie?” “What’s in your hand _________ (your name)?” Moses was holding his shepherds staff.
“Throw it down” Moses was told. And when he did, it turned into a snake and scared Moses away. Then God spoke again to Moses and told Him to pick up the snake by the tail. Which Moses did, and the snake turned back into Moses’ staff.
“What’s in your hand?” is how God uses people. He uses what people have. The years of sheep tending were not wasted for Moses. He didn’t need a scepter to go before the King, he needed his staff. He needed what God had put in his hand, because God uses what is in our hand. (Check out Shamgar, David, Sampson, and the little boy with fish and bread.)
The staff turning to a snake was not part of Moses everyday experience, and so it was a sign given as confirmation to Moses of God’s power to use what God had given him, but it was also a sign that the people would believe.
After running away from the snake, Moses learned to listen to God’s directions and to take it by the tail – the most dangerous place. Moses learned how to do what God told him to do even if it was dangerous and uncomfortable. Moses learned that God could transform something good into evil and back again, IF Moses would trust and obey the voice of God.
Then, what Moses held in his hand was called the rod of God! And with the rod of God, Moses would eventually part the sea, strike the rock and defeat the enemy in the valley.
Sign #1 – Staff to snake – Watch what God will do with what’s in your hand
God uses what you have in your hand. Your years of doing it, your experience, your skills, your heart and your dreams. Nothing is wasted. You need nothing more than faith in what He has given you. Faith that will trust Him with uncomfortable encounters, maybe even dangerous ones, but faith that you are doing what you have heard Him say to you.
When you decide that in your heart, and take action, you begin to move in a new freedom but so do those that God has sent you to. The signs are for you and for them too, to believe!
You would think that one sign was enough to boost Moses’ confidence in God. But God gave Moses another sign in which his healthy hand became leprous and then was restored to full health again. This sign was again to reassure Moses of God’s total and unstoppable power to restore even the most disgraceful, shameful, and horrible sin and disease in his life. God was saying, trust me Moses, to use ALL that you are – even the diseased and broken parts.
Sign #2 – The leprous hand restored – God will restore and use even our diseased and broken parts
There is no sin or shame God will not forgive or restore you from and use for His glory. He will do it as a sign for you to believe in and fully trust Him, and He will use you to share it with others so that their hope can be restored and they will believe in the power of the Almighty God.
But God is not through giving Moses (or you) signs.
He next tells Moses to take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground and it will become blood. Guess what happens? Yup. He does and it does.
Blood always represents judgment. God’s message here was that if transformation didn’t work (staff to snake and hand to leprosy) then perhaps judgment would convince them to believe.
Sign #3 – Water to blood – God will bring judgment to the land
Our land, like ancient Egypt will face judgement. Our lives will face judgment and the Blood of the Lamb will cover and protect us during this time if we believe. The purpose of the blood is to make believers.
After these three persuassive signs, Moses still objects by saying –
I am not eloquent… I am slow of speech…”
Exodus 4:10 ESV
Let’s be real here, Moses had spent the first 40 years of his life being trained in all the wisdom of Egypt. Acts 7:22 The real issue for Moses was his confidence was gone! That was way back then and now, he only spoke sheep talk. And while we’re being real, he’s not really complaining about his speaking ability but his inability to be a leader to God’s people.
Even though God had promised to be with him, and teach him what to do and say, Moses was comparing himself to those smart guys in Pharaoh’s court and coming up on the short end. Which is all we need to understand that Moses’ focus was in the wrong place, on himself and not on God. God provided Aaron, to be the speaker for Moses and promised to teach them both.
Sign #4 – God provides us the support we need – because He sees more in us than we do
Who of us has not dealt with a lack of confidence? Especially when we see a task before us with seemingly impossible odds of failure and requiring more faith than we think that we have? And yet, God, who hears the groans of the needy around you and the cries from the lonley, broken and lost who you come in contact with – provides for you all you need to bring them to faith, by means of your faith.
Lastly, here’s the bottom line of this long story.
After these 4 signs, and Moses listing disqualifications, doubts, and lack of confidence, he reveals the real issue in his heart. Without anymore excuses cuz God has dashed them all to pieces, Moses says to God –
Please send someone else…”
Exodus 4:13 ESV
This made God angry. (v. 14). You know why? He was angry at Moses’ unwillingness not his questions or doubts. Moses revealed, by this request, that he was unwilling not unable.
Sign #5 – God reveals what’s really in our heart – He uses the willing heart
Whatever it takes, God will whittle all of our excuses down to reveal our willingness to obey His voice. When all is stripped away, are we willing to do what He has called and equipped us for?
God has demonstrated by these signs that He can and will work with what He has created. He will first deal with our own doubts and insecurities showing Himself strong on our behalf so that WE believe. Then, he uses us to affect other people’s beliefs.
God is intending a tremendous exodus of people from bondage into freedom and fulfilling of His promises. He has been preparing you for this exodus by hearing your desires, showing up in your life, and revealing signs like these to you, verifying His desire to use YOU!
What’s is your hand? Allow Him to restore the broken parts of your heart and judge you in His love and mercy. He has provided all you need for victory and deliverance if only you are willing.
It is time for you to leave your personal constraints, captivity, and drudgery, because God is preparing you for your exodus.
Events, people, issues, and governments have all been part of God’s plan to prepare for a mass exodus and freeing of people to walk in His promises. He is preparing all things for His set time of favor and release., for the rising up of His people and the showing off of His great and powerful name. Nothing has been wasted, useless, unseen or ignored. He has seen it all (as we taught last time) and is moving on your behalf.
Today’s post is part 2 of a 5 part series – Preparing For Your Exodus. And our topic today is God Shows Up.
Last time we saw that God sees, and hears, and remembers all we have faced. The battles, hurts, oppression, and unjust dealings. We encouraged ourselves knowing that He knows and has not left us alone.
In fact, in the book of Exodus after we are told that God sees (our situation), it follows next that God shows up. We read it in Exodus chapter 3, and from there I will glean these points.
The story goes that Moses was at work, keepng his flock when an angel appears to him in a bush filled with fire. The text tells us –
He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”
Exodus 3:2-3 ESV
This is interesting and has two very important points that have ramifications for us.
First, let me say that in these days, the Lord is showing up in our lives in unusual ways. The signs are there of His showing up in our life, but we have to notice them. Here are the two points for us to chew on.
Moses looked– Moses stopped what he was doing and actually noticed the sign – the bush on fire. The sign was there, but Moses had to look at it, notice it. So too, must we. There are signs in our life that we need to stop and look at closely, notice what is happening and ask why. We must also look.
Moses turned aside – noticing was not enough for Moses. Just looking at the firey sign in his life was not sufficient. Moses actually changed his position, direction and focus – he turned toward the sign. He turned toward what he saw God doing. He asked questions, pondered, sought explanations. His action was altered by what he saw and he turned toward it, not away from it. If we are to experience a release and an exodus, so too must we turn toward what God is doing and the signs we see from Him in our life. May we join Moses in saying, “I will turn aside and see this great thing that the Lord is doing.”
It is interesting to note that when Moses noticed and turned then,
When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses.”
Exodus 3:4 ESV
When we not only notice what God is doing in our life but turn aside to see and question God’s signs, God shows up.
These are days of NOTICING and TURNING. The signs are all over. Do we notice them? That is the start of our change, the starting point for things to happen for you. Your deliverence, setting free, your release, your total utilization in God’s plan.
It is in the turning towards what God is doing and towards His signs that God speaks to us with direction and encouragement. God shows up!
When God shows up – here’s what Moses experienced and what we can experience too: (from Exodus 3)
He calls you by name v. 4
He establishes His holiness v. 5
He reaffirms His covenant v. 6
We fear v. 6
He assures us He sees v. 7-9
He reaffirms His love and promises v. 8
He calls us out v. 10
He remembers (crying people and fearful followers) v. 7, 17
He promises to give us a sign as we move out v. 12 This doesn’t come tho’ until after we have obeyed and so it requires faith.
He reveals His name- I AM WHO I AM v. 14 Yahweh. This is His name forever.
I AM will set you free v. 20
When God shows up, things change. We change. And we begin our exodus.
God sees your situation. He hears your conversations and knows your thoughts. He is preparing you for a great release and a life of living in His promises. His desire is to show up and reveal Himself to you. Whether you have walked with Him or are part of the crowd that sees signs and wonder what’s happening.
Moses’ encounter at the burning bush is for you and me and is for today.
There is something grandiose burning for those who will NOTICE and TURN to God. He will show up for you in ways you never imagined and release you from years of personal chains so you can enter into the fulness of His promises for you.
Notice and turn and watch God show up in you life and lead you in your exodus.
This is one of those times I write under the impact of what I hear The Spirit saying to us – to you and me, to believers, and to our nation.
He is preparing us for our exodus, our depatrure from things as we know them, our going out and being set free from our oppression and affliction.
With that theme in mind, it is clear that we can look at the ancient exodus of Israel, after their 430 years in slavery, and draw some comparisons and parallels. So, from now ’til the end of the year, in a 5 part series, we will look at and draw those comparisons with the intention of inspiring you to see that now is the time for you to prepare for your exodus.
The overriding theme of the book of Exodus is God fulfilling His promise to the Patriarchs to make their descendants a great nation, (despite the oppression of the world’s greatest superpower (Egypt) and their own unbelief and disobedience.) Their exodus was so impactful, Israel’s national identity and even their calendar reoriented around the month that they came out of Egypt. And, their success was totally ascribed to God’s power and God’s character, not their own power, or weak and godless character. (So too, will be our exodus and the display of God’s power.)
As we begin this comparison, let’s start right there. What God is preparing to do is fulfill His promises to raise up His Church, His Ekklesia, despite economic forums or governmental overreach, who will walk in relationship to the Omnipotent God and reveal His character here on this planet, wherever they are. This will be so impactful it will change national identities, and will be marked on all calendars as The Great Outpouring and Harvest.
My friend, this is a personal freedom being offered to you. A freedom from years of oppression and bondage. A freedom to walk in the fullness of God’s promises fulfilled and God’s power revealed. This isn’t some imaginary or delusional hope, this is what God has promised to those that believe Him. He is preparing us for our exodus.
In Exodus 2:23-25, we find our first lesson, preparing us for our exodus. Here’s what it says,
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.”
It is clear from these verses that God sees exactly what the Israelites are going through and have gone through. God sees. In fact, there are four facets listed here to God’s seeing.
God hears the groaning because of slavery. God hears the cries for help. God hears the cries for rescue. God hears the prayers offered up to God. Whether it be 3,468 years ago by the ancient Israelites or today, by the Yahweh believers around the world, God still hears.
With believers increasing mightily and threatening governmental leaders, like Pharaoh, taskmasters have been appointed to burden down with heavy loads the people of God. Still the faith filled ones prosper, despite the oppression, all the while the taskmasters treat them ruthlessly.
Making their lives bitter and forced into hard service, even releasing a death decree to kill babies, the Egyptian magistrates dreaded the Israelites, just like many of our governmental leaders make our lives bitter and decree death to our babies. Their dread tho’, will not keep us from multiplying in strength and numbers and faith!
God hears. He sent Moses, the one drawn out of the waters. And so it is, God hears us, and is preparing to send yet another drawn out remnant to free those suffering from bondage. God hears.
God remembers. He is not forgetful like an old person, or dull because of age. He is sharp, precise, and fully cognizant of all He has said and promised. He remembers His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to make their descendants a great nation with countless sons and daughters. They will not be defined by years slavery, but by their covenant with God.
Abraham’s covenant – Genesis 12:2
Isaac’s covenant – Genesis 17:15, 21
Jacob’s covenant – Genesis 26:3-5
God is a God of covenants. He is a God- keeper of agreements. A fullfiller of promises. He is not a man that lies. If He said it, He will do it. Numbers 23:19 He remains faithful, even if we are unfaithful because He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 God remembers!
God remembers that He made you for a specific purpose. God remembers the plans He has for your eternal happiness and hope He has for your eternal fellowship. He remembers the giftings, skills, and even weaknesses He put inside of you and He remembers all of it is being used to fashion you into a highly valued and treasured vessel of honor for Him. God remembers that He is not done with you yet.
God saw the people of Israel. The whole mess of slavery, bitterness, oppression, ruthless rulers, death decrees, and unjust treatment. God saw the worldwide mess of Covid, the harsh treatment, the fruitful years in rapid decline. God saw the favor turned to fury. God saw the big picture, not just the immediate.
God saw the victory, freedom, blessing, and fulfillment that lie ahead. God saw it all. Past. Present. Future. He is The Great I Am.
God knew. He knew their suffering and He knew their deliverance was coming. God knew that the promised land lay ahead. God knew it was a fruitful place, full of provision and enemies. God knew their future. God knew what they had. God knew what they needed. God knew what lie ahead. God knew their successes and their failures. God knew.
In what ways are we any different? In what ways is God different? Is He not the same yesterday, today, and forever?
As we approach this new year, I believe it is time to prepare to exit the past years of oppression, bondage and silencing. A new season of promises fulfilled, God’s people rising up, and God’s power revealed in signs, wonders and miracles.
He has seen our situation and is redirecting our focus to His powerful deliverance. It will be epic, because our nation, like Israel is in crisis.
Rest assured, God Sees! And when He sees, He hears, He remembers and He knows. Our God sees a massive exodus of sons and daughters, walking in His miraculous power and fully dependant on every Word that proceeds from His mouth.
This is what He is preparing to do in our nation and the nations of the world. This is what He is preparing to do in and through His people, the followers of Yahweh. The land of promises lie ahead to those who are preparing themselves for the exodus.
In continuing preparation for our exodus, please check back for the next 4 parts of this series.
God Shows Up 12/10
God’s Signs 12/17
God’s Last Straw 12/24
God Says NOW! 12/31
Before you go, please remember that God sees everything that you are going through and He has heard your cries for help. He remembers well all He has promised you and He sees it happening because He knows your victorious destiny.
God sees YOU, and He is preparing you for your exodus.