Tag Archives: Moses

What Moses Saw

Moses could see it coming; he knew they couldn’t keep it.  He had just rescued his people from slavery in Egypt.  He’d been sent to deliver them to a land where God promised to bless them. But, before they even set foot in the land, Moses knew they would eventually mess it up, turn away from God and lose evrything they had. He warned them.  You can read it for yourself in the 29th chapter of Deuteronomy.   

Moses saw it coming and it happened, just as he said, 800  years later.  The Promised Land was overrun and destroyed.  The survivors were carted off to Babylon to live in exile.

But Moses also knew:

“…and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.  (Deuteronomy 30:2-3)
As unlikely as that would seem, it also happened, exactly as he said it would.  I am convinced God allowed that to demonstrate the tangible benefits of turning back to love and obey God “with all their hearts.”  Jesus also proclaimed this to be the most important commandment.

These days I sense a general attitude of despair and pessimism in the USA, a sense we have stumbled off in the wrong direction from which there seems to be no possible course correction.  Maybe Moses was on to something.

His Words

Compare these two, clear statements from the Bible, written 1500 years apart:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.  –  (Deuteronomy 18:18 – Words of God to Moses, approximately 3500 years ago)

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.  –  (John 14:10 – Words of Jesus)

And then, this:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.  –  (Hebrews 1:1–2  –  Unknown author, roughly 2000 years ago)

The reason the Bible fits perfectly together, even over the span of a millennium and a half, is because it was inspired by One Eternal Author Who knew what He would do from before the beginning.  His words have therefore been relevant in all ages, including our own.  Knowing that, pay further attention to the rest of what God told Moses about the One in Whom He would put His words:

If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.  –  (Deuteronomy 18:19)

Probably a good idea to really listen to Jesus…

God’s Name

The bumper sticker said, “God is too big to fit into just one religion.”  Hmmmm…  If they meant that Jews and Christians worship the same God, okay, I agree with that.  But if they meant that all religions share the same God, then we got a problem – sloppy, illogical thinking.  If one person’s God says He has chosen a small tribe of people and will use them to extend blessing to the world, and another guy’s “god” says that that same tribe of people must be eradicated from the earth before his blessing can come, then those two guys are not hearing from the same God.

Because we humans cannot fully perceive or understand God, we have a tendency to define Him according to what we think He should be like.  We say things like, “If there is a God, then why do people starve?”  Questions like that presume that we have the capacity and the right to define God’s character.  We give God a make-over, according to our own preferences.  And we wind up with many different gods.

News flash: We are not in charge of Who God is.  He is.  When He called Moses to rescue the Israelites from slavery, Moses asked Him for some ID:

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.’  ”God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.  (Exodus 3:13-15)

What a perfect name: “I Am Who I Am; deal with it!”  Throughout the Bible, humans try to redefine the character of God and pretend that He is the way they want Him to be.  Tragic things ensue.  But God doesn’t change; He says, “My name (the essence of Who I am) is I AM WHO I AM.”

An acquaintance,  who is in recovery, talked about how, in AA meetings, everybody seems to have a personal “Higher Power,” each of them with different personalities.   Then he said, “But I am the lump of clay; I am the one who needs to be molded and changed, not God.”   My friend may have done some dumb things in the past, but he has discovered the beginning point for wisdom.  He knows Who God is: He is Who He Is.

You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,
“He did not make me”?
Can the pot say of the potter,
“He knows nothing”? (Is 29:16)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  (Proverbs 9:10)

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said they should start out by praying that the Name of their Heavenly Father would be held in high reverence.  Once you know God’s Name is I AM WHO I AM, everything else can fall into place.

Would God Forgive You?

The kidnapper in Cleveland and the bomber brothers in Boston raise an important question: Could they ever be forgiven by God?  How about you?  We have been hammering away at the meaning of Isaiah 57:15, about how the Creator of the Universe, Almighty God, Who lives beyond the dimensions of time and space, said He would live in the soul of the lowly and contrite.  If you are just joining us, go to the page listed in the menu above where the posts are listed in order.  But how about it: if the surviving bomber or the kidnapper truly became contrite and lowly, would either of them qualify?  Read what God said next in Isaiah:

I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint  before me— the breath of man that I have created.   I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways.   I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him.  (Isaiah 57:16-18)

God says He sees.  He knows.  But He is also ready to forgive.  To forgive but, even better, to restore and heal, to guide and comfort.  Who?  The lowly and contrite, the person who wakes up to the reality of Who God truly is, and by contrast, how sinful and unable to stop screwing up we humans are.  Ever watch those shows on cable where they restore old antiques?  Amazing!  Ever cut yourself badly and eventually see that it has been healed?  Imagine having the wounds of your soul healed.  Ever try to fix your computer and make it worse?  And yearn for someone who really knows to come and guide you – and restore comfort to your tangled emotions?  Read through that chunk of Isaiah again and consider those promises.

BUT, BUT, BUT!!!   If the bomber and the kidnapper get off, it just wouldn’t be right  – right?

Yes, insofar as justice is concerned.  And justice matters to God (remember: He is perfect!).  So which matters more to God – justice or forgiveness?  That question sets up a riddle about the character of God.  Here’s how God presented the riddle to Moses:

“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,  maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:6-7a)

God is forgiving of wickedness, rebellion and sin but insists that the guilty be punished.  Hmmm…   How can that be?  I will forgive you, but first I have to kill you?  That riddle is solved, later in the Bible.  God gave a big hint to Isaiah.  He gave the Solution, 700 years after that.   Chew on that, and stay tuned…