Got the Grumbles?

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The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “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 entire assembly to death.”  (Exodus 16:1–3, NIV 1984).

During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.  (Exodus 2:23–24, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Funny how people tend to remember the past in the context of what they are experiencing in the present, often making the past seem better than it was.  After all, sitting around pots of meat eating all the food they wanted, doesn’t quite seem to coincide with groaning in their slavery.  Image what it would have been like if they had social media.  But before we’re too hard on the Israelites, I’m sure each of us has done something similar, albeit perhaps not so egregious.

As we grow in our relationship with Christ, we should be learning, like Paul, “the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”   (Philippians 4:12, NIV 1984).  For like Paul, their will be times when we experience “what it is to be in need,” and “what it is to have plenty.”  (Philippians 4:12, NIV 1984).  What we will learn to keep in mind that wherever we are, or whatever we are going through, the Holy Spirit still resides with in us.  He hears all of our groans and relates them to the Father.  When we experience the good times. He needs to hear our praise as well.

My Advice – Always remember that God is Sovereign.  While not everything we encounter in life will be good, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28, NIV 1984).  Do you love Him?  Have you answered His call?

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Want to grow in your relationship with Christ?  Check out my “Got Spiritual Milk?” blogs.  The complete Bible Study can be purchased at my “Store.”

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Today’s musing was inspired by Teaching Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon on March 8, 2020. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you.

 

 

A Father’s Point Of View

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The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”  (Genesis 6:5–6, NIV 1984).

The Musings of Others – Although “regret” is the customary translation of the Hebrew verb translated as “grieved” in the NIV, its basic meaning is to “be pained.” This is the sense here. As it hurts a loving parent to see the disobedience of his children, so it pained God to see how wicked men had become. (Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 15). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers).

My Musings – We often look at sin and its consequences on how it affects us.  Rarely, if ever, do we look at it from God’s perspective, other than it must make Him angry.  But this text suggests a much deeper affect, and reminds me of an experience I had in my teen years (old enough to drive, but still in High School).

A friend of mine was restoring an old (vintage) pick-up truck.  One front  fender was in much too bad of shape to restore, so it needed to be replaced.  Due to the age of the pick-up, not something you could order through a parts store.  My friend had located one at a junkyard miles away and asked if I could help him pick it up.  But we did not enter or leave through the front gate.  At a remote spot we went over the fence, retrieved the fender, hopped back over the fence and headed back.

I suppose I probably rationalized it in a number of different ways from my perspective (you can’t steal junk can you?), but deep down believed none of them. I was already feeling pretty guilty about it, but when I got back home I was confronted by my dad. He had found out what my friend and I were up to, and in no uncertain terms reinforced my guilt.  There was no yelling.  My dad had a presence about him that you knew when he meant business. He didn’t need to yell. I remember asking him if he was mad, which is what I expected.  His response was much worse.  “No Steve, I’m not mad, I’m disappointed in you.”  I would have preferred mad.  If you’ve read any of my blogs about my dad and our relationship, you can probably understand why his disappointment in me was the worst type of punishment I could have received.

When the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become…[t]he LORD was grieved…and his heart was filled with pain.”  I hurt my dad that day, and I’ve never forgotten how it made me feel, and how I knew I never wanted to disappoint him again like that.  It meant that much to me.

My Advice – Wouldn’t it be nice if we always felt that way about sin and How God is grieved every time we give in to sin?  Now that’s a relationship!

The Elephant In The Room

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My Musings – “People primarily respond not to what we do but how we’re being.  It’s not that we do the wrong thing necessarily, but that we do what we do – maybe even if it is the ‘right’ thing – the wrong way.” (Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute).

My great fear for the Church today is that a lot of us spend a lot of time and energy “doing” Christianity, while failing to “be” Christ-like.  We pride ourselves with saying, supporting and doing the right things (the modern-day equivalent of a tenth of our mint, dill and cumin), but neglect to be those things (the all-time equivalent of, “justice, mercy and sacrifice“).  In the process, we are well on our way to alienating an entire generation from “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  Given the appropriate “salt and light” there are many who would love to “be” like Christ, but are afraid of “doing” like “Christians.”  But unfortunately, the “salt” in many of us leaves a bad taste, and the “light” shining from us artificial and not a true reflection of its Source.

My Advice – There is nothing wrong with saying, supporting and doing the right things.  But we must practice these without neglecting “justice, mercy and sacrifice.”  Otherwise, we are merely a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”  Distracting noise and “fake news” in a world searching for the truth.  Woe to us, the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge.

Don’t just do, be.  People still might not acknowledge the truth, but what they are rejecting will be plain.