A slave is always at work. It’s 24/7. The sons of Israel were slaves. Although they were given liberty from their oppressors, they still thought like slaves. They didn’t rest. They didn’t not answer the call. They always met the challenge – no matter what was demanded of them. They looked for ways to outwork each other – to be the most important slave. To be the most powerful slave.
It’s not that work is bad. Work is good. Very good. We were made to creatively form value. Our potential couldn’t be fully realized without the opportunity of work.
But it’s interesting to see how people who have this slavish mentality to work respond to the possibility of rest. It’s almost like they can’t stand it. If they’re aren’t working, they don’t feel right. (I don’t feel right)
“It’s the Sabbath. We collected a double portion yesterday – we don’t need food. So what should we do with this morning? I know, let’s go out and collect some more.”
Rest. Rest in God. The Sabbath is for the man.
My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
The manna came as bread from heaven. Every morning, it was a promise from God.
It’s so easy for me to think, “How fortunate to receive such a blessing. No worries. Free food.”
Living in the present requires freedom from anxiety. Of course, nothing brings out anxiety like food.
Like the moments of our life, we try desperately to hold onto the good ones. With equal desperation, we try to escape the unpleasant as soon as possible. But the command is, “gather one omer per day per person” and “throw away the leftovers”.
THROW AWAY THE LEFTWOVERS?
Food. Moments in Time. It’s all so perishable. Must hold on.
Always the tendency to live in the past or the future. This is man’s first temptation. We succumb and only later do we realize that we’ve missed our life.
I do this no matter that God has always been faithful.
Stay in the moment. Stay in the moment.
“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” “Now is the time of God’s favor. Now is the day of salvation.”
Every time there is a challenge the sons of Israel are wont to say, “I wish we were back in Egypt.”
Stepping out in faith means breaking with old routines. It means old expectations will not be met. It means we have to find a way through to the goal without looking back.
Embrace this. We all get hungry. We all get tired. No one has certainty.
One of the most common question in modern self-help is, “What would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?” This is to help people get some vision. But if you’re doing your purpose on earth, God won’t let you fail. You’re actually in this case. You can’t fail.
So what are you waiting for? Stop grumbling. It doesn’t help. Get through this to the other side of your dream and His purpose.
The testing of ordinary life. Not that there is anything ordinary about wondering around in a desert with 600,000 men and their families.
But on the other hand, maybe there is.
Trusting God for provision and healing in circumstances that I can’t control. That happens in my life.
Taking for granted the good gifts that I enjoy in my life thinking they cost nothing – or should cost nothing. That also happens in my life.
Do I come to God as a Person trusting in His goodness for me? That is the ultimate challenge of faith. For me individually and for my community collectively. No matter when and where the challenge is found.
O Jesus “Help my unbelief”
The things that you have not yet conquered are afraid of you. In your absence, the promises intended for you are being enjoyed by usurpers who want you asleep, who want you enslaved. If you wake up, they will lose what they have come to regard as their own.
All the world knows how powerful you could be. The ones who want to subjugate you for their own profit are afraid that you will wake up and take possession of what has always been yours. They want you asleep. They want you ignorant. They want you unfree.
This is what it really means to lose the war.
It may be bloodless but the death is worse than a pierced heart.
Wake up. Your power is in fearlessly living this moment. What is given and from that, what might be. The greatest “What If”.
Songs have this power.
We speak and a story proceeds from our mouth. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s the most important story of your life.
It’s just one more narrative – I hear just one more narrative.
You sing the same words and I can tell without being told that it’s the most important story of your life.
A song springs forth spontaneously. The song of salvation. If you’ve been saved by Jesus, then sing your song of salvation.
God preserves and protects the authentic community. It’s not merely a matter of remembrance or a similarity that we celebrate the Passover, or the exodus. To be in Christ is to be a part of this community.
God has saved you and God will preserve you as a part of this whole.
There will be days when you are surrounded on all sides and there is no escape. It will seem like certain death is at hand. You will be tempted to wish that you were still a slave to fear and the oppression of the synthetic.
But even then – especially then, He will create a protection that preserves His authentic community and gives a witness to those He wishes yet to save.
“Were there no graves in Egypt….?” At the prospect of pain, the Israelites blamed Moses for their plight. This is what slaves do; they blame. This the single most worthless activity in which any human being can engage. Blame and self-absolution from responsibility change nothing except it gives the illusory satisfaction that “at least I was right”.
Is it better to be right than successful?
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob longed for their children to be free to worship God and to fulfill their potential in the land that God had promised to them.
The Israelites were born to show the world a different possibility – a different way of living. Cleaving this authentic way of life away from that which men can do in ignorance of God was the war they were called to.
It is still the fight we are called to.
Will you fight? Will you resist the temptation to blame? Will you respond in faith and love and let that be your life’s testimony – your reason for being?
It’s the first mention that Israel will be required to fight in order to enter into the promised land. God knew they were not ready for war. They needed something. Liberty from slavery was not enough to prepare them to enter into the promise.
Though unaware, they needed the freedom that comes through a system of law and the knowledge of God. More specifically, they lacked the freedom to be present, to understand deeply, to value appropriately and to act decisively. As a result, they were extremely vulnerable.
My children are young. They chatter about the things their lives will bring. I love their dreams. But I don’t teach them how to dream – this is an integral part of the liberty they enjoy. Instead, I teach them how to work.
Prepare your people Lord.
I cannot make myself have love feelings for God. I cannot force myself into affection. This isn’t a failing. It’s not part of my power – it’s not how the will works.
So give that a rest.
God has this much confidence: should anyone really seek Him out and discover who He is and how He is, then they will fall in love with Him. We are made for this. It is our perfection.
Reflecting on the God narrative – that’s the thing. His faithfulness and kindness and mercy and wisdom born out in history. Jesus came to save you. He came to save us. He won the victory.
We give a ticker tape parade to express our affection for our national champions. Everyone goes home and the memory fades. Affection to nostalgia to Auld Lang Syne .
But God keeps on saving. Forever the champion, this story isn’t over. WWJD wristbands or phylacteries on the forehead can’t hold it. But reminders, however they function are worthy.
So remember His goodness. Reflect on the story. Cultivate this affection. No human who encounters Jesus Christ as He really is could help but love Him.