Mucked Up But Not Forsaken (Part 2)
Does the error of your past hang over you like dark cloud? Like a guillotine hanging over your neck? We may have mucked up but God has not given up on us. In Part 1 we discovered that God will not forsake us despite our wrongdoing. Instead, God provides us the opportunity to find reprieve, in order that He may bring redemption and help us rebuild our lives – if we would look to Him. In Part 2, we explain more on how God works.
God provides us the opportunity to find reprieve, in order that He may bring redemption and help us rebuild our lives – if we would look to Him.
NOT FORSAKEN DESPITE LENGTH OF TIME
Exodus 2:23 (NIV84) 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.
Two things to point out:
Length of time does not mean God forgot.
On one hand, we see Moses in a rash bid to take leadership over Israel and now a "long period of time" in which we see Moses doing something seemingly unrelated to his calling - shepherding sheep! Moses could be forgiven for thinking that he has been forgotten by God! To think he has lost his chance to help Israel!
However, God is not a prisoner of time. God is not hasty. It is this fact that means we can trust Him. It is because God isn't rash, He doesn't quickly react, that we can really trust His character. Sometimes our time schedule is based on our agenda, not God's. Are you rushing into things that God isn't? When you are stressed about things that "aren't getting finished fast enough". Are you in God's timing or in your own?
How about waiting on God in your quiet time? Do you actually wait for Him? With patience? Or are you fidgety and distracted because you don't value the wait? Imagine if we had a health condition develop. Do we go to see the medical specialist even though it may take a little while for the appointment? Or do we rush off and self-medicate with the quick advice of Dr. Google?
How about waiting on God? Better for us to wait on God than to rush of and mess things up further! God will work according to His timing. God does not forget, even though it may seem like forever.
God will work according to His timing. God does not forget, even though it may seem like forever
Why it can take time
Notice how during that the long period “the king of Egypt died” and “the Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.” God was waiting for certain things to progress. The present Pharoah to die. The enslaved Israelites to really turn to God in desperation. Moses to gain the heart of a good shepherd, as he will really need that later.
God's agenda is bigger than our tasks, it includes our character, and His greater plan for His Kingdom. It is funny how when we get a dream or a vision, we expect God to drop His agenda to match our timing! However, God is not impressed with our timing, our goals, our ambition. He is impressed with our submission to His will!
God is not impressed with our timing, our goals, our ambition. He is impressed with our submission to His will!
Clearly Moses had ambitions, that were on the surface godly, to save God's people. But these ambitions had to be tempered and submitted to God's character and purposes. Sometimes God will call us to great things, but He still can't use us if we are not submitted to him, or if our calling becomes selfish ambition. James 3:14-15 (NIV84) 14 But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
God is not focussed on building our kingdom, but His! Everything God does is in accordance with His perfect timing. Even the saving of our souls! Jesus came to die in perfect timing to God's will. Why did Jesus not come earlier, so more people could hear the gospel earlier? It is according to God's perfect plan.
There are many things that God will patiently wait for. Even including the repentance of the nations. 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV84) 8 With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
What about you? Are you willing to wait for the same things that are important to God? What does your list of priorities tell you about how well you know God? Moses had to be trained through those years to discern the character of God, to develop a quieter, calmer heart, to learn gentleness, to learn patience. What gets you impatient? Are those the same things that God is "urgent" about? What things aren't happening fast enough for you? Is it because God is slow, or is He trying to do something in you first?
What things aren't happening fast enough for you? Is it because God is slow, or is He trying to do something in you first?
NOT FORSAKEN BECAUSE OF GOD’S COVENANT
The Israelites could have been left in affliction and forgotten. But the people of Israel were not forgotten by God. Why? Because of…
His covenant to His people
Exodus 2:23–24 (NIV84) 23 …The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.
Long before Moses' time, God made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers of the Israelites. As part of this covenant, God promised that He would bring them out from Egypt and bring them back to the Promised Land. Gen 15:16 (NIV84) In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
Our God is a covenant making God. A covenant is an agreement made between God and man. With these covenants, God makes clear to us what we can expect of Him and what He expects of us. He spells out the terms of His covenant to us so that we may understand the scope and boundaries of His covenant with us.
When we are stuck in a tight corner, God's covenant become very important to us. Why? Because it assures us of God's faithfulness. Deut 7:9 (NIV84) Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
When we are stuck in a tight corner, God's covenant become very important to us. Why? Because it assures us of God's faithfulness.
God has established the New Covenant with us through the sacrifice of Jesus, as the sacrificial lamb, on the cross. When we accept Christ as our personal Saviour, we enter this New Covenant with God. As part of this covenant, God assures us that He will never forsake us. Heb 13:5 (NIV84) … God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Amazingly, God has obligated Himself to us. Hence, rest assured. Even when we are in the tightest of corners, God will never forsake us. So let us make the decision to continue trusting God.
Remember the story of Donna Rice? She was a committed Christian in high school and a high achiever academically and a cheerleader. But she began to compromise, dating non-Christians, began to make her decisions her own way. Dropped out of church. Then one day she was date raped. That was when she began more involved sexually and got involved in glitzy social circles. She tried becoming an actress and model and got involved romantically with a drug dealer. She tried to work hard in a pharmaceutical company but her workaholism was an attempt to run from her past.
Then she met Senator Hart in a party in 1987. Then everything fell apart when their adulterous relationship was found out. She was distraught and in depression. Her mother' friend encouraged her to come back to God. Donna knew that she had created her own mess. She repented before God. God brought her into a church that began to nurse her back. God never gave up on her!
His covenant of love
Exodus 2:23–24 (NIV84) … God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
God's concern on the Israelites revealed His heart for them. This reveals to us that when God makes a covenant with us, it is not some sterile business deal. God was not counting business opportunities, leveraging of greater market share or even win-win solutions. It is a covenant birthed out of compassion and love. 2 Chr 6:14 (NIV84) “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.
Because God's love is behind His covenant, we are doubly sure that He will search us out and not forsake us. Rom 8:38-39 (NIV84) 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because God's love is behind His covenant, we are doubly sure that He will search us out and not forsake us.
In Sydney Dec 15 2003, an out of control car smashed into a child care centre where 36 toddlers were sleeping. It burst into flames trapping 2 girls under it. One girl was Sophie Delezio who suffered horrific burns to 85% of her body. When her mother Carolyn arrived at the hospital the doctor told her that her daughter looked like she was in the Bali bombing. The doctors did not expect her to survive. Carolyn called everyone she could to pray. The little toddler surprised many by surviving. But she lost her right ear, her right leg, her left foot, her fingers of her right hand. Carolyn fought with her daughter every step of her recovery. Carolyn never gave up. Today Carolyn and her husband has set up a charity Day of Difference Foundation.
That is the strength of a mother's love. Yet God's love is even greater. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not our unloveliness, not our failures, not our situations.
Even though we may have mucked up bad in our lives, God does not forsake us. If we will look to Him, He will give us the opportunity to find reprieve, find redemption and rebuild. He will take the appropriate time to do what He needs to do with our lives, even though it does not match ours. For God knows the perfect timing. What we need to do is to trust Him. Trust His faithfulness, His covenant with us that He will not give up on us.
Are you feeling squashed in a tight corner? Look to God. For God does not forsake us.
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