MOSES – LEADER, MENTOR, GIFT

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Moses – a school in leadership (Image source: PineRidgeFellowship)

 

Mentors have made me a better person; mentors from family, in the faith, at school, and in the workplace, have been gifts in my life. Gifts because they gave freely from their store of wisdom. However, wisdom received freely, is acquired at a price.

We see this in the story of Moses – an incredible source of wisdom to millions, if not billions, for thousands of years. In the Bible, we get a glimpse of the cost of wisdom for Moses. In Exodus Chapters 1, 2, and 3, we see Moses born and painfully given away; growing up in the palace with painful knowledge his Hebrew family are slaves; then turning his back on Egypt for 40 tough years in the Midian desert.

When Moses delivered Israel from Egypt, they all returned to the wilderness for another 40 years of tough living. In this period Moses gave them God’s laws and organizes them into a nation for the very first time. The wisdom and skill of Moses, gave Israel a strong leadership foundation, which other nations have learnt from.

Many years later Luke 9:29-31 (MSG) tells us: “While he [Jesus] was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah… They talked over his exodus, the one Jesus was about to complete in Jerusalem.”

This is Moses in a mentoring role to Jesus, before Jesus exodus in Jerusalem. Moses delivering Israel from Egypt and Pharaoh, becomes a source of wisdom for the Messiah as he delivers humanity from darkness to light through the cross.

Lord, we recognize Moses as an extraordinary gift; help us grow in wisdom as we study Moses over and over and over again, Amen!  

MOSES – FROM PRIDE TO HUMILITY

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Humility is a foundational Christian virtue (Image source: dailybibledeclarations.com)

 

I once owned a beautiful wristwatch, given to me by my parents when I was 16. It made me feel special and unfortunately made me think other kids my age were not special. Slowly I became self centered and proud; a few years later, a couple of mentors pointed out this poor attitude and I have had to keep watch against it.

Since then I have learnt that the proud are selfish; the proud are concerned with their satisfaction first at emotional and physical level. Proud people who have no teachers, mentors, elders, or other authority to help them change, end up thinking they are gods; such proud people end up being cruel in their relationships.

In Exodus Chapter 2, Moses kills an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. Moses dd not feel he needed to give the Egyptian a chance to explain their action. Moses was an Egyptian prince, growing up in a proud authoritarian culture; his positional pride was determining his cruel decision making; he needed correction.

Fast forward 40 years later, Moses says in Exodus 3:11 (KJV): “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  

Moses is no more an Egyptian prince; he has been a shepherd in the Midian desert for 40 years; his positional pride is gone; he is ready to be the kind of leader God approves for his kingdom. The former Moses was full of himself, the new Moses was selfless; pride has given way to humility, after 40 years of correction in Midian.

Lord, teach us humility so we can be sincerely compassionate to everyone around us; help us to get rid of self pride, Amen!  

MOSES – COURAGE AFTER CATASTROPHIC FAILURE

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Moses the courageous (Image source: virtuewomen_biblestudygroup)

 

The Bible is full of heroes of faith; men and women who sacrificed personal ambition and in some cases their lives, as they fulfilled the mission God called them to execute. Noah,  Abraham, Sarah, Deborah, Daniel, Esther, Mary – are just a handful of the many incredible foundation pillars of the Christian faith.

The lawgiver Moses can be considered a giant among these pillars of our faith. He lived 40 years as Pharaoh’s son in wealth and luxury – the best clothes, food, education, cars, pretty girls, and hundreds of palace servants. What a life of privilege and political importance that Moses gave up for the mission God placed in his heart.

Hebrews 11:27 (GOD’S WORD® Translation) says: “Faith led Moses to leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. Moses didn’t give up but continued as if he could actually see the invisible God.” 

The book of Exodus Chapters 1 and 2, tells us how Moses at 40 years old, wanted to inspire the Israelite slaves to violently rebel against Pharaoh. He failed and ran away to Midian, a tribe in the Saudi Arabian desert, because Pharaoh wanted to kill him. Midian was a son of Abraham from his wife Keturah (see Genesis 25).  

Moses ran to Midian, to 40 years of hard life in the desert – he would have cried a lot thinking about his former life of wealth. He chose to go to his cousins in Midian who worshiped the same God of Israel like him (see Exodus 18). Moses ran away from Egypt but ran to a place where he could continue searching for God.

As we go about executing our plans for 2020, including the mission God has put in our hearts, we might experience minor or major setbacks and failures. What will we do in such moments? Are we going to give up and walk away from God? Or like Moses, would we continue with God though the road might be rough?

El-Elyon, the Most High God, plant in us the courage of Moses, who after catastrophic failure “didn’t give up but continued as if he could actually see the invisible God”, we pray in Jesus name, Amen! 

ZEPHANIAH (conclusion) – PASSIONATE FOR A BETTER WORLD

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Zephaniah points to a better world after judgement (Image source: overviewbible.com)

 

Approximately 750 years after Israel left Egypt, they had a king named Manasseh. We are told that this king “sacrificed his children in the fire… practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger” (2 Chronicles 33:6).

Manasseh ruled for 55 years, and repented of his evil ways before he died. His son Amon took over and continued the child sacrifices, the witchcraft and the spiritism. Amon ruled for just 2 years because he was assassinated by his officials. Amon’s son Josiah was next on the throne and became king at 8 years old.

Zephaniah was a prophet during this dark and horrible period in the history of Judah. A period of child sacrifices, rampant witchcraft, corrupt judges, widespread prostitution and pornography, and abuse of the rights of poor people. Living conditions in Judah and neighboring countries were wicked, horrible, unpleasant.

Zephaniah was loud and direct in preaching about God’s judgement, because he passionately cared to have a better world. This is God’s primary vision for humanity – a better world with no sickness, hunger, pain, or death. At the end of God’s judgement, there is joy, because evil and wickedness have been swept away.

Thus Zephaniah 3:14-15 says: “Sing happily, people of Zion! Shout loudly, Israel! Celebrate and rejoice with all your heart, people of Jerusalem. The Lord has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is with you. You will never fear disaster again.”

Lord, your will be done, in Jesus name, Amen!

ZEPHANIAH (Part 2) – JUDGEMENT AS CLEAN UP

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Zephaniah gives hope to the righteous (Image source: thebibleinanutshell

 

What would a life without rules look like? A life without any form of discipline or self-control. A life where I eat what I want, as much as I want, and at anytime of the day that I desire; a life where I can use physical force to take whatever I want from anyone weaker than me without fear of judgement.

If the world were without rules, discipline, and consequences for ignoring rules, it would be a horrible place for everybody. We will all live in constant fear; gentlemen, women, and children will be abused non-stop. While many appreciate rules, there are people who prefer evil and criminality instead of goodness, law and order.

In Zephaniah Chapters 1 and 2, God makes it clear he will judge Judah and the world because of human evil and the violent disorder it brings to society. Zephaniah calls this period of God’s judgement “The Day of the Lord” (Zeph. 1:14-18).

Israel experienced God’s judgement, when they were defeated and captured by the Assyrian empire; Judah experienced it when they were defeated and captured by the Babylonians. The world experienced judgement when the great flood killed all evil people except Noah. However, God’s judgement comes, not to destroy everyone, but as a clean up of evil, so that goodness can flourish once again.

Zephaniah 3:9-11 (GOD’s Word Translation) says: “Then I will give all people pure lips to worship the Lord and to serve him with one purpose. From beyond the rivers of Sudan my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring my offering. On that day you will no longer be ashamed of all your rebellious acts against me. Then I will remove your arrogance and never again will you act proud on my holy mountain.” 

LORD, we want a world filled with goodness; may we be among the people of pure lips who survive your day of judgement, Amen!       

ZEPHANIAH – HARSH UNCOMFORTABLE PREACHING

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Zephaniah and the long-suffering justice of God (Image source: yavohmagazine)

 

Relationships have rules to guide behavior; some rules are written down and protected by law courts, others are agreed by society though not written down. Parents cannot marry their kids, friends should not lie to one another, leaders should not abuse followers – are some rules that guide human relationships. When rules are ignored, there are negative consequences, which are sometimes life threatening.

The Bible teaches that Israel was created from a long lasting relationship, which started when God spoke to Abraham, then Isaac and Jacob, Joseph then Moses. In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, we see the covenant promises and rules to guide the relationship between Israel and God.

The rules set out the benefits of a strong relationship, and also the life threatening consequences, when the relationship fails. The prophets in Israel were preachers reminding the people of the covenant rules from God – of the blessings when the relationship is good, and consequences when they don’t care.

Zephaniah was a prophet who lived 800 years after Moses, and 600 years before Jesus. Prophets like Elijah and Isaiah had earlier preached to Israel that they were not living in line with their covenant promises to God, and would lose their prosperity. These preached to the people 200 years before Zephaniah, but the people did not listen, thus Zephaniah’s preaching was harsh and uncomfortable.

Hear Zephaniah 1:4-6 (The Message Bible): “I’ll start with Judah… I’ll sweep the place clean of every trace of the sex-and-religion Baal shrines… I’ll get rid of the people who sneak up to their rooftops at night to worship the star gods and goddesses; Also those who continue to worship God but cover their bases by worshiping other king-gods as well; Not to mention those who’ve dumped God altogether…”  

Zephaniah is so harsh, we avoid teaching it; but it is a witness to how far God went to warn his people to change before he acted in justice to punish their wicked ways. God is long-suffering but not forever suffering – judgement day will come.

Lord, help us to stay true to you in 2020, Amen!

REMEMBER YOUR MAKER IN 2020

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Biblical wisdom essential for the world today (Image source: bible.com/reading-plans/)

 

The end of the year is a period of deep reflections for many – a time when we count our blessings and losses for the year; and a time when we seek for insights, revelations, wisdom, to guide us as we make new plans for the new year. Given the many troubles all over the world in 2019, many probably entered 2020 with a heavy heart.

While some would be hoping for a better 2020, others would be worried and full of anxiety. No matter the camp we belong to, it would be helpful to hear and act on the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:6 (New King James Version): “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well.”

Remember your creator before – the silver cord is loosed or the golden bowl called life is no more. Yes, life is a golden bowl handed to us to make the most off while we are here, BUT we should do so mindful of our creator every step of the way.

Yes, remember your creator before – the wheel that lowers your bucket into the water well with life sustaining grace from God, is broken.

As you work hard in 2020, with double jobs, night shifts and overtime, may the Lord bless your hustle abundantly in Jesus name, Amen!