Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Forgetting The Hand of The Lord


Forgetting The Hand of The Lord

(By Katie Armstrong)

In Exodus 16, after the Lord parted the Red Sea and lead the Israelites out of Egypt, the Israelites began to cry out with bitter complaints against Moses and Aaron, blaming them for their lack of food as they turned their focus to the desert around them.

“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 16:3 (NIV)

Isn’t that much like us?

The lord performs a miracle in our lives to bring us an answer to our prayers; and, it isn’t but a moment later and we’re already starting to complain about the next season of our lives, forgetting where we had just come from and by whose hand we were just delivered.

I couldn’t help but ask myself, hadn’t the Israelites realized the work of the Lord in response to their cries? Hadn’t they seen His great love and His mercy as He brought deliverance from the harsh conditions of Egyptian slavery?

Then, it hit me, and I took a look at my own life — I could ask myself the same questions.

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Somewhat recently I was lead out of a job that the Lord had lead me into. There was a purpose and reason for me being there – that, I knew for sure – but the daily cross I had to carry was almost unbearable, except with the strength of our Lord being the one to carry it for me.

I was there as long as the Lord wanted me there, at least, that was my prayer — Lord, your will, not mine. I gripped for the cross every minute of the day and cried at the feet of Jesus by night. It was a tough, but fruitful, experience. Six months passed, and the Lord brought deliverance in response to my cries. My time there was up and I was no longer needed.

I was so thankful to Him for moving me out of, what felt like, Egyptian slavery, and I was ready to enter this new season of life — the desert of unemployment and waiting.

What the Lord showed me, though, as I read Exodus 16, was how I had shifted into a mindset similar to the Israelites after I, too, found myself in the desert.

I had begun to forget where I had come from, and by whose hand I was delivered. Instead of seeing God’s deliverance, love, and mercy in response to my cries of distress, I only saw the lack of food and the desert ahead.

I was loosing sight of the truth; and, in that, I was questioning God’s ability to take care of me and His faithfulness to see His plan through.

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When the Israelite’s accusations came against Moses and Aaron, Moses and Aaron replied, exposing the truth and the reality of their complaints:

“Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”
—Exodus 16:8 (NIV)

It was the Lord who brought deliverance, the Lord who parted the Red Sea, and the Lord who lead the Israelites into the desert. Who was Moses or Aaron to take any such credit for what seemed to be good or what seemed to be bad? “Who are we?,” they said.

Knowing it was God’s plan that had lead them into the desert, not Moses’ or Aaron’s, should have come as a huge relief to the people of Israel.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
—Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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In the two years I’ve been saved, I’ve been called in and out of three different jobs, all with the Lord as my guide.

Between each has been various periods of unemployment, and with each period of unemployment, opportunity to grow closer to the Lord as He strips me of self-reliance and prunes me for God-reliance.

You always think you’ll be prepared for what’s to come, but, even after unemployment #3, I’ve realized, there’s no such thing as truly prepared. The Lord does a work, each different, each deeper, every time.

As the Israelites complained about not having food, I saw my own complaint about not having food.

I saw that I had lost the perspective of God’s plan and who it was that had brought me up and out of slavery, in response to my cries, and lead me into the desert. It was God. It was His plan; and, if it was His plan that brought me here, it is His plan to lead me forward from here.

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
—Genesis 28:15 (NIV)

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Having mercy on His people for their forgetfulness, stubborn hearts, and bitter complaints…

“The LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.'”
—Exodus 16:11-12 (NIV)

“That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.”
—Exodus 16:13-15 (NIV)

Just as God was there for the Israelites when they fell into the trap of doubt, He’s also here for me, and for you. If you’ve caught yourself complaining, feeling lost, hopeless, or uncertain, remember whose plan it is that has brought you here, and have relief that you can surrender, knowing it’s Him, and it’s His plan, that is in control.

Come back to Me and surrender, He says. My mercy is with you and I’ll be faithful to show Myself to you, again, so that you, too, will know that I Am God.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
—Romans 8:28 (NASB)

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