Posts Tagged Israel

Help Wanted … Under Qualified But Overwhelmed

by Rick Robinson

Did you ever feel like God has call waiting, kind of like your telephone, and He switches between the calls He wants to talk to—and you’re the one on hold? Here you are in the most difficult of situations, and God doesn’t seem to be concerned about it at all. If this description fits your life right now, you and God are in a great place to help each other. Yes—I said help each other. Let me explain. There are scores of stories in the Bible to illustrate this, but I have selected accounts of Moses as an example. 

God called upon Moses to help deliver the people out of Egypt. God did not need Moses, any more than He needs us, but He loves working together with us. He is not cold and impersonal, but a relationship oriented God. Trusting us with a task is one of the ways God draws us closer together. Even as God ask Moses to participate in the deliverance of His people, Moses feels under qualified.

Exodus 3:10-11

“Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”

God has great patience with Moses, showing Him miracles and proving His power, yet Moses continues to express his own feelings of being under qualified and overwhelmed, even begging the Lord to enlist someone else. 

Exodus 4:10

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 

Have you ever made excuses about why you can’t do something for God? I am a pro, but He is not impressed with that part of my resume. As Moses surrenders to “help” God with this task, we can see the relationship transformed as he transfers his trust from his own ability over to confidence in God. If you want your relationship with God to prosper, you too will have to look at the truth of His ability, not your own. 

While the people are in the desert for what should have been a short journey, disobedience sends things sideways. There is no meat and fresh produce in the desert and the people grumble wishing they had not left Egypt. Moses is found questioning his own relationship with God, because he is looking to himself for answers. Once again, Moses is feeling under qualified and overwhelmed and perhaps overlooked. Have you ever felt that way? You’re in good company and not alone like you thought. 

Numbers 11:11-15

So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? “Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? “Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. “So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.” 

Quail would migrate across the Sinai Peninsula in large numbers at certain times during the year, usually between March and April. God brought the birds over the camp of the Israelites with a great wind in the evening, and also wherever they camped for forty years, daily He dropped manna to the ground with the dew. Each family was to take what they needed with no leftovers. God made the manna unfit to eat overnight, so it was of no use trying to store up a supply. Daily trust in the Lord for provision was required. In case you wonder about it as you read, a measure of omer is about 2 liters. 

Exodus 16:16-24

This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’ The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt. Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 

This was not the normal manna they were familiar with. It melted in the sun, it became foul overnight, and it could be worked into nutritional bread. This was not a normal substance that the people recognized, it was a miracle. 

Deuteronomy 8:3

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. 

If we want to live in the provision of God and share in deep fellowship with Him, we will need to take heed of these words the Prophet Isaiah wrote. 

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 

Isaiah used this timeless picture of the heavens, which is a great illustration of the wonder of our God. We cannot even imagine the things He has created. The speed of light is our basic measurement for distance in space (the heavens). Light travels at some 186,000 miles per second. That means a beam of light could travel around the earth several times in one second. We don’t all own rockets, but most of us own a man made car. If you could drive your car non-stop to the sun, it would take over 160 years to get there, yet the light from the sun (God’s creation) reaches us in seconds. How great is your God? Are you still looking for provision on your own standard? Are you looking for a place to serve in your own ability or still making excuses of why you will fail? God wants to provide for you, and wants your help in some capacity. Most of all, God desires an intimate relationship with you. Did you know God has given you manna (bread) from heaven? Will you scoff and complain, or expect daily supply?

John 6:30-33

So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 

You and I may be under qualified for certain things and we may be overwhelmed with others, but God is neither under qualified nor overwhelmed. His word will accomplish everything as He desires, and you are a part of that plan—we all are. 

Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. 

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Did You Forget Something?

The animated movie,“Chicken Run”, is a story about a bunch of chickens trying to escape from a chicken farm, where their destiny is a chicken potpie. After many unsuccessful attempts to escape, two hens stand inside a coop having a discussion. One hen looks at the other and says, “Let’s face it, our chances of escaping are a million to one”.  The other hen replies, “Then we still have a chance.”

Do you want change, or feel dissatisfied with the way things are going in your life? Are you afraid of the peril you must face in the future? When you look at your chances to see anything positive happen, does it seem almost impossible? Which one of those two hens do you relate to most?

Christ never told us to take the gospel to chickens. They don’t know there is a great God to listen to and trust in. The animals are doing just fine trying to live by instinct. You on the other hand, are not expected to live without the help of Jesus in your life. If you feel you have a chance at a thing, is it because of your own creativity, or by the power of Christ?

Hosea warns of the consequences for those who forget God. You may forget God without realizing you are even doing so. The people of Israel had all their needs met, and in result, they became independent.

Hosea 13:4-6
“But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.

Do you see the process of forgetting here? You may have forgotten God if you become independent enough to rely upon yourself to take care of your daily needs.

Proverbs 30:8-9
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

You may have forgotten God if you have become dependant upon an employer, the government, or any other person or thing. Those things will all pass, but the peace and government of God will experience no end.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

Have you noticed how much the trials in life tend to increase your attention toward God? God wants to have a deep relationship with you, and if something gets in the way of that relationship, it must be extracted. When we forget God, He has ways to remind us. We are warned not to forget the things of God.

Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

If we are to take hold of the relationship and benefits of Christ, there are also things we should forget, however difficult that may be. When we do not, we become an enemy to the God who called us, each one without exemption, to a higher purpose.

Deuteronomy 6:12
be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

2 Kings 17:38-39
Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods.  Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

Philippians 3:12-21
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.  Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

God does not see things the way we do, and we must desire from Him to see things more in the light of His word. I trust you know how that must come about, or you would not still be reading this.

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

When you think about which of the hens in my first story you are most like, don’t forget you have hope, even when all the odds are against you. God can work with less than a one in a million chance. You are the most valuable thing to God, and he wants you to feel the same way about Him.

Luke 12:24-26
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

The easier said than done lesson in this is, if you forget the power of Christ, you will stumble. If you remain in Him, there is a rich relationship and a full life ahead of you.

Hosea 14:9
Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.

There is nothing you can do to impress God to save you, or to receive something you may need. It is all in the power of Christ, and your trust in Him. The actions of your obedience demonstrate you believe what you heard.

Galatians 3: 2-5
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

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Are You Desperate?

Psalm 142:6

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.

Have you ever felt like you were in a desperate situation? Maybe you are feeling a little desperate even now. Desperation moves deeper than discouragement and can skew your thinking. Asking if you are desperate may be like asking most people reading this if they are hungry. We do not necessarily understand the word hungry, since there are levels of being hungry. When you keep returning to the refrigerator hoping something new will appear to satisfy your appetite, it is not yet hungry. When you did not eat all day because of your schedule, it is not yet hungry. Being hungry, is more like the pictures you would see on a “feed the children” commercial. You know the ones with the skin and bones children, with flies on their face. That may be a true example of hungry. When God looks at us in our churches, does he see pews full of nicely dressed people with smiles? No, when God looks at us in our churches, I think He sees something that looks more like the “feed the children” ads. That is because God sees us spiritually. He sees us for what we really are and not as we appear. A people starving for God’s word, yet not realizing what it is to be hungry.

Your desperation may drive you in the opposite direction from the answer. It might be though, that if you look at your desperate situation from God’s perspective, it would draw you into a hunger for His word and His fellowship. That is entirely your choice. While David was hiding from Saul and the thousands of hand selected, finest soldiers in all of Israel, he cried out to God.

Psalm 142:5-7

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

The word prison he used here, is a metaphor for trouble and distress. Are you in a prison right now? When you are in such a prison, it is hard to remember that God is your portion (inheritance). 

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Your prison may seem desperate, but there is always another perspective to see it from. God had a greater call for David than hiding in a cave to survive. God has a greater call and purpose for you than surviving your current crisis.

When you are desperate it is not uncommon to feel alone, as though even your God has abandoned you. It is God’s desire for us all to be united with Christ, but we must be willing to relinquish our entire self unto Him.

When we think of sin, we may think of it like hunger or desperation. We may set it aside into degrees of severity. God does not look upon it that way. Our pride of being able to accomplish anything, including walk out of our prison, without His help is just as much a sin. Our unwillingness to release all that we think we own and hold affections for unto Him, is just as much sinning. Not being willing to serve where He has ordained, no matter how meager it may seem, is just as much a sin.

One of my favorite stories about desperation brings my own desperation into a new perspective for me.

2 Kings 6:24-31

Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels. As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.” When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and there, underneath, he had sackcloth on his body. He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”

What a story of desperate people that has lost hope and the sense of direction. Have you ever been desperate enough to eat a donkey’s head, (and pay a great price for it) or to eat a child? No, you have not! Perhaps we do not really understand what desperate is.  Even the King himself could not help the people who came to him. Essentially, his response to the woman was if your God cannot help you, what could I do? The king did not consider the nation had turned its back on God under his own leadership, but placed the blame on the prophet of God.

As you cry out to God, do not think He cannot, or is not willing to hear you. Perhaps the despair you feel is a call to draw near to Him. When God sees you, perhaps He is looking at you like a child in the feed the children ad. Maybe He is calling you near through your circumstances, that you may be well fed, and that He may be glorified. Is there this thing in your life right now, that if God does not take control, you will fail? Give Him control of everything. Your government cannot deliver you and you cannot rescue yourself. It is God alone with the power to open the doors to your prison. Relinquish all to Him today, for His grace is sufficient for your desperation.

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