Sometimes, life throws situations our way that just aren’t fair. Things aren’t right; injustice is happening. You know those situations; he ones in which it seems that somebody needs to do something. Maybe you have been in a situation like that. Maybe you’ve said to yourself “I’ve got to do something about this” even when you know that you aren’t really called to do something about it. And so you take matters into your own hands when you shouldn’t. You spring into action when it wasn’t your place to do so. I’ve done it. The results are rarely favorable.
In Exodus 2, Moses found himself in a similar situation. Now Moses, was indeed called by God to rescue the Hebrew people. It was God’s big plan for his life; it was his destiny. But instead of waiting for God’s timing for the calling to be activated, he took matters into his own hands. The outcome was disastrous.
Exodus 2:11-14 11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” 14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”
When Moses was defending the Hebrew slave, he must have felt like a hero. However, he quickly realized what he did was wrong. And in that moment, he went from hero to zero. Yes, Moses tried to walk in his calling before he was anointed to walk in it. It’s like there was something in him that knew he was to be a rescuer, but without the anointing all he could do was rescue in his flesh.
This is important: when God calls us to something, we must also wait for God to release us into that calling. We cannot, like Moses, take matters into our own hands. We cannot make the calling of God happen on our own strength. Instead, we must listen to the leading of the Lord and be guided by His hand. It may require that we wait, but when the time comes, it will be right. If we don’t wait, however, we may end up with destruction instead of destiny.
Exodus 1:15-17 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.
What exactly was the king up to in this passage of scripture? We know from the previous verses, he was upset that the Israelites were becoming too numerous. He was afraid that if a war broke out, God’s people would turn on him. He wanted to preserve himself and his people, so he turned on them. The method in which he turned on them was the most disturbing – he went after the babies. Specifically, he went after the baby boys.
Now why would he do that? On the surface, it appears that his concern was reproduction. But it would be 20 years until these boys married and had babies of their own. Besides, he let the girls live. Weren’t they the ones that would someday carry the babies? Couldn’t older men take them as wives and get them pregnant? Here’s the thing – I think the king of Egypt was after more than just babies; I think he was after legacy.
Legacy. It was the boys who would someday carry on the family name. It was the young men who would build upon the trades of their fathers. It was the fathers who would someday impart the ways of the Lord to their families. It was the elders who would impart wisdom to the next generation. Legacy. If the king could eliminate the carriers of legacy, then he could eliminate God’s people altogether.
We live in a culture today, in which there is a real enemy that is standing against the legacy of God. That enemy takes on the form of political correctness and tolerance. It takes on the image of pointing fingers toward the faces of Christians, yelling “bigots!” Here’s the thing, the enemy isn’t really after universal love and acceptance. He isn’t after tolerance in the name of inclusiveness. He is after our legacy. He is commanding that the Spirit of Christ be crushed in our children and in our young adults, and even in our own hearts. But we must be like the midwives who fear God more than we fear the king. Because, our legacy is at stake. Who will take a stand against the plans of the enemy? Will you? It’s time for us to rise, church! It’s time for us to get purposeful about the legacy which we are to carry.
We all have that friend who isn’t afraid of danger, thrills, risks, and new adventures. And while we envy their sense of reckless abandon, sometimes you simply want to say: “Dude, THAT idea is just cray cray.” Translation: you are crazy my friend; there’s no way anyone could pull that off.
God had a couple of friends many years ago. Their names were Abraham and Sarah. Now when Abe was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, something insane happened. God told them they were going to have a baby. He didn’t say adopt a baby; he said conceive a baby. “God, you are cray cray” might have been my response. Because conceiving a baby at that age isn’t possible. I mean, I know God promised it and all, but Romans 4:19 even says it – Sarah’s womb was dead. Dead wombs don’t make babies. But check this…
Yet he [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. -Romans 4:20-21
What do you do when God promises the impossible? What goes through your mind when natural things don’t measure up to supernatural potential? Well, here’s what Abraham didn’t do: waver. (Well, there was that whole Ishmael thing… but after that he got a clue.) He didn’t freak out, worry, or tell God that he was out of his mind. Because here’s the thing: God may speak some absolutely crazy things into our hearts, but God isn’t cray cray. No matter what it takes, He can do what He promised!
So like Abraham, we must strengthen our faith to the point of full persuasion. We need our hearts to rise to the place where we, too, are fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he has promised. For nothing is impossible with God. He really isn’t cray cray. It’s just that He’s powerful enough to pull of things that are.
Bible Roulette. If you are a Christian, you’ve played it. Here’s how it works: you are looking for something to read today. So you flip through the pages and randomly stop on a page and begin reading. Maybe, somehow, it will be exactly what you need to hear today. But as you start reading, you find that the passage you landed on is about the destruction the Lord is going to bring to disobedient people. Well that isn’t what you were hoping for! So on you go to find a gentler and more encouraging passage. C’mon already, God. Can’t we just skip over the heavy stuff and tell me that I’m going to be blessed!?
We have in us a desire to seek out what we want to hear. I’ve heard it said that we determine if we like someone based on how they feel about us. If they are nice to us, interested in us, and tell us what we want to hear – we deduce that they are a great person that we like. It’s not that we really know them; we just like them based on the fact that they scratch our itchy ears.
2 Timothy 4:3 says, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
Sometimes we all get that itch that just needs to be scratched. It’s usually in the middle of our back where we can’t reach. So we have to implore someone to help us out. But what do we do when our ears itch? Not literally, of course. Figuratively. What happens when, as a society, we choose to surround ourselves with voices that tell us what we want to hear rather than speak the truth? Danger happens. Depravity happens. Truth becomes subjective. God’s Word becomes a version of Aesop’s fables in which people pick and choose what fits their lifestyle.
The Bible was never intended to be a self-help book that affirms our life choices. It was never meant to be a series of formulas that will invoke blessings from on high. It doesn’t conform to our lives; our lives are to conform to it. As Christians, we must stop seeking out teaching that tickles our ears. We must stop looking for teachers who tell us what we want to hear. We must stop fulfilling the words of Paul to Timothy.
God’s Word does not change. Truth is not relative. It’s time to open up our Bibles and read both the encouraging parts and the hard parts. It’s time to seek out truth rather than affirmation. It’s time to compare our lives to God’s standard rather than looking for someone who will teach us that God’s standard is lower than it used to be. Because that is simply not true. What you do with your itching ears is up to you. But as for me, I’ll choose to scratch mine with truth.
Admit it. You’ve had bad breath before. In fact, you may even have bad breath right now. Have you ever done the self-breath test? You know, where you kind of cup your hand between your mouth and your nose, then breath out of your mouth and then quickly in through your nose. I’m not really sure it works, though. (Wait, you just tried it, didn’t you?) The problem is, there really isn’t another way to find out if your breath stinks. I guess you could ask a brave friend. Maybe your spouse if you want to take a chance on not being kissed for a while. Bad breath: it stinks.
Which makes me think. We are made in God’s image. So does He ever have bad breath? Of course not! I mean, we know He has breath of some sort. But it’s certainly not bad breath. He has never had to do the weird mouth-nose cup thingy. It’s always good breath. It’s breath with a purpose! In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Yes, God’s breath has purpose. It is intentional. It is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. It is life giving. That’s a lot more than I can say about mine. But what if instead of thinking about my breath in terms of smell, I begin to think of it in terms of purpose. Am I wasting my breath? Am I using it for good? Or do I waste my words on useless things like complaining? Do I sin with my breath by gossiping? Jesus said in John 12:49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. So where does that leave me?
How am I using my breath? Am I using my breath to encourage? Am I using my breath to share the love of Christ? Am I using it to build my relationships or tear them down? Is my breath really useful? I know this: it is supposed to be. The God with “always good breath” has called me to reflect Him in all that I do. So that means I must have good breath, too. So break out the holy breath mints, friends! And let’s start breathing life into the world around us.