Memory Lapse

memory lapseAm I the only one who this happens to? It’s evening time and the family is getting ready for work and school the next day. Everybody is making their lunches, setting out clothes, going through backpacks, etc. The parents are multi-tasking. Then something sparks in my brain: I need to grab something out of the garage for the next day. So here I go, out to the garage. Once I get out there, my brain goes blank and I have no idea what I came for. So I just stand there scanning random items in the garage and attempting to scan my brain hoping for some clarity. Complete memory lapse. And back into the house I go, empty handed.

I hate it when that happens. It could be worse though. I could have a memory lapse of far more important things. Things like my anniversary date or my kids’ birthdays. Or a promise I made to a friend. Thankfully, I generally just have memory lapses on small things. Things like: I can’t remember what I ate last week. Because really, that doesn’t even matter much. But I do know this, I did not eat at a five-star restaurant every day for the last month. I would definitely remember that.

The Israelites though… their memory was a little off when they recounted their days in Egypt. In case you don’t know the story, they were slaves. The work was hard and they were abused. They couldn’t worship God freely. It was not a great life. I’m guessing slaves don’t eat at five-star restaurants very often, either. But when God freed them and led them out of Egypt, they seemed to have a complete memory lapse when it came to their living conditions.

Exodus 16:3 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.”

Really? I mean, really. You were a slave with a mostly full stomach. Now you are free man who is hungry. Let’s look at the bigger picture here, people!

I’ll be honest, I scratch my head when reading about the Israelites. How is it possible that God did something so great in their lives a few days ago and now they are complaining? I mean, I would never…. oh, wait.

We do that, too, don’t we? We allow our present situation to shape our outlook. We forget all the great things that God has done in us and for us. We get overwhelmed and stand in the middle of the garage without a clue. Yet, if we just scanned our brains for a moment, we might remember what Christ has done for us. We might be able to recall what our life was like or would be like without Him. The Israelites believed that their days in slavery were great compared to their current situation. It wasn’t true; it was a complete lapse in memory.

I’m hoping that WE can get OUR memories straight. I hope that when we face hard things, we start remembering how great God is in our lives rather than make up stories about how our old lives used to be. Because when we start remembering correctly, our faith is built. Peace shows up. Hope pays us a visit. Let’s get our memories straight, people. The truth is: Egypt wasn’t that great.

I quit. Can I have a bonus?

Imagine this: you are fed up with your job. You can’t make it another day. So you march into the CEO’s office and tell him you’ve had it up to here. He gets a piece of your mind. Word gets out pretty fast that you aren’t happy and that you aren’t taking it anymore. But then just before you quit, you go to your direct supervisor and ask her for a bonus. Now I ask you, how is that going to go for you? Do you think you’d get the bonus? Probably not.

AY9RA6 I quit!

I know that all sounds a bit far-fetched, but this is exactly what the Israelites did in Exodus 11. Recall that the Israelites were slaves in the land of Egypt. That made them pretty much the lowest class. Everyone else was in a higher position of authority. So Moses goes in and demands freedom and then God gives this audacious instruction to His people…

Exodus 11:2-3  Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”(The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

“Sure. No problem. I mean, we OWN you and all, but here’s some silver and gold. Have a nice life. I’ll just do my own hard labor. No bigsilver and gold deal. Be blessed.”

Am I the only one who thinks this is absolutely insane? I mean, who does that? Who quits their job and then asks for more paychecks? Apparently, God’s people. It’s not the “ask” though that got me. It was the response. This little passage of scripture seems to imply that their neighbors ACTUALLY gave them silver and gold.

So here’s the question… why did this work?  The answer: Favor. Faithfulness. Obedience. I think it was all three. They had favor that stemmed from faithfulness. They had been good slaves and had won the heart of people. So people wanted to bless them. Do we have favor? Are we faithful to those who are in authority in our lives? Because if we are faithful, favor will follow. They will want to bless us.  Let me put it this way: have you given people in your life any reason to want to bless you? The Israelites had.

And obedience. Perhaps the biggest reason this whole free silver and gold thing worked out was due to obedience. God’s people were obedient to Him. Obedient to His instructions to follow Him, obedient to prepare to leave Egypt, and obedient to ask their neighbors for some silver and gold. All they had to do was ask, because God has already prepared their hearts.  We tend not to ask because the answer might be no. But we fail to realize that the answer might also be yes. If God says to ask, then ask.

There’s so much here in these two little verses. Let’s be faithful and in turn find favor. And above all, let’s be obedient to the instructions of the Lord. After all, He has a pretty good idea as to what to do in any given situation. So trust Him and find the favor and blessing in the Lord!