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murderer

Moses, a baby marked out for death, instead grew up as royalty under the care of those who once sought to kill him.  He was given a stellar education, position, power, and all the pleasures of Pharaoh’s house.  Still, Moses never forgot that he had been born a Hebrew.  Nothing he gained from his adoptive Egyptian family was enough to cause him to forget who he was, who they were, or where he came from.

One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. ~Exodus 2:11-12

Moses observes an act of injustice against a Hebrew slave.  All allegiance to Egypt disappears in an instant.  Moses chose to forsake all he’d been given by Egypt in order to side with his own people.  Hebrews 11:24 calls his alliance with God’s people “faith.”

Although Moses’ delivering his Hebrew brother from an abusive Egyptian foreshadows the great deliverance God would bring about through him later, it is clear that Moses’ impulsive act was actually a sinful result of righteous anger.  In an effort to stop abuse, Moses became an abuser – an not just an abuser, a murderous abuser.

It is  good that Moses grew up and matured.  It is good that Moses considered the burdens of God’s people.  It is good that Moses recognized evil and injustice.  It is good that Moses had righteous indignation over the mistreatment of his brother.  Moses likely had the right motives.  He had the right perspective.  He even had the right beliefs.  But Moses sinned.  He murdered a man.  He acted unjustly on his quest to bring about justice.  He is a prime example of doing the right thing in the wrong way.  His sin led to fear, hiding, forty years of delay, and isolation from the very purpose he was raised up to accomplish.

For a moment, let’s consider what might have been different if Moses hadn’t sinned in his anger on his mission for justice.  Is there anything Moses could have done aside from killing the abusive Egyptian man?

Perhaps he could have implored Pharaoh for justice on behalf of the Hebrews.  He could have had the abusive ruler dismissed.  Maybe he could have tried to use the position and power he had to bring about positive change in Egypt or prayed earnestly before taking such rash, irreversible action.  Would his innocence have stopped the mouth of his Hebrew accuser who asked, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?…”  rather than repenting when Moses confronted him?  Surely he would have had more credibility in the eyes of both his Egyptian counterparts as well as his Hebrew brothers and sisters.

I digress.  Who really knows what atrocities could have been avoided if Moses hadn’t sinned so grievously in this case.  All we know is that he did – and we do, too, at times.  What we do know is that Moses’ sin delayed him.  He spent forty years in the desert.  It caused a long period of isolation from everyone and everything he knew.  That’s what sin does – even to those who begin with righteous anger, right beliefs, right perspective, and right motives.  It drives us away from the people and places we are called to love and serve.  We end up in the wilderness at the the mercy of God alone…

And maybe, just maybe, that’s not such a bad place to be when you’ve got some long, hard lessons to learn about doing things God’s way.

God redeemed Moses in that wilderness.  He gave him a family and some necessary training.  When the time came, God restored Moses and brought him back to Egypt for the very purpose he’d raised him up there for – deliverance.

When I think about Moses the murderer, I think about myself – a great sinner with a greater God.  There’s no telling what good purposes I’ve missed and delayed because of my sinful reactions to other people’s sinful actions, but I know that the God I know is the same God Moses knew.  The God who preserved baby Moses at birth preserved me at birth.  The God who gave Moses severe, unique, and serious life circumstances as prerequisites to his calling is the same God who gave me severe, unique, and serious life circumstances as prerequisites to my calling.  The one who allowed Moses to sin greatly, be restored fully, and become a real help and encouragement to his people is the same God who allowed me to sin greatly, be restored fully, and, I pray one day, will allow me to become a real help and encouragement to his people.  The same God who gave Moses a beautiful, undeserved family out of the blue clear sky gave me a beautiful, undeserved family out of the blue clear sky.

How unworthy we are!  Moses and I, that is.  How good our God is to save us, grow us, forgive us, teach us, redeem us, and use us despite our great folly and faulty foundations!

Seeing Moses as a murderer is what led me to choose to study Exodus.  There is hope in the ministry for people who fail royally – even if we’re not royal-ty like Moses.  When I see Moses, I see hope – and rightly so – Moses the deliverer is a picture of Christ our deliverer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C53GgUJ6y-Y

moses2

In Exodus 1, we find Jacob’s descendants relocating in Egypt.  In chapter 2, we meet Moses, a descendant of the tribe of Levi.  Introduced as a baby endangered by a bloodthirsty government, Moses is born, just like Jesus, under an edict of death.  Both’s lives were miraculously preserved in Egypt.

The baby Hebrew boys in Egypt were being killed because the Pharaoh at the time was worried that there were too many Hebrews populating there.  He feared losing his position, his control, and his power over Egypt.  So he sought to destroy them all in an effort to save himself.  Selfishness and self-preservation always precede the murder of innocent children.

Likewise, every child born in our country today is born in a culture of death, complete with bloodthirsty government.  Then, it was just boys and was a 50% murder rate.  Now, it is both boys and girls with a 22% murder rate.  Progressive, aren’t we?  If you’re alive, be thankful.

Moses’ mother knew the law.  She knew the risk involved in keeping her son as opposed to giving him up to be butchered by the enemy.  She likely faced fines, prison, and even death.  She still did  not comply like so many others did.  Instead, she hid her baby for as long as she could.  She finally sent him off in a makeshift basket on the river entrusting his life to God alone.  Moses’ mother clearly feared God more than she feared man or anything this world could do to her.

Pharaoh’s daughter found him and sent him back to – get this – his mother to be nursed and even paid her to do so!  God often blesses those who trust him in faith despite all odds.

After he’d grown, Moses’ mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter and he was raised and taught by her and in the royal places.  He grew up to become Israel’s deliverer.

With the school starting, I consider the faith and courage Moses’ mother displayed for all mothers.  In these ten short verses, she rejected the sinful laws of a corrupt government at her own risk in order to preserve her child.  She entrusted her child to God when she felt she could no longer resist them without being caught.  She believed in God’s providence when she could not be the one to provide for her child.

This is the story of a strong, faithful mother.  It is a great encouragement to every one of us who cares for children amidst a world ruled by evil.  We cannot always escape evil laws and governments, but we can overcome them by faith.  When it comes to our children, we must decide whether we are going to live by faith or by fear; by courage or cowardice; by trusting God’s providence or by worrying about our needs.

God took care of Moses under the worst possible circumstances.  He took care of Moses’ mother.  He will take care of our children as well.  Do not worry.  He is faithful.  Trust Him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq8TasNsgKw

tri

I’m not sure when it happened.  I guess it was probably around the time pampering parents started placing pointed fingers at professors for their children’s poor grades and convicts started pleading insanity to excuse their criminal activities.  Somehow, somewhere between big government and little man lawyers, our culture turned onto a continuous road to perdition.  In the here and now, unrelated people police one another out of sheer fear that they will be held responsible for your poor choices.

A few weeks ago I signed up for a triathlon.  On my application, I requested an end swim lane, noting that I am pregnant and needed to use the ladder instead of pulling myself up and climbing out of the pool.  I was met with a phone call asking for a doctor’s permission slip.  “I signed a waiver.  Aren’t I responsible for myself if something happens to me?”  “You’re pregnant.”

I am.  I confess.  I am five and a half months pregnant.  I am also a ten year veteran triathlete.  I’ve been pregnant four times now.  And, yes, I’ll even admit I am a bit of a risk taker.  I don’t recommend triathlons to pregnant women who have not practiced a high level of fitness before pregnancy or have risks associated with childbearing.  I do have a keen sense about what’s going on with myself physically, though, and I can assure anyone who doubts my dire concern for my unborn child (when did we stop calling unborn children “babies” by the way?) that if any issue before, during, or after this endeavor would arise, I would know well enough to stop and rest – or, if need be, quit altogether.

So, to the, “You’re pregnant.” comment, I simply replied, “I know.  I’m pregnant, not dead.  I don’t have a disease, but I bet others participating do.  Are they being screened, too?  Is everyone getting a wellness check requiring a permission slip or is it just me?”

I understand the issue.  Really, I do.  I’m not trying to be disrespectful or difficult, but when common sense goes out the window, I cannot stay silent.  No one wants to get sued by a disgruntled pregnant lady who should have been on the couch instead of exercising for two hours.  But the truth is, right or wrong, that’s her prerogative.  The outcome is, last time I checked, still her responsibility.  Not her doctor’s.  Not her friend’s.  And certainly not the triathlon police’s.

At what point in this country did it become my neighbor’s job to determine whether or not my dog should be tied outside?  My kids are old enough to be left alone?  My family can go on vacation for a week and be out of school?   My firearm can be taken into the coffee shop?  My state’s vintage flag can be flown in my yard?  My child needs a vaccine?  Since when is it your job to tell me what’s best for me and my family without knowing us and, in turn, make laws, rules, and stipulations forbidding our freedom to choose what we deem best for ourselves?

It’s all absurd if you ask me.  Our culture is one where my 11 year old can get an IUD placed without my permission or knowledge but cannot stay home alone for fear of a neighbor calling Children and Youth Services.  We have slid down a schizophrenic slope running on fear, tyranny, and selfish self-preservation.  We used to have a country grounded in courage, freedom, and preserving the pursuit of happiness at all costs.

After some discussion on the matter, I was allowed to participate in the race.  All is well is Loriland again.  And I, uneventfully, finished.

Unfortunately, this policing our neighbors norm is the world we live in.  It is a world where indecent people abdicate personal responsibility and leaders fear for their livelihood because of a corrupt legal system who encourages and rewards the indecent and irresponsible to be just that.  The corruption coupled with the culture of entitlement are virtually ubiquitous.

The solution?  You and me.  Take responsibility for yourself.  Don’t blame others when things go wrong.  Raise your kids with only three goals – reading, respect, and responsibility.  Like the saying goes, “Good people are everywhere.  If you cant’ find one, be one.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f33QVs5eHTM

infanticide

After Joseph, the Hebrew slave turned respected Egyptian leader, died, the people of God remained living in Egypt.  Exodus 1 tells us they grew strong and multiplied greatly just like God had promised their ancestor, Abraham.  In fact, from the time God made his covenant promise to Abraham to the time he delivered them out of Egypt was 430 years.  The first 215 years saw an increase to only 70 men.  The second half of that time – the time they spent in Egypt – the men multiplied to 600, 000.  This was good news for God’s people but the Egyptians saw it as very bad news.

But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves. ~Exodus 1:12-13

Fulfillment of God’s promises to his people cause the ungodly to fear.  Their solution is persecution.  Nevertheless, God’s will frustrates human efforts no matter how powerful, forceful, or barbaric they may be.

 Just like today, we see here that evil, corrupt rulers, leaders, and governments purpose to paint God’s people as dangerous, untrustworthy, and disobedient to common law so they might have some pretense for the wicked, unjust treatment they deal to them.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Furthermore, as if the enslavement wasn’t enough, the Egyptian king was so terrified of losing ground to the ever more numerous Hebrew people that he resorted to genocide.  Not just genocide though, infanticide.  The king of Egypt so feared losing his position and power that he gave orders to kill all the male Hebrew babies.

Not much has changed after all these years, has it?  Fear of losing control over one’s life – an imaginary commodity, by the way, that no one possesses apart from God’s allowance – and personal power and position has always been the driving force and greatest temptation used by Satan to encourage and accomplish murder through infanticide.  The only difference is that now not only are the powers that be seeking children’s lives, mothers, too, in their fear and cult of individualism and false freedom are as well.

Yet here, in the midst of such great evil, still, we find great blessing.  Consider verses 16-17, 21.

 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live…And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.”

And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.  Because the midwives feared God more than they feared man, he blessed them.  Because they blessed his people, he blessed them.  Where evil rulers seek to make others just as evil as they, God seeks to bless those who refuse to do harm on account of him.

 “Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.” ~Exodus 1:22

The Hebrew babies still died.  Egypt’s king gave a new order to cast every baby boy into the river.  But the midwives had no part.  Here, the Lord shows us that though evil may indeed prevail for a time here on earth, it does not have to prevail through us.  It is better to risk our lives avoiding evil than to obey evil men and seek to save ourselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-3kKwdV8ms

contrast

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us of the beginning of all things.  The second book, Exodus, tells us of a great departure.  Matthew Henry notes that, “No sooner have we made our entrance into the world than we must think of making our exit, and going out of this world.  When we begin to live, we begin to die.”  Keeping this in mind should help us to keep a spiritual perspective as we open the book of Exodus.

Exodus begins by introducing us to who it was from God’s people – Israel – that first traveled to Egypt.  Eleven leading men are listed and the twelfth, Joseph, is noted as already having been there for some time.  The question is why was Joseph there and why did all of his brothers follow?

To answer, we must go back to their father, Jacob.

Jacob was the twin son of Issac.  Jacob is known for many things, but mostly for his deceitfulness.  Although his brother, Esau, was the rightful heir of Issac’s blessing, Jacob dishonestly stole it and, surprisingly, fulfilled God’s plan to be the favored younger over the unloved older brother.

Not only was Jacob deceitful, he was proud.  He had an entitlement mentality despite being grossly undeserved.  As far as chosen men go, by rights, Jacob should have been the last one on God’s list.

Then again…Esau was just as undeserving.

Then again…so are all of us.  Deceit.  Dishonesty.  Pride.  Entitlement.  Jealousy.  Selfishness.  Sounds familiar, right?  Meet the humans.

Still, God himself said, “…Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated…” (Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:13)  God chose to use Jacob and even his deceit to teach his people just who he is.

Not surprisingly, Jacob’s sons are, well, deceitful, proud, entitled, and selfish just like him.  These sins lead to jealousy over Jacob’s favoritism of their youngest sibling, Joseph – who was quite proud and entitled himself by the way.  The brothers leave Joseph for dead and he is picked up by slave traders and led into Egypt.

After many years of imprisonment, Joseph rose to a powerful position.  When a severe famine strikes, Joseph is able to provide food for his estranged family who come unknowingly into his presence to beg.  That is how they came to live in Egypt.

Long story short, the whole relocation effort was a result of the deceitfulness of sin riding right alongside the perfect will of God.  The sin of Jacob passed down to become the sin of his sons coupled with the sovereignty of God.  Seven verses into chapter one and my mind is blown already.  We can’t stop there, though, because another great relocation effort is about to get underway.

God had promised Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, that he would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in sky and the sand on the seashore.  In Exodus chapter 1, we not only see all of his descendants moving into Egypt, but we also see them multiplying.

Exodus 1:7 says that the people of Israel were fruitful, that they increased greatly, they multiplied, and grew exceedingly strong.

What a great way to start the day, er, uh, chapter!  Truly, this is a wonderful introduction.  The contrast doesn’t get much clearer than this.  The bottom line?

Man is deceitful, proud, full of entitlement, and altogether selfish.  He deserves nothing, yet God chooses him, uses him, and remembers him by faithfully fulfilling every promise he has given to him and his fathers.

That is a God I can follow, especially since I’m just another Jacob.  Although God’s people will endure great trials in Egypt, let us keep in mind how this great God remains with them throughout their hardships and, in his time, eventually delivers each one who belongs to him.

FullSizeRender

I am a dreamer.  Always with a big plan, a bigger hope, a few prayers, and a number of unreasonably wild ideas.  I’m sure you can only imagine how hard it is to be my husband.

So, up sixty pounds from just one year ago, I’m happy to say I am five months pregnant.  The fourth in line is another girl (I have three) – not to be confused with the gleeful explanation by a Planned Parenthood employee of “another (dead) boy” circulating the mainstream right now.  No.  Despite my loathing of extra weight and round the clock nausea, this is a wanted baby; a planned pregnancy; an expensive surgical miracle of a once sterile husband’s will.  More than that, it is a reflection of the very heart of a Creator who redeems erring women, of whom I am the chief.

Let me explain…

When I was a little girl I had my heart set on being a lumberjack.  I wanted to spend my days in the forest with a hatchet and cut down trees all day.  If that didn’t work out I was sure I’d at least become a minor league baseball player.

In sixth grade my ambitions had changed significantly.  I decided I’d be a missionary to a foreign country.  I wanted to be a linguist, too.

In junior high I invented a “floss all your teeth at one time” machine and I thought I’d become an orthodontist.

In high school I spent my days searching for a career choice that would give me the most pay for the least amount of school.  I was poor and wanted to work.  I went to college for dental hygiene.

In college I wanted to be a Budweiser model.  A few years later I buried myself in fitness.  Three a days at the gym had me planning my debut as a fitness competitor.

Then, my plans came to a screeching halt.  The girl who was chiseling abs and quadriceps and had just decided she did not want children was unexpectedly pregnant.  Having been married for over four years, one wouldn’t think it would be so traumatic.  But I had things to do.  My schedule was full.

So, baby #1 slowed me down some, but I didn’t stop dreaming there.  After I recovered and got back to fitness girl status, I decided I wanted to be a Marine.  Since my husband wasn’t too keen on that idea, I settled on going to the police academy.

At this point, I was starting to get a clue – God’s will just might be a little better than my big ideas.  I thought I better ask him what he thinks of the police academy before I go.  I took all the preliminary tests and then I prayed.  I asked the Lord whether I should go.  His answer was found on the end of a pregnancy test.  I discovered that I was expecting baby #2 that month.

After baby #2 I made up my mind to work to for my husband at his business when the girls went to school.  But, by the time my oldest was five I had yet another baby girl and God had called me to home school them.

Let me just say that I wasn’t exactly happy about all of this at the time when it was handed to me.  Of all my wild ideas and outlandish ambitions never once did I consider being a stay at home mom.  What’s worse, when the teachers in high school asked, “What do you want to be?” I distinctly remember raising my hand and answering, “Not a teacher!”

Having finally settled into my God-given profession over a decade later, I have to look back and wonder why this beautiful life – a life that is far better than anything I could have arranged for myself – was the very last thing on my life list.  In fact, it wasn’t even on my list.  And, from the looks of things, I suspect the same is true for most of my generation and following.

Girls, the world is selling us lies.  It started with our mother, Eve.  The bottom line?  Our plans are better than God’s and we will be happier, more fulfilled, and better off by taking what we want than we will if we simply accept what he is giving.  I am living proof that our plans are not better than God’s.  The truth is that my reality is far greater than my minuscule unfulfilled aspirations.  I have life that is truly life.  I have three beautiful girls and another beautiful girl on the way.  I have a mother and a husband to take care of and serve.  If that doesn’t make me happy and fulfilled, nothing I could ever dream of would ever be able to.

All that to say, young women, do not be deceived.  Do not believe the lie that says loving a husband and having a family is undesirable, miserable work.  Nothing we could do or hope for is better than having and loving life – and life can only be created inside – not outside – of you!  Of all the things we tomboys have to surrender on account of being a girl, here is one only we can do.  If you’re going to dream big, dream about giving life and sharing it with those to whom you’ve given it.  Everything else pales in comparison – God promises that.

Maybe that all sounds crazy and most of you who disagree don’t believe me.  The truth is that there is a catch.  You cannot know this is true from the distance you are standing.  You cannot know until you come much closer and unless and until you deny your own ideas and the false ideas of this world and make yourself willing to live into it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLPj2h0N3bU

A New Journey

moses

Moses.  Now there’s a man I can sympathize with.

By God’s providence and his mother’s desperation, he was raised by an enemy who sought to kill him at birth.

Moses was angry at the injustice done towards his native people even though he did not suffer it himself.  He left a life of comfort, power, and luxury to be a desert dweller out of anger and fear and remained there until God called him back to the enemy’s camp, er, uh, his adoptive family, forty years later.

Moses was a deliverer, a leader, and, well, a hot-head.  None the less, when I think of Moses the thing I always consider most is the great difficulty he faced throughout life as belonging to both Egypt and Israel, yet being so often rejected by both.    How hard it must have been for Moses to leave the only family he ever knew out of love for the family he did not.  How difficult it must have been for him to confront a family of would-be friends repeatedly on behalf of a family who often made him the enemy.

What can a man do when his own people do not trust him and he has obediently forsaken those whom God calls him not to trust?  Little wonder why Moses was an angry man.

He was rejected by everyone – one group because he did right and the other because he would not do wrong.  On a human level, Moses couldn’t win.

I feel you, brother.  Sometimes trusting God and doing his will makes you the most unpopular person in the world.  Doubtless Jesus can relate to this dilemma.

The good news is, Jesus won.  Moses won.  Despite the opposition, both accomplished God’s sovereign will.

 Moses successfully led Israel out of Egypt and to the brink of the promised land.  This journey is known as the Exodus.  I will be spending the better part of the next year – if not longer – with Moses.  I hope you’ll join me as I trace my way through the stubbornness of we people of God and out of the enemy’s enslavement by nothing less than God’s great mercy coupled with his provision of a strong, obedient leader.

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