“Yet he 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. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:20-25 New International Version
Throughout the Old Testament are stories of God’s interaction with humanity as individuals and as groups. Each offers a unique insight into who God is, how He chooses to relate in given situations, even revealing Himself to each one in ways that are that are unique to them.
If His plans had been followed, when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt they would have arrived in the promised land 18 months later. He would use the 18 month period for their re-education. Remember, they had been in slavery for nearly 400 years. Definitely long enough to forget most of what they had known about God. However, it appears they never forgot how to call out to God. Actually most of us in a relationship, or even out of relationship, with God seem to know how to call out to Him!
The Israelites watched the Egyptians experience Jehovah the Almighty God when Pharaoh refused to co-operate with the plans God had for His chosen people. During each episode of plague, Pharaoh would acquiesce to the demands of God until the plague was removed. Then He would again refuse to follow through with his commitment. That is until it cost him personally. It was then Pharaoh gave in to the plans of God, releasing the Israelites.
Why does it take an occurrence so destructive before we will accept the plans God has for us? Often in the events of disasters humanity is driven in their fear and pain to seek out God. There is this something, sometimes referred to as a God-shaped hole, built into our psyche that needs a Higher Power! We feel our need until the danger has passed, then our hearts begin to heal and life becomes routine once more. God is once more forgotten.
This is acted out in the next experience of Israel with the Egyptians. In their release from bondage the Children of Israel were ecstatic, they knew the providential care of God, they were on their way to the Promised Land, what could go wrong now? Isn’t that the way with life? We experience an amazing revelation of God in our lives and/or our circumstances, He provides a miracle that overwhelms us in our relationships! Then it all comes crashing down around our heads, and which relationship is often the first to go?
God in His infinite mercy, grace, and love never gives up on us, never leaves us, even when we have already left Him in our fears and frustration with life!
As they were camped by the Red Sea, in the distance behind them they saw a cloud of dust blocking the horizon. This had only one possible meaning, Pharaoh had changed his mind. Like the ripples from a stone thrown into a pond, panic spread. Panic turned to anger, then anger gave way to accusations and the blame was quickly levied upon Moses. But ultimately blame was laid at the feet of God! Humanity has many quirks including our need to blame someone for the circumstances of our lives. The Israelites has it down to a science, and before God has an opportunity to meet the coming need the complaining has already started. Even so, God went about making a way of escape for His chosen again.
This question came rushing into my mind. “What is it you and I want to believe about God?” How do we choose to view Him and what he does in our lives, or do you believe He is active in your life? Can you picture Him being involved in your life with the passion and intimacy that colors how He sees you? Israel could never quite get that picture into their minds. They missed the reality of God’s passion and intimacy.
When they reached Sinai, after the miraculous salvation provided by God for them, God issued an invitation to them. “Come and meet with me, enter into the relationship that will forever change your life, become one with Me!” It’s the same invitation God offers us today; He wants us to become all He desires for us. The chosen made the wrong choice, they decided to have Moses be their intermediary. That choice forever colored their experience with God.
Abraham made a different choice. He decided to take God at His word. Even with all the poor choices on Abraham’s part, he remained in the process with God! “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God…” And there it is—an insight to life as it can be when God is allowed to be God in our lives.
When God acted on behalf of His children, the miracle was such that it couldn’t be mistaken for anything other then the very act of Providence it was! Over and over God revealed Himself to them, and still when they reached the Promised Land, they refused to trust God and His word. “… being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” This continues to be the challenge in anyone’s relationship with God. Will we choose to trust what God is telling us is true?
The issue has never changed over the millennia. It comes down to the question of who will I believe, God or the enemy trying to destroy me? Because it really is as clear as that, it all comes down to choice. Who will we believe? Israel made the wrong decision, one that haunted them during their entire relationship with God. We don’t have to live their experience if we will choose trust in God over our fears, doubts, insecurities which interfere with God’s Grace process.
The amazing thing with God’s Grace is it isn’t detoured by those things that the enemy throws at us! That’s why God takes the initiative; He seeks us out just as He did Adam and Eve after their choice landed them and us in this world of the broken. “… to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” The power of belief to lead us from fear into Grace has been the story of God throughout the Word. Abraham and Israel, a difference in choosing what they would believe, what they were willing to accept as truth. You and I, the difference is choosing what will we believe, who will we believe, and how long will it take us to believe the words from God.
Every day God seeks us out, calls out to us, pursues us no matter the happenings in our lives at any given moment, God never ceases to chase us! He knows better than anyone what rejecting Him means to all who live in this world of pain, dysfunction, fear, and rejection. If He did anything else other than seeking us out, He would not be the God of love, the God of all Grace that defines who He is and what He desires for us. I see this as critical for understanding how God actually sees us, what He longs to give us, that there is so much more to God than we can even begin to comprehend.
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” There you have it, all you need to know about what’s been accomplished for you, for me, and for all humanity! Now the choice is with you. Who will you believe, the One who chose to die rather than live without you, or the one who seeks only to destroy you as a way to cause God pain?
There is so much God has for us which is ours if we will receive what He offers. And here is one overwhelming truth we need to allow deep into our souls, God never gives up on us, ever!
“He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” John 1:11-13 New Living Translation
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