I was sitting on my porch this morning, hours before the sun was due to rise, enjoying the sounds of a world waking up: birds singing the beginning strains of their morning song, crickets finishing the final strains of their night singing, and me just sitting there with my cup of coffee, breathing in the air purified by fresh dew.
This is truly my favorite time of day.
Today the sky was a clear and deep navy blue with several bright stars were visible. Usually there are clouds that dilute their light somewhat but today’s sky was a treat to behold. I stared up at them for a few moments and then chuckled when I realized one was moving steadily across the sky, not a star at all but an aircraft with a light so closely resembling the stars that if only it were to be still I’d be convinced it was the real thing rather than a manmade contraption of metal and bolts.
And with that, I thought of leaving Egypt again. So often, my thoughts return to that first night in the desert for Israel. After having left Egypt heavy laden with gold and silver from their captors, leaving behind generations of enslavement and months and months of plagues, what must that first night in the desert have been like? I often imagine myself there, sitting among my brethren in the desert as most are asleep, staring up at the sky, surrounded by the great multitude who are doing their best to process the still somewhat precarious reality of being freed, looking up at the night sky and inwardly whispering to the God who had brought them this far, who would go on to part the seas and personally lead them as a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
They were standing on the threshold of beginnings, the only thing not uncertain in their minds was the place they came from. Every step forward would need to be taken in faith, trusting in the God who had saved them.
YHWH had delivered them but it was up to them to get up each day and follow that cloud and that fire.
What they did the next day would make all the difference.
Each of us have been led much the same. Regardless of whether or not we noticed the seas parting or felt the throbbing pain of the nails or fully understood the sacrifice made to atone for our own sin – If you have called upon His name and repented from your sin, you have just the same been delivered.
But what we do after that deliverance makes all the difference.
In the Bible, we often read of two examples of how folks respond to deliverance from bondage – whether it be slavery or their own sin: There is the “but then” folks and the “and then” folks.
The “but then” folks are the ones who taste forgiveness, revel in the freedom of it, but then turn back to their old ways or settle into new – possibly even worse- ones than before.
The “and then ” folks are the ones who taste that forgiveness, realize the weight that has been lifted, and determine never to go back to that bondage again, to seek a new life led by the wisdom of the one who redeemed them. They are redeemed, and then they set their hearts to lean upon His wisdom and leave their own reasoning in the past.
The Bible is filled with stories of our spiritual ancestors coming out of Egypt, meant to be further warning to us but, ironically they end up looking more like a mirror when held up to cultural christianity today.
He delivered them:
-But then they turned back to their idols and the other things they enjoyed worshipping
-But then they settled into a comfortable tradition. That didn’t require much from them and professed to keep them in covenant
-But then they decided they didn’t need to read the Bible because others had and they would just follow them
-But then they read a little and decided it was outdated and didn’t really apply to them.
-But then they figured that God knew they were a good person and that would be enough
We must choose how we fill in that blank wisely. And then or But then.
I filled in that blank with my own wisdom for most of my life. But He lifted the scales from my eyes and I was able to feel the weight of my chains as they were lifted off of me, and glimpse the magnitude of His wisdom over my own. I have set my heart, with His help, to live the remainder of my life as a testimony of what happens when we seek Him with all our heart,
He is found by us….and then..
-And then he/she grew ever closer to the father and was able to know and experience the blessings He promised as a result of following him obeying a etc.
-And then he/she began reading His word in order to know His instruction for their life.
-And then they dedicated themselves to seeking Him daily and as a result their entire life began lining up with His will for them.
-And then He enlarged their heart so that they could love others as He loved them – and love Him all the more.
-And then the grace and wisdom of the Father so inhabited them that they became a light to all they encountered.
-And then, as they continued to walk in the way, study His word, and seek Him with all their heart, they continued to grow closer to Him and deeper in wisdom and understanding.
How does a Believer grow in wisdom? The father gives you His word and He waits to see how you will use it. Those who obey and trust receive more. Those who piecemeal and cast aside receive less as they’ve proven that they can’t be trusted with more. And why would He trust them with more? Wouldn’t you do the same? If you gave money to a child and they spent it wisely you’d feel better about giving them more. If they threw it in a ditch you might not ever want to give them more
The Father longs to entrust us with His wisdom but far too many hide from it, all too often in an attempt to simply avoid having to change.
But the change we are avoiding is the blessing of living in His house, under His care, and in His shalom.
In His love,
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From Matthew 25
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
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