Monday, February 23, 2015

Who Ratted on Moses?

Although the Bible records a multitude of historical incidents, often it relates only the main details, leaving us to wonder, how, when, where, or why certain events happened. For example:

In Exodus 2, we read how Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses, the Hebrew child whom she found crying inside a miniature ark floating among the reeds along the Nile. Later, when Moses was an adult, he spotted an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew man. We don't know whether this Egyptian was notorious for his cruelty, or whether on this particular occasion he was on the verge of beating the Hebrew to death, but the sight sparked a reaction inside Moses. After glancing around and seeing no witnesses, Moses charged to the aid of the Hebrew and ended up killing the Egyptian in the process.

The Scripture doesn't tell whether Moses actually intended to the kill the man, but it happened. Not knowing what else to do, Moses buried the body in the sand. After all, even the adopted son of Pharaoh's own daughter had no right to kill. However, the very next day Moses learned that at least one other Hebrew man knew what he did. The verse after that one states, "Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses." So Moses fled from Egypt.

So the question arises, "Who ratted on Moses?" Did the man whom Moses saved tell the story, which then spread among the Hebrews? Or perhaps there was a witness that Moses had not spotted? Even if so, how did Pharaoh find out? It's inconceivable that mighty Pharaoh happened to be chatting with a group of slaves around the water cooler when one of them blurted, "Hey, did you hear what your grandson did?" The Bible doesn't say.

Of course, the slain taskmaster must have had friends, family, and neighbors. His absence would be noticed. When it became clear that he'd fallen victim to foul play, who would the Egyptians accuse first, but the very Hebrews that taskmaster oversaw at the jobsite? In that case, it's not hard to imagine the Hebrews, desperate to avoid punishment, crying, "We're innocent. It was one of your people, the one called Moses killed him!" Regardless of who blabbed, Pharaoh was outraged, and Moses fled.

From a human standpoint, these events might seem an unfortunate turn of events in Moses' life. God had planned to use him to aid the oppressed children of Israel in Egypt. If Moses hadn't decided to intervene, the taskmaster would have remained alive, and Moses wouldn't have "wasted" 40 years watching his father-in-law's flocks. At least, so we might reason. Yet, God's thoughts are higher than man's thoughts and His ways above our ways. It may be that Moses had some rough edges that needed filing off before he was suitable to lead his countrymen out of Egypt. Had his education and training as Pharaoh's grandson filled him with pride? Or was it essential for him to master survival in the uncivilized wilderness? We can't answer every "Why?" But when God sent Moses back to Egypt, this man was clearly not trusting in his own cleverness, persuasive words, or intellect.

Friend, in your life there will probably be events that you consider unhappy, maybe even tragic. You might question why God allowed them. Yet, if you know the Lord--if you're one of His people by faith in Jesus Christ--you can rest confident that He remembers you and loves you. The eternity He has in store for you will outshine any hardships endured in this earthly life. Trust Him!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Get Back to the Throughline of Your Life

Creative souls who write novels or screenplays sometimes get lost in their plots and subplots. The way out of the mess is to return to the Throughline--the driving force of the story.

"So what?" you may ask. "I'm not a writer."

Maybe not. But even non-creative souls have a story--a life--that continues to be written every day. And just like written works, lives develop subplots and tangents: friendships, family relationships, dreams, hobbies, pastimes, vacations, careers, entertainment.... In fact, it's possible for your life to become cluttered with so many tangents that you get lost in a morass of detours and dead ends that leave you frustrated or confused. When that happens, what should you do?

The answer is simple. You get back to your Throughline. In this universe of ours, your Throughline is God, and the relationship He wants to have with you. He is the Author of this world, and the Creator of your soul. Although temptations and time-wasters may entice you to fritter away your life in vain pursuits, by living your life with God, you automatically return to your Throughline, your purpose for being here. God's Word says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

No, living in relationship with God doesn't mean you can't have hobbies or engage in sports. It doesn't demand that you give away all you own and become a missionary in some faraway jungle. Living for God doesn't even guarantee that your life will be free of troubles, for He uses troubles to build our faith and trust in Him. But by keeping your eyes on the Lord, you can bypass the pitfalls and detours that cause so many to stumble and lose their way in this world.

Not sure how to begin walking with God? I'd be happy to share about that!

Monday, January 19, 2015

For what have you NOT been thankful?

When encountering a verse such as Ephesians 5:20 ("Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"), I'm tempted to slide right past it. Sure, I'm grateful. I am glad I have a wife and family. I am glad I have a good church family to enjoy. When someone gives me a gift, I make sure to say, "Thank you."

But from time to time I encounter situations that that make me realize I should be thankful for things I often take for granted. For instance, once while visiting residents in a nursing home I saw a man sitting in a chair in the hallway. Assuming he was a visitor like myself, I greeted him, but he continued staring at the wall. When I asked the nurse about him, I learned that this man had had the mind of a baby all his life. He was a nice-looking guy, and about my own age. Yet he would never think an adult thought. For the first time, I thanked God for a brain that can function.

Similarly, on my trips overseas I sometimes see beggars who are missing two and sometimes three limbs. Some people in the U.S. will hold signs on street corners asking for handouts, and it's hard to guess whether they really need aid or are pulling a scam. But when the person asking for help is missing body parts, there is no doubt of the difficulties they face. Do I have two working arms? Two legs? Eyes? Ears that hear? A job? Even these shouldn't be taken for granted, for not everyone has them.

I invite you to pause and reflect. Are there things that you enjoy every day, yet have never truly given thanks for them? Chances are, if you think a few moments, you'll find some!