Tag Archives: Egypt

Manipulating the Manna

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday here in America, I have been studying Exodus 16 and Numbers 11:6-8 for this Sunday morning’s sermon. Over the next few days, I would like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned.

When you have a spare moment, please read these passages (Exodus 15:22-23; Exodus 16; and Numbers 11, particularly verses 6-8) in order to become more familiar with the text from which I am gathering my thoughts.


Manna

After the children of Israel were freed from slavery in Egypt, it took only three days for some of them to start complaining. After only six weeks of freedom from bondage, the whole Israelite camp was “murmuring” against Moses – actually, against God.

Even after all God had accomplished for them, the Israelites were somehow afraid that the One who kept them from all the plagues that befell their slavemasters, the One who had just parted the Red Sea, could not take care of them in the wilderness. Right from the beginning, they began to complain, up until the point where they began wishing they were back in bondage eating the food of slaves.

As you can read in the text, even though God had already done so much, and even though His people were faithless and idolatrous (because covetousness is the same as idolatry – see Ephesians 5:5), the Lord God was faithful to keep His own covenant and miraculously provided food from heaven – manna.

Nevertheless, even though what God provided them was sufficient to meet their needs, over time they once again began to remember with fondness the foods of Egypt. Therefore, as they became weary of the manna – as miraculous as it was – they sought ways to change it, to manipulate it, and to shape it into something akin to what they missed from the years of their captivity.

Manipulating the Gospel

Do we not do the same thing today with the simple, yet wholly-sufficient gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it not sweet and pleasant enough?

When we are forgetful (forgetful of God’s mercy and grace); when we allow discontent to develop in our hearts; when we take our eyes off God; when we doubt His promises and provision; when we selectively remember the variety of lustful pleasures in Egypt that have tainted our palate; the simple, pure, wholesome things of God lose their appeal, leading us to mix and mash the “manna” with things that suit our particular tastes.

Unfortunately, all we end up with is something no one will find palatable or satisfying.

 


In my next post, I will share with you some actual statistics I uncovered regarding the miracle of the manna in the wilderness. Hint: You’ll need a “boxcar” to walk away with it.

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Filed under Bible Study, Theology

I Get Tired of Excuses

“As I get older, as I see more and more, I get less and less patient with whiny excuses from people who have supposedly been bought with the blood of the Lamb who was slain for their sins.” – A. Baker

Today we mourn with our brothers and sisters in Egypt as many were lost to bombings while attending Sunday church services. Yet, because of Jesus Christ, we rejoice in the hope that death is not the end, only the beginning! Now, to our own churches we will go in order to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, for He is worthy to be praised!

One day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but we are going to get a head start on it today. Let’s go to church.

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Filed under Christian Unity, Church

Legalism and Responsibility in the Light of a Tragedy

Legalism Revisited

Legalism is more than a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s a way of thinking.

Legalism assumes that rules and regulations – laws – can make all the difference in the world, alleviating the fear of what happens when people are accountable for themselves. It is commonly assumed that with more laws in place people will get into less trouble. The problem is that even if a man had a rule and regulation for every area of life, he would still be responsible for his own actions.

Therefore, when someone acts responsibly in an atmosphere of loose regulation, he not only shows maturity and wisdom, but lives can be saved. Sadly, legalism and a lack of personal responsibility are at the heart of today’s story.

A Horrible Tragedy

On October 17 a tragedy took place. It was the kind of tragedy that should pull at the heart strings of every human being. An Egyptian school bus carrying approximately 60 children was hit by a train. Most of the children, ages 4-8, and two adults were killed instantly.

News reports seem to have place the blame on many people, ranging from the sleeping crossing guard to the head of the railway. News agencies from around the world keep mentioning how poor the safety records are in Egypt, each pointing out the need for more laws and greater reform.

But what saddens me is that not one news story that I have read held the bus driver responsible. In my opinion, that is where the real responsibility lay.

Speaking from Experience

As a professional school bus driver I can testify that America has plenty of laws in place regarding school bus safety, especially regarding railway crossings. But no amount of laws can make a driver stop at every railroad crossing, look in both directions at least twice, and open both doors and windows to listen for any sound of an approaching train. Even with all the laws that are in place, there are still accidents. It is always, always the responsibility of the driver to watch for danger.

Even if everyone in the country of Egypt had neglected their duties, the driver of the doomed school bus should have never crossed those tracks, whether there were working signals, or not. Flashing lights and crossing arms fail. The bus driver should have never crossed a track without being positive a train was not approaching.

It is possible that the driver saw the train and assumed that it was a safe distance away. It is possible that, when he saw no crossing arms down, he assumed the train was going slowly, if not stopped. The laws may have permitted the driver to cross the tracks if he thought the train was a safe distance away. The problem is that the speed of an approaching train is nearly impossible to determine. If he saw the train, he should have never crossed the tracks.

A Better Law

In my opinion, the buck stops with the driver. He (or she) was the one ultimately responsible for the safety of his priceless cargo. He made the decision to unwisely cross the track, despite any law that may or may not have been in place, and he paid the price.

Legalism sets up laws for us to follow. It does it’s best to guard us against every foreseeable circumstance. But no law can replace responsibility. No law can guide us better than a pure conscience. No written law, however well-intentioned, can replace the law of God written on the heart transformed by the Spirit (Ps. 40:8; Jer. 31:33; Rom. 8:3-5).

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Filed under Christian Maturity, current events, legalism, Uncategorized

Be “Careful” for Nothing…

I am sitting at my computer and thinking of all the things about which I want to write, but all of them really seem trivial at this point. Life must go on, but sometimes world events make everything personal seem, well, trivial.

At the time of this writing, Egypt is in a state of turmoil. The people, led by students (like always), are demanding the president of

Unrest in Egypt

Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, to give up power. Muslims all over the world are taking their side, even burning pictures (like always) of the president in the streets. The leading opposition group in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, is calling for the government to be handed over to them (like always). And once again, the world is feeling the tremors of this shake up in the price of oil and the falling stock markets. Things are getting really tense all over the world.

 

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110131/D9L39P7O0.html

In case you are reading this and have no idea of the ramifications of what is going on, let me just tell you what could potentially happen.

1)   Egypt, one of the few Arab countries at peace with Israel, is about to change its form of government, from a “dictatorship” to a hastily formed “unified” government, not a democracy.

2)   The government that is being called for by the “people” of Egypt will, in essence, be nothing more than a theocratic-themed, Islamic-controlled, religiously-based government. Even though the protesters on the street just want an end to the 30 year reign of Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood wants anything but a democratically-elected, religiously open-minded, pro-Western government. They want one more domino to fall in the long stack of countries they want to conquer in the name of Allah.

3)   If Egypt falls into the hands of Muslim extremists and jihadist-sympathizers, then they will have the ability to control all traffic through the Suez Canal. It is through this waterway that a majority of the world’s oil is transported. To cut access to the Suez would cripple the United States economy overnight.  Oil prices would go through the roof, along with every thing that the increased prices could affect. Everyday staples, such as food and electricity would be triple in cost, if not more. Businesses would fail.

4)  If Egypt falls into the hands of Anti-American extremists, Suadi Arabia will be in trouble.  The Muslim Brotherhood has already stated that it wants to see the Saud family removed from power. If that were to happen, then the majority of the world’s oil would be in the hands of those who want to see America and the West fall. Because of the demands and restrictions placed on our energy-making industries by Liberals and global-warming nuts, we will not have the capability of meeting the fuel and energy demands of this nation. Our economy will come to a standstill.

5) If the economy of the United States comes to a halt, there are plenty of groups poised and ready to bring riots to our own streets, just like has been seen in Europe (France, England, Greece, etc.) and the Middle East.  At that point, say good bye to the America of our forefathers (what’s left of it, anyway).

6)  Of course, don’t forget, before the world economies give up in defeat to the folks in the desert, there will be, as the protesters call it, “blood for oil.” War in the Middle East over the control of its stock of resources would no doubt include the self-interests of every major power, including China and Russia. Very easily, we could be on the brink a major global conflict.  Worried, yet?

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Phl 4:6 KJV).

What does it mean to “be careful for nothing?” Well, the word translated “careful” in the KJV is a Greek word that means:  to be anxious; troubled with cares (merimnaō – Strong’s G3309). To “be careful for nothing” would mean to not be anxious, or overly troubled by anything. Now, with all the bad news above, how in the world are we supposed to not be anxious? “By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let [our] requests be made known unto God.”

What happens when we put our faith and trust in the God of the Bible?

[The] peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phl 4:7 KJV).

But my problems are not trivial. They are real – as real as the problems in Egypt. I’ve got my own issues that tend to make me anxious.

Yesterday, my wife and one of our girls drove to Chicago. They went there because of a family emergency. Lo and behold, Chicago is expecting up to 2 feet of snow and winds close to 60 miles an hour – a blizzard.  Do you think that makes me happy? Not only is the world falling apart, but MY world is in danger.

What am I to do?

Pray and give thanks to the God who made this world and holds it in the palm of His hand. Only His peace can keep our hearts in these troubled times. Only He can give the peace that passes all understanding. I resolve “to be careful for nothing.”

Phl 4:4, 6-7 NLT – Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again–rejoice! … Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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Filed under Culture Wars, Future, God, World View