Samson really had an odd life, when you think about it.
After the weird sequence of events that led to his getting married, only to then be betrayed by his wife and take it out on the Philistines, he goes home and her father gave Samson’s wife to someone else to marry instead.
Some time later, Samson cooled off a bit and decided that it was time to go back. So he returns back to Timnah again, only for his father in law to inform him that because he was sure Samson hated her, he gave her to someone else instead – as a consolation, he has another daughter that Samson can have instead. She’s younger, more attractive, take her instead! So Samson snaps again, goes out, catches 300 foxes, ties them together in pairs along with a torch each and sets them off in the Philistine’s fields to burn up their grain.
To borrow a phrase from Ron Burgundy: “Wow. That escalated quickly.”
In turn, after they realize that he did this as vengeance for being betrayed by his father in law, the Philistines kill Samson’s wife and her father. Which – as you can imagine – just aggravates Samson further. He kills a few more of them and then goes off to a cave – probably to cool down again.
The Philistines come up against Israel, Israel – well, Judah – say that they don’t want any part of it, but they’ll go get Samson, which they do. He lets them tie him up and take him to the Philistines, only to then break the ropes when he gets there. Spotting a donkey’s jawbone, Samson once again goes a little berserk and kills a thousand men.
Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.” ~ Judges 15:16
Afterwards, Samson’s thirsty and calls out to God wondering why he’s been able to be victorious, only to die of thirst so that he can be captured after all. No offence to Samson intended, but that does sound very like the Israelites in the desert, when you think about it.
Not that I can talk – or probably not that most of us can talk, I’d imagine. I know for me, no matter how much I’ve witnessed God do, I still struggle to have faith that he’s going to come through next time, or that he’s going to provide for me.
But here, God opens up the landscape and Samson’s able to grab a drink.
To continue looking at the story, though. Obviously Samson’s wife wasn’t that good for him in the long run. When your first week of marriage pretty much ends up with a massacre of thirty people, that’s probably not a good start to the life together. Regardless, though, Samson goes back to his wife.
Most of the time it doesn’t necessarily matter if something’s good for us or not – we end up walking back to it. Whether it’s a relationship, something health related, an addiction, who knows. The point is that it’s very hard to just stay away from something that you liked, enjoyed or even loved. Samson liked this girl, even if she wasn’t that great for him – and he went back. The thing is, though, that it ended badly – worse than it did the first time around.
And that’s what I”ve found, too – going back to something tends to end up worse the more times you keep returning.
Just to finish, though, I want to come back to the end of the chapter.
Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the LORD, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi. ~ Judges 15:18-19
There’s actually a lot in these verses, but just briefly, three things:
- Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the LORD. We all get thirsty, we all get drained, especially spiritually. It’s at these times we need to cry out to God.
- Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When we’re thirsty, God will provide us with what we need.
- His strength returned and he revived. Drinking of God’s spirit will restore strength and revive us.
Last night I was watching an episode of Supernatural – in which the main characters come across a Faith Healer. Story aside, I was struck by a comment that was made in the closing moments of the episode.
“If you’re going to have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don’t.”
Since then I’ve been giving a lot of thought to faith. As I’m wont to do, I went first of all to the dictionary and came across the following:
- Belief and trust in and loyalty to God;
- Belief in the traditional doctrines of religion;
- Firm belief in something for which there is no proof;
- Complete trust.
The question that I want to ask is what it actually means to have faith. We all know some of the most famous verses on Faith, including what Jesus said.
“…Assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20
And of course…
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1
I don’t think faith is quantifiable. I grew up hearing Matthew 17:20 with the terminology that faith should be the size of a mustard seed; but here it says that our faith should simply be as a mustard seed. It’s not talking about quantity, but rather characteristics. When I read this verse, I don’t see Jesus telling me how big (or small) my faith needs to be, but rather what my faith needs to be like.
So what are the characteristics of a mustard seed?
A mustard seed is usually only a millimetre or two in size, but some plants can grow two well over two metres tall. The funny thing that’s coming to mind as I write this is Paul Kelly’s song, “From Little Things Big Things Grow,” (and the Australian Industry Super Fund ads!). This, though, is the imagery that comes to mind while I ponder this ‘definition,’ so to speak, of faith.
See, what I’m visualising isn’t the size or measure of faith, but the potential that is held within it. We’re talking about how much can be achieved. Why, though, Jesus talked about throwing a mountain (or a mulberry tree, in Luke) into the sea, though, I don’t know. Perhaps he was just picking an illustration that really pointed out, ‘impossible.’
The thing with looking at it this way means that you stop looking at faith as a quantifiable thing and instead look at the results.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ~ James 2:18
Notice that James doesn’t say that he’ll show the size of his faith by his works, just his faith.
I feel that we need to shift our mentality on faith as being this muscle, that if we exercise it enough it will get stronger and we’ll see bigger and better miracles happen. When the woman with bleeding touched Jesus’ cloak, He didn’t tell her that the size of her faith had made her well, simply that it had made her well. The Bible says that she believed – if we constitute faith by this ‘size’ concept, then would that imply that there was some ‘belief scale’ that she had to reach a certain point on before it would work? If she’d been lower on the belief scale, would she not have been healed?
Our faith will always be the mustard seed. What we look for is the size of the plant that grows from it. When you look at a mustard seed, you don’t see the plant, do you? You see nothing but the seed. Faith is the evidence of things not seen – you know – you just know that this seed can grow into a spectacular plant!
Faith is the seed from which miracles grow.
So, before we get into the actual division of the land amongs the Israelites, there was one more side note to be brought into play.
Back when the Israelites were first scouting out the Promised Land, there were 12 men sent out to look it over. Of those 12 men, ten of them came back carrying a message of fear. They said that the Israelites couldn’t conquer the giants who lived in the land, they said that it was too difficult; the rest of Israel believed every word these men said. Then there was Joshua and Caleb, who both came back raving about how amazing the Promised Land was, how it flowed with milk and honey, with giant berries and all sorts of luscious food. These two men said that the Israelites could take the land, after all, they had God on their side!
Unfortunately, they were brushed aside. Fear won, and that was why the Israelites ended up wandering in the wilderness for another forty years. Of those ten men, only Joshua and Caleb managed to make their way across the Jordan and into the Promised Land.
And as part of that, Caleb was promised the hill country. He’s now 85 years old – and yet as he says, is still as fit and vigorous as he was back when he was forty, and examining the land of Canaan the first time.
“Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” ~ Joshua 14:12
What I would give to be a man like Caleb when I’m 85 years old, fresh, fit, vigorous, and still maintaining such faith in God that I’m going to go up into the hill country and take the land – not because of my strength, but because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is with me and will help me.
So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. ~ Joshua 14:14
I wonder: What’s your Hebron? What’s that place in your future that you’re looking forward to as a fulfilment of God’s promise? Have you been tested like Caleb was? It would have been very easy for Caleb to just shrug, stand aside and join with the common thought that Canaan was too difficult to conquer, but he and Joshua stood in faith when they were young and said no, Israel can take the Promised Land; and because they did, they were rewarded for their faith.
But here’s one thing: Caleb was rewarded for his faith, but he still had to go and get it. It didn’t just come to him.
Nor did he expect it to be given to him. Caleb probably could well have said to Joshua, “Hey, this is the reward God promised me – bring the Israelite army to back me up while I go up and conquer these lands.”
He didn’t, though. He led his own men, and took that land with the help of God.
I don’t like the statement, ‘Good things come to those who wait’. Personally, I’m not convinced that it’s true – frankly, I’m more a believer in the idea that good things come to those who go and get them. You can’t expect the world to come and lay a silver platter at your feet, you have to work for it, and you have to go out and get it. Caleb, a righteous man alongside Joshua, who – according to scripture – ‘served the LORD wholeheartedly’ still went out and got his reward, with God’s help.
Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.
One of my favourite stories growing up – for obvious reasons.
It’s funny, though, to go back and read it now and actually think about the text and the story itself. I’ve always called it – and heard it called – the battle of Jericho; but really, was there much of a battle? They took a stroll around the city each day for a week, and then God knocked the walls down for them when they gave a big shout at the end of it.
Admittedly, then they had to charge the walls and take out the people inside.
What I wonder, though, is what the people of Jericho were doing at this stage. One simple point to bear, is that when the spies were checking the city out, Jericho was scared of the Israelites. So you would think that, having the people march around the walls, they’d perhaps try to do something. I was thinking about this as I read it, but came to a possible revelation – maybe a God inspired thought – the whole nation was marching around the city. Is it possible, therefore, that they actually were marching further out than right up against the walls like we tend to think of it? This wouldn’t really make any difference to the story. I don’t know if it’s factual or been checked out, but that was just the thought that came to mind.
This is one of those bible stories, though, that I love the idea of checking out the historicity and archaeological evidence for it.
Still, like most of the stories in the biblical history – really, there’s an essence to the story, and regardless of the historical evidence, or factual truths of the matter, what I want to establish is what God’s wanting to tell me – tell us – in telling the story.
God sometimes asks us to do some crazy things. Imagine what the reaction must have been by the Israelites, when Joshua said to them that they were going to march around the city in silence, with only the trumpets playing – they’d do that every day for a week, and then on the seventh day they’d march 7 times, shout, and that would be it. Can you imagine the looks on their faces? I’m betting there were at least a few who entertained thoughts that Joshua had lost it.
I think I’ve told the story of the guy who performed a handstand next to the coke machine – although I can’t seem to find it on a cursory glance back through the pages of this blog, but it just reminds me of that. Sometimes God’s going to ask us to do some strange things – and it’s up to us just to follow, because ultimately, when we follow with faith, that’s when God’s most able to work.
So, growing up in Tasmania, we lived in Launceston but had family down here in Hobart. There was always one part of the journey that I liked in particular.
You see, on the way to Hobart from Launceston, you have to cross the Jordan river.
Then you go past Jericho.
This is actually for real, so of course it was like it had been made for me, as a kid. Joshua crossing the Jordan and going on to Jericho.
That’s what’s going on here. Joshua first readies and announces to the people of Israel that they’re about to move out. It’s time to break camp and enter the promised land.
Tonight, I feel like I’m preparing a sermon. There’s three points that stand out to me as I was reading this chapter.
First of all, though, the overall picture. Here it is, the moment that the Israelites have been waiting for. It’s time to cross the Jordan river and enter into the Promised Land. They’ve been wandering for over forty years, through the wilderness and desert surrounding these lands, and finally it’s their time, finally they’re standing there, with one final thing to do.
Cross a river – that’s in flood for the harvest.
So three things come out of this:
1. They consecrated themselves.
To consecrate, is to make one’s self holy. If I go to my trusty source of Merriam Webster and look up Consecrate, I get these two definitions in particular:
- To make or declare sacred; especially: to devote irrevocably to the worship of God by a solemn ceremony.
- To devote to a purpose with or as if with deep solemnity or dedication.
Before stepping into the promised land, after all the journey that we’ve been through, we need to be dedicated. We need to be devoted to God.
Reading that definition is challenging for me. Especially the first one. To devote irrevocably to the worship of God – that means, there’s no going back. Once your life’s consecrated, it’s God’s, devoted, dedicated, given to him without any reservation to take it back into our own control. That’s a hard one – and one that I haven’t taken, and find it a struggle even to imagine that one day I could take it.
Irrevocable’s a pretty strong word, but that’s what God gave us. He’s not going to revoke the grace that has been provided to us through Jesus’ sacrifice.
2. It required a step of faith.
Let’s remember, this river was flooding – it was harvest time, so the Jordan would have been racing pretty heavily. Joshua sat there and told the priests to set foot in the river, and march the Ark of the Covenant out into the middle of the river.
This wasn’t just a step of faith for the priests – although it would have been a pretty big one for them – it was a big thing for everyone. The Ark of the Covenant was their physical connection to God, and here they were watching the priests just carry it into the flooding river.
And let’s not forget Joshua. Here was the real test of his leadership. Imagine how long his leadership would have lasted if those Priests had washed away with the Ark of the Covenant?
Stepping into the promised land doesn’t just take being holy and a good person, it takes a step of faith.
3. They crossed over on dry land.
Following on from the step of faith, God did the rest.
Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. ~ Joshua 3:15-16
As soon as their feet touched the water’s edge, the water stopped flowing. They took that step of faith, and then God did the rest to let them walk into the promised land.
I wonder – what stops us from taking that step of faith ourselves? We hear so many stories, not just from the bible, but from the very people we know and trust, of God coming through when a step of faith is taken, and yet still we hesitate. I crave, I absolutely crave to one day have such faith that I would be able to step into the Jordan, with complete confidence and knowledge that God’s going to stop the flow from way upstream.
So, first of all, Happy Easter, ANZAC Day and all of that.
Second, things have been quiet on this front of late. To be honest, I’ve been struggling with a few things and not in the best frame of mind to be trying to read the bible much, let alone try and study it. Those trials are still ongoing, and not getting any easier, but it’s time to suck it up and stop letting my life get dicated by my problems. Our victory is in Christ, and while coming to know him doesn’t take away the problems that we experience, it gives us that much more hope, strength and resource to overcome them.
Therefore, I’m going to commit to getting back into the word and giving myself back to God, not letting my problems come between us.
But enough of me – I know, I said I was going to stop doing these little preambles.
Again, we find a whole heap of regulations and rules. First, bringing disputes before the court so that the judges can decide who’s guilty and who’s not, and mete out punishment if it’s so required. Then a short thought on working oxen – don’t muzzle them. From here, we have two brothers living together and the requirement that if one dies without a son, then his brother should take the wife as his own and give her a son so that he can carry on the dead brother’s name – and if the surviving brother refuses this, he will be given a title of “The Family of the Unsandaled.”
And so on…
There’s a theme here, though. One of honour.
First of all – in a dispute, take it to someone else and let them determine what the actual facts are. Not only that, but if you are guilty, man up and take the punishment allotted for what you’ve done – and in turn, the punishment is not to go beyond a level that is degrading. This man’s own honour in accepting his punishment is to be returned by not going further than what is classed as degradation – forty lashes.
And on that – I’ve just discovered something else. Throughout my life I’ve been taught that Jesus (back on the topic of Easter) received 39 lashes; but the gospels don’t actually say this – I’ve just tried to look it up and nowhere does it actually say how many lashings Jesus received, just that he was flogged and beaten among other things. Apparently the 39 comes from this verse, and other references to the fact that this was the maximum allowed by Jewish law.
It’s interesting, as I go through the scriptures in this blog, to discover just how much has been put in my head without having, necessarily, a scriptural basis.
Therefore, in closing tonight – whilst there’s more to say about honour, I’d like to finish up with an encouragement.
Always go back to the source. Don’t take something that’s said by man for granted and in blind faith, if it sounds dubious or there’s even a seed of doubt, then go back to God with it. Bring it back to scripture – because God is the ultimate source of information and wisdom.
So, one of the favourite comments that I’ve heard from people here in Wellington since I got here, is that “you can’t beat Wellington on a good day.”
Well first, obviously they’ve never been to Perth.
Second, it’s a bit like claiming that nothing can beat the Loch Ness Monster. It can’t be proven unless you actually find the Loch Ness Monster, so if it’s always just a mythical dream, then of course the statement’s never going to be proven false!
I got caught in the rain tonight, and got drenched.
To be fair, though, yesterday was a good day. The sun was out all day, I got to enjoy a nice walk along the waterfront with one of my colleagues from New Zealand, who was nice enough to talk and guide me through a lot of the places around here, and actually, yes, Wellington really is a nice city. Maybe not ‘unbeatable’ but definitely a nice place to visit.
It’s kind of like someone grabbed Melbourne, and squished it into Hobart proportions. You lose a lot, therefore, of what Melbourne would have, but the culture, the flavour, those kinds of things, they’re still here.
Last night, also, since it was nice, I rode the Wellington Cable Car to the top of the botanical gardens, and then enjoyed a beautiful walk through the gardens back down to the city. It was a very pleasant experience. I met these four people from Chile on the cable car, two actually live here in Wellington and the other two were filming a TV show about people from Chile who now live in New Zealand.
I love meeting people.
This is a pretty major chapter for Moses and his family. Miriam dies, she gets a small one-line obituary in verse one; and also Aaron dies at the end of the chapter, his death is a little more informative.
Can you imagine being in his position? You’re marching up this hill with your brother and son, knowing that this is the end. It’s time for you to hand over the mantle of leadership to your son, and you know that you’re not coming back. I can’t imagine what I would be thinking in Aaron’s position as I walked up the mountain.
But to go back to the beginning of the chapter…
I started reading this, and threw my hands up in disgust saying, “AGAIN?!” When the Israelites started whining and complaining. I hope that there was a lot more time between these events in reality than there is between them as I read them, because it’s just now getting to the point of frustrating.
But it’s funny, it happens to us too. I mean, reacted with, “Again?!” when I started reading this, but then it didn’t take long for God to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to look at my own life.
How often do we end up coming back to the same spot, it might be a different circumstance, or a different situation but the way we react to it is the same.
The Israelites aren’t growing, they’re not ready to enter the promised land. Really, they’re not even ready to be a nation, which is demonstrated in the next chapter. They still aren’t in that position of faith to just decide to go, and trust in God to get them through it. Israel politely asks Edom for passage through their land, and when Edom rejects them, Israel meekly turns tail and goes the other way.
We need to get into a position of faith, a position of confidence in God to enter the promised land. We need to stop whining about the struggles in our lives, and instead trust God, and believe in him, because when we believe – really, truly believe in our hearts – that God’s got our backs?
Nothing is impossible.
In God is victory.
I had a rather interesting experience today.
The computer server at work has been having difficulties for the last two weeks. We’ve been going through no end of issues with our computer systems in general. Today, once again, our server started having issues and causing mayhem in the office. People were unable to access email, save files, all those bad things that lead to them asking me what’s going on.
…Which actually makes me feel kind of warm, needed, even if it is to fix problems.
Anyway, after about half an hour of just nothing working, the decision was made to take the server offline, reboot, and refresh it. So while it was shutting down, I prayed over it as well.
It came back up online with no problem, and quite quickly. I called our IT provider that afternoon to ask how things were going, and they were shocked that it was “flying along now”. I told one of my colleagues when it was rebooting that it would be fine, because I’d prayed for it. He came back to me and said things were running faster than he’s seen them in the four or five months he’s been with the company. So I just said, “I told you so.”
God’s amazing. Last night I was talking to a friend about John 14; where Jesus says that he will do anything that we ask of our Father in his name. Today, I was at Koorong when I saw a statement: “Faith is not believing that God can do something, it’s knowing that he will do it.” (or something along those lines). This is all in the week after I spent time talking to a friend over last weekend, in which God revealed to me that I don’t struggle with the belief that he can do anything; I struggle with the belief that he will do it; and that goes back to issues in the past, I know that. It also probably goes to my own mindset as well, I struggle with my analytical mind that focuses on the natural order of things.
God created the natural order – which means he’s the one who can change it if need be. What we need to get a hold of, is that he will do it.
Interesting thing I discovered tonight. In Hebrew, the book of Numbers isn’t actually called Numbers. The Hebrew title actually translates along the lines of “In the Desert” or “In the Wilderness”
Numbers starts off with a census, though. And what a census. The Israelite nation was huge – this is a massive number of people for a nomadic nation. Or at least I would think so. My vision of a nomadic people would be sitting in the matter of hundreds, at best, up and rising and moving each morning; laying their tents out each night, all those kinds of things.
So God grabs a few helpers for Moses and Aaron in counting the people. I don’t blame him – I just wonder why he only picked one person from each tribe to help count.
Now comes the interesting part, though; and I feel a little let down by the text here. It does say that the names, clan and family of every male over the age of 20 who could serve in the army was to be recorded. Can you just imagine having a hold of that document today? We’d have this hugely detailed record of just who the Israelites were, at least when it came to families and relationships. Being interested genealogy, as I’ve mentioned before, that would just be amazing to see.
But what an army this must make. In total, over 600,000 men. Apparently this brings the estimate of the people to between 2 and 2.5 million people for the whole nation – and that’s why I get astonished to picture them as a tent-dwelling semi-nomadic nation. It’s a lot easier to have 2 million people stay still than it is to have them wander around in the desert.
The family of Levi, though, are set apart. They’re not to serve in the army, they’re not to be counted in the same way, and they’re the ones who are to camp around the Tabernacle, to set it up and pull it down. So we still have twelve tribes, with Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh splitting into two tribes; and a thirteenth tribe dedicated solely to the Lord’s work.
I wanted a creative title for this post, but I really couldn’t come up with anything other than The Ten Commandments.
Tonight I did the first step in a five week course called “Christian Essentials” which goes through a lot of the foundations of Christianity, and it was really good, but at times, a little tough to stay focussed and patient on.
See, one of the biggest problems that led me away from God in the first place was pride. I was lucky, I guess you might say, to grow up in a Christian household. I was educated at a Christian school, I went to church and Sunday school pretty much my whole life. The problem was, though, that when I started getting too analytical and looking at Christianity (not God, but the religion of Christianity) with an intellectual mindset, my pride set in, and I’d tell myself that I already knew the answers to all of these questions that I was facing, but those doctrinal answers didn’t settle with me – hence I started exploring other paths of spirituality.
There were a few times tonight where I really felt that pride starting to raise its head again, and I fought against just tuning out or anything because once again that mindset of already knowing everything kept coming back.
Funnily enough, though, as I pushed that down, and opened myself to God’s input, there were things that he was able to say to me through the teaching.
We’re never going to know all of God, and we’re never going to have all the answers in this life, it’s just impossible. As many people who know me will know, I don’t have a problem with tackling the tougher questions – and I know that God isn’t afraid of being asked the tough questions either, but we’re never going to get the answer to everything.
The ten commandments.
Wow, I’m not exactly sure how to tackle this. I believe that one thing God’s really saying to me about these, is that there’s a reason they are first, separate and in part, independent of the rest of the law in the old testament. It’s almost like these ten commandments encompass the moral code.
There are a few things that God’s really pointing out to me in this passage.
Firstly comes God’s priority in our lives. I know that God’s challenged me repeatedly to ensure that he’s the number one priority in my life; and I do try, but being human, it’s so easy to let other things slide into place above him. For me, it’s even something as simple as studying the word, writing this blog – a few times of late I’ve let myself get caught up with my friends to the point where I’m out so late, when I get home all I want to do is go to sleep and I don’t spend any quality time with God. God’s certainly not telling me not to have a social life, not by a long shot, but he expects to be number one in my life – and in everyone else’s life too.
Secondly, somethign else really stood out to me, and that was about the sabbath. This ties back to the early stages of Genesis. I had a brief conversation last night about whether you can be a Christian and also accept/believe in the theory of evolution. To be honest, I’m starting to wonder whether I really can do both. I’ve said over recent months when it’s been raised, that I think you can, because the story of creation is allegorical, and in the long run, doesn’t change the foundational facts of Christianity that I went through last night.
Reading this passage again, though, for the first time in probably quite a few years, leaves me questioning that. God states quite clearly in the ten commandments, that he created the Earth in seven days, hence why we keep the sabbath holy.
One big question evolutionists like to ask creationists, of course, is that if God did create the Earth in seven days, then why is it 14 billion years old? Why all the evidence for evolution? Cosmological, archaeological, palaeontological, genetic, etcetera.
Well one thing’s standing out to me at the moment, and that is to live a life that is trusting in God, regardless of what the world says. God is beyond the physical, the natural and the scientific – and when it comes down to it, I still bring my faith back to those core beliefs, of God’s truth, of Jesus’ death and resurrection, of salvation through grace and faith.
That’s all I have on that topic at the moment, but I feel it might be coming sooner than later, that God’s going to start reopening my intellectual mind, and we can start going over some of those bigger questions. We’ll see, I’ll trust in him, but watch this site, because there could be some more discussions coming soon.
Today was a tough day to get through, and I don’t really think that the next two days are going to be much easier, unfortunately. Thankfully, I have a four day weekend starting Thursday – which is probably going to be one major reason why the next two days are going to draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag.
Still, tonight was more fun. Watched some friends play touch football, and I realised how much I miss playing sport. I’ve missed it for a while but just watching it tonight, I had moments of reminiscing back to playing soccer or football or hockey when I was at school in Launceston in days when it didn’t matter if it was cold, wet or raining, we’d still go out and play if we could. The truth is that there’s actually something really nice about playing sport in the rain, or even running in the rain or something. I don’t really know what it is, but I do love doing it.
While watching, though, we started discussing making up our own sport, and I think we actually started coming up with a great little concept. I’d like to see if we can actually make it work!
But onto the topic, because I want to go to sleep soon.
The lesson out of this chapter almost follows on from chapter 17, about supporting yourself. This time it speaks more to a role of leadership, though.
Moses and the Israelites are camped, and his father in law, Jethro, decides to bring Moses’ wife and two sons to come and see their daddy. They all feast, and then Jethro stays and watches Moses’ life the next day. Moses spends the day dealing with disputes among the people.
The Israelites are a strange bunch. They might want to kill Moses every second day because he took them away from their lavish lifestyles of slavery into this horrible desert freedom, but it would seem that they still rely on him to settle any arguments that they have.
Well, Jethro sees this and asks Moses what on Earth he’s doing. He’s burning himself out faster than a petrol-soaked matchstick! Jethro points out to Moses, that he doesn’t need to deal with every little problem that comes along. He can delegate others to deal with the minor things, and just leave himself to deal with more important matters.
See, it’s very easy in life to get bogged down with minor matters, things that really are insignificant. This passage is certainly a good one to look at from a leadership perspective, when it comes to delegation – and initially I started writing something about that – but I think it goes deeper than that, and even more widespread.
We need to learn to let go of the things that aren’t really that important. When it comes to Faith, there are only a couple of core points to remember. This list was what brought me back to God, from a life of intellectual questioning and reasoning.
1. God exists
2. God loves us
3. Jesus died as the sacrifice for our sin
4. Jesus rose again in victory
I stood in church one night a few months back now, and said to God that I couldn’t deny any of these facts; and if I can’t deny those facts, then what else can I do but accept the free gift that God gave through Jesus’ sacrifice?
Grace, Love, Faith, Hope, Forgiveness and Salvation – these are truths that cannot be denied or defeated. When it comes down to it, other questions don’t really matter that much. God’s pointed out to me over and over, that while we’ll tackle those other big questions at some point in the future, what I really need to focus on at the moment is the foundational truths of his love and grace.
Let go of the small things, of the insignificant things. When you just focus on what’s important, it makes everything so much easier to manage.