Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

The Godhead as Ultimate Preppers and Our Model

March 30, 2014

Jesus said in essence, “I do ONLY what I see My Father doing.” (John 5:19; see also 14:-10) He is our role model. (Philippians 2:5-12 and several others) What if we could see the entire Godhead, Three-in-One, as working individually and together as “preppers”? What if we could see ourselves as the applied outworking of His prepper heart in this world? Let’s consider the Scripture record in that light.

I. God the Father: The Initiating Prepper

“In the beginning God created…” Is there any way He could NOT have prepared? Stored up His thoughts and heart toward making a created universe and all the ramifications of what that meant? It had to include the Fall of Man and the resulting need for the Plan of Salvation! Jesus told the Pharisees, “You diligently search and study the Scriptures for you think that in them you have life [and indeed we do!] but it’s ME they’re pointing to, and you miss that entirely!” (John 5:39, paraphrased) God the Father HAD to have had that in mind prior to creation.

We could list multiple instances of men God prepared for the role He intended them to play:

  • Adam: God prepared a garden for him, then the perfect partner in Eve, etc.
  • Noah: God had a very clear plan for building the ark, and it came after He had carefully weighed out all the rest of the earth and found it going down the tube (Genesis 6)
  • Moses: God prepared the midwives Shiprah and Puah to spare male babies (probably resulting in Aaron’s life being spared, Exodus 1:15), his parents to be ready to risk death to save him in the tarred basket, his sister Miriam to watch him, Pharaoh’s daughter to receive him, Pharaoh’s court to train him in all the arts of Egypt (leadership and perhaps survival skills, at least by their standards), his awareness of his calling to save his people (the man’s response “Who made you ruler and judge over us?” [Exodus 2:14] could almost be interpreted, “Who made you our rescuer?”], the 40 years in the desert leading up to the burning bush, his father-in-law Jethro—the list goes on and on, and we haven’t even gotten to the actual exodus narrative portion!
  • Joseph: His dreams foretold his destiny, and paved the way in a most unexpected way, for him to be able to say at the end of Genesis, “God sent me here ahead of you to prepare
  • David: Called by God “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22), he specifically stated, “When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

As Hebrews 11:32 says, “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets…” The list could go on and on: Joshua, Rahab, Ruth and Boaz, Samuel, even Saul; Jonah and the whole list of prophets prepared to speak to Israel’s need to prepare for God’s wrath by changing course; even those who did evil: Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, and the evil kings of Judah and Israel.

Indeed, it would be difficult to NOT see the hand of God the Father prepping each and every person uniquely and individually. Jesus reassured the crowds, “Nothing takes God by surprise—even to the death of a small, seemingly insignificant sparrow. He has the very hairs of your head numbered, so don’t worry! He cares a lot more about you!” (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7, paraphrased, emphasis added)

II. Jesus as Instituting Prepper

As we saw in the introductory line above, Jesus saw Himself as the Father’s hands and heart in action. He is pictured by the writer of Hebrews (10:5) this way: “…when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.” (NKJV) [This is a reference to David’s prophetic statement in Psalm 40:6-8, using the Septuagint version for the last phrase; most of our translations have this rendering in the footnote, with the main translation being “my ears you have pierced/opened,” which may be a reference Exodus 21:6, where piercing the ear of a servant has reached the end of his indentured time, but voluntarily chooses to stay with his master—in that way pointing to Jesus’s voluntary willingness to do His Father’s will to the nth degree.]

John in Revelation (13:8) saw Jesus as “the Lamb who was killed before the world was made.” (NLT} [Alternate readings place the prepositional phrase together with people whose names were not {and, by inference, those whose names are} written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Either way, for our purposes, the emphasis is on the preparing hand of God in partnership with Jesus, the Lamb.] Jesus clearly stated over and over in the Gospels that He had come to seek, to save, to die, and to be resurrected to life. He was prepared to go the distance, in ways that make Him “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NKJV) He is our model for prepping in practice.

III. The Holy Spirit as Imparting Prepper

We are the extension of Jesus in this world: “as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17) We are called His Body, and we are the instruments God uses to accomplish His purposes in the world. Thus, seeing God the Father as initiating and Jesus as instituting, we are commissioned by the empowering of the Holy Spirit to carry on the work to completion. Paul asserted, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him [or, what has been committed to me] until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) The Holy Spirit is seen in Scripture as:

  • Equipping us uniquely and individually with our particular gifts and callings (1 Corinthians 12:3-11; Exodus 3:3, 31; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 2:4) for a heart of service (Romans 7:6)
  • Uniting and unifying us in and through that diversity (1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Acts 15:8; Romans 15:5; Ephesians 4:3-4; Philippians 1:27; 2:2; Jude 20)
  • Empowering us for clear communication (1 Corinthians 14:2-33; Matthew 10:20; Ephesians 2:18; 2 Peter 1:21)
  • Teaching us all we need to know exactly when we need it (John 14:26), bringing us into the truth/truths we need to know (1 John 2:20,27; 3:24; 4:1-6; Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; Galatians 5:18, 25)
  • Creating and authorizing leadership (Exodus 11:16-17, 24-30; Acts 13:1-2; 15:28; Galatians 4:29; 2 Timothy 1:7)
  • The instrument of conception (Matthew 1:18, 20), power (3:16; 12:28), guidance (4:1), authority (12:18; 22:43; 28:19)—and this is just in one gospel!

IV. The Church as Incarnating Prepper

We are called to BE the “ikon,” the representational likeness, the imprinting, the coinage, as it were, of God in this world. Paul said, “I want you to know that God has been made rich because you who belong to Christ have been given to him.” (Ephesians 1:18, Living Bible paraphrase by Kenneth Taylor) God counts us as the wealth He has chosen, the investment of all investments, His specially chosen people called to bring light into an increasingly dark world (1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:12-16). Many of the Scriptures in the section above speak of the Holy Spirit operating in and through us—it follows that if He is the Imparting Prepper, there has to be someone to impart to!

The preaching of the gospel includes our becoming “living letters” (2 Corinthians 3:1-3), able to be read clearly by people who need and, perhaps even unknowingly long for, Good News (see Romans 8:22-23). This is manifest primarily in our actions—as St. Francis of Assisi is reputed to have said, “Wherever you go, preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” We are the embodiment of who God wants to be and what He wants to do in this world. We are called, as Noah was, to build an ark for the salvation of many, to create storehouses, as Joseph did, for the sustenance of many.

God has a “prepper heart,” and He has planted that heart in His people for purposes beyond anything we may be able to comprehend (see Ephesians 1:19-21; 3:16, 20). Let’s go and do it!                             KCSJr 29 March 2014

The Value of Just Holding On

April 6, 2012

Sometimes it’s all you can do just to hold on. And that’s OK. That’s enough. That’s what it takes.

Of course, it goes without saying, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” So there is also a time for just letting go.

Getting them right is what matters.

History is replete with names of those we remember just because they knew to just keep holding on: Christopher Columbus, Helen Keller, the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, “Unconditional Surrender” Grant, Mother Teresa, and many others. We remember the names of famous battles for just holding on, even to the point of death: Thermopylae, Masada, the Alamo, Gettysburg, Normandy—the list goes on. Scripture has its own “Hall of Fame”—Hebrews chapter 11 lists many who just held on: Noah, holding on for 120 years building, and then another full year afloat; Moses, holding on to the possibility of creating a free people out of slaves (even holding out against the Lord, who more than once told Moses to move over and let him kill them all and start over with Moses!), Jacob wrestling with the angel and holding on till he limped. Our favorite heroes in books and movies are often those who held on against extreme odds: Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Rocky Balboa, Neo, Jake (in Avatar), and more. We admire survivors and survival stories, and tell them to ourselves and our children, and even make up reality shows based on seeing who can hold on the longest!

Why do we hold on? What do we hang on to? What makes us hold on? What is it that makes us value tenacity, total loyalty, unflinching bravery? There’s something unquenchable in the human spirit. Maybe it’s related to the will to live. Maybe it’s more.

Sometimes we hold onto HOPE. Sometimes it is knowing that what we’re holding onto is somehow “RIGHT”—right and good and just and wholesome and fair and desirable. Sometimes it is the encouragement of someone whose insight we respect, telling us that we CAN do it, that it IS worthwhile, that the end IS IN SIGHT. Sometimes it’s because, as the song says, “I still haven’t found what I’m lookin’ for.”

Sometimes it is because we have seen others not hold on, and we know how devastating that can be. I had a professor in college who used to say, with a twinkle in his eye, “Don’t commit suicide today—you can always do it tomorrow.” And I did find it humorous, but it helped me because I had seen personally how my own father’s NOT holding on impacted my life—he committed suicide when I was only 3 and my sister 2. But maybe, in his own way, even he held on—he had 3 other bullets under his pillow, but at 6:45 am, told my mom to get up and fix breakfast. Somehow he found some measure of hope and allowed us to live. Even in the ultimate giving up, he held on. At least I have to hold onto that belief.

And if I’m wrong? There are a lot of places where being wrong IS clearly wrong. But here, I don’t think it is. Holding onto that kind of faith and hope has enabled me to live more than twice as long as he did, and to see my grandchildren, one of them almost grown. Even holding onto the failures of those who have preceded us—or even our own failures—can be a good thing, if it points us toward holding on in the right way.

Just hold on. Someone needs you to.

Grandparents and Their Influence

April 4, 2012

Grandparents can powerfully influence their grandchildren—and even beyond.
I realized this in force as I came across an interesting connection this morning in looking up some scripture references. In Exodus 17, we read of one of the first major battles the Israelites fought after coming out of slavery in Eqypt, Moses holds up the rod of God’s authority on a hilltop to determine the outcome of the battle Joshua is fighting in the valley below. I picture him holding it with both hands over his head. When he holds it up, they are winning the battle; when he gets tired and lets it down, they start losing. So Moses sits down on a rock and his brother Aaron and another man—this is our first introduction to him—Hur. (I can’t help but wonder if this name didn’t influence Lew Wallace’s selection of title character in the famous novel Ben Hur, written in 1880 and, until the publication of Gone With the Wind in 1936, the most published book besides the Bible.)
Hur (the name, according to the Wikipedia article on Wallace’s novel, means “white linen” in Hebrew) is, according to the Jewish historian, the brother-in-law of Moses, married to his sister Miriam. (A different Jewish tradition makes him Miriam’s son, in which case he would have been Moses’ nephew.) He was also the grandfather of another well-known post-Exodus figure, Bezaleel. Bezaleel becomes the master craftsman who fashions the Tabernacle Moses had made and many of the items it contained, including the Ark of the Covenant, the furniture, and the original Menorah (lampstand). And Bezaleel is the first person mentioned in the Bible who was filled with God’s Spirit.
This is just a thumbnail sketch, background to get to my point: What influence might Hur have had on Bezaleel as he grew up? Did Hur help his grandson figure out who he was, what his calling (“vocation”) was in life? Did he take him fishing and hunting and adventuring? We aren’t told, obviously, but it’s fun to speculate. I wonder sometimes how the influences of my own grandparents and even great grandparents impacted me, even in ways I don’t know about.
I’ve heard that Dr. James Dobson, Christian psychologist and founder of the well-known “Focus on the Family” ministry, had a great-grandfather who was a farmer. Every day that man would stop wherever he was working and take lunch at noon for an hour, and spend that hour praying for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (probably based on the scriptural idea of spirituality and sin being passed down “to the third and fourth generations”). Of all his descendants in that fourth generation, all except Dobson (and perhaps one other) are ministers or are married to ministers—and obviously Dobson’s ministry could be seen as more powerful than had he actually become a minister.
The older we get (I am 59), the more we realize we won’t last forever, and the more important it becomes to pass a legacy on. I have 3 granddaughters by my first wife, and 2 grandsons by my step-son. I know I don’t pray for them at all like Dobson’s great-grandfather. But I’m learning. The youngest grandson has stayed with us for the past 2 days while his dad works out of town, and we are praying over him, singing to him, trying to pour into him. And, hopefully one day, he too will find himself filled with God’s spirit, finding his true calling, and becoming the man he was meant to be.
We don’t get to choose our grandchildren, and really, when it all gets down to it, had little say in who our children turned out to be and become. I can say that with far more clarity with my firstborn being now 37 years old than I would have thought when he was born.
Still, we do what we can and pray for God to make up the difference. He is faithful. Ultimately, it’s his rod, and his battle. I’m just glad we get to help hold up one end of the rod sometimes.