December 16, 2010
The title is pretty self explanatory.
It’s not that I don’t like to pray. I’m just not very good at it.
I’ve never gotten into the habit of praying regularly. I get bogged down under the pressure to say what I want in some beautiful way. My mind wanders horribly. I don’t fall asleep but I do end up making checklists of things I need to get done when I’m done praying. I try to recite to Lord’s Prayer when I’m desperate, but I know this gorgeous song-version of it, so then I just end up singing. I sometimes feel like I’m a crazy person. (I’m very sorry if you are really good at praying and this offends you. I genuinely want to be better at it). In most circumstances, talking to someone no one else can see isn’t regarded highly in today’s society. I then get distracted trying to remind myself that I’m not crazy–you see the trouble?
I want to be good at praying.
I want to be a selfless pray-er. I don’t want to come at God like He’s a magic genie sent to fulfill my wishes, but I usually don’t know what else to say.
Sometimes, though, there are amazing passages in the Bible that say all I’ve ever wanted to say. David’s prayer/Psalm of forgiveness is one great example. Here’s another.
First, I’d like to establish for you the relationship God and Moses had.
“The Lord would speak to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks with his friend.”--Exodus 33:11
I long for that.
It is from this place that Moses is able to pray this prayer.
“If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with You.”–Exodus 33:13
It is a prayer I borrow when I don’t know what else to say. This is all I want: to know God and truly find favor in His eyes.
Here’s another great thing: “The Lord replied, ‘My presence will go with you and I will give you all the rest.’”–Exodus 33:14
The Lord replied and made a promise to provide. I hang onto that.
October 20, 2010
There is one aspect of Moses’ life story that has always bothered me. It always made me extremely uncomfortable that in some verses it says “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” I just could not logically explain why the God of heaven, this loving God who forgives and reaches out to nations would specifically harden a man’s heart. It causes Pharaoh to sin and costs lives. What purpose could this serve?
Well, I think God let me in on the secret today.
As I sat down to read, I was drawn back to this question and here is an excerpt of my personal journal. God opened my eyes: “I have always wondered why God would harden Pharaoh’s heart. The idea just occurred to me that maybe it was to prove to as many people as possible (advisors, etc.) that Moses’ God was the only REAL, true God.”
Through the 2 1/2 chapters I covered today, the Holy Spirit revealed the truth of this insight to me.
It’s important to remember that the plagues started off as, basically, annoyances. Yes, the waters were turned to blood, but people were able to dig near the waters to get clean water (Exodus 7:24). It was just inconvenient. Then there were frogs, then gnats, then flies. The plagues slowly increased in severity.
1.) Time and again, the magicians of Egypt were able to mimic the works of God which led to Moses’ claims being dismissed. BUT God uses the progressively more complex plagues to turn the magicians first.
“18 But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. And the gnats were on men and animals. 19 The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said.” –Exodus 8:18-19
It took 3 plagues, but they got it.
2.) Then God shows that the God of Moses and the Israelites is in control of it all by excluding the Israelites from the plague of the flies.
I’m sure that this was done to show the people of Egypt that something special was going on.
Then I reached Exodus 9:16. I don’t know why I’ve never paid any attention to this before, but I wish I had because it answers my question completely.
“16 But I have spared you for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
And, God’s effort produce results. Some of Pharaoh’s officials believe as well.
“19 Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’ “ 20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside.”–Exodus 9:19-20
So, maybe, when we completely do NOT understand the plan that God is working out in our lives, maybe God is just trying to be the God we all envision Him as. Maybe he is being loving; maybe He is reaching out. Maybe His hand will be MORE evident when there is oppression or strife.
If that’s the case, and even more can be saved, who am I to complain?