Monday, April 27, 2015

The Big BUT


The Lord saw him step aside to look. And God called to him from inside the bush, saying, “Moses, Moses!” Moses answered, “Here I am.” 

God said, “Do not come near. Take your shoes off your feet. For the place where you are standing is holy ground.” He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face. For he was afraid to look at God. The Lord said, “I have seen the suffering of My people in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of the men who make them work. I know how they suffer. So I have come down to save them from the power of the Egyptians. I will bring them out of that land to a good big land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Now the cry of the people of Israel has come to Me. I have seen what power the Egyptians use to make it hard for them. Now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God said, “But I will be with you. And this will be something special for you to see to know that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this mountain.”

Then Moses said to God, “See, I am going to the people of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they might say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What should I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Again He said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever. By this name I am to be remembered by all people for all time. Go and gather together the leaders of Israel. Say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has shown Himself to me. And He said, “I have visited you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. I promise to bring you out of the suffering of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.’” They will listen to what you say. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now we ask you to let us travel three days to the desert to give gifts on an altar in worship to the Lord our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, except by a powerful hand. So I will put out My hand and trouble Egypt with all the powerful works I will do there. After that he will let you go. And I will give these people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. When you go, you will not go empty handed. But each woman will get from her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, things made of silver and gold, and clothes that you will put on your sons and daughters. You will take the best of things from the Egyptians.”
   
Moses Is Given Special Power

Then Moses answered, “What if they will not believe me or listen to me? They might say, ‘The Lord has not shown Himself to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” Moses said, “A stick.” Then the Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” So Moses threw it on the ground, and it became a snake. And Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and take it by its tail.” So Moses put out his hand and caught it. And it became a stick in his hand. The Lord said, “By seeing this they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has shown Himself to you.”

The Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your coat.” So Moses put his hand inside his coat. When he took it out, his hand had a bad skin disease and was white as snow. Then God said, “Put your hand inside your coat again.” So Moses put his hand inside his coat again. When he took it out of his coat, he saw that it had become like his other flesh. God said, “If they will not listen to you or believe you when they are shown the first thing, they may believe when this is shown to them. But they might not believe even these two things or listen to what you say. So then take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. And the water you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

Moses said to the Lord, “Lord, I am not a man of words. I have never been. Even now since You spoke to Your servant, I still am not. For I am slow in talking and it is difficult for me to speak.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes a man not able to speak or hear? Who makes one blind or able to see? Is it not I, the Lord? So go now. And I will be with your mouth. I will teach you what to say.”

But Moses said, “O Lord, I ask of You, send some other person.”

Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses. He said, “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know he can speak well. Also, he is coming to meet you. And when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You must speak to him and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth and his mouth. I will teach you what you are to do. He will speak to the people for you. He will be a mouth for you. And you will be as God to him. You will take this special stick in your hand. And you will use it to make the special things happen for the people to see.”
~ Exodus 3:4-4:17, NLV ~

"BUT" -- Such a little word with such BIG power.
We can use it as an excuse, as in, "I would love to help, BUT I am just SO busy," or "I would participate in a Bible study, BUT my child's health is just too unpredictable."

Anxiety and worry can grow exponentially with its use:  "BUT what if this surgery doesn't work?"  "I want to be a good advocate for my child, BUT what if the doctor thinks I'm being too pushy?"  "I know I should give the school team a chance, BUT I'm just not convinced that their way will make things any better for my child."

"BUT" can be a stumbling block, a hindrance, a put off, or a way to weasel out of something we want to avoid.  Just as we see Moses brazenly refuse God to His face in a litany of buts, we also attempt a bit more subtly to decline His commands to trust, love, and obey.  We prefer to be consumed by fear rather than step into something much bigger, something amazing, something seemingly impossible that God intends for our good and His glory.  We don't like the unknown.  We stubbornly want control, especially because our lives can feel so incredibly out-of-control.

However, if we are willing to take our turmoil and surrender it to the Lord, we can find ourselves in awe.  Our big buts can be transformed by the power of

BUT GOD!

The New King James Version of the Bible contains 45 of these miraculous examples of Yahweh's redeeming power.  Here are just a few:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
(Genesis 50:20, NIV)

My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:26, NKJV)

They could not find any real reason for Jesus to be put to death, but they asked Pilate to have him killed. When they had done to him all that the Scriptures had said, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him up from the dead!
(Acts 13:28-30, NCV)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NKJV)

But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence.
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29, NET Bible)
Each of these passages puts God's glory on display, revealing an omnipotent LORD who works against all human odds.  He proves Himself worthy of our trust, honor, praise, and obedience again and again.
What amazing things are you robbing yourself of when you throw out your big buts to God rather than awakening to the boundless truth, But God IS able?

PRAY:  Jesus, calm my anxious heart.  Remind me of how You have worked in the past, so I remember to trust in the future.  Thank You for being the God of the impossible situation.

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