Posted in theology

Enough with the ‘Girl, you are enough’

By Elizabeth Prata

“Girl, you are enough.”
“Girl, you are beautiful.”
“Girl, you’re a princess.”
“Girl, you’re fine just the way you are.”

I suppose it was inevitable. The Jesus is my boyfriend trend naturally morphs into the “I am a beautiful princess of God and I’m enough” trend. Browse Pinterest on the ‘Christian’ side of things and you’ll see plenty of soft-filtered flowery photos with mottos declaring these kind of statements.

Clipboard
Lower right by Madison K. Smith

Now, it’s true that we are daughters of the King. Galatians 3:26, John 1:12 declare we are children of God. And taking it a step further, God is King. And further, that children of a King are Princes and Princesses. All true, as far as it goes.

But wait a minute, if we literally take the metaphor stretched that far, wouldn’t men as Princes compete with THE Prince!? Yes. That’s why you almost always only see women being called Princesses and not male Christians as Princes.

Doing so manipulates women in an area where many are emotionally weak and needy, which is sad.

I am reminded of a scene in Exodus. Moses had been dwelling in the wilderness of Midian for 40 years when God called Moses to his ordained task, leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. Moses had just been instructed to remove his shoes at the Burning Bush because he was standing on holy ground. He is having a conversation with God. God told Moses he must speak to Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go.

Moses asked couple of questions which could be called legitimate. But as chapter 3 rolls into chapter 4 he crossed a line from earnest questioning to not-so-thinly disguised objections. By the time we read the conversation in chapter 4 verse 10, Moses has argued he is inadequate to the task. He is supposed to speak for God to Pharaoh but is ‘slow of speech,’ he complained.

Then Moses said to the LORD, Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue. (Exodus 4:10)

In the “Girl, you’re enough, you magnificent princess” world, we would see scripture reassuring Moses that indeed he IS enough, right? We’d see God cooing over Moses, telling him, ‘Guy, don’t you know you are enough? You’re my Prince, my love, my cherished bouquet in the garden of God.”

Moses’s objections would be met with a thousand assurances six ways to Sunday of all the good things Moses is. God would assure Moses that he was…enough. Wouldn’t He?

But that didn’t happen. What happened was, God essentially said, ‘You’re NOT enough, Moses. You’re inadequate to the task. But I AM adequate. I AM enough.’

The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Exodus 4:11).

The problem with the ‘you’re enough’ trend is that it downplays our weaknesses and dismisses God’s power to perfect us in our weakness.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Moses wasn’t enough. And God considered Him a friend, and spoke to Moses face-to-face! (Exodus 33:11). But we are NOT enough. That is as it should be. The wider the gap in our abilities for the task, the more we praise God that He fills that gap with His strength, His power, His abilities.

If we were enough, we would be God.

not enough

Posted in secret sin, theology

‘Looking this way and that’: About that secret sin…

By Elizabeth Prata

Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:11-12)

I think the American law enforcement system would charge Moses with premeditated murder, right? Have you seen enough Law & Order episodes to click onto this? 🙂

I love the Bible. Its honesty, its knowledge of human behavior. That little nugget in the middle of the verse, “looked this way and that…” just makes my heart sing. Not happy that Moses killed someone, we all agree that murder is wrong and a gross violation of God’s commandment. (Exodus 20:13).

Think of how transcendent God is. He is above us, unknowable, not understandable, holy to a degree that would instantly kill us if we got near Him. (Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 145:3, Exodus 3:5) .

But also He is immanent. As Emmanuel, He is with us and knowable (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Our God who is both transcendent and immanent is a mighty and majestic God. Moses knew this, and yet as he purposed to kill the Egyptian, he looked this way and that and saw no one was around.

God was around.

How often do we do that though? We purpose to sin. We are deliberate about it. Sin is not ever truly accidental. We look around to see if anyone will see…because we know what we are about to do is wrong. Sin is easier to do when no one’s looking. Why? Because of the Law written on the unsaved’s hearts, they know sin is shameful. If we are saved and we have the Law and the Gospel, we know sin is shameful. It’s better to do it in private, in secret.

Sin is never secret.

For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

In any case, Moses was not alone as he thought. There are often people who see what we do even if we don’t see them. The minute Moses tried to mediate between two fighting men, one of them said to Moses in Exodus 2:14,

But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.”

Moses had destroyed his witness.

Unknowingly as Moses did, when he thought he was alone he might get away with murder but actually the Egyptian had seen Moses. This is why people call us hypocrites. If I gossip, I can’t turn around and chide another woman for gossiping. If I become angry, I have nothing to say to a lady who is angry.

We hear that on the playground, ‘Who made you the boss?’ If we destroy our witness because of our purposeful sin, we have nothing to say about Jesus when the time comes. We will rightly be called a hypocrite. We might be speaking to a person who has witnessed our secret sin and calls US out on it! How embarrassing that is!

Paul told Timothy to watch his life and his doctrine closely, “persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Paul was telling Timothy to watch his personal holiness and his teaching as a leader, but of course we lay people should watch our personal holiness too, as Paul says in verse 15, Be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

No one will listen to a stalled-out Christian whose secret sins are known to all. But they may listen to a diligent, growing Christian who has a good word from God.

In that moment you’re considering a sin, and you ‘look this way and that’, stop. If you have sense enough to look this way and that, you have sense enough to consider the Savior who died on the tree for that sin you’re about to do.

I’ll take my own advice too.

secret sins

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Ancient brick making in Palestine: Photo

So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, “You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words.” (Exodus 5:6-9)

Photos from Palestine from the late 1800s an early 1900s are a joy to view, because the methods of the people, dress, and vistas were largely unchanged from the days Jesus walked. It was only in the 1930s and 40s that development began in earnest and especially after Israel became a nation again in 1948 that things began to modernize and the old ways were vanishing.

In the 1800s, as travel became easier with trains and modern steam ships, many upper class men and women in Britain or America took a Grand Tour of Europe. Interest grew and soon many expeditions to Palestine took place. The Ottoman lands were such a curiosity that a plethora of Travelogues to the Middle East burgeoned in the 1700s to early 1900s.

Travelogues of Palestine are the more than 3,000 books and other materials detailing accounts of the journeys of primarily European and North American travelers to Ottoman Palestine. An in depth survey of Palestine topography, and demographics was done by the Cartographer, Geographer, Philologist. The number of published travelogues proliferated during the 19th century, and these travelers’ impressions of 19th-century Palestine have been often quoted in the history and historiography of the region…

One such travelogue book in my Logos Software is Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee, and another is the one I’ve quoted below, Egypt Through the Stereoscope. The stereoscope is “a device for viewing a stereoscopic pair of separate images, depicting left-eye and right-eye views of the same scene, as a single three-dimensional image.” That’s why the image below is a double image.

I’m going through Dr Abner Chou of The Master’s Seminary lectures on Exodus. (Note- that link will expire on July 31, 2018, as Wikispaces is closing and hosted lectures will go away unless you download them prior). I find it interesting to see what the brick making operation might have looked like and enjoyed this view from a hill above an Egyptian brick-making operation taken from a Travelogue Expedition in the early 1900s written by Dr James Breasted. The book is available today and is considered culturally important.

Anyway, enjoy this long-ago view of making bricks in Egypt, and imagine thousands of years ago the cries of the Hebrews as they toiled under the merciless overseers and merciless baking sun. Then the Lord raised up Moses…

brick making

Caption-

‎Just north of the chief ancient city of the Fayum, we stand looking nearly eastward over the ruins of Crocodilopolis. Behind us stretches the Fayum, rising at last to the vast waste of the Sahara, spreading out to the far Atlantic. Beyond the trees that mark the sky-line before us the Nile is twenty-five miles away.

‎Deep down under these ancient crumbling walls lie the scanty remains of a town at least as old as the twelfth dynasty kings, who 2,000 years before Christ recovered this district from the waters of the lake. They built a temple here sacred to the crocodile god Sebek, after whom the city was called by the Greeks, Crocodilopolis.… When the Greek kings, the Ptolemies, came into power, they used the rich fields of the Fayum as gift lands with which to reward their soldiers.… Some of the greatest products of Greek thought have turned up among the house ruins, such as the Constitution of Aristotle, poems of Sappho and innumerable fragments of Homer.…

‎We see here modern natives engaged in brick-making by the same methods that were employed five thousand years ago. The soft mud is being fixed under the feet of a fellah, while another at a table molds it into bricks. These are taken while still in the molds and carried to the yard by a third native who gently detaches them from the molds and leaves them to dry in long rows.… In spite of the lack of firing they make a very desirable wall; in a practically rainless climate they stand well.

‎From Egypt Through the Stereoscope, by James H. Breasted, Ph.D., with twenty patent maps and plans, 1905

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Michael did not rebuke satan

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” These men, however, slander what they do not understand, and like irrational animals,  (Jude 1:9-10a).

V. 9. The archangel Michael was sent to bury Moses’ body, but … the devil argued with the angel about the body, apparently claiming the right to dispose of it. But Michael, though powerful and authoritative, did not dare dispute with Satan, so he left the matter in God’s hands, saying, The Lord rebuke you! The false teachers Jude spoke of had no respect for authority or for angels. The apostates’ slandering of celestial beings (v. 8) stands in arrogant contrast to the chief angelic being, Michael, who would not dare slander Satan, chief of the fallen angels.
V. 10. Whereas Michael did not dare accuse the devil, these apostates, by contrast spoke abusively against what they did not understand. This abusive speech may refer to their slandering of angels (v. 8). Their understanding was debased, for it followed only natural animal instinct. The apostates’ only “reasoning” was like that of unreasoning animals. Rather than comprehending what was above them (the angels), they really understood only what was below them (the animals).

Pentecost, E. C. (1985). Jude. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 921). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

And yet today, how daringly some make claims and slander celestial beings. People prance around, “binding” satan, calling him names, asserting power over territory, and claiming to have understandings that only show their brutishness as unreasoning animals.

We (I) should be careful not to disrespect saints, pagans, or celestial beings of God’s order. Glimpses of angels holy and unholy in books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation, and glimpses like this one in Jude of the archangel Michael, show how majestic and powerful they are. We don’t have the right to slander them, or each other, nor certainly Jesus. Yet we hear things all the time that impugn Jesus’ nature or His created order and His people.

Today’s prayer:

Lord help me to mind the example shown to us here in Jude. I pray for your intervening help on matters involving satan, let me not rebuke him but rely on You and Your power only. Help guard my tongue, let me speak holy things, helpful things, hospitable things. In Your name I pray this.

abilgaard

N.A Abilgaard, L’Archange saint Michel et Satan se disputant le corps de Moïse, 1782, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Danemark.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

“And they crossed over on dry land…”

We know about Moses. We love him. We know of his his foibles, his sins, and his great faith. Moses is in the Hebrews Hall of Fame Faith and rightly so. He was used mightily by God.

Moses was the instrument God chose to use to display His salvific power when the Hebrews were pursued by Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. Read from the word:

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. (Exodus 14:21-22).

I remember the Indonesian Christmas Tsunami of 2004. I’ve watched news of other tsunamis since. I’ve seen the movie The Perfect Storm, with the boat climbing up that 100′ tall wave. I saw a video of a Puerto Rican dam break in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. A rushing wall of water is destructive and definitely in the top pantheon of fear-inducing natural disasters.

The Hebrews had lived in Egypt for generations. The Nile floods annually. They were certainly familiar with the deadly properties of wayward water.

We read the Bible and we believe all that is within it. (At least, I hope you do). But let’s take the time to really regard that moment. With the Egyptian Army in full pursuit, and with the vast Red Sea in front of them, the escaping Hebrews seemed trapped. Moses had prayed and received an answer. God would allow them to cross the Sea on dry ground. Moses walked down the incline and put his foot on the dry ground, and continued through the wall of water, across the Sea.

It was one thing for Moses to trust God in faith and to step out, but would the grumbling and skittish Hebrews follow?

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. (Hebrews 11:29).

sand_0001
EPrata photo

They did. But imagine that moment. Imagine it as if it were you. You pick your way down the incline, taking care to step carefully over wet vegetation and slippery rocks. You glance to the left and see a towering wall of water and you glance to the right and see an equally imposing wall of water. You look up. The water goes to the sky a long way, and perhaps you can even see fish swimming in the wall. Does your mind even comprehend what you are seeing? Can you process this? Do you dare walk in between the walls of water, trusting God to uphold them for as long as necessary?

You do.

The biblical record states that when the people of Israel finished walking through, and the Egyptian army went in, the Lord closed the wall of water and the Egyptians were thrown into the sea in the midst. It does not state that any of the people of Israel had turned back, lingered, or hesitated on the shore. It does not say that any of the Hebrews had decided to make camp and think it over first. They crossed. All of them.

We can laud them for their faith, and we should. They saw. It was an incredible moment, filled with tension and fear, both of the water and of the Lord. (Exodus 14:31). But as is said in the New Testament,

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).

Friend, you (and I) are blessed. We believe by faith. We step out in minor and major ways, every day. We trust the invisible Lord to lead us across the slippery ground, over the rocks, and onto the dry sand, and He gets the glory. (Exodus 14:17-18).

He leads. We follow. He gets glory, our faith increases, so we can follow Him more, so He gets more glory, and our faith grows…

Praise Him for the cycle of life eternal.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Old Testament Briefs: The Ark was a box

I love the Old Testament and I study it a lot. I’m blessed with a great teaching pastor who loves it too. He frequently exposits chapters from the OT. When he’s in the NT, he always makes connections to the Old. As a matter of fact, our church held a community-wide seminar last Saturday called “Christ in Context”, where our teaching pastor and one of our elders led us in three sessions that connected Christ from the OT to the New: Continue reading “Old Testament Briefs: The Ark was a box”

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Prophecy: They sang the song of Moses in Exodus AND Revelation

When the Israelites were miraculously delivered from their bondage to the Egyptians, they sang a song of praise. This is known as the Song of Moses. It’s an ode to the one True God, who is all-powerful. The Israelites, led by Moses and Aaron, knew that God was God. They knew who He is.

He is a man of war, who smites enemies. He is a God of wrath,  and power, and salvation. He does wonders that make His people tremble. He is King of Kings, who dismays the kings of the earth. He is mighty. He is to be exalted.

Please read this wonderful song.

The Song of Moses, Exodus 15:1-18

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a man of war;
the Lord is his name.
4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea,
and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
5 The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,
your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14 The peoples have heard; they tremble;
pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16 Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,
till your people, O Lord, pass by,
till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

You might recall the ten plagues of Egypt that God placed on Pharaoh and his people. They were step-for-step dethronings of the Egyptian gods. God demonstrated He is the One True God with power over all the false gods the Egyptians worshiped. The plagues were also punishment for rebelling against God.

God has promised that after the rapture, when all the earth’s people who rebel against Him, from kings on down to slaves, they will be punished in wrath for their rejection of Him. (Revelation 6:15-16). At that time He will dethrone not only all false gods, but the false god of all time- satan. God will send to people of the earth plagues that are in like kind to the plagues God sent to Egypt. In Exodus, the plagues occurred just to the Egyptians. Even when the sun was darkened, the Israelites had light inside their own homes. (Exodus 10:23). Even when the Egyptian cattle died, the Israelite cattle lived. (Exodus 9:6). God is that precise.

During this post-rapture time of wrath, called The Tribulation (Or The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Jeremiah 30:7), all the earth will be affected by these plagues. Everyone. During that time many will come to Christ and be saved, but most of the newly saved believers will be martyred. We read in Revelation, that just as the Hebrews sang the song of Moses in praise to God after their deliverance, the martyred will also sing the Song of Moses. We read this in Revelation 15:2-4

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
    O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
    O King of the nations!
4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
    and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
    All nations will come
    and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Here is a side by side comparison of the plagues of Egypt with the plagues of the tribulation, in both cases, God’s people were delivered from bondage. Click to enlarge.

Barnes’ Notes explains the parallels between the two circumstances of the singing of the song of Moses, at the commentary of Revelation 15:3,

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God – A song of thanksgiving and praise, such as Moses taught the Hebrew people to sing after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. See Exodus 15. The meaning here is, not that they would sing that identical song, but that, as Moses taught the people to celebrate their deliverance with an appropriate hymn of praise, the redeemed would celebrate their delivery and redemption in a similar manner. There is an obvious propriety here in referring to the “song of Moses,” because the circumstances are very similar; the occasion of the redemption from that formidable anti-Christian power here referred to, had a strong resemblance to the rescue from Egyptian bondage.

As does Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

song of Moses … and … the Lamb—The New Testament song of the Lamb (that is, the song which the Lamb shall lead, as being “the Captain of our salvation,” just as Moses was leader of the Israelites, the song in which those who conquer through Him [Ro 8:37] shall join, Re 12:11) is the antitype to the triumphant Old Testament song of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea (Ex 15:1-21). The Churches of the Old and New Testament are essentially one in their conflicts and triumphs. The two appear joined in this phrase, as they are in the twenty-four elders.

Our pastor preached on the Exodus plagues and the majesty of God this past Sunday. Our pastor has a Spirit-given talent for bringing the listener up to heights to glimpse up close the power and glory of God, which is itself if breathtaking and humbling. One becomes crushed after glimpsing Him through the exposition of scripture in sch a powerful way. After the sermon, I realized that as difficult as it is for me, who is saved, to see God as He really is (through scripture) that the lost people I know will meet Him in their own flesh. How like grass the flesh is! How they will be brought low, to wither as a match against a universal conflagration! When we ‘see’ God, we understand our own position in relation to Him, first as sinner worthy of all punishment, and then gratefully, as adopted sons and daughters of righteousness.

I recommend the sermon, if you have 40 minutes. It’s worth listening to. As for God’s work between the Old Testament and the New, from Egypt to the Tribulation-

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17)

Exodus and the Glory of God
What is the book of Exodus really about? We covered the heart of the book (with a brief summary of the whole) this week. Exodus is about God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment.

May God and God alone be praised!!