2 Chronicles · Exodus · Isaiah · Uncategorized

God’s Battle (Part 2): A Pathway Through the Wilderness

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Nagsasa backwoods, Zambales, Philippines | March 2013

I went out unafraid of the vast army ahead of me because of God’s promise the night before.  However, as the day unfolded, my heart was again in turmoil. I began to worry about a lot of things. I easily lost sight of Him. In my eyes, the vast army became greater than my Lord.

“Are you really going to deliver me? Why? How can this be Your battle? Why would You show favor to me when I am at fault? Was that really Your message for me or am I taking that passage to suit my own desires?” I asked Him.

I was fearful and was prepared to retreat but the Lord took hold of my heart and shifted my focus back to Him. He made me realize that my emotions were dictated by what I was magnifying. If I want my heart to be still, then I need to focus on the steadfast character of the Lord and not on the changing circumstance and people around me.

So I took refuge in His Word: “Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17) This was the only thing that kept me going each day.

Finally, I had relief from the storm. The Lord delivered me but not the way I thought it would be. He led me to a safe place however, it was through a route I never wanted to take. Wanting to understand what had happened, I asked the Lord: “Was it really necessary? Does it really have to be this way?”

He replied through the passage in Exodus 13:17-18: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.”

Even though the Israelites went out ready for battle, the Lord knew they might change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war against the Philistines. So He led them through a different route. Then He had them turn back and encamp by the sea. Pharaoh thought ‘the Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert’ so he pursued them but the Lord gained glory for Himself through Pharaoh and all his army. (Exodus 14:1-4)

At first, it didn’t make sense for me to take a longer and more difficult route when there are easier alternative routes for that same destination. Then pondering on my prior hesitation in acting upon a decision, I believe the Lord did this so that there is no chance or possibility for me to change my mind and choose not to go out of my comfort zone. The Lord is provident and He knows my heart. He knows exactly where He is leading me and what route I should be taking in the same way He knew exactly where He would lead the Israelites in their journey from slavery to the Promised Land.

Just when I thought the battle is over, He said this to me again: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Oh yeah, the Lord is not yet done! That was just the first leg of a journey I have never ever imagined even in my wildest dreams! I await with eager expectation to see the fruit of and witness His glory in what He is doing now.

18 “But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

God’s Battle (Part 1): Finding Peace and Comfort In the Face of a Vast Army

Exodus

Remembering God’s Goodness and Faithfulness

clouds, sky, cottony clouds, horizon, blue sky, white sky, airplane window view

My mom flew to another country for a quick vacation and I posted a message on a social media site to encourage her, along with other family members, in remembering God’s goodness to our family [clan]. It was a quick summary of a few milestones and answered prayers of my mom.

Later that night, as I continued with my prayer time, I tried to recall where I left off and found that I was [again] worrying and complaining to the Lord. Now after being refreshed with God’s goodness and faithfulness, I saw these worries as insignificant / trivial / negligible. Then I suddenly realized that the Lord wanted me to also remember His goodness and faithfulness, to approach Him with thanksgiving, and enable me to see things in proper perspective. The Lord made me aware that I was again magnifying the concerns of the world and forgetting the truth that He is the almighty God who is in control. 

Such is the nature of man. We are forgetful and we need to be constantly reminded. Just like the Israelites who at one moment witnessed the majesty, power and glory of the Lord then the next moment were complaining and grumbling, anxious about their lives, forgetting everything He has done. Thus the Lord gave them instructions to help them remember His great and mighty wonders and revere Him. (Story in Exodus)

Remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness is a great weapon against all feelings of worry, anxiety, discouragement, disheartenment, frustration, hopelessness, or depression. It results in a grateful heart that sees what the Lord has done good and not what’s lacking or what’s not working out; a heart that sees that God is greater than all the worries, fears and problems of the world; a heart full of hope in the character of the Lord.

1 Corinthians · 1 Peter · 2 Peter · Exodus · Luke

Entrusted to be Trustworthy

I feel like the task ahead of me is daunting and I hear myself making excuses just like Moses when the Lord commanded him to speak to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3-4):

“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exod. 3:11)

“O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue”. (Exod. 4:10)

Entrusted Steward
Moses, Prince of Egypt, Egypt, Israel, Bible, Exodus, servanthood
Moses was educated and trained both in the palace and in the wilderness.

These words were from the person who became the adopted son of the Pharaoh’s daughter (Exod. 2:10). He was a palace prince and had the privilege to be educated and trained in the best school in Egypt during his time. Acts 7:22 states that Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. Yet he said he was slow of speech and tongue?

In the same way, has not the Lord blessed me with so much? Just a few days ago, I was recounting the blessings of having hardworking parents who sent me and my siblings to good schools to give us the best education we can have and not let us experience the hardship they went through in funding their own education. Yet now I get intimidated with the enormous responsibility that will be given to me and say: “Lord, I do not know anything; I do not know what to do; I do not know how to speak;  I do not know what to say.” Does it mean that all the education and training the Lord gave me were useless?!

Trustworthy Steward

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)

This teaches us to be faithful and wise managers of the things He has entrusted us [talents, skills, spiritual gifts, knowledge, time, wealth, etc]. Everything that we have been given should be used to serve and edify one another (1 Peter 4:10). It is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. (1 Cor. 4:2)

Going back to the story of Moses, after all the encouragement and assurance the Lord gave him, he said: “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exod. 4:13) He had fears that we may not know of and may not understand but the fact remains that God is greater than all of his fears combined. The work has to be done; who will do it?

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

Everything is from Him and is about Him. It should never be confidence in the flesh instead it should be confidence in the Lord because it is His strength, His wisdom, His knowledge, His gift, His provision, His work, His timing. We have no excuse. Being available for ministry lifts our focus off of ourselves and enables us to see the needs of others; it pushes us to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord by following His example of servanthood; it gives us joy in pursuing His purposes for us; it puts us in a place where we can witness God’s work and where we can see His glory.

03.01.17