Friday, January 6, 2012

"Do You not Perceive it?"

If you have read my blog lately, you probably read the post where I said I've been reading As Silver Refined, by Kay Arthur. I'm still knee deep in that book and learning so much. Last night I was reading, and I want to share with you what I learned plus some extra things I was reading this morning.

Do you know the stories of Joshua, Caleb, and the Israelites? If you do, you will probably be familiar with some of the things I'm about to share, or not. If you have never read of Joshua, Caleb, and the Israelites, please do (most specifically, read Numbers 13-14). You can learn a lot. Anywho, Joshua and Caleb are ready to enter the Promise Land. They know that it's theirs. Sure, there are some scary obstacles, but Joshua and Caleb remember how God has always provided. The other Israelites, however, are not so willing to take the risk. Being the God-trusting men Joshua and Caleb are, they declare to the people, The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them (Numbers 14:7-9). And what do their people do? In their fear (?), the whole assembly talked about stoning them (Numbers 14:10). They would rather stone Joshua and Caleb for their idiot ways (I mean, who would actually have faith that God would be true to His promises) than face those scary giants.

As someone with all the details, the seen and unseen by the Israelites, it would be easy for me to sit here and rag on the them for their lack of faith. But hello, have I not been them? Those time that I can't see what's going on, but what I'm seeing doesn't look so good, and I say, "Surely, God has forgotten me". Guilty.

What were they missing? What Am I missing?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19).

They missed what He was doing. They always had. With every complaint, their eyes were not heavenward. Guilty, again.

This morning I came across a portion story of Joseph (Genesis 45) that shows a reaction opposite to that of the Israelites, when someone is faced with not-so-ideal circumstances. Here's a man that had walked through some pretty crazy stuff. He was sold by His own jealous brothers into slavery, he was falsely accused, and he was thrown into prison. Flip that coin. He was favored by God and man. Joseph found himself in a place of leadership, second to only the Pharaoh- a place that would save his family (including the brothers who sold him). God was strategic, as He always is, in saving the line of Jacob. Notice Joseph's actions in all he faced.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance (Genesis 45:4-7).

God was sovereign in the life of Joseph just as He had been with the Israelites, but their reactions (their understandings) were so different. Joseph had every reason to be angry at his brothers. They sold him for crying out loud! It even looked like God had abandoned him. Maybe I need to do my homework better, but I don't remember reading Joseph's complaints. Yet, who could forget the complaints of the Israelites. I want to be like Joseph...

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt (Genesis 45:8).

I don't envy the struggles of the Israelites or Joseph, neither of their loads were easy. And yet, I have my burdens- you have yours. Life: It can be a "beast".

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

The challenge is turning to our King who holds the times-trusting Him as the Promise Keeper.

I keep running into the words of Isaiah: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (43:19). In fact, you should read Isaiah 43 (I love it).

You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand.When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:10-13).

The question of the day: Who are you looking to?

In His Name,
Jennifer

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