If God forgives you…then how can you not forgive yourself?

This is a hot spring at Yellow Stone National Park, when I look in there I see that tunnel and wonder how deep it is, but will never know the answer.  We do know the answer to how deep God’s love is, and how true his forgiveness.   It is total commitment to us, we need only accept it.

Romans 3: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Read Romans 3:23-24 These two passages state that all are sinners, and we all fall short of God’s glory (or his perfection), but that we are justified (or forgiven) freely (there is no price to us), by God’s grace and redeemed through Jesus Christ.  God is perfect, and Holy, and nothing that is not perfect and Holy can be close to God.  So, in order for us to get close to God, we need to be sinless, which we will never be, due to our sinful nature.   So God provided us with a perfect (ultimate) sacrifice for our sins, in the form of Jesus Christ who is God’s son, God in the flesh.  It is God’s graciousness towards us, that allows us to accept Jesus with no penalty for our sins. 

That is not say that there are not earthly consequences for our sins.  For example, if someone kills someone, they are still dead.  Even though, having asked for God’s forgiveness the person who did the killing  is forgiven.  That person still  has to live with the knowledge of their criminal/sinful act.  This it true for any sin.

It’s important  that when you are forgiven by God you must also forgive yourself. I mean, who are you, to still think that you are guilty when God, himself,  has forgiven you.  That is the height of egotism, you are actually saying that your feelings on the matter are more important that God’s.  

God has no desire for us to dwell on and wallow in self pity because of the sins we have committed; doing that robs us of our joy, separates us from enjoying God’s presence in our lives.  It also can keep us from showing others, by the example of how we live with God’s forgiveness and joy who God truly is to us.  If we cling to our guilt then we are failing to show others that grace and forgiveness is a fact that you can count on from God when you ask for it.  

After all, people who are riddled with guilt are not usually very happy, and although misery loves company, company does not love misery!  In other words, no one wants to be around a Christian who is beating themselves up all the time and looking and feeling miserable.  Just as no one wants to be around someone who is perpetually angry.  Those attitudes do nothing to draw others to God because they are no different than the unforgiven non-Christian world. Yes, we all have those feelings from time to time, but by and large we should enjoy the fact that we are forgiven and redeemed by God’s grace.  There should be something about a Christian that is different from those who don’t know Christ.  That is why we are told to be in the world but not part of the world. 

Romans 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what (is) that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 Read Joshua Chapter 2, and Joshua 6:17, 21-25  This is the Story of Rahab the Harlot (Prostitute)  Refer to Matthew 1:5, this is a list of Jesus ancestors, and in this verse it lists Rahab’s name.  This is an excellent example of God’s grace, you can never be too bad for God’s grace and forgiveness.  God forgave Rahab her sin so completely that he even included her as an ancestor of Jesus.  Jesus’ ancestry list is full of sinners who have been forgiven by God.  That is the grace of God.


The Power of Grace

This is the Roman road in Ephesus that Paul walked on…it is probably similar to the one going to Damascus as the city was redesigned entirely by the Romans after Pompey conquered it.

Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and great grace was upon them all.

Read Acts 9:1-20  Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and was converted to Christianity, and God’s grace was upon him because he accepted Jesus, and was humbled before God.  Then Saul set out to be obedient to God’s wishes for his life, and continued to live under God’s grace and forgiveness.  Although Saul who became known as Paul after his conversion, was a known persecutor of Christians, and held the cloak of the people who stoned Stephen, the first martyr.  You know the funny (ironic) thing about Paul is that the whole time he was killing Christians he was doing it for God.  He thought that they were heretics and that as a honorable, faithful Jew he should do all in his power to stamp out those of the new religion who were causing so many of his fellow Jews to convert to Christianity and believe in this Jesus as their Messiah.  Paul who was trained really well from childhood as a Pharisee, and knew his scriptures extremely well.  He was trained by a well known Pharisee/scholar named Gamaliel.  Being trained by Gamaliel would probably be the equivalent of being taught about Einstein’s theory of relativity by Einstein himself.  Gamaliel was probably just about as famous in scholarly circles in Paul’s time as Einstein is in scientific circles today.  This just goes to show that even if you are taught the truth, of the scriptures, you can miss the main point.  Paul had the message of the Messiah right there in the scriptures, yet he did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah until Jesus showed up in front of him on the road to Damascus.  There are more than 400 prophecies about the Messiah throughout the Old Testament of the Bible and Jesus fulfilled every single one of them without exception.  

Now there are some people who might say, “Well, Jesus probably knew what they were and he just set out to fulfill them all….”

Well, I am here to tell you, that even if a person tried to do so, they could never have enough control over their own circumstances to fulfill all of those prophecies even if they set out to do so.

 I know, the next question is, “Why not?!!”  Well, the thing is a lot of those prophecies had to do with the circumstances, time and place of Jesus’ birth, and with his death and resurrection, and with the performing of miracles.  No one can control where they are born, or who their parents are related to, no one can control whether or not they rise from the dead.  Also here is a really concrete couple of examples of prophecies about Messiah, the casting of lots for his clothes, the rejection and persecution by his people (the Jews), and that he would die without having any broken bones, and that water would run out of his side.  These are just a few prophecies that would be uncontrollable by a person setting out to prove to people that they were the Messiah.  Psalm 22 is full of prophecy descriptions of the Messiah’s death. Isaiah 53:9 talks about a sinless person who was put to death with the wicked, yet buried with the rich.  There are many many verses about the Messiah in the Old Testament. I won’t overburden you with them here.  If you care to look them up, they are easily available on the web, you can search through them yourself.  I believe that I have made my point at any rate.  Jesus could never have chosen to fulfill all of the prophecies about the Messiah because a large number of them are not controllable by man.  Only God with his infinite power could control the timing of and the person in whom those prophecies were fulfilled.  That person was none other that Jesus the Christ.

God actually made it so that anyone who knows the scriptures should be able to recognize the truth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  Yet, we have Saul of Tarsus, who was a well trained person who willfully refused to accept what was right in front of his nose and locked in his head because he was probably afraid to closely examine what he had been taught, and to go against his elders who were telling him that the Christians were a bad lot…who were heretics.  Jesus had to show up right in front of him to get his attention, and even when he did, he just asked Saul (Paul) why he was persecuting his children; oh yeah, and he blinded Saul/Paul to get his attention completely on him.  I find the blinding to be another dose of irony…knowing Paul’s intelligence he no doubt would have noticed this irony also.  The irony that the person who was spiritually blind, yet thought they were acting in a very spiritual way on God’s behalf, was now physically blinded in order to be made able to see things in a spiritually clear manner, and truly start acting as God’s servant in bringing more people to know God through testifying about his son, Jesus Christ.  Isn’t God awesome?!!

I noticed a long time ago, that God really has an awesome sense of humor at times when he is trying to get your attention, or test your faith (really what he is doing is teaching you about the amount of faith you have and helping you to have stronger faith.)

Seeing God Through Jesus

This is at a vineyard that a friend of ours owns these folks are all harvesting grapes for ice wine.  Ice wine is a very risky crop as the grapes for it must be harvested when they are frozen, usually having been frozen at least twice.  The vineyard loses a lot of the grapes because of this, thus Ice Wine is in smaller bottles and very expensive.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Read John 1:14-18 Jesus was full of the grace of God, and came to declare God’s grace to us.  We can only see God through seeing Jesus.  And of Jesus’ fullness we have all received grace.  Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ and the law was given by Moses.

Read Matthew 20: 1-16  Jesus tells us The Parable of the Hired laborers.  In this story the owner of the vineyard pays the workers who work all day the same wages as the worker who arrives just before the work day is over.  Jesus is saying that God has a different view of what is important.  People who are grabbing for themselves and worrying about how to get it all for themselves, or get more than another person, have the wrong view.  God is looking for us to give Him all of ourselves.  Some people don’t respond to God’s call until later in life.  They receive the same gift of grace as those who responded to God’s call when they are children.  In God’s view they are equal in Christianity.  The Christian who has been a Christian all of their life does not have anymore Christianity in their soul than the person who has been Christian only a day.  When you accept God’s grace, you are all equal.  There are, of course, knowledge level differences between these two Christians, but not soul level differences.  Also the person who has walked with God longer, has avoided many worldly or sin related problems that the other person has had, or at least has had Godly support during those problems, and has been blessed longer by God.  The issue is to look to God, and not to your own reward.  Jesus set us a good example of this with his ministry.  When we look at Jesus and His priorities we see what God’s priorities are.   God’s priority is to win souls back to him.  Jesus shows us that the two most important things we are two do is to love God above everything, and love others like we love ourselves.

One of the major blessings to a Christian is being able to share in the joy of someone else’s redemption.  In this parable the point at the end about “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” is the most telling thing about this whole parable.  It is the idea that the land owner could have paid those who worked all day first, then sent them on their way.  They probably wouldn’t have known that the ones who arrived later got paid the same wage if he had done that.  Instead, what the land owner was looking for was an appreciation of his generosity, and for the workers who had worked all day to celebrate the good fortune of the later workers in still being paid enough to feed their families, despite being hired later in the day.  A Denarius was what it typically took to feed a family for a day in Jesus’ time.  

Instead what the workers did was look to themselves and shout that the situation was unfair.  That is a typical world view commonly held today, “It’s not fair, I did more so I should get more!”  or “It’s not fair they get more, even though…..”  Both views are the world view.  God views things very differently.

God gives us what we need to accomplish the task that he has put us on this earth to do. If you need to be wealthy to accomplish that task, then you will be, but if you don’t then you probably won’t be.  God is not against wealth, he just doesn’t see it the same way that the world sees it.  If I tell you that God is going to make you wealthy because you follow him, then that would most likely turn out to be a lie.  There are plenty of examples of people in the Bible who followed God and were not financially wealthy.  Take the story of the widow’s offering to be an example (Mark 12:41-44) This woman was clearly not wealthy, yet she was faithful.  God blesses the faithful, but there are all kinds of blessings that do not necessarily include financial wealth. True wealth is being able to have a lifetime of relationship with God because of having accepted his son, Jesus Christ as your personal savior, and being able to share that joy with others!

By the way, here is another often misquoted Bible verse for you about wealth:  1Timothy 6:10 The love of money is the root of all evil.   Frequently you just hear people say, “Money is the root of all evil”  That is not true.  It is the “love” of money, not the money itself that is the problem.  So look to God and enjoy the blessings he has for you whatever form those blessings take in your life!

The Burden of the Law

This is a pic of the statue of the lady of justice.  The statue is blind folded because Justice doesn’t care who you are or what they see.  It is only the weight of the evidence that they care about.  The sword in the other hand depicts the punishment that is forthcoming if the person on trial is found guilty.  God is not blindfolded, he knows exactly who you are, and he is a God of justice and grace.  Thank God that we don’t have to “get what we deserve” that he provided his grace for us.

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Romans 7:21-23  So I find this law at work, when I want to do good, evil is right there with me, for in my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

Read Acts 15:1-12, Philippians 1:7  This passage fills in the gap between the old testament and the new testament.  It states that the law was too big of a burden to bear, that the disciples Paul and Barnabas believe that since God settled the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles, through their faith, those who were not circumcised, that it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as the gentiles were saved, that there is no longer a difference between the gentiles and the jews in terms of how they are saved by grace.  Grace is for everyone.  If you believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God, then you will be saved. God’s grace is limitless.  

Read Genesis 20:1-7  The story of Abraham being deceptive about Sarah’s status as his wife.  Sarah was his half sister also, but in that time period rules about blood relationships and marriage were different, but rules about adultery were not different from today.  They may have been different because of the lack of understanding of genetic diseases, or it may be that there were not the number of genetic diseases back then that there are today.  Primarily because mankind was closer to the genetic perfection of the Garden of Eden, but that is just a supposition on my part.  They would certainly have known something about animal husbandry and diseases being passed down to the next generation.   Anyway, back to the point at hand….

Abraham lied to protect his own skin, and nearly caused Sarah to commit adultery.  He definitely wasn’t consulting God about his fears.  God visited Abimelech in a dream to tell him not to take Sarah as his wife because she was already married to Abraham.

God forgave Abraham for his deception and protected his marriage in spite of his lies. This is an example of the burden of law being too much for Abraham to deal with because of his fear for his life.  The law said that adultery was punishable by death.  Abraham couldn’t keep the law because he let his fear for his life overwhelm his sense of what was morally right and what was morally wrong.   God recognizes our inability to be perfect under the law, so he gave us his grace through Jesus Christ.

People generally have a view of God where they say, “Yeah, but if we just do more good things than bad things then when we die and go to heaven we should be let in because we are more good than bad.”  I once read something that really gives a wonderful illustration for the “more good than bad idea” and so I will share it with you.  I cannot tell you where it came from, or I would certainly credit the person as this is a great example.

There was once a man whose children wanted to go to see a movie later in the evening with some friends and they requested permission from their father.  While requesting to go it came out that the movie had some violence and a few swear words in it, but as the children explained to their father, “Dad it is only a little bit of violence and just a few bad words.”  Their father said, “well, then, let me have an hour or so to consider this and I will get back with you.”  An hour later he called his children together and asked them if they would like some of the fresh brownies that he had just finished baking.  These brownies looked delicious, so the children were really happy to say yes, but the father said, “there is just one thing about these brownies that you should know before you decide if you want one.”  The children said, “Really, and what’s that, because they look really great!”  The father said, “Well, these brownies have a special ingredient in them…I have added a bit of dog poop into them…but well, there’s only just a little bit of dog poop in them, so you won’t even notice it when you eat them.  Do you still want them?”  Well, it is pretty obvious that no matter how good those brownies looked, no one would want to eat them if they had even a small amount of dog poop in them.  The kids were the same.  So their father made his point quite well, that a little bit of something bad, is as bad as a lot of something bad.

God looks at sin that way too, a little bit of sin in you when you are trying to get into heaven and be close to God is as bad as a lot of sin.  A little bit is too much.  That is why just doing more good than bad things is not enough.  That is why we all need a savior, why we all need Jesus Christ…because by accepting him and his having gone to hell instead as your stand in, you have been wiped clean of guilt in God’s eyes.  (This does not give you a license to keep on sinning and it does not make you a perfect person…if it did then there would be lines of people trying to become Christian so they could be perfect on earth!  What it means is that you have taken full advantage of the grace that God has offered you through his son, Jesus Christ!  You are forgiven, not perfect.  Perfection does not need grace!  All human beings are imperfect, and thus require grace.

The whole idea of good outweighing the bad is a worldly view, not a Godly view of sin.

Gardening/Growing with God

Apples that have grown on our trees ready for making into apple cider!

Colossians 1:6b All over the world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace and all its truth.

Read Acts Chapter 18 This chapter tells us about a man named Apollos (a jewish convert from Alexandria) who spoke encouragingly to those who believed by grace. He also used scripture to debate with the Jews, in a public forum, that Jesus was the Messiah.  Apollos had a limited knowledge of the gospel.  He only knew what he had heard from John the Baptist’s ministry.  He stepped out in faith and preached what he knew.  Through the grace of God, he was heard by Aquila and Priscilla who were educated about Jesus from traveling with Paul.  They took him aside, and into their home and educated him further about Jesus so that he knew the complete Gospel and could preach it. 

As Christians, this is good to know because we should always be growing in our knowledge of God.  If we don’t know where to go or how to grow, but we are stepping out in faith with what we do know, then God will be gracious enough to bring knowledge to us.  We just have to be ready and willing to grow with God.  Basically, it has been my experience that if you are seeking God, then he will find you.  If you want more knowledge of him, and are faithfully seeking to find and follow his direction for your life, then God will take notice of that and provide you with the path that will offer you growth opportunities.  Everyone’s path to know God is very individual, that is why it is called a personal relationship.  

For my part, I have had some really amazing mentors in my life of faith.  God put those people in my path at just the right time so that I would be receptive to learning as much as I could from them.  Knowing what I know now about God and sharing the word of God with others I know that one of the rewards that is given to the person who regularly shares what they know about God is that the get to partake in the spiritual growth of others.  That is an amazing feeling, that God would allow us to be his servants in such a way that we can enjoy and celebrate the growing of someone else’s relationship with God, as well as our own.

Apollos was an amazingly brave person.  He stepped out in faith with what he knew despite living in an environment of many false gods.  He also lived in a time of great persecution for Christians. Being a Jew who was converted made him likely to have been thrown out of the synagogues, and had his family reject him unless they were converted with him.  There was also the possibility of death.

I have heard many Christians talk about the subject of sharing what they know of the gospel with others, and many (though, living in a country of freedom to worship and freedom to say what they will) allow fear of someone saying something negative to them to still their tongue.  Or the fear of saying something and having someone ask them a question that they don’t know how to answer.

The thing is, you don’t have to know all of the answers…you just need to acknowledge that you don’t know all of the answers and affirm that you are still learning yourself.  Affirm that what you do know about Jesus is the truth.  If that person is truly looking for an answer, God will provide the answer to them, eventually.  Even if you don’t know the answer.  Not knowing something is not a crime.  While your salvation does not come from sharing the gospel, it is still in obedience to God that you do so.  Doing nothing to share your faith because of fear of reproach or becoming uncomfortable with someone’s response makes it impossible for you to reap the fullness of God’s blessings in your life.

Take Apollo’s actions as an example and step forward in faith and share what you know about God with others.  If they respond harshly to you then remember and do what Jesus told his disciples to do in Matthew 10:14  “Shake the dust off of your feet…” and leave them to their own devises.  It is not our job to convert that person…it is our job, as Christians, to simply share the message and love that person.  So I encourage you to “Go forth boldly and spread the word of the Gospel” and in the sharing continually grow in grace and knowledge of God…Ephesians 6:18-20.

Grace Comforts

IMG_08992Corinthians 1:2-3 Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all Comfort.

Read: 1Peter 4:8-11, 2 Cor. 1:1-3, Ephesians 4:7, Ephesians 4:29, 1Peter  3:7   We are to use God’s gift of his grace to us, to demonstrate his love and grace to others.  So that others will see God’s grace by our actions, even if they have not been exposed to God’s word yet.  This may make them hungry for God.  Even though they may not respond the way in which we would like, we are to be obedient, and do all things with the words, and abilities given to us by God.  We are to set a good example to others, for instance, if you are calling yourself Christian, then act in a Christian manner, so that you are not reflecting negatively on the Christian faith, or misrepresenting God’s nature to others.  We should always be striving to extend God’s love and gift of grace through us to others.  Take it as a challenge this week to look for people around you who are in need of comfort and attention and try to share the grace that God has given to you with them.  It may be something as simple as having a cup of coffee or tea with them and a bit of conversation to show them that they have not been forgotten by the world.  Sometimes God can use us to comfort people, it is not wrong to be intentional in our actions toward others.  People are drawn to God many times through the simplest things in life.

Read Mark 5:21-43  The story of the woman who touched Jesus robe, and was healed, and the story of Jesus bringing the daughter of Jairus back to life.   In both cases Jesus offered comfort through the healing power of grace.  When the woman touched His robe and was healed through faith, Jesus turned and asked who touched Him (probably to show that He, Himself had taken no intentional direct action) it was her faith that truly healed her.  He also was offering her the comfort of knowing that her being healed by touching Him without permission was okay.  When He was requested to heal Jairus’ daughter, He went along to heal her even when the servants caused Jairus to consider that  she was beyond hope of being healed.  Notice that in the story Jesus didn’t have any unfaithful people in the room when He healed Jairus’ daughter.  Her healing was another method of offering comfort through grace to Jairus.

The God of the Living is the God of 2nd Chances

Angel pic
Angel statue in the ruins at Ephesus, Turkey

Exodus 33:12-23 Moses found grace in God’s sight and told God that he would like to know him personally, and that if God will go with him he will leave that place, but if God won’t be with him, he will stay where God is.  God assured Moses that He was with him, and knew him by his name.  Also God, let Moses see his backside, when he went to get the ten commandments the second time, after the Golden Calf incident.  The second set was obviously the one which was put into the ark of the covenant.

Read Exodus 32 This is the story of the Golden Calf.  Notice that God allowed everyone a chance to repent and come back to him, and if they did then he forgave them, but those who didn’t accept his grace were put to death.  This is symbolic of Christianity’s grace, in which you live your life, and if you accept God’s grace, and recognize your sin, and ask for forgiveness, God is faithful to forgive you, and accept you back to Him.  However, if you don’t repent and accept God’s grace, then when your life is over it is too late, and you will die the eternal death,  instead of living in Heaven in the presence of God.  That is why we have this phrase:  “Where there is life…there is hope.”  Hope for redemption…hope for a return to the side of God.  There is all manner of hope when we are alive.

Truly death is a hopeless state of being, unless you are dead in Christ.  Mark 12:26-27 tells us that God is a God of the living and not the God of the dead.  Jesus says this in answer to the Pharisees’ question about the the woman who was married to one brother after another, so when they would be resurrected whose wife would she be?  Jesus starts the statement about God being a God of the living and not the dead with the statement that God spoke to Moses at the burning bush and said “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”  Then Jesus makes the statement that “God is the God of the living and not the God of the dead.”  Reading that line in the Bible,  there is a detail that I always missed…  The statement made by God to Moses is in the present tense…not the past tense.  How does this fit with what Jesus is saying?  Jesus is saying that these people who in Moses’ time had been dead from the earth for more than 400 years were still alive in God and with God.  God was telling Moses the same thing, that although Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were no longer alive on this earth, they were yet alive with Him.  We know this is what God meant because of Jesus statements in Mark 12:26-27…Logically speaking…God cannot be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the present tense if they are already dead…because He is not a God of the dead!

There is no other way to take this statement when they are combined like this because otherwise they would be in conflict.  Usually, when we read that God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob..we don’t really hear the tense.  We think of this as God stating that he is an eternal and generational God.  We think that he is simple identifying himself to Moses in terms of: “I am the God of your ancestors…”

While it is true that God is the God of Moses’ ancestors, that is not what God was trying to convey to Moses.  As Jesus tells us, this is one of those “ears to hear, eyes to see, and heart to understand” moments.  A moment when you go…”ah ha!  So that’s what he means!”  or in Sherlock Holmes version, “By jove, Watson!  I think I’ve got it!”

So this is what it means when we are promised “eternal life in Christ Jesus” John 3:16.  Right about now, you are probably thinking, but Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were dead before Jesus was born, so how does that work for them?  Well, they lived under the old covenant, which was a covenant of the law…they followed what God had told them to do faithfully, and were obedient to him…they were saved and considered righteous by their faith.  (Genesis 15:6)  As the Apostle Paul said, they lived and died and never saw the promise fulfilled, but their faith was credited to them as righteousness…(Hebrews 11) Jesus said that the disciples were those who had seen and believed, but so much more honored is the person who has believed, but has not seen. (John 20:29)

We can rejoice in the fact that God is the God of the living…so much so that in the fact of our death we need have no fear as long as we are in Christ during our life…we will continue to be in Christ in our death.  My favorite verse in the Bible is this:  1Philippians 1:21  For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!  Paul goes on to explain that while living this life we can serve Christ, and when we are dead to this life we will be living with Christ so that as Christians we have nothing to lose either way.  This is the grace and promise of God.

When you don’t believe in yourself – God does!

Arnold Friberg’s  “Moses and the Burning Bush (1957)

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Read Exodus 3:2-4:20 and 6:30-7:2 Moses tells God that he stutters and stumbles on his words and that he doesn’t think he is up to talking to Pharaoh, that Pharaoh won’t give him the time of day because he can’t speak well.  So God shows grace towards Moses’ weakness and uncertainty by sending Aaron with him to do the actual talking to Pharaoh.  Basically, God tells Moses what to say, then Moses tells Aaron what to say to Pharaoh.  So God understood Moses’ weaknesses and his needs, and worked with him anyway.

The story of Moses starts in Exodus chapter 2.  If you take the time to read the whole story it really shows you how God was prepping Moses from birth for the task he had planned for him.  Here is a short recap of Moses’ life up until he gets to this meeting with God in Exodus chapter 6.

At the time of his birth the Pharaoh had ruled that all baby Hebrew boys should be put to death at birth.  Moses’ Mother saved him and hid him for a while until he became too hard to hide, then she put him in a basket and had his sister watch him (they put him where they knew Pharaoh’s daughter would be bathing.  He was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and she paid his own Mother to take care of him for several years.  (Isn’t God good).  The thing about this is that his natural Mother could continue teaching him the Hebrew customs and beliefs, and also because he was in the Pharaoh’s palace he was raised knowing how to deal with those folks also.  It came to a point that Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and he had to flee for his life into the desert.  There God gifted him with a time of peace where he could mature.  He married and had some children.  Then the day came that God wanted him to do his true purpose and that brings us up to Exodus 4:10.  God tells Moses that he wants him to go back to Egypt and stand in front of Pharaoh and demand the release of his people the Hebrews.  Moses tells God that he doesn’t believe he can do it because he cannot speak well.  (Many people think this means he stuttered, but it could be any manner of impediment, from nerves, to just thinking and speaking slowly. The bible describes his speech and tongue as slow and his having faltering lips.)

We are told that God’s anger kindled against Moses because of his faintness of heart.  Moses straight out told God to find someone else. This was even after God had shown him some miracles with the his shepherd’s staff.  However, despite God’s irritation with Moses, he patiently gave him what he needed to be emotionally ready for the work at hand.  God told him that he could get his brother Aaron to do the actual talking for him.  This gave Moses the boost of confidence that he needed to believe that he wouldn’t make a fool of himself and let God down.

 I am sure that Moses was not jumping for joy at the assignment anyway, as when he left Egypt he was fleeing for his life.  So why would he want to go back and jump into the frying pan where he might be killed, and his people were enslaved anyway?  God also let Moses know that all the men who had been seeking his life were dead so the danger of returning and being imprisoned or killed did not exist anymore.

No matter how much Moses doubted his abilities, God told him that he had a job to do and that he wasn’t going to get out of it!  God knew that he had been training Moses his whole life just for this purpose. He already had all of the skills he needed inside of himself.    We are never told how long Aaron spoke for Moses, but it doesn’t seem like it was always that way.  During the Exodus Aaron was appointed the first priest of his people.  Moses was the leader and the judge.  Moses at some point must have started speaking without the prop of Aaron…after all his father in law eventually told him that he needed to appoint others to help him judge because one man couldn’t do it all.  Moses mentions his speech impediment three times once in chapter 4 before he got to Egypt and then twice again after he got there in chapter 6.  It is evident that Moses just didn’t really believe in himself.  If we go by what Stephen the first Martyr of Christianity said in his speech to the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:22…”Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.”

This story tells us that sometimes God gives us a task he has been training us for all along.  Even when we don’t realize it, and we don’t think that we can do it.  God knows what we are capable of doing, and he is with us to help us do it.  Sometimes, even when we don’t believe in ourselves, we need to take time to remember that God knows what he has planned for us, and he always…always…fully equips us to do his will for us…we just need to wait upon him and find out what he wants us to do.  We run into trouble when we try to work outside of God’s will for us.