My family and I are fellow Odysseyians (don’t know what that means, visit whitsend.org). We listen to Odyssey everyday and for some of us, it’s what we play right before we cross the Promised Land of Zees.
Last night, we sat around the table listening to the most recent adventure. No, I will not give details (go join the club and listen) but to say it all left us uplifted would be an understatement.
My mom shared with me that she has never considered Moses’ bar from Canaan was “an extreme blessing in disguise.” Mommy say what?!?!
Some of you are like, “Who is Moses” and “What is this Canaan”?
Let’s back track and unfold.
The book of Exodus (second book of the Bible) captured briefly the story of a chosen people of Yahweh, the Israelites, who were enslaved by the Egyptians for 430 years.
Moses, a fellow Israelite who grew up in the King’s palace after being taken from the river as a baby by Pharaoh’s daughter (and folks say the Bible is boring) was used by God through a movement known as “The Exodus”, to lead the Israelites from bondage to the Promised Land.
Through the mighty hand of God, the Israelites left Egypt with droves of treasures given to them by their slave masters. They were finally free from the oppression of the Egyptians. Now they were given the opportunity to worship God without fear of retaliation.
On their way to the promised land, the children of Israel grumbled and complain. Their griping was so bitter that poor Moses ended up disobeying God by striking the rock instead of speaking to the rock that would give them water. That one moment of heeding his anger caused him to miss out on the land that was promised to both he and the children of Israel.
Fast forward many years and the Lord called Moses home. He was not allowed to enter the Promised Land (God in His kindness did give him a sneak peak), but as my mom insightfully shared, he was welcomed into the Land of Promise. No longer would be have to deal with the cantankerous Israelites. Now he was welcomed into the city whose builder and maker is God.
Another example that comes to mind of God knowing best is the story of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (see Luke 1). Elizabeth as the Bible shares, was barren for many, many, many years. I am sure both she and her husband tried to conceive children, no doubt they may have prayed and fasted for children (they both came from families of priests), yet God in His Sovereignty kept her womb close.
Elizabeth had to deal with the looks of those around who were popping out children left, right and center. She had to deal with the jeers and mocking for her being “cursed”. Can you even imagine an enemy saying to her “Ha, what good has serving Yahweh done for you!”
Yet, Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah remained faithful to God’s commands. The Bible describes them as being holy and blameless (Luke 1:6). They, despite their unanswered prayer held onto their integrity. They did not cease to walk blameless before God day and night. Talk about commitment.
As her story goes on, we see that Elizabeth became pregnant in her advanced years, for you young people, she got pregnant real old. This was another Sarah miracle all over again. The Lord blessed Elizabeth with a male child, the man we call John the Baptist.
Here’s where I marvel at God’s timing. Elizabeth’s pregnancy began less than a year before Mary’s. Her pregnancy would yield the forerunner of our Lord. This child was the cousin of our Lord who would be “tilling” the soils of men’s heart heralding “Repent, prepare the way of the Lord.” John would end being the hands that baptized the Messiah and stir the hearts of the disciples in preparation for them to readily see Jesus as Lord.
God knew in advance Jesus would need John to proclaim His arrival.
Sure, the Word was written centuries prior, however before the Word which became flesh began His ministry, some physical flesh (John) needed to begin the mission of reminding the people to look out for the Lamb which would be slain.
Friends, I understand that life is hard. Sometimes downright soul-draining, bone gripping tough.
At times you may even feel like you are being strangled and grasping for air.
Sometimes my troubles are so great that I feel like I’m drowning.
Lately, I have found myself asking God “how long?”
I have even felt as though if someone looked too hard at me I would burst into tears because the weight on my shoulders have been heavy.
But tonight, I am reminded that God always comes through. Whether the blessing or promise is fulfilled in this life (as seen with Elizabeth), or the next as seen with Moses. God. Always. Comes. Through. His ways are always best and He always has our best interest in sight.
Let us look up. Let us take another step. We can trust Him just a little more.
God is in control and He is good.
Life may be really hard, but God is always good.