Sunday, 3 July 2016

Are signs and wonders always 'nice'?

I was reading in Exodus this morning as the Lord showed up to Moses in the burning bush and then the experiences, the signs and wonders, that God showed him which actually led to a 'fear' of God through the rod turning to a snake,  Moses runs from the snake, through Moses putting his hand in his cloak and it turning leprous, then all the things that happened as the Lord brought deliverance to his people with the Egyptians.   These were not 'wonders' that we would often attribute to as wonders, but rather they brought a fear and reverence and power to who our God actually is.  

Like Moses when God performs some of his 'wonders' we can often run from them, afraid, unsure, challenged, recognising our own weaknesses and inabilities and like Moses in 4:13 "O Lord, please send someone else to do it" but the Lord chooses to use vessels who in their own strength, cannot do it, because then He will get all the glory due to his name.  2 Cor 4:7  "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
We are weak vessels, jars of clay and yet God chooses to reveal His glory through us and sometimes His glory is not the 'glory' we are expecting.  Sometimes His glory will bring a 'fear' a wanting to run, will bring 'wonders' that might actually not be 'nice' and yet it brings the reverence back to who our God is and that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we think, ask or imagine.  

In the story of Moses this morning I am reminded that he was bringing his people out of slavery into a spacious place flowing in milk and honey and still today He is doing the same thing.  Bringing His people in bondage, in slavery and oppression, into a place of sonship and a spacious place of freedom, flowing with milk and honey.  In order to take us into those places He has for us, sometimes He will perform miracles, signs and wonders, that are not necessarily 'nice' but bring the truth to who our God is.  When the Israelites were finally freed from captivity, there were many wonders God performed, but they certainly challenged everyone (Egyptians and Israelites I would imagine) at the time through the many deaths, the plagues, etc and so in God bringing ourselves into a place of freedom, it will not I believe, always be easy and nice, and there will be times we want to run, but God knows what is best and if we trust in him, we will see the deliverance of our Lord.
Exodus 6:6  "I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.  Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.   And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.  I will give it to you as a possession.  I am the Lord."

Many of us are still living under 'slavery' of some yoke of oppression and the Lord, since the beginning of time, and through Jesus, comes to set us free from that slavery and into a land of inheritance, a spacious land flowing with milk and honey, but in order to do that sometimes the Lord will do it through mighty acts of judgement, through wonders that will make us want to run, through signs that actually show how big our God is and that He is for us, his people and He will do anything to see us come into all the promises He has for us.

Often there is this image that everything God does is 'nice', is not challenging, but I challenge you, some of the things that the Lord has done in my world has not been nice, has been very challenging and difficult at times, and yet as I have walked the journey and seen how through these things God is showing His goodness towards me and His love for me to see me be who I am called to be in Him as I trust in him, as I wait for him to do what He said He will do, as I obey the word of God, as I learn not to run from the things that I would naturally want to run from, I find myself coming into a spacious place, a place flowing with milk and honey.  I encourage you this morning, Gods signs and wonders may push you out of your comfort zone, but allow him to work things through just as Moses did with Pharaoh and the many times I am sure Moses wanted to run from what the Lord was asking of him but then you see a people set free from slavery.  It wasn't just about Moses, it was about a nation.  And God is wanting to set our nation free from slavery and the nations of the world.