And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness. Psalm 105:43.
With sandaled feet, and staff in hand, the people of Israel had stood, hushed, awed, yet expectant, awaiting the royal mandate that should bid them go forth. Before the morning broke, they were on their way…. That day completed the history revealed to Abraham in prophetic vision centuries before: “Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance” (Genesis 15:13, 14)..
In bringing forth Israel from Egypt, the Lord again manifested His power and His mercy. His wonderful works in their deliverance from bondage and His dealings with them in their travels through the wilderness were not for their benefit alone. These were to be as an object lesson to the surrounding nations. The Lord revealed Himself as a God above all human authority and greatness. The signs and wonders He wrought in behalf of His people showed His power over nature and over the greatest of those who worshiped nature.
God went through the proud land of Egypt as He will go through the earth in the last days. With fire and tempest, earthquake and death, the great I AM redeemed His people. He took them out of the land of bondage. He led them through the “great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought” (Deuteronomy 8:15). He brought them forth water out of “the rock of flint,” and fed them with “the corn of heaven” (Psalm 78:24). “For,” said Moses, “the Lord’s portion is his people: Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him” (Deuteronomy 32:9-12). Thus He brought them unto Himself, that they might dwell as under the shadow of the Most High.
Conflict and Courage p. 90
—–Please pray that B will get hired full time where he has been working. L
When my Aunt Joyce found out that she had colon cancer, she took it with the stoical toughness with which she had faced many other of life’s disappointments. As the disease progressed, however, she began to soften toward religion and was seriously considering asking a pastor for counsel. About this time, she received a phone call from Pastor H. She was delighted as she had gone to school and church with him when they were teenagers. She would feel comfortable telling him what was on her heart.
The day finally came when Pastor H came to visit. Auntie Joyce felt relief that at last she would be able to have help returning to God. It had been over forty years since she had gone to church. There was a knock on the door. Auntie Joyce welcomed her former friend into her apartment. The first words out of his mouth were a flippant, “Girl, you’d better get your act together.” Then he belittled her for her wrong choices in life in a hardhearted and judgmental way. There was no loving compassion. There was no pointing her to the Great Physician Who was standing there waiting to bring her spiritual and perhaps even physical healing. There was no opening to her the Scriptures and no prayer raised in her behalf. There was no showing her the Good Shepherd Who with joy would welcome her back to the fold.
Poor Joyce was shocked! This man was no one with whom she could counsel. She felt her window of hope slam shut. Indeed, after Pastor H left, her disappointment turned to anger. She felt vindicated that she had left the church long years before. Christians were critical and judgmental. Christians were more unbelieving than unbelievers. Christians possessed no love for anyone other than their little circle of friends. Auntie Joyce shut her heart’s door against Jesus that day because of the way she was treated by a man who professed to be His follower. Moreover, she shared this experience with her grown children who were incensed by the way she was treated and looked upon Christians in an even worse light than they already had.
Our Dear Saviour bids us to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matt 28:19, 20 Yet, we must be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” when we share our faith. 10:16 Paul reminds us, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Col 4:6 How important that we never treat the gospel in a careless or flippant manner. How vital that we have respect for those around us and speak of eternal realities with care and reverence lest they shut their heart and mind from their Only Helper just like my Auntie Joyce did. How essential that we speak the truth with the same love for the erring one that our Loving Redeemer has for them.
May “the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, . . . To the end he may stablish your hearts [and theirs] unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” is my prayer.