Tag Archive: israelites


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  [Søren Kierkegaard]

i had this idea for a blog series on looking backwards to move forwards well, and have a few ideas of what to write on and maybe more will materialise as i go…

often we think of the past with a negative light in terms of missed opportunities or  things done to us or perhaps people we might have hurt or disappointed or maybe baggage we carry from broken relationships, and this stuff can really weigh us down and also cause a lot of damage to our present and future and so i believe it is really helpful to take a look backwards in a positive light and see if there is anything we can or need to do, to help us live more fully now and beyond.

i think a great place to begin will be to focus on CELEBRATION.

‘Bring the past only if you are going to build from it.’ [Doménico Cieri Estrada]

i like that quote cos i think it sums up exactly what i am imagining with this series… but one way the past can be really helpful for us is when we take time to celebrate… people who have been meaningful to us [and i will go into this one in more depth in a future post], events that have been significant, moments when God really pitched up in a tangible way that encouraged and inspired or brought life transformation for us, achievements or accomplishments [those of ourselves but especially those of the people around us] and i imagine a lot more.

i think any time we get stuck in the past it is likely to be a negative thing and that can happen with celebrations as well – if the story we are constantly celebrating of what God has done in and through us is a story from ten years ago for example, then perhaps it is time for a new story… and possibly the new story hasn’t happened because we haven’t taken our eyes off all the goodness that might have been linked to the last one…

but take time to celebrate! in the Bible the Israelites often built altars to God as a reminder when a significant event had happened like the crossing of the Red Sea for example. it was like a memorial to God’s greatness and every time they saw it again they were reminded that there was a reason for celebrating God in that place.

so i want to encourage you to make time regularly to interrupt the busyness of life and just stop. and reflect. and remember. and smile. 

write someone an email. send a friend overseas a postcard or a small gift, compose a poem, song or spoken word piece to God… whatever it is, join with Doménico Cieri Estrada in bringing the past only if you are going to build from it.

[for the next part in the ‘Back to your future’ series, this time focusing on being thankful for the people in your life, click here]

bttfposter

i think the first very interesting thing to note with this psalm is the intro:

‘For the director of music. A maskil  of David. When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: “David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.”’

if you read the first seven verses you see David’s response to basically ‘being told on’ and he is not amused. should we learn from that example of David and go to ourselves, ‘ah cool, so that makes it okay to rant publically about someone?’

i would suggest no. i don’t think this is a teaching passage that ends in ‘Go and do likewise!’ – but i do think we can take some kind of relief at seeing how this ‘man after God’s own heart’ still got really annoyed with people and even lost it to some extent in a public way. David lost his cool. does that mean i should lose mine? no, but it makes me feel so much better when i do. i am in good company.

we see this later with the disciples trying to get rid of the kids that ‘are bothering Jesus’, we witness this as Peter valiantly pulls out his dagger and removes the ear of one of the guards come to arrest Jesus and we have seen this in Moses smashing the tablets with the ten commandments on them because he is so pissed off by the Israelites actions.

it’s not the right way to behave… but we ‘get’ it.

and then it’s like he manages to pull himself together right at the end and finishes with a focus on God. kind of like he is saying, ‘I am mightily pissed off right now, i’m so angry, i’ve been so hard done by… but God is faithful. This too shall pass. And what does any of it really matter because i have God on my side and He is loving and faithful.

‘But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.’ [vs. 8-9]

 [To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

God parts the Red Sea using Moses

“Just part one ocean in front of me, once, God, and i will never doubt you again!”

that’s how i think sometimes. but a huge part of me knows it unlikely to be true. it wasn’t enuff for the Israelites [a day later they were whining about water so God made  it appear out of a rock, then it was food and God made bread appear six days a week, then it was about the fact that it was bread and so God sent meat and then finally when Moses goes up the mountain to meet with God they get tired and ask for an alternative God to worship…  [it doesn’t end well]]

but it’s a nice thought to have anyways – if God just does this big amazing impossible thing then i will believe-Him believe Him for ever and ever.

tonite, in the room of inspiration, i came up with the term ‘Pramnesia’ which i think a lot of us are inflicted with:

Pram.ne.sia

/pramˈnēZHə/

Noun

A partial or total loss of memory linked to matters relating to answered prayer.

we see or experience God answer prayer [in some small or big way] and then the next time we are faced with an obstacle or a difficult person or a huge loss, we forget completely how faithful God has been to us and either rail against Him, or forget about Him completely while we try sort the thing out in our own strength, or just completely fall to pieces.

now this becomes a ‘thing to hold in tension’ or a ‘the mystery of God piece’ when we add it to the fact that God is not a big one-armed-bandit in the sky – say the prayer, pull the leaver and instant win… sometimes God’s very real answer to prayer is “No!” and other times it might be, “Yes, but not now” and even other times it might be, “Absolutely yes, but completely not in the way you are expecting.”

another part to hold on to is this description of God in Ephesians 3.20: ‘to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,’

actually, the Message sums it up pretty well: God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.’

and therein lies the point: God is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than ALL WE CAN HOPE OR IMAGINE.

i say this a lot, but i want to encourage you to start believing that perhaps we need to start hoping or imagining bigger. or at least more consistently.

so if you have been struggling with pramnesia, then my advice is to stop it.

let the answered prayers of the past be the catalysts for the bigger prayers you are going to pray for this day – i’m not talking prosperity doctrine at all but about kingdom doctrine – His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven… or another way to look at it, ‘what this earthly kingdom would look like if God was King here.’

why not try this… for the next week, at the start of each day, pray a simple prayer inviting God to present an opportunity for you to: show Love to someone who is feeling down/speak to someone about something God has done in your life/have a conversation with someone you know by name but whose story you have never heard/highlight a person who you need to forgive or ask forgiveness from… whatever it is doesn’t matter, but pray a prayer inviting God to action in your life… and then be on the look out for the opportunity and take it.

and i’d love it if you returned here and shared some of those answered prayers once they’ve happened…

 

continuing with some further thorts from psalm 22

‘I will declare Your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel! For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help.’ [verse 22-24]

‘The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise Him — may your hearts live forever!’ [verse 26]

this psalm serves as a reminder as to those who God seems to have special time and affection for – the afflicted one, the poor. this is backed up hugely by evidencing Jesus’ life in the gospels as He was constantly representing God’s heart for those in the background, the marginalised, by reaching out to the people of the day who were not considered worthy to spend time with – children, women, samaritans, lepers, drunkards and prostitutes, tax collectors… and powerfully vocalised in the parable of the sheep and goats which Jesus concludes with, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ [matthew 25.45]

reaching out to the ‘least of these’ is not an optional extra for Christ followers [who have been called to deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Him in luke 9.23] but an identifying sign of who we are. ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’ [james 1.27]

and then lastly, i love how this psalm ends:

‘…future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!’ [verse 30b-31]

this is the exact opposite to what is evidenced in judges 2.10 just after joshua dies: ‘After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD…’

yet in this psalm David is speaking of God’s name being pronounced and declared to a future generation that has not even been born yet. the question is begged of us, how will we continue the legacy of Jesus-following among present and future generations?

moses, the wind, and a staff of one

having had some cool conversations with a geneticist friend of mine (at least i think he would be called that cos he works with genes – are you a geneticist the pevin?) i find it quite exciting when science and God match up (as, according to my beliefs they always will, because i believe that God created science or at least the things that science tries to explain) – i don’t like it when people try use natural occurances to explain away God but if this is the way it happened then for it to be happening at the very moment that moses and his bunch of israelites needed it to and stopped at the precise moment they needed it to, then i am quite happy to see it as a God and science and nature thing…

http://technology.iafrica.com/science/675549.html

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