Monday, February 15, 2010

God's Protection from Failure

It's one of those verses that jumps out at you. The story is one of the most memorable of the Old Testament. For those of us who are in our upper 40's and above, when we think of Moses, the picture that comes to our mind is Charleton Heston.

I was doing my daily reading in the book of Exodus. I had to be careful, because I was temptated to read through the plagues at a fast pace. Why should I take my time on them? I already know the story, right? Yes and no. If I would have sped through that part of the story I may have missed the verse that jumped out at me.

"If the people encounter war, they'll change their minds and go back to Egypt." Ex. 13:17b(MSG). What? I thought God wanted them to learn how to trust Him. That's why He led them through the wilderness and not the shortest route. So I looked in the NIV thinking our friend Eugene Peterson just paraphrased the verse wrong. "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." (NIV) Ok, so what about the New American Standard? "The people might change their minds when they see war." (NAS) Alright, I will take a look at what good ole King James says. "Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt." (NKJV)

So what I found was this: God was protecting them from failure. He did not want them to take the shortest route to the land of promise, because He didn't want them to lose heart and turn around; missing out on all He had for them.

How often does this happen in our own lives. We start out on a journey. It has been a difficult decision to make. There have been various obstacles trying to keep us in the place we are right now. Finally, it seems this is the right time. We are ready to step out. We make preparations. Just when we think we are going, something prevents us from stepping out once again. So we put it on hold. Then, it happens, we have to go and we must go now! So we do what we know God is saying.

Now, what seems like the best way seems to be blocked. We don't understand. God is leading us down a path we don't quite understand, but we follow.

There is so much more in this part of scripture, but for now, let's look at just this one verse...

In our lives, it may look like we should take a route that seems good. That route may be faster to get to our destination; but is it the route God wants us to take? There is definitely a reason God is not taking us down that route. We may encounter obstacles that would cause us to let go of our dream and vision. God knows what He is doing. Let's learn this lesson from Moses and the Isralites.

Over the course of the next few days I will be posting more on this passage. For today, let's ask ourselves the question: "Am I taking the route God has for me on my journey; or am I taking the route I think is best?" I would love to hear about some of the journey's many of you are on.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is it a Good Thing or is it a Rabbit Trail?

It is easy to get excited about something that really looks good. But, the question it really a good thing?

I thought of this when I recently read Proverbs chapter 4. Verse 25 of the Message says, "Keep your eyes straight ahead, ignore all sideshow distractions." Immediately rabbit trails came to my mind.

Rabbit trails more often than not lead to good. What starts out looking really good eventually is not what we thought it was going to be. As leaders, as people of influence, as moms, we need to stay focused so those following us get to where God is leading them. If we get off it doesn't mean we no longer influence people, it means we just influence them down the wrong trail.

Now, God can always get us back on the right trail, but it is so much easier if we just stay focused on His wisdom.

In all honesty, there will be some rabbit trails that really look good, as we are developing into what God wants us to become. There may be several. They may even have to do with the dream God placed in our heart, but it may not be what He wants at this point in our lives. We need to make sure we do as Prov. 4:25 says and stay focused. Ask God for discernment. It may be good, but God has better STRAIGHT ahead.

God has vision for us. He is taking us down a trail that may have a few difficult situations. Those difficulties will only make us stronger if we go through them and allow God access to our heart. If we take the rabbit trail that looks better or easier, we just may not learn what God intended for us to learn. This means we have to stay disciplined. We have to stay strong. We have to constantly remind ourselves that God is in charge here, not us. He will conquer.

Take time to think of where you are in your dream, your vision. Are you going down a rabbit trail or is the good thing? Is is the real thing? Is it God?