Blog Archives

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

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         Every real Christian must make a difficult but rewarding decision. He or she must leave home and all that is familiar in order to enter the kingdom of the Lord.

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         This world is not my home I’m just a passing through

         My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue       

         The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door

         And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore [1]

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         And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. [Exodus 2:22 KJV]

         Gershom was the firstborn son of Moses. Moses named his son after his current experience. He had arrived in a new land about a year before and was still trying to find his way. This was a man used to the high life and lofty standing of being the adopted grandson of the Egyptian Pharaoh. He went from prince to pauper in a fortnight and had to flee Egypt with his life on the line.

RUNNING ON EMPTY

         Never having time to catch his breath, he headed east across the blistering sands of Sinai and kept traveling onward toward the rising sun in his own early version of the Texan’s runaway scrape. “What happened to me?” he thought. A fleeing fugitive, sottish with fear and disillusionment, on the run from Egyptian justice, he had killed a man in a fierce fury after seeing a Hebrew kinsman being beaten up without mercy.

         One may wonder what God saw in an avenging man slayer but what He did see was a man who had great pride in his heritage. God saw him as a man who would go to bat for his people. But at that time, with sweat pouring and fright raging, Moses looked like anything but a hero.

THEN CAME MOSES

         He came into the land of Midian. These were distant relatives of his ancestor Abraham. Abraham was the first stranger in a strange land:

         “I am a stranger and a sojourner among you… [Genesis 23:4]  

         Girls were trying to water their flocks but the other shepherds kept running them off. In reading the historical text we find that this was an everyday occurrence. It always took these sisters much time to gain access to the well because of the others who were intent on hindering them. Sound familiar?

         And suddenly Moses was fighting for justice again. This was a powerful man, a man who demanded respect. He saw to it that the girl’s flock got their water and one can picture the other shepherds looking on from a distance knowing that there was something about the new stranger, that one better not mess with him, that one could see by that look in his eye that he meant business.

         The sisters went home and told their dad. Their dad jumped their case. “What is wrong with you! Go find him and bring him to dinner!” This began an entirely new chapter in the life of Moses. He married one of those sisters and when his son was born he still felt like a stranger in a strange land after a very strange turn of events. But regardless of the desert remoteness, his home a million miles away, and thoughts of palace living gone forever, the blessings kept flowing. The Lord had a plan.

         Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God… [Exodus 2:23] [2]

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] This World Is Not My Home © 1952 by Albert E. Brumley, Acclaim Music

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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The Miraculous Red Sea Crossing

         Today is Friday the 13th, a most superstitious day on the calendar. This is the second of three Friday the 13th’s this year. We had one in January and will have another in July, so the day isn’t all that rare.

         But today also happens to be Nisan 21 on the Hebrew calendar. Nisan 21 is the seventh and last day of Unleavened Bread. It is a holy day, as was Nisan 15 last Saturday.

         Traditionally, these seven days marked the time between the nation of Israel exiting Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. It was a time of unleavened bread because they were on the run, first to simply pack up and get out, and secondly to stay ahead of Pharaoh’s army. The king of Egypt first decided to let them go at last, but then changed his stubborn mind yet again. It was a fateful decision, as was every other decision he made against God. If he had left well enough alone after any of the ten plagues, he would have been better off. But because he kept fighting against the will of God and God’s people, he eventually lost everything.

         We can find such a place in Egyptian history when the nation was devastated, but that’s another story for another time. Today, we will remember a miracle.

         If the Red Sea miracle did not happen, there would be no Israel. If there was no Israel, there would be no Messiah Jesus. There would be no sacrifice for our sins. We would all go to hell. But it did happen because there was purpose in it. It was not only to save the nation for the sake of the future birth of the Sacrifice Lamb, it was to save the nation. God loved Israel and He still does, of course.

         But at that last moment, when the world-class army of Egypt was bearing down on them, and when they had no perceivable means of escape, God came through.

         And this is always the point: The more difficult and impossible the circumstance, the greater the miracle, the more love shown through the miracle, and the more glory gained by the Lord.

         In another words, the more magnified God is in one’s life, the more life one has. Our Lord Jesus called it abundant life. It means super-abundant in quantity, and superior in quality. It means the best. One cannot have the best without having the Lord. He proves His love by giving us His best. He proves His love the best by giving us Himself.

         This is what He did for the nation of Israel that day almost 3,500 years ago. It was not God that enslaved His people, and it was not God that decided to go after them one last time. That was strictly Pharaoh’s decision. It was God’s decision to set His people free, which He did, and it was God’s decision to protect them from certain death.

         He didn’t want to wipe out Egypt, but He had no choice. He loved His people.

         And He loves you and me.

         Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. [Exodus 14:21-22][1] 

         I don’t know what your miracle might be this day, but I believe there is a miracle. It might not be as dramatic as the crossing of the Red Sea, but it will definitely show God’s love. I learned a long time ago that the Lord never spoils His children. He wants to bless us and does, but we must be able to receive properly and not let the blessing go to our head or be distanced from God by it. So the Lord must be prudent. His ultimate goal is to get us to heaven with Him forever. He also wants to bless us in this life but such is secondary.

         I read a true story about a young preacher once. He was living day to day and largely hand to mouth, preaching here and there. He didn’t have much money, and never knew what he might receive through offerings, but the Lord always took care of him. One evening after preaching he received a sizable offering. It was enough to pay his bills for an entire month.

         As he was beholding the check with shock and awe, the Lord spoke to him. He told him to give the giant check to a missionary who was also there that night.

         What would you do?

         The young man knew he heard God. He knew He had to obey. And he gave away the offering.

         Imagine the scene. He had already seen his future a lot more brightly, and then saw it all seemingly snatched away. About an hour later at a restaurant, he and a bunch of people from the church were having dinner. The young evangelist was approached by a man who knew what had happened, not because the young preacher told anyone—he had made it a point to keep it all secret. The older man knew because God told him. And God also told him that the young preacher was to learn a valuable lesson about giving.

         Long story short, the man gave the young evangelist another check. It was ten times the amount of the first one, to the penny!

         Now, God’s blessings are not always that dramatic, but that particular one was made to serve a purpose. The Red Sea miracle was also made to serve a purpose. It was to show His people how much He loved them. And it was to scare the daylights out of every other nation in the region.

         Today, on Friday the 13th of all days, will be a day of miracles for those who love the Lord with all their heart and obey Him. It could very well be something out of the ordinary. Or it could be a seemingly simple but profound, “I love you.”

         Will you recognize it? Give the Lord Jesus the glory. He loves to come through for His people!

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.