"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Floating Bubbles

Below is a message from one of my favorite devotionals. It is from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.  I read lots of devotionals, but his is one of my favorites. I like the Jewishness of it. I love the perspective brought by those who are Jewish, but have recognized and accepted Jesus as their Savior.
And too, with the church in America essentially beginning to withdraw their support for Israel, I find myself wanting to be that much more aligned with Israel and her people.
Anyway, I find much wisdom in these devotionals that tend to share with us Jewish customs and roots and then relate it to Scripture. I always have. In retrospect, every one of my favorite Bible teachers have taught with a love for Israel, and priceless lessons from Jewish customs. They are invaluable in understanding.
This devotional is particularly timely for me. I believe it will be for a lot of people. We are in a time of darkness, and for many of us it is a deep, personal time of trying, but it is also a trying and dark time for our nation.
I learned a long time ago, not to rely on people. I learned early on not to seek my comfort there; that people can only let you down. And that is just as true in the Christian world as it is in the secular world. We may pride ourselves that we as Christians are somehow different. I have never found that to be true. We are only saved by grace; and our righteousness is only in Jesus. That simple and victorious truth should poke a hole in the pride bubble. But bubbles continue to float.
I believe those that have spent time in the darkness, understand a great deal more about God's grace than those who have had a spoiled life of ease. Perhaps that is why I am drawn to the Jew who has seen such tragedy among his people. I pray our nation, as it walks through this darkness, will grab hold of the Light.
May we all find a bit of compassion for our fellow man, but even more than that may we all draw closer to the Light that shines in the darkness and is the One and Only True Constant in each of our lives. For me, it makes the darkness (our trials) a desirable place to be.
God Is in the Darkness
February 5, 2015
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. — Exodus 20:20–21
When the children of Israel stood at Mount Sinai to receive God’s Word, they got a little more than they bargained for, including thunder, lightning, smoke, and a piercing trumpet blast! It was all a bit too much for the Israelites, and they trembled with fear for their lives. But Moses said to them, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
In other words, Moses was saying, “It’s just a test for your own good, so that you will fear God and stay away from sin.” Yet, the people were still afraid and “remained at a distance.”
Moses, however, did the opposite. He walked closer to God. In fact, the verse tells us that “Moses approached the thick darkness . . .” Moses kept walking even though the more he walked, the darker it became. Notice that the verse calls the darkness “thick;” this was no ordinary darkness. This was deep, impenetrable darkness. And yet, that dark place was “where God was.”
We all experience darkness in our lives. For some, it can be financial difficulties; for others, it can be outright poverty. For some people, it can be a seemingly irreparable marriage, and for others, it can be a painful relationship with a family member. We experience loss in life when we lose a loved one. We experience illness – our own or of those we cherish. In times like these, the darkness can feel impermeable.
But what is our reaction to all this darkness? How do we react to the fear, the confusion, the sheer terror of not knowing how things are going to turn out? Do we keep our distance from God? Or do we get closer to Him?
Many people are tempted to keep their distance. Going through dark periods can make us feel abandoned or rejected by God. But Moses teaches us an amazing lesson in these verses — God is in the darkness! Dark times are not the time to turn away from God – they are precisely the moment to draw closer to Him.
In Psalm 91:15, God said, “I will be with him in trouble.” God is with us in our most troubling times. It’s up to us to grab hold of Him and let Him carry us through.
When God created the world, first there was darkness and then there was light. First there was night, and then there was day. If you find yourself in a dark period right now, don’t be afraid. Do as Moses did and keep walking forward in faith. If you persevere, in that dark place is precisely where you will find God – and then there will be light.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

"And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove  you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was."     "...that ye sin not."         

And what if that "sin" isn't only about the things we tend to think of as sin?  Maybe it also includes floating bubbles of pride. 

May we all draw near...

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  ~ Isaiah 9:2 
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his loving kindness in the daytime, And in the night his song shall be with me, And my prayer unto the God of my life. ~ Psalm 42:7-8




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