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A Form of Testing God

Massah is one of the locations which the Torah identifies as having been travelled through by the Israelites during their exodus out of Egypt.  While the list of visited stations in the Book of Numbers does not mention Massah, Exodus 17:7 refers to Massah and Meribah as the place where a quarrel began.  According to Moses, upon reaching Massah, Israelites lost faith and hope, questioning if God was really with them anymore.

“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah,” Deuteronomy 6:16.

As Gentiles began to convert to Christianity and receive the Holy Spirit, Pharisees sought to add Jewish traditions to salvation.  This concept didn’t sit well with Simon, prompting Peter to stand up to address religious leaders gathered together at the Council of Jerusalem.  According to Luke, Peter eludes to Deuteronomy 6:16.  Adding circumcision to salvation is comparable to placing a yoke around the neck of the disciples.  Making circumcision mandatory for everyone would de-emphasize the grace of God and cause potential converts to change their mind.

Now then, why are you testing God by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to endure? – Acts 15:10

Today, not only do people lose faith in God, but sects of Christianity have added legalistic practices which often confuse young believers.  This atmosphere sets the stage for more people to test God, wanting some sort of sign or miracle for assurance.  Yet, faith is the exact opposite of these natural desires.  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1.  Subsequently, you may find yourself in the dark from time to time, but remember what happened at Massah so you don’t repeat the same mistakes of the past.

by Jay Mankus

 

Let It All Play Out

A prognosticator attempts to forecast what will happen in the future based upon present signs and indicators.  At the beginning of any election or sports season, these experts flood the airways hoping to accurately predict winners and losers.  While some have a better track record than others, before people get carried away its better to let things play out.

For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets, Amos 3:7.

In the game of life, God uses prophets, individuals in tune with the Holy Spirit to shine light on the path which should be taken.  Despite the obvious, the Lord does not force people to go along with his plan.  Rather, free will is offered as a choice to either accept or reject advice provided.  Some need to learn the hard way, like the Israelites who once wandered 40 years in the desert before submitting to the will of God.

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:21.

While the book of Revelation reveals how life on earth ends, this doesn’t give believers permission to throw their hands up in the air and proclaim, “things are out of my control.”  Instead, God wants his children to let it all play out, day after day.  Sure, it would be nice to fast forward, skip death and advance to heaven.  Yet, the Lord has a plan for you and me to leave a lasting impression of a risen Messiah.  Therefore, let tomorrow worry about itself by asking God to guide you daily as a servant of the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

So That’s Where It Comes From

Adults have different styles of communication, producing a wide range of reactions, even within their own children.  The authoritarian will claim, “this is the way its always been so there is no highway option.”  Meanwhile the laissez faire, who are often soft spoken will allow flexibility, offering little resistance to correction.  This broad spectrum of coaching, parenting  and or teaching leaves a gap, with many blanks to fill in between to properly convey crucial information.

As I child, I remember hearing daily pleas such as “wash your hands, brush your teeth and think before you speak.”  Maybe I was naive, but I never questioned or wondered why these things were so important.  I simply assumed by father knew best so I tried my best to follow directions.  While reading the Old Testament last week, I stumbled upon the source of my dad’s first command, Leviticus 15:11.

Before the invention of microscopes, God understood how germs spread.  Thus, to combat this concern, the Lord told Moses to tell the Israelites to wash their hands after going to the bathroom or before eating.  Although Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has influenced many to go to extremes, washing your hands is a simple way to remain healthy.  As Paul Harvey says in his famous radio deliveries, “Now you know, the rest of the story!”

What commands do you recall from your childhood?

by Jay Mankus

 

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