My first thought for my blog was a kind of review of the things I learned in the Esther study we just concluded at church. It was truly excellent and I learned a lot, but this morning I was reading in Deuteronomy (yes, I'm still trying to make my way through the entire Bible this year - I just keep getting sidetracked!).
It's always interesting to read a Biblical character's last words to a person or group. II Timothy is Paul's exhortation to his spiritual son Timothy before Paul was executed. The beginning of Deuteronomy are the parting words Moses had for the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land. Moses knew he wouldn't be going in because he had disobeyed the Lord, but he wanted to get a few things off his chest before the people crossed the Jordan. After all, who knew the people better than Moses? He had been with them for the last 40 years, listening to their constant complaining and whining. Maybe in some ways, God's punishment was a blessing in disguise. I'm sure Moses was tired. Or maybe he was feeling a bit bitter - after all, the children of Israel hadn't been too exemplary in their behavior either. In any comparison, Moses would have come out ahead in the good vs. bad debate. Whatever his feelings, this chapter shows Moses' great love for this cantankerous and stubborn people.
A little while ago, I wrote about Deuteronomy 8 where Moses tells them why they were in the wilderness. In this chapter, Moses tells them that God is going to go before them to destroy their enemies because, get this, the peoples of the earth needed to know that God was going to fulfill His covenant to His people and because the enemies of the Israelites were wicked. Moses mentions several times, that God wasn't doing this because of THEIR righteousness.
Then he goes on to say that's because you aren't very righteous at all. He starts to recount the times the Israelites blew it, big time. Interestingly, three different times God was so angry with the Israelites, He was ready to destroy them, but each time Moses fasted from food AND water to intercede to God on the behalf of the Israelites. One time, God even offered to make a great people out of Moses. Moses turned Him down and instead pled for his people.
Moses had alot of faults. He was fearful and he had quite a temper, but he was just as passionate in his loves. He LOVED the people of Israel. He was willing to go without, not just for a day or three or even a week, but for 40 days and nights. For people who were hard to love, difficult to handle and annoying as all get out!
It hit me square between the eyes, I complain plenty myself. When I spend my time putting down the current administrations decisions, how much time have I spent in prayer for those same people? Is it even close to the same amount of time? Hardly! When I whine about how this person or that person has offended me or hurt my feelings or hasn't met my needs, how much have I prayed for them?
I came to the very uncomfortable conclusion that if I spent HALF the amount of time I spend talking in prayer, I would see some real differences, if not in others, then certainly in my own life, attitudes and ideas. It made me squirm to realize I spent far more time praying about my own concerns and fears than I did interceding on the behalf of others.
What would happen if I took every complaint, concern and need to Christ instead of talking about it to someone else or worrying about it in my mind? I'm excited to find out! How about you?
~ Blessings, Bronte