Pastor's Meditations

The God that Works in the Heart (Exodus 7) 

            “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart...”

            In his famous book, entitled “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens tells us the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.  Scrooge was a brilliant businessman, who made a fortune as a money lender during a time of economic recession in England. He counted his piles of money every day, but wouldn’t share a farthing or a penny with anyone. He forced his employees to work long hours and holidays and paid them a misery.

            Scrooge was a man with a heart of stone.  He charged exorbitant interest rates, and if someone was unable to repay, he would repossess everything they owned and evicted them into the street.  In short, Scrooge was like the Pharaoh:  A man with a hardened heart.

            Ebenezer Scrooge deserved to be punished, but as the story goes, he had one final opportunity.  He was visited by three “ghosts” who showed him not only his past wickedness, but also his future condemnation.  As a result Scrooge repented and became the most tender and generous individual in that city.

            Sadly, not all stonehearted men respond positively to God’s call.  On the contrary, they harden their hearts more and more, until it is God the One who hardens their heart.

            Is this possible?  Is it true that God hardens hearts?  The answer is yes.  But God only hardens hearts that are already petrified by sin and rejection.  Those who listen to God’s voice have tender hearts, because God’s Word is the sword that broke the stone.

            Do you have a tender heart?

            A. G.

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The God who Delivers (Exodus 6)        

            “...and deliver you from slavery...”

            Once upon a time, there was a little lamb that for whatever reason was separated from the rest of the flock.  Lost and confused, she went to and fro looking and screaming (or bleating, I think it’s the correct term) for her family, but was unable to find them.  Then, to make matters worse, she was surprised by the darkness of moonless night.  Now she was lost, alone and afraid.

            In the midst of her confusion, she did not notice the presence of a terrible enemy. When she heard the thunderous roar, it was too late.  She had fallen into the paws of the lion.

            The little lamb closed her eyes and bleated as loud as her small lungs allowed her.  All of the sudden she heard a loud bang, and then... silence.  When she opened her eyes again, she was in the arms of the smiling shepherd.

            Our God is a God that delivers and saves.  You and I were like the little lamb in the hands of our enemy, the devil.  We were lost, in darkness and without hope; but Jesus, the Good Shepherd heard our desperate cry and came to our rescue. Thank you, Lord, for delivering me from the paws of the enemy and from the gates of hell. I deserved (and still deserve) to be utterly destroyed for my sin, but your grace has set me free.

            This is what God did with Israel.  He promised them deliverance and he delivered.  After four hundred years of bondage in Egypt, Israel was liberated completely by the mighty hand of God.

            This is the God in which you and I trust.  How blessed we are!

            A. G.

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The God Who Sends (Exodus 4)        

            “Now go...”

            God hears, God calls, and God sends.

            In the “Great Commission” Jesus sent us to proclaim the Gospel unto all the nations of the world.  This is a commandment, if it were not; it would be called the “Great Suggestion” or something similar.

            God commands us to “go”, but before we can go, we must fill our hearts with pure love.  If we love God, then we will obey Him in whatever “mission” he has designed for us.  If we love God, we will also be imbued with His love for the lost souls of the world.  Let’s face it; only God can turn an egocentric human being into a selfless soul, willing to sacrifice his “reputation”, in order to reach others with God’s message.

            This commandment is also urgent.  God told Moses NOW go...” 

             In 2 Corinthians 6:2, Paul says “ is the acceptable time.”  The reason behind this urgency is the uncertainty of tomorrow.  We live TODAY, and we must preach TODAY. Tomorrow may never come for us or for those that need to hear the Good News.

            God is sending us today, right now.  Do not reject this great privilege; do not be disobedient to his commandment.  You can serve God regardless of your situation.  Paul preached while in prison; Stephen preached while he was being stoned to death, and the early believers preached in spite of severe persecution.  As you can see, we have no excuse.  Moses tried to exclude himself from the ministry, but to no avail.  If God sends you (and he does), he will give you all the tools you need to finish your mission. 

            Will we go? 

             A. G.

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The God Who Demands (Exodus 5)

            “Let my people go...”

            Our God is sovereign and his authority is absolute.  His domain extends from eternity to eternity; he is the only God, the ruler of the universe.  The Lord who created the heavens and the earth, also created us for Himself.

            For this reason, God has control of our destinies.  He gave us life, and he can take it away, for everything belongs to him; and who shall oppose his eternal counsel?  God can demand anything from us, just because he is our Maker and our Master.  He saved us through pure grace and he sustains us physically and spiritually every day.

            God can demand respect, honor and complete obedience, because we were bought with the precious blood of Jesus.  We belong to God for he made from dust and because he saved us from eternal death in hell.  He said through Moses:

            “Let MY people go.”

            What does God demand from us?  He wants our best at all times.  He must reign supreme over us, having the preeminence over ourselves, our families, our dreams and desires.  In short, he is our King, and as such, no one or nothing must ever attempt to occupy his special place in our hearts.

            Our God, however, is not one to impose himself upon our wills using brute force. That tactic is used often by our adversary, but God delights when Christians submit themselves freely and willingly to his irresistible love and his amazing grace. A true disciple is one who offers his best to the Lord, and obeys him in everything.                                

            Are you a disciple of the King?

            A. G.

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The God Who Calls (Exodus 3)       

             "…God called to him…"

            “Moses, Moses!” In this manner God called out to Moses from the burning bush at Horeb, the mountain of God.

            I have heard many sermons about God’s calling for our lives. He has a plan and a purpose for us, and we would do well to find it and follow it. Today, however, we will examine not the call of God, but the God who calls us.

            Have you ever wondered why God called Moses and why he calls us today? He has placed his calling in our hearts because he loves us. We were not able to reach God because there was a wall of separation called sin. Notwithstanding, God loved us and drew near to us, so close that his call came as a whisper (I Kings 19:12). He called us to be saved from sin and death, and he calls us now to serve him.

            Secondly, God calls us because he knows us intimately. He knows our gifts because he gave them to us in the first place! He knows our strengths (and weaknesses), and he puts us in the place where we can be more useful to his agenda. He knows our capabilities, and he can “read” everything that is written in our hearts. He knows us better than we can ever know ourselves!

            Finally, God calls us simply because he wants to use us for his glory. Never forget that God has millions of angels "drooling" for the opportunity to serve God in the ministry of the gospel. They are willing and ready to work for God twenty-four hours a day, God, however, insists on using us, weak and unstable as we are. Only God knows this mystery. Have you heard God calling you? Have you answered?

            A. G.

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