Moses’ Complaint ( by Carley Evans )

Moses complains to the Lord that he’s never been eloquent, even after God starts speaking to him. Rather, says Moses, “I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10, NIV) Rightfully, God declares, “Who gives man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” Then God tells Moses, “Now, go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:11-12)

Even with this awesome promise, this promise to help Moses speak and to actually tell him what to say, Moses balks. He says, “Oh Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13)

God’s “anger burns against Moses.” God says that Moses’ brother, Aaron will speak for Moses who will continue to speak for God. “He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.” (Exodus 4:14,16)

God commands Moses to return to Egypt, to “perform before Pharaoh all the wonders” he now has the power from God to do. God warns, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will not let the people go.” (Exodus 4:21)

In everything, dear Lord, You own the power. You are sovereign. May we humble ourselves before You and worship You in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


“The Lord Makes” ( by Carley Evans )

“Then the Lord says to Moses, ‘Go into Pharaoh’s presence. I have made him and his courtiers obdurate, so that I may show these My signs among them, and so that you can tell your children and grandchildren of how I made sport of the Egyptians, and what signs I showed among them. Thus you will know I Am the Lord.’ Moses and Aaron go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘These are the words of the Lord the God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?'” (Exodus 10:1-3,NEB)

Here in this one passage, we find the duality and paradox of what some call determinism and what some call free will. Here we see God’s sovereign decision making at work, His will, even desire, to harden Pharaoh so that he remains stubborn enough that God must work against the Egyptians at least one more time. We simultaneously see Pharaoh’s own will resisting God’s command to let His people go. Therefore there are two wills at work — one is God’s, one is a man’s.

Granted, God’s will is the stronger of the two; however God has not and does not make puppets. We are not automatons doing whatever it is He wants. God intervenes in time and space, but not exclusively. He is not the only actor in the play.

But to not recognize that He is the Great Director is absurd. To not realize He may step into the action and change the will of the player at His own whim and for His own purposes is a kind of blindness to the obvious truth of scripture.

God chooses. He makes choices. And, the wonderful thing is that His choices are always right, always perfect!

Every One Thrown Down ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus’ disciples stop Him as He is walking away from the temple. They want to show Him the beauty and permanence of the temple. But, Jesus rhetorically asks, “Do you see all these things?” (Matthew 24:2, NIV)

I imagine the men looking at the buildings, then at each other. The inner dialogue: ‘Didn’t we just point out the temple to Jesus? Didn’t He understand?’ I can see them each giving Jesus that blank stare; that look that communicates, ‘What are you talking about!’

Jesus says, “I tell you the truth.” In other words, I’m not lying to you. “Not one stone here,” He continues, “will be left on another, every one will be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:2)

In other words, Jesus tells them that all that they count on as permanent is going to be destroyed. All they build their lives upon is not worth standing on; not one stone is capable of supporting another. All of the stones of the temple will be thrown down, tossed out, deemed worthless.

The only stone that matters, the only one that lasts forever is the Cornerstone — Jesus Christ.

Heart Movement ( by Carley Evans )

The Lord appoints, says Moses, Bezalel son of Uri, to build the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. He fills Bezalel with His Holy Spirit and “with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every kind of craft to design artistic works in gold, silver and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every kind of artistic craft.” (Exodus 35:31-33, HCSB)

On top of God’s Holy Spirit and beyond the skills given, Bezalel’s “heart moves him to come to the work and do it.” (Exodus 36:2)

Thank You Lord for Your indwelling Holy Spirit; thank You for the skills each of Your people are gifted by You; thank You Lord for the hearts moved to do Your Will in this world. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Like the Tax Collector ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus seems most disgusted by persons who “choose the best places for themselves.” (Luke 14:7, HCSB) These persons “recline at the best place” at a wedding (Luke 14:8), “love the front seat in the synagogues” (Luke 11:43), and pray, “God, I thank You that I’m not like other people — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.” (Luke 18:11-12) They invite only friends and relatives and rich neighbors to lunch “because they may invite [them] back” so they are repaid. (Luke 14:12)

Jesus knows these people who seek to be first — “to be exalted” — are to “be humbled, and the ones who humble themselves are to be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)

The person justified before God, per Jesus, is the tax collector — the man who stands far off, “does not even raise his eyes to heaven but keeps striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me — a sinner!’ I tell you, this one goes down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14)

Lord, thank You so much for Your willingness to sacrifice Yourself for me, a sinner now saved by Your grace.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Be Perfect ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, HCSB)

He starts by acknowledging that the Law of Moses calls for ‘tit for tat’ — or “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38). If someone strikes you, strike him back. If someone sues you, resist him in court. If someone steals from you, demand reparation. If your enemy hates you, hate him back.

But, Jesus turns the Law upside down.

He commands, “Do not resist an evildoer.” (Matthew 5:39)

I’ve read about our right to defend ourselves, how Jesus never means that we can’t take up the sword against our enemies — but I don’t see that here. I hear Jesus say, “Do not resist.” Under force? — submit; being sued?  — settle; hit? — turn the other cheek; robbed? — give.

Why? Here’s the kicker. Jesus reminds us that even “the Gentiles” — i.e. those who do not have the Law of Moses “love those who love [them].” (Matthew 5:46) That’s easy! Anyone can do that! Anyone can greet the one who greets him! But God, our heavenly Father, is perfect. “For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)

“Therefore,” says Jesus, “be perfect.”

Father God, help us to love our enemies — those we consider ‘unlovable’. Remind us that You love all people, and send Your goodness out to the entire world. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Caught In A Loophole

The Pharisees are big talkers about adhering to the law of Moses. They criticize Jesus for picking grain heads on the Sabbath so He and His disciples can have a snack. When dining in the home of the ruler of the Pharisees — yes, Jesus does not only dine with sinners; He also dines with high religious leaders — He asks the lawyers and Pharisees presumably dining with them if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. “But they remain silent.” (Luke 14:4,ESV)

Now there is a man “who has dropsy before Him.” (Luke 14:2) Jesus decides to heal him and send him away. The Pharisees are reclining at dinner, marveling at Jesus’ unwillingness to obey the law of Moses. Jesus challenges them, saying, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out.” (Luke 14:5) Jesus may as well say to them, “You’ve completely misinterpreted the intent of the law of Moses. The law is not meant to harm, but to heal.”

Father God, help us to remember that the law originally was designed to protect people from illnesses, maintain and promote community life, and support righteous living. The law of Moses was never intended to make us perfect. Only Your Son is able to sanctify us. Help us to be grateful. In Jesus’ Name, amen.