Friday, April 9, 2010

A Plan and A Purpose

Well, here we are, back at Acts 13.  Did I mention I just love this passage?  Verse 17: The Israelites are slaves in Egypt, and during this period God "made the people great."  The New King James version says God "exalted the people." 

Without a lengthy discussion as to why God allowed the Egyptians to enslave His people, let me just say that when I think of God's plans and purposes I am reminded of the movie Bruce Almighty -- a little strange, I know, but just stick with me on this one.  "Bruce" has been given the task of being God, an object lesson of sorts for a guy who can't stop complaining about the way God treats him.  He uses his Godly powers to grant everyone exactly what they want, or so he thinks; he quickly finds that the windfall of one is the downfall of another.  The story of the Israelite people is an awesome example of God's mastery of this principle; His timing is perfect, and His plans are perfect.  He allows the Israelites to remain slaves in Egypt while the Amorites, a heathen nation that was just begging for God's judgment, more or less fashions enough rope in which to hang themselves.  While He's at it, God metes out some justice on His own people, subjecting them to slavery much the same way their fathers sold God's beloved, Joseph to slavery. 

Lastly, and this is the purpose that resonated most clearly with me, He develops them.  He increases them in strength and number while they sit, and toil, and suffer, and question, and even vilify Him.  One of His purposes for allowing the Jews to become slaves was, they were not ready for the inheritance He had for them!  Whether it is a period of illness, separation, misdirection, or just stagnancy, God has a plan for it!  It seems even the most trying of circumstances provide for us some answers, some "light at the end of the tunnel," some "worse before it gets better" philosophy.  But what about those times when we are just spinning our wheels?  When it is the same old, same old every day?  In those times it is hardest for me to keep on praising, and keep on trusting; in those times it is most important for me to do so!  God wants to grow me, to develop me for the next stage of my journey.  He wants to make me stronger and fiercer in His service.  And for that, I guess sometimes I'm gonna have to make a few bricks.
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