Exodus 13:3 And Moses said to the people, “Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; no leavened bread shall be eaten. 4 This day you are to go forth, in the month of Abib. 5 And when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jeb′usites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month…9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt…18 But God led the people round by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle…
“by strength of hand the Lord brought you out.”
Memory of the Lord walking with us is still “the road out” of bondage! The Israelites began their journey with the promise of an oasis, a land flowing with milk and honey. But between their bondage in Egypt and that land of freedom lay a vast wilderness with other less obvious adversaries they would have to conquer. Remember, their battle wasn’t just with an Egyptian army, a sea, a lack of water, unfamiliar food, dietary restrictions and years in a vast wilderness, but with themselves. The Lord’s plan was to equip their memory by His faithful presence for an ongoing battle against the unrelenting, hidden influences of the other enemies that must be met and overcome along the way: the Hittites, broken and fearful, the Amorites, bitter, broken and babbling and the wicked Hivites. “And the Lord went before them” leading them by day and by night. Remember!
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.“ ESV
It’s happened again! This one verse just happened to show up twice out-of-the-blue in a week’s time. It’s meant for my heart. It still surprises me to be reminded in such a simple way that the Word of God is meant for that specific purpose. It’s not just accidentally falling into place.
God has a plan for your life:
the right Word at the right time in the right place.
The right Word is COME. That’s all Jesus asks. Don’t clutter it up with anything else like needing a perfect place or time or whether it happens to to feel meaningful right then. The main thing is the choice to come. I know you want to validate your time but if you will just come, Jesus will do that for you.
The right time is NOW. NOW is the word used to draw attention to a particular moment. NOW is the moment when so many of life’s systems seem to have fallen apart. NOW is the moment when our labor is being challenged and redefined. NOW is the moment when hearts understand heavy laden in ways never before imagined. NOW is the moment when so many are behind closed doors. NOW is the moment of availability “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9). NOW is the moment of opportunity “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.(Rev 3:20). NOW is the particular moment to come.
The right place is YOU…”Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16)
Jesus simply says “come to me“… that’s the “rest” of the story.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare [peace] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
“I don’t know.” That’s probably the most consistent thought in many of our minds these days. We must act on the advice of experts but we are dealing with unknown risk levels. No matter how much information we consume about mitigating the danger of our exposure to Corona virus it’s not enough to ease our minds completely when the time comes for one of those essential trips out of the safety of the exile of self-isolation. Jeremiah reminds us God has a plan and Corona virus is not the only danger of our exile.
“A people in such a position as the Jews in Babylon were in danger in two ways: either to be buoyed up with false hopes, and so to fall into foolish expectations; or, to fall into despair, and have no hope at all, and so become a sullen and degraded people, who would be unfit for restoration, and unable to play the part which God ordained for them in the history of mankind.” (Spurgeon 1887).
God knows the plan even if I haven’t a clue what it is. Exile from the familiarity of daily life has given me a new awareness I need to be equipped to play the part God has set for my restoration. He’s given me expert advice about the one part of my future and hope I am in charge of. I can do this one thing to be prepared even in the exile of self-isolation! “…Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”
2 Samuel 14:13 …“Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. NLT
Joab enlisted a wise woman to confront the king about his reluctance to reunite with his own son. The two things that informed my thoughts about this passage are the importance of, and the difficulty of, personal confrontation. My own go-to plan is to avoid it. It’s a ridiculous plan when I logically think about it because confrontation has played a very real part in my own life of faith but in the heat of the moment my response is just like the king’s – try to ignore and escape the situation and the other person involved as well. It’s not a pretty picture but it’s a human response the Lord of Mercy has a plan for. I’ve named it “the wisdom of mortality.”
The wisdom of mortality is exactly what the woman of Tekoa spoke. “Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.” Life doesn’t last forever and that wisdom has made a big difference to me. God has confronted us with our separation from Him through His son, Jesus. The twists, turns and turmoil of life are the proof that we have cracks in our hearts of stone. [v14b] “God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” The wisdom of mortality is that it’s Christ Jesus that is our critical and visible evidence that we’ve been reunited with God.