Broken Home Hope

You may still be savoring the sweetness of this past Father’s Day Weekend. I pray so.

Not everyone who God uses grew up in absolutely peaceful homes with white, picket fences. I didn’t. The home I grew up in was often tense. There was yelling. There was the silent treatment. Mom and Dad divorced after 37 years of marriage after I graduated from college.

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Today’s message is how God can still use us as for His service, even when dad or a parent may not be godly or the best role model.

Have you ever heard of a man in the Bible named Korah? Me either.  In Numbers 16, a big, dramatic situation happens with Moses and a rebellious man named Korah. Korah, two other ringleaders named Dathan and Abiram, and 250 Israelite men who were well-known leaders, came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron. They had the audacity to say to Moses, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” –Numbers 16:3

If you remember, Moses had been chosen by God via a cool, burning bush message (Exodus 3) to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land of Canaan.

Moses, in his wonderful humility, fell facedown and interceded when he heard Korah and his cronies’ complaints. The Lord told Moses and Aaron to separate from the 250-person assembly. God was ready to take Korah out for questioning Moses’ authority.

Moses said from the Lord that if the men were to die a natural death, then it was Moses’ idea to lead the Israelites. If Korah and all his men were to get swallowed up alive and all their belongings, it was God who sent him.

“As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.” –Numbers 16:31-33.

Dramatic Debbie-downer story, isn’t it? So what’s my point?

One commentator wrote, “Although this clearly marked the end of Korah, we discover that Korah’s sons, perhaps too young to understand their father’s uprising, were spared…After seven successive generations, the prophet Samuel arose from the line of Korah (1 Chronicles 6:31-38).” During the time of King David, the Sons of Korah became the great leaders in choral and orchestral music in the tabernacle.

When you read the Psalms, some of my favorites like Psalm 46 and Psalm 84, have the words “Of the Sons of Korah” written underneath the title. I never knew what that meant. Of all of the psalms of the Bible, eleven are attributed to the Sons of Korah!

One wonders if the poet who penned the verses remembers his distant patriarch who perished in an earthquake because of his pride and rebellion.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way…Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” –Psalm 46:1-2a, 10.

So what lessons may we learn from Korah and his descendants?

  1. Don’t mess with those who God puts in authority or God will mess with you. AKA Korah.
  2. Know that God calls any of us for His service, no matter our background. AKA Sons of Korah.

May we have the boldness and strong faith to answer God’s call on our lives. Let Him use us, yes, even us, for His service.

Be encouraged, friend.

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” –Psalm 84:10a, 11. Amen.

Reflect:

If you grew up in a tense home environment, how do you feel after reading this message?

What will you do differently? Please comment.

Renew:

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy; How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!” –Psalm 47:1-2.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” –Psalm 84:1-2.

Resource:

–Psalms, Volume 1–NIV Application Commentary by Gerald Wilson.

–www.gotquestions.org/sons-of-Korah

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Making Excuses: The Moses Diagnosis, Post #46

One of my wise supervisors years ago told our non-profit organization’s staff meeting that when we met adversity, we shouldn’t make excuses. That we should instead accept responsibility. Even after Sept. 11, 2001, when the world was in an uproar and the economy was in limbo, we tried not to make excuses. We worked hard to meet our fundraising goals in an adverse climate.

I have remembered that sage advice ever since and thought more about its practical application. In essence, make solutions, not excuses.  It’s not easy to do, though. I’ll give you an example.

Moses is one of my favorite people in the Bible. He was prophet, lawgiver, and dynamic, influential leader.  He was tending sheep with his father-in-law Jethro  when he looked over and saw this ususual flaming bush that would not burn up.

“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.”  (Exodus 3:4 NIV84)

So God talks with Moses and tells him to bring His people out of Egypt. What do you think Moses said after the dynamite,  pyrotechnic bush display in the sheep field?

Moses starts making excuses!  He asks God basically “why me?”  After God reassures Moses that He will be right there with him, Moses asks, “Who do I say sent me?”– another question of doubt and insecurity.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14 NIV84).

By this time God probably assumes that Moses is feeling better about his assignment, so God gives him more training on exactly what to say to the Israelites. Nope, Moses isn’t done with his excuses. Moses’ doubting questions, like “What if they don’t believe me?” turn into plain excuses. Here comes my favorite.

“Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’ But Moses said, ‘O Lord, please send someone else to do it.’

“Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and He said, ‘What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well…I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.’” (Exodus 4:10-14a, 15b NIV84).

Whew. Moses actually had the audacity to tell God to send someone else.  Moses was the king of excuses. Now when I find myself making excuses for something, even without verbalizing it, I call it the “Moses Diagnosis,” and I try to shift toward making solutions.

Moses, of course,  did accept God’s assignments over and over, from leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt to the plains of Moab, across from Canaan; to delivering the 10 Commandments to the people from Mount Sinai; to raising the resources–too many resources– for the Tabernacle.  He was used powerfully by God throughout the Bible as one of the greatest prophets and leaders.

He was close friends with God, which is so sweet. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11a NIV84).

And toward the end of Moses’ life, it was said of him, “And so Moses finished the work.” (Exodus 40:33b NIV84).

Wow. I so want that—both for the Lord to speak with me as a friend AND for me to finish the work, the assignment laid out for me. What about you?  May it be so in us that we accept and complete our God-given assignments with integrity.

God can use any of us to do His work, even with our insecurities. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Let’s work hard to make solutions, not excuses.

Reflect:

–For what are you making excuses in your life?

–Are you thinking someone else will do the assignment that is given only for you to accomplish?

–Please comment below on what you are thinking/feeling after reading this post on “Making Excuses: The Moses Diagnosis.”

Renew:

–“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Prayer of Moses, Psalm 90:17 NIV84).

–“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he [Jesus] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matthew 17:1-3 NIV84).

Recharge:

–Let’s all work hard to Make Solutions, Not Excuses.

–If you aren’t part of a Bible-based church, I encourage you to go on Sunday.

–Please open your Bible and feel encouragement from it daily.

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