The Treasure of Seasons: Reloaded

Exodus 12:12-13
– For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

Israel found itself in a new season that brought with it a storm like no other. For 400 years they held onto the promises made to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Now along comes Moses and with every plague God brings against the Egyptians, the worst things get. To them it’s like a stone being laid on you but you have strength to push back. But every week the pressure to hold it up gets harder and the weight gets heavier. I have experienced times when I would pray for relief or deliverance and the situation would worsen. The harder I prayed, things would get not just bad but unbelievably horrible. It was like watching one of those time motion things of something decaying. All I could do was just sit there, yet I would try everything to intervene.

When I would intervene it would always include the pleading of my case. I always knew that I didn’t deserve the things that were happening to me. I would confess my righteousness and how different I was from those I felt warranted such suffering. With every proclamation of my goodness, my arms firmed up to hold the stone off of me. Time would pass and my season would continue on. I would look out for friends, family, and people who would testify to my goodness. I sought them out and share my story looking for validation. The stone would get heavier but the pats on the back made me feel vindicated, and I gain strength. Soon I would remind myself of all of my good deeds and remind God that if wasn’t for me people would have not been blessed. I prayed for deliverance in such away that it resembled blackmail or extortion. Yet, the stone became heavier still. I continually reminded God of all that I had done and all that I don’t do because of how good and obedient to him I am. I felt that a person like me does not and should not be treated in such disrespect from God. And still yet the stone got heavier. But then I thought to myself, God is merely exercising my arms to make me stronger so I can carry more blessings to give a few out. I thought to myself, wow there is gonna be an awesome gift at the end because my awesomeness is being tested. Every “word” I heard confirmed my blessing, everything seemed to rightly agree with my heart of having more things as payment from God. Every vague, ambiguous, cloudy, generic, generalized, prophecy about an abundant life was meant for me. Looking back it was meant for everybody in the building and everybody that continues to go to that building.

The pressure to keep the stone from crushing me became to much to bear and I died. As I laid there dying under the weight of the stone I still thought to myself that this can’t be it. I didn’t deserve this at all as I’m not a bad person, plus I don’t judge others. I let people live their own lives. Yes I have seen some bad things but its not my place. I laid there crushed in the season because of fear and pride. I judge and argued in pride, defended and worked out of fear. Every good thing was tainted from the moment of conception. Fear, disbelief in the grace and love of God. Pride, disbelief in the wisdom of God, purpose of God, faith of God and the worship of self.

Make no mistake that during the plagues some Egyptians thought to themselves that this fight is between Pharoah and the Israelites‘ God. There were probably some Israelites who rejected Moses instructions, thinking that the blood on the door post was silly; as they lived a good life which should be enough. Some probably forgot the things done before their slavery began. Some probably conveniently forgot what they turned their eyes from God or the things they gave approval by doing nothing about them. Sometimes we think we can play the indifference game with God. We think that if we stay neutral or wash our hands of it by staying out of the conversation that it absolve us. But in the case of the passover, that thinking is abiliderated. The angel passed over every home and only those that was marked by the blood survived. The angel didn’t stop to review the instant replay. God didn’t ask if a person directly support the stance of the Pharoah, he simply looked to see if what was commanded was done. We usually let a lot of things slide when times are good. We say we don’t but the word of God says that we do. James 4:17 – Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. Our seasons of suffering are never random and the main reason is not to bless us with a new idol.

We desire to rush through our trials because we think its the work of the Devil. But we don’t realize that we have just made Satan more powerful than God. How can a powerful God let a fallen angel crush his children? The problem is that we have forgotten this promise: ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Satan needed God’s permission to move against Job. God is using Satan and everything God does is good. What gives us peace is not God explaining himself to us like we have to agree with his purpose but knowing that he is God.

In our wondering in the wilderness and our bondge something is happening that we can’t see and sometimes its not meant for us to see. Some of us focus way too much on ourselves in our seasons. I can hear paul saying that no one has suffered so much to the point of death on a cross. If we took an honest look at what we are going through, they can’t compare to Jesus. We tend to not look to Christ for strength, peace, joy, happiness, mercy, love, or as someone to imitate because we know what his obedience looks like. Its not that those things we can’t find in Christ but it is the path that those things call for. So we build a life that will insulate us from the path of faith and obedience. We try to out think and out smart God, thus we go through seasons which are meant to display the gospel and the crucifixion of Jesus to a watching world. In the process God brings us his Son and the fruit of the spirit; love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. We can’t be conformed into the image of his Son without walking in faith with the Son, for the Son carrying the cross of the Lord.

If you wouldn’t admit it then I will. My seasons exposed my heart and with every prayer and comparison, God cut deeper. My arrogance kept me for realizing that my own words brought judgment on me and my own words accused me just as the word of God says. My seasons showed me that the measure I hold others too crushed me. With ever claim of my self-sufficiency and self-righteousness brought the weight of God’s standard upon me. I did not believe as Abraham did when he said: ” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” As he was asked to kill his promised son and let the dream die. Abraham trusted God’s promises in thd face of death. In our seasons we are always faced with death but fear and pride, the very sins of Adam and Eve, keeps us from our ram in the bush because we never walk in faith to the altar to lay down our Issac. God had to kill me, crush my strength so I could rest in his. God had to kill me, and put me to sleep and take on the risk of the covenant. God had to kill me, and raise me from the dead to newness of life in Christ. God had to graciously take my crown and humble me in dust and ash. I had to be brought to the place where faith becomes living and walking. Unfortunately, it only happens when we are faced we ith the furnace no matter how hard we resist it. But it’s not so much about the fire than what our faith does in the presence of it, melt or harden.

Daniel 3:17-18
If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.

I watched me to closely when I should have sat and observed the passover with the lamb of God. Sometimes it serves us well to just treat our seasons like the passover. Let us renew the mark of the Lord on our hearts. Let us remember the lamb without spor or blemish. Let us not use the leaven and eat the bitter herbs. Let us sing hymns and remember the promises. Let us remember that the only thing that separates us from the world is God’s grace in choosing us as his people. The best way through the season of suffering is not to move at all, on your own. In the midst of it all most times God is trying to get us to look up and around. To look up and see if we are following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. To look around to realize how far from God we truly are but hate to admit. Our getting back under the shepherd shows the grace of God, his treatment of us shows his mercy as we don’t get what we deserve, his blessing of us in spite of ourselves shows that he is faithful to his promises and his unconditional love. God’s dealings with us in our weakness and suffering has only one way to describe it; that brazen serpent that was lifted up, Jesus Christ the passover lamb.

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