Monday, July 24, 2017

Hear His Voice

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea, split the sea in two, that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land. But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate that they will go in after them. Exodus 14:15-16

“At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment, the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here." Matthew 12:41-43

For he is our God,
we are the people he shepherds,
the sheep in his hands. 
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah,
as on the day of Massah in the desert.  Psalm 95:7-8

Why cry out “Lord, Lord?” When Moses does so, God reminds him that he has the power to work the “miracle” needed on his own. 

Lift up your staff.

Stretch out your hands.

Split the sea on two.

Pass through dry land.

Ironically, after traveling through the parched desert, the obstacle to escape for the children of Israel to overcome was WATER!  After not having enough of it, they had more than they needed. Yet, the power to get over and through that was not in God’s hands but was in their hearts.  If they believed in their own potential, then they could and would continue their escape route.

Long before “The Shawshank Redemption,” one of the greatest escape movies ever made was “Papillion.”  (“Cool Hand Luke” was the other.)  Steve McQueen plays Henri "Papillion" Charriere who is sentenced to life in a French penal colony for a murder he didn't commit.  He was imprisoned on the French penal colony called Devil’s Island and tried to imitate his tattoo and change from a prisoner into a free man. 

Whether or not he was guilty of murder may be in doubt, but in a dream, the judge at his trial accused him of a different “crime.” 

Judge (in a dream sequence): I accuse YOU... of a WASTED LIFE!
Papillon: Guilty... guilty... guilty...

For Papillion on his friend, Dega, they knew that they could not stay in that place.  As Dega said at one point in the movie, “If I stay - here in this place -I will die!”  Rather than risk the death of staying in place and not changing (repenting), they try repeatedly to escape.

In each escape “exodus,” they were willing to risk years of solitary confinement when recaptured in order to escape the prison.  They were unwilling to allow the legal system or the prison system to control their very being.  Papillion was cut from the same cloth as Paul Newman’s Luke Jackson, Timothy Robbins’ portrayal of Andy Dufresne and Charleston Heston’s Moses. 

Moses rejected his “false” life as an Egyptian prince to reclaim his identity and lead the Hebrew people out of captivity and to the Promised Land, despite the obstacles they would face.  He is an example of being true to your real self.  Unfaithfulness to the nature of our life in faith is the true sin as Jesus reminds the Pharisees. 

The Ninevites who repented and the queen of the South (Sheba) were pagans who responded to lesser opportunities than have been offered to Israel in the ministry of Jesus, something greater than Jonah or Solomon. At the final judgment, they will condemn the faithless generation that has rejected him.

After traveling through life, the obstacle we have in our path is life.

We have the “power” to control our lives and escape whatever imprison us physically, spiritually or emotionally right in our heads, our hearts, and our hands. If we stay in any one place without risking change, we will end up dying in that same place. 

How can we live out our faith and the voice of God that we hear by not demanding more of the Lord but by fulfilling what the Lord asks of us? 

Christ is counting on you.

And I am counting on Christ. 

No comments: