And the Lord said to Moses, Write these words, for after the purpose and character of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.
[Exodus 34:27 AMPC]
And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
[Genesis 37:8 NKJV]
Whenever we sit with our Bibles and consider scripture we must at some point come to the conclusion that some words used are foreign to our understanding with the natural mind. It is a given that we need the inspiration (the breathing in) of the Holy Spirit to help us reach for the Lord's meaning for today. And He will reveal more and more as we mature in our faith. It is a walk after all and we do not reach our destination instantaneously.
Sir Christopher Wren is reputed to have said that his design for St Paul's Cathedral in London was 'awful, amusing and artificial'. You would think that he thought poorly of it, but if we used more present-day words, we would say something like 'awe-inspiring, thought-provoking and beautifully done'. 'Awful' meant full of awe; 'amusing' described how it would engage our attention and hopefully be pleasing, and 'artificial' came from the word 'artifice' meaning clever or ingenious. We sometimes forget that The Bible was originally set down in a language not our own; one that was described as 'word poor', in that one word had many meanings or inflections.
In the Exodus verse above, The Lord urges Moses to consider His covenant after the purpose and character of these words. In other words, "Do you understand what I am saying, Moses?" So when we read the Genesis we see what Joseph's brothers wanted to know. They were making a distinction between dominion and reign. Now both dominion and reign can be and sometimes are replaced by the word 'rule'. So what is the distinction?
To reign has the additional sense of to counsel, to advise and consider, rather than the mere exercise of power. In essence, Joseph's brothers are asking "Are you going to rule with fairness and justice, seeking the best for your people, or are you going to be a tyrant?".
We must always remember that Jesus disappointed His disciples at the end. He was to be King of Kings. For Jesus, 'reigning' seemed to be 'despised of men'; they had yet to realise that His kingdom was turning the world upside down so that we could all be 'rightly related to God'.
What an amazing and wonderful thing it is that we have a Heavenly Father, who seeks no dominion over us, but gives us free will to come to Him or not, just as we choose; but if we choose Him now and every now, He invites us to grow in faith, hope and love until we are ready to rule and reign with His son. Our God reigns!
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. [Revelation 20:6 AV]
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. [Revelation 22:5 AV]
"Our God Reigns" - Edward Rivera and The McClures
OSWALD CHAMBERS - 'RUN TODAY'S RACE'
Thursday 30th April 2020
Faith is more than an attitude of mind,
faith is the complete, passionate, earnest trust of our whole nature
in the Gospel of God's grace
as it is presented in the Life and Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.
[Psalm 18:1-3 NKJV]
In these unsettling days, we have a tremendous assurance of The Lord's covering hand on us, and the peace that comes from His strength encourages us to trust Him, not just in the present trial, but in all things. We have experienced His love, and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. [Romans 8:28 NKJV].
Our God is the only one we can trust. He is unfailing and unchanging. The natural life teaches us to distrust. People let us down, or simply stop short of our expectations. The reality of this is that our focus is on ourselves - what we want - instead of looking to Our Saviour and what He wants. He wants us daily to repent - to turn ourselves around - our gaze on Him, not on ourselves. Looking to Him, we can accomplish great things, in His strength; things we would never countenance in our own.
It puts in mind a poem, written by Leo Marx, Code Poem For The French Resistance. It was used in the film Carve Her Name With Pride, which told the true story of Violette Szabo, shot by the Nazi's as a spy. Violette was played in the film by Virginia McKenna, for whom the poem became a personal favourite. The poem reads as a message of love and faith, both essentials for trust.
The life that I have, is all that I have
And the life that I have is yours
The love that I have of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have, a rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years in the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
The beauty of this poem - as indeed of all great art - is the multi-layers of meaning that can be discerned. It was devised as a code, although what that code was is unclear, but these verses have consistently meant a lot to many people and in many different ways.
Lord, help me to trust in you - and to nurture that trust that I may find 'the peace of my years'. In deed and in truth, 'all that I have is the life that I have' and my life was bought at such a price by You, Lord. Direct my ways to be Yours, and Yours, and Yours.
Virginia McKenna as Violette Szabo in the film 'Carve Her Name With Pride'
OSWALD CHAMBERS - 'RUN TODAY'S RACE'
Wednesday 29th April 2020
Obedience to Jesus Christ is essential, but never compulsory.
In the early stages we have the notion that the Christian life is one of freedom,
and so it is, but freedom for one thing only - freedom to obey our Master.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV]
For the last three days I have had today's title running around in my head trying to find a home. I knew that the Lord was speaking - distilling some things together - but it proved to be an elusive message. Until this morning.
I went to bed last night trying to 'search it out' , and was given a vivid and strange non-sensical dream, in which I was wading into water trying to drag a cluster of eider ducks to shore when they plainly wanted to stay where they were, as well as explaining the Scripture below to our son, Marc.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” [Exodus 16:4-5 NKJV]
'Manna' probably comes from the word manan, to allot, or make a gift of. This manna from heaven is, of course, the Lord's daily provision, except on the sixth day, when an extra amount is made ready to allow for the Sabbath being a day of rest. What the Lord seems to be stressing is that He gives us what we need for now. If any of it is hoarded it ceases to sustain. None of us would consider eating food which had lain out for several days; that would be foolish and damaging to our well-being. Equally, eating more than our daily portion would not be wise either.
let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, must be seen as a daily thing, taking the sustaining manna of His word to help us in overcoming the hazards that could easily send us off the track. Our God is a god of now; of today, and He desires the best for us and He knows what we are like.
But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. [John 2:24-25 NKJV]
If we spend our days living in what happened yesterday and fretting over what might occur tomorrow, then we do not have our all concentrated on Him today. Run the race with Him as your pacemaker; one day at a time ...
"One Day At A Time" - Lena Martell
 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
[Proverbs 25:2 NKJV]
GEORGE and GILL STEWART