Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 6/29/10

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh, An Allegory of the Dinteville Family, Hans Holbein, 1537

“Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.”
Exodus 7:12

Let us, for a moment, meditate on the miracles of the Lord and consider rightly the nature of God’s deliverance as the hands of evil are raised against His people.

Nothing was left to the children of Israel but faith... Faith in God, faith in the promise of deliverance, faith that the time would come when they would rise up against the hands of their slave masters and throw off the grim bondage of oppression and slavery and find hope had once more been restored to their lives.

Yet, for how long? As one generation passed to another and hundreds of years had passed the longing, burning question of their souls had to be how long? How long would they be left, how long would they be made to feel the sting of the whip, their backs breaking under the forced labor of being pushed without mercy or even pity? How long could they endure all they had been forced to endure?

It is here, with those questions amidst our hearts, that we see the miracle of Aaron’s staff.

Before the might of all of this world Moses and Aaron stood in the court of Pharaoh. Two lowly slaves against the power and the authority of an empire that made the world tremble as their armies marched like an unstoppable swarm. Two lowly slaves against the wisdom and the enlightenment of an empire that stood at the pinnacle of science and technology, knowledge and mysticism, marvelled at with awe on the lips of all whom it encountered. Yet, for all that it was it could not but be swallowed whole by the power of the living God of Abraham and Isaac.

This world’s might and authority, its wisdom and enlightenment throws down its rods and its staffs and, as it does, it surrounds our own with what seems like such a triumphant force, with such victorious numbers that it seems almost impossible for us to be able to survive its attack. Yet, the Lord of deliverance and the God of freedom, our Heavenly Father moves in the most significant of ways to set to flight the strength of this world and show unto us that it is all in vain if it is not guided by faith, love, compassion and mercy. Through Christ Jesus the sin that it brings is swallowed whole until finally there is nothing left except the lowly staff of a slave lying there, a slave ready to lead his people to the blessed air of liberty in the hope that only the Lord our God can bring.

This is why, as we look to the captivity and bondage of this world we must look to the hand of God for deliverance. It perhaps starts with the smallest of miracles but it becomes the most consuming of loves that He shows for those who languish in the deepest of struggles and He magnifies His love and His light in the lives of His people.

Look then to the staff of the Lord, look to that which He throws down in the fight against sin and iniquity and know that it shall always and forever claim the authority and the might regardless of the power and the strength that this world may show. It is then that our trust has the firmest of foundations and the greatest of optimism as we know that our deliverance and the deliverance of the enslaved and the imprisoned is coming.

Let us pray:

The strength of our heart is the faith that we abide in as we look to O Lord...

The courage of our soul is the love that we dwell in as we hear You O Lord...

Unto You do we place all of our hope, unto You do we give all of our trust as we look to the abiding hope of Your transcending, encompassing promises, those blessed assurances of Your wondrous Word. Show unto us the mercy of Your hand and the compassion of Your heart as we seek and implore Your grace in the lives of Your people.

As You have freed the Asian Glory, bringing that crew once more to the hope of Your freedom after their five months of captivity, show that grace unto the 2 German aid workers taken in Darfur, the British aid worker in Chad, and the 19 crew members of the Golden Blessing, all now in the grim estate of dark bondage. Rise up Your head like in those ancient days and show forth Your love in the lives of Your people, swallowing whole the bitter bondage and the brutal slavery that so encompasses the lives of these people. Pour forth Your blessings in their lives and let not their days be marked with darkness, move through them and in them to bring them to the deeper assurances of Your encompassing word as You guide and protect them, raising Your rod and Your staff for them.

Let all that rise against them be set to flight and let Your hope move through them and in them as You give forth the richest blessings in their lives in even these brutal days of hurt and hardship that so threaten to devour them.

Then shall songs of praise be lifted to Your Holy name as You give Your people the courage to rise above and the hope to make it through in the encompassing mercy of Your blessed name.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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