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A PASSION FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD

July 21, 2016

Text: “Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them.  And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” Exodus 18:8-9

Moses, the great Emancipator of the Israelite people, was both kindly and affectionate toward the people of the nation-to-be over which he was both religious and civil leader. Yahweh had supplied Moses with great powers by which to embarrass the Egyptian empire and cause Pharaoh to free the Hebrew slaves. Shortly afterwards Moses and Joshua turned back the military threat of the Amalekites. Moses and Jethro shared the rejoicing regarding the blessing of freedom Yahweh had produced to secure the former slaves.  Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” Exodus 18:8-9 

After Moses was born of Hebrew parents, he was rescued by the daughter of Pharaoh from the pogrom against male Hebrew children and reared as an Egyptian prince. At the same time he was provided for by his Hebrew parents and also steeped in their culture. It was natural, then, that he had a great affinity for the Israelite people and culture. Thus Moses was both kindly affectionate to and ambitious for Israelites. As a grown man he was moved as he witnessed an Egyptian man abusing a Hebrew slave and took the measure of killing the Egyptian, being forced to flee prosecution. ( cf. Exodus 2:1-15)  This was a great demonstration of the solidarity  and compassion of Moses with his race.

Moses was an extremely heavily burdened  individual as he governed, judged, and provided for the hordes of former slaves as they sojourned in the desert waiting to receive the promised land. They failed God and Moses in countless ways as they struggled to find a home and form a nation. Expectancy soared as the people sent 12 spies to survey the land God had promised. But when 10 of the spies returned and opined that the obstacles were insurmountable the people refused to undertake the conquest. God himself was so disgusted with their faithlessness that he threatened to send a pestilence to destroy  them . (Numbers 14:11-12) But Moses with his love and hope for Israel stepped up and pled for God to abandon this intent to destroy. ” And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty,visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.” Numbers.14:17-19  What determined passion Moses authenticated for God’s people! 

The concept of the people of God is a frequent subject in both Old and New Testaments. Remembering the covenant he had made with Abraham, God delivered Abraham’s descendants from their 430 year bondage to the Egyptians  and made a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai. I will take you to be my people…” Exodus 6:7a Thus these folk may be called “the people of God”. As God did to these persons  in slavery to the Egyptians, so he did to mankind in bondage to sin calling those who obey him, “my people”.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Hebrews 8:10 (This verse calls Christians “my people”, as quoting God.)

If we love God’s people, here is what we must do.

Love  the church (God’s New Testament people) like Moses loved God’s Old Testament people. Read the first five books of the Old Testament and observe how Moses interacted with Israel. He faced large responsibilities, but he acted in a humble way. He performed humble tasks in unpretentious ways. “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3

Remember, the church is made up of people. Here’s a news flash: all people sin and have big problems.   Elders, elders’s wives, preachers, preachers’ wives, deacons – everyone! Romans 3:23 Don’t throw stones – give love and comfort. Try to bring about reconciliation.  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 The church is not a building: it is people.  Treat the people in the church like people! Make the church your priority!

Show your love for God’s people by acts of  love. Love goes a long way toward healing hurts, comforting the bereaved, supporting the weak and downhearted, uplifting the burdened. Believe me, you have plenty of love to apply to people in need. Learn to love the unlovable. ” …and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you…” I Thessalonians 3:12

Just do it like Moses did!  “In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another…” Romans 12:10 ASV

 

REM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    Yes! And that’s a big demand. Loving the unlovable is probably the biggest thing we’re called on to do. And, so often, we’re not prepared for it. And we make excuses just like Moses did. But it’s the right thing to do.–ls

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