Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Master and Servant

Moses said to the LORD (Yahweh), "O Lord (ADONAY), I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue."   13.  But Moses said, "O Lord (ADONAY), please send someone else to do it."  Exodus 4: 10, 13

This week we continue in Moses' story as we discover our relationship with ADONAY, Lord, Master.  In the passages above, Moses addresses God as Adonay, acknowledging that God is his Master at the same time he is questioning God's calling.

Take a minute... have you ever done this?  I know I have, probably way too often.  And then I wonder, 'how can I question God's choice!?  That's pretty brazen!  And not how I should respond, regardless of what I think about myself.'  Then I get into the whole downward spiral of beating myself up for questioning God and not feeling worthy of His calling.  It's a rabbit hole of negativity that I find myself falling down.  Have you been down that rabbit hole?

The Good News is that ADONAY doesn't allow us to fall too far, especially when He is the one giving us a task.  He is our Master and calls us to do His work, not our own.  He equips us, even when we doubt ourselves.  And when we really doubt our ability, like Moses did, He allays our fears by sending help.  Yahweh, our personal redeemer, sends someone to grab our ankle and pull us up out of the rabbit hole, like Aaron did for Moses.  Aaron came alongside Moses to carry out the Lord Master's plan of setting His people free.

My personal 'rabbit hole' is trying to figure out what it all means... As I'm reading the Bible I often wonder 'what was God thinking?!  What was the point?  Why did God or a person make that choice?  What am I suppose to get from this story?'  While exploring, wondering, and questioning can be useful tools to a deeper understanding and faith, they can also set a trap of out of control questions, guesses, and tangents that take me further away from the Truth.  When I notice that I've gone down that twisting, twirling tangent I listen for God's voice, I pray for guidance back out of that dark hole and on to the right path.  I return always to the truth of God's love for me, that He is both Adonay (Lord, Master) and Yahweh (LORD, always near).  I am His servant; He loves me and would not ask of me anything that He cannot do through me.  He has given me a brain with which to gain knowledge, help others and I should use it for good, not for questioning God's command.

As you work through the study questions on page 40 and 41, take the time to write out your answers (either in the book or in your journal).  Spend some extra time on questions 4 and 6.  Try to be very honest with yourself, though it's not always easy to do.  And for question 6, if there has been someone specifically who has come alongside you, allow this to be an opportunity to acknowledge them.  Reach out to them and let them know how thankful you are.  Perhaps they are unaware of your gratitude.  Either way, it's always nice to hear a word of thanks!

REMINDER: We will not meet at Redeemer this week, Oct 31st or next week, Nov 7th due to numerous conflicts.  Keep reading and I will keep posting; we can have our study right here on the blog over the next 2 weeks!  I look forward to reading your comments and discussing "ADONAY  LORD, MASTER" with you.  Click here to post your comment.
For next week, read "YAHWEH ROPHE THE LORD WHO HEALS".

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." Proverbs 16:24

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A close, personal Redeemer

"God replied, "I AM WHO I AM.  Just tell them, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"  Exodus 3:14 (NLT)

Have you ever felt like God is just up there, far away and uninterested in life here on earth?  I have and suspect that even the most devout have too, even if it was fleetingly.  Sometimes, when life is difficult, we wonder if God takes any notice.

He does!  In the reading for this week, Exodus 3: 1-20, we meet THE LORD, YAHWEH, "... a name closely linked to God's redeeming acts in the history of his chosen people". (The Names of God,  by Ann Spangler, pg 33)  It is in the character of this name, YAHWEH, that we take comfort that God has been and will be, always present with those who "... obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways, the LORD will establish you as his holy people as he solemnly promised to do."  Deut. 28:9.

In our reading, Moses is called in a not-so-subtle, yet very private & personal way, to lead God's people out of Egypt.  He comes to Moses, they have a conversation in which God tells him of His concerns about the Israelites, and of the rescue that Moses will lead in His name.  Moses questions God's choice in leadership, but God assures him and promises to be with him.  It is this revelation of WHO God is that will ensure Moses' success as leader, fulfilling God's command.

I have always loved this story, but most often focused on the big, miraculous, exciting things that happened.  Today, thanks to the questions in our study, I am focused more on what God reveals about himself and what that means to me.  What is God revealing to you?  Write down your answers as they first come to you.  But don't forget about it as you go about your life.  Allow the questions and the Scripture to remain with you throughout your day and your week.  Come back to the questions later and see if your perspective has changed or more has been revealed as you spend time with God's Word.

The next time you have a conversation with God and He calls you to something you don't think you can do, call on YAHWEH.  When you feel like God is far away, pray to THE LORD, YAHWEH  and remember His promises.  YAHWEH  IS and always WILL BE, He is with us,  He is merciful, gracious, rich in unfailing love and forgiveness; He is a strong fortress and will save us from our sins.  These words and many more descriptions of YAHWEH can be found in the "passages for continued study" on page 37.  As you read through these passages, make note of the descriptors of THE LORD.  What comfort and strength do you receive from them?  If you don't yet have the book, I am happy to list the passages in the comments,  just ask :)

In your journal this week, write about a time when you met THE LORD, YAHWEH.  Your experience may not have included a burning bush, but anytime God is with us during a challenge is significant.  As you recall the time, reflect on how you felt before, during, and after.  Record how the experience effected you and those around you.

"May the LORD bless you and protect you.  May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.  May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace."  Numbers 6: 24-26

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One step at a time

"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns."  Genesis 22:13a

Have you ever found yourself at the corner of "a rock and a hard place"?  What did you do?  Where did you turn?  What was the state of your heart?

In this week's study, we are exploring YAHWEH YIREH, The Lord Will Provide.

The verse above is taken from the larger story found in Genesis 22.  God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his only and long awaited for son, Isaac.  Personally, I have gone through the gamut of emotions with this passage over the years.  From horror that God would ask such a thing, to horror that Abraham would go as far as he did!  I've also been sad, mad, confused, worried and scared.

I've even put myself in Sarah's shoes a few times and wondered what she was thinking as her husband & son went off into the dessert.  Did she have a feeling something was amiss?  I truly struggled with the whole idea that God would put his trusted servant to the test in this way.  Hadn't Abraham already proven how faithful his was?  And by extension, if He tested Abraham like this, what could He have in store for me?!  I'm not up to that kind of test!

However, as I read it with the understanding of The Lord Will Provide, I see that perhaps this is as much a test for us, the readers, as it was for Abraham.  Perhaps we are meant to struggle with this story of belief, faith, sacrifice, and provision.  Maybe we're suppose to move forward, one step at a time, and allow God to provide for our future, just as Abraham trusted that God would provide a lamb for the sacrifice.

Our author, Ann Spangler, brings this idea to light when she asks us to compare this scene with John 1:29, where John the Baptist declares Jesus as the Lamb of God.  Spend some time with question 3.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the connection between the scenes AND how it relates to your life.

When have you met YAHWEH YIREH?  When has The Lord provided for you?  I'd love to read your story of provision!  Don't forget, click here to go to the website to Comment, if you are reading this in your e-mail.

I look forward to seeing many of you in person on Friday morning!  Remember, though, this is also for those who cannot make it in person.  Follow along in the book (The Names of God by Ann Spangler) and connect with the group through the comments.  If you are a friend or member of our home church, Redeemer Lutheran, connect with us during other events and on Sunday mornings!  If you are joining us through this blog and live in the area, we'd love to meet you at Redeemer!  Go to our website for all the details of where & when.

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24