Tag Archives: Israel

God Is Watching.

“God’s Eye In the Sky” (NASA photo)

   Click.    The backdoor lock sprang and imperceptibly, the doorknob turned. Flashlight off, the intruder paused, listening for the piercing scream of an alarm and hearing none, nudged the door open a tiny crack. In slow motion, he peered around the edge of the door and then crept forward, a stealthy shadow, into the house.

   “Jesus is watching.”

   The man froze in mid-step, bulging eyes straining to distinguish the source of the soft, croaky voice floating from the thick darkness.

   “Jesus is watching.”

   The burglar drew in a sharp breath and then sighed in relief.

   It’s just a bird! A stupid, freakin’ bird!

   The man clicked on his flashlight and aimed it in the direction of the voice.

“Birdie,” he whispered, “it’s hunting season.”

    His light beam danced around the room and then stopped, catching the reflection of a pair of red, glowing eyes and a set of very white bared fangs.

   The voice croaked again. “Meet Jesus.”

   God is always watching. Whether that thought brings any comfort or not is another story entirely. But it should. The knowledge that when things go from wrong to very wrong, from a  small mishap or a disappointed expectation to a long-term heartache or a sudden tragedy, God is not unaware.

   “‘I have seen the anguish of my people in Egypt and have heard their cries [and] I have come down to deliver them . . . for I know their sorrows’” (Acts 7:34, LB; Exodus 3:7, NKJV).

   If you remember, the Israelites suffered as slaves under the cruel oppression of the Egyptians for 400 long years. And in all that time, God was silent.

   But God was watching.

   God witnessed every whipping, every beating, every deprivation, every shameful violation, and every degrading humiliation wrought upon the Israelites by their slave masters. God heard every mournful, wailing prayer, every desperate, sobbing plea for help, and every heart-splintering scream for deliverance as His children begged to be freed from the vicious brutality of the Egyptians. He also listened as the Israelites shouted at, bargained with, cussed out, and  even forsook Him for other gods because of His silence. For silent God was – for centuries.

   But why?

   God does nothing arbitrarily. God had a plan for the birth of a new nation, a people of His own to proclaim His name throughout the whole world. But before that could happen, that  people would be required to suffer slavery for 400 years at the hands of the most powerful gods known to man at that time. Nevertheless, throughout all of those  excruciating years, God never missed a single moment of the suffering of His people; He saw it all – the shredded flesh, the indelible scars, and the tears as numerous as the grains of sand upon the earth.

   Perhaps, in the midst of the pursuit of the destiny that you were 1000% certain God had called you to, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong. Maybe you struggle to find the strength to make it through just one more day. Or perhaps circumstances in life – your hopes and dreams – have simply not happened the way you had hoped they would happen and every day you feel that you’re sinking deeper and deeper into the dark and formless void of hopelessness and nothingness.

   Maybe you’ve ceased to dream at all.

   That’s how the Israelites felt. And my guess is that’s precisely how Moses felt after squandering  his identity as an exalted Egyptian prince and ending up instead a forgotten fugitive on the backside of the desert with nothing to his name except the rags on his back and a crooked staff in his hand.

   Even so, God never relinquished His watch over the Israelites or over Moses; night after night, year after year, decade after decade, He never failed to see. And in the end, God delivered His people in a way far more miraculous than they could ever have  imagined and, in doing so, proved Himself to be the God above every other god on earth.

   If you’re in that place, that desert where dreams die and destiny is destroyed, then hold to the truth that, in order to rise from the ashes, we must first walk through the fire. And should you find yourself in the flames, don’t lose sight of one thing: It’s all part of the plan. Nothing can happen or is happening that God does not see.

   Our God is the god of the Resurrection – and He’s watching you.

Paradise Lost – Or Found?

Promised Land Closed

   Have you ever wanted something so badly that you wait for it and wait for it and then when the time finally comes to get it, you drag your feet?

   The Israelites did that.

   For 40+ years they trekked back and forth through the desert, around this mountain and that mountain, up and down and back again. Imagine spending 40 years touring a dried up piece of real estate not even the size of West Virginia.

   They did that.

   And during all that time, the Israelites dreamed of the land promised to them by God decades before – a “land flowing with milk and honey,” a verdant land of tall, shady cypress trees, of juicy purple grapes the size of golf balls, and vast, golden fields of wheat waving in the breeze as far as the eye could see. And water – cold, clear, flowing streams of water wherever one might wander . . .

   Night and day for 40 years the Israelites thought about that promised land, they talked about it, and they dreamed about it. And then finally the day came when God directed them to enter. But they didn’t. They were afraid. And that’s when Joshua, their leader, posed an interesting question:

   “’How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?’” (Jos. 18:3)

   That’s a fascinating question – perhaps one we all need to examine. How long will we wait until we take possession of the Promised Land that God has vowed to give to each of us?

   I don’t know. Until God hand delivers our dreams to our front door? Odds are that’s not going to happen.

   To “take possession” of the land is not a passive activity; it requires something of us – and it’s not sitting on our padded portions waiting for it to appear. At the very least, as we sit at the yellow light of our dreams waiting for that signal to turn green, some preparation – whatever form that might take – should probably be happening.

   Waiting for that dream job? Buy the proper clothing and arrange transportation. Get the resume ready and hit the pavement. Waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right? Get out of debt. Lose five pounds. Practice patience and giving and civil conversation. Did I mention patience? Waiting for that business to turn a hefty profit? Invest in it; research what the competition is doing and do it better; advertise in places you haven’t before; get innovative; give.

   Are you ready for day one on the job? Are you ready to walk down the aisle? Are you ready to handle a huge bankroll?

   Did the Israelites sit and wait for the Hittites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites and the Anakites and the rest of the ites to pack up and move out so they could move in and take over? No. The Israelites said their prayers, sharpened their swords, designed their strategies, and moved in and forced them out. And that was the least of what they did. Mostly they just killed them.

   Unless God said otherwise, Israel took no prisoners and spared no cities or even animals. In short, they never compromised, and they never surrendered.

   While I’m not suggesting that we kidnap a prospective spouse, burn out a competitor, or loot a bank for capital, I am proposing that in light of God’s admonition to us to “take possession of the land,” we never comprise and we never surrender.

   Are you awaiting permission to go out and appropriate the promises God has made to you?

   Permission granted.