Archive for the 'Christianity' Category

Moses, humblest man in the land

I’m currently reading through the Bible again, and although the New Testament went pretty quickly, the Old Testament is going much slower. For this, I blame Moses. Apparently he was the one who wrote the first five books of the Bible. Despite having the creation of the entire universe, the exodus out of Egypt, and God smiting people left and right, it sometimes reads like the back of a shampoo bottle. There’s a reason for this:

Moses needed a good editor.

I realize that some of his poetic writing was probably lost in translation, but there are other parts which are clearly his fault. The number one example is his propensity to repeat the excruciating details multiple times. I’m not sure if it was because he liked to hear himself write or because he just thought the Israelites were so dense they needed to read it multiple times. At the end of Exodus, Moses gives all the details of the tabernacle, tent of meeting, the ark, etc as he received the instructions from God. That’s all fine and good. But then he feels the need to repeat them verbatim as he describes how the Israelites built them. It apparently wasn’t good enough to say “And the Israelites built the tabernacle, tent of meeting, ark, etc just as God had commanded them.” No. Moses had to list the very detailed plans of each one all over again. Maybe its just the engineer part of me offended at the inefficiency of his writing.

I was also amused at one of the verses in Numbers. More precisely, Numbers 12:3 (NIV):

(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

Now I firmly believe than the Bible is the inspired word of God, but I’m personally wondering how much “inspiring” Moses needed to write that verse.

I’m not implying Moses wasn’t humble. Not at all. After listening to Israelites complain all the time, I would be stripped of all ego as well. Moses served as their intercessor to God the entire time in which they witnessed the plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, had seen manna come from heaven, and seen water come from rocks. Despite this, the Israelites continued to doubt Moses’ ability as a leader and often had uplifting feedback such as “Why have you lead us into the desert to die?”

Not that I would have been any better as an Israelite during that time. They were traveling through deserts. The first thing I would have been complaining about is the lack of A/C. And why, for the love of all things noble and good, did we have to walk there? Its so unnatural.

Despite the complaining, Moses never gave up on the Israelites. He was always willing to go to God on their behalf to make sure they had what they needed. If it had been me, I would have given up on them not long after leaving Egypt. I would have prayed to God: “Just between you and me, maybe you should leave these people in the desert, and get yourself some new people. I hear the Midianites are nice.” But Moses put the needs of the Israelites before his own. There’s a word for that.

Before Moses even got started on this journey out of Egypt, he spent about forty years in Midian tending the flocks of another man, his father in law. That had to be a humbling experience. Seeing Moses’ entire life seems to be a lesson in humility, maybe its not that hard to believe that he really was the humblest man on the face of the earth.

Witnessing God

In the quagmire that is my brain, I recently went down a couple of paths of thought that led me to one conclusion about what else I should be writing in this blog.

The first train of thought was actually pretty short. I was simply noticing the categories that I have in this blog, and how many posts of each kind I have. (Yes, I know I have a lot of spare time.) Even though I have several in the Christianity category, they’re all about the recent missions trip I was on. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it sent me down the path of “is that all God has done in my life recently?” I don’t think those few posts are very representative of what God has done for me. I began musing about what I could possibly write about. The problem is: I’m not a teacher, I’m not a pastor or even a deacon, I’ve never been to seminary or been ordained. I definitely don’t feel comfortable or qualified for writing essays about theology or philosophy. Not being a teacher or inspirational speaker, I don’t think I could write posts about uplifting stories or Bible studies or devotions. So what is it that I could do?

The second train of thought got started during one of my quiet times. I was thinking about evangelism, and how I could grow in that area. The missions trip was the only conscious effort I’ve had recently towards evangelism, and I wanted to change that. But being an introverted self-employed software engineer, I spend most of my time at home. Regular social activities usually involve Christian friends or people from church. I don’t meet that many non-Christian people because of this, so who am I to be a witness to?

That’s where these two trains bumped into each other. The easiest way to evangelize to people is to tell them what God has done for you. All I need to do is tell about how I’ve seen God working in my life. I can leave the teaching up to the experts. As far as to whom do I be a witness to, I can be witness to whomever reads this blog. I honestly don’t think there’s all that many people that ready this blog, but it is an audience, and its still probably larger than the number of people I talk to daily.

So from time to time I’m going to post about what God has done in my life. The first step is to post my testimony, which I’ve already done. I’m not sure how frequently I’ll end up posting, but I’m hoping with a certain regularity. If I’m feeling frisky, I’ll not only post what God has done for me, but what I learned from the experience and how I think it applies to my life. I’m hoping this forces me to be more aware and conscious of how God is moving in my life.

My Testimony

I grew up going to church. My family was very involved in a local church, and I was there just about any time the church was open. My parents felt it was important to teach me about Jesus at a very young age. Even at a young age I knew that man was sinful, that sin separated man from God, and that Jesus had come, died, and had been raised again to reconcile man to God.

But it wasn’t a personal knowledge. It was strictly a head knowledge. I knew that man was sinful, but it hadn’t occurred to me that I was sinful. I knew that Jesus had come to die for our sins, but I didn’t occur to me that that included me. Although I hadn’t exactly led a hedonistic life up to this point, I was a sinner. I was focused on myself, and what I wanted. As siblings do, I fought with my brothers, and was completely centered on my own wants and needs.

When I was ten, I was attending one of many Sunday morning worship services at my church. At the end of the service, an invitation to accept Jesus was given. I don’t remember what the sermon was on, but I do remember that during the invitation the pastor reminded us that all have sinned and are separated from God because of it. I had heard this countless times before, but this time it made sense. He was talking about me. I was a sinner. I was missing a relationship with God because of my sin. The Holy Spirit used that thought to convict me.

But at the moment I didn’t have the courage to walk down to the front and speak with someone about it. After we had gotten home from church, I told my dad that I was interested in giving my life to Christ. We talked about it, and he assured me he would be supportive of whatever decision I made.

The next Sunday, the same thing happened: the Holy Spirit used the invitation to convict me. This time, however, I asked my dad if he would go with me down to the altar. He practically carried me. Once there one of the counselors led me through accepting Christ. I acknowledged that I was sinner, that I was separated from God because of it, and was unable to do anything myself to earn my salvation. I acknowledged that Jesus died for my sins, and rose again. I repented and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to be my Savior and the Lord of my life.

The change in my life was immediate. There was an emotional change. I felt a joy and a peace that I had never felt before. There was also a change in the direction of my life. I was no longer wholly centered on myself but actually concerned with the fate of others. I became concerned for one of my friend’s salvation. Within a year I had shared Jesus with this friend, using a tract, and he had come to know the Lord as his personal savior.

Although I grew up in the church, and was surrounded by Christians, that wasn’t enough. I wasn’t saved by just knowing about Jesus and what he had done, or by just going to church, or having Christian parents. It was by grace I was saved through faith. It was a personal decision I made, not something I inherited or earned.

Ephesians 2:8-9 explains this: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Acts 15:11 reinforces this. “No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”