Transformation Garden - June 9, 2013

Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:                                                                                                     

“Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality, faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.”

Hebrews 11: 1
Amplified Bible

Faith and Sight

“So I go on, not knowing,
I would not, if I might –
I would rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I would rather walk with Him by faith
Thank walk alone by sight.”

Mary Gardner Brainard

Today’s Study Text:

“I AM the Living God, Lord Jehovah, your God.”

Psalm 81: 10
1stCentury Aramaic
Old Testament - Psalm

EXPLORATION:                                                                                            

“Heaven’s Solution to Earthly Fear” Part 3

“It Is I”

When I read the words of Jesus, saying, “I AM,” how does it make me feel?

Knowing that the power of God, the great “I AM,” is the same Source of power I can draw on in my life, what does this knowledge do in helping me meet the challenges of my day?

“The Son is the Image of the invisible God. All things that belong to the Father He expresses as the Image; all things that are the Father’s He illumines as the splendor of His glory and manifests to us.”

St. Ambrose

INSPIRATION:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”

John 1: 1, 2
K.J.V.

We are told in the book of Exodus, that the former prince of Egypt, a young man named Moses, ended up in the desert of Midian, keeping “the flock of Jethro his father-in-law.” The reason Moses ended up with what could easily be deemed by some as such a menial task was that he killed the wrong guy at the wrong time. Thinking he might be able to speed up God’s work and get his kin-folk released from Egyptian bondage sooner than later, Moses took his wrath out on one of the brutal Egyptian taskmasters. Unfortunately, what Moses thought to be a courageous act, turned out to bring on the scorn of his own people whose divided loyalty brought about Moses’ sudden flight to safety in the home of a Midianite priest.

If I had been in Moses’ sandals, wandering around on a barren, rocky desert terrain, I think I would have felt, at this point in time, that my usefulness for God was over – done and gone! How about you?

But then, in one of those unexpected happenings, which our heavenly Father is so very effective in setting up in our lives. Moses in his wanderings, came upon a burning bush that had one problem associated with it. The bush was on fire but it did not burn up. What’s more, the bush had a voice associated with it that knew who Moses was:

“Moses, Moses…I am The God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Exodus 3: 4 & 6
K.J.V.

But here’s what really drew my attention in this text. And it’s not the fact the bush wasn’t consumed. It’s what the great “I AM” said to Moses that made this encounter become so much more to me than just a story of a shepherd running into a fiery bush.

It is in Exodus 3: 6-8 where we find a duplicated, mirrored image of heaven’s formula for conquering our fears. Here is what God conveyed to Moses, who I might add, probably felt, at this time in his life, that God not only didn’t know where he was, but had forgotten him completely.

Instead we find God shares this information with Moses:

I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them.”

Exodus 3: 7, 8
K.J.V.

I want to share two different ways this passage of Scripture reads. First from The Message Bible which puts in everyday language God’s frame of reference on a tragic situation:

“God said, ‘I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of My people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country.”

Exodus 3: 7,8
The Message Bible

 

            While The Message Bible helps us understand the concern of our heavenly Father as well as His active participation in our lives, it is The Voice Bible, which I have begun to study, too, that lets me hear a more interactive conversation between Moses and the Eternal One (I AM):

“Moses (to himself): Why is this bush not burning up? I need to move a little closer to get a better look at this amazing sight. When the Eternal One (I AM) saw Moses approach the burning bush to observe it more closely, He called out to him from within the bush.

 

Eternal One: Moses! Moses!

Moses: I’m right here.

Eternal One: Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals and stand barefoot on the ground in My presence, for this ground is holy ground. I am the True God, the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

A feeling of dread and awe rushed over Moses; he hid his face because he was afraid he might catch a glimpse of the True God.

Eternal One: “I have seen how My people in Egypt are being mistreated. I have heard their groanings when the slave drivers torment and harass them; for I know well their sufferings.”

Exodus 3: 3-8

The Voice Bible

 

This descriptive exchange helps me comprehend the fact that God was not some satellite in the sky, floating around and checking in on earth’s occupants only when it was convenient. Just the opposite. God told Moses that He heard, He saw, He felt, and He was on His way to deliver. And just so there is no confusion between what some choose to call the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament, if we go to Galilee’s edge, after a day when a multitude of nearly 15,000 people had been fed from a young lad’s meager lunch of five loaves and two fishes, at the early morning hour, with howling winds kicking up a violent storm on Galilee, a lone figure stands at the sea’s edge for He has heard the cries of His dearest ones on earth. He sees the predicament they are in, rowing with all their might, unable to make any headway against nature’s force. And in a moment’s notice, He moves to deliver them. Though darkness prevails it is no deterrent, for help is on the way.

This was the same Deliverer who when Moses asked the “Eternal One,” what is your name? Who should I say you are?, God replied: “I AM THAT I AM…thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent Me unto you” (Exodus 3: 14, K.J.V.). In studying the Hebrew meaning of this phrase, “I AM,” from the word,“hawyaw,” there are three very informative pieces of information which enlighten us. First, “I AM” is always emphatic or forceful in action. Second, “I AM” is never an auxiliary reference. It does not refer to anything or anyone in a secondary assisting, or supportive position. And third, “I AM”has as an associated meaning, a beacon – a bright, dominating light which makes clear a path in the dark.

Is it any wonder that upon Jesus arrival at the side of His distressed disciples, He spoke aloud so they knew who He was. He encouraged them to be courageous –of good cheer, and then He assured them that, “it is I,” the same “I AM” that was at a bush that didn’t burn when Moses was feeling lost and forgotten. And now, the same “I AM” is with you in your distress.

The British commentator, Iwan Russel-Jones, offered this theological viewpoint regarding the passage in Matthew 14: 27, “Take heart, it is I” “Jesus says egõ eimi, which can mean simply, ‘it is I’; but more is being suggested here. For Matthew’s audience, this Greek phrase is packed with significance. These are the words that the Septuagint uses to translate the Hebrew name of God revealed to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3: 14. Jesus is using the divine name to announce His presence. I AM here, trampling victoriously over the waves. In these brief but charged words and in the awesome vision that unfolds before the disciples, Jesus is identifying Himself with God, the liberator and redeemer…who is at the same time the creator of the world and the victor over chaos.”

There’s not much left for me to say as we recognize that down through history, to this very day, the great “I AM” stands by the side of each one of His children, and this includes you and me. “I AM” there, to banish fear and infuse your lives with courageous living – everyday, Jesus assures us.

I appreciate the way Reverend Elizabeth Wade takes the mighty works of “I AM” and relates them to the contemporary world you and I live in right now. For when the waves of terror and the dark of the night envelope our lives, the God of the Night comes to us, to speak, to see, to hear and to deliver.

“God You find me, and Your strong hands lift me into Your presence. You are as large and indecipherable as the night, yet as near and touchable as a mother’s hand. When You lift me, I am suspended in the midst of that night; but Your eyes as well as Your hands hold me, and my fear is contained in Your tender compassion. As the stars twinkle with delight, Your love clothes my nakedness with joy. God, You are so enormous and so full of power. Once I thought that Your grasp might destroy me and that Your voice would be like thunder. Yet, You stoop to earth and open Yourself to my presence. You speak in tones that I can hear and hold me safely in Your presence. God of the night, I praise You.”

The Reverend Elizabeth T. Wade

AFFIRMATION:                                                                                

I chose for today’s Affirmation, the words penned by Emily Elliott in 1864 “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne.” While it isn’t Christmas now, at least according to our calendars, it can be a time of great cheer in our hearts, when we recognize that through all our troubles and toils it is the eternal “I AM,” who chooses to walk with us on the raging water, in every trial, and then stays with us until the very end.

“Thou didst leave Thy throne
And Thy kingly crown
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home
Was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
The foxes found rest,
And the birds their nest in the shade
of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod,
O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
Thou camest, O Lord,
With the living word
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn,
And with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
When the heavens shall ring,
And the angels sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home,
Saying, ‘Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.’
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.”

Emily Elliott
(1836-1897)

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
[email protected]

P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.

My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

  • Editors' Picks

    Why the Church Must Start Talking about Domestic Violence
    Why the Church Must Start Talking about Domestic Violence
  • Don't Think of Church as Your Own Spiritual Power Bar
    Don't Think of Church as Your Own Spiritual Power Bar
  • So You Think Theology Is Impractical?
    So You Think Theology Is Impractical?