The God who made our universe is unchangingly reliable, “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” That’s good news in a harsh and unreliable world. We have a divine counterclaim and divine counterexample to the world around us. In a world that is regularly ruthless and self-absorbed, God is always “compassionate and gracious.” In a culture increasingly ready to do and say anything, God continues to act consistently and overflows with “love and faithfulness.”
Today’s text suggests that God is not a distant deity with vague warm feelings toward his creatures. Instead, the Lord’s compassion and grace overflow in action with an abundance of steadfast love and faithfulness. God’s heart, God’s word and God’s actions are all congruent with one another. So it should be for all of us who claim to follow and lead in God’s Way.
Seeing life as a gift and seeing our redemption as a gift shapes the kind of leaders we become. Biblical hope is irresistibly resilient not because we are great leaders who are relentlessly determined to overcome all obstacles, but because the LORD is “the compassionate and gracious God.”
Is there a personal God and what might such a God be like? One of the problems with the way the Bible describes God is that God cannot be manipulated. In other words, no scientific experimentation is possible. If we are to know anything about God, it would require God’s self-revelation. That’s why the Bible is the essential book of human culture, since it claims to be the unique record of God’s self-revelation in human history. So, what is this God of the Bible like?
I find myself on the other side of the worst six years of my life. I’m not exaggerating, and I hope you’ll take my word for it. In the middle of those six years, someone asked me how in the world I was surviving it all. We were standing next to my car… I remember that I leaned my left hip against the car and said to her, “The thing that surprises me is that I haven’t lost my faith.” It still surprises me.
Moses didn’t have a smart watch but he did have a smart mentor. Jethro, his father-in-law, spoke clearly about Moses’s leadership so that he could have a much healthier work/life balance.
Moses was overly stretched trying to single-handedly shepherd the tens of thousands of Hebrews who had fled Egypt (some scholars think the number could have been in the millions). Moses realized that the way he was leading wasn’t sustainable and, thankfully, he had a mentor, Jethro, who could speak some sense into him!
Like Moses, we must all assess the various ministry tools at our disposal. Are you a wordsmith, who uses the tools of communication? Perhaps you are an athlete, actor, writer, lawyer, doctor, politician, engineer, or artist. No matter what the tools, when you function in these roles as a way to glorify God, you are a marketplace minister.
For several days we have been working together on the question: Did Joseph ultimately fail? We know that his plan and execution of this plan kept thousands of people alive through years of famine. But, his plan also led to the enslavement of these thousands to Pharaoh.
Last week, we began to consider whether Joseph ultimately failed in the most important work of his life. In Friday’s devotion I made the case for Joseph’s success. Today I want to present the other side of this argument.