Our daily readings are running behind the lectionary. This is in part because I read from the beginning to the end of chapters, and partly because I get told not the read the graphic bits by my beloved, who visualizes the rituals. We are taking a long time to get through Exodus.
One of the things that has become apparent to me is that Moses was not merely a murderer and revolutionary (or by Egyptian terms, a traitor sent into exile) but his own life was stressed. His wife had left him. As our preacher pointed out, his children were being raised fatherless.
Moses was working from dawn to dusk judging the people, and when he left (despite having delegated responsibility to Aaron his brother, when the people could not see him, they looked to their old habits.
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
Without the presence of Moses, the people broke discipline. This led to Moses interceding, for God was considering leaving them to enter the promised land by their own efforts.
The Lord said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ 2 I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
It is worth noting that the Israelites would have still inherited the land, as merely another nation, another tribe, founded and placed by God, as he had indeed moved the Canaanites and the other tribes into Palestine. But they would have been without God.
Within a year of being delivered by God's hand from Egypt.
We may think we are not that foolish: but we are, over and over again, forced to deal with leaders that leave: some retire, some die, some are forced out by scandal, and some are false and frankly abusive. No church is protected. The enemy wants to take down our leaders, for we are like the Israelites. We have been freed at a price. And like the Israelites, we can return to our habits of sinful slavery, as they returned to their habits of worshiping idols as they did in Egypt.
But that is not the only risk. The bigger risk is when we think that we don't need God. The Israelites were not that foolish.
10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
The rich have a tendency to consider that the local priest or minister is their servant. They contribute a large amount of the giving, and they know money talks in the world. But the church is not the world. When the rich start subverting the systems that keep priests safe from financial corruption -- or start demanding that there is no preaching of inconvenient godly principles -- the fear of God has left the congregation.
And the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. One of my priest mates has served in Africa. There the bishops and priests say to the wealthy liberals that they are not wanted, and their money is not wanted either. This speech was given at the United Methodist Conference this month: follow the link, it is very good.
But with all due respect, a fixation on money seems more of an American problem than an African one.But with all due respect, a fixation on money seems more of an American problem than an African one. We get by on far less than most Americans do; we know how to do it. I’m not so sure you do. So if anyone is so naïve or condescending as to think we would sell our birth right in Jesus Christ for American dollars, then they simply do not know us.
We are seriously joyful in following Jesus Christ and God’s holy word to us in the Bible. And in truth, we think many people in the U.S. and in parts of Europe could learn a great deal from us. The UM churches, pastors and lay people who partner with us acknowledge as much.
Please understand me when I say the vast majority of African United Methodists will never, ever trade Jesus and the truth of the Bible for money.
We will walk alone if necessary...
Jerry P. Kulah
So, what should we do? As pew sitters: support our pastors and encourage them to be men of God. To preach the gospel, when approved or not approved. For the day of harvest is upon us, and we have a people never evangelized in the West courtesy of the long march of Chulthu and his minions through the institutions.
We should be generous to the church: in prayers, with our finances, and our talents. For the greatest task we have is proclaiming Christ.
We can let the secular nationalists preach tribe and blood, King and Country, and the globalists carbon credits and the unicorn rainbow.
We have a higher calling. Besides, we should not be like them.
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