Posts Tagged ‘Suffering’


Numbers 14:5-9,11-12,17-22,24,34,41-43 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”… And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!”… “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.” Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice… But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land… “‘Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy’… But Moses said, “Why are you now disobeying the Lord’s orders to return to the wilderness? It won’t work. Do not go up into the land now. You will only be crushed by your enemies because the Lord is not with you. When you face the Amalekites and Canaanites in battle, you will be slaughtered. The Lord will abandon you because you have abandoned the Lord.”

As we read through this chapter, we see God’s wrath clearly and traces of His mercy but how can an all-seeing and all-loving God permit the Israelites to suffer so much? (more…)


Leviticus 7:1,7,11,19, 22-23,28-29,37-38 “‘These are the regulations for the guilt offering, which is most holy… “‘The same law applies to both the sin offering and the guilt offering: They belong to the priest who makes atonement with them… “‘These are the regulations for the fellowship offering anyone may present to the LORD… “‘Meat that touches anything ceremonially unclean must not be eaten; it must be burned up. As for other meat, anyone ceremonially clean may eat it… The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Do not eat any of the fat of cattle, sheep or goats… The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who brings a fellowship offering to the LORD is to bring part of it as their sacrifice to the LORD… These, then, are the regulations for the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the ordination offering and the fellowship offering, which the LORD gave Moses at Mount Sinai in the Desert of Sinai on the day he commanded the Israelites to bring their offerings to the LORD.

As I read through the detail in today’s chapter, I was often lost and wandering rather than focussing on the detail God laid out for the Israelites.

That is irresponsible and insensitive on my part but the reason probably was my boredom with the regulations that don’t apply to us today.

Why would God record all these old covenant requirements and have us study it today when times have changed, the requirements have changed too and we live in a period of grace? (more…)


Exodus 22:9,20-23,25,28-29,31 In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost property about which somebody says, ‘This is mine,’ both parties are to bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges declare guilty must pay back double to his neighbor… “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed. “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry… “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest… “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people. “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. “You must give me the firstborn of your sons… “You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.

It is obvious that God wanted to set out clearly what His expectation for the Israelites were through of the detail in the laws He laid down for them. The ten commandments were the foundations of the law and each of these laws reflect them in nature and character.

It must have been a great relief to Moses and the elders of Israel that they now had a structure to work in and under and thereby could keep up order among the masses. (more…)


Exodus 14:2-4,10-12,25,30-31 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did this… As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”… He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt”… That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

Clearly the Egyptians responded to this whole episode just as we would today. We try to control everything with our human intellect and judgment and are often humbled by factors outside our control which mystify us.

As I type this, there are scores of people suffering in different parts of the world including New Zealand which was rocked by powerful earthquakes a few days ago and all of man’s wisdom and power could not stop or control the earthquake.

What is God speaking to us today and is there any hope for humanity or are we simply doomed to a humiliating death? (more…)


Exodus 3:1-2,18-22 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed… And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

We come to the point in Moses’ life where he is being called into God’s service, and like I was once reminded, this was the third third of his life. The first forty years were spent as royalty in Egypt, the next forty as a shepherd in the land of Midian and the last forty as leader of a nation as he led the captive Israelites away from Egyptian bondage.

We note God’s amazing way of getting a shepherd’s attention, the forward covenant God makes with Moses to show He will see him through, the great promise of delivery, the leadership role Moses would be given, the acceptance of the elders of Israel, the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart and finally the plunder of the Egyptians after their women give their riches.

God heard the mourning of the Israelites who had to toil day and night for the oppressive Egyptians. This was foretold to Abraham, came to pass and now we wonder why God would permit such suffering.

Four hundred and thirty years of oppression is what the Israelites had to undergo before they were led out of Egypt and does that not seem a bit much of suffering? (more…)


Genesis 32:24-28 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,e because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

This journey Jacob made is certainly most significant because it was not just a physical relocation but a mental and spiritual transition.

Jacob was moving from a place of great adversity back to him hometown where he was previously not welcome and the only reason was because God instructed him to.

Jacob tried to win his brother over by sending his messengers over, sending expensive gifts and finally split his entire convoy up to ensure that if attacked, the other groups would have a chance to escape.

What then is this wrestling competition in the middle of all of this meant to be and how could some man simply bless him? (more…)


Genesis 2:7-9,15-17 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

To many, the concept of man being created is heresy because it means that there is someone or something out there that is beyond us and we do not like not knowing or being called inferior. This account of creation is ridiculous to them that would rather put their faith in believing that we are a result of chance, a chance so great that it was the lottery of lotteries because everything as we know it just ‘happened’.

What is God’s purpose in creation and why would a creator give the keys of creation to the ones He created? (more…)