[bible:365 2013] Exodus 1-25

Your past does not define you.

There are so many times when we look at others or ourselves, and all we see is the past, and usually not the positives.

Past failures.

Past pain.

Past relationships that have left wounds.

Past choices that have hurt others.

We look to the past, letting it define the present, and direct the future.

Whether it’s judging others for the things they have done, and letting that inform the way we talk about and treat those people, or shackling ourselves to our own pasts, destroying the freedom to move forward, we all do it.  I don’t know where it comes from, whether it’s our own inherent sin and brokenness, the accusations and promptings of the adversary, or the pernicious voices of the world around us.

Hebrew narrative pays special attention to its characters and characterization, with first introductions being a significant piece of characterization.  So, how is adult Moses first introduced to us?

One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.  He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. – Exodus 2:11-12

People say first impressions are important.

I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think murder makes for a stellar first impression.

And I think the part we don’t contemplate is this isn’t hero-of-the-faith Moses.  This isn’t leader-of-Israel, talks-directly-to-God Moses.  This incident comes before Moses becomes aware of his role to play, before God tells Moses he’s with him. This isn’t King David messing up in the middle of the game, Moses is falling down before the board is done being set up.

This is Moses’ past.

God still uses him.

God can still use us.

That’s the thing about Jesus: he isn’t looking for the perfect among us, he’s looking for the broken.

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. – Mark 2:17

We have this bad habit, which I fall prey to far too often, of thinking past sin and pain precludes us from things like happiness, relationships, fulfilling our calling, ministry, etc.  But Jesus came to heal our brokenness and replace the darkness with light.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Christ has come to make you new.

Your past does not dictate your future.

But perhaps, God actually wants to use your past.  I am a strong believer that God wants us to use the struggles and pains of our past to minister to others.  There is always going to be somebody new experiencing the same struggles and pains that you have, so how much better equipped are you to minister to them, having experienced the same difficulties?

In the end, we cannot shackle ourselves to our pasts; Christ has brought us freedom from those chains.

My prayer is that you and I can live in that freedom from our pasts, moving unfettered into the future and God’s glorious purposes for our lives.

Have you ever felt like your past was holding you back?  How did God’s healing help you move beyond that? How can you see God using your past to minister to others?  What stood out to you in this week’s reading?

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2 thoughts on “[bible:365 2013] Exodus 1-25

  1. I enjoyed reading Karl’s post on this passage. I love to see just how God speaks to us when we are reading HIs word, and I love that every time we read a passage, He will have a new and fresh lesson or promise or admonition to glean from it.

    I have plenty of examples in my life when my past was holding me back, but that book will be coming out after I am finished homeschooling my last sons. I wil just say that God is gracious, persistant, faithful and gentle. At times, he was ruthless in his attempts to rescue me from the pit that my past had thrown me into, and other times he was soft and soothing as he bathed me in the truth of His love, grace and mercy. Through each experience I was brought to a deeper understanding of my brokenness and need for total abandonment to His will in my life. As the song goes, “With out you I am nothing”.

    I do remember a specific time in my life when it seemed that my opportunities to serve the Lord were being thwarted. I wanted so much to grow in my relationship with God but something was in the way. I wanted to be used in the church, in my relationships, but something was holding me back and I didn’t know what it was, until…. I am not sure what exactly happened, or how. But in God’s gentle and loving way he opened my eyes to things from my past that I thought I had dealt with, but evidently not the way He wanted me to. I wrestled with bringing up the past, having to expose the ugliness while leaving me vulnerable and raw. But I was left with a choice. Stay, stuck, trapped, bound like a slave … or move beyond this boulder and see what God had in store for me on the other side. I knew that no matter what the consequences I would have to endure while dealing with the past, the glory and beautify that God had promised me on the other side outweighed it all. And God proved faithful! There are no words that truly reflect what freedom feels like or looks like – but I have tasted freedom and it is “very good”!

    I haven’t had to go searching for opportunities to be used by God either. He just brings folks to me that are in need of a word or a touch while they are walking through their dark spot that I know Oh too well… and I can show them that some day, they too will be living on the other side of forgiveness and freedom.

    Really – isn’t this all of life? God takes the sinner and uses him or her to further His plans and purposes. My role in this journey called life is to be available, to allow the potter to have His way in my life, to abandon my agenda and my desires to His, to seek to bring Him glory and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, even in the midst of the darkness.

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