“So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you.” Proverbs 22:19
“Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,” 1 Chronicles 16:12
It’s that time of year when we get to see the classic movie, The Ten Commandments (Yul Brynner and Charlton Heston duke it out for possession of the Israelites) AND re-enactments of The Passion of Christ in its various incarnations. Depending on your faith, this is the time to celebrate Passover or Easter Sunday (also known as Resurrection Day). You’ll be unable to avoid seeing mention of either this weekend – it’s because they are both linked together. Despite our familiarity with these holidays, I recently heard of a poll that indicated 42% of Americans do not know what this season is about. So here it is, in a nutshell:
Many Old Testament laws have been disregarded as obsolete and inspired by a God who wants to “get you” whenever you break one. But actually, a lot of these laws point to the remedy for our sin (and separation from God) – a reconciliation through his son, Jesus. This is most evident during the time of Passover, when God delivered his people from Egypt by many plagues – the last being the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians. Israel was spared from all of the plagues, including the last which required a blood sacrifice. The blood of a lamb was painted on the door posts so when the death angel came calling, he would “pass over”, sparing the occupants (Exodus 12:13). Similarly Christ, “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29) provides protection for us – when his blood was shed, it covered us. He is “our Passover Lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7) so that the final death will “pass over” us, too.
Now, I love The Ten Commandments – it was made during a time “when movies were movies”. Although parts of it were biblically inaccurate, it told a great story and the special effects were grand and spectacular. I still can’t get enough of the parting of the Red Sea; it was the Avatar of its day. But my thoughts are elsewhere today; I’m drawn to the other side of that miracle. After the brouhaha died down. After Pharaoh, his charioteers and their horses were gone in one fell swoop. After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, as if on dry land. After this great miracle of deliverance, what happened? The Israelites completely forgot who delivered them. God gave them water when they were thirsty in the desert and provided manna from heaven to make bread. He even gave them meat when they grumbled and complained. Yet they spurned Moses and rebelled against God many times. They didn’t trust that God wanted the best for them and that he would take care of them, despite how many times he had proven himself.
It can be said that you can only trust someone as well as you know them. As a mom, this is vividly illustrated each time my kids ask if they can go somewhere, with someone. My answer is always the same – it depends. How well do I know the person you’re going with? Do I know their family? How responsible is the parent with their own children? I could not, in good conscience, leave my children with a parent that did not exhibit the same care as I did with my own. Trust is not given lightly, it’s based on relationships. I know how well I can trust you in the future, based on what you’ve done in the past. When I have issues with trust, it’s usually because I remember a person’s track record all too well.
Still, I’ve been as guilty as the Israelites in the past; I had problems remembering what God has already done. This memory loss brought on anxiety. Over and over, I worried and fretted, questioned his ability to take care of me. Wondered if he cared. And the answer came back the same every time – he’s proven that I can trust him, so I will. He continues to show me. Sometimes, I get these huge, earth shattering, parting-of-the-Red-Sea revelations and at other times he reminds me in small ways. Like when my check engine light came on for a week and then, just as suddenly went off. That may seem like a small thing but for me, it was huge. It meant that I didn’t have to pay a repair bill or suffer the inconvenience of being without my car during a really hectic time in my life. It was just one less thing to deal with and I appreciated it. “Thank you, Lord,” I whispered, just as grateful for the small miracle as I am for the large.
Today is my daughter’s birthday. The big 18! She’s ecstatic, over the moon excited. Her dilemma today is the same as it is every birthday – will anyone care? Will anyone remember? Will anyone try to make her day special? My daughter expends a lot of energy towards making everyone else’s day special. She loves holidays and all the trappings. Birthdays, she celebrates with a special kind of fervor. But she is never satisfied. At the end of the day, she is usually unhappy because she didn’t get the kind of commitment and attention to her day that she’s given to others. She expects that when she puts out that kind of effort, she should get a return. And she’s right. She should and she will. But often she looks for the return to come from the folks she’s invested it in. It doesn’t always happen that way – sometimes a complete stranger can bless you. If you’re so busy looking at what you don’t have or what people didn’t do, you’ll miss it.
I passed on to her a lesson that I’ve learned over time. If you put out good things, they’ll come back to you. You can trust that. If you have good friends, trust them to be kind to you and treat you well on your special day (but also take some responsibility for making your own day great). And you can trust that God loves you and wants the best for you – he’s concerned about even the small things in your life. Like whether your birthday is great or if the check engine light is on in your car. Or when you don’t get the things or the recognition you feel you deserve. Or when you are mistreated and your character maligned. Remember, you can trust him to care. You can trust him to take care of you.