Did I get your attention with that title? What I am led to share with you today is an illustration of why I have called my site, “Scripture Comes to Life.”
Yesterday morning I went to counsel with two of the men in the re-entry ministry where I serve. Both sessions were powerfully moving. I am always mindful of the Holy Spirit’s presence and purpose in these conversations. I have the amazing privilege of witnessing the harmony of Scripture and Spirit and Life as we meet in his presence.
One of these men, I’ll call him Jason, spoke of the relentless bullying he suffered as a child. He was small in stature, but not weak, and he learned to fight back against the bullies. They discovered the hard way that it was best to leave him alone, because he could quickly flatten them with his fists.
Jason went on to master martial arts, becoming a defender of other kids that were being bullied. Eventually though, this learned aggression, combined with drug and alcohol abuse, produced enough rage to ultimately land him in prison. Having been released a few months ago and sent to this haven, this Eagles Nest, he is now in an intense process of life recovery. Our work together has centered on recognizing and healing root causes of woundedness and abuse and redirecting his energies toward more godly, constructive pursuits. He’s tired of fighting with his fists.
I suggested to him that perhaps the Lord was uncovering a calling to defend the defenseless as a man of God. In Spirit and truth and righteousness. Having just attended a Right to Life rally, I shared this as an example of fighting injustice against the most defenseless, voiceless populations that now exists in our culture. To take a stand against the sanctioned “bullying” of humans who haven’t yet taken their first breaths.
Jason teared up, telling me of his great tenderness toward babies. Outrage and immense sorrow overtake him any time he hears a news report about injury to a child. I challenged Jason to pray earnestly and listen to God’s instruction on using this redemptive gift of compassion toward the most vulnerable. This is well grounded in his own suffering, and I believe strongly that God never wastes our suffering.
So…this morning I “just happen” to be starting to read the book of Exodus. I get goosebumps as I read about the Hebrew midwives who, after being commanded by Pharaoh to kill all the male Hebrew babies, refused to do so because of their fear of God. “So God blessed the midwives…and because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own” (Ex. 1:17, 20-21). It makes sense that midwives would be ardently pro-life, and that God would reward their courage. This was civil disobedience at its best.
But as if that were not enough to fill my heart with awe, I read about the rescue of Moses as an infant, and his upbringing in the palace of Pharaoh. And then, when grown, his tendency to involve himself in conflicts. First, he killed an Egyptian who was abusing a Hebrew slave. Then, when he witnessed a fight between two of his Israelite kinsmen, he attempted to defend the one he considered to be in the right against the one he considers to be in the wrong. This is the man who was to become Israel’s lawgiver, the rescuer, leader, and defender of an entire nation. This one who was fished out of the river as an infant became a fighter of bullies. An advocate for the vulnerable.
But because his time had not yet come, Moses fled in fear of retribution by the Egyptians. He spent forty years as a herdsman, in a sense “imprisoned” in obscurity and manual labor, until the fulfillment of his calling to lead his people out of slavery. His is a story of standing up against bullies and all enemies of the Lord, in boldness and humility. *
I texted Jason and urged him to read this story, one in which for him, “Scripture comes to life.” God is infinitely good to confirm all good things as we live in his grace. As I write this, I experience sublime satisfaction and delight in the word of God, and how it so generously ministers truth at just the right moments.
*A parenthetical statement in Numbers 12:3 reveals, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”