Sep 7, 2020
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
God said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “Mark this month as the first of all months for you – the first month of your year.” (Exodus 12:1‑2 The Voice)
When I read those words from the lectionary this week, it started me thinking. That’s always a little dangerous, but I began to think about those moments in my life in which the dates permanently fixed themselves in my mind. Things like my birthday. I don’t remember the first one, but I’m told I was there on June 22nd more than a few years ago.
I remember my wedding day, December 4th, 1976. This year my wife and I will celebrate forty-four years together in December. Not many can say that in a country with a divorce rate over 50%, and that among the Christian populace because many of those outside of religious institutions just live together instead of getting married.
I remember my kids’ birthdays. Even though the Army only let Carole and me enjoy nine of 30 anniversaries together during my career, I was there for both my daughter’s and son’s births. Those two days and the hours before that special time will stick in my memory forever.
I also remember the day we began the ground campaign in Desert Storm. The Air Force finished its bombardment of Iraqi fighting positions after almost a month of daily raids, and the Army crossed the border into Iraq on my wife’s birthday in 1991. I called her to wish her a happy birthday. She knew something was about to happen because my voice sounded different than at other times. A few hours later, the ground war began. That day pressed itself into my memory.
I also remember the day I finally told God I would obey his call on my life to pursue ministry for him. It was Sunday night, August 5, 1979. God and I had a long discussion all day about my future, and I finally figured out God knew a lot more than I did. I need to follow his direction in my life if I planned to succeed at anything. That’s the night I said yes to his call. It didn’t surprise my wife or very many people who knew me. I think it surprised me more than anyone else. The journey keeps getting more exciting and more interesting as time goes on. God gave me several occupations to put food on the table, the Army being the primary source for thirty years. But I’ve had the same vocation since that time, paid by his grace and the knowledge I’m doing as he asks.
Big days. Important milestones. I could name many more that stand out as monument moments that press themselves into life never to be forgotten. No doubt, you can do the same. Normally, life doesn’t flow past uninterrupted with no bumps or ripples. In the stream of life, we find a few calm peaceful places where we relax and enjoy the time we spend there. But we also find rapids and waterfalls and places where the water runs so much faster than we think it should.
Life is like that. Always different around the next bend in the river. Never really knowing what to expect. We can prepare for some of it. Sometimes it just hits full force and we hang on hoping the turbulence ends before it dashes us against the rocks.
God came to Moses and Aaron with the command to mark their deliverance as the first month of the year. He told them what would happen that night, but I’m not sure they really grasped the significance of his words. The Israelites obeyed, sacrificed a lamb, ate it in their family or with a neighbor, smeared its blood on the doorpost, and watched through the night. Most probably didn’t realize the vast reach God had across Pharaoh’s domain and the might he would display in that night. All the firstborn dead by morning. With only those spared housed behind the mark of the blood on the doorposts.
It sounds unbelievable. Almost silly. That God could distinguish between believers and non-believers by the act of putting blood on the door. And that the warrior angels he sent could even see the blood in the dark of the night and know which homes to spare and which to enter to kill the firstborn children and animals. But God created everything. From nothing, he spoke everything into place. How he did it is up for debate. Whether you believe he accomplished that task in six 24-hour days, or in six periods of time that correspond with eras to create light, elements for life, then life itself, doesn’t matter to me. What matters is acknowledging someone put it all together from nothing in that first moment of time. He is the great creator of all things.
If God can create a universe as remarkable and almost unbelievable as we can see through our most powerful telescopes, certainly he can send his envoys to distinguish which homes to pass over, and which to enter and do his bidding, in judgment against them. He is God. I have seen things man cannot explain. Will they one day? I don’t know. I’m not sure. God seems to defy the natural laws he created on occasion. Those are difficult to explain away. You can call them fairy tales unless they happen to you. You can call them coincidence until you see them firsthand. You can wish them away and think they never happen, but too many people witness them to say they don’t.
So, what should we do with those monumental moments? How should we handle those times and dates that stick in our mind that never go away? Some of those dates bring incredible joy. Some bring sorrow or terror or other extremely negative emotions. How do we address those times? For the Israelites, their deliverance became the first month of the beginning of all months. In essence, God said, this is the beginning of new life for you. This is the birth of a new nation, a new age. This is such a monumental, God only kind of deliverance that can only come from me, that you will need to start over from this point.
That’s how it is when he remakes us through his forgiveness. That’s how he can use those monumental moments in our lives. That’s how, as I look back on them, every one of those dates that stick in my mind, changed me in ways I would never imagine. God used each of them to mold me into the person I have become today. I would like to forget some of those days, but I also know they were important in shaping my character and helping me discover things about myself and my relationship with God and others than I could not have discovered otherwise.
Like Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites, remember those moments. Use the monumental things in your life to understand how God shapes you to be the person he wants you to become. Who knows, there may be a date that you mark as the beginning of new life for you. Not just making new resolutions or turning over a new leaf, but the month to begin all months. A new start. A fresh beginning. A new creation because of his work in your life. God does God-sized things when we let him. Try it out. He will amaze you at times. That’s just the way he works.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked THE VOICE are taken from the THE VOICE (The Voice): Scripture taken from THE VOICE ™. Copyright© 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.