Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Power of One

I remember the first Ladies Event where I was Coordinator. The Lord had clearly called me to begin this ministry at our previous church. As I followed in obedience every detail fell into place, with absolutely no effort on my part. We planned the entire event in a couple of months and sold all our tickets. It was His day and everything went so smoothly.

As I arrived home that night exhausted, but so happy, my phone was ringing. I didn't even have my coat off yet, but I ran to answer it. It was a lady who had attended the day. Immediately I thought, 'Oh, she's called to just let me know what a wonderful time she had today'. How naive! No, she was calling with a complaint and some negative feedback. My heart sank. I had been so happy. I had rejoiced all day. I had seen God move in the hearts of many women. I had seen lives changed, but suddenly all I saw was defeat. All the positives diminished and my heart which had been overflowing with praise, needed to be scraped off the floor. The power of the criticism of one.

This morning in Exodus 11:3 I read the following verse which appears in brackets in the Bible, much like an aside, "(Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh's officials and the Egyptian people alike)". It sounds to me like now everyone but Pharaoh was getting along great with Moses and the Israelites, yet look how oppressed their lives were under his rule. Sometimes it doesn't take an army to burden us physically, mentally or emotionally. It can be one off-hand remark. It can be one sideways glance. It can be sudden silence between two friends when you approach. It can be the note not sent. It can be the invitation not extended. It can be a hurtful message among hundreds of positive, encouraging ones, that attacks our character. The power of one.

Before you lose heart, remember, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" 1 John 4:4. Oh, the power of One!

Although the Israelites faced cruelty at the hand of Pharaoh, this is not the end of their story, and it's not the end of your's either. Over and over again our text reads, "but the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart". The Lord had a purpose and a plan and Pharaoh was a step on the path to see God's goals accomplished. Throughout all the trials the Israelites faced, God had His hand on them and all was done for His power and renown. Pharaoh may have had some controlling influence as ruler of Egypt, but God is Ruler over Pharaoh. If you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, than today you have the power of One inside you and He's truly all you need.

I wish I had time to go over some of the symbolism used in our text today eg. the Israelites eating with haste and being dressed and ready to depart at any moment symbolic of our readiness for Christ's re-appearing, the yeast symbolic of sin, the blood on the doorframe symbolic of the cross and how we must all come by way of the cross etc.... just so much 'meat' in our reading today. Praying the Lord is speaking to your heart as you are daily seeking Him.

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Laura said...

This is such a beautiful passage of scripture, with so many layers of lessons. I love the one you glean...the discouraging words. In this Yes, to God study we've been doing, I am learning that I am the one who says the discouraging words to myself!


Working on that.

I love your insights, Joy.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

How many times has the contrary "one" been my focus rather than the contented 99! So true and should be easier to deal with, but very difficult to live in practice.

How thankful I am for the power of ONE who interrupted my life with the truth of who he is.

Have a great day friend.


Luanne said...

Joy--a very good word for the day!

JottinMama said...

What a wonderful post. To be honest - thinking about the criticism that can come when heading up a ministry, makes me nervous and almost shy away from it all together. I'm workin' on that, though :)

Thanks for the encouragement!

Pondering the awesome power of The One,
Kate :)

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Joy, you are so the midst of happiness sometimes all it takes is one little taste of bitterness and we forget all else! I know because it happens to me!

You're doing such a good work on your commentary of the daily Bible readings!

God bless!


lisasmith said...

I heartily agree...such reading today!!! Love, love the power of One! So very powerful are these words.

Melanie said...

Yesterday I posted on the ONE WORD from God.
Good thoughts here, Joy!