Big Brother

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Big Brother

By Grant Gaines

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

Denise Long turned her back on her toddler grandson –Booker – for just long enough to miss what was about to happen. The one year old child was innocently splashing his hands around in a small birdbath when a venomous three foot rattlesnake came slithering up behind the unsuspecting child. The child was defenseless and his only guardian was unaware of the present danger.

However, as the snake coiled its cold-blooded body and lunged at the child with its fangs exposed, Grandma Denise’s dog – Zoey – flung her five pound body between the child and his attacker, taking the full blow of the snake’s venom. Zoey’s yipes and growling at the rattlesnake soon captured Grandma Denise’s attention and the two were able to successfully drive the reptile back into the forest to pick on something other than their beloved Booker.
Although things were rather bleak for Zoey over the next several weeks, the heroic pup eventually made a full recovery.

This rattlesnake had bad intentions, but before it could harm Booker it first had to go through Booker’s protector – Zoey. During their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites soon discovered that the same truth could be said about them.

When the Israelites were exiting Egypt, the Lord was basically their GPS guidance system leading them to the Promised Land. Exodus 13:21-22 (NIV) elaborates on this by saying, “By day the LORD went ahead of [the Israelites] in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel by day or by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

But as you’re likely aware of, after leaving Egypt the Israelites quickly found themselves between a rock and a hard place with the Egyptians attacking them from one side and the Red Sea surrounding them on the other side. There was nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide.

But it’s in this impossible situation that the story gets interesting. Sure, the LORD split the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape from their pursuers, but I want to zero in on what happened right before the sea parted.

“Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel…” (Exodus 14:19-20, NIV).

Did you notice where the pillar of cloud moved to? Not only behind the Israelites, but more importantly “…coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel…” (Exodus 14:20, NIV, bold mine). The pillar that once guided them, now separated Israel from her enemies. Just like the heroic dog Zoey, if the Egyptians wanted to attack the Israelites, they first had to go through the LORD.

This is a theme we see time and time again throughout the Bible – before Satan could attack Job, he first had to go through the Lord (Job 1:6-12). Before Satan could attack Peter, he first had to ask permission from the Lord – “Peter, Peter, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV). Before Satan could torment Paul with a “thorn in [Paul’s] flesh,” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV), he first had to go through the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:13 goes so far as to say that before Satan can attack you with any temptation, he first has to have it filtered by the Lord.

Just as He did with the Israelites in Exodus 14, the Lord still does for us today – He stands between us and the Enemy, Satan. If the Enemy wants to attack us with problems, trials, worries, or fears, he first has to go through God.

Think about that for a moment. That means that everything that is happening in your life right now is something that God as purposely allowed to be there. There is NOTHING that is not there without God’s expressed permission. What great comfort and peace that should give us to know that everything in our lives is according to God’s plan and still under His ultimate control.

That doesn’t mean that everything will be easy, but it does mean that everything has a purpose. And if it has a purpose, then we know that it will work out for our good in the end – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).

So although life might be tough and not always 100% ideal at times, we must not forget that before those problems came to us, they had to first go through the Lord!

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
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©Grant Gaines 2016


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