Psalm 42; Exodus 18:13-27; Philippians 1:15-21

The Lord works in mysterious ways, and He knows exactly what we need. I have experienced this many times in my life, but definitely in the past few days. The sermon message I heard yesterday at Elwood Church and also these passages today are exactly the words that I’ve needed to hear. This is one of my favorite Psalms. When life knocks us down and it seems like there is little hope, we can look to God for strength. My soul cries out to you, O Lord; my soul longs for your comfort. 

In Exodus, Moses is trying to do everything himself because he feels like it is his responsibility to the people of Israel. That’s when his father-in-law steps in to say to Moses “What are you doing? You can’t possibly do all of this yourself! You need to assemble some worthy people to help share the load. When we hit difficult times in our lives, we have to know that there are plenty of people in our lives who care and who WANT to help us. Moses helped barter for the release of the Israelites from the pharaoh, parted the Sea of Reeds, and was handed The Law from God. A man of that stature surely could handle anything, right? NO. He needed the help of others in order to carry out all of God’s plans. Sometimes we need that friend or group of friends to open our eyes and realize that we can’t do this thing called life alone. 

In Philippians, Paul rejoices in the fact that Jesus is being shared amongst the people. The Gospel is spread by people who do so in love, while others do so out of selfish ambition. Those who spread The Message in love are getting the job done well. Those spreading The Word out of selfish ambition, hoping for personal gain, even if that is not the best  attitude, are still spreading the Gospel nonetheless. Either way people are learning about Jesus. 

Although I think I understand what Paul is trying to say, I personally am not sure I completely agree with his perspective on those sharing the Gospel selfishly. In some cases, that selfish ambition causes people to say or do things that are not very Christian in nature. There are times that people act “in accordance with the Bible”, but actually they are doing just the opposite. That in turn, from my own interactions, pushed people away from God. I was in a back and forth on Facebook last week with someone that I went to high school with who is an Atheist. He had shared a couple examples of where some “Christian” leaders made statements saying they had prayed for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to die. And his point was that is why he is Atheist, because he doesn’t see Christian people acting or speaking in Christian ways. My rebuttal to him were passages in the Bible where Jesus and Paul spoke about false prophets. So here in Philippians where Paul is excited about people spreading the Gospel whether from a loving heart or from selfish ambition, I feel like there needs to be some caution in that we need to not fall prey to these false teachings.