Innocent As Doves, Wise As Serpents

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Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.”  But Moses said, “It is not right to do so, for we will sacrifice to the Lord our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us?  We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He commands us.”  Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.”  Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the Lord.  The Lord did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained.  But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go. Exodus 8:25-32 NASB

Dennis Prager said something that broke my heart. Dennis is a Jew who grew up attending Shiva (religious school). He has a profound love and affection for people with a Christian faith. He expressed his sadness and lamented on his radio show ‘I have been so disappointed with the lack of courage of Christian pastors’. I almost wept, because he almost did.

I’ve noticed that people don’t mind that I am religious, so long as my religious practices never conflict with their beliefs, reputation or practices. When people in rebellion to God are challenged by Christians for their hypocrisy, public decisions, or even private hypocrisy (such as the current speaker of the house), they don’t like it and often are deceitful and vengeful. That was the case with Pharaoh. His hard heart was on display. In a moment of agreement, he let Moses go and sacrifice as he had requested (but not too far and only to ask God for relief for Pharaoh). Certainly Jesus was right, in our interactions with people in public authority positions, we should be ‘innocent as doves, wise as serpents’!

We should not back down from a fight. Remember, when John the baptist confronted Herod (he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas of Nabataea) and unlawfully took Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I), it didn’t go so well. He was cruelly imprisoned and killed. However, Jesus said of John- no one has arisen greater than John. Now that’s praise worth the conflict and even loss of life. Christian pastors, find your courage again!

How about me? How clearly do I hear God’s voice and know His revealed will through His Word? Is my tendency to retreat from a conflict? Who provides me godly counsel?

God, as this day begins- Oh, please forgive me for lack of courage. Thank you that I do see a grace exchanged between Christian leaders as they land on different approaches to church life on campuses and in buildings. Please continue to unite our pastors, but also instill in some the courage they are missing. Many are far too concerned about the reaction to truth than proclaiming the truth. Some are lazy and uninformed. We need your leading and guiding. Make us a bit more wise as we remain innocent as doves. We truly are ‘sheep sent out in the midst of wolves’.

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