The "gods" Before Us

Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." - Exodus 32:1 NKJV

As I typed the last part of that verse, I thought that some of you might be wondering what has become of me over the last few weeks with my sparse postings here!  In short, I've been wrapping up some new projects for my business and ramping up for another project that is ministry related, which you shall be hearing about soon.  But enough of me, let's get to the good stuff!

The scene pictured in the above passage has always intrigued me.  First of all, I can't imagine praying to a "god" that I've made with my own hands.  That doesn't make sense to me.  But is not praying to the real God because we are too busy with all of our own little "gods" of material things and activities for our children, ministries and personal leisure really any different?  Sadly, we are just as guilty as the Israelites.   But why did they and why do we stray from a deep relationship with the one true God?  Let's look at the Israelites in this verse to see what happened to them.

1.  Impatience - The Israelites didn't want to wait for God's timing, they wanted blessings on their own terms so they coerced Aaron to take over.

2.  A Short Memory - Did the Israelites forget the nature of their God?  How could they think that Moses, or God for that matter, would abandon them after rescuing them from the clutches of Pharoah?  Apparently their faith was small and their memory short.

3.  Faith by Proxy - I wonder if the Israelites really ever had their own relationship with God.   If they were strong in their faith, why would that faith in God disappear in 40 days time, so much so that they were willing to make other gods to replace God? 

There is a lot to this one verse, isn't there?  Christians today aren't much different the Israelites in Moses' day.  We get impatient, we have short memories regarding what God has done for us and who He is, and we rely on others to give us messages from God.  In reality, if we would devote ourselves to spending time with Him through the Bible, our faith would be strong enough to withstand uncertain times.  With a strong personal faith, we won't put other "gods" before us as frequently.  How strong is your faith?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Excuses, Excuses

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharoah, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" - Exodus 3:11 NKJV

When it comes down to it, Moses was no different than we are, was he? God asked him to do something and he came up with all kinds of excuses for why he wasn't the man for the job.   As you read through the list of Moses' excuses, ask yourself "Have I ever said the same thing to God's call on my life?"

  1. Who am I? (Ex 3:11)  Moses didn't feel qualified.
  2. Who is sending me? (Ex 3:13) Moses didn't know God well enough to describe him to others.
  3. What if they don't listen to me? (Ex 4:1)  Moses was intimidated.
  4. I am not a good speaker. (Ex 4:10)  Moses felt inadequate.
  5. You can find someone else, can't you? (Ex 4:13)  Moses felt inferior when he compared himself to others.

I think it is interesting that God did not take "No" for an answer.  After every excuse, God replied with reassurance that He would not only provide what Moses needed to do the work, but He also reminded Moses of how big He was.  Moses was not alone.  Moses had God at His side.  And so do we.  With God at our side helping us to achieve His God-sized goal for our lives, we cannot fail. That should keep us from making excuses. 

For further thought:

  • What is God asking you to do in your life that you feel is bigger than your capabilities?
  • How would you fill in the blanks to this question?

Who am I that I should ______________________ and that I should __________________?

  • How big is your God?  How can He help you do what He has called you to to?  Ask Him to provide what you need.


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Ransom Money

And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves. - Exodus 30:16 NKJV

Have you ever thought of what price in dollars God would have you pay to get into heaven?  Another way to look at this would be that this payment would be ransom money to get us out of the hell we deserve because of our inherent sin nature.   Since the beginning of God's relationship with man, that relationship has cost someone something.  Please stay with me here. 

It struck me in Exodus 30:12 that God spoke to Moses telling him that "every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD ... that there may be no plague among them when you number them."   The "ransom" here was a mere half shekel, equating to 33 cents.  Sounds like a small price to pay for security with God, huh?  But what would that 33 cents equate to today?  We all know about inflation, don't we?  I do have somewhat of a financial background so I thought I'd look into this a little further.  However, I couldn't find a calculator that would give me the future value of 33 cents invested 3500 years ago! 

But I was able to calculate what 33 cents would equate to in 1000 years at a 3% inflation rate (this is a good historical average rate for the U.S.).  Drumroll please.... the answer is a mere $2,268,499,276,285.98.  Over two trillion dollars.  The point here is to see that there is no way we could possibly give atonement to God with our own efforts.  We can't afford our own ransom money.

However, Jesus bought us with the price of His sinless life.  He paid our ransom when he gave his life for us through the death of a Roman crucifixion.  Don't forget that He not only suffered that agonizing death, but he came from a throne in heaven to live on earth with us.   And I don't even like staying in a cheap motel!  I can't even fathom what he did for me.   Because of Him, because I've believed on Him, my ransom has been paid.  I owe Him my life.  What about you?

For further thought:

1) Whose atonement money am I relying on to achieve a right standing with God, to gain entrance into heaven?  My good works or Jesus' sacrifice?

2) How can I repay God for what He has done for me?  How should knowing what I "cost" Him, change the way and quantity of my service to Him?


Janna Rust is a Life Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

And Thou Shalt Offer

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  -- Romans 12:1 NKJV

Reading through Exodus 28-29, I am astounded at the requirements they had for approaching God in the tabernacle.  We learn here of the priestly garments and the seemingly endless offerings required of the priests for their personal sanctification, without which, they could not approach God.   Isn't that something? 

1 Peter 2:9 says that we Christians are also part of the priesthood, designated to proclaim God's praises!

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NKJV)

Being representatives of God ourselves, "priests", we need also to keep ourselves in a position to be most effective as witness for God.  Our position requires offering ourselves as living sacrifices each day, keeping ourselves acceptable to God, so that we can come into His presence and serve Him.  This is no small task.  Fortunately, God will help us out and clean us up.

Connecting learning to living

  • What unconfessed sin (thought or deed) is in my life that might keep me from approaching God?
  • What am I doing that might hinder the effectiveness of my witness?
  • How can I "sacrifice" one aspect of my behavior today for the good of someone else?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

An Acceptable Offering

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering.  From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. And this is the offering you shall take from them ... - Exodus 25:1-3 NKJV

How often do you ask yourself what God wants from you in the form of an offering?  Do you know what would please Him coming from you specifically with respect to your own time, talents and treasure?  I wonder how many people give God what He wants.  I wonder how many times I allow my own motives or laziness to get in the way of what God wants from me specifically.

God is very specific with the types of offerings he wants from his children.  In the initial days of Israel's relationship with him, God bent Moses' ear for 40 days on Mount Sinai explaining to Moses all the details surrounding God's laws, the temple construction and the type of offerings acceptable to Him.  God knows exactly what he wants from us and tells us so.

The passage above tells us this:

  1. God wants offerings.
  2. God wants pure offerings.
  3. God wants specific offerings.

It is amazing to me that while God "owns" everything, he still wants something from us - a specific something.  Why waste our time and treasure giving him something he doesn't even want with impure motives to top it all off?  We definitely can't fool God.  Remember, He has the ultimate in surveillance equipment - Himself!  He knows what we can offer. Let's spend time with Him God through his word, seeking him and his will for our lives with sincerity, so we can give him the pure, specific offering he desires. 

From learning to living...

  • What can I offer to God that is specific to Him from me in the area of my abilities?
  • How can I make a sincere offering of every area of my life to Him this week?


Janna Rust is a Life Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Its All About Timing

I will not drive them out [Israel's enemies] from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field become too numerous for you.  Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land. (Exodus 23:29-30 NKJV)

Everything is all about timing, isn't it?  But not our timing, God's timing.  Not unlike God's words to the Israelites, it seems like God is always telling us to wait as well so that we do not get ahead of Him.  He tells us to wait because He knows what is best for us.  He also knows that pride will get the best of us if we become successful too quickly.  He knows that our impatience will set us up to fail. 

This passage reminds us of some very important truths about God's plans for our lives.  We need to remember that we need to remember that His plans are all about Him, not us.  They are wrapped in His will, His timing and His wisdom.

1.  God's will.  Notice that the "I" in the above passage was about God, not the Israelites.  God was the one doing all of the "doing".

2.  God's timing.  Everything the nation of Israel had been promised wasn't all promised at once.  He gave them the promised land piece by piece, in His time.  Why would God be any different with us?

3.  God's wisdom.  God knows the right time for everything and He is wise in His timing for the events in our lives.

God wants what is best for us.  Our challenge is to let Him do it His way, not ours, humbling ourselves under His mighty hand.

The Real Object of Our Complaints

"...And what are we?  Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD." - Exodus 16:8b NKJV

Leaders have tough jobs.  Without a doubt.  Good leaders work hard and fulfill their roles not because of power or prestige but out of a sense of a higher calling to be good stewards of the talents and abilities they possess.  In spite of their efforts to perform their duties to the best of their abilities, most receive less positive feedback than they do negative feedback or criticism.  It was no different back in Moses' day.

By God's hand, Moses and Aaron had just led the nation of Israel out of bondage in Egypt.  However, the people were not satisified.  In fact, they were hungry, complaining and longing for the good ol' days back in Egypt.  In reading Moses' statement to the people that their complaints were not against he and Aaron but against God, I thought further about the nature of their complaints as well as how this could apply to us today.  How could our complaints be against God? 

  1. When we complain, we question God's ability to complete the work he has begun in us our around us.
  2. When we complain, we question God's character.  We fail to trust that God is by nature good and wants what is best for us.
  3. When we complain, we question God's wisdom and elevate our own thoughts and ways over his.

Complaining indicates a lack of faith, a lack of trust and a lack of humility on our parts.  Maybe our complaints really are against God.  Please keep in mind that I am by no means saying that we should never voice our opinions or concerns to God or to the people in positions of authority over us.  However, an examination of our attitudes before we share our thoughts might go a long way in ensuring that we are heard more effectively.


Janna Rust is a Life/Business Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Discerning a Blessing

And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as the frost on the ground.  So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?"  For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat."- Exodus 16:14-15 NKJV

Ah, they did not know that the small round substance on the ground was to be their food for the next 40 years!  God had heard the Israelites complaints for food in the wilderness, and once again provided for His people, this time in the form of bread from heaven.   However, they did not recognize their blessing for what it was.  Moses had to explain it to them.

Once again there are several principles packed into this passage.  Let's examine them, shall we?

  1. Blessings can be tests.  God will use blessings to test our hearts in order to determine our level of obedience to him.
  2. Blessings can be disguised. Gifts from God aren't always immediately recognized as the blessings that they are.  Manna means "What?" The people didn't know what to make of this new foreign substance at first glance.  Once it was explained to them by an objective source, Moses, who wasn't complaining to God, they understood what they had.
  3. Blessings can be squandered.  We need to use the blessings God gives us as he intends them to be used.  Notice the specific instructions given to the Israelites in Exodus 16 for handling their blessing. (v20-21) Following God's instructions will keep our blessings alive.

Is there a blessing hanging around in your life that you have failed to recognize?  Are you using the ones you've received and recognized for God's glory?  We are blessed to be a blessing to others.  What will you do with yours?


Janna Rust is a Life/Business Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Profitable Fear

So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses. - Exodus 14:30-31 NKJV

Do you really know who God is?  Really?  Do you realize that He is so powerful that with one swipe of His hand he could wipe out our entire sinful world and start over from scratch if He so chose?  We deserve nothing less, Christians included.  But in God's infinite grace and mercy, because He is good, He spares us of His wrath and patiently works with us through circumstances in our lives to make us into the individuals He wants us to be.

God was working on Israel.  We can see from Exodus that He needed to do a horrible thing by destroying the Egyptians so He could accomplish His will.  Following a series of ten plagues on Egypt, God led His chosen people out of slavery and literally parted the Red Sea for them so they could escape.  Unfortunately for the Egyptians, they happened to be on the bad side of God's miracles.  On the other hand, the Israelites saw the great work the Lord had done.  This fear prompted them to believe God.

A healthy reverant fear of God is essential in our role of obedience.  Do we really know God if we don't have a proper fear of Him?  That healthy fear will prompt us to obey and believe Him even when things aren't going the way we would like.  It helps keep us humble and helps us to remember that this life is not about us, it is all about God.  Won't you let the fear of God be profitable for you?

From learning to living: 

1) How well do you know God?  If you knew Him, all aspects of Him, it would change your life.

2) How often are you in His "mind"?  Our level of intimacy and knowledge of God is directly proportional to how much time we spend in His Word. 

3) What one thing will you commit to today to get to know God better?


Janna Rust is a Life Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Show Me Thy Way

Are you seeking direction for your life?  I think that most people are whether or not they are content in their current situations or not.  Seeking God's direction is a continual process. It sure was for Moses!  Look at his prayer:

Exodus 33:13 Now therefore I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

Do you see how much Moses desired to do God's will and how much he yearned to know God better?   Do you have that same desire to find grace in God's sight, to know Him, and to seek His ways?  Seek and you shall find, ask and it shall be given to you.  If you want to know God more, ask Him to give you the desire to know Him better.  He will answer your cry.   God answered Moses by saying:

And he said, my presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.  (Ex 33:14)

God will give us rest. Not the rest of lazyness and spending our days on the sofa in front of the TV, but peace inside our souls.  A peace and joy of knowing that we are right in the middle of His plans for us and that He is right beside us through them.    Anymore, I don't want to do anything without God at my side.  Moses probably practiced this more than anyone. 

And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. (Ex 33:15)

Moses did not want to go anywhere without God.  No wonder.  God did wonderful miracles for Moses and he knew of God's power and protection in any circumstance.  God is still in the miracle business today in your life and mine.  If you don't believe it, I challenge you today to remember some times when good things have happened to you, big or small.  I bet He was there.  He wants to be beside us to protect and guide us through the work He has for us to do.   Doesn't this make you want to get out there and get to work?  It does me!!