A few weeks ago I took my neighbor Mike up on his offer to use the new smoker on his grill. It was an exciting time – smoked beef brisket! My mouth is watering just writing about it. I tell people that after our friends, it is the thing I miss the most about our time in Texas – the sweet flavor of good slow-smoked beef brisket. It is like eating candy.
I’ve smoked brisket before on big smokers, our congregation in Texas would smoke 3,500 pounds of brisket at a time! (that’s a small smoker in Texas). I’ve smoked brisket before on electric smokers, but I had never smoked it on a gas smoker. I learned a few things after watching my brisket burst into flames not once but twice. When the drip tray gets full, and it will, you need to turn off the flame, THEN remove the tray. Reinsert the tray and then relight the burner. “Now I know…”
The Bible is full of “Now I know…” moments. One of them is found in Exodus 18 where Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, comes to visit Moses. This visit is after the deliverance of God’s people from the hand of the Egyptians and after a great deal of wondering and strong provision by God.
8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them. 9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, "Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly."
Exodus 18:8-11 (NIV)
How could you not know after all that the Lord had done for the people of Israel.
In the book of 1 Kings, Elijah meets a widow at Zerephath. (1 Kings 17:7-24) This woman is gathering sticks to go home, light a fire, and bake one last little cake of bread for her and her son so they can “eat it –and die.” Elijah asks her to first go make some bread for him, and that God will provide. Elijah tells the woman that God had spoken “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.” (1 Kings 17:14)
The woman does as Elijah asks and sure enough her flour does not run out and her oil does not run dry. Neat trick but she does not yet have a “Now I know…” moment. Some time later her son dies, and after Elijah raises him back to life she says
"Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth."
1 Kings 17:24 (NIV)
The bread and the oil were not enough, or so we are led from this account to believe, for this woman to trust the Word of the LORD. From this chair, which for the record is in a beautiful cabin in central Minnesota – ah vacation, I can look at this story and say “You would have had me at the flour and oil.”
But it does make me ponder, what does it take in my life today for me to trust in the Word of the LORD as truth? It seems as if there are many times I am not easily impressed by the constant hand of provision that he offers me each and every day. I guess that is why God recorded so many amazing accounts for me in the pages of Scripture. As John penned at the end of his Gospel,
31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:31 (NIV)
Now I know…
<>< Craig McCourt
Life is to short to waste time of ponders that don’t matter, or worse yet on ponders that distract us from Christ, so lets take more time to ponder God, let GodPonder!