The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at the Rephidim , but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me ? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to make us and our children and our livestock die of thirst ?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord , “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me. The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock and water will come out of it for the people to drink.
Exodus 17 : 1 - 6
I am greatly awed by God’s grace and patience in dealing with the stiff-necked and obstinate people of Israel. God’s grace is absolutely amazing in dealing with the nation Israel. The Lord God did not reveal Himself to any other nation before as He revealed Himself to Israel. Only in behalf of the nation Israel, has He revealed and displayed much wonders.
Genesis closed with Jacob’s family of seventy moving to Egypt. But in the opening scene of Exodus, 350 years later, hundreds of thousands of their ancestors were toiling on Pharaoh’s huge construction projects not as guests but as slaves. The Jews had endured nearly four centuries of oppression before they were liberated.
With Egypt at the zenith of its power, Pharaoh used slaves to build massive monuments enforcing his rule with an army of renowned charioteers and bowmen. Egyptian hieroglyphics pictured the word for foreigner as a bound man with blood flowing from a wound in his head ; The Israelites felt the full weight of such oppression.
From heaven, God heard the cries of his people and raised up Moses as their deliverer. Because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart and did not want to release Israel, God sent series of plagues to Egypt and multiplied His wonders. After the eighth plague which is the “Plague of the firstborn” which struck dead every firstborn of the Egyptians, the Israelitea were set free.
It is in the desert, the Lord God greatly displayed His wonders in behalf of the Jews. No nation on earth ever has witnessed and received so much manifestation of God’s power and provision as the nation Israel. For forty years of their stay in the desert , the Lord faithfully provided for all their needs.. We can only describe God’s grace for Israel for those forty years as absolutely amazing.
Why absolutely ? Webster’s dictionary defined absolute as not conditioned or dependent upon anything else. God’s grace is amazing to Israel inspite of their arrogant attitudes. God still choose to reveal His glory to them, He still choose to speak to them, He still choose to provide for them despite the fact that they were ingrates, obstinate and stiff-necked people. They were ever grumbling despite all the wonders God performed in behalf of them.
God’s grace to Israel is absolutely amazing because it is never dependent on the attitude of the Jews. Despite their constant grumblings and lack of gratitude, God continue to display His wonders in behalf of them. God’s love is unconditional. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners as it is written in Romans 5:8. God remains faithful at all times even during the times of our unfaithfulness.. God is faithful at all times but He is a father who disciplines His child in times of his waywardness.
God’s grace is absolutely amazing. It is not dependent whether we are law-abiding citizen or not, whether we are religious or not, whether we have many good works or none at all. His grace comes even to the most defiled, even to the worst of sinners, to the vilest among men. Often God’s grace is given to unlikely people like Nicky Cruz whose life seemed cursed from the start.. God’s grace and love is absolutely amazing in the life of Nicky Cruz.
Nicky Cruz grew up in a family that earned its living through practicing sorcery, holding séances and trafficking with evil spirits. The father,a large man who was feared throughout Puerto Rico was known as the “Great One.”His wife who assisted in the work bore him eighteen children, seventeen sons and a lone daughter. Their house became a favorite lodging place for mediums and spiritualists throughout the island.
Nicky Cruz one of the children was especially affected by these evil practices. He feared the sorcery practiced there and resented the lack of attention he felt as one among many children. One day he was caught by his father stealing from his mother’s purse. As punishment, this five-year old boy was locked in filthy little pigeon house. After his father released him, the boy cried hysterically for several hours. The ordeal caused him repeated nightmares.
When Nicky Cruz turned eight years old, his mother proclaimed that he was not her son but a “son of Satan” or child of the devil. When he yelled back in anger “I hate you!” she merely laughed in his face. He was a cursed child in the house of curses.
The boy grew into an uncontrollable rebel. He tried running away from home on five occasions. The hatred he felt for his parents turned into contempt for all authority. In capable of dealing with their troubled son, his parents sent him to New York City at the age of fifteen .Relatives there eventually enrolled him in school, but he was expelled after repeatedly threatening students, teachers and the school’s principal. Soon after that he left his relative’s home and took up living on the street in one of the toughest neighborhood in the city.
The young man’s life continued to cycle downward. Nicky Cruz soon became the warlord of a vicious street gang called the Mau Maus. The smoldering rage inside him found expression in violence, crime and bloodshed.. He was a twisted psychopath who frightened even his friends. A police psychiatrist told him after an evaluation that he was on a fast track to electric chair.
Then one day God sent a street preacher named David Wilkerson who dared to proclaim the Gospel of Jesuschrist to him. Incredibly the gang leader surrendred his life to Christ. The change was instantaneous. Instead of being full of tortured, self-destructive rage, the young man became filled with love and compassion for hopeless cases- kids like him who scened best on destroying themselves.
Before long, Nicky began attending a Bible school in California where he met his future wife. Later Nicky returned to Puerto Rico and witnessed the conversion of his mother. Over time, the Lord opened doors all over the world for him to share his story and he became one of the greatest evangelist of his generation. Untold thousands of people have been led to Christ by this man once dedicated to the devil. Today his four daughters and their husbands and children are all serving the Lord.
The curse on Nicky Cruz was real but God’s absolutely amazing grace cancelled the curse.
This life testimony of Nicky Cruz is an excerpt from the book “Breakthrough Prayer” by Pastor Jim Cymbala.
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