home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > January 19th > SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God can be your God of buts.

JOSEPH’S BUT

But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Genesis 39:21

Joseph loved God. He sought to always live in obedience to the LORD, yet he was betrayed by his brothers who sold him into slavery (Gen. 39:1). While serving as a slave in Egypt he was falsely accused of attempted rape by his master’s jilted wife. This accusation led to him being imprisoned for years. But the LORD had a plan for Joseph that eventually led to him being dramatically released from prison, exonerated of his alleged crime, and made the Prime Minister of Egypt (Gen. 41:14, 39-41). This but led to the rescue of his family from potential starvation and then the formation of the nation of Israel.

 

MOSES’ BUT

But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.”
Numbers 21:34

Moses was washed up. He was a criminal on the run from Egyptian authorities who had sentenced him to death for the crime of murder. He fled Egypt into the wilderness. His prospects looked bleak. It was there that he encountered the God of buts. God commanded him to return to Egypt and rescue the descendants of Joseph’s father, Jacob (whose name had been changed to Israel). Moses told God all the reasons why this was a ridiculous command for him to obey, then this happen…

But the LORD said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand—
Exodus 4:4

God demonstrated to Moses that He would perform miracles through Moses’ obedience. Moses then did obey. God did perform miracles. And Israel was delivered from Egypt to return to the homeland in Palestine; but first, they had to overcome some deadly foes – including an army led by a giant king, Og (Deut. 3:11). Israel had every right to be afraid. This is when the LORD gave Moses another amazing but (Num. 21:34). The result of their obedience was – “So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land” (Num. 21:35). What an amazing but!

 

SAMUEL’S BUT

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
First Samuel 16:7

Samuel had reluctantly anointed Israel’s first king, Saul. King Saul had just disobeyed the LORD and jeopardised God’s plan of redemption. Israel was now in peril from neighbouring enemies. The prophet Samuel realised that if King Saul remained in power much longer, it would lead to Israel’s doom. God then sent Samuel to anoint a new king (1Sam. 16:1. Samuel was sent to the home of Jesse and his eight sons. As Jesse brought out seven of his sons, the oldest of them even looked like a king (1Sam. 16:6)! Yet the LORD did not send Samuel to anoint him or the next six of his younger brothers (1Sam. 16:8-10). Since the LORD had specifically sent Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel from among the sons of Jesse, yet the LORD had said that none of them were to anointed! Thus, the puzzled prophet asked Jesse, “Is this all your sons? (1Sam. 16:11) This is when Samuel had an amazing but experience (1Sam. 16:7) The result would be that the jeopardy would be averted and the divine plan of salvation would be preserved. Eventually it would lead to the birth of Immanuel who would be identified as the son of David (Matt. 1:1). Samuel’s but from the LORD truly was a turning point in the Israel’s history and ultimately even human history. It really was a remarkable and amazing but!

 

ESTHER’S BUT

But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.”
Esther 8:8

The Book of Esther takes place after the Jews had been allowed to return from the exile in Medo-Persia where Esther and, her much older cousin, Mordecai, had remained. King Saul’s earlier failure to despatch the Amalekite king, Agag, resulted in one of his descendants, Haman, wanting to destroy all Jews (Est. 3:1, 10). God had already decreed that the Amalekites should be judged for their earlier attempt at destroy the Israelites (Exo. 17:14). King Saul was told to do it. He failed to obey. King David didn’t do it. Each successive king of Israel couldn’t do it. And now, because of their failure, their entire race was now on the brink of genocide. But a teenage Jewish girl by the name of Esther, recently married to a Persian King, sought the permission of her royal husband to counter the Edict of Hamon the Agagite (Esther 8:3). The LORD then used her husband to deliver His but to Esther and the result was that Hamon’s forces of Gog and Magog were defeated by the Jews around the Empire how had been empowered to take pre-emptive action to defend themselves (Est. 8:8-17; 9:1-16). It truly was and amazing but.

 

JEREMIAH’S BUT  

But the LORD said to me,“Do not say,
‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah 1:7-8

Most of the priests had become unfaithful. The so-called ‘prophets’ (on the king’s payroll) had become corrupt. The king had become apostate. It was an increasingly dark time as Judah’s leaders abandoned the LORD and became idolaters. They were now at risk of being invaded by the blood-thirsty Babylonians. With so much going wrong and God’s plan of redemption in jeopardy, as usual, as essayist F.W. Boreham wrote, it was now time for God to respond by sending into the world a baby. That baby was Jeremiah, the son of a priest. At a young age Jeremiah began to hear from God. Even though Jeremiah was only a youth, there was no time to waste. The word of the LORD needed to be heard! God then summoned the teenage Jeremiah to speak to kings of nations, starting with the king of Judah! Despite Jeremiah questioning the LORD’S choice of someone “too young”, God assured him that his birth was ordained, his mission was consecrated, and his life would be divinely protected (Jer. 1:5). At just the right time, despite Jeremiah’s doubts that he was ready, the LORD spoke to Jeremiah –

But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you.
Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.
Jeremiah 1:17

Thank God that the LORD gave Jeremiah these amazing buts! His obedience to the LORD ultimately led to God’s plan of redemption being restored and enabling the eventual birth of the Saviour.     

 

YOUR AMAZING BUT

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

When you turned to Christ as your LORD, it was a major turning point in your life. You were once in darkness (Eph. 5:8), spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1, 5), spiritually blind (Eph. 1:18), without hope (Eph. 2:12) — 

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Romans 6:22

This should give you confidence that the God who redeemed you, saved you, open your eyes, delivered you out of devilish darkness, and rescued you from hopelessness, can in your moments of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, or even failure, intervene with a – “But then God…” And those are the moments you see an amazing but

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

4 Comments

  1. Michael Dickson

    Good work Pastor.

    Reply
  2. Ali

    Thank you, Pastor Andrew

    Reply

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

LOW COST LIVING

Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

AT THE END OF THIS YEAR I WILL RECOUNT 12 WONDERFUL THINGS (An Explication of Psalm 9)

This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

HE WAS BORN A KING

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.

THE SHEPHERD IS THE LORD

Of all the 150 Psalms, Psalm 23 is probably the most loved. As we read it we can easily imagine its author, the young shepherd-boy David, making the trek through a ravine where bandits, bears, and predators lurked as he led his small flock of sheep through to fresh water and green pastures. As he reflected on how he led and cared for his flock he must have pondered of how the LORD was like a shepherd to him. As easy as it is for us to imagine teenage David composing this beautiful Psalm, it is also easy to imagine how the God he describes as his shepherd in this Psalm is also a shepherd to us. God, as a shepherd, provides what we need (vs 1), restores our soul (vs 3), when we are unsure He leads on the right path (vs 3), He protects us from evil (vs 4), comforts us in times of distress (vs 4), strengthens us in our moments of weakness (vs 5), He gives us honour when our opponents attempt to bring us shame (vs 5), and He provides a place of belonging for us (vs 6). This is what a shepherd does, David tells us, and it is ultimately only found in the True Shepherd, the Lord Immanuel.