Beginning and End

Listen to this article instead.

“Nothing could ever matter again but the things that were eternal,” missionary Amy Carmichael’s words floated over the heads of the little girls gathered together in the church.

I was telling Amy’s story of leaving her family and home to travel to India to share the Good News of Jesus. The girls from my neighborhood were spellbound by the story, and their eyes sparkled as they heard about Jesus for the first time.

I put a flannel circle up on the flannel board, and we talked about eternity. It has no beginning and no end. “Just like Jesus,” I told them. “He is the Beginning and the End.”

The eternal story made an eternal difference to the thousands of little girls Amy rescued from temple prostitution in India. It mattered to my room full of little Dakota girls. It mattered to me.

The Beginning mattered to us because it was a dawn of hope. The End mattered because it would bring final justice to the evil we had encountered.

When God spoke to Moses at the bush, it was only because Moses took a moment out of his busy schedule to turn aside. When he did, God spoke wondrous, eternal words. He told Moses His forever name: “I AM,” and He gave Moses the great task of leading His people out of slavery in Egypt. 

Moses wasn’t so sure about the task, and he had many objections. However, the Lord helped Moses to focus on what was eternal by giving him three signs that encapsulate the Beginning and the End of His plan.

When the dead staff turned into a living snake, Moses witnessed exactly what the Apostle Paul would later write to the Romans, “When the commandment came, sin came alive, and I died.”

Moses was so afraid of the serpent, he ran away. “The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.” However, God commanded Moses to reach out and “catch it by the tail.” By doing so, He showed Moses that His power could render evil harmless. Death to sin is a glorious beginning.

Just as the new covenant consumed the old, the second sign of Moses’s leprous hand showed how the Beginning and End had planned out the entire sequence of redemptive history. The same Lord who could bring the sentence of death to Moses’s hand could also fully restore it to health and life, just as He does for our souls.

Finally, God told Moses that if neither of these signs persuaded His people, Moses could dip water from the Nile, pour it on the dry ground and it would become blood. 

The Truth is that the Beginning and the End is coming again. “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood and the name by which He is called is the Word of God.”

Some of the girls I taught have already entered eternity. The story still matters for all of us.

Because God is the Beginning and the End, we can obey the command: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,” and continually tell the eternal story. The burden of Beginnings and Endings is on His shoulders.

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