Monthly Archives: February 2017

Exodus 4-6 Deal With It

Even though Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house, he knew he was a Jew. He’d heard that Jewish boys were commanded by God to be circumcised. But when he grew up and married a non-Jew, he didn’t circumcise his son.

So now God is calling Moses into service. In fact, God has conversations with Moses like two friends over coffee. So why, when Moses is heading to speak to Pharaoh like God told him to do, did God attack him on the road and would have killed him?

God demands obedience, and He blesses us so much when we obey. But obedience does not cancel out a sin. Being obedient doesn’t balance the scale. Yes, Moses was being obedient. But God wasn’t about to let that sin slide. And in order to be the leader God wanted Moses to be, it required dealing with the sin issue.

It’s no different with you and me. Yes, God wants us to do what He says, but first we need to deal with our own sin, confess, repent, accept Jesus’ righteousness through His precious blood. Never think that God overlooks your sin because you teach a Sunday School class. Every sin comes with a death sentence.

Deal with it.

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Exodus 3 Heaven Came Down

God spoke to Moses from a bush that looked like it was on fire. Amazingly, it didn’t burn up. But what I saw in my study of this passage today has my heart soaring. It wasn’t just God’s voice in that thorny burning bush. It was God Himself!

vs 8: So I have come down to rescue… (emphasis mine)

It was the same fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt. God’s Presence was right there in a visible way.

Like Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t just born. God came down! John 1 tells us the Creator God came to His own…” And we have seen Him, “who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (vs 14 emphasis mine)

God Himself came down from heaven and called Moses by name. He was that personal. He called Samuel by name, Zaccheus, Mary, Saul (Paul) by name. He called me by name. And He’s calling you.

I have the wonderful hymn by John W. Peterson running through my head this morning. To think that God, Creator, Almighty, the Great I AM, left His throne above to live and die for love of me. I am overcome.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross my Savior made me whole;
My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.

 

Exodus 1-2 Gotcha

When Joseph brought his whole family – 70 people – to Egypt he did it to save them. He gave them the best land and provided for their every need. The Jews went right to work. They planted, cared for the king’s livestock, and they prospered.

Eventually, gradually, they went from being tenants and employees, to being slaves. And before too many years had passed, they found themselves subject to harsh task masters working for a king who only saw the dollar sign.

Their place of shelter and increase become their place of bondage.

This might be a picture of what happens when we get too comfortable, when our needs are met and we stop paying attention. Sometimes, even good activities begin to control us. We fill our days up with appointments and projects, sports and church activities, and we find less and less time to spend with the Lord. Before we know it, we’re a slave to our schedule, or to our job, or to someone other than God.

God is speaking today. I am reminded that He has commanded us to love Him above all else, and I believe that means making time with Him our priority. I believe that means cherishing and protecting our relationship with Him by being in His Word, and praying, by intentionally including Him in everything we do and say.

Jesus died so that we can live freely. Let’s not return to slavery by neglecting so great a salvation.

Genesis 48-50 Looking Ahead

Genesis, the book that starts at the beginning of life, ends looking ahead to the glorious future. The Messiah is coming, Jacob tells his sons, and He will rule forever. (49:10) Jacob speaks of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, and we know Jacob spoke of Jesus, even if he didn’t know Jesus’ name.

God had promised Abraham that He would use his descendants in a way that would bless all nations. And God will be true to His Word in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus will be born a Jew from the line of Judah. And He will rule the world.

Those are the thoughts we’re left with here at the end of this precious first book of the Bible. So many lessons are learned from watching the nation of Israel as God sets them apart for the privilege of revealing God to the world, and ultimately for producing the flesh and blood Savior.

I’m looking forward to continuing this journey as we dig into Exodus.

Genesis 46-47 There Is Work To Do

Pharaoh asked Joseph’s brothers, “What is your occupation?” They weren’t coming to Egypt for vacation. They were expected to work. Yes, they were Joseph’s family. But that didn’t entitle them to a free ride.

When Joseph was responsible for feeding the Egyptians during the seven year famine, he never once gave away any grain. If the people wanted to eat, they had to buy it, until they ended up selling everything, including their freedom. But I don’t read where any of them felt entitled to the grain Joseph held. They paid the going rate, and seemed glad for the food they bought

Now I could get political here in light of our welfare system, or our dear millennials and socialism. But I’m thinking God would have us Christians take a closer look at our churches instead.

How many people attend church for a worship experience, then leave unchanged, unchallenged, and unproductive? Oh, they feel good about going to church, and enjoy the message and praise team. But the only contribution they make to the ministry is an occasional check in the plate, a hearty “Amen,” and applause after the worship leader tells them to “clap for Jesus.”

That’s not what being a child of God is about. And that’s not what God intends for His Church.

What is your occupation? What are your gifts? What is your role in your church fellowship? If you aren’t pulling your weight, you have no claim on the blessings. If you aren’t busy serving the Lord, you are a drain on the church, and your church can’t be healthy. And neither can The Church.

Just like the early Jews in Egypt, we are expected to contribute, to use our gifts, to make disciples of every nation. There is work to do. There is work for YOU to do.

Genesis 44-45 Let Me Pay For That

Judah’s heartfelt plea for Benjamin’s life sealed the deal. Joseph could hide his identity no longer. Jacob’s family would be restored, and saved. Judah’s love for his father resulted in his voluntary sacrifice of himself to pay for the sins of his much-loved brother.

Sound like anyone you know?

There are so many parallels between Judah and Jesus. Although it’s not a perfect comparison, it reminds me that Jesus willingly gave His life to pay for my sins. His life revealed the Father, His death marks my debt paid. And it’s because of Jesus that my relationship with God, once separated by sin, is restored. I am saved.

Footnote: Jesus’ earthly lineage includes Judah. That’s why I love reading the Bible. It’s not just a series of nice stories. God’s Word is the complete picture. And it all points to Jesus!

Genesis 42-43 Trust Me

Reuben was Jacob’s first born son. So it’s not surprising that Reuben would be the one to take charge, go to his father, and promise to protect Benjamin if only Jacob would let him take the young man back to Egypt. Reuben even swore that if anything happened to Jacob’s precious son, Jacob had permission to kill two of Reuben’s sons.

“We need food, Dad, or all of us will die. Trust me.”

But Jacob refused to let Reuben take Benjamin into Egypt. Even after Reuben made such a demonstrative offer. Could it be that Reuben’s trustworthiness was in doubt, especially after his encounter with Bilhah, Jacob’s wife? Just saying.

Later, when the grain was gone and Jacob’s family was facing starvation, Judah stepped up. His promise to his dad to care for his youngest brother wasn’t dramatic, it wasn’t laced with promises he couldn’t keep. Judah went sincerely and humbly and said, “Dad, I’ll be responsible. If I don’t bring Benjamin back to you, it’s on me.”

What is it that elicits trust in someone? Obviously we look at past behavior. We probably consider the situation and hear what the other person is saying. We weigh what we know about that person’s character, with our need to trust them in the moment.

So today I’m asking myself if God can trust me. Have I been trustworthy in the past? Am I sincere about wanting to follow Him and obey Him? Is my character like that of Jesus, the ultimate example of being worthy of trust?

Or am I all talk? All show? No follow-through? Good intentions that go nowhere?

God wants to entrust me with the eternal souls of people He loves more than Jacob loved Benjamin. Am I up to the challenge? Can I say, “Trust me” and mean it?