1 Run The Race
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:” I Corinthians 9:24-26
I have been watching some of the olympic games on television. I wonder if the ancient olympic games were being played as Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth. Just as God sent Jeremiah to the potter's house to learn and teach valuable lessons to the people, it's possible that Paul was drawing his spiritual teachings from the games being played at that time. There are many object lessons in the Bible which use parallels of simple concepts to help us have a better understanding in spiritual wisdom. Paul's comparison here is running a race to win a prize. It is my understanding that the winners of the ancient games won a crown of laurel or some type of greenery. The crowns lasted only a short while and the winners were victorious only until the next race. Paul tells the Corinthian believers that we are running a race for an incorruptible crown, a "crown of righteousness". We see that Paul did indeed finish the race in 2 Timothy 4:7 & 8, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
2 Forget The Past And Press Toward The Mark
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13 & 14
As we begin our devotional theme on "Looking Ahead" we see that to obtain the prize, we need to forget those things which are behind. If you watch the olympics this week, you will notice that the athletes don't look behind them as they compete in their races. They reach forth with all the strength and endurance they have as they press toward the finish line. As we go forward in our Christian lives, we need to look ahead. It's hard to move forward if we are continually looking back. Don't keep looking back to the sins of the past. Find help in these words of David. "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy... He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:8, 10-12) We also read in Hebrews 8:12, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Keep looking ahead and forget those things which are behind so you can run the race of this Christian life.
3 Everlasting Life
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I was praying that God would lead me to a new theme and Mike was telling about a devotional he heard about preparing for our future. Think about a person who lives 80 years. That is a long life. But when you think about the comparison of 80 years and eternity, it is nothing. Yet, we spend most of our days preparing for our life on earth, instead of preparing for our future in eternity. Our theme for the next few weeks is "Looking Ahead". Times are hard and days are dark for many people. We want to look ahead to the spring times of our life with bright happy days. But, first we need to look way ahead to eternity. Have you made plans for eternity? Have you asked the question of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30, "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" The answer is simple, "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house... And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." (Acts 16:31-34) Are you prepared for eternity? Are you working and saving so that your children can have a better future here on earth, but neglecting to prepare them for eternity? Accept the Lord's free gift of salvation. Believe on Christ alone to save you from an eternity in hell's lake of fire. Confess your sin to Him and receive the everlasting life He has promised to all who believe. As you look ahead to the bright days of spring, look farther than that to the bright coming of our Lord and an eternity in heaven.
4 The Bondage Of Sin
“And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour." Exodus 1:13 & 14
I have been reading in the book of Exodus and when I started thinking about "Looking Ahead" I began to see many verses that we could use in our devotional study. We begin with the story of the children of Isreal, slaves in Egypt, in bitter bondage. In our lost condition we are under the bondage of sin, but once we accept the Lord's free gift of salvation we are free from the bondage of sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, but we become children of God. We may have trials and tests along the way, but we can look ahead to an eternal home in heaven. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:14-18)
5 God Spoke To Moses From The Burning Bush
"Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." Exodus 3:1-6
When I am riding down the road and I see smoke I always look to see where the smoke seems to be coming from. When I pass by a house that has burned down I try to remember what it looked like before it was destroyed by the fire. Fire gets our attention. God used the burning bush to get Moses' attention. God was going to use Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. He drew Moses to Him and told Moses that he was on holy ground. God also told Moses that He was the God of his father and the God of his heritage. After God had his attention and showed him who He was, He could speak with Moses. We have the Bible, the Word of God, but I am afraid that we are often too busy to hear God speak to us. Sometimes God has to get our attention so that we will listen to Him. When something out of the ordinary happens in our lives we turn to God for help and understanding. We should keep our heart and mind in tune to God always. Don't wait for the extraordinary events to turn to God for leading. Keep your eyes and ears open for His leading day by day.
6 Looking Ahead To A Better Country
"And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites... And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain." Exodus 3:7, 8, & 12
These verses continue where we left off yesterday. The Children of Israel were of the lineage of Abraham. I like the description in the book of Hebrews. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, ... For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God... These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things delare plainly that they seek a country... But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:8-16) The Children of Israel, God's chosen people, looked forward to a better country. I am not a child of Abraham, but I am a child of God. I am a pilgrim on this earth, and I look forward to another city, heaven. Jesus promised, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-2) It is easy to get discouraged if you see all the bad in the world today. Jesus knows that and he encourages us not to be troubled. Remember, if you are a child of God, that you are just passing through this world, on your way to a better country.
7 Keep Looking Up And Don't Look Down
"Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go." Exodus 3:16-20
God told Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt, but look at verse 19. "And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand." It must have been very discouraging for Moses when God told him that Pharaoh would not listen or let the people go. In the same way, it must have been very discouraging for Noah as he preached and built the ark, and only his wife, sons, and their wives were saved from the flood. Maybe God has given you a task and it seems impossible or it feels like your witnessing is being constantly turned away. Don't give up. Moses did not give up. He was faithful and in the end, God did indeed use him to lead the people out of Egypt. Noah was faithful and he may have been extremely discouraged that only his family was saved on the ark, but God used his family to begin a new generation of people. There are times in all our lives when it seems like the things we are doing for the Lord aren't important. Don't give up. Keep following God's leading. Only the Lord knows how your Christian walk and talk affects those around you. Remember Proverbs 15:3, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." As Christians, we think about God seeing the bad things that people do. Remember that He also sees the good that is done through His name and try not to let opposition hinder you from your Christian walk.
8 "Are You Looking For A Sign?"
"And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land." Exodus 4:1-9
We were leaving work Friday and Cindi said, "The sun looks so bright and warm." As we opened the door the cold bitter wind took our breath. The air is still brisk but I saw signs that spring is around the corner. I passed robins hopping in the grass (that is no longer covered with snow) and saw green leaves starting to bud out on my bushes. These signs tell us that spring is coming. I pray for God's direction and often look for signs of God's leading in my life. God gave Moses signs so that Pharaoh would believe that God was the God, the "I AM" God. God gave the shepherds a sign in Luke 2:12, "And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:1-3. "The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" I believe that the signs of the times all point to the coming of our Lord. Things look bad here on earth, but keep looking up. The Lord is coming back. "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:25-28)
9 What Is In Your Hand?
"And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod... " Exodus 4:1-2
Today's devotion was taken from our devotions on Hands from last summer. The link is provided if you would like to read more...
For the past two weeks we have talked about God's hands and the hand of the Lord. Now I want to take some time to look at our hands. God told Moses to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and serve God. Moses had excuses, like we often do, and one of them was that the children of Israel would not believe him. God asked Moses, "What is that in thine hand?" God then explained how He would use the rod to make the people believe. In verse 17 God said, "And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs." And in verse 20 it becomes the rod of God. "And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand." Moses obeyed God and the rod of Moses became the rod of God. A couple of things really stand out to me in these few verses. The first is that God can use what is in our hands. Likewise, He puts in our hands what He wants us to use. Secondly, when we use what we have for God's glory, it is no longer ours, but God's. God may be asking you today, just as He asked Moses, "What is that in thine hand?" What are you holding that you can use for the Lord? Are you willing to give it back to the Lord and let it become God's? Moses carried the rod throughout the journeys of the children of Israel. He held it high as God sent the plagues on the land of Egypt. He held it high as God parted the Red Sea. I don't believe that God asks us for things which He has not given us to begin with. Open your hands and your heart and give what you have to the Lord, for His glory and honor.
10 Stop Looking For Excuses
“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee... And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Exodus 4:1 & 10
We are talking about Looking Ahead. Today we see that sometimes we don't look ahead in our service to the Lord, but we often look for escuses when He calls us to serve. God really does not want to hear our excuses as to why we are not serving Him. God called Moses out of the burning bush and Moses had excuses. He said that the children of Israel would not believe that he had talked with God, so God told him His name. He also said they wouldn't believe him, so God performed miracles with his rod. He said that his speech was slow and he had a hard time talking. "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." (Exodus 4:11-12) Moses still asked God to send someone else and verse 14 tells us that God was angry with Moses. God agreed to let Aaron, his brother, go with him and be his spokesman. How many times has the Lord asked us to do something for Him and we have used excuses to tell God why we couldn't do it? Do you think God is angry with us for failing to follow His will? I think that it is time we stop looking for excuses as to why we can't serve God, and start following the path the Lord is leading us in. Many times people say they can't find God's will for their life. Maybe it is because we have not been following the way He has been leading. Let's stop looking for excuses and start looking for ways to serve the Lord.
11 The Lord Looked Upon His People
“And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped." Exodus 4:29-31
It is wonderful that we can look up toward heaven and worship the Lord above. It is a special privilege to take our petitions to Him in prayer. But, even more amazing is that He looks down on us and thinks of us. David has expressed it so well in Psalm 139:1-6. "O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." David goes on to say in verses 17 & 18, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still wtih thee." When we think of how our Holy God Almighty looked down on our lost condition and gave His only Son to die for us, we should have the same reaction as the children of Israel, and bow our heads and worship. How precious it is that we serve a living God who thinks of us. There are many rulers in our land and not one of them thinks of me. But, I serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He looks down and thinks of me.
12 The World Is Not Looking For God
"And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go." Exodus 5:1-2
I thank the Lord for His wonderful saving grace and mercy on my soul. There was a time that I could have asked like Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord?" I praise God that He came looking for me, and called to me so I could be saved. Through His amazing love He made a way of salvation for me. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) He not only called to me, but He has freely offered eternal life to all who believe. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things? But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:13-17) Do you believe? If you don't accept God's gift of salvation then you are stating as simply as Pharaoh, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice?..." Please listen for His call and believe on His Word.
13 Things May Get Worse Before They Get Better
"And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. And Pharaoh, said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them, ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God." Exodus 5:4-8
We are prone to think that when we follow the Lord and do the right thing, everything will be bright in our life with no clouds in sight. The Bible does not teach us that we will all be healthy, wealthy, and wise all of our Christian days on earth. There are many stories in the Bible in which God's men and women were treated badly, and things got worse before they got better. We find in Genesis 37 through 41 a good example of the hardships Joseph faced, even while he was trying to live a righteous life. The book of Jeremiah also tells how the Old Testament prophets were treated unjustly. Just because things are not going well in your life, that doesn't always mean that you are out of God's will and care. Moses questioned God, just as we often do when trials come our way. "And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhored in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all." (Exodus 5:20-23) Keep following the Lord and try not to get discouraged if things get worse before they get better.
14 When There Is No Where To Look But Up
"And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage." Exodus 6:2-9
God reminded Moses and the children of Israel of His covenant and promises but verse 9 tells us that "they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit..." God will never forget His Word and He keeps His promises, but sometimes when the problems of life get us down we may not hear him speak to us. We are all susceptible of sinking low when we feel overwhelmed. Look at the story of the great prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:2-13 "Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?" We can find help in this story of Elijah. When problems come, don't isolate yourself. Elijah left his servant behind and went on alone. Let your Christian friends help you through the rough times. If you read I Kings 18 you will see that Elijah was very tired in every way, emotionally and physically. God let him sleep and fed him to help him regain his strength. We can't continually "burn the candle at both ends" and keep going. We need food and rest to function mentally and physically. Elijah finally heard the Lord in "a still small voice". Sometimes God leads us out of our bondage through mighty miracles as He did for the Children of Israel. But I have found in my life, that more often He speaks to me through "a still small voice". When you feel so low there is no where to look but up, then look up, and listen. "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1-2)
15 We Don't Always Know The Outcome
"And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them." Exodus 7:1-7
I started this devotional theme on Looking Toward The Future or Looking Ahead. I was reading in the book of Exodus at the time but did not realize that God would lead me in a study of the Children of Israel on their journey out of Egypt as they looked ahead to the land of Canaan. We don't always know what the outcome of each day will be. I suppose we could say that most of the time we don't know what the outcome will be. We get up each morning and usually have a plan for the day, but our plans can change in an instant. We need to accept the challenges we face in prayer that God's will will be done. Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." We can quote the verse, but do we really believe that God is molding things together in our lives for His purpose, just as a potter molds the clay for a chosen vessel? God told Moses that the Egyptians would know that He is God after He delivered the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Maybe some of the things happening in our lives are serving the purpose of bringing glory to the Lord. Look at John 9:1-3. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." This man had been born blind to bring glory to the Lord. When things happen in your life, don't think them to be just circumstance. It will be easier to face difficulties that come along when we realize that God is working His purpose through us. It can be a blessing to read Psalm 118:24 when we wake us each morning. "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
16 Looking To Serve The Lord In Our Old Age
"And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent." Exodus 7:7-10
When I recently read this chapter in Exodus, I was thinking about verse 7 which tells us that Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83. My purpose in using this verse was to encourage you to keep on keeping on. Sometimes older people reach an age in which they feel like they are too old to do anything for God. Younger generations need Christian examples to follow. We see this in New Testament teachings. "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." (Titus 2:1-5) As I sat down to type these devotions, God showed me another thought from His Word. We can also read of Moses in Hebrews 11:23-27. "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Moses did not wait until he was 80 to decide to follow God. He made the decision early in life to forsake the riches of Egypt and follow God. Many young people say they will be saved when they are old. They want to go to heaven, but they do not want to live for God. They are choosing to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The problem with that philosophy is we are not promised tomorrow. We may not live to be 80. We may not live through another week or even another day. Don't wait until it is too late to accept the Lord. It is great to still be serving God at 80 years old. It is even more of a blessing to me to see young people following God and serving the Lord.
17 Sometimes God's People Suffer
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.” Exodus 8:20-23
We read this scripture and we rejoice that God separated His people. We are a separated people. But, if you think about God putting a division of the people here at the plague of the flies, then we can assume that the children of Israel suffered through the first plagues. When the water turned to blood, the Egyptians did not have water, but neither did the childred of Israel. If the water had been clean in the land of Goshen, then the Egyptians would have taken their water. Exodus 7:24 tells us that the Egyptians dug around the river to try to find drinking water. They were without water for 7 days. Then God sent the frogs that covered the land, and lice on people and animals. The Children of Israel suffered along with the Egyptians in these plagues, but before God sent the flies, He separated His people. When bad things happen in our lives we often question God. God has not promised that we will be exempt from sorrow when we are saved. We still have trials and go through storms in this life. Look at Luke 13:1-5. "There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Sometimes Christians suffer in this life.
18 The World Doesn't Mind A Little Religion
“And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me." Exodus 8:28
After God sent the swarm of flies into Egypt, Pharaoh told Moses that they could go sacrifice to the Lord, "only ye shall not go very far away". That is much like the world today. Most people don't mind if we serve God a little, just as long as we don't go too far. Some people go to church at Christmas and Easter, and maybe Mother's Day to be with Grandma. Then there are some who go on Sunday mornings, but that's enough for them. They have too much to do on Sunday evenings and are just too tired to go on Wednesday. Another tactic of Pharaoh was that the Israelites leave their children in Egypt. We need to take a stand like Moses and teach our children to worship. "And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence." (Exodus 10:8-11) When Pharaoh saw that Moses would not compromise and leave the children behind, he tried again. "And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither." (Exodus 10:24-26) I really like Moses' answer, "there shall not an hoof be left behind..." Moses was determined to serve God with the young and the old, and everything they had. We would do well to follow this example and give our all to the Lord. Joshua followed Moses and we can see that he learned this well. "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
19 There Is A Difference
"And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." Exodus 11:4-7
The is the story of the passover and I would not compare that great miracle of God with events in the world today, but I want to take the small phrase at the end of verse 7. "...the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." There is a difference between the world and the children of God. But it is nothing that we have done. In Titus 3:5 we read, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" We are saved by the Lord's righteousness. Isaiah 64:6 tells us, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." We are nothing in ourselves, but once we accept God's free gift of salvation by believing on His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ we are set apart from the world. "But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him." (Psalm 4:3) We read again in II Corinthians 6:17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,..." Those in the world can't live a Christian life without Christ. And we, as Christians, should not try to live according to the ways of the world.
20 As Good As If I'm Already There
"And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever... And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even." Exodus 12:14, 17-18
God gave Moses very specific instructions about the Passover. I was reading this chapter and I noticed that God is giving them the law for the Feast of the Passover for the future. Verse 14 ends, "...ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever." The Children of Israel were to keep the Feast of the Passover every year in the future. They were given specific instructions to keep the Passover in the present. But look at verse 17, "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt:" This verse is written in the past tense. God said, "...in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out..." They were still in the land of Egypt, but God said, "in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out..." When God says He will do something, we might as well accept it as being done. Mr. Hoffner used to come to our church and he would often say, "It's as good as if I'm already there." He had such an assurance of salvation that he felt as if he were already with the Lord. If we back up a few verses in this chapter we see that God told the Children of Israel to "eat it in haste..." He tried to tell them to be ready. They were leaving Egypt, "this selfsame day". "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders." (Exodus 12:29-34) It sounds to me like they weren't ready. God told them they were leaving, but they weren't ready. That sounds all too familiar with people today. God has told us that Christ is coming back again, in the twinkling of an eye. Are we ready? Have you made preparations for the journey? Are your treasures laid up in heaven or have you spent all your time and preparation for this short life on earth. He's coming back to take us to heaven, and we can trust His Word as if we were already there.
21 Looking Toward The Future For Our Children
"And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped." Exodus 12:24-27
The time period on this page in my King James Bible, a Scofield edition, is B.C. 1491. The passover took place those many years ago, and yet the ordinance was passed down from generation to generation as God commanded. I was talking with my father-in-law as we went to church tonight about how sad it is that many people, who were raised in church, are neglecting true worship. Many of my family and friends, who went to church joyfully as we were growing up, don't see the importance of going to church now. It is also sad that children are not being brought to church and taught to worship. Take your children to church and teach them the love of the Lord. If you don't have children of your own at this point in your life, see if you can help do something for the children at your church. You may know some children in your family or those of friends that you could take to church with you. If we neglect to teach this generation the ways of the Lord, think about how much harder it will be on the next generation.
22 Christ Our Passover
"Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the good man of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." Luke 22:7-15
I could not go forward in the book of Exodus without first looking at Christ our Passover. Many sermons have been preached from this text in Luke about the miracle of the furnished upper room. That was miraculous, but we can find an even greater miracle in the Passover Lamb that was prepared to take on the sins of the world and become our sacrifice. Look at these heartfelt words of our Lord. "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." He came to give Himself, once and for all who will believe, as we read in Hebrews 9:25-28. "Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." We also read in the latter portion of I Corinthians 5:7, "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:" The miracle of Luke 22 is not only in the furnished upper room, but in the furnished Sacrifice. Because of this great sacrifice, we can praise the Lamb forever and look forward to His return. "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." (Revelation 21:22-23)
23 Sometimes God Leads Us The Long Way Around
"And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt." Exodus 13:17-18
We have come to a turning point in the book of Exodus. The Children of Israel served in cruel bondage for 430 years (Exodus 12:20). Now, after great plagues on the land of Egypt and the death of all firstborn, God is leading the Children of Israel out bondage. I don't know how far they were from the land of Caanan, but when Israel died, Joseph and his family took him to the land of Caanan for burial. "And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan. And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father." (Genesis 50:7-14) This tells me that the journey from Egypt to Canaan was not incredibly long, but God took them the long way around. There have been many times in my life when I seemed to be going the long way to get where I was going. People even joke about taking a "short cut" that took longer than the regular way. When we don't follow God, our path can lead through the long way, but we see in our lesson today that sometimes God leads us the long way. Our ride is not always short and sweet. We are often led through the valley to get to the mountain up ahead. When I am going somewhere and I miss a turn, I don't fret over it. I just keep on going and thank God for leading me. We don't know how many times God has led us down a different road to avoid danger up ahead. Keep following God and don't be surprised when the way seems long.
24 God Leads His People
"And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." Exodus 13:21 & 22
God led the children of Israel through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When the cloud stayed, they stayed, and when the cloud moved, they followed the cloud. There have been times in my life when I was seeking God's direction for my life that I thought it would be great if God would put a cloud in front of me and I could just follow the cloud. When I was looking for a job it would have been easy to know where to go if God had put the cloud in front of my car and I could have followed it down main street. God does not lead us that way. Paul said, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (II Corinthians 5:7) So how does God lead us? How can we find God's direction for our lives? "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5 & 6) We just need to trust God and pray and have faith in Him that He will guide us in the direction we need to go. Sometimes I have doubts about the path I am to take, so I try to wait on the Lord. Other times I can feel God leading me in a certain direction. I have found that the more I trust Him and depend on Him, the more I see His leading in my life. When you don't know where to turn, turn to God. Don't look for writing in the clouds, but look to God's Word and trust in Him. God wants to lead us in the right path. He wants us to follow Him.
25 Stand Still And See The Salvation Of The Lord
"And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea... And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:5-9 & 13
The children of Israel fled from the Egyptians and came to a halt at the Red Sea. The Egyptians were driving furiously, not only with the 600 chariots of war, but with all the other chariots, too. What could the Israelites do? The Red Sea was in front of them and the Egyptians were behind them, gaining ground. Look at what Moses said. "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD..." This is a good lesson for us. When our enemies are hard on our trail, and we come face to face with the Red Seas of this world, "stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD." When it seems as though the whole world has come against you, turn to the One who created the heavens and the earth. God separated the Red Sea and the children of Israel went through on dry ground. "And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen... And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them." (Exodus 14:24-28) Remember these words of encouragement when troubles come, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD."
26 Sing Unto The Lord
"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation: my father's God, and I will exalt him... The LORD shall reign for ever and ever." Exodus 15:1,2, & 18
God delivered the Children of Israel through the Red Sea and Moses and the people sang praises to God. There are many Psalms of praise that encourage us to sing to the Lord. "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods." (Psalm 95:1-3) "O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised:..." (Psalm 96:1-4) "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." (Psalm 100:1-2) These are just a few examples of Psalms which tell us to sing unto the Lord. God alone deserves all our praise.
27 Bitter Waters
"And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters." Exodus 15:23-27
We continue Looking Ahead on our journey with the Children of Israel on their way to the land of Canaan and we come to Marah, a place of bitter waters. We can sing, "Sweeter Gets The Journey Everyday", but sometimes we come to bitter waters in this troubled world. An unforgiving spirit or a critical spirit can make a person bitter toward God and other people. Loneliness can cause time to seem like a bitter enemy. Physical pain and sorrow can be like bitter waters springing up within. The Bible study notes in my Scofield King James Bible say that the tree Moses cast into the bitter waters represent the cross on which Jesus died and that He can make our bitter waters sweet. We can find comfort in the Lord. Psalms 147:3 tells us, "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Do you have a broken heart and bitter wounds? Turn to the Lord to find comfort. Trust in Him. He can take the bitter water in your life and make it as sweet as honey.
28 Wandering Into The Wilderness Of Sin
"And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Exodus 16:1-3
The Children of Israel have come out of Egypt through the mighty works and miracles and the strong hand of God. They went through the Red Sea on dry ground and saw their enemies destroyed. They sang praises to God as they followed a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They travelled beyond the bitter waters to an oasis in Elim. Now they have come to the wilderness of Sin. They complained and murmured against Moses and Aaron. I gave that little synopsis because I see in our verse above that it was the 15th day of the second month after leaving Egypt. Do you remember when they left Egypt? We saw in chapter 12 that their Passover was established to be the 14th day of the first month. One month. They travelled from April 14th to May 15th and began complaining about their food. As Christians, we have been brought out of bondage. We have seen God work in our lives. Yet, we too, often find ourselves complaining. We need to remember the words of our Lord in Luke 12:22-31. "And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." God will take care of us. We need to just trust in Him.
29 Murmuring And Complaining
"And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger... And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD." Exodus 16:2-3 & 7-8
This is a continuation of our story line from yesterday, but I want us to notice the last phrase in verse 8. "your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD." I'm guilty. I murmur and complain about so many things. If I believe that God is in complete control of my life, and I do... If I trust the Lord to guide my every step, and I believe He does... Then, when I murmur and complain about circumstances in my life, I am murmuring against God. That sounds awfully strong, but that is what the Word says. Now, you may say that those were the Children of Israel and the Old Testament was written for the Jews. Let's look and see what the New Testament has to say about that. "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (I Corinthians 10:10-11) Learn from these examples today. Don't murmur and complain, because that is murmuring against the Lord. We also need to be careful not to think that we are above temptation, or we will surely fall.
30 God Gives Us A Day Of Rest
"And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.." Exodus 16:23-30
God knows that our bodies grow tired and weary and He established a holy day for us to rest. He repeated this command in the Ten Commandments He gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work..." (Exodus 20:8-10) Paul encourages us in two of his letters... Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." II Thessalonians 3:13, "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing." I have to admit. I get tired and weary. Today is the Lord's day. I hope that you can find rest for your body and soul today.
31 Holding Up The Hands Of Your Leaders
"Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." Exodus 17:8-14
Moses was a great leader for the Children of Israel. He was a friend of God, as we read in Exodus 33:11, "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." God used him to lead the Children of Israel across the Red Sea on dry ground, but he was also a meek man. ("Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.") (Numbers 12:3) He is often called the servant of God and he was feared by the people. "On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life." (Joshua 4:14) He was faithful..."Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house." (Hebrews 3:2) He appeared with Christ on the mount of transfiguration in Matthew 17 and Luke 9. Moses is mentioned in many books throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. Our study of Moses in Sunday School was the beginning of my thoughts on this devotional theme. Moses held the rod of God in his hand and God did many mighty works. But in our verse above we see that Moses' hands were heavy. I think that many times we see the great leadership of our pastors and we forget that they grow weary, just as we do. We see their strength and we forget that they have weaknesses. Instead of standing in amazement at the work they do, we should do all we can to uphold their hands. Aaron and Hur stood by Moses and held up his hands. When they did so, the Israelites won the battle. Are you giving your full support to your pastor and church leaders and holding up their hands? Our pastors may be doing all they can do and their hands may be heavy. Let's lift up our hands in support to them. Let's hold up their hands and praise God for the victory.
32 Looking Ahead In The Life Of Joshua
"Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill... And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua:..." Exodus 17:8-10 & 13-14
These verses are taken from the same passage as the ones we talked about yesterday as we looked at Moses. Today I want us to look at Joshua. This is the first mention of Joshua. We look at these scriptures and see a young leader in battle. God saw Joshua's future. He told Moses to write down how God had won the battle and "rehearse it in the ears of Joshua..." God knows what lies ahead in our future. Many things happen in our lives that help us in our Christian journey. Let's look at some of the events in Joshua's life. In Exodus 24:13 he is called a minister, “And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.” He is a servant in the tabernacle in Exodus 33:11. “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.” In Numbers 14 Joshua and Caleb are the only two of the twelve spies who have faith that the Lord would give them victory in the land of Canaan. Later Joshua became the leader of the children of Israel. Moses spoke to the Lord and said, “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;” (Numbers 27:16-18) In all the things Joshua did, I always think of these words, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) Joshua was not only a leader of God’s chosen people; he was a leader in his house. He was a Godly father who led his household to serve the Lord. When battles come in our lives, we need to look ahead and see them as opportunites to serve our God.
33 When The Burden Is Too Heavy
"And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone." Exodus 18:13-18
I have heard preachers be very critical of Moses for listening to his father in law and appointing men to be rulers and judges over the people. Moses had a huge task in being the Spiritual leader to this great multitude. Again in Numbers 11:14-17 we see the burden of leadership on Moses. "I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness. And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thy self alone." We often grow weary with the burdens we carry here on earth. Sometimes we need help from other Christian believers. Moses told God that he could not bear the burden alone and God gave Moses the help he needed. It's OK to ask for help. I hate to ask for help. I try to do everything myself and avoid asking others to help me if at all possible. That is the nature God has given me. I often grow weary because I try to carry my own burdens. I need to learn to ask for help when I need it. Listen to these comforting words of our Lord, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden in light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
34 The Lord Can Lift You Up On Eagles Wings
"And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." Exodus 19:3 & 4
When the Children of Israel were in bondage, they knew that only through a miracle of God could they find freedom. God did indeed give them freedom as they flew out of Egypt. What a beautiful illustration God gives Moses, "... how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." God not only brought them out of Egypt, but He brought them unto Himself. That's just what God does for us. He gave His only begotten Son to die on a cruel cross and pay for our sins, so that He could bring us out of the bondage of sin and draw us to Him. These verses remind me of the blessed promises from the Lord in Isaiah 40:28-31. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Trust in God and wait on the Lord and let Him lift you up on eagles' wings.
35 A Peculiar Treasure
"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above people: for all the earth is mine:" Exodus 19:5
God was speaking to Moses about the Children of Israel when He called them His "peculiar treasure". I am not Jewish so I was not included in this particular blessing. But, I can look in the New Testament and find a similar blessing to all who will be saved and live godly. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:11-14) We often use the term "peculiar" to denote something odd or strange. But in these verses, the word means God's special people, or His purchased posession. We also read in I Peter 2:9-10, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." There's enough in these two verses to praise God for until He returns in clouds of glory. God gave us mercy when we were unworthy. He sought us, and bought us, so that we could be His peculiar treasure. Praise the Lord!
36 Teaching The Ten Commandments
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Exodus 24:12
God gave Moses the tables of stone, the commandments, and the law to teach to the children of Israel. They, in turn, were to teach them diligently to their children. We read in Deuteronomy 6:7-9 that they were to talk of them sitting in the house, walking by the way, in the evening going to bed, and waking up in the mornings. They were to bind them as signs on their hands and foreheads, and write them on the posts of the house and on their gates. The Ten Commandments are the basis for our laws, and it is so sad that there are leaders in our country who are against having the Ten Commandments posted. I am glad that my parents taught me the Ten Commandments. I don’t mean that they had me memorize each one in order, but that they lived by them and walked in integrity. I know that we are now under grace, but it would do us all good to read them on occasion and be reminded of God’s law. You can find these in entirety in Exodus 20:1-17.
1.Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 2.Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… 3.Thou shalt not take the name o the LORD thy God in vain… 4.Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… 5.Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 6.Thou shalt not kill. 7.Thou shalt not commit adultery. 8.Thou shalt not steal. 9.Thou shalt not bear false witness…
10. Thou shalt not covet…
I am thankful for parents who taught me these basic principles.
37 Waiting On God
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights." Exodus 12:12-18
I am afraid that our modern conveniences have made us an impatient people. We have fast food, fast cars, and fast internet service. We can talk with people thousands of miles away instantly. We don't like to wait. Sometimes we have to wait, at the doctor's office or at an auto mechanic's shop, and we complain if the wait is longer than we anticipated. Today is the Lord's day and we go to church and want God to bless us, but are we willing to wait on the Lord? Moses went up into the mountain and said, "Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you." Moses was up there 6 days, and on the 7th day God called to Moses. We may read a couple of chapters in our Bible daily, and we feel like we have done our part. We ask the Lord to bless our food and pray when we go to bed, and we think we had our little talk with God. We go to church on Sunday morning, but we want our morning worship services to be over in time for lunch. We read verse 18 and we see that Moses was in the mountain 40 days and 40 nights. Moses was willing to wait on God. I wonder how much more we could do for the Lord and how much more He would do for us, if we would just wait on God.
38 The Mercy Seat
"And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." Exodus 25:21-22
This verse states an amazing concept. God, holy and righteous, has made a way to meet with us. He met with Moses at the mercy seat. For many years the Children of Israel offered up sacrifices to obtain mercy. Jesus came and gave Himself to be our sacrifice and we find mercy at the foot of the cross. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (I Peter 2:9-10) Mercy and grace. I once heard mercy and grace described like this... "Mercy is not getting what we deserve" and "Grace is getting what we don't deserve." Here are a few more verses on the marvellous mercy of God. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5) "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God;" (Ephesians 2:4-8) "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
39 Wise Hearted
"And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." Exodus 28:3
"And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship," Exodus 31:3
"And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded; The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets, The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering, The table and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread, The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light, And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle, The altar of burnt-offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court, The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords. The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office. And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD'S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted..." Exodus 35:10-22
I listed several verses here because I think it is important to see all the different tasks which were waiting for the people to do. God called to all the "wise hearted" who were filled with the "spirit of wisdom" to help prepare the items for the tabernacle. There is such a wide range of materials needed and the chapter actually continues with a list of offerings needed. God uses all types of people with all types of abilities and talents. He has given us different gifts and talents to use for His glory. I notice two things about all these people. First, they were wise hearted and filled with wisdom. We need head knowledge, but maybe even more important, we need heart wisdom. Are you wise hearted? I want to be wise hearted and filled with wisdom to work for my Lord. Next I notice that they were willing hearted. They offered their time and energy to work for the Lord. They offered their substance for the Lord. Verses 24-29 tell us that the people gave silver and brass, assorted types of cloth and skins, precious stones and oil. They were willing to give their best to God. We need to follow their example and be filled with wisdom so we can give our all to the Lord. We also need to give offerings of our possessions to Him, to carry on His work. Be wise hearted, wise headed, and willing to give your all to the Lord.
40 The Golden Calf
"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him... And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation." Exodus 32:1 & 7-8
You probably know this story. As Moses was on Mount Sinai getting the Ten Commandments, the Children of Israel were breaking them. We saw in Exodus 12 that Moses was on the mount 40 days and 40 nights. The people decided to forget about Moses, and God, and make a false idol to be their little "g" god. Notice that God saw the sin of the people. God knows all and sees all. I also notice that once the people sinned, God said, "Go, get thee down; for thy people..." God no longer called the Children of Israel "my people", but He called them "thy people". He was so angry with their sin, He was ready to "consume them", but Moses made intercession for the people. "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin; and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book." (Exodus 32:30-33) Moses interceded for the people. We have all sinned. Praise the Lord, we have an interceder that goes before God with our confession. The Lord, Jesus Christ, came from heaven to bear our sins on Calvary's cross. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
41 A Little Glimpse Of The Glory Of God
"And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." Exodus 33:17-23
Moses got just a glimpse of God's glory. "And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him...And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face." (Exodus 34:29, 30 & 33) The children of Israel could tell that Moses had been with God. His face shone so brightly that he had to wear a veil. Can people tell that we have been with the Lord? Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world, A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) Does your light shine and glorify God? When we get a little glimpse of God in all His glory those around us will be able to see it in our lives.
42 They Did All The Lord Commanded
"Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they... According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them." Exodus 39:32, 42 & 43
We began our study in the book of Exodus with the theme of "Looking Ahead". The Children of Israel were in bondage in the beginning of the book and God brought them out with a mighty hand. We have reached the end of the book of Exodus and the Israelites are still on their journey to the Promised Land. They went through the Wilderness of Sin and tasted the bitter waters at Marah, but when God gave them His plans for the tabernacle, they did it all. Every wise hearted, and willing person helped in their preparations for worship. This Sunday we will celebrate Easter, the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many churches will have special worship services. Have you done all you can to help prepare for this special day? Moses looked at all the people had done and blessed them. If your pastor looked over the things you have done for your church could he see that you have done all that God has asked you to do? When the Lord looks down from heaven, does He see that we have done all that He has commanded? Jesus gave His all, His life, to save us and give us eternal life. What have you given to Him?
43 Looking Unto Jesus
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1 & 2
We began this series with verses about looking ahead and running the race. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:” I Corinthians 9:24-26 Today we finish with more thoughts on running the race with patience and purity. Jesus is our example. The writer of the book of Hebrews says, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Lay aside your sin and look unto Jesus. This verse is so fitting during our Easter season. Jesus died on the cruel cross, was buried, and on the third day He rose from the grave. Is there unconfessed sin in your life? Look unto Jesus. Are you weary and heavy laden? Look unto Jesus. Do you need a friend that sticketh closer than a brother? Look unto Jesus. I pray that you will look unto Jesus and worship Him this Easter.