January 23, Exodus 13-15

 

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We are introduced today to a recurring theme in Israel’s relationship with the Almighty. God provides for Israel only for Israel to panic in the midst of troubling times.  First, God provides a cloud to shade Israel in the day and a fire to guide them at night.  One would think that this would establish for Israel that God is going to provide for their every need. However, when they look over their shoulders and see Pharaoh’s army fast approaching, panic leads them to blame Moses for leading them to their apparent certain death.  When God parts the Sea for them, they do put their trust in God and in His servant Moses (14:31).  How short their praise, though?  Three days without water brings Israel back to complaining.  What does God do?  Not only does He provide water, but He leads them to a place of twelve springs and seventy palm trees (15:27).

Maybe today seems, at best, uncertain and, at worst, disastrous, but keep your eyes on Him.  He may be about to part the sea and bring you to a place of flowing water and shady palm trees.  Just one thing—when He does, praise Him and don’t panic the next time you face something that appears to be disastrous.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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January 22, Exodus 11-12

 

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After the tenth plague, the death of every first born among the Egyptians, Pharaoh gives the o.k. for Israel to leave.  God had given very specific instructions for Israel in their leaving.  They were to ask their neighbors for gold and silver, have a special meal, and put blood on the doorposts of their homes.  These specific instructions are a foreshadowing of the continual instructions God would give to Israel.  Although there is no apparent reason for these instructions, (even the blood on the doorpost to mark the home of an Israelite—Did God really need a sign to point out the homes of the Israelites?) God is preparing a people to take instruction from Him.  The reasons for the instructions would not be known until some time later. Let me give you just one example.  Why did God instruct Israel to take gold and silver from the Egyptians?  We will find out when we read the instructions for building the Tabernacle. Don’t doubt the commands of God.  One day you will be glad you followed every command of the LORD. 

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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January 21

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Let me remind you of something that I will remind you of often during this year.  Keep reading even when you do not completely understand.  You, no doubt, already have some questions.  Some of you have probably asked me that question, and I have said, “I don’t know.”  That answer has frustrated you.  Truth of the matter is this:  some things we are just not going to know. Now, some people will tell you that they know, and they might, but they are probably just taking their best guess or telling you something they read or heard from someone else. Others will tell you, very spiritually sounding, that the LORD told them the answer.  He might have, but I hope they are right in saying the LORD told them.   Here’s what I think. There’s going to be enough in the Bible that we do understand and are not doing to keep us plenty busy.  Let’s worry about that and not all of the stuff that we do not understand. When we make that our priority, little by little, God will reveal to us the other stuff that we ought to understand.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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January 20, Exodus 7-10

 

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God sent ten plagues to try to get Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go.  We read all but the final plague in today’s reading.  Pharaoh’s response to the nine plagues presents an interesting case study on the subject of authentic repentance. 

First, Pharaoh’s response after each of the plagues indicates the temporary nature of his commitment to God.  He is committed to obeying the request until the plague subsides.  When the plague is lifted, he hardens his heart.  Temporary repentance is not repentance.

Second, Pharaoh’s response after the plague of frogs is especially interesting.  When given the opportunity to name the timing of the lifting of the plague, Pharaoh responds, “Tomorrow.”  I wonder how many of us have ever told God, “Tomorrow.”  Interesting, isn’t it, that we would rather live “one more night with the frogs” than get things right with God?  Hesitant repentance is not repentance.

Third, after the eighth plague, the plague of hail, Pharaoh tries to bargain with God.  He relents to letting the men go, but will not let the women and children go.  The attempt to bargain with God is an example of partial repentance. 

Whether our repentance is temporary, hesitant, or partial, one thing that these forms are not is authentic.  What has God called you to do?  Do it—today, completely, and with a forever kind of commitment.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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January 19, Exodus 3-6

 

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Today we read one of the most important stories in the entire Old Testament.  God appears to Moses in a burning bush to reveal His plan to use Moses to lead Israel out ofEgypt.  You know well the exchange of excuses and answers.  God assures Moses at every excuse.  I am reminded that knowing the will of God is not the hard part.  The hard part is doing the will of God.  The scene moves from bad to worse when Moses’ actions lead to resistance rather than victory.  Instead of being a hero, Moses is a villain because his attempt to lead Israel out of Egypt leads only to more hard labor.  Our reading today ends with a question:  “Why would Pharaoh listen to me?”

What part of Moses’ saga does today bring in your life?  Are you struggling with doing what you know God has called you to do?  Have you launched out in doing God’s will only to find the going tough?  Are you wondering if you will ever see the benefit of doing God’s will?

Don’t give up!  What if God is about to part the Red Sea?  

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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