Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
We live in a world plagued by fear. People worry about illness, job loss, family problems, war, famine, and the future. Fear is Tweeted and posted on Facebook. Fear is everywhere you go, even if people don’t always say it.
For those who place their trust in the Lord Almighty, however, it is different story completely. Because their lives are in the hands of an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful heavenly Father, they can face any difficult situation with confidence.
The Israelites were facing a new, fearful chapter in their history. God had delivered them from the clutches of the Egyptians through a series of plagues. Now they were following a pillar of cloud and fire through the desert that was directed by God’s presence. When the pillar moved, they moved with it. When it stopped, they stopped with it. It must have been an encouraging sight to see each day as they went deeper in the desert!
Yet when the people learned that the Egyptians were coming after them, panic immediately began to sink in. Even the presence of God over their camp could not allay their fears of what might happen. They thought it would have been better if Moses had left them in Egypt instead of delivering them from slavery (Exodus 14:10-12).
Moses reminded them that God was the ultimate warrior and that He was on their side (14:13-14). In modern terms, Moses told them to “shut up and be still.” God majors in handling seemingly impossible situations. The end result was a crushed Egyptian army and a triumphant group of Israelis.
The lesson here to remember is that this episode was all about timing. God never said when He was going to deliver Israel. He just said He would. God often causes delays in our lives that we can’t understand. Sometimes it seems our obedience is not getting rewarded. Sometimes God's delays are simply because He wants more glory in the situation (See Exodus 14:18) or more Christ-likeness in you and me through greater patience and obedience. But He will deliver when it seems like we are in a rut! We just have to continue going forward in His promises.
Are you facing fear today? You certainly aren't alone! The Israelites can attest to that fact. However, the Lord does promise to be with us at all times. All He requires we do is trust in Him and His plan for our lives. If you are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel today, let the words of Exodus 14:14 remind you that the Lord is with you and fighting for you against Satan's schemes.
Lord, make us bold enough to fight the beast, and meek to kneel beside the least. Father, thank you that "Special Ops" Jesus has our back. We can breathe. Lord, nothing in front of me will I fear because you have ordained it before me. If you are for us, what in this day can be against us? You are good, Lord. Thank you that I don't fear what tomorrow brings because you are the one who holds tomorrow. You are good, Lord. We praise you for giving us our greatest need--salvation in Jesus' name.
Exodus 16:28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?"
Have you ever thought what it would be to see life from God’s perspective? If we could gaze down from heaven above, we would be amazed to see the hand of God at work. In one corner of the world, we would see a person worried about something and losing faith that God is real and answers prayers. Another part of the globe we would see God fulfill the desires of a faithful follower’s heart after many years of waiting. And somewhere in the midst of all this, we would be utter fascination of the control, provision, and unlimited supply of our all-powerful God.
I believe one day in heaven we will be able to experience God’s work in this world and see it firsthand. For now, however, we must live in the present. We must remind ourselves that God knows our every need and that He is faithfully working, often behind the scenes, for our benefit.
The Israelites in slavery in Egypt experienced the provision of God directly. They complained that they had it better in Egypt. They were afraid they would starve and die. But what did God do? Knowing their physical and spiritual needs, God sent manna from heaven (See: Exodus 16). God understood their need and delivered every morning. From their earthly perspective, however, God’s plans didn’t make sense. Yet God was at work to meet all their needs.
God had set Israel free of bondage in Egypt. They had been set free from the oppression of slavery and the restraints of idol worship. When the day came for God to reveal His glory against pharaoh, the people could hardly believe their eyes. They were witnesses to the glorious manifestation of God's powerful deliverance. Those who once doubted Moses' ""word from the Lord"" were the first to pack up and leave the country.
My, oh my, how things change! While in the desert, the whole community began to wish they were back in Egypt. Food and water were scarce. The Lord was testing their hearts. God had prophesized them a place of blessing in the Promised Land. Geographically, the desert is between Egypt and the Promised Land. The Lord took them to the desert so they could worship Him. He said, ""We are going to get to the Promised Land, but in between the two, there is only one thing that matters. You must get to know Me."" The Israelites failed this particular test miserably. Miraculously, however, the Lord provided daily manna for 40 years to sustain them on their journey.
The wilderness is a place of testing and trial. It is where God lets you see whether what you do on the outside is true with how you feel on the inside. It is for you to see where you stand with regard to how much you really respect and fear Him.
All through the Bible God tested men to see if they feared Him. God wants you to worship Him, love Him, and fear Him by choice, not simply by name games or wants. It is a choice. You must have options. What God does is He allows us to have options where we can draw near to Him or recoil from Him based upon how we feel about Him. So when you say, ""I love God, I fear God, I will tell others about Him,"" those are great words. But, God wants to see what you do with the test and whether you choose Him or something else.
Father, may it not be so among your people that we become less than grateful for what you are doing in our lives. We know that you tests our hearts, yet at, at the same time, know what is in the hearts of men such as us. We pray that you give us strength to walk through these times with great patience and hands open to your guidance. Lord, thank you that in our greatest tests we know that your Son, according to Hebrews, was tested and tried like us but, yet, was without sin. Thank you for taking care of us, Lord. Thank you that our greatest trials here are nothing compared to eternity apart from you in hell--which we deserve, but acknowledge, through Christ alone, we are spared from. In Jesus' name. Amen,
Exodus 17:12 "When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset."
As the children of Israel made their way across the wilderness on the way to Mt. Sinai, they were attacked by the descendants of Amalek, distant relatives if Israel through Esau. The attack was uncalled-for and a surprise. The attack was from the rear and upon the weak, elderly and stragglers. The battle with Amalek was engaged by Joshua and his chosen men, but the victory came through prayer.
We all need an Aaron and a Hur in our Christian life. I used to think it cliché when people would say there is no such thing as a ""lone ranger"" Christian. Well, I don't know if that's true or not, but when I think of Moses, a more godly man that I, and his need for support from his friends, then I realize I need that support system, too.
You'd think Joshua would be the one getting tired as he fought the Amalekites. But our passage today tells us that Moses became weary in praying. The lifting of the hands with the staff of God was a reliance on God's power. When Moses became weary, the battle turned against the Hebrews. When Moses' support system helped, things went according to God's will.
What do we take away from this? When I weary of praying and practicing spiritual disciplines, I need a support system to help keep me relying on God's power. I need my brothers and sisters in Christ to hold up my figurative arms so that I am aligned with the will of God. We must surround ourselves with reliable and patient brothers and sisters.
The parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable (1 Cor. 12:21). You're vital to the health of the body of Chris.. A sign you're growing in grace is less theological arrogance & greater appreciation for diversity in the Body of Christ.
In our battle with the forces of darkness, we will likely grow weary and take our focus away from God. With the help of our Christian supporters, we can remain diligent in the battle. There is no shame in relying on the various members of Christ's body to perform their function and provide us with a marvelous support system.
Father, thank you that the local church is put in our place to serve you, receive support, and know that we are in you--not because the church saves--but because we love the people of it. Lord, help me to get to know, share my life with, pray for, study with, worship with, and enjoy life together with those in my local assembly. Be with my pastor today that he may have discernment in all matters. Be with the laypeople that we may seek to love our Lord and support whatever goes on. We love you for all you do, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Exodus 18:19 "Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him."
As a pastor, a lot of people think I only work one day a week. Can you guess which day? Yes, Sunday. I cannot tell you how many times someone has said, “Pastor, if I had your job, I would never be stressed again!”
Did you know that 50 percent of marriages of pastors end in divorce? Did you know that 84 percent of pastor’s wives feel discouraged by the way their husband is treated by the church they love so much? What is scarier than all of these stats—and I was told this in seminary, which is like college for pastors—is that, after 5 years in ministry, 80% will leave ministry because they are so stressed and burned out.
What does this have to do with you?
Even if part of this is true, it is a call for prayer for your pastor, youth minister, music minister, Sunday school teacher, or anyone related to the life of your church. Pray that God would give them strength, wisdom, and perseverance. Pray that they would not stop growing in their relationship with Him. Pray that, even during hard times, their joy is not found in their duties but in the LORD.
For Moses, although he we do seem him frustrated often, thankfully, he had someone looking out for him. It took Jethro, his father-in-law, to see what Moses didn’t. That is, that he was on the road to burn out and needed to share his job duties. It is a stone-cold fact that sometimes those around us can see what we are doing wrong before we fall or fail. Thank the LORD for other Christians, family, or friends who speak up with gentleness and boldness when it is necessary!
Jethro is wise. Moses had a problem of saying “no.” So, Jethro tells Moses to appoint leaders to help him lead the people. Church leaders often can’t see beyond the urgent and don't want to push anyone away. What does Moses do? He takes Jethro's advice and then can focus on the specific tasks God primarily gave to him.
This is a good truth to behold. There are differences of spiritual gifts among God's people (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12) and among leaders. (If you don’t know your spiritual gift, talk to your pastor.) Spiritual gifts tend to become clear through use. Not all of Moses' tasks are delegated!
Whether you are young or older reading this, it doesn’t really matter. How are you ministering to God’s people in your church? You might minister or serve outside your church, too, and that is fine. I am just thinking about the people that you know and see every week.
How are you ministering one to another? What are you doing to serve in the church, to lessen someone else’s loads?
Father, being in leadership is never easy. We pray for all of our leaders in the local church. Help them today. Help them to glorify you above all things. Place them in your watchcare so they might not sin against you. Even when how you are leading them to lead us is hard, help us to follow, knowing that you are the source of all things. You are good, Lord. Thank you for providing these servants to lead us. Help them to obey you in all they do. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Exodus 20:7 "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to ""honor thy father and thy mother,"" she asked, ""Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"" Without missing a beat, one little boy (the eldest child of a family) answered, ""Thou shall not kill.”
That was a wise answer. According to the Ten Commandments given to Moses in Exodus 20, murder is a terrible crime. Yet when many of us think of murder, we immediately see bloodshed through violence (e.g., wars between nations and urban gang fights). The result amounts to shattered lives on both sides, including the aggressor and the victimized. However, we must also realize that our speech can be just as deadly. Each time we utter out a hateful comment or half-truth about someone, we are, in a sense, murdering them. And, just like physical murder, emotional murder causes great chasms of hatred and dissension that even forgiveness seldom bridges.
What is sin?
Children often try to duck the radar of their parents’ watchful eyes. As a child, it was often the cookie jar that grabbed my attention the most. When my mother or father were off doing chores around the house, I would slowly look around to make sure the coast was clear. If it was, I would move a kitchen chair to the cabinet and slowly climb up to the jar. If I was successful, I would be able to sneak one or two cookies (And they were good!). But more often than not I was caught and punished for my actions.
My act of stealing cookies as a child directly opposed God’s established law of do’s and don’ts. I sinned when I stole those cookies. Sin is any offense to God's perfect and unchanging character. It is wrong as well as not doing what is right. The Bible says because God can’t steal, it is wrong for us to steal (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5). Since God is holy and can’t sin, our sin offends Him personally because it is His flawless law that we are breaking. This is why the Bible declares that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). As sinners, we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:2). The result of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
The problem with sin is that we can’t take it back. There is nothing we can do to remove its consequences. Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” This means that since we can’t remove our own sins, God must do it. In other words, Jesus died in our place. He paid the sin-bill and the penalty for offending God that should have fallen upon us. He satisfied the very heart of God the Father by dying on the cross.
When we seem to worship the living God but remove our heart from Him, we are guilty just the same of worshipping Him in vain. Please remember, too, that “worship” is not just singing a song in church on Sunday. Worship, rightly defined in Scripture, pertains to every area of your life and God’s requirement in the Scripture. It exalts the nature, character, and ways of God, while also laying out specifics responsibilities to us as believers
The reality of sin is real. If you know Christ and have not repented of your recent sins, pray David’s words in Psalm 51 and ask God to restore you. If you are not a Christian, then “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Sin takes us away from knowing God deeper and more intimately. It is that simple yet profound. He will save you from hell for all eternity. Then you will go to heaven forever. What are you waiting for?
Oh, Father, we know that you and you alone are God. Help us to remember sin's high cost. The cost of losing everything at the cross with your wrath being poured out on your Son. Lord, thank you for saving me. Thank you for forgiving me when I err. Don't let me take it for granted. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Exodus 32:7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt."
For several days, Moses had been on top of Mount Sinai, receiving God's commandments regarding life and worship. Meanwhile, at the base of the mountain, the Israelites were getting cranky, tired, and restless. Though Moses was in the presence of the Lord, at the foot of the mountain, nearly two million former Israelite slaves were getting restless and bored.
Consequently, they searched around the camp and cornered Aaron, Moses' brother and closest helper. They convinced him to make a golden calf out of their earrings and then proceeded to worship it. Since the people did not know what had happened to Moses on the top of the mountain, they convinced Aaron to make a golden calf out of their earrings. Then they proceeded to worship it. Needless to say, God was angry with His chosen people. In fact, He was ready to wipe out the whole nation. Only Moses' intervention kept God from destroying Israel completely (32:11-14).
Under the pressure of the moment, the Israelites allowed their feelings to overtake their faith and trust in the living God. The Bible warns us about this tendency. Notice the words of the writer of the Hebrews: ""See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily...so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness"" (Hebrews 3:12-13).
As one might expect, God was not pleased with the actions of His people. In fact, He was ready to destroy the whole nation for their actions. However, Moses, who at the first part of the book of Exodus wanted nothing to do with the Israelites, intervened and kept God from obliterating Israel.
You may never be approached by large group of angry people such as the Israelites demanding a change, but you certainly will be tempted in a thousand different ways to compromise your convictions. Satan will make sure of that! When that happens, remember to have the faith to say no to the world and yes to Jesus Christ.
We are reminded here that in the face of persecution, humiliation, or sin, we need not compromise our faith. Rather, we must seek to lift up our fellow Christians to ensure the name of Christ is preached and shared, no matter what the cost.
You may say, “Wow! I would never forget God like that! I would never do such a thing!” But you shouldn't be so quick to speak! Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, has been gone for nearly two thousand years. He has promised to come back, but we sometimes act as if He were gone, never to return.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, then God is present through His Holy Spirit in you. When we allow even the littlest compromise in our spiritual walk, we are shunning God and embracing the world. So don't get too casual as you live today. Otherwise, Jesus may return to find you in the midst of behavior that would make Israel’s mistake seem like nothing in comparison.
Father, how easily we forget who you are and how easily we are tempted by sin. Lord, help us today to recall that your power is greater than any sin in front of us. Keep us from complanency. Keep us from laziness. Keep us from spiritual apathy. We pray that you guard our hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. Stun us today with your grace. In your name. Amen.
Numbers 10:29 "Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel."
With Facebook and Twitter so popular today, it is very rare when you actually get something through the mail. Everything seems to come electronically now. From friend requests to photos, the Internet has completely changed how we communicate with people.
When I was growing up (I am going to show my age), you didn’t send an e-mail, a Facebook message, a text, or a YouTube video. Rather, you sent invitations through the mail. Yes (gasp), we had to wait days for things to come. But, unlike today, we didn’t know it was coming. When you received an invitation to a party, it was like Christmas!
Well, the Bible is certainly older than me, and trust me, it is also full of invitations. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible shows a God who is continually inviting people to join Him in where He is going and in what He is doing. What a thought! The Creator and Sustainer of all that was, is, and will be invites me to join Him. Amazing!
In this section of Scripture, the Israelites are preparing to leave their camp at the base of Mt. Sinai. While they stayed there, they received the Law from Moses, built the tabernacle, and learned how to properly worship the LORD God. Now, they are breaking camp and heading toward Canaan.
But, before they leave, Moses takes the time to invite his father-in-law, Jethro, to go with them to their destination.
This wasn’t just a vacation or a short trip. No, Moses invites Jethro to join them on their journey to that land God has promised to them. It is as if Moses said, “We are on our way to the Promised Land, Jethro. Come along with us and we will treat you well-very well. The LORD has given wonderful promises to Israel!”
When Jethro heard the invitation, his first response was to say no (Numbers 11:30). However, from others parts of the Bible (Judges 1:16; 4:11), we know he did go with them. He was blessed along with Israel just as Moses promised he would be.
What is the point of all this?
In heavy wilderness regions, guides are hired to lead interested parties to remote locations. These people are experts of the area and know how to survive while taking both veterans and inexperienced adventurers on excursions. Guides know how to lead and advise a group to its goal and eventual safety. Even in times of trouble, guides are trained to confront the situation with experience and poise to solve the issue.
When you invite Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior, you are also given a Guide, the Holy Spirit, who is the third member of the Trinity. Jesus spoke of Him often, describing Him as “the Spirit of truth” who comes to “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
When you are lacking wisdom, the Spirit is there to help you make wise choices. When you are lacking the words to say, the Spirit is there to ensure you know what to say. When you have sinned, the Spirit is also there to convict you of your sin. In every situation, the Holy Spirit is your Guide to living a godly life.
When you surrender to the Holy Spirit to guide your life, you are emptying all the closest and drawers of your life and asking the Him to come in not as guest, but as Lord and Master of all you are and have. Remember the Lord has your best interests in mind. You are not surrendering to a cruel dictator tyrant who wants to make your life miserable and boring. The Lord wants to give you an abundant life and make something out of your life for His honor and glory and the blessing of humankind. You may not always have your way, but you will discover that His way is the best way.
The Lord is always faithful in all of His wisdom and guidance, just as He was to Moses, Jethro, and Israelites as they traveled to the Promised Land.
Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit. Fully divine as you, Father, we know that he is not some red-headed step-childed, as we might joke in our society. Rather, he is the thrice holy God. Father, thank you that your Spirit is not just a personal genie like in a movie. But he is the omnipresent, omnipotent God as you are. Father, guide us today by your Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen.