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Daily Devotions 6-8 to 6-14

Daily devotions during the worldwide pandemic.

June 8

Exodus 1:20-21 "So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own."


Today's Thoughts...


Growing up, I can remember having touched a three-leafed poison ivy branch on occasion.  Has this ever happened to you? What starts as a small, localized itch quickly spreads to cover your whole body as you scratch away.  You must forego the urge to minimize the pain and damage.

 

In the Egyptian’s eyes, the Israelites were an itch gone bad.  Re-read Exodus 1:12. The Egyptians tried killing the male children and forcing the Israelites into slavery.  God had promised and forewarned His people about this season of enslavement when He spoke to Abraham (Gen. 15:13-16).  Yet, by God’s grace, the covenant people excelled in the midst of intense oppression.


Think of it another way. Have you ever promised God that you wouldn’t do a particular sin again only to fail in the same area soon after your promise? I have! To persevere means that you practice the spiritual disciplines of God (prayer, worship, evangelism, fasting, fellowship, etc.) and allow the Holy Spirit to shape your life.  If you are Christ’s child, then you can’t help but be pushed toward this end.  In a sense, then, perseverance is promised to us, but it is my prayer (and a prayer you ought to have for yourself and other believers) to pray for perseverance through the tough times of our faith.


This is a continual process of separation from sin to holiness. Progress in your sanctification is measured by your growing hostility toward sin. The source is the power of God.  The result is the transformation of our lowly bodies to be like Him.  To be transformed into the image of Christ for His glory is the ultimate call of every Christian.

 

Want to revolutionize your prayer life? Then ask God to take the biblical contents of this prayer and use them in your life as a member of the Body of Christ.

 

As believers in Jesus Christ, seasons of various afflictions are guaranteed to us as well (2 Tim. 3:12).   It is much better to “choose to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin's fleeting pleasure” (Heb. 11:25).  Our prayer during such times should be to be patterned into the image of Christ.  Our aim should be to do all things for the glory of God.



Today's Prayer...


Father, thank you for people in our lives that fear you and want to glorify your name no matter what. We praise you that, like Peter, even if we fail in such times, you are faithful and just to forgiveness from all sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank you, Lord. Grant us strength and in moments of trial when you are on trail in courtrooms of men. Your name is worth suffering for. Your name is the only name by which we are saved. Praise you for all that we have. In Jesus' name. Amen.

June 9

Exodus 2:24 "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob."


Today's Thoughts...


As humans, we believe that the plans and ways of God should be revealed to us on demand. This type of thinking comes out of world that is quickly telling God and others, “I want it now, and if I don’t get want I want right now, there is going to be trouble.” This is a dangerous philosophy, because not only are we questioning Almighty God, but are thwarting the plans He has for our lives.


In Exodus two, we see an early glimpse of this human tendency in Moses. Instead of being a slave, he’s considered royalty. Far from being a savior of the Hebrews, he’s actually housed, fed, and trained by the enemy. He had access to the day’s best libraries and teachers (Acts 7:22). Moses had the potential of being the next king over Egypt


At this unique part in Moses’ life, he can claim an relationship with the Hebrew slaves by birth, but when it comes to actually hanging out with the people of God, he would probably be much more comfortable in Pharaoh’s palace among Egypt’s citizens. This is the place many young and old Christians find themselves in today. God knows Moses, but Moses doesn’t really know God. Like many today, he’s given the LORD a place in his life, but he has yet to give up his life to the LORD and keeps the people of God at arm’s length.


However, one day, he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. After looking around to see if anyone was coming or watching him, he killed the slave driver and buried him in the sand (2:11).

Moses was clearly upset at the mistreatment of God’s people, and he wanted to do something about it. However, his decision to take action against God’s timing (Notice he did not receive any command from God to kill the Egyptian at that time or at all) delayed the LORD’s plan for the deliverance of the Israelites by 40 years as Moses learned humility in the desert.


But the story of Moses doesn’t end there. In fact, notice what is recorded of him after God used him to free the Israelites from Egypt: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Say what? Yes, Moses, after humbly submitting to the LORD’s timing, will, and purpose for His life, was considered to be one of the most humble human beings to walk the earth. And it was only when he decided to force God’s timing and will for His life by committing pre-meditated murder that he failed to lead the people and sinned.


Being humble, submitting every decision big and small to the LORD, and waiting on His perfect timing, goes entirely against our natural inclinations. It even goes against the current culture of “I want it and I want it now.” It's an upside-down philosophy. However, it is biblical, and millions have practiced before us. Shouldn't we do the same?


Humbling yourself to God’s will is the first step toward spiritual maturity in Christ, even as a young person.


Today's Prayer...


Father, thank you for all that you have given us in Christ. Lord, as we think of Moses and what he did in killing a man and yet how much you used him, we are more than humbled, we are put in our place. Lord, this isn't just an excuse to do whatever we want. We want to glorify you and live for you. But, once again, we are minded how longsuffering you are with our sin and our failures. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for taking us to places of mercy that we will never understand. All praise is due your name. In Jesus' name. Amen.

June 10

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”


Today's Thoughts...


Have you ever considered how amazing the communication between God and Moses was during Moses' life? Recall that Moses is walking along one day and to his surprise he sees a burning bush. Yet the text records this was not just any burning bush: ""Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up"" (Exodus 3:2). And to top that off, he hears a voice from the bush, calling him by name! Remember, voice-projecting microphones hadn't been invented yet. There was little doubt that it was God.


It doesn't seem fair, does it? After having all his doubts and objections answered, Moses obeyed God's call and returned to Egypt, Moses practically got a step-by-step guide from God on what to do, when to do it, and what to say during the whole process. Even God’s promise of strength and support was not enough to calm Moses’ inner struggles. But, if you examine today's story, you will notice that Moses speaks only six short sentences in this entire chapter! Quite amazing! The rest of the talking is done by God. 


Why would God communicate so much with Moses but seemingly give us so little today? I believe a possible answer to that question is that Moses did not have the resources we have today. Think about it: We have the entire life of Moses in the Old Testament, as well as the other prophets and apostles that combine to complete what we call the Bible.


However, much like when He talked to Moses about his divine mission, the Lord speaks to us and encourages us not to worry or sweat the small stuff repeatedly within the pages of His Word. Instead, He charges us to remember that He never sleeps (Psalm 121:4), He knows everything (Psalm 44:21), and that He is in charge of our world (Ephesians 1:11). Though we might never have a burning-bush experience like Moses when it comes to hearing from the Lord, He reminds us in the pages of the Bible that we do not need to be afraid.


Dear Christian, are you making the most of the work God has given to you? Has the Spirit of the Lord come on you? Have you allowed Him to take over? You cannot in your own strength overcome any of the enemy’s traps.  The Lord has to clothe you with His strength, courage, and peace.  Like a robe placed on a cold body, the Lord warms and encourages you with His presence when you step out in faith.  He is your defense (Exodus 15:2). The call of God is higher and mightier than what you may see with the naked eye.  


Do you really believe that God sees all, knows all, is all-powerful, and is in control? Then entrust Him with whatever it is that is keeping you awake at night. He'll take care of it. He's the One who never slumbers nor sleeps.


Even if God does not choose to speak verbally to you today (you can read his word to hear his voice!), His promise about worry has never changed, even in the Bible: It is a burden that He wants to bear for us (1 Pet. 5:7).


Today's Prayer...


Father, thank you that you speak to us. Father, we know it is not a booming voice from the sky, but through the daily work in your Word and the providential impressions of your Spirit. Father, we don't need you to spell out your will in our alphabet cereal or the like. We just need to know your Word. Lord, give us a passion for your Word. Give us a desire to know more and handle your word correctly. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

June 11

Exodus 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”


Today's Thoughts...


The Hebrews have been in slavery for nearly 400 years since Joseph died (Acts 7:6). During that time, they have lost their hope as people. Can you imagine being a slave to someone else your life? Would you lose hope, too? Also, they lost touch with the God of their fathers. They began to dabble in the evil and God-less world of Egypt.


They needed a revival. They needed to wake up. They needed a spiritual reworking only God to do.


Before Moses and Aaron are ready to go take on pharaoh in God’s power, they have some personal spiritual time with one another. This is a good reminder that small talk, hobbies, and pastimes are okay, but Moses and Aaron aren’t taking about American Idol, Taylor Swift, or football. That wouldn’t qualify as spiritual time. Moses is briefing Aaron on the work of God.


When Moses and Aaron go to inform the people that the time of deliverance has come, they assemble the elders. Aaron spoke all the words that God had given to Moses because Moses was scared and slow of speech. The people believed and worshipped the LORD. Everyone was anxious to see the power of God working through Moses and Aaron.


Moses and Aaron then go to pharaoh for their first show down. Moses tells Pharaoh why he should let Israel go, “that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness” (Exo. 5:1). God wasn’t asking pharaoh , no, He was telling pharaoh what would happen . Pharaoh issues forth a thunderous response to Moses and Aaron’s request—who is God? Moses and Aaron ask that Israel might be able to worship God. Pharaoh says, “I don’t want Israel to take a break from their work.” God would later say, “Israel, you need to take a break (Sabbath) every week.” After this, he told them to leave immediately.


Evangelist D.L. Moody from the late 1800s said “Moses spent 40 years in Pharaoh’s court, thinking he was a somebody. He spent 40 years in the desert, learning he was a nobody. He spent 40 years showing what God could do with a somebody who found out he was a nobody.”


We need to understand that spiritual success does not depend on us. It depends on the Lord! Can I save anyone? No! I can’t even save myself! But I am called to be faithful. Proclaim the Gospel to people in your life who aren’t Christians. Teach the Word to believers. Like Moses and Aaron, we are not responsible for the results (God is), but we are responsible to be faithful.


Today's Prayer...


Father, we know that the king of Egypt in this episode had a hard heart. We know that Romans 9 tells us that this is of your doing. Through this, Father, remind us that you alone are worthy of praise and opportunity to know the details we aren't privy to. And help me be okay with that. Help me to be faithful. You won't ask me to be popular or winsome. You just ask me to be humble and faithful to your Word and to sharing your Word. You are amazing, Lord. The most amazing thing is that you would save a sinner such as me.

June 12

Exodus 9:30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God


Today's Thoughts...


Do you believe in magic? Do you think magicians are real?


Well, when we think of magicians, we think of David Copperfield or Houdini. Even in our digital world of 3D and other illusions, magicians still amaze us by making building disappear or pulling cards out of nowhere. They are a source of entertainment and amusement.


In Egypt, magic was inseparable from religion. Priests would practice black magic to the power of the gods. Here we see three types of people that practiced the black magic. First, the “wise men” were those with skills and/or knowledge in a variety of fields and their counsel would be sought by the kings


Second, we the “sorcerers” were those engaged in the Egyptian practice of magic. They would use rites and incantations to influence nature, people, and the gods. Finally, the “magicians” were actually a brand of priests within the Egyptian culture. They had access to the occult world, being familiar with the secret writings.


Can you imagine the scene? Aaron’s rod becomes a serpent, slithering around. The magicians and others cause their staffs to become serpents. So, there are all these serpents on the ground. But then, Aaron’s staff swallows the other staffs. Moses and Aaron were not magicians. God was putting His power on display before Pharaoh and the Egyptians.


Because of pharaoh’s hard heart, God then unleashes ten plagues. There is the turning the Nile into blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness. Each one of these plagues took dead aim at one of the Egyptian gods. These plagues weren’t just random acts of God. God is a God of order. With each plague, the LORD was showing His sovereignty, power, and authority over the gods of Egypt and the king of Egypt.


What a lesson for us today! God will not jump through your hoops. You will come to Him on His terms. You will come to Him on His time. You can’t be talked into the kingdom of heaven. You must become like a child and believe.


What will it take for you, dear friend, to repent? How long will you play games with religion? God may have to bring a direct, frontal assault on your god, just like He did to pharaoh. Whether it is beauty, popularity, fame, friends, family, or a relationship, everything must be pointed to the glory of God.


Today's Thoughts...


Father, we'll have a hard time feasting on God's Word if we're full from feasting at the table of the world. You often use so many things in our lives to remind us of this. Recall to our minds today that we don't control you - but you are the one in control. We know that nothing that comes our way has not first passed through your hands. Lord, so many don't fear you, and, sadly, myself at many times. Rejuvenate my heart, Lord. Help me to see you for as you are in your Word. Forgive me for my sin. Thank you that Jesus and Jesus alone saved me from all my sin. In Christ name I pray. Amen.

June 13

Exodus 12:28 "The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron."


Today's Thoughts...


For a matter of days, the Israelites had seen the hand of God against the wicked rulers of Egypt. Plague after plague, however, had not deterred Pharaoh from letting God’s people go. So God notified Moses and Israel that He would bring one more judgment on Egypt. He was going to stretch forth His hand to the most consecrated part of Egypt, which would require the death of many. More specifically, God was going to kill the firstborn male of man and beast.


To the Israelite people, this event, called the Passover, meant deliverance, peace, and freedom. It was also a reminder of the place that God was to have in their lives and reminder of all that God had done for them and that their trust had to be in Him. After being told how to carry out the Passover, the people not only worshipped God (Exo. 12:27), but they “did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron” (12:28). 

Dear reader, re-read today’s topic verse. Do you remember God’s promise to Abraham (Gen 15:13-16)? God told him that his “offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years” (15:13).   Century after century passed, and Abraham’s descendants worked under the yoke of slavery in Egypt.  

 

Had God forgotten His promise? Had He had a “brain freeze” on what He said He would do?

 

May it never be so!  To the very day, God was faithful to His promise, just as He was to the birth of Christ through many centuries (Isa. 7:14; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 5:6).


This story is a reminder that God calls us to be prepared and ready for whatever He calls us to do. He will instruct us to do something and our best choice is to respond in obedience. When we are seeking Him out, we are to be prepared at every season for what comes our ways. That is why we are to seek Him daily, to meditate upon His word daily, and to come to the foot of His cross daily. This often begins in worship and continues in faith. 

No one who has ever fully trusted God has been trusted Him in vain.  He is true, faithful, and sure.  His character cannot fail.   Sure, it is easy to say as a cliché, “God is faithful.”  But has your confidence increased with another evidence of God’s perfect timing?  Has this biblical truth really found its way into your prayer life, your growth, and your witnessing?


Understanding God’s plan for your life begins with worship and is fulfilled with simple obedience. Ask the Lord today what He would have you do this day. Then, like the Israelites, praise Him for His faithfulness and do everything He instructs you to do.


Today's Prayer....


Father, though we find humility and grace very attractive in others, we have a hard time exhibiting it ourselves. When it comes to just simply following your commands, we want to buck against the system. We want to do everything we can do get out of just doing what you asked us to do. Father, sometimes, though, those decisions, like we see here, are life and death. We thank you that Jesus followed you, by your will, all the way until death. We know that he is our surety and salvation. All by grace. All by love. All by divine fiat. We praise you for this and more in Jesus' name. Amen.

June 14

Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.


Today's Thoughts...


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.


Today's Thoughts...


Father, 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.