Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 27 Jan 18:
1. Exodus 3:1 – Moses was born a Levite and married the daughter of the priest of Midian. God was raising up a future spiritual leader.
2. Exodus 3:1 – “Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian.” Jethro was the priest of Midian, but being a priest was not his livelihood. Jethro was a shepherd by trade and priest by calling. Likewise, the Bible says you are a priest, but you still need to work in order to care for yourself and for others.
3. Exodus 3:9, 10 – “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” The Christian community needs leaders — the right kind of leaders. The Christian community must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and it must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of leaders of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made. God will hear the cries of His people as He heard the cries of Israel in Egypt, and He will send deliverance by sending deliverers. It is His way.
And when the deliverers come—reformers, revivalists, prophets—they will be followers of God and people of courage. They will have God on their side because they are careful to stay on God’s side. They will be coworkers with Christ and instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Such men will be baptized with the Spirit indeed and through their labors He will baptize others and send the long-delayed revival. (A.W. Tozer)
4. Exodus 3:11 — “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” God doesn’t give you a task you can do; he gives you a task He can do through you. The successes of God’s plan did not depend on Moses but rather the power of God. Most churches will tell you to “discover your gifts” and use them for ministry. That is a good general principle as long as you don’t lose sight of the fact that God often calls people to do what they are NOT good at so that the world can see His power and not your talents. Also, it doesn’t take faith to do what you know you can do.
5. Exodus 3:12 – “But I will be with you.” We do great things when we do what God wants, not what we want to do ‘for Him’, and when we rely on His strength and not ours. Notice the pattern between Moses’ calling and that of the disciples. Moses, like the disciples, was called to do the seemingly impossible; he was called to proclaim a truth that would not be accepted by many; he would have to leave his old life behind, including his occupation, his personal goals, etc – his life would never be the same; God told Moses that God would be with him, just like Jesus said when He gave us the Great Commission – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Do you have the faith to fulfill the Great Commission?
6. Exodus 3:14 – “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God is God! Everyone should know who God is; He needs no introduction, and the proof of His character is self-evident. Our Founding Fathers proclaimed, “We hold these truths self-evident, that all men were created…. endowed by the Creator….” God is the Truth that is “self-evident”, plainly apparent to anyone who desires to see.
7. Exodus 3:18-20 – When God sent Moses to be His messenger, God already knew who would accept His message and who wouldn’t; nonetheless, God commanded Moses to proclaim His message to all. God also knew that Moses would be persecuted for proclaiming God’s message, but God called Him to proclaim it anyway. The New Testament says that we are Christ’s Ambassadors, called to proclaim the Gospel to all Creation, regardless the response to the Gospel. We are responsible for the message; what people do with the message is out of our control. We should not let fear of rejection or persecution quiet us; remember, God told us to proclaim His message under the authority of Jesus Christ and through His power, not ours.
8. Exodus 3:21-22 – “I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.” 1) God can control the hearts of people. 2) God will work in miraculous ways to give you the provisions you need to accomplish His work (not your work). 3) God often uses unbelievers and their resources to accomplish His purposes – Herod unknowingly financed Jesus’ ministry (Luke 2:8); Paul spread the Gospel on a ship dedicated to two foreign gods (Acts 28:11), etc. The cartoon Charlie Brown once spread the Biblical message of Easter to countless people who might have never heard it before. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God doesn’t work all things together for everyone but for those who truly love Him and are called to His purpose rather than self-centered purposes. Paul had learned to be content in all situations because he knew that he was fulfilling the will of the Father who was in complete controlled and loved Him perfectly. God’s intent is not to help you build your own kingdom and bring glory to yourself. God’s intent is for you to serve His Kingdom and bring glory to Him. When you are intent on fulfilling His purposes, everything that happens to you will ultimately be good (regardless how difficult), and power that works far beyond your power will enable you beyond your capabilities.
9. Exodus 4:1-5 – Miraculous signs are used throughout the Bible for a purpose – to validate the authority or authenticity of God’s messenger. They are for the unbeliever who is so blind he cannot see the proof of God all around him every day. Miracles are for God’s glory, not just for earthly comfort. We may pray for healing, but we must understand that God heals according to His purposes, not just for our desires. Everyone who God miraculously heals will still face death (until the return of Christ) because that is God’s will. King Hezekiah prayed for healing for selfish reasons, and God gave him 15 more years of life, which ended up being the worst years of Hezekiah’s life. Make sure what you are seeking is God’s will, not your own, and don’t put God to the test. The Almighty is not obligated to prove Himself to you – it is quite arrogant and audacious to expect Him to do that. Open your eyes, trust, and obey, and He will show you all the proof you need.
10. Exodus 4:10 – “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Another pattern revealed in the Bible about how God works in the lives of His followers is that He almost always asks them to step out in faith without showing them exactly how He is going to make things work out. Moses was told by God to “Go… to a place that I will show you.” If you are waiting for everything to be ‘right’ before you do what God told you to do, you are not stepping out in faith. Obedience to God is instantaneous and fully committed. If He told you to do it, do it. That doesn’t mean be reckless or careless, and stepping out on your own plan will never work. However, understand that God almost always told His followers to drop everything they were working on, and immediately follow Him without a defined course to do the impossible for His glory, not theirs. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
11. Exodus 4:14-16 – “Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, ‘Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well…. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth…. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth.” Moses not only angered God by His lack of faith, but his lack of faith also tragically hindered Moses’ mission accomplishment. Because of his insecurities and unwillingness to simply do what God asked of Him, Moses became dependent on Aaron who remained a thorn in Moses’ side his whole life. Aaron led great rebellion against God, and caused the needless death of many (the Golden Calf). Had Moses simply walked in faith, Aaron would have never entered the picture. As you continue to read about Moses and Aaron, think about what could have been different without Aaron in the picture. How are you limiting yourself due to a lack of faith and an unwillingness to trust what you can’t see simply because God told you to?
12. Exodus 4:21 – “But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” Mission accomplishment for Moses involved rejection. God knew what was going to happen and new that Moses would fail in the eyes of people (for a time) but succeed in his calling from God. God called Moses to preach to deaf ears. Would you do that?
13. Exodus 4:24 – “At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death.” God’s messengers are held to an incredibly high standard when it comes to obedience. If you call yourself a Christian and are simultaneously careless with His commands, don’t be surprised by the discipline you will receive. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
14. Exodus 4:27 – “The Lord said to Aaron, ‘Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.’ So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him.” God intentionally works in human relationships and arranges meetings that seem coincidental to people. Pay attention when you experience a “chance encounter” with someone. God arranges circumstances to give you a unique opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to people who need to hear it, and He will use others to help you in your mission. Make the most of these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. There are no accidents with God, and you are on a divine mission – don’t lose sight of that, even for a second.
15. Proverbs 27:1 – Do not be complacent with today. Serve God today as if today were your last day.
16. Proverbs 27:5 – “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” If you don’t tell others about Jesus, you either don’t really care about them, or you are a coward.
17. Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” If you only tell people what they want to hear, you are their enemy.
18. Proverbs 27:12 – “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Only the wise can see what is truly going on around them. Wisdom comes from God alone, not from mere intellect.
19. Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” God’s will for your life is that you are in close relationship with other committed Christians, working together in sanctification. You cannot be a good Christian alone.
20. Proverbs 27:23-27 – Spend your productive years building production capacity so that you possess the ability to be financially self-sufficient.
21. Psalm 10:1 – “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” The Psalms are very honest prayers, designed to show us how to pray. God wants us to be honest with Him. Tell Him how you really feel, and trust Him with your transparency.
22. Psalm 10:2, 3 – “In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.” How many businesses and business practices take advantage of the poor and ignorant? How many get rich, not from producing anything new, but from taking advantage or exploiting the weaknesses, insecurities, and temptations of others? God knows. A Christian should never work in an industry that exploits. By the way, for those of you who support the lottery systems, consider that “households making less than $28,000 a year are dishing out $600 a year on lotteries.” Lotteries are an example of a business that exploits the ignorant and the poor.
23. Psalm 10:4 – “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’” Unbelievers have a pride and arrogance problem. Those who sin (ignoring God at the moment) have a pride and arrogance problem that exposes itself in certain circumstance but may otherwise be hidden. What is at the root of your sin?
24. Psalm 10:6 – “He says in his heart, ‘I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.’” The prideful are blind to the truth and cannot see the inevitable consequences of their decisions. The prideful have an inability to admit their faults and will intentionally, though often subconsciously, filter out any information that does not validate their position, beliefs, and behavior. They often respond emotionally to critique in order to avoid reasoned contemplation.
25. Psalm 10:16 – “The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.” Be careful not to lose your perspective in patriotism. God is King, nations come and go. You are an ambassador of The Kingdom of God, representing Jesus in a foreign land. Your message to the nation is the Gospel. While others are pointing to certain leaders or political parties for national ‘salvation’, make sure you are point to Jesus. The Christian is the most faithful citizen and true patriot.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 Jan 18: Tell at least three people about Jesus Christ today without fear of rejection. (Exodus 4)