Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 28 Jan 18:
1. Exodus 5:2 – “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice…? I do not know the Lord.” Pharaoh did not believe in God, but that did not remove his obligation to obey God, nor did it remove Moses’ obligation to tell Pharaoh he had to obey God. Why would Moses waist his time and risk persecution trying to talk to Pharaoh about God? Because, God told him to, and that is all that matters. But wasn’t God glorified through the process? Mission accomplished!
2. Exodus 5:4 — “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” For most people, productivity is more valued than time dedicated to worship. Notice that most people are too busy for daily prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. “I just can’t seem to find the time.” Time is a constant. We have no more or less time available in a day than anyone else has had throughout history. Our problem is not too little time; it is too much opportunity, too many choices. The world is harried chasing after many things, and we choose to do likewise. It is downright rebellious (against society) to just sit at Jesus’ feet.
3. Exodus 5:6-9 – Serving as Christ’s Ambassador may make life much harder for you and may impact your career.
4. Exodus 5:9 — “Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.” The Enemy wants you so busy that you won’t read, study, meditate on, memorize, and apply God’s word. Expect to have a greater burden placed upon you in society as a Christian. For example, if you want to send your child to a Christian school, you will pay for both public school (through taxation) and for private school (through your discretionary dollars).
5. Exodus 5:17 — “But he said, ‘You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’” The world sees a Sabbath rest as laziness. Many view Christianity as a crutch for the weak and simple minded.
6. Exodus 5:21 – “and they said to them, ‘The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.’” The people turned against Moses and Aaron because of pressure from the government. The people were more concerned about what government wanted than what God wanted. In their fear of the government, the people told themselves that Moses and Aaron were sinning against God. Religion became a means for them to justify their compromise.
7. Exodus 5:21 — Even God’s people turned against Moses in his obedience. Moses was called to stand alone, and it challenged his faith. Would you be willing to stand your ground against both the government and against the popular church?
8. Exodus 5:22 – “Why did you ever send me?” When the going got tough, Moses didn’t ask for God’s help but rather complained about the assignment. At least he went to God in prayer, and despite his whininess, God listened. How do you respond to setbacks?
9. Exodus 5:22 — “Why did you ever send me?” God called Moses to boldly proclaim His word regardless the consequences or apparent outcomes. Moses, an Ambassador for God, was responsible for the message, not for the response to the message. God is God, regardless of what anyone chooses to believe. His word stands and should be proclaimed to all creation. The servant of God faithfully serves the KING at all costs. What is the faithful disciple of Christ to do when the church majority resists or rejects the bold proclamation of God’s truth? Tell the truth at all costs – “Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born, and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.’” (John 18:37)
10. Exodus 5:23 – “For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.” Moses expected instant results, and when he didn’t get them, he lost faith. How do you act when you don’t get immediate or amazing results?
11. Exodus 6:1 — “But the LORD said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will do to Pharaoh….” Moses had to go through incredibly hard times before God revealed Himself in power.
12. Exodus 6:2 – “God spoke to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the Lord.’” We lose faith when we lose perspective on who God is. Sometimes we need to be reminded that God is God! He has got you! Now, obey!
13. Exodus 6:9 – “Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” The Bible provides countless warnings to the church to be careful not to lose faith in God and sensitivity to the Spirit because of earthly conditions. In hard times, Moses had the direct word of God, but God’s people would not accept it. They had lost touch with God’s will, though they worshipped God. In our current situation, is your church aware of God’s will and remaining obedient to His word? What is God doing in America, and what role does your church play?
14. Exodus 6:14-26 – God’s acts are done for and through specific people who can be listed and named.
15. Exodus 6:28, 29 – God has chosen to use “Ambassadors”, messengers, and witnesses to communicate His word to the world; Jesus told His disciples to make more disciples throughout the world under His authority as the Son of God, and through the His power. Are you accomplishing your mission?
16. Exodus 6:29 — “I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” The Ambassador of Christ need not fear but should be bold as the power and authority of Jesus has been given to him.
17. Proverbs 28:2 – “When a land transgresses, it has many rulers.” Ungodliness causes divisions as people more and more seek their own self-interests rather than the greater good. Our national motto was original “E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One)”, later changed to “In God We Trust”. We changed our motto in the face of the global rise of secular communism as a reminder that only under God was strength of unity possible. Are we more united as a nation today or less? What role has the church played in uniting the nation around Jesus?
18. Proverbs 28:5 – “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” God is Justice. The secular person does not know justice and will drift towards injustice.
19. Proverbs 28:9 – “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Sin hinders your prayer life. Don’t expect God to bless you in your disobedience.
20. Proverbs 28:10 — “Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit.” If you are not leading people to Jesus, you are leading them astray. Worldly ethics, morals, and bright ideas are founded on the ‘goodness’ of people rather than the goodness of God. We are not messengers of ethics, we are messengers of Jesus.
21. Proverbs 28:13 – “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Being transparent, open and honest about your sinfulness, helps protect you from false pride. It is hard to be prideful when people know the truth of you. It is easier to point to Jesus when your life is an open testimony about your total reliance on His grace. If you are always trying to get people to trust in your goodness, talent, or skills, you are distracting them from Jesus.
22. Proverbs 28:21 – “To show partiality is not good, but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.” Everyone, regardless of apparent motive, must be held accountable to the law, though punishment can take into consideration factors that may have contributed to the crime.
23. Psalm 11:3 — “…if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The basic institutions of society are severely threatened in America today. If the foundations are destroyed, what will you do? God calls His people to be the conscience of society to promote order and stability so that God’s people can spread the Gospel.
24. Psalm 11:6 – “Let him rain coals on the wicked.” This verse describes God’s judgment on the wicked such as what occurred to Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a judgment only God can carry out. Compare this verse with Proverbs 25:21, 22 – “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” What is the point? Do not return evil for evil but rather good, and God will administer justice in ways you could not possibly imagine and also take care of you in ways you could not possibly imagine. Trust the Lord in your persecution. Let Him be your defender rather than you trying to defend yourself. You can’t possibly understand what is the right thing to do.
25. Psalm 11:7 — “The upright shall behold his face.” Not everyone will behold His face.
26. Psalm 12:1 — “Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.” The psalmist wanted salvation in a society of people that had lost all goodness. Without the people of God to be salt that preserves and the light that exposes darkness, a society can become a virtual hell on earth. When the whole world turns wicked, will you still be holy, obedient and pure? How about your family. In times like this, when faith is being attacked, you need to double down on obedience.
27. Psalm 12:3, 4 – “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, ‘With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?’” Flattery is selfishness disguised by nice words. Flattery always has behind it a selfish motive. Similarly, many will speak of justice to pursue unjust gains; many will speak of love to promote sin; many will call love hate in order to disguise their own hate; many will define the language of an argument in order to win the argument. However, God’s word will prevail, and we need not deviate from it.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 Jan 18: A theme in today’s readings seems to be how to handle adversity and persecution. Resolve today trust God in your adversity and persecution. Remain obedient to Him and continue to pursue a deeper love relationship with Jesus Christ and with everyone around you. Don’t worry. Keep pressing forward. When offended by others, respond with kindness and goodness. Try to see every situation from God’s perspective rather than your own perspective. In every situation, remember, you represent Jesus Christ and His Ambassador, so you cannot represent your own interests. Have faith that God will restore whatever you lose for His sake because you refused to defend your own personal interests. As a Christian who has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives, and as a disciple who has decided to deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus Christ, don’t allow yourself for one second to think “What about me?”