Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 31 Feb 18:
1. Exodus 11:1 – God reveals His plan to His servants as they need it.
2. Exodus 11:3 – “And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.” God can control how people treat you and can even make your enemies live at peace with you.
3. Exodus 11:7 – “…the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.” The very apparent and unique blessings observed in the lives of God’s people is a testimony of the glory of God to the unbelieving world.
4. Exodus 11:10 – No matter what you say or do, some people will reject the Gospel because belief is not an evidence issue but rather a heart issue.
5. Exodus 12:2 – “This month shall be for you the beginning of months.” Two of God’s events have been so great that they have reset the calendar. The first event referenced in Exodus 12 began the Jewish religious calendar. What marks the beginning of our current calendar? B.C. stands for Before Christ, and it means the number of years before the time of Jesus Christ. AD does not mean “After Death.” It is an abbreviation for “Anno Domini,” which is a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of our Lord,” referring to the year of Christ’s birth. BC means before Christ. So, 2017 AD is intended to signify that it has been 2,017 years since Christ was born. Jesus Christ reset everything. Exodus 12 is a shadow, a representation of what Jesus would do for mankind.
6. Exodus 12:13 – “The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Nothing can save you but the blood of Jesus. Salvation isn’t about your sacrifices, it is about the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God on your behalf. When the Father sees the mark of the blood of Jesus on you, He will pass over you in judgment. As was foreshadowed with the Jews in the story of Exodus, there is only one way for salvation, and God defines the way, not people.
7. Exodus 12:24-27 – Religious celebrations are intended to be opportunities for parents to teach their children about God in a way that can be passed down from generation to generation.
8. Exodus 12:37 – “About six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.” Over a million Jews left Egypt, and God would provide for all of them in a desert for 40 years!
9. Exodus 12:38 – Some people who were not Jews also obeyed God’s commands and went with them.
10. Exodus 12:47 – God exempted no one from remembrance and celebration.
11. Exodus 12:50-51 – God did the miraculous things needed to bring His people safely out of Egypt. All God’s people were required to do was obey. Our role in God’s work is obedience to Him in love for Him.
12. Proverbs 31:1 — “His mother taught him.” Great leaders come from godly mothers who teach them God’s ways while they are young.
13. Proverbs 31:1, 2 – “What are you doing, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.” All relationships are built on trust, trust that comes from the integrity of the individuals. Families are built on relationships of trust based upon the character of the family members. Nations are built on relationships between families who have nurtured trustworthy character. As the family goes, so goes the nation. As Christians, our primary testimony is marriage. Marriage symbolizes before the world the relationship between Christ and His church, and it is through marriage that God raises up godly offspring. Why do you think God hates divorce? Adam and Eve walked naked in the garden, without shame or fear between them, until they realized that they had lost their integrity and could no longer trust each other, that they were vulnerable to each other’s sinfulness (again, sin always hurts others). God intends for us to live out His perfect will on earth, love that does not threaten. Proverbs 31:11, 12 – “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”
14. Proverbs 31:11 – “The heart of her husband trusts in her.” All relationships are built on trust based upon the character of the individuals. Love is faithful.
15. Matthew 23:11 — “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Servants have the lowest position in the house, are treated with the least respect, do the most work with the least amount of credit, enjoy the fewest luxuries, remain largely behind the scenes and make others look good. Servants don’t live luxurious lives or comfortable lives. Today the term ‘servant leader’ is very popular, but the worldly concept falls far short of Jesus’ meaning which he personally lived. Sun Tzu said that truly great generals never receive recognition because they never fight great, glorious battles. Great generals conquer their enemies without having to fight large, costly battles; they defeat their enemies before they make it to the battlefield; their victories go unobserved, and therefore, these masterful generals receive no honor. Similarly, servant leaders live largely in anonymity, not receiving any credit for the real work they do in quiet places to change lives. No fancy titles, no reserved parking spaces, no seats of honor, no ribbons, medals, or awards; no name recognition, no big offices or big desks; servant leaders just see needs and meet needs in the name of Jesus Christ, never in their own name. If there were rank in God’s Kingdom Army, I don’t think we would know who the generals were, and those who were religious ‘careerists’ would have no rank at all. The job of servant is the greatest job in the Kingdom but the hardest for which to qualify.
16. Matthew 23:23 — “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Here Jesus commends tithing but condemns the Pharisees for their legalism. Tithing is a highly-debated topic in churches today. Many feel that the tithe was part of the Old Covenant and no longer relevant today, observing that, under the New Covenant of love, all belongs to Jesus. Two points for consideration: tithing is a practice that occurred before the Law (Abraham tithed to Melchizedek), and even under the Old Covenant, all belonged to God. Tithing was never meant to place a limit or minimum on giving. God has always commanded far more than just the tithe. Tithing, unlike gifts and alms, was a public act of worship that intentionally give the first and best part of income to God. It was something that could be measured and was used to support the collective works and needs of God’s church and people. Tithes were given by the people and administered by the leadership of the church, without bias and in accordance with God’s general and special revelation. When God’s people tithed, the church could not only resource evangelism but could also care for its people. When God’s people fell into need, they did not have to sell themselves into slavery to cover their needs (today’s slavery is debt) or turn to ungodly institutions for help. This from an article posted in 2016: “Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate….. What would happen if believers were to increase their giving to a minimum of, let’s say, 10 percent? There would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. The global impact would be phenomenal. Here’s just a few things the Church could do with the kind of money: $25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation and deaths from preventable diseases in five years. $12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years. $15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day. $1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work. $100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion. How much do you pay in taxes? How much do you pat to debt? How much do you spend on cell phone bills and internet/cable bills? Who gets that money you pay and what do they do with it? Do you tithe?
17. Matthew 23:26 – “You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” Good deeds without true love give the appearance of godliness but in fact do not make a person godly. Two people can give the same charitable gift to people in need, and one gift is acceptable to God and the other not acceptable, all depending upon the motive of the heart that gave the gift. Sure, both provide a benefit to the needy, but God can use anyone to provide to the needy, even the wicked. What is acceptable to God is love.
18. Matthew 23:28 – “So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Obedience to God inspired only by love for Him is the true act of worship.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 31 Jan 18: Today, seek to be a true servant leader. See note #15 above. (Matthew 23:11)