Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 11 Feb 18:
1. Exodus 33:3 – “But I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” God cannot partner with sin. Walking with God requires holiness. God forgives, but repentance is required. You must walk away from sin to walk with God.
2. Exodus 33:4 – “…they mourned….” Repentance comes from a truly mournful heart.
3. Exodus 33:7 — “And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.” Moses understood and modeled the importance of getting alone with God. Where is your tent of meeting?
4. Exodus 33:11 – “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Moses had a relationship with God others did not have. Moses’ most intimate relationship was with God, and they spoke to each other as friends. How is your relationship with God?
5. Exodus 33:13 — “Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” The crowd just wanted the blessings of God, but Moses wanted to know the “ways” of God. He wanted to “know” God. He wanted a favored relationship with God. When you know God, all of life is a blessing. Because Moses desired God above all else, He understood the ways of God while others merely saw the activities of God.
6. Exodus 33:14 — “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Rest comes when you walk with God. In the midst of a great storm, while the disciples feared imminent death, Jesus slept in the back of the boat. (Moses 8:24) Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) You can have rest in the midst of life’s storms, regardless of your circumstances, when you have the peace of Jesus that surpasses all understanding.
7. Exodus 33:15, 16 — “And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight.'” Life accomplishment is meaningless if it isn’t in partnership with God and doesn’t fulfills His purpose for you. Apart from a genuine relationship with Jesus, walking with Him and serving Him, your life is meaningless regardless of what you accomplish. This is Solomon’s point in Ecclesiastes.
8. Exodus 33:17 — “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Don’t just start doing things, even if you tell yourself what you have decided to do is “for God.” First seek God, wait for His direction, and follow His direction.
9. Exodus 34:3 — “No one shall come up with you.” Everyone must develop their own relationship with God.
10. Exodus 34:6, 7 — “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Pay attention to how God introduces Himself and defines who He is? He is Mercy, Grace, Love, and Faithfulness, but He is equally Justice. He forgives, but He also demands holiness and hold His followers accountable.
11. Exodus 34:10 — “And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.” God wants to reveal Himself to others through the miraculous things He does in your life.
12. Exodus 34:11 — “Observe what I command.” God’s direction for you starts with “Obey me.”
13. Exodus 34:12 — “Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst.” Immediately after God commands obedience, He warns against being influenced by the unfaithful, knowing our tendency to compromise for others.
14. Exodus 34:13 — “You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim.” God tells you that you must make the commitment and the effort to remove temptations in your life.
15. Exodus 34:16 — Your closest relationships must support your process of sanctification.
16. Exodus 34:21 — “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” Rest is required. Mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion makes you vulnerable to spiritual failure. The Sabbath rest has many practical benefits, but the main point is that it is an act of faith and a public, corporate testimony of that faith. Proverbs 3 tells us that we must trust God rather than our own understanding. From a human perspective, the Sabbath is counter-intuitive, particularly during times of extreme need. Tithing, another public and corporate command, is also counter-intuitive. Why would you work less and give away a tenth of what you have when you need so much? Remember, the Israelites were doing this in the desert while surrounded by enemies. The Sabbath command and the command to tithe are acts of commitment that say, “God is the Provider, not me…. God is in control of my future, not me…. God comes first in my life.” Much like the Sabbath rest and tithing, forgiving and giving are also counter-intuitive commands, requiring faith to obey. As the Bible says, without faith, it is impossible to obey God.
17. Exodus 34:26 — “The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God.” Only bring your best to the Lord. What do you do with the first part of your day? How much of your time in a day is fully dedicated to God? How much of your daily labor is dedicated solely to God’s serving and advancing the Kingdom? What would be a tithe of your time? First, let’s look at your week: There are 168 hours in a week. If you fully rested on the Sabbath, you would have 144 hours remaining in the other six days. One tenth of 144 is 14.4, divided among six days is 2.4 or about 2.5 hours. Could you dedicate 2.5 hours a day to discipleship, evangelism, ministry, fellowship, and worship? If you took you sleeping hours out of the picture, you daily tithe of time would be 1.5 hours. Could you dedicate that? Interestingly, according to the NY Daily News, the average American spends five hours a day watching TV.
18. Exodus 34:28 — “So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water.” Isolation and fasting can help your clarity and focus. The first step to following Jesus is getting self out of the way.
19. Exodus 34:29 — “Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.” People will see change in you that you can’t even see in yourself.
20. Exodus 34:35 — “And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.” Many people will not be ready for all you have to offer, and you might have to filter what is presented based upon the maturity of the audience. You are salt and light, but too much salt can be distasteful and unbearable, and too much light can be too painful to stand. Don’t compromise the truth, but know your audience.
21. Proverbs 11:14 – “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Leaders must be able to see what everyone else can’t see, say what is contrary to what everyone else is saying, and do what is contrary to what everyone else is doing. When you are winning the race, you are often running alone.
22. Proverbs 11:18 — “…but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.” There are many ways to invest our lives, but none offers greater reward than devoting ourselves to the pursuit of righteousness. Every area of our lives should reflect the holiness of God that is ours by salvation: our thoughts, so that nothing we think about would be inappropriate for a child of God; our actions, so that our lives demonstrate that we serve a holy God; our integrity, so that we are above reproach in all our relationships. Are you taking God’s righteousness in your life for granted? Righteousness is something you must allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. Instead of sowing holy thoughts, are you allowing evil and sinful thoughts to grow in your mind? Are you allowing lust to grow unchecked within you? Does enmity, bitterness, jealousy, or unforgiveness remain in your life? Jesus said if we seek first God and His righteousness, everything else will follow (Matt. 6:33). There is great reward in sowing righteousness. What are you presently doing to plant holiness in your life? (1 Pet. 1:15). How are you putting righteousness in your mind so that your thoughts are holy? How are you cultivating righteousness in your relationships so that you maintain your integrity? Are you instilling righteousness in your activities so that your life is above reproach? If you want to harvest righteousness in your life tomorrow, you must plant seeds of righteousness today.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
23. Proverbs 11:30 – “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.” How many souls have you captured?
24. Psalm 17:1 – “Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!” You must approach God honestly. Be totally open, honest, and transparent in your prayers.
25. Psalm 17:3 — “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” Have you?
26. Psalm 17:4 – “With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.” Carefully obeying God’s word will keep you from the deceitfulness of men.
27. Psalm 17:10 – “They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.” Humility breeds compassion; pride and arrogance foster callousness.
28. Psalm 18:2 – “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge….” Do you feel completely safe and strong in the Lord? Do you take refuge in Him?
29. Psalm 18:22 — “For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.” Jesus says in Matthew 28 that His disciples obey ALL the He commands.
30. Psalm 18:25 — “With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless.” The Bible says time and time again that God will treat you the way you treat others.
31. Psalm 18:28 — “For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.” Light to see can only come from God. The more you deviate from God’s path, the worse your visionyou’re your decisions will be.
32. Psalm 18:31 — “For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?” How you respond to this question defines your life. It is your true perspective on God (not just what you verbalize about God) that defines your entire outlook on life and how you will respond to circumstances and to others. Does your life reveal that God is LORD? This is the heart of faith – “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) This is the foundation of all knowledge and wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7). This is our confidence (Proverbs 14:26, 27) The Fear of the Lord is proof of the Spirit of the LORD within us. It is our delight. (Isaiah 11:2, 3) Honoring God as LORD is our very purpose. (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Yet too often we say, “Yes, God is LORD,” but then we forsake God in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Why? Because we have lost proper Fear of the LORD. (Jeremiah 2:19) Too often we honor God with our lips while our hearts are far from God. Too often we fear the world because, in our hearts, we have made God small. In the lesson of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus begins by pointing out that the foundation of everything we do rests on our acknowledgment and glorification of God as LORD – “hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9) Jesus then continues to teach that it is our Fear of the LORD that drives us to obey God, trust Him one day at a time, and forgive others unconditionally. We lack obedience, trust, and forgiveness when we lose proper perspective of God as LORD, when we have trouble seeing Christ crucified on our behalf, when we have trouble seeing an empty cross in our hearts. Perhaps the most important question we should meditate upon this today is this: “For who is God, but the LORD?” (see also 2 Samuel 22:32)
– 2 Corinthians 7:1 — Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
– 1 Peter 2:17 — Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
33. Psalm 18:34 — “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” God doesn’t just educate — He trains.
34. Psalm 18:46 — “The LORD lives.” We do not live by a philosophy or a theory of God, but rather by a real relationship with a living, personal God.
35. Psalm 18:49 — “For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.” When you are in real fellowship with God, you cannot help but sing His praises to the world.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 Feb: Get alone with God today, and have true fellowship with Him. Meditate deeply upon God as LORD and what that means to your life. Dedicate some serious time this Sunday to this special time with God. Consider making the commitment to keep the Sabbath and to tithe your time.