WEEK 8, Day 2, Tuesday, 22 February 2022


Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 22 February 2022:

Here is a short video overview of Exodus 1-18 — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH_aojNJM3E

Exodus 1:5 – All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt.

The number of people in Jacob’s family who originally entered Egypt was seventy. Scholars believe that 2.5-3 million Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus about which we will soon read. This family continued to grow through 400 years of slavery and hardship as God continued to bless them and prepare them for a great future they couldn’t possibly imagine. What can God do with 70 people? What can God do in your family, despite the challenges you have and are experiencing? What can God do with your church? Do you have a God-sized expectation for the future?

Exodus 1:8 – Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

The Bible reminds us that power on earth is brief. The Bible also reminds us that we must carefully consider how the impact of our decisions will affect generations to follow (Joseph enslaved the Egyptian people before their resentment incited the enslavement of the Israelites). Finally, the Bible teaches us that though circumstances change, God’s perfect plan for us doesn’t. Our future is in God’s hands, and we have assurance that the Sovereign Creator who loves us perfectly will only allow things to happen to us in accordance with His unchanging perfect plan for us, though we will certainly not enjoy every step of the path He has laid out for us. As Romans 8:28-29 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. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” God is working all things out (both the ‘good’ things and ‘bad’ things) for good in your life for His purpose for your life which He had planned for you before the foundations of the earth. And what is God’s ultimate plan for your life? To be conformed to the image (the exact likeness) of His Son, Jesus Christ. Key is trusting God through your circumstances and obeying Him as we learn to become more and more like Jesus.

Exodus 1:11 — Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens.

Satan would also like to keep you controlled by keeping you heavily burdened. For example, if he can burden you with materialism, consumer debt, and needless activities, he will. However, nothing can separate you from God’s love (see Romans 8), not even your sinfulness, and His plan for your life will prevail. In the case of the Jews, God used 400 years of slavery to preserve and grow His people into a mighty nation. Had God not allowed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery, Joseph wouldn’t have ended up becoming a powerful leader in Egypt prepared to save Jacob’s family from the famine. Had the Israelites not been enslaved by the Egyptians, they would have assimilated into the Egyptian culture and lost their identity in God. Again, trust God with your heavy burdens. His plan for you is far greater than you can possibly imagine.

Exodus 1:12 – But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.

God’s people obeyed God’s first command to mankind to be fruitful and multiply. In obedience, oppression only made God’s people stronger. As mentioned above, God will always remain faithful to you, but to experience the joy and fulfilment God wants you to experience in life, you must remain faithful to Him, both in easy times and hard times. You will be tested by both pleasure and pain, comfort and discomfort, abundance and scarcity. During good times, you might be tempted to take God for granted, grow complacent, and disobey Him. During hard times, you might be tempted to doubt God, act in fear, and disobey Him. No matter what is going on around you, keep your eyes affixed on Jesus and follow Him. “Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)

Exodus 1:12 – And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.

Distrust in relationships often leads to sinful behavior. There is no way to measure the amount of needless pain and suffering which has been and will be caused by assuming the worst in others and subsequently treating them inappropriately. Better to be hurt by trusting too much than to hurt or neglect others by trust too little. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love always trusts (NIV).” Here is a short article describing what that means: https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-trusts.html

Exodus 1:17 – But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

Romans 13 teaches us that we are to obey governing authorities unless those governing authorities tell us to directly disobey God. The midwives feared God over government and disobeyed government when told to dishonor God. When questioned about paying taxes to an ungodly government, Jesus responded, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Luke 20:25).” The broken world will use what we give them in broken ways, but as new creations in Christ, we should respond to everyone in perfect love, trusting God with the outcomes, and Jesus taught that love gives what is demanded from enemies –

  • Luke 6:27-36 — “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

We must disobey government when demanded to personally defy God’s command to love, as the Apostles did when told to disobey God’s command to share the Gospel, the most loving thing you could ever share with someone – “…and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” (Acts 5:40-42)

Acts 9:4, 5 – “And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’”

Acts 9:17 – “So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’”

God chose Saul; Saul did not choose God. Quite the contrary, Saul was a sworn enemy of Christ. Nonetheless, God would further demonstrate His sovereignty through the life of Saul. God stopped Saul in his tracks and transformed his life, and there was nothing Saul could do about it.

In His Sovereignty, God chose Ananias as His instrument in Paul’s life, much to Ananias’ dismay. Once again, God demonstrates that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways – who would have dreamed of such a thing? Certainly not Ananias.

Note too how God said that when Saul persecuted Christians, he was actually persecuting Him.

Some takeaways: God saves who He will save, and He takes the initiative in salvation, not us. God calls His disciples, led by the Holy Spirit and under His authority, to participate in what He is doing in the lives of others, and as people treat His disciples, so they treat Him. When disciples are persecuted, they are in fellowship with Christ – “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:13) “ …that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10) “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake….” (Philippians 1:29) “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3)

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 Feb 22: Trust God completely through all your circumstances today, and pray that God will guide you in the Spirit to serve as His ambassador in the lives of those He is calling around you.

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