WEEK 8, Day 5, Friday, 25 February 2022

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 25 February 2022:

Exodus 4:12-14 – “’Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’ But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’ 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.’”

Previously, God said to Abraham, “Go.” Go where? “To a place that I will show you.” In today’s readings, God says to Moses, “Go, and I…. will teach you….” God’s way is to take us out of our comfort zone, to call us for assignments we can’t do without Him, assignments we don’t see as possible, and He doesn’t lay the plan out for us, tell us what is going to happen next, or remove all the obstacles, challenges, and adversaries along the way. He takes His people on a journey of faith and expects us to trust Him so that we, and everyone else who is paying attention, can see Him and His power, not so people can see how great we are. When God gives us an impossible task which “would take a miracle” to accomplish, we might be tempted to say, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” But don’t anger the Lord this way, and don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the power of God in your life in a real, personal way and to grow closer to Him and more confident in Him through the journey. “Without faith it is impossible to please him….” (Hebrews 11:6)

Exodus 4:10-12 — But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Despite standing in the presence of God and hearing the Almighty directly, Moses let fear get in the way of His instant, enthusiastic obedience to God’s commands, and as a result, “the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses.” God gave Moses a message to deliver, but Moses didn’t feel up to the task because he wrongly assumed the task depended on his abilities rather than God’s almighty, sovereign power working through him. God reminds Moses, “Is it not I, the LORD?” as if to say, ‘Who is it that you think is commanding you? I’m the Sovereign Creator, the Almighty! Is there anything impossible for me? Would I commission you without empowering you?’ God says to Moses, “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

  • Acts 1:8 — But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  • Matthew 28:18-20 — And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”
  • Mark 16:15-16 — And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
  • Matthew 4:19 — And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As with Moses, God has given you a mission and a message, the Gospel, and with the commission, He has empowered you with the Holy Spirit, equipped you with His word, and promised to be with you. He has made you Christ’s ambassador to proclaim the Good News that He is setting the captives free from bondage, the bondage of sin and death! Sharing the Gospel (in both word and deed) is your primary task in life, given to you directly by God. So, how are you doing? Perhaps like Moses, you have said to God, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13) Maybe you haven’t ‘said’ it, but in your practical daily reality you live it, abrogated your responsibility and denied your life calling out of fear and pride. Consider now, with whom have you failed to share the Gospel, the only hope for salvation and eternal life, because you feared your inadequacy or some sort of rejection? Remember what God said to Moses, “Is it not I, the LORD?… Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Moses was given a great assignment from God He simply doesn’t want to accept, so God allowed Moses to include Aaron. As we will read, Aaron will remain a thorn in Moses’ side throughout Moses’ ministry. Aaron will lead a great rebellion against God (promoting the worship of a golden calf idol) and cause the needless death of many. (Exodus 32) 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 had Moses trusted in God and not depended on Aaron to help lead. How are you limiting yourself due to a lack of faith and an unwillingness to trust God enough to empower you to do what He told you to do, even though it doesn’t seem to make sense to you? How has fear and pride limited your effectiveness as Christ’s ambassador and as a minister and messenger of reconciliation?

  • Philemon 1:6 — And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.
  • Romans 1:16 — For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
  • Romans 10:14-15 — How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Acts 12:5 — So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church….

Prayers and answers to prayers. Both James and Peter were targeted by Herod the king. James was killed, and Peter was imprisoned. Undoubtedly both James and Peter had remained in the continuous prayers of the other apostles and disciples, yet James was not spared, much like John the Baptist was not spared from beheading, and Stephen was not spared from stoning. Even more, consider Jesus’ Prayers in Gethsemane before the Cross –

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will….’ Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done….’ And… again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.” (Matthew 26:39, 42-44)

The violent death of James must have been a devastating blow to the disciples. Were the disciples’ prayers for James somehow ineffective as opposed to their prayers for Peter? Was Peter simply more favored by God than James? No, in all the cases mentioned above, God compassionately heard the prayers of His children and answered in accordance with His perfect will and to far greater benefit than could be possibly imagined. All these martyrs (including Peter eventually) lived for God’s glory, died for God’s glory, and received God’s glory. Consider death from God’s perspective –

  • John 11:25, 26 — Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
  • Psalm 63:3 — Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
  • Philippians 1:21 — For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
  • Luke 23:43 — And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
  • Revelation 14:13 — And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Meanwhile, while Peter was imprisoned, the disciples continued to pray for him earnestly. In Peter’s case, God answered their prayers the way they desired and miraculously freed Peter. However, when the servant girl reported to the disciples that Peter had been freed and stood at the door, the disciples’ response was, “You are out of your mind.” They were praying earnestly, but apparently didn’t really expect God to answer their prayers in a miraculous way. “But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.” (Acts 12:16) Was it really so hard to believe that the Almighty God might snatch Peter right out of Herod’s prison? Perhaps James’ death caused the disciples to lower their expectations of God’s answers to prayer.

Do you pray expectantly, anticipating God to respond in miraculous ways? Or have past disappointments hindered your prayer life? “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14, 15) We don’t always know God’s will in a matter, but the Bible calls us to pray in faith and to wait expectantly. Anticipate, “Yes,” and have no doubt that “No,” means something far more wonderful than you ever imagined. God always answers your prayers by giving you what you would have asked if you knew everything He knows. His “no” answers are simply better yes’s – “but in him it is always Yes.” (2 Corinthians 1:19) Sometimes His “no” is really “not yet” – Be patient and continue in prayer. Sometimes His “no” is, “I have something far better in store for you” — Trust Him! He loves you perfectly; He is always faithful; He will never disappoint you in the long run, only amaze you by His glory, love, mercy, and grace in ways you could never possibly imagine – “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 Feb 22: Consider what you know God has told you to do but you have put off with various excuses. Consider how well you have served as a steward of the Gospel. Pray, trust, and obey today. Share the Gospel today and every day. Pray in confidence, expecting God to do God-sized things in your life. Rejoice in knowing that God hears all your prayers and lovingly answers them in accordance with His perfect will for your life. Walk boldly in that confidence and glorify Him with your joy and peace.

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