Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 26 February 2022:
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! God has told you to share the Gospel with everyone, not just with those who you think will listen. Are you accomplishing your mission?
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 must be very careful not to get caught up in the daily frenzy and do the same thing. It is downright rebellious (against society) to just sit at Jesus’ feet rather than worshiping the god of performance.
- Luke 10:38-42 — Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
- Psalm 46:10 — “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
- Matthew 6:25-33 — “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Exodus 5:6-9 – The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”
Serving as Christ’s Ambassador may make life much harder for you and may impact your career.
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).
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.
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. 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?
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?
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)
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, though he remained faithful ultimately. How do you act when you don’t get immediate or amazing results?
Psalm 22 — On the cross, Jesus recited Psalm 22:1 (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Psalm 22:12-18 is an incredible description of the Crucifixion. Psalm 22 is very exciting to read, an OT prophecy of Jesus’ work on the cross.
Psalm 22:1-2– My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
“When in the midst of trials we pray and pray but see no rescue forthcoming, we find it all too easy to think that God might have forsaken us. In fact, we may feel as if the darkness has overwhelmed us, that the Lord is not paying heed to our cries. And yet, in these times of darkness, the fact that we continue to pray demonstrates that we believe that our Father has not forsaken us. We continue trusting in His sure promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), knowing that deliverance may be long in coming but that it will certainly come.
Such experiences are not unique to believers of this day and age, for as we see in today’s passage, even the greatest king of ancient Israel—David, the man after God’s own heart—felt forsaken by the Lord at times (vv. 1–2). And yet in these wilderness experiences, He continued to believe in the one true God and covenant Lord of Israel, remembering that He sits enthroned on high and pledges to come to the aid of His people (vv. 3–5).
As alone as David might have felt at times, there is a sense in which He could never pray Psalm 22 with all his heart. That is because even in the midst of the greatest crises of his life, David always experienced divine rescue. Saul spent much of his reign trying to kill David, but he finally fell on his own sword and the one whom he pursued remained (1 Sam. 31). Absalom’s rebellion ended with the death of Absalom, not David (2 Sam. 18). Today, none of us can pray Psalm 22 to the fullest extent, for even at our lowest point, God never turns His face from those who are united to His Son by faith but remains ever at peace with us even in disciplining us (Rom. 5:1; Heb. 12:3–11). There is One, however, who could pray this prayer as a man who endured divine forsakenness not merely as a feeling but in reality, namely, Jesus Christ.
The Gospels tell us that on the cross, Jesus prayed Psalm 22 (Matt. 27:46). He endured true forsakenness—for a time—on the cross, the darkness at that hour showing the removal of the light of God’s countenance from Him. Our Lord’s fear in anticipating the cross proved to be justified (26:36–46), for He did not pass through any ordinary death. Instead, He bore in the place of His people the judgment of divine wrath upon transgression. John Calvin comments that the reason for Christ’s anguish was not merely death ‘but because there was before his eyes the curse of God, to which all who are sinners are exposed.’
That the sinless Son of God could bear the curse of God on sin is a great mystery, but it is the mystery that is at the heart of our salvation. As a man, the Son of God endured the judgment of the holy, triune Creator for the sins of those men and women who are united to Him by faith alone. We need not fear that God will ever remove the light of His countenance from us if we are in Christ. His sacrifice of His Son proves His justice and the infinite degree to which He loves us.” (Ligonier Ministries)
Proverbs 26 – Today’s proverbs warn us against fools, sluggards, liars, and gossips. The warning is not only to protect us from others but also to protect us from ourselves. Christians must guard themselves against such behavior.
Proverbs 26:4-5 — Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26 verses 4 and 5 appear at first glance appear to be a contradiction. However, the author of proverbs is communication a principle of wisdom which is that different circumstances demand different responses, and it takes understanding and careful application of knowledge to handle people and situations effectively. In this case the author of proverbs is cautioning us that we should not respond to a fool if we are in danger of becoming foolish ourselves. Fools tend to make us emotional, and emotional responses are often foolish and sinful ones. In many cases, the best thing to do is remain silent. Also, we must consider how the fool will respond to our comments. If our words would only cause the fool to act more foolish, best to refrain from giving an answer. On the other hand, sometimes we must answer the fool when we believe the cost of remaining silent would be greater to the fool and to others than if we remained silent. Sometimes, remaining silent is more damaging than speaking out. However, it takes great wisdom to know how to address fools in a way which can best be received by them. Effective communication demands that we not just know what to say but also how to say it. Delivery matters, but again, it takes wisdom to rightly apply knowledge. Sometimes harsh words are more loving than soft words; sometimes soft words are more loving than harsh words, and in all cases, timing of words is critical. How do we learn how to say the right things at the right time? It takes more than just experience; it takes Spirit-led experience. We must prayerfully seek to do as Jesus did, speak only what God tells us to say, which means we must be able to hear the word of God first, we must be receptive to His Spirit – “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 Feb 22: Today, commit to sharing the Gospel with everyone, whether you think they will accept it or not. Obey God’s call to serve as His ambassador, and trust the results to Him.