Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 27 February 2022:
Exodus 6:1, 6 — But the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land…. Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.”
Moses had to go through incredibly hard times before God revealed Himself in power. Be patient. Wait upon the Lord.
- 2 Peter 3:9-15 — The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him….
Exodus 6:2 – “God spoke to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the Lord.’”
We lose faith when we lose perspective on who God is. Sometimes we need to be reminded that God is God! He has got you! Now, obey!
- Romans 8:28-39 — 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. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Exodus 6:9 – “Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.”
The Bible provides countless warnings to the church to be careful not to lose faith in God and sensitivity to the Spirit because of earthly conditions and circumstances. Again, read Romans 8:28-29. During difficult times, we must draw closer to God, not farther away. During a protracted time of persecution, Moses brought the direct word of God, a word of salvation, but God’s people would not accept it. Though they still worshipped God, they focused all their attention on their plight, which consumed their thinking and their spirit; they lost hope in God’s deliverance, and subsequently lost the faith required to believe and trust God in the moment. God was in the process of doing incredible, historic things in their lives, and though they were told of God’s salvation through a prophet, they couldn’t see it. What is God doing today as part of His great plan of redemption? How is He at work on your country, in your community, in your church, in your family, and in your life in ways which can only be seen and understand by those who are truly receptive to the Holy Spirit? Does your unwavering love, joy, peace, and contentment through any and all situations communicate to everyone around you your confidence in the Providence of the Almighty? How is God using you to proclaim the truth to your generation? Is you using you to lead others to the ‘promised land’?
Exodus 6:14-26 – God’s acts are done for and through specific people who can be listed and named. God has a specific plan for you; you have been hand-selected by God Himself, and you are by-name appointed by God.
Exodus 6:28, 29 – On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, the LORD said to Moses, “I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.”
God has chosen to use “Ambassadors,” messengers, and witnesses to communicate His word to the world; Jesus told His disciples to make more disciples throughout the world under His authority as the Son of God, and through the His power. The Ambassador of Christ need not fear but should be bold as the power and authority of Jesus has been given to him. Are you accomplishing your mission?
Exodus 6:2-3 — And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them.
“As God has walked with His people through the generations, He has progressively revealed His nature according to His purposes and the needs of His people. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as God Almighty, because they needed His mighty power to protect them from their enemies. Moses and the Israelites learned that God was Lord, Master over every nation and every thing. God not only delivered them from the most powerful ruler in the world, but also brought them into the Promised Land. They came to experience Him as Lord, preeminently powerful over the pagan gods of their day.
God will continue to reveal His character to you according to your needs and according to His purposes. You will come to know more and more about Him as you obey Him. When you grieve, He will come to you as Comforter. When you are in need, He will demonstrate that He is the Provider. When you face a serious challenge, He will reveal that He is God Almighty.
Your understanding of God’s character ought to be greater now than when you first became a Christian. You ought to know Him today better than you did five years ago. Sadly, some Christians continue to live year after year with the same basic knowledge of God that they had when they first began walking with Him. Whatever your present situation, view it in the light of what God is teaching you, through circumstances, about Himself and you will come to know God in dimensions you have never known Him before.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Psalms 23:1-2 — The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Living like a sheep can bring you incredible peace of mind! The biblical shepherd knew everything about his sheep. He understood what foods were best for them and what would harm them. He knew when they should eat and when they needed their thirst quenched. The shepherd was an expert of the terrain and was aware of the best places for food and water. As long as the sheep trusted and followed their shepherd, they would always have their needs met at the right time. Their shepherd would give them the best that he had.
Do you have absolute trust in your Good Shepherd? Do you value the nourishment that comes from Him more than any you might obtain from the world? Do you ever worry that God might be withholding from you something that you need? The Psalmist was convinced that he would “want” for nothing. By His very nature, the Good Shepherd cares for His sheep and would lay down His life for them (John 10:11).
Have you allowed your focus to shift from the Shepherd to what the Shepherd gives you? If you find yourself “wanting,” it is not that your Shepherd is unable or unwilling to perfectly meet your needs. It may be that you lack the faith to receive all that He has to give. Could it be that you have become dissatisfied with what your Shepherd has been providing? Are you missing the joy that comes from having a Shepherd who cares for you? Return to Him and trust Him to meet the needs in your life that only He can.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Psalm 24:3, 4 – “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart….”
“God has rigid requirements for those who want to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. There is no easy access to God for those with unclean hands or an impure heart. It is an affront to holy God to assume that we can indulge in our sin and blatantly disobey His word, then brazenly enter the holy of holies. In Old Testament times, one’s hands represented one’s activities. Clean hands symbolized pure activities. Priests washed their hands before serving in the temple to symbolize that only those who were cleansed could worship holy God.
There are levels of intimacy with God. The moment you become a Christian you begin a relationship with the Lord. However, if you persist in your sin, sin will separate you from God and keep you from enjoying close fellowship with Him. If you follow only God’s basic commandments but resist every time God gives you specific, personal directions, you will never fully experience the depths of God’s Person. If, however, you are like the psalmist and understand the holiness of God, you will adjust your life to His standards and respond to His prompting so that you may have deeper fellowship with Him.
The closer you get to holy God, the more obvious even your smallest sins become. The more you know of God’s character, the more you will realize the need to wash your hands and purify your heart before you can get close to Him.
Are you willing for almighty God to make you absolutely pure before Him so that you can enjoy the maximum possible relationship with Him?” (Henry T. Blackaby)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) However, our intimacy with God depends on our response to God. Sin separates us from God. The more we desire to fellowship with God, the more we will desire to remove from our lives the sins He abhors, the sins for which Christ died on the Cross to pay. And the closer we get to our Holy God, the more obvious even our smallest sins become, the more we will truly desire “clean hands and a pure heart,” (purity, to live faithfully in thought, word and deed). In genuine worship, today’s psalmist is overwhelmed by the holiness of God and truly desires to be in fellowship (unity) with Him — True Christians are never casual or complacent with sin – “Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you…. You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine…. for I, the Lord, who sanctify you, am holy. (Leviticus 20:7, 8; Leviticus 20:26; Leviticus 21:8)
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) “And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:4) Jesus said that “eternal life,” is to “know” Him. Here the word “know” refers to the sort of intimate, personal and experiential knowledge intended between a husband and wife – “The two shall become one.” This is perfect unity in love, heart, soul, mind, and strength. In genuine fidelity and unity with Christ, we experience fullness of joy. Today, the psalmist says those who seek to approach holy God as holy “will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.” (Psalm 24:5, 6)
Today, the psalmist prays to God in concert with how Jesus instructed His disciples to pray — “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) ‘Lord, in accordance with your sovereign holiness, your faithfulness, and your justice, mercy and grace, may we honor you by serving you and glorifying you on earth as instruments of your will.’ To do otherwise would be to “trample underfoot the Son of God, and [to] profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and [to] outrage the Spirit of grace.” (Hebrews 10:29)
How will you seek to approach your sovereign, holy God today and in the days to come?
- Deuteronomy 6:5 — You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
- John 14:21 — Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
- 1 John 5:3 — For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
- James 4:8 — Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 — For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
- Colossians 3:5 — Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
- 1 John 2:15-17 — Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
- Ephesians 5:1-3 — Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
- Romans 8:29 — 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.
- Isaiah 55:7 — Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
- 1 John 1:9 — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Proverbs 27:6 — Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
“Jesus never gave relief to people who were under conviction. When Zaccheus, in remorse for his sin, shared his generous plans for restitution, Jesus did not say, “Now Zaccheus, the important thing is that you feel sorry for what you did.” Jesus brought no comfort to him as he dealt with his sin (Luke 19:1-10). Neither did Jesus excuse disbelief. We never find Jesus saying, “Well, that’s all right. I know I’m asking you to believe a lot, and that’s not easy.” On the contrary, Jesus was quick to chastise His disciples when they failed to believe Him. Jesus loved His friends too much to condone or comfort them in their sin.
It is possible to be too gentle with your friends. When a friend is under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit, do you try to give comfort? Don’t ever try to ease the discomfort of someone whom the Holy Spirit is making uncomfortable! Be careful not to communicate to your friends that you find their lack of faith acceptable. You are not acting in true friendship if you condone disobedience or even if you look the other way. Kisses are far more pleasant than wounds, yet they can be even more devastating if they lull your friend into being comfortable with sin.
In our attempt to appease our friends and our reluctance to share a word from God, we can actually cause great harm. If we see our friends in danger and do not warn them, God will hold us accountable for our silence (Ezek. 33:6). Are you a friend of such integrity that you would risk wounding your friends in order to deter them from their sin?” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Proverbs 27:17 — As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
“The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult, and we get lonely. Sometimes we may become discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to “keep going.”
According to Scripture, a friend is one who challenges you to become all that God intends. Jonathan could have succeeded his father to become the next king of Israel. But he loved his friend David, and he encouraged him to follow God’s will, even though it meant Jonathan would forfeit his own claim to the throne (1 Sam. 19:1-7).
The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They “sharpen” you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at heart (Prov. 27:6).
Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose His closest friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put the needs of others first (Prov. 17:17). Strive to find godly friends who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that helps others become more like Christ.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 Feb 22: Today, pray that God will give you “clean hands and a pure heart,” then, with full confidence in God’s fidelity, grace and mercy, and with full confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit which empowers you, step out in faith and remove from your life all of the things (thoughts, words, deeds, idols, etc.) you know are not worthy to be in the presence of your sovereign and holy God who dwells within you. Every aspect of your life is a display of your love and respect for God.