Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 5 March 2022:
Exodus 12:2 — “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.”
Exodus 12:12, 13 – “I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
Exodus 12:15 – “…you shall remove leaven out of your houses….”
The Passover, this day of salvation and distinction was a new beginning for God’s people. When God executed His judgment over the land, He provided a way for people to escape His wrath and death – the mark of the blood of the unblemished, sacrificial, substitutional lamb. All were subject to God’s judgment, both Israelite and Egyptian, but when Judgment saw the blood of the lamb, it passed over, not because of any attributes of the persons – there was no distinction — only because of the blood of the lamb. There was only one way to be saved from God’s wrath and death, not many ways, and this one way defied human reason. Placing the lamb’s blood on the door was an act of faith done by those who trusted God and hoped in His salvation. The Passover lamb is a foreshadowing of The Lamb of God, Jesus.
- Matthew 26:2 — “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
- Matthew 26:26 — Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
- Luke 22:7 — Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
- Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- 1 Peter 1:19 — But with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
- John 1:29 — Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
- John 19:36 — For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”
- Revelation 1:5 — And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.
- Ephesians 1:7 — In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
- Romans 5:9 — Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
- Revelation 7:10 — And crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
- John 3:36 — Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
- Romans 3:25 — Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Those who have been saved by the blood of the Lamb by God’s grace have a new beginning in Christ, they are new creations.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
- Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
With salvation comes the exodus, leaving the old life behind.
Upon placing the blood on the doors, the Israelites were told to remove the leaven from their houses. Leaven is a symbol for sin. The call for the believer, having been saved by grace through faith, not by works, is to now remove the sin from their lives, to live lives worthy of Christ. Sin, like leaven, is pervasive, just a little bit affects the whole batch. There can be no compromise with sin, accepting just a little bit of sin can corrupt the entire person, the family, the people, the church, and the nation. Salvation by grace alone brings with it the responsibility to live in purity and holiness, relying on the strength of the Holy Spirit. Glorify God by removing sin from your life.
- 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8 — Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
- Galatians 5:9 — A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Psalm 25:21 – “I wait for you.”
Psalm 25 begins and ends with a fundamental virtue of Christian faith: the ability and willingness to wait upon the Lord, which is not the product of sheer willpower but rather a fruit of the Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) Waiting upon the Lord is at the heart of faith; it is trust in God based upon our belief in His trustworthiness, regardless of apparent circumstances. But you can’t trust someone you don’t know. The key to growing in genuine faith, hope and love which trusts and waits, which is joyfully patient and perseverant, is to grow in intimacy with the Lord, knowing Him more each day – knowing is growing. Jesus’ greatest prayer for us before the Cross was that we would experience the eternal life that comes from intimacy with Him – “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) This was the prayer of David in today’s Psalms – “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him.” (Psalm 25:14)
Intimacy with God – “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) “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) Intimacy with God is a virtuous cycle. You must have faith to draw near to God, but the more you draw near to God, the more faith you will have, and your blessings will be multiplied, not just added. “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11) “These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11) As the former Adrian Rogers once said, “God does not have favorites, but He does have intimates.” So, how do we draw near to God so that we will trust to wait on the Lord?
Confidence in Grace. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) Draw near to God, confident in the grace and access you have received freely through Christ. You have received grace, so claim grace, have faith in grace, and confidently obey God in the grace you have received and through the power of the Holy Spirit which you have also received in salvation. “…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14) “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)
Clean hands. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) Drawing near to God requires cleansing and purification. As a Christian, the Bible says, “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) Now walk with clean hands and a pure heart, with pure actions resulting from a pure heart. Remember what we read last week in Psalm 24 – “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, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He 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. (Psalm 24:3-6) John says, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:3, 4) Waiting on the Lord is not idleness, it is obedience. Jesus said, “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.” (John 14:21) “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.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Bathing in God’s Word. Prepare for intimacy with God by being freshly cleansed by the word of God. “How can a young man [or woman] keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9) Most people bathe their bodies daily so they will be presentable to the public, but they don’t wash themselves in the word daily to be presentable to the Lord. Begin your daily walk with Jesus with prayerful Bible study. Then, walk the word with the Lord. Bible study is insufficient without Bible life application – doing the word. Bible study gives you knowledge; Bible application gives you understanding. Bible study gives you knowledge about God; walking in the word (the Bible) and with the Word (Jesus; see John 1) gives you knowledge of God (intimacy). “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
Confident Confession. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9) Confident in the grace of God, maintain a humbly repentant spirit as you strive imperfectly to walk in the light (which is always done in fellowship with other believers). “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Trusting through Trials. “…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) Take up your cross and confidently follow Jesus through the trials of life, boldly and joyfully proclaiming Jesus through inevitable persecution and through the harsh realities of a sinful world. Intimacy with the Lord results in a joyful, confident trust and hope that has no bounds. Job said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (Job 13:15) This confidence is grounded on the faith that Christ is the resurrection and that Christ has overcome death – “Do not fear what you are about to suffer…. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) It is intimacy and trust in God that will give you the readiness to step into your personal ‘Red Sea,’ the rushing waters of your ‘Jordon River,’ your ‘fiery furnace,’ and your ‘lion’s den,’ that you will inevitably face, knowing confidently that God is with you through it all, working all these things for good and in accordance with His purpose of conforming you to the image of His Son, Jesus. When people go through trials together, it draws them closer. Likewise, when we patiently endure trials and persecution with Christ and in His Name, we experience a special intimacy with Him – “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) “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)
Are you willing to obey God’s command, “Be still, and know that I am God”? (Psalm 46:10)
Proverbs 5:12, 23 — “…and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!”…
He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”
If you aren’t willing to endure the daily pain of discipline, you will suffer the pain of life regret.
Proverb 5:14 — “I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.”
You reap what you sow in life. Eventually, the product of the life you have chosen will be evident to all.
Proverbs 5:15 — “Drink water from your own cistern.”
Be content and thankful for what, and who, God has given you. Your contentment is like rays of sunlight on flowers, causing them to blossom. Much sin starts with dissatisfaction over the gifts God has given you. Be grateful and content with what God has given you, and do not compare your situation with that of others.
Proverbs 5:19 — “Be intoxicated always in her love.”
The most important institution established by God on earth is the institution of marriage. Husbands and wives reveal their love for God mostly by how they love each other. The primary testimony and witness of a married Christian is their relationship with their spouse.
Proverbs 5:21 – “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.”
Sin starts in the heart, and God knows your heart fully. Consider carefully your thought life. Before you committed any outward sin, whether seen or unseen, you first desired to do it, and that desire was already a sin, breaking the Greatest Commandment of loving God completely. As Jesus pointed out, sin starts in the heart. You may not have murdered anyone, but if, in your heart, you desired to, you are guilty of an even greater sin than murder, and that sin is failing to love the Almighty and other people as you should and as He commands. Putting your desires, even for a moment, above Him is cosmic treason against the One and Only Sovereign Lord. Don’t just repent of the sins you commit in secret, repent of your thoughts that dishonor God. Pray for a pure heart, and give thanks for God’s grace.
Proverbs 5:22, 23 – “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”
Do not let sin ensnare you!
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Obedience is a discipline – hence, the word disciple. Sinners lack self-control and self-discipline. They are not willing to make the small daily sacrifices each day required to invest in their spiritual growth and in their relationship with Jesus. They are defeated each day by their desires, emotions, and passions. Rather than being controlled by the Spirit, they are controlled by idols, created things that have become more influential in their lives than the Creator. What will control you today? What will be the source of your motivation? For what will you endeavor and why?
Sin, is a dangerous, deadly trap that exploits a person’s lack of self-control. The Way of life is Jesus and following Him. Disciples are those who truly follow Him and obey Him. The life of a disciple is, by definition, a disciplined life, a life of wholehearted obedience. Joy is found in obedience. The Christian who uses “grace” as an excuse for half-hearted obedience (or disobedience) is demonstrating an incredible lack of understanding and is dishonoring our Holy LORD. The more we truly appreciate our LORD, the more natural obedience becomes.
The first level of leadership, the foundation for all other leadership is leading self (which is actually demonstrating fidelity in following Jesus). Another word for self-leadership is discipline or self-control (a spiritual fruit). Self-leadership must be continuous, and if it fails, the person fails in all leadership at the foundational level. A person without self-control is completely untrustworthy and cannot lead others. Good leaders know the way and show the way. God leaders know Jesus, follow Him, and show others how to know Him and follow Him. If your leader is not following Jesus, he is leading you astray. If you are not faithfully following Jesus, you are leading others astray. As a leader, you are either with Jesus or against Him.
True disciples of Christ are known for their discipline, because self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), the natural product of a Spirit-filled person who loves Jesus above all. If you have a self-discipline problem in your life, search your heart, and pray that God will reveal to you what you cannot see in yourself that is quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 Mar 22: Having been saved by grace through faith in Jesus, remove the leaven from your life and home. (Exodus) Pray for the strength to be still and to wait on the Lord, not in idleness but in loving obedience. (Psalm)