Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 9 March 2022:
Exodus 16:3 — “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
The Jews would have rather eaten meat as slaves than to suffer discomfort in freedom and under the protection of the Lord. The hand-fed caged bird might grow captive to comfort, unwilling to escape and experience the fullness of life in the great outdoors where each meal depends on God’s provision. It takes courage and strength to live freely and to trust in the Lord. When you grow dependent on government or other man-made institutions, the become idols that rob you of the fullness of life and prove to be poor gods, providers that take far more than they give and can’t love you back. Where have we surrendered freedom and joy for costly, unreliable security and comfort? How have we compromised fidelity to God for reliance on ungodly institutions. The comfortable captive is easy to control, and the best slave is the one that doesn’t realize he is a slave. Psalm 84:10 — “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
New believers or immature Christians are usually very self-centered in their faith and vulnerable to comfort-based temptations. Most people begin their spiritual journey selfishly much like infants only want to be fed, held, changed, and to sleep. It is natural to start out this way, but not stay that way. Mature Christians must be ready to patiently ‘parent’ babies in Christ, protecting them from their own self-centeredness, never forgetting that babies don’t grow up overnight, and they don’t grow up well without wise, consistent parenting (discipleship).
Exodus 16:4 — “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”
God’s test for you is obedience in good times and bad, during times of want, and during times of plenty. God knows your heart, but he uses tests of obedience to reveal the truth of your heart to you and to others. You might have observed in life that people are susceptible to sin when they have too much or too little. Proverbs 30:8, 9 — “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.”
Exodus 16:8 – “Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”
When you get mad at others for treating you unfairly (in your eyes), remember that God is still in control and knows exactly what is happening to you. Your grumbling is really against God who did not allow you to get what you wanted. Settle the matter with God, and return only good to the offending individual.
Exodus 16:15 — “’What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.’”
Again, many secular ‘scholars’ have sought natural explanations for these supernatural acts of God, but God’s word intentionally provides enough detail to demonstrate the miracle. Those who are swayed by worldly theories have not read the Bible first-hand to see the whole story.
Exodus 16:28 — “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?”
How you act reveals what you really think about God.
Exodus 16:35 – The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
God provided until the people could provide for themselves. God expects growth. He doesn’t treat spiritual babies the same way He treats spiritual adults. God works in miraculous ways, but He won’t usually use miracles as a substitute for your obedience or to keep you from the circumstances of your unrepentant sin. We own responsibility, and God owns accountability.
Acts 20:26, 27 – “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
Paul felt tremendous conviction as well as great burden of responsibility and obligation, to declare “the whole counsel of God” to the people around him. In fact, he understood he would stand accountable before God for the blood of those with whom he didn’t share the Gospel. Paul was merely reconfirming what God had said to Ezekiel and what the Bible reaffirms in many other places –
- Ezekiel 3:17-21 — “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”
- Acts 13:47 — For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
- James 4:17 — So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
- Proverbs 24:11, 12 — Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
Does God’s word convict you to prioritize sharing the Gospel above all else?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 Mar 22: Pray that God will convict your heart and empower you to share the Gospel with those around you, regardless how you think they might respond. “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.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)