Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 12 March 2022:
Exodus 19:4-6, 8 – “‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel…. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
Seeing is not believing. The Israelites saw God work in incredibly miraculous ways to rescue them, and when God miraculously rescued them, they were quick to proclaim their allegiance to God. But in between the miracles and when things got hard, they quickly turned from God, which was revealed in their disobedience to Him. Not only that, as we will see in our future readings, they also turned from God when things were going well. In their comfort they grew complacent, prideful, and arrogant. In their discomfort, they grew fearful and self-absorbed. As Proverbs say, “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. (Proverbs 30:8, 9)
God called the Israelites to be a “kingdom of priests” to the world, a holy nation of God among the nations of men, but despite God’s love and faithfulness, they continually proved themselves unfaithful, as we will continue to read.
- 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 -- Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (see also Romans 15:4)
We should pay very close attention to how this Old Testament “kingdom of priests” responded to God’s grace as the New Testament says of us, “You yourselves [are] to be a holy priesthood…. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:5, 9) We are saved by grace, but our response to grace must be loving, faithful obedience, empowered by the Holy Spirit; we are without excuse if we continue in sin. We are called to be a “holy” nation. Let no one deceive on this point.
- Hebrews 3:15-19 — As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 — For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
- Hebrews 12:18-25 — For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
Psalm 28:8, 9 – “The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”
God wants you to learn to rely solely on Him in complete confidence and have fullness of peace and joy in Him. Christians are God’s anointed and His heritage. 1 John says, “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge…. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie — just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:20, 27) Revelation 21 says, “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:7) “For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.” (Psalm 94:14) The Lord Himself is your strength, your shield and your rock; call on Him, trust in Him, and give Him thanks. (Psalm 28:1, 7) He will never abandon you.
- Today’s proverbs speak of the wise person’s approach to building economic security. First, a wise person does not make deceptive wages and does not get rich taking advantage of others (Proverbs 12:2). A wise person’s integrity produces stability in all areas of life. (Proverbs 12:3). I wise person marries well (Proverbs 12:4). The wise don’t just jump from one thing to the next, they do long-range planning and follow their plan without distraction (Proverbs 12:5). The wise man is guided by sound thinking that comes from years of Spirit-led character development, and because of his outstanding character, he gains a great reputation. (Proverbs 12:8). The wise person does not spend money to impress others or pretend to be wealthy; rather, the wise person uses money to provide for self and others and to build (Proverbs 12:9). The wise person has a giving heart and uses growing resources to further provide for others (Proverbs 12:10). The wise do not pursue get rich quick schemes and are not driven by the need for instant gratification. Rather, the wise work diligently day by day to build wealth little by little over time. His wealth is built the old fashioned way – with his hands (Proverbs 12:11, 12). The wise man learns to work well with others, deals patiently and honestly in all relationships, and accepts the counsel of other wise Christians (Proverbs 12:13-19). The wise pursue peace knowing that conflicts destroy (Proverbs 12:20). The wise mind their own business and do not get entangled in worthless arguments (Proverbs 12:23). A wise person works hard, does not worry, and avoids friendships with the ungodly (Proverbs 12:24-27). The wise person stays on the path of life.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 Mar 22: Be thankful you have been saved by grace; now, pursue love, holiness, purity, and obedience. (Exodus 19) Today, rest in the sufficiency of God’s grace, and give Him all the glory. Trust God with both your successes and failures, and be further conformed to the character of Christ. (Psalm 28)