Monday, January 23, 2017

Written for Our Instruction

Moses was invited by God to come up to Him on Mount Sinai, so that they could spend an extended time together and God could give him the stone tablets upon which He had written the commandments for the instruction of the people. (Exodus 24:12) What an exciting adventure! Moses was going to meet with God and receive laws and commandments, some of which were written by God Himself, so that he knew just what to teach the people.

We understand some things about God from His general revelation of Himself through the things He has created. It is possible for us to know there is an All-powerful God from general revelation, but we do not have the specifics we need. Therefore, God also gives us special revelation. The Bible is special revelation, so that we have exactly what we need to know the Lord and serve Him well.

The Bible was given by inspiration of God when He led men by the power of the Holy Spirit to write down His message using their our vocabulary and culture. This was an amazing process, but it was very precise, so that the Bible is without error, and none of the books have contradictory material. Much of the Bible is what God first showed the people like Moses and the Prophets, as well as the Apostles. Then, He inspired someone to write it down.

Therefore, what God was giving Moses on the mountain was some of the very first special revelation of Himself and His laws. Then, later Moses was inspired to write most of the first 5 books of the Bible. Moses was a very amazing man to whom God gave this great honor. We should all be thankful for the relationship Moses had with God and the special revelation given through him. Also, it should encourage us to have a closer walk with God every day, too, so we can receive all He has for us.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 26-28.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Cursing God and Rulers

We often have very strong feelings about how our lives should go, so that we tend to get very angry about things, if we are not careful. I have met many people who have become so upset with God that they cursed God The same is true for the rulers of our country. I have heard people curse the rulers many times. However, both of these are clearly sinful actions. (Exodus 22:28) Ever since the time that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the other ordinances, He has made this very clear.

Cursing God is not only forbidden; it is foolish, too. If a person does not believe in God, why curse Him? What does that prove or accomplish? If a person does believe in God, it is highly counterproductive to curse the One who is in control of our lives and  our future destinies. Instead of cursing God, we should honestly pray to Him, pouring out the frustrations of our hearts and asking Him to give us healing and the ability to submit to His authority.

The Bible makes it clear that God sets up the rulers for a country based on His will and His plans for the people. If we have a good ruler, it is probably because we have done the right things in the past, and we have been responsible to pray for God's will for our country. However, if we get a bad ruler, it is also somehow based on what we deserve, based on our prayers and actions. Remember, Romans 13 is clear. God ordains the rulers, so we are to obey them. Also, I Timothy 2:1,2 makes it clear that we are to pray for our rulers, not curse them.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 23-25.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Jethro's Conversion

It is a marvelous sight to see a person come to put his or her faith in the Lord. May we all be a part of seeing that happen many times, like Moses saw it with his father-in-law Jethro. (Exodus 18:9,11) Besides trusting the Lord ourselves, there is no greater experience in this life.

When Jethro came with Moses' wife and children, he was greeted warmly by his son-in-law. Then, Moses shared the powerful witness of what the Lord had done to free the Israelites from the bondage in Egypt. It was such a powerful testimony to God's greatness that Jethro rejoiced over the goodness of the Lord to His people. Then, he made a personal confession of faith that he had come to believe that the Lord was greater than all of the gods. Finally, he offered sacrifices to his Lord to show his new belief and commitment. He was no longer a "poly-theist" believing in many gods. He was a believer in the One True God.

The same basic process happens one way or another whenever anyone comes to the Lord. We have to turn from our way of believing and put our trust in Him alone. We have to surrender to Him, as the Only Lord of the universe. Then, God sees our faith and saves us by His grace. It often happens after the witness of another individual giving the evidence of God's reality and power, too. May we see many people come to the Lord Jesus Christ in 2017.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 20-22.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Grumbling or Praying?

Every time we have a problem we have a choice to make. Will we grumble, or will we pray? Grumbling does not bring the solution to the problem, and it can be very detrimental to us, because it displeases God, incurring His anger. However, God always answers our prayers, if we sincerely cry out to Him, as Moses did. (Exodus 15:24,25) This is a vital life principle.

Three days before finding the bitter water at Marah, the Israelites had experienced the dividing of the Red Sea, so that they all walked across on dry land, while the Egyptian army drowned. Now, they were thirsty, so they grumbled to Moses. This continued to be their pattern of behavior for quite a while, even after they saw God work in many miraculous ways. This shows that a negative person is not trusting God, and a grumbling person is self-centered instead of God-centered. We grumble when life is about us, and we don't get our way. Sounds like a child, doesn't it?

However, a mature, God-centered believer will always pray first when a problem is encountered, believing  that God cares, and He will give the solution in His time and with His power. When we pray first, instead of grumbling, it is a sign of a thankful heart, and we are to pray with thanksgiving about everything. I pray that we all will heed this lesson and practice what Moses did.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 16-19.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Finding Favor

When God's presence is with a person or a group of people, others recognize it, and they respect them for it, even if they believe differently. Now, I know this is a general observation and not without exceptions. Even the most sinful people will show respect for a truly righteous man or woman. They will be highly esteemed like Moses and the people of God in Egypt. (Exodus 11:3) We need to have more sincerely righteous people today, who obviously have God's presence or favor on their lives, so those who don't know the Lord will recognize them and know they need the Lord, too.

It seems like the Egyptians and the servants of Pharaoh would hate the Hebrews and Moses for all of the destruction that had come into their lives. The opposite was the case. The average person and even those who served Pharaoh could see God working in them, and it caused them to treat them with favor, even giving them very nice gifts and a lot of money before the Lord led them out of Egypt. This showed that God's plan to show that He was the Lord through the plagues had worked. The people saw that so they respected God's people and their leader.

Today, I am afraid we have too many weak examples of believers, who are not living a holy life, and others can't see the favor of God on them. We even have way too many examples of people who say they know the Lord, who do terrible things. Then, when they are found out, the esteem of people for Christians gets very low. Please, pray for yourself, your family, your church, and believers in general that we will be the kind of people that unbelievers will respect and upon who they will bestow their favor.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 12-15.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Finger of God

God's purpose in sending Moses to lead the exodus of the sons of Israel was more than just getting them to Canaan. He was proving to Pharaoh, who was worshiped as a god, and to the Egyptians that He was the Lord of all. That led Him to design a series of events to prove that beyond a doubt, as Pharaoh's heart was hardened by each successive plague on the land. A huge turning point came with the plague of gnats. (Exodus 8:18,19) Before that time the Egyptian magicians had been able to copy the signs of Moses and Aaron. However, when the gnats came, they knew it was the finger of God.

Some people believe that God forcefully hardened Pharaoh's heart, so he would not listen to God until the tenth plague. I do not believe that to be the case, when I look at what the Bible says. God knew Pharaoh had a hard heart at the start. Then, God gave him a choice to listen to Moses and Aaron each time, but the miracles that were copied led Pharaoh to harden his heart more. Yes, God did harden it, but by the events, not by force. Then, once the gnats and the following plagues came, his heart just got harder and harder, even though they were obviously done by the finger of God.

We have to be careful or we can get to the point where we do the same thing. God gives us choices, but we can choose to be stubborn and want our own way. We can act in pride and that pride leads us to a big fall. We can see actions that are real miracles, but we reject them. That is why we must be sure to maintain a soft heart that listens to God from the beginning, in the smallest decisions. Remember, every time we harden our hearts to the Lord, they just keep getting harder and harder, until we listen and repent. Please, don't make God have to go to the tenth plague in your life before you respond in complete obedience.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 9-11.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Our Life Mission

What is God's mission for your life? Yes, we all have one. We may call it a calling or a purpose, but it is the reason God made us and gifted us as He did. He prepared us to do a particular mission for Him. Moses found this out, and he is a great example of this truth.(Exodus 3:10) As he was sent by God to bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt, we all are sent by God to complete some mission.

I know many people think this is just true of full time Christian servants like pastors and missionaries. It never says that in the Bible, and there are many Biblical examples of God using very common people to do uncommon things. Others would say that their main mission is to be a mother or father, but as noble a responsibility as that is, God is able to give us a mission in addition to being an excellent parent. Moses was a Hebrew raised in Pharaoh's palace. He knew all about God's people and their captors. He had the gifts and personality to lead them out and to lead them through the desert to Canaan. God prepared him and sent him. I am so glad to say that Moses was faithful to his mission, except in one matter that kept him from going into Canaan. However, I know God was pleased to usher him into Paradise.

God has gifted all of us and prepared our personality and  experiences to do one main mission. It could be that we are sent to teach preschoolers, children, youth, or adults the Word of God. We could be sent to be a missionary in the workplace to bring many others to Christ and disciple them.  We may be gifted to be a greeter at our church, which is such a valuable mission. The choices are as varied as the individuals, but God knows best. We must get quiet and listen, if we don't know what our mission is yet. If we do know our mission, we need to be faithful until God calls us home.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 6-8.