“Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped.” (Exodus 4:29-31).
In our reading of Exodus today we see the Lord is placing His plan of redemption into motion for the Israelites. They have been held captive in Egyptian slavery for 400 years and at just the right time God accomplishes His purpose through them, “For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” (Psalm 22:24).
Psalm 22 was written by King David as his own cry for help, laced with adoration of God. This Messianic psalm looks forward to Christ our Redeemer imaging these words as well looking back to God’s great deliverance of Israel during the exodus. The Bible is layered with experiences from different men, separated by hundreds of years, yet when their stories align we see a bigger picture unfolding- God’s great mercy saving His people for His Glory and our good.
Human emotions are as old as time. We still have a felt need to be rescued from this world of captivity, to be satisfied with something meaningful and know we are loved even though we sin. The words in Scripture are comforting because they are just as relevant today as they were for Moses and David. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows we are a needy people. When you and I recognize our need for a Savior our cries for salvation transform into songs of praise because of His mercy. Remembering that the Father delights to save and He “is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost” (Matthew 18:14) are words of certainty we can hold onto in uncertain times.
Genesis 50:1- Exodus 2:10; Psalm 21; Matthew 16:13-17:9
God gives aid to His people throughout history and fights for them. In His Divine time and way the Lord orchestrates redemption for chosen Israel- time and time again. Another way we see Him at work is the outworking of our faith. Believers will bear fruit because of the transformation He has done in us. We no longer live for ourselves but for Christ. Faith brings obedience which requires action producing fruit. God blesses those who fear Him, warriors of truth and righteousness, despite worldly consequences.
God is faithful to preserve, protect and bless His children. It may be in ways we don’t foresee or understand, like Joseph’s life. God’s Glory will not and cannot be stifled by man’s plans. The Lord works through our circumstances even when there seems to be no hope. God is our Hope.
The best way the Lord has taken care of us is through His Son. When Jesus went to the cross He gave Himself, redeeming sinners from certain eternal damnation. Christ is the meaning of life, in which we can rightly view everything else in our world.
Make no mistake that God is actively at work today, just as He was with Israel in Egypt, just as He will be tomorrow. The Lord is near. We are merely called to walk by faith and obedience. Observe how the Father has taken care of you. He is our Faithful Shepherd.
Jesus warns His disciples from the false teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They have no wisdom but are like the blind leading the blind. Likewise, in Proverbs the son is instructed to heed his father’s words. It will save his life because the father’s counsel is wise.
Acting in wisdom helps us make better choices, big and small. From choosing a spouse, where to worship, to how many pieces of chocolate one should have at once. Wisdom covers all of life.
Pursuing wisdom, guarding the wisdom we’ve been given, and applying it, is what is meant to persevere as a saint. This is what living in truth looks like. How can we do this? Not in our own strength. True wisdom comes with humility and a teachable spirit. The Holy Spirit then teaches and guides us.
If God is wisdom, then believers must learn to trust Him in every aspect of life. He reveals His character and will to us through Scripture. Guard the truth you know by walking in it, setting your feet on the straight path not swerving to the right or left.
Jesus’ definition of “unclean” and the Pharisees idea of uncleanliness were different. As always, the Lord goes much deeper than outward reform- He aims for the heart. Jesus says our heart response in life, our thoughts, come out in the way we speak.
Even if we speak appropriately in public and have all the right answers, the Lord knows the inner man. He knows are thought life. Sooner or later what is suppressed will burst out in angry speech, low grumbling, or something else with devastating consequences. The longer we go unchecked in our attitude, we lose sensitivity to the Holy Spirit leading us. The heart calcifies under such conditions.
Our hearts and speech are so intertwined that James writes special caution concerning the power of the tongue (James 3). It can be a means of great poison or great healing but it begins with the diagnosis of our hearts. Jesus unveils the hypocrisy of the Pharisees by mercifully teaching them, His disciples, and also us, the real meaning of “unclean”. We are all unclean, in need of the Savior to wash us through. God gives us time now to repent and come to Him. Are you washed with the blood of Christ or left unclean?
God works in many ways to display His Power. He faithfully fulfills the dreams given to Joseph as a teenager with his brothers and father now bowing before him. What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil the Lord uses for good. He not only avenges Joseph but preserves a remnant of Israel during the famine. The sons of Jacob are shown mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus demonstrates His Power through miracles as well as healing the sick and demon-possessed. He does this with a touch, just a word, and sometimes by using created things like making mud (John 9:1-12). There is no formula for how the Lord operates. What is consistent is His character: compassionate, merciful, faithful, and good. In this way God does not change.
In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy asks Mr. Beaver about Aslan to which he replies,
“He’ll be coming and going. One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down – and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild you know. Not like a tame lion.“
Lewis translates the character of Aslan as a Christ figure in his children’s story. We may not be able to predict God’s ways but it doesn’t mean who He is ever changes (Hebrews 13:8).
The prophet Isaiah also writes the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Lord IS infinite wisdom. We simply must trust in His Sovereign plan for our lives and what happens in the world. Even when tragedies seem senseless, and nothing makes sense to our logic, we can rest in the character of God because of what we know to be true- that will never change.
Genesis 42:18-43:14; Psalm 18:16-36; Matthew 14:1-12
Joseph concealed his identity from his brothers, testing them in their integrity. God providentially used Joseph to carry out the consequences of his brothers’ former actions when they sold him as a slave. Joseph had done nothing wrong but continued to rely on the Lord for wisdom and favor. God avenges Joseph as he hides his identity until the right time.
John the Baptist was also a righteous servant yet his life is taken as he is beheaded. God’s justice for John’s blood did not happen in this life. The Lord will avenge him and all evil done against His children, but it will be in His way and in His time.
Psalm 18 promises the Lord will faithfully avenge, but man must learn to trust Him fully and not seek revenge themselves. God used Joseph as a means to bring about immediate justice. Interestingly, Joseph also demonstrates profound forgiveness for what his brothers did to him. As a Christ figure, he beautifully illustrates what we deserve in our sin (judgment) but what Jesus also offers all who trust in His salvific work (forgiveness and redemption).
Sometimes we won’t see God’s perfect justice executed here on earth. His promise of restoring all that has been lost and wickedness that seems to go unpunished will come to fruition on Judgement Day. So we trust in His infinite wisdom and deep love for us knowing our Father will do what is best. The Lord is on your side and will fight for you. In Christ, we’ve already won.
Genesis 30:1- 31:16; Psalm 12; Proverbs 3:13-15; Matthew 10:1-23
“The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.” Psalm 12:8
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
Hostility is as old as time. Jealousy over one another’s blessings; resentment of the righteous. Human relationships are messy because we are sinners. We see the competition between Leah and Rachel in the baby race. My heart aches for both of them because neither had everything they wanted- a loving husband and a house full of children.
In this same passage Laban attempts to diminish God’s blessings on Jacob. The wicked freely strut about as the righteous are mistreated.
Jesus warns His disciples what to expect when He sends them out in His Name. Expect hardship. Rebels of God will not welcome His friends.
Christians live in this world with eyes wide open to the evil around us but also with hearts wide open to sharing the Gospel. We offer full hope even in the face of hostility. The hope-filled are not deterred because God’s promises remain true since the beginning of Time. God is with us and He is for His people. We are simply to be obedient with what we have been given and what we are called to do.
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” -Matthew 9:36
Leah is not loved. God sees Leah’s loneliness and blesses her with sons.
Jesus shows compassion to the crowds of hurting, broken people. Sickness, death and disappointment are attached to this world. We are all in need of a Shepherd to see us, love us and tenderly care for us. God sent Jesus as the Lamb of God so that He could be our Shepherd, our Hope.
Our Father sees the broken-hearted, whatever struggles you face. He mends us with truth, reminding you and me we are healed and we are being healed. Living between the two advents means becoming who we already are in Christ. Jesus has secured the place of every believer with Him.
Jesus went to the cross for sinners. He loves you and sees your need. His compassion for the helpless is still relevant today. Come ye sinners, poor and needy, Jesus will remind you of His love and power. Jesus makes us whole.
Read Genesis 25:1-26:16; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 3:7-8; Matthew 8:18-34
The wicked are wise in their own eyes despising God and His people. Ishmael’s descendants fulfill prophecy as people who live in hostility toward others, rejecting the true God. Esau cared more for gratifying his flesh than protecting the spiritual value of his birthright.
Anyone who is not a friend of God is His enemy. Neutrality or indifference are also choices made to stand against the Lord, refusing to believe His promises. All forms of rebellion are pride- man’s desire to live apart from God, out from under His authority.
The contrast to rebellion is a life of faith in Jesus. Still, God proves His faithfulness to us over and over again so that we will trust Him. He calms the wind and waves, exorcises demons from two men, showing the world He possesses power over creation. He holds the key to life.
Here we know in part, living in the shadows. When it feels like evil is winning, and the weak are crushed we remember the Story isn’t over yet. What is yet to come will be the unveiling as we see Christ in full glory. God’s enemies do not have the victory. We are on the right side.
Grace upon grace,
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” -1 Corinthians 13:12
This passage shows how Jesus healed different people with just a touch or a word. His unlimited power displays the Lord’s authority over every kind of physical and mental ailment- leprosy, paralysis, fever, demon-possession, and yes, even death (John 11:1-44). Jesus is willing to “make us clean” as the leper asks of Him.
He did many miracles in the sight of the people, relieving them from physical suffering and sorrow. Yet our longing goes much deeper than relief from temporal afflictions. We are in need of divine spiritual resurrection (Ephesians 2:1-5). Jesus has done this for every believer.
Even though you and I must endure trials of various kinds on earth, we are not like those without hope. Jesus was willing to heal us from our sin sickness. This is the miracle that matters the most. All who were physically healed by Christ during His earthly ministry died eventually. This is the curse of sin- Death. But those in Christ are made clean and whole. We get to live.
The effects of sin’s curse all around us in the world- political havoc, mental illness, hunger, injustice, divorce, abuse, incurable diseases. The world is broken and not as it should be.
But this isn’t the end of the story, not by a mile. If we hold onto an eternal perspective then we remember ourselves as pilgrims in a transient world (Hebrews 11:13-16). Final restoration when all things are made new is coming. One day, on the very last day, the Lord’s healing will be complete. And we who are called His sons and daughters will be Home forever.
Grace upon grace,
“He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases,” -Isaiah 53:4