Obstacles

Today’s Passage – Numbers 14 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21; Proverbs 20; Psalms 101 – 105)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0220 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” – (Numbers 14:8-9)

What do you see when problems or trials come your way? Do see the trial, or do you see the God Who is much bigger than your trial? How about obstacles? Is your God bigger than your obstacles? In Numbers 13 and 14 we see the twelve spies going into the land of promise to check it out. It is amazing how that all twelve witnesssed the same things, but only two of them saw that God was bigger than the obstacles. Ten of the spies came back with nothing but negativity. It is too difficult; the giants are too big. We can’t do it. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, didn’t pay too much attention to the giants, because their God made the giants look like little children in comparison. They saw nothing but victory, and the goodness of God in the land that they were to receive.

Let me ask you he question again. What do you see. Do you see the Christan life as something too big or too difficult? Do you see God’s will for your life as impossible for God to do through you. Let me share some verses with you:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – (Philippians 4:13)

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – (Luke 1:37)

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” – (Mark 10:27)

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – (Hebrews 11:6)

God was well pleased with the faith of Joshua and Caleb. They were the only ones that got to go into the Promised Land. Will God be well pleased with your faith?


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We Could Use Some More Spirit-filled Preachers

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Today’s Passage – Numbers 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 16 – 18; Proverbs 19; Psalms 96 – 100)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0219 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.” (Numbers 11:26-30) 

Today’s reading contains an interesting story about two men, Eldad and Medad. These men were apparently appointed by Moses to be among the seventy that God had called to help him bear the burden of the people of Israel. These seventy men were gathered together at the Tabernacle where the Lord had caused his spirit to rest upon them. However, Eldad and Medad did not go with the seventy to the Tabernacle, but the Lord caused His Spirit to rest upon them in the camp anyway, and they began to prophesy in the camp. Apparently this break in protocol concerned Joshua so he went to Moses and requested that he make them stop. Moses, however, instead rebuked Joshua, and told him that he wished there more than just these two men that were Spirit-filled and speaking for God in the camp.

There is a similar story in the Lukes gospel:

“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.” (Luke 9:49-50)

In this story it is John who is concerned about a man who is casting out devils because he wasn’t one of the twelve disciples. Jesus rebuked John stating that what the man was doing was good, and that because he wasn’t working against the cause of Christ, he was actually advancing it.

Sometimes we become a little envious, and even skeptical of other groups within Christianity who don’t dot their I’s and cross their T’s exactly the way we do. They may not run in the same circles, and they may not belong to the same denomination or fellowship, but they are doing a work for God. They may not do things the same way we do, but if they are doing something for God, we shouldn’t try to hinder them. We ought to applaud anyone who is advancing the cause of Christ. We need more people who are Spirit-filled, and preaching the Word of God.


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Don’t Move Until God Tells You To

Pillar of Fire

Today’s Passage – Numbers 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 13 – 15; Proverbs 18; Psalms 91 – 95)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0218 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.” – (Numbers 9:23)

In Numbers 9, the Bible tells us that the children of Israel only moved when God moved. They followed the cloud by day, and the fire by night. If the cloud rested, they stayed in one spot; if the the cloud moved, they followed it. This kept life pretty simple for them. They did not have to make a decision about where they were going to go, they just followed God.

We can do the same thing today when deciding where we are going to go, or what we are going to do. We can simply follow God. Determining the will of God in our time is just as easy as it was in Bible times. God guides us through his Word, through prayer, and through counsel. Let’s say you are contemplating a move to a new geographic location. You need to check out what the Bible says about that place. Is there a good, Bible believing church for your family? The Bible says a lot about people moving. Abraham moved into Egypt after being told that Canaan was the place of God’s blessing. He had some problems in his life as a result of that move. There are many other examples and principles in the Bible that will help you to make a decision. One thing is for sure, you do not want to move simply for financial reasons, or because you think the grass will be greener somewhere else. Lot moved because the grass near Sodom looked good, but he ended up losing everything, including most of his family.

Prayer and counsel are also important steps in determining a desicion. All three need to be in agreement, however; and you know what the Bible says about a three-fold chord, right? It’s not easily broken, is it? Pray about your decision, but be aware that God will never reveal in prayer something that goes against the principles found in the Word of God. Then you need to get counsel. Have some people in your life that you can go to for advice. People who will be honest with you. People that won’t tell you just want you want to hear. Don’t “shop” for counsel, either. People often will go from person to person until they find someone who will agree with them. That’s not counsel. Ask your pastor, ask your parents, or ask some godly person in your life who will tell you the truth.

When are you going to move, and where? Who are you going to marry, and when? Where will you go to college? Which church will you attend? Where will you work? These are all important decisions. You don’t have to decide these for yourself. Follow God. He will direct your path and He will light the way. I promise if you follow God all the way, you will be pleased with what He does with your life.


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The Voice of God

2010febvoice2

Today’s Passage – Numbers 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 10 – 12; Proverbs 17; Psalms 86 – 90)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0217 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.” – (Numbers 7:89)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” – (John 10:27)

Chapter 7 of Numbers is certainly a long chapter, and not exactly what I would call great devotional reading. However, as with the rest of the Bible, this is a very important passage. Here we see the heads of the tribes of Israel all presenting to the Lord their offerings at the dedication of the Tabernacle. Each tribe had to offer the same thing which includes some gold and silver; incense and flour; and an assortment of animals. We certainly can see from this passage, and from many other recent chapters that the Israelite were certainly dedicated in the area of giving; but they not only gave what was required, they also gave over and above what was asked of them.

The last verse of this long chapter tells us that after the offering was made, Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with God, and he heard the voice of God coming out from between the cherubims on top of the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to hear the audible voice of God; to actually hear Him speak personally to my physical ears. I can, however, hear the voice of God today as much as I desire to because He speaks to me through His Word. The Bible is God’s voice. He spoke to me this morning about this dedication offering. He also gave me some wisdom from Proverbs 17. And then he motivated me and stirred me as I read about Peter and and the other apostles and people from Acts.

God speaks to me in other ways also besides the Bible. Sometimes, as I walk and pray in the mornings, God will speak to my heart. Now, we have to be careful about these “still small voices” that we hear in our heads and our hearts. We need to be sure that it is God that is talking to us. Sometimes our flesh and even the devil will put thoughts in our heads that are not of God. One way you can tell if it is actually God talking is if the thing that He tells you is in agreement with the Word of God. He never goes against His Word. It always disturbs me when people tell them that God had told them to do something that was a complete contradiction to His clear revelation from the Bible.

Have you listened for His voice today? Did you open up your Bible this morning, along with your heart and mind, and hear what God has to say to you? Have you waited on Him today in your prayer closet to hear Him speak to you about specific areas of your life? It is not that God is not still speaking today as much as it is that His children are not listening.

 


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Cleaning House – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Numbers 5 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 7 – 9; Proverbs 16; Psalms 81 – 85)

Read the “0216 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp: as the LORD spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel.” (Numbers 5:1-4)

Good morning. God told Israel to remove every leper, every one that has an issue, and whoever is defiled by the dead from the camp. Why? That they defile not their camps where God dwells.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2Corinthians 6:14-18)

It may seem unfair for a loving God to have these people removed from the camp, but God is not willing that any should perish. If their condition changed, they would be allowed back in camp. Leviticus chapters 13-14 instruct the priest and the leper in how to spot leprosy, and how to tell if it was cured. Chapter 14 explains what the leper must go through and the sacrifices that need to made for him to be pronounced clean. Leviticus chapter 15 explains about he who has an issue from his or her body. And Numbers chapter 19 gives instructions for anyone touching a dead body. The leper, the issuer, and the toucher all had a chance to come back into camp. What about us today. Where would we be?

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

We are no better than those outside the camp. In our natural state there is no way we can get into the camp, or in our case Heaven.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

You can try and clean your own house or body, but look what happens…

“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

You may be able to clean up your act for a little while, but without Jesus, you’ll return to your old ways and the end result will be worse than at first. Without Jesus you can do nothing.

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1John 5:12-13)

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:46)

You can clean your house, or you can receive Jesus as your Saviour, and allow the Holy Spirit to clean your house from the inside to the outside. Not only that He will seal you and keep you until the day you enter into heaven. The choice is yours.

“And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2-3)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Peace.


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A Job For Everybody

Help Wanted sign held by man.

Today’s Passage – Numbers 3 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 4 – 6; Proverbs 15; Psalms 76 – 80

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0215 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.” (Numbers 3:6)

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” – (Romans 12:3-8)

In chapters 3 and 4 of the Book of Numbers we see God’s instructions to the families of the tribe of Levi. They were placed in charge of the ministry of the Tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were the priests, and they were put in charge of the service of the other families. The Gershonites were responsible for the setting up, taking down, and transportation of all of the curtains and coverings of the Tabernacle with the exception of the vail. Only Aaron and his sons were to remove the vail, and it was to be placed upon the Ark of the Covenant. The Kohathites were responsible to transport all of the furniture in the Tabernacle, though they were not permitted to touch any of the “holy things”, or even be present when they were being covered by Aaron and his sons. The Merarites were responsible to set up and transport all of the boards and bars that served as the framework of the Tabernacle. Each family had their responsibility, and each family had their place where they were to camp around the Tabernacle.

The thought I had this morning regarding this passage is this: what if one of the Merarites didn’t want to transport bars and boards? Maybe he wanted to transport coverings instead like the sons of Gershon. The point is that these people were not given the choice about what they wanted to do. They were assigned a task by God and were expected to do it. It is sort of like the military. They don’t really care about what you want to do, but they are going to assign you a duty and you will be expected to do it.

It is not at all like this in the local church today. We tell people that they can do whatever they want to do. We tell them that they have the liberty to choose where, why, and how they can serve the Lord. But, should it really be that way? Shouldn’t we still be seeking to discover what the Lord’s will is regarding who will serve and in what capacity. There are many guidelines given in the Bible regarding service within the local church, and that certainly is where we should start the process, but we also ought to be very careful that we are very prayerful about what each person is given to do within the body. We also need to be careful about just sticking people in positions simply because there is nobody else to do it. We see a perceived need, so we place anybody we can find in the position. I believe that if the need is genuine, God will supply the right person. Maybe we are creating needs and positions that are not of God. I remember at one church we were serving in years ago, I felt that it was my duty to fill every perceived need that was present. I was working with the youth, junior church, bus ministry, Sunday School, and much more. The problem was that it wasn’t God’s will for me to be doing all of those things, so I began doing them in the flesh, which profited nothing. And maybe somebody else was missing out on their true calling because I was doing too much.

I believe that God has got a job for everybody to do within the local church, and I also believe that God has got the right person for every need within the body. Leaders need to be admonished to pray earnestly about finding the right, biblically qualified person to do the job; and the people need to be willing to fulfill God’s will for their lives, whether it be teaching people or cleaning toilets. Every task within the church is important, and every worker within the church is equal in the sight of God, as long as they are doing what God has called them to do. The ministry is much more than just preaching and teaching the Word of God. In order for ministry to take place in a local church there are a lot of tasks that need to be performed. God has gifted certain people to perform each of these duties. I believe that all ministers need to be willing to do whatever is necessary in order for the ministry to function, but we also need to be constantly on the lookout for people who will be willing and able to do all of the things that need to be done. Every duty is important, and every person that performs these tasks are also important to the cause of Christ. The janitor that does his job well is just as much in the center of God’s will as the preacher who prepares, prays, and preaches.

What is your job within the local body of believers? What has God equipped you to do? Find your niche within the church, and help your church fulfil the Great Commission.


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The Center of the Camp

Today’s Passage – Numbers 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 1 – 3; Proverbs 14; Psalms 71 – 75)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 51

Read the “0214 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.” – (Numbers 2:17)

In Numbers chapter 2, God gives us a description of what the camp of Israel looked like when they were not on the move. A careful reading of this chapter will reveal that the nation of Israel was divided into 13 different groups, which included 11 of the original 12 tribes; and also the two half-tribes of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim). These groups were all strategically placed around the tabernacle. Immediately surrounding the tent on all four sides was the tribe of Levi. They were placed there as closely as possible to the tabernacle because that was their place of service. They were the ministers and priests of the Lord. Beyond the Levites the remaining twelve tribes and half-tribes were positioned by threes in each direction. For instance, on the east side of the tabernacle, beyond the Levites, were the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon. There were also three tribes on the west, south, and north. The thought that I am trying to develop here, however, is that the tabernacle was in the very center of the congregation. The tabernacle was the place where God dwelt, between the cherubims on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. God, and His chosen place of worship was the very center of the lives of the people of Israel.

Now let’s fast forward a few thousands years to the time of the local church. I realize that today God dwells in the hearts of His children, but the local church is God’s chosen place for corporate worship, and it is the place where we are to be organized in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” – (1 Timothy 3:15)

God should still be at the center of our lives; and the local church should be at the center of the life of our family. I have been a pastor now for many years, and I have been involved in God’s work as a layman even longer. I have observed that the families who place a high value on the local church, recognizing it’s importance, tend to be stronger and happier than the families that do not. Don’t misunderstand, I do not think that the church has a higher priority than the home but I do believe that successful homes are built around a strong, Bible believing, New Testament church. The church’s role is critical to healthy marriages and to the spiritual development of our children.

Take a moment to consider the role that the local church plays in your life; and then consider the role that you play in your local church. We need to keep our local churches strong, and I believe that there are many ways that you can help:

1 Participate in the local church – attend the services and find something that you can do that will serve others. God has uniquely equipped you in certain areas that can be used in the local church.

2 Pray for your church and your pastors and leaders. The ministry can be very discouraging, but you can be an encouragement to the people that minister to you simply by lifting them up in prayer. It wouldn’t hurt for you to let them know on occassion that you are praying for them.

3 Support your church with your tithes and offerings. The work of God cannot go forward without the tithes of God’s people. When you don’t give you are telling God and the church that they have no place of value in your life. You can also support the church by not bashing it. Let people know where you stand. If you are for the ministry, speak out for it, and don’t let others run it down in your presence. Negativity and complaining are like cancers inside the church that will destroy it from within.

Is the local church important to you, or isn’t it? God says that it should be. Remember, He died for the church. It’s His body. He places a great value on it, and so should we.


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The Choice is Yours

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 26 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 19 – 21; Proverbs 13; Psalms 66 – 70)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0213 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “The Choice Is Yours” and “First Things First

“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;” – (Leviticus 26:3)

“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;” – (Leviticus 26:14)

In our passage today, in Leviticus 26, the Lord places a choice before His people. In verses 3 – 13, God promises all kinds of wonderful things to His people if they would continue to love Him, and be faithful to Him. Beginning in verse 14, the Lord explains what will happen to them if they forsake Him. You will notice that the latter portion is much larger than the former. God goes to much greater lengths to clearly explain and warn the people of what would happen to them if they were to disobey.

First, let’s look at the blessings. God promised to:

1 Provide for them.

“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.” – (Leviticus 26:4-5)

Everything they needed, and even much of what they could desire, God promised to give them.

2 Protect them from their enemies, and from natural calamities.

“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – (Leviticus 26:6-8)

3 They would proliferate (multiply)

“For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.” – (Leviticus 26:9)

4 They would be in partnership with God.

“And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.” – (Leviticus 26:10-13)

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Almost sounds too good to be true, but it was. God held up to His end of the bargain. Unfortunately, the people of Israel didn’t choose to continue to follow the Lord. Slowly, but surely, they began to get away from the comands of God, and go their own way. Eventually the land was filled with idolatry, apostacy, and immorality; and then God was forced to do the things that are listed in verses 14 – 46. The provision and protection that God had once given them was removed, and the people suffered the consequences of their choices.

God has a lot of the same promises to Christians today. He said that He would meet our needs, and that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Yet, many of His churches and children today are forsaking Him, just as the Israelites did. Why are we so foolish? Let’s draw nigh unto God; let’s love Him and submit ourselves to His will for our lives. He has our best interests in mind. Choose God. He is the wise choice.


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The Mind of the Lord

samplesermon

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 24 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 17 – 18; Proverbs 12; Psalms 61 – 65)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0212 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them.” (Leviticus 24:12)

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

In our reading passage today in Leviticus 24:10 – 16, we read about a man who had a mother who was an Israelite from the tribe of Dan, but his father was an Egyptian, presumably one of the mixed multitude that followed the Jews out of Egypt. The story tells us that this man (the son) “blasphemed the name of Lord and cursed”. The Israelites brought the man that cursed to Moses, but they were not sure what should be done to this young man by way of punishment, so they put him in prison (“in ward”) until they could find out “the mind of the Lord”. In other words, they were trying to discover God’s will.

My thought this morning has little to do with the fact that the man blasphemed. Nor does it have anything to do with the mixed nationalities of his parents. What caught my attention was the fact that Moses and the Israelites did not react hastily to the situation, they waited until they knew what God wanted them to do. They want to make sure they had “the mind of the Lord”.

What a great lesson this is to all of us reading this passage today. So many times when faced with new or difficult problems, we react rashly before we carefully discern the will of God regarding the situation. Proverbs 3:5 and 6 states:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

There is a recipe for discerning the will of God that contains four ingredients:

1  Wait – don’t do anything until you know for sure that you are doing the will of God. Too many of us rush into a decision before we have had a chance to determine what God wants us to do. My children would sometimes come to me asking for permission to go with a friend somewhere, and sometimes they would need an answer right away, and in those cases the answer would always be no. Why? Because I didn’t want to be rushed into making a bad decision.

2  Study – Go to God’s Word and see what it says about the problem you are facing or the decision you need to make. Bible principle will answer so many questions before they are even asked.

3  Pray – Ask God to give you wisdom to help you specifically apply His word to your unique situation. In our story today, the specific situation that Moses faced had not clearly been addressed in the Law, so they needed God’s help to figure out what to do in this unique set of circumstances.

4  Counsel – Seek the wisdom of others who may have already faced the situation that you are facing. Seek the he help of those who are students of the Word, and have the ability to discern God’s will through study and prayer. “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

We may be tempted to think that the punishment for this young man’s crime was kind of harsh, but at least we know that the decision to stone him did not come from Moses or one of the other elders of Israel; it came from God. Moses and the men of Israel made sure that they were doing exactly what God wanted them to do.


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Take Time To Remember

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 22 – 23 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 15 – 16; Proverbs 11; Psalms 56 – 60

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0211 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” – (Leviticus 23:4)

In chapter 23 in the Book of Leviticus, we see the Lord giving His instructions regarding special days that would be set apart from other days. On these holy days, or “holidays” the people were commanded to stop their normal routine, and refrain from doing any kind of work. God wanted their focus to be on Him during these days. The special days (or in some cases weeks) listed in the chapter were as follows:

1  The Sabbath – every Saturday the people were to take a break from their work in order to rest. God rested the seventh day after He created the earth, so in some ways the Sabbath was memorial of God’s work at creation.

2  The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread – a memorial to God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. It seems to be that God wants us to remember some things. We are quick to forget the provision and protection that God has given us.

3  The Feast of First fruits – this Feast took place on the day after the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast was an acknowledgement that the whole barley harvest belonged to the Lord.

4  The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost – This was a dedication of the wheat harvest. It took place in May/June 50 days after the Sabbath before the Feast of First fruits.

5  The Feast of Trumpets – 1st day of seventh month – it consecrated the entire seventh month as a Sabbatical month.

6  The Day of Atonement – 10th day of the seventh month – this was the day the priest went in to the Holy of Holies to offer for his own sins, and the sins of the nation.

7  The Feast of Tabernacles (also called Booths or Ingathering) – beginning on the 15th day of the seventh month – commemorated the time that God provided for Israel as they wandered the wilderness in tents after being delivered from Egypt. This feast is also a celebration of the fall harvest.

All of these special days and feasts were designed to help the children of Israel to remember things that should be important to them. God wants His children to remember all of the wonderful things that He has done for us. We tend to get very discontented when we forget all of the blessings that God has provided in our lives.

I believe it is important to continue these traditions in our lives today. We may not observe the same days, but there ought to be some special days in our lives where we take time out to remember. And, I believe we should be very careful to come apart on the Lord’s Day – Sunday –  that one day out of seven for the purpose of resting the body, and reflection upon Christ. We are all busy people, or at least, we should be; but we need to take time out to remember. We need to take time to remember God on a daily basis by spending time with in our devotions. We also need to keep the Lord’s day holy and separated from the normal routines of the week. And there also needs to be some special days in the calendar year when we set apart time to remember important blessings from God.

There also ought to be special days that we set apart time for reasons other than spiritual. Families should observe special days, like birthdays and anniversaries. We ought to go out of our way to remember the important events and people in our lives.

Added Thought from the passage

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” – (Leviticus 23:22)

In the middle of this passage dealing with special days and feasts, God instructs the people of Israel to remember the poor. They were to intentionally leave some of the fruit from the harvest in the fields so that poor folks could come by and gather it. Today, we need to also remember that there are people less fortunate than ourselves that need some help. God has blessed many of us tremendously with financial blessings, and we need to remember to share some of what the Lord has given us with others. Just a thought.


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Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 13 – 14Proverbs 10Psalms 51 – 55)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0210 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “What’s the Difference

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

We read the commandment, “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” often in the Scriptures, especially in the New Testament where it appears seven times. Leviticus 19, however, is where this phrase appears first. The context surrounding verse 18, is replete with laws for Israel, many of which have to do with how the people of God treat one another.

In verses 9 and 10, God tells the people to make sure that they leave a little food for the poor:

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10)

In verse 13, God warns them not to take advantage of people who work for them:

“Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.” (Leviticus 19:13)

God was very concerned that His people be different from other people who did not know Him. The principles that God gave in the Law were not given to put an unreasonable burden on the people, but rather were given to help them to live selfless, yet profitable and abundant lives. As long as God’s people continue to love Him, live for Him, as well as loving their neighbors, God abundantly blessed them.

Maybe this is why America is struggling so much today. We have long ago cast God and His Word aside, and, as a result, we have become a very selfish and materialistic nation. Perhaps, if we could learn to love God and our neighbors again, God would see fit to bless us once again.


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What Sin? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 11 – 12; Proverbs 9; Psalms 46 – 50)

Read the “0209 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” (Leviticus 16:7-10)

“And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.” (Leviticus 16:20-22)

Good morning. What an awesome picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. All the iniquities of the children of Israel were placed on the head of the scapegoat. The scapegoat was then taken into the wilderness and released, taking Israel’s sins with him. God did the same thing for us. In Isaiah chapter 53 we find the prophecy of the Suffering Servant (Jesus)…

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

The scapegoat took Israel’s sins into the wilderness, a place that was not inhabited. Where did Jesus take our sins?

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12)

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19)

Jesus took our sins as far as the east is from west, and cast them into the depths of the sea. A place uninhabited where we cannot get at them. Here is the thing though, many times we carry this bucket around with us: a bucket of guilt, filled with unconfessed sin. For some it is a heavy burden because they carry not only unconfessed sin, but confessed sin that the refuse to forgive themselves of. This load can be extremely heavy for the Christian to carry, especially when he doesn’t have to…

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)

Instead of trying to carry such a heavy load, believe God, and give the bucket to Him. After you give them to Him, pray and ask Him what He did with your sin. His answer will be the same, “What sin?”

Peace.


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Chosen, Royal, Holy, and Peculiar

oday’s Passage – Leviticus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 11 – 12Proverbs 9Psalms 46 – 50)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 25

Read the “0209 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this morning’s passage – “It’s Still in the Book“ and “There is a Fountain

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 18:2-5)

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)


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Connecting the Old to the New

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 14 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 9 – 10Proverbs 8Psalms 41 – 45

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read a previous post from this passage – “Leprosy in the House

I thought it would be interesting this morning to connect the instruction of the Old Testament Law given through Moses to a New Testament passage that discusses the same topic.

“This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:” (Leviticus 14:2)

Leviticus 14 deals with the offering that was given to the priest by a leper if his leprosy was cleansed. In the New Testament, in Luke 5:12 – 15 , we read an account where Jesus healed a leper. There are a couple of interesting points from the passage in Luke that help us to better understand these Old Testament readings. First of all, we read in Luke that Jesus “put forth his hand and touched” the leper. Leviticus 13 tells us that lepers were forbidden to come into contact with anybody, but Jesus apparently was not afraid to get close to this needy man. A second observation from the passage in Luke’s gospel is that Jesus told the cleansed leper to not tell anybody what Jesus had done for him, but instead go to the priest and “offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded” in Leviticus 14. I am not sure that the man who was cleansed was obedient to the Lord in not telling everybody what Jesus had done, but he had to tell the priest. I am also fairly sure that the priest had never before seen someone healed who was “full of leprosy.” No doubt, even if the cleansed leper kept his mouth shut, the priest would tell many people of this miracle.

The second connection that I would like to point out this morning is from Leviticus 15 to Luke 8

“And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.” (Leviticus 15:25)

And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” – (Luke 8:43-48)

Notice in chapter 15 the instructions given regarding a woman who had “an issue of blood” that continued beyond the normal period. She was to be separated from everybody, and had to constantly wash everything she came in contact with. Notice the New Testament reference (above) of the woman that was healed by the Lord Jesus after having an issue of blood for twelve years. I am not sure if she strictly observed all of the rules mentioned in Leviticus involving her separation, but I am very sure that her disease was not only very debilitating physically, but also caused her a great deal of problems with her relationships with people. I am sure she was somewhat isolated from family and friends. Can you imagine finally being pronounced “clean” by the Lord Jesus Himself, after twelve long years. By the way, Jesus wasn’t troubled at all by the touch of this “unclean” woman. Sometimes we have to rub shoulders with people that are “unclean” in order to help them. Just a thought.


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Priest or Doctor

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 7 – 8Proverbs 7Psalms 36 – 40)

Read a previous post from this morning’s reading – Unclean

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 19

Read the “0207 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And if the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a leprosy.” (Leviticus 13:8)

I never really made this connection before I read this passage today, but the Old Testament priests had so many more responsibilities than just ministering spiritually to the people of God. As we can see from today’s reading, the priests were also the doctors for the congregation, and they also served as the Board of Health or Center for Disease Control (CDC).

In Leviticus 13, we read that the priest had the responsibility of diagnosing and distinguishing leprosy from other, less dangerous diseases. Leprosy is known today as Hansen’s disease and can be cured with a multi-drug therapy. In Bible days, however, it was slow and debilitating, and ultimately, a death sentence. It was also, in most forms, very contagious. The priest, while determining the condition would isolate and observe the patient until determination could be made. If leprosy was the final diagnosis, however, the patient would then be permanently separated, not only from the congregation, but also from his family. They would have to dwell outside the camp or city, and if anyone approached them, they were to cry out, “unclean, unclean.” It was up to the priest to make that determination. As far as I can see, the only mention of medicine or physicians other than the priests in the Old Testament was in Jeremiah:

“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8:22)

In Old Testament Israel, it was up to the priests to oversee the health of God’s people. Today, the pastor / preacher would certainly not be the primary choice for health needs, but the Bible still is a tremendous source of principles for healthy living, both in the spiritual and physical sense. A person can not be wholly healthy, unless they are spiritually well, and it is the preacher’s job to give out God’s prescription – the Word of God – in order to minister to God’s people.

By the way, the Old Testament priest was also the local butcher, and was an expert in the anatomy of the animals used for sacrifice. But, that is a subject for another blog article.


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Provision for the Poor

Today’s Passage –Leviticus 11 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 5 – 6; Proverbs 6; Psalms 31 – 35)

Read a previous post from this passage – Creeping Things

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0206 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.” (Leviticus 11:2)

Our reading in Leviticus 11 records the dietary requirements for Israel. As I read this passage, I asked myself the question: why did God have all of these rules regarding eating? I am sure that there are many reasons, but one of them must be that God was concerned about the health of his people. The creatures that God permitted them to eat were healthier for them.

Leviticus 12 discusses the laws for women regarding purification after giving birth. If she had given birth to a boy, she would be separated from the rest of the congregation for a total of 41 days. For the birth of a baby girl, the time of her separation was even longer, totaling 80 days. Again, I am not sure as to why God required these specific numbers of days, but I think it provided the mother with a sufficient time for rest and recuperation, as well as a period of needed bonding with her child.

The thought that captured my attention from this passage, however, was the fact that God made provision for those that were poor among his people when it came time to offer their sacrifices for ceremonial cleansing after giving birth. Typically, a lamb was required along with a turtledove or pigeon; but for the poor, two turtledoves or two pigeons were all that was required:

“And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” (Leviticus 12:8)

Mary and Joseph must have been pretty poor, because there is no mention of a lamb being offered at the time of Mary’s purification at the Temple:

“And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)

It’s hard to believe that the God who owns all the silver and gold, and a cattle on a thousand hills, was born into poverty; but He was.

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

God did not demand unreasonable expectations on the poor. Even the system of tithing was not unreasonable. Both rich and poor were to give a percentage, and percentages are fair to everyone.

God loves all people, the rich as well as the poor, and God does not want the poor to be neglected as far as ministry is concerned; nor does He want them to be excluded from participation in worship. The New Testament church opens its doors wide to everyone:

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:1-5)


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Strange Fire

strange-fire

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 3 – 4; Proverbs 5; Psalms 26 – 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0205 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” (Leviticus 10:1-2)

This is a very scary passage of Scripture. God kills the two sons of Aaron for offering “strange fire” before the Lord. This story reminds me of when God killed Uzza for putting his hand upon the ark of God in an attempt to steady it and keep it from falling off of the cart that it was being transported on. (See 1 Chronicles 13) On the surface, these accounts make God seem to be unfair in that He kills people over minor infractions, but let’s consider this “strange fire” passage before us in Leviticus.

Why was God so upset about the “strange fire”?

1 They were supposed to take the fire from off of the brazen altar and use it to burn the incense. Apparently, they had violated God’s clear command and had taken a short-cut to accomplish their purpose. God does not like when people do His work in their own way. (See Exodus 30:9; 34 – 38)

2 Though we cannot be sure, it appears from the context that they may have been drunken when they were serving in the Tabernacle. Notice what God commands Moses in verses 8 – 11, just after this event takes place:

“And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.” (Leviticus 10:8-11)

God is very serious about His service. People who minister for the Lord need to be extremely careful that they are serving God His way, and that they are giving Him their absolute best. God may not kill us today for taking the ministry lightly, but just think about all of the people who will suffer spiritually when we serve God in our flesh and don’t give Him our best effort.


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Ignorant But Not Innocent.

Baby_boy

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – John 1 – 2; Proverbs 4; Psalms 21 – 25

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0204 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:” – (Leviticus 5:3-5 )

I read today’s passage once through, but I struggled with what I should write about, so I went back to read it again. The second time around I noticed in chapter five that God was instructing the Israelites regarding sins of ignorance. I had to think about how a person could sin without knowing it, but it didn’t take long to figure out that we sin ignorantly all the time. Think about it. We do all kinds of things that are wrong and cause harm, without intending to do so. Also, we have done many things in the past, perhaps before we were saved, that we didn’t even know were wrong. The Bible says that even the thought of foolishness is sin. How many of us ever considered when we were yet unsaved that our thoughts were just as sinful as our actions. We may have been ignorant while doing these things, or thinking these things, but we were not innocent. Plus, there is the fact that some actions may be permissible for some, but wrong for others. The Bible says,”Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – (James 4:17)

The bottom line is that we are sinful creatures. Not only do we intentially sin, but we also do many sinful things without fully realizing it. In our passage, God gave the children of Israel a solution for this dilemma. He told them that when they found out about their guilt, they were simply to confess it, and then offer a sacrifice for it. Praise God, today we do not have to offer up sacrifices to God for our sin because the Lord Jesus took care of all of the sacrifices necessary to atone for our sin when He was sacrificed once for all on the Cross of Calvary. But, I think it is still imperative for us to confess to God our sin when we find out about it, and then thank Him for the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that atones for it.

The idea here is that we need to stop trying to pretend that we are not guilty. We need to lower our defenses, and fire our “inner lawyer”, and get to the place where we recognize that we are full of sin, completely guilty before God, and totally unworthy and undeserving of His love and forgiveness. Stop trying to pretend that you are above sin, or that you have arrived at some kind of spiritual plateau where you are somehow better than other people. You are a sinner. I am a sinner. On my best day, I am still full of sins, most of which I am too dull spiritually to even recognize; but that’s OK, because I have a Saviour that I have completely trusted to save me from the eternal penalty of my sin, and I also trust Him daily to forgive and restore me to a place of fellowship with Him. Thank God for Jesus!

One more quick thought, If just now you have come to the place where you realize that you are a bigger sinner than you thought you were, yet you also understand that God still loves you and forgives you anyway; why don’t you cut the other sinners around you some slack; they’re struggling with the same sinful condition that you are. Just a thought.

Oh, and by the way, the baby pictured above is also not innocent, but the blood of Jesus atones for his sin, and protects him until he comes to the maturity level where he realizes that he is guilty before God. There will come a day when he will know that he is a sinner, and then he will be accountable for his sin. He will then have to either receive or reject the atonement made by the Lord for his sin.


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It Is Finished!

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Today’s Passage – Leviticus 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 23 – 24; Proverbs 3; Psalms 16 – 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

“And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:” – (Leviticus 4:33-34)

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” – (Luke 23:34)

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” – (John 19:30)

I must confess that as I was reading the 4 chapters from Leviticus this morning, I kept thinking to myself: “what am I going to write about from this passage?”. The four chapters are all about the Old Testament offerings. We read about the burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering. I have been a student of the Bible for many years, and I still don’t have all of the Old Testament offerings straight in my head. I really was not looking forward to writing a devotion on one or all of these Old Testament sacrifices. But, then I read the “second miler” passage for this morning from Luke 23. I read where Jesus said, “Forgive them”, and I thought about when He said in John’s gospel, “It is finished”; and then I got excited. I realized that I don’t have to know  all of the details of the Old Testament sacrificial system because all of those sacrifices and offerings pictured and pointed to one thing: the sacrifice that Christ would make on the Cross of Calvary. It truly is finished! We don’t have to run down to the Tabernacle or Temple every time that we sin. We do not have to keep it all straight, because Jesus Christ paid for it all when He died for our sins. Praise God!

The next thing that I thought about this morning was that I don’t fully appreciate what the Lord did for me on the Cross. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to live in Old Testament Israel. It certainly would have been very burdensome to live under the Law; and it was also impossible to live it perfectly. Do you think that even the best of the Israelites did everything the way they were supposed to. Do you think that every time they committed a sin of ignorance (and didn’t get caught) they went down to the priests with a sacrifice. I doubt it. But then that must have led to a lot of guilt, because they knew in their hearts that they were not fully obeying the Lord. What a relief it is to know that all sin: every sin, whether they be sins of ignorance or not, are forgiven. They are all under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel like speaking in tongues right now! (just kidding) Praise God for Jesus!!!!

Oh Oh! I just got another thought: a thought about sacrifices. There is one more sacrifice that I should consider today: the living sacrifice. I am to present my body a living sacrifice to the Lord. I am no longer my own: I am bought with a price, and I belong to Him; and that is my reasonable service. It is the least that I can do to live for the Lord since He was willing to die for me.

All of those thoughts from what I thought at first to be a dry and tedious portion of Scripture. Thank God for the Book of Leviticus!

Did you also notice with many of these offerings or sacrifices for sin that the man that committed the sin was the one who had to kill the animal? That makes it very personal. I do not like to kill things. I guess I am a little squeemish. I don’t even like to kill bugs. When I find one in the house, I usually bring it outside. For me to have to kill an animal every time I sin, would certainly be enough to cause me to not want to sin anymore.

Now think about the Lord Jesus. Did you ever think that every time you sin, it is like you personally crucifying the Lord. It is you and me that are piercing His brow and His side. It is you and me that are driving the nails into His hands and feet. Think about it. If every time you sin, you thought about having to slay the Lord of glory to atone for it, wouldn’t that deter you from wanting to sin anymore. I guess that is what the Bible means when it says the love of Christ constrains us. He loved us so much He was willing to die for our sins, and it was our sin, my sin that put Him on that cross. Think about it.


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Real Men Don’t Read The Instructions? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Exodus 39 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 21 – 22; Proverbs 2; Psalms 11 – 15)

Read the “0202 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” (Exodus 40:35-38)

Good morning. At the end of the passage here, God gives Israel a simple command: if there is a cloud over the Tabernacle, camp. If the cloud was taken up, Israel was to break camp and journey on. And they did. Our God is a God of perfect timing. One who knows what we need and when we need it. It’s just simple obedience. But what happens if we don’t obey, or do things our own way. Take for example when God gave Israel manna to eat…

“And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” (Exodus 16:15-30)

They got all the food and the rest they needed, when they needed it: in God’s perfect timing. Even when God led His people, Israel, into the promised land.

“Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” (Joshua 6:1-5)

“So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.” (Joshua 6:20-21)

“So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.” (Joshua 6:27)

The LORD was with Joshua. Dr Jack Hyles is quoted as saying…

“If I labor for God, I fail. If I labor with God, I succeed.” (Dr Jack Hyles)

Then there was Gibeon…

“And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them. And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim. And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them. And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us? Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.” (Joshua 9:3-23)

God has His instructions. Joshua should have asked God first.

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Timothy 3:15-17)

God gave us a book of instructions: instructions for whatever life throws at us. Real men read the instructions.

Peace.


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Too Much?

3.3-Giving-1857345-Offering

Today’s Passage – Exodus 36 – 38 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 19 – 20; Proverbs 1; Psalms 6 – 10

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

“And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.” – (Exodus 36:5-7)

I am always amazed when I read this portion of Scripture. This seems to be the first building fund in the Bible, and it may even be the first special offering. God asks the congregation of Israel to give to Moses an offering of the necessary materials to build the Tabernacle and all of its furniture. The people gave generously, and gave more, and kept on giving; so much so that the workers were complaining that there was way too much stuff given. They didn’t know what to do with all of the gold, silver, brass, skins, wood, and fabric that the people were anxious to offer to the Lord to be used in this tent of worship.

I know that many of you have seen this passage before, and no doubt, you may even have heard messages from this text; but when was the last time that you heard a preacher get up and tell you to stop giving. Can you imagine me standing at the pulpit this Sunday morning and announcing to the congregation that we have more money than we know what to do with? Can you picture me saying, “please stop giving!”? I can’t either. Why is it that in the ministry today there seems to be such a shortage of the things that are necessary to do the work of God. We seem to always be “behind the eight ball”, so to speak. Why is that?

I believe that there could me many individual reasons; but I will offer some of my thoughts. One reason that I believe people are reluctant to give today is that they do not understand the clear teaching of Scripture. The Bible gives a lot of instruction regarding giving, both by way of commandment as well as encouragement. Many people just don’t know (or don’t want to know) what the Bible teaches about the subject.

Another reason that people may be reluctant to give is that they just don’t trust the stewardship of the local churches. There has been a lot of financial corruption and scandal in recent years involving church leadership and people wonder if their money is really going to the work of the Lord, or is it lining the pockets of the spiritual leaders. Maybe they feel that the church is spending too much money on facilities, etc. Even in our independent, fundamental churches we have gotten used to luxurious accommodations. Now, don’t misunderstand, I think the church house should be comfortable, and beautiful, but I think that it should also be very functional and practical. Church leaders need to be very conscious of the fact they have been given stewardship of the Lord’s money, and it should be spent very prayerfully and wisely.

I will offer one more thought regarding the lack of commitment on the part of the people of God in the area of giving. People today are just not as committed in general. Think about it. In Moses day, there was nothing else for the people but God. The Tabernacle would literally be at the very center of their lives. Today, the worship of God is hardly at the center. It may be a part, even a big part of some people’s lives; but to say it is the center would be a far stretch. We are very busy and very distracted today; and we have a lot more to spend our money on. What were the people going to do with that stuff anyway? Where were they going to spend it? They didn’t even have houses to live in. But we do, don’t we? And with them big mortgages and rents, and car payments, and phone bills, and cable bills. You get the idea. If we are ever going to get the people of God back to where they once were, we will have to help them realize that God needs to be at the very center of their lives. Putting God back at the very core of people’s lives will help them to remember what’s really important, helping them to prioritize their lives; not just in the area of finances, but in every other area of their lives.


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Beaming

darknesslight

Today’s Passage – Exodus 33 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 17 – 18; Proverbs 31; Psalms 1 – 5 (Jump start on February because it is a short month)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0131 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Willing Servants

“And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.” – (Exodus 34:28-29)

In chapter 34 of the Book of Exodus, Moses is back up on Mount Horeb receiving the Law of God for the second time. You will recall that the first two tables of stones were broken by Moses upon his return from the first trip. The people had corrupted themselves by creating and worshipping the golden calf. At any rate, this time he comes back and finds that the people had behaved themselves. What a blessing it is to return home from a trip and find that there are no problems.

My thought this morning is not about what Moses saw when he returned from his 40 days with God; rather, I want to give you a few thoughts about what the people saw in their leader. They said that his face shone. I believe that these people actually saw some kind of physical radiance beaming from the face of Moses. I do not think that what they saw could actually be duplicated today, but I do believe that people should be able to see a difference on our countenance, and in our attitude, when we have spent time with the Lord. I remember when I first became a Christian, we went to a conference to see a particular preacher. When we arrived, the preacher, whom I had never seen before, was standing in the front of the auditorium, and fellowshipping with a few other people. For some reason, I was able to spot him out of the crowd. There was just something about him. His presence revealed that he had been with God. He literally had God all over him. I wonder if people can see the presence of God in my life? Can they see Him in you?

In our passage, we see that this radiance came about after Moses had spent 40 days in the presence of God. He didn’t eat or drink during that time. He didn’t have access to a television or the internet, or even his  iphone. There was no other people to share the experience with him. It was just him and God, alone, free from any type of distraction. I wonder what God could do in our lives if we had a similar experience. We may not be able to spend 40 days in His presence, but how about 40 minutes. What could God do in your life and mine if we just spent 40 minutes of time alone with Him. I bet it would show up on our faces as well. I bet people would say about us that we were “glowing”, or “beaming”, or “shining”. The presence of God will lighten up our lives, and through us, the lives of those around us. Why not peel yourself away from other people today; away from the cell phone, the television, and the computer; and get alone with the Lord. Let Him light your life up.


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Called of God, Filled with the Spirit, and Gifted with Abilities

blueprints

Today’s Passage – Exodus 30 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 15 – 16; Proverbs 30; Psalms 146 – 150

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read a previous post from this passage – “Who Is On The Lord’s Side?”

“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, … And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;” – (Exodus 31:2-3, 6)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – (Philippians 4:19)

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:” – (Romans 12:4)

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” – (1 Corinthians 12:18)

I just want to give a quick thought from chapter 31 of the passage in Exodus that we are reading together today. I was tempted to write something from chapter 32, but I decided that this thought was more appropriate for the people of Jersey Shore. I am thankful because this message is a little more encouraging than what I would have said about chapter 32.

In the preceding chapters God has been instructing Moses regarding the Tabernacle. God gave him a complete set of blueprints, with detailed instructions about how to go about building it. The problem was that Moses was not necessarily gifted in the area of construction. He was a great leader, but he certainly did not possess all of the skills necessary to do all that needed to be done; nor would he have the time to do it all himself. God understood this, so He raised up men who were gifted in construction, at least the type of construction required for the Tabernacle and all of the furniture and coverings involved with it. They were going to oversee the building of the tabernacle so that Moses could do what he needed to do.

I remember when we were building our little addition to the church building. It was only a 900 square foot addition to the auditorium, but honestly I knew very little about what was needed to complete it. God raised up a man in our church to oversee the construction. The project was completed on time and under budget. Everybody congratulated me on what a wonderful job I did with the building, but truthfully I had very little to do with it. And, because I didn’t have to focus on the construction, I was able to fulfill, without distraction, my primary duties of ministry. Thank God for Don Price who was gifted and used of the Lord in a great way to fulfil this particular task.

God equips the local church with what it needs to do what God wants it to do. Part of my job as a pastor is to try to figure out what the gifts and talents are in the people, and put them to use. People who are not being used are unhappy people, and unhappy people will not stay long and their talents will be wasted. God also equips each and every one of us with what we need so that we can fulfil His will. He will never ask us to do something without providing the tools and materials that are necessary in order to get the job done.

Have you discovered what talents and abilities that God has equipped you with? What gifts has God entrusted to your life? Are you allowing Him to use all of those things for His honor and glory? Why not find a place to serve in the local church where your talents can be used to the fullest? God wants to bear fruit in your life. Allow Him to use you.


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Interceding on Behalf of God’s People

Interceding

Today’s Passage – Exodus 28 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 13 – 14; Proverbs 29; Psalms 141 – 145)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0129 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. (Exodus 28:9-12)

” And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. (Exodus 28:15-21)

Exodus 28 gives us a description of the garments that Aaron the high priest was to wear when he went into the presence of the Lord. You will notice from the verses above that he was to wear the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel both on his shoulders and in the breastplate upon his heart. These names reminded him that he represented the people to their God.

There are two thoughts that I would like for us to consider from this passage:

1  The Lord Jesus Christ also carries His children upon His shoulders and in His heart. He bears our burdens for us and He thinks about us continuously. He intercedes on our behalf before His Father. What an awesome comfort it is to know that our Lord loves us and watches over us. I reminded of the story Jesus told in Luke 15 of the shepherd who found his lost sheep and when he found it he carried it upon his shoulders. I know there have been many times in my life that my spiritual strength was so weak that the Lord had to carry me. What a wonderful Lord that loves and cares for us!

2  God’s ministers today are also supposed to shoulder the burdens of the people they minister to by interceding for them through prayer, and they should also keep the people close to their hearts. The Apostle Paul told the church at Philippi that he had them “in his heart”. (Philippians 1:7) When someone in our congregation is experiencing a trial I find myself thinking about them constantly, almost brooding over them, which causes me to pray for them. I want to fix their problem for them and remove the trial, but I am most often powerless to do so. But, I can pray for them, and I can love them and let them know that they are close to my my heart.

It is amazing how these Old Testament descriptions of the Tabernacle and its ministers paint a wonderful picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also provide practical principles for us today as we minister in the New Testament Church.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” (1 Timothy 2:1)


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Pattern What You Preach

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Today’s Passage – Exodus 25 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 11 – 12; Proverbs 28; Psalms 136 – 140

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0128 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. … And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” – (Exodus 25:8-9, 40)

In chapters 25 – 27, God is instructing Moses regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. He first tells him that he must take up an offering from the people, collecting all of the materials that would be needed in order to construct it. This was no small undertaking as the tabernacle with all of its curtains and coverings and with all of its gold, silver, and brass, not to mention the wood that would be required, was a masterpiece of magnificent beauty and elaborate detail. Yet, it is interesting to note, as we will learn later in future passages, that Moses had to eventually stop the people from giving because they had given much more than was necessary to construct the Tabernacle. We don’t see that very often today, do we. Can you imagine what could be done in our churches today if God’s people were this excited about the work of God?

God then shows Moses a pattern; a picture of what the tabernacle was to look like. He no doubt also showed him blueprints of each element of the tabernacle, including all of the pieces of furniture. Moses had a clear picture in his mind of what it all would look like when he was finished. Then, God goes on for several chapters giving Moses detailed instructions outlining precisely how the tabernacle was to be built. So, in review, we see that God showed Moses an example, and then he gave him clear instructions, or exhortation.

I got to thinking how that this is how the ministry is supposed to work. God commands those of us who minister to His people to be a good example (or pattern) of what He expects in a finished product, and then He wants us to give clear instructions of how the people are to go about it. If the picture we are presenting is not consistent with the instructions we are giving, we will not be able to clearly help the people do and be what God expects of them. I know that none of us is perfect, but it is imperitive that we keep this thought in mind as we go about our business of serving the Lord. People will sometimes learn more from what they see, than from what we tell them. Both our example and our exhortation must be right, if we are going to effectively be used of God in building the lives of people for His glory.

By the way, this does not only apply to pastors and teachers. It applies to every believer. Your life (pattern, example) must back up what you are trying to instruct people. Parents, you need to be the right examlple to your children. They will not listen to your exhortation if your example is not what it should be. And to those of you that are concerned about winning people to Christ, which should be all of us; make sure your life backs up your profession. We have an awesome obligation to show people Christ with our lives as well as to tell them with our words. Think about it? Have you given much thought to your example; your pattern? Is it sending the right message to the people around you? Do the things that you do and say point people to the Lord, or do they send a conflicting message? Just a thought.


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Living in Canaan

Canaan

Today’s Passage – Exodus 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 8 – 9; Proverbs 27; Psalms 126 – 130)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0127 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” – (Exodus 23:27)

In Exodus 23, we see the nation of Israel travelling in the wilderness on their way out of Egypt and into Canaan, the land of promise. The verse cited above is one of those promises that were associated with the land. A careful reading of the chapter will reveal that God promised his people prosperity, which included abundant provision and divine protection if they were to obey Him. God promised that the inhabitants of the land would be driven out, and all of the enemies of Israel would flee from them. Again, these promises were contigent upon the nation’s obedience in wholly following the Lord.

In this passage we see a picture of the Christian life today. God has also delivered us out of Egypt when He saved us. He wants to bring us into the spiritual land of Canaan, which is the Spirit-filled, Christ-centered life. Canaan of the Old Testament is not a picture of Heaven. You will remember the people still had battles to fight there, and there will be no more battles to fight once we get to Heaven; but Canaan is a picture of spiritual victory. Entering Canaan today for the believer is also contigent upon our submission to the will of God. Too many believers today are content to wander in the wilderness of their own reasoning and understanding. They are doing their thing instead of God’s thing. What’s worse is that there are also many genuine believers who live with their backs turned from Canaan and their focus still on Egypt (the world).

It is my desire to live in Canaan. I want to have the victories that God promises those who are surrendered to Him. I am tired of wandering in the spiritual barreness of the wilderness. How about you? God has an abundant life prepared for you which also includes provision, protection, power, and a wonderful purpose; but you cannot do it your way. You must surrender your will to the perfect will of God. Let the Holy Spirit of God control you and guide you, and you will experience the wonderful blessing and abundant life that God desires for you in your spiritual Canaan.


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The Ten Commandments Are Not Suggestions – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Exodus 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 7 – 8; Proverbs 26; Psalms 126 – 130)

Read the “0126 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-3)

Good morning. God is giving Moses the Ten Commandments to give to His people: Israel. They are Ten Commandments, not suggestions. The government took them out of the schools, out of their office buildings, but that’s what godless socialism does: it elevates the state, not God. So now you have kids killing kids. Kids killing teachers, and a total disrespect for authority. America, you reap what you sow. Number one…

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

When we put ourselves first, we become our own god.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15)

Number two…

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)

“Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” (Psalm 115:2-8)

I see them in people’s yards. I see them every time I drive by the Hindu Temple. I see them on TV and hear them on the radio. How we can bow down to them, I don’t understand, especially in light of what Psalm 115 says. Many children and adults will bow an ear to hear what their favorite entertainer has to say about the leadership of America. They follow their idols blindly and believe what they say. Jesus said…

“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)

Number three…

“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

OMG. What can I say about this one? How many times have you used those three letters in your texting today? Or have you ever heard anyone hit their finger with a hammer and cry out $@#&!!!!! Buddha? No? That’s because Jesus Christ is the LORD.

“And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.” (1Kings 18:26-29)

Number four…

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)

“Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:9-11)

Many stores are open on Sunday in search of the almighty dollar. Many of their employees have to work and miss church, but some choose to. Why? Do they need extra money? Are the bill collectors knocking at the door? Is money tight? If you’re not there, how can you tithe?

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-12)

Number five…

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12)

Many times, while in a grocery store, I see children giving their parents a hard time. I would love to go over to the parent and volunteer to beat his butt for them. They need that. It shows them you love them.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24)

Or you can take the Deuteronomy chapter 21 approach…

“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

Number six…

“Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13)

This is a very famous photo taken during the Vietnam War. When it was published, the photo disgusted many people. I wonder if those same people are disgusted with the drive-by shootings, and all the other murderous activities happening today? Speaking of murder, the Socialist State of New York just passed a law allowing the abortion of a living baby from conception to partial birth.

“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:1-2)

Number seven…

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

Porn shops, adult book stores, x-rated movie houses, bordellos: there is at least one in every city across the country. One is too many. Catering to the lust of the people, they down-grade women to sex slaves instead of people. TV pushes it. Music pushes it. Movies push it. Sex sells. Is it any wonder that adultery is rampant today? Jesus said…

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

Number eight…

“Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)

A burglar trying to get into a house by the backdoor

In 2017 there were almost 300,000 robberies committed. That’s over 800 per day, every day of the year.

Number nine…

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)

When you bear false witness, you become a liar. Hitler believed in and practiced the Big Lie: if you tell a lie often enough, the people will believe it as truth.

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37)

Number ten…

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” (Exodus 2017)

I have a 2007 Ford F150 pickup. Why anyone would want it is beyond me. Did you know that when the hanger bearing on the drive shaft goes, the whole drive shaft needs to be replaced as a module? You look at your own stuff and see the problems you have. You look at your neighbor’s stuff and say I wish I had that. You have no idea of the problems your neighbor is having with it.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:12-15)

These are God’s Ten Commandments. They are not suggestions. They were made by God to help you see that you can not keep them all. And if you are guilty of breaking one, you are guilty of breaking them all. The Commandments tell you that you need a Saviour. John said when he introduced Jesus…

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Peace!


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Sound Advice

delegate

Today’s Passage – Exodus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6; Proverbs 25; Psalms 121 – 125

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read a previous post from this passage – “Remember Sunday

Read the “0125 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? … Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. … If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.” – (Exodus 18:13-14, 18, 23-24)

In our passage today, we see that Moses gets a visit from his father-in-law, who is not an Israelite, but apparently had placed his faith in the Lord. (see 18:11 – 12) While visiting, Jethro got a chance to observe the day to day ministry of his son-in-law, and determined that Moses was doing way more than any man could handle by himself. Moses was judging and advising the large congregation of Israel all by himself from early in the morning until late at night. Moses, like many leaders, apparently felt that he was the only one who could do the job right, so he did it alone. However, Jethro knew that if Moses kept up that pace, without getting any help, he would wear down physically, and eventually would become less effective at what God had called him to do.

Jethro advised Moses to allow other godly men within the congregation to share in the burden that Moses was carrying. Moses would still be in charge, and he would handle all of the really important matters, but others would be assisting him in dealing with the day to day decisions within the congregation. This advice given by Jethro helped in several ways:

1  Moses got the help that he needed, which freed him up to dedicate more time and do a better job in the important matters.

2  Moses was probably less stressed and better rested than before.

3  The congregation was served better. Even though Moses may have been able to do a better job than most of his helpers, he certainly could not get as much accomplished as all of them together. More was getting done.

4  Leaders were being developed within the congregation. People need to be given opportunities to serve if they are going to be able to grow.

If our ministries are going to get all of the help that they need today to fulfil the will of God, more people than just the pastor are going to have to be involved. The pastor must work at developing leaders, and delegating responsibility.

A secondary thought from this passage is that Moses was willing to listen to advice, even from a guy that was not an Israelite and had not even been a believer very long. Pride will sometimes keep us from listening to sound wisdom. God will often use people to teach us things. We should be ready to listen. We may not always heed the advice of others, and we certainly need to check with God to see if the advice given is in fact His will, but we can still listen.


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Quit Griping!

quit-your-belly-aching

Today’s Passage – Exodus 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 120)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” – (Exodus 15:1)

“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” – (Exodus 15:24)

Exodus 15 is an amazing chapter of Scripture, which demonstrates the fickle nature of God’s children. The first 21 verses, which comprises more that three-fourths of the chapter is the record of God’s people singing, dancing, and praising Him for the great miracle that He had done in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. Specifically, they are praising God and thanking Him for parting the Red Sea so that they could pass through on dry ground. You will remember, the Egyptians tried to follow them and that same sea closed up upon them and drowned them. The people of God were thrilled that God took away the water so that they could travel to other side. Now, at the end of the chapter, they are complaining that there is no water. First they want the water to go away, and then they want it back again. You just can’t make these Israelites happy, can you? I am kidding, of course; but I do want to point out the tendency that Israel had (and we have today) to forget about all of God’s past blessings by griping about some apparent injustice that seemed to be taking place in the present. Here, they begin to think that God delivered them from Egypt only to kill them with dehydration in the wilderness. Absurd! That big God that they were worshipping in the beginning of the chapter all of sudden got smaller when the people got a little thirsty.

I find that we are no different today. We sometimes see God do wonderful things in our lives, and from that mountaintop we offer up to Him praise and worship. But then when God allows a little testing to come our way, our attitude changes completely. Our view of God seems to be based solely upon what He does for us. When we are getting popcorn, bubble gum, and ice cream, God is good; but when God says that we should eat a little broccoli because it’s what we need at the time, God becomes some mean ogre. We act like little children in the nursery, don’t we? Let’s grow up! Let’s mature in our faith to the point where we trust God completely. God is good when the circumstances in life are great; but God is also good when things are not going as we would like them to. God is always good. He loves us. He says He will never leave us; never forsake us. He has our very best interests at heart. Trust Him even when you don’t understand; and whatever you do, don’t gripe. Griping is perhaps the most predominant cause of death in the Old Testament. I am not saying that you should not bring your concerns and burdens to Him. There is a big difference between a prayer request and a complaint. Let’s get to the point in our Christian walk where we can praise Him even in the dark days. Remember, there are others out there that have it worse than you. God is not just good, He is awesome. Learn to wait on Him. He will deliver you if you will simply trust Him, obey, and be patient.

Look, we are all really good at spotting problems, but instead of murmuring, why don’t we try becoming part of a solution. We can pray, and we can work to make the situation better. Anybody can complain, and they often do; but it takes a person of true character to actually make a difference.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” – (Philippians 2:14)


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Now Do I Have Your Attention?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Proverbs 23; Psalms 111 – 115)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0123 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage in Exodus – “Your Free To Go” and “What Can Wash Away My Sin?

“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” – (Exodus 12:30-33)

Flies, frogs, locusts, darkness, hail. All of these and more sent by the hand of God in order that the Egyptians, as well as the Israelites, would know that there is an awesome and powerful God in Heaven. God’s command to the king of Egypt was simple: “let my people go”. However, Pharaoh was not too willing to heed the request of God. He seemed to be more willing to endure all of the plagues that God was sending his way. That is, all until his first born son was taken from him at the hand of God. God finally got his attention. He was finally ready to yield his stubborn will to the will of God.

There was a lot to think about in the passages of Scripture that we read this morning and I understand that there are deeper theological truths behind the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, but I couldn’t get past the thought that sometimes God has to allow some especially painful things in our lives in order to get our attention. We are sometimes like that hard clay that the potter must soften before he can use it. I’m just wondering this morning, is there something that the Lord has been trying to do in your life that you have been resisting. Have you hardened yourself to the point where, in order for God to accomplish His will, He will have to break you. What will God have to do to get your attention?  I suppose this thought applies just as much to the Christian that is fighting against God’s perfect will as it does to the lost person that is resisting salvation. Whichever your case is, the remedy is the same. Soften your heart, and yield to God’s will. Is there some sin that you are holding on to? God will do what He has to do in order to get you to repent of it and forsake it. Whatever it takes, God will accomplish His will for your life. You cannot win in a battle with God.


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