#DailyDevotion The Word Of God Gives Us Faith
Lent day 32 Thursday
Read Ex 4:19–31
Exo 4:28-31 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. (29) Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. (30) Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. (31) And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
The Faith of the Lord is transmitted by the Word of the Lord. Moses tells Aaron all that the Lord had spoken to him and all the signs he was commanded to do and Aaron believed him. As far as we know, Aaron saw none of the signs. He only knew what Moses had told him. When they gather all the elders of Israel, Aaron, the mouthpiece of Moses, speaks all that Moses has told him and then and did the signs in the sight of the people. Now these signs are not the great works of God to follow but rather some tokens by which the people may recognize Moses and Aaron are true prophets.
Now the people believed. They had heard that the Lord had visited them in their distress. He had seen their affliction and was going to deliver them from it. In faith they bow down and worshipped the Lord.
Now the Lord has visited us. He visited us in the person of Jesus. Jesus did not come to save us from Pharaoh but from sin, death and the power of the devil. Jesus preached the Word of God among and worked many signs. The apostles as the elders of Israel received that Word and preached it with power and signs to confirm that Word. People believed that God had visited us and they passed that Word on to us to this day.
He has given us tokens also with the word, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These signs give us what they say they are, life and salvation. Through the word we too believe and have our faith confirmed by these tokens of faith. But when was the last time you bowed down? Is your faith followed by worshipping the Lord? If we believe what God has done for us in Christ Jesus then it should be followed by serving the Lord, individually and collectively.
Heavenly Father, you sent your son Jesus Christ that he might do your works and give us your word so we may believe in him and be delivered from sin, death and the devil. Give us faith that we may receive this and worship you as you desired to be served. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
#DailyDevotion Your Pastor’s Mouth Doesn’t Belong To Him
Lent day 31 Wednesday
Read Ex 4:1–18
Exo 4:11-15 Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (12) Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (13) But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” (14) Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. (15) You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.
In American society we don’t think much of the pastoral office. While few ever would put their hand to the plow they think any old Tom, Dick and Harry can do it. Perhaps they are right to a certain extent. God can and does all sorts of men to be brought into the office of the Holy Ministry. But my point this day is not so much the man whom God has called to be a pastor but who does he represent and who does he speak for? Indeed, who is speaking in and through him?
In today’s lesson we see God choosing Moses to be his mouthpiece and instrument to deliver the Israelites. He doesn’t want to do it. Few men called into the ministry do. But we’re face up against God who gives us the word he gives to Moses, , “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” Scientist often wonder what is the cause of man’s speech. Well it is God. God gives all of us the gift of speech. But now the Lord gives a special Word which will encourage Moses and Aaron, “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
Today’s ministers have the same promise from Jesus. “Mar 13:11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” When the minister of God speaks he speaks the very words of God. Or at least he should. Prophets have control over what they say even if it is inspired by the Holy Spirit, 1Co 14:32 “and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.” We preach the Word of God.
1Th 2:13 “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
Unless you can prove the minister’s Word is not the Word of God then you should accept it as such and believe, trust and obey it as such. They speak as those who are accountable for your souls. God puts into their mouths what to say if only for the sake of the office which He created.
O Holy Spirit, put the Word of God on the mouths of your pastors that they may feed us with the very Word of God, Jesus Christ our Lord so we may be edified they themselves gloried and rewarded for their work when Jesus returns for all those who put their trust in His Word. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
#DailyDevotion God Remembered!
Lent day 30 Tuesday
Read Ex 2:23—3:22
Exo 2:23-24 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. (24) And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. Exo 3:6-9 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (7) Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, (8) and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (9) And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
God remembers. Well being omniscient and all one would expect God to be able to do that and to do that. God is remembering his people and the covenant he made with the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
What was this covenant? That the Lord would bless Abraham so he would have descendents like the stars in the sky and the dusk of the earth. The Israelites were now in the 3 million plus category. Promise fulfilled! Now he is going to deliver the land of the Canaanites into their hands. It will take a couple of centuries for them to wipe out the inhabitants of the land due to their sins but that part of the covenant will be fulfilled by the time of Solomon.
God takes his time in fulfilling what he promised. Some things just take time in human events. It would be another couple of millennia before the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob before the third part of the covenant would be fulfilled. That would be the seed (singular) of Abraham would be a blessing to all nations. That is fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. In Jesus all nations of the world are blessed because in him all nations are reconciled to God through his blood.
It is in Jesus of Nazareth a new covenant is established one that would supersede the Mosaic covenant. This is the new covenant that the Lord Jesus Christ, our God remembers now: “I will forgive them their sins and remember them no more. I will be their God and they will be my people.” Jesus instituted this on the night he was betrayed. We call it the Lord’s Supper. When we celebrate it God remembers and we remember this new covenant and rejoice in it.
Lord God, heavenly Father we do than you that you are a God who remembers and performs the terms of the covenant. Help us to remember and believe all you have done for us in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
#DailyDevotion The Lord Has A Plan For His Church
Lent day 29 Monday
Read Ex 2:1–22
Exo 2:3-10 When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. (4) And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. (5) Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. (6) When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” (7) Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” (8) And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. (9) And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. (10) When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
Is the Lord a master manipulator of people and events or what? 400 years have passed since we left the children of Israel in Egypt. Things have changed just as God told Abraham they would. Egypt is no longer a friend to the Israelites. While they don’t want to lose the resource the Egyptians want to keep them under control. God has other plans. He’s going to take this one Israelite boy from the tribe of Levi and have him grow up in Pharaoh’s house. Now just to clear up some misconception about Moses from every movie ever made, as we can see from the text here, everyone including Moses himself knew he was a Hebrew.
Now Moses would be prepared for his future purposes of the Lord in Pharaoh’s house. He’d get the best education, military training, and leadership training in the country. God was preparing him for something great. He was going to lead the Israelite nation out of Egypt and lead them in the wilderness for 40+ years and have them battle inhabitants along the way. He would have to organize them and move them. He would have to be better at logistics than UPS.
Jesus would fulfill Moses. Having similar humble beginnings he would escape the flood coming out of the dragon’s mouth in the form of Herod’s soldiers who sought his life as a child. Jesus also would come out of Egypt. As to Jesus’ training we can only assume it was typical for his station in life. But God had a plan for Jesus and he manipulated the times and the people to have Jesus crucified for the sin of the world so all men may receive eternal life through his sacrifice. The account of Moses isn’t about God has a great plan for your life in mundane things. He may intend for you to be a day laborer, a simple mother, or other such vocations the world does not think much about. But God’s ultimate plan for you in Christ Jesus is to enter eternal life with him as his child. And that isn’t anything to sneeze at.
Lord God, Heavenly Father, you may not have some grand design for my life in this age but I thank you for the grand purpose you have for me in the world to come. In Jesus’ name, amen.
#DailyDevotion Be Faithful To The Lord, No Matter What
5th Sunday in Lent
Read Ex 1:1–22
Exo 1:15-17 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, (16) “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” (17) But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.
God is fulfilling the promise he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For four hundred years the children of Israel have been multiplying in Egypt. It is thought that a new dynasty had come to power just before the time of Moses that was not friendly to Semitic peoples. So since the Israelites were seen as displaced foreigners and were getting so numerous they posed a physical threat, the Pharaoh decided he needed to do something about it. He was going to kill off the boys, assimilate the girls and put the people under the whip to keep them under control.
The Israelite women though feared the Lord more than Pharaoh. Some may take exception of them lying but this may instruct us that love is fulfillment of the law and that we must obey God rather than men. We saw similar actions during World War II in places the Nazis were in control.
Through these actions of faith, the women preserved the Israelite people, allowed for Moses to be brought into the world, the instrument through whom the Lord was going to free his people, and the line of Jesus would be preserved.
As Joseph reminded us, the Pharaoh meant it for evil but meant it for good. Through the evil of the Pharaoh the Lord was going to show his glory to the Egyptians and to his people. We may be experiencing as manner of evil, trial, tribulations in our lives. People and the world that brings these things upon us mean it for evil. But God uses it for his good and for our good. We may not always see it. The Israelites rarely realized it or remembered it. But as we read the Scriptures we can see it is true.
The actions of the midwives should encourage us in our daily living in the Lord. There is so much stuff out there which may cause us to doubt God’s mercy and love. There are lots of situations which may tempt us to not be faithful to God: few for those who read this are threatened with death for being faithful. But the courage and faithfulness of the midwives should encourage us to be faithful no matter what also.
On top of that, the Lord himself became of us, was tempted in every way like us, was threatened with death and did indeed suffer death for our sakes, so we may live before God eternally. In and with his strength we too may remain faithful, even unto death should the situation require it.
Heavenly Father, you helped the midwives remain faithful to you and you demonstrated your faithfulness to us in your son Jesus. Grant us your Spirit and faith that we too may be faithful like them to your Word and Promises.
#DailyDevotion Forgiveness Is No April’s Fools Joke
Lent day 28 Saturday
Read Gen 49:29—50:7, 14–26
Gen 50:17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”‘ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him…19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? (20) As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (21) So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Now we see Joseph’s brothers still didn’t trust Joseph. They must of have thought Joseph was just waiting for their father to die, then he was going to take care of them, i.e. put them to death. They didn’t trust the mercy he had shown them when they first came to Egypt. Of course he did give them a rough time of it to prove themselves that they had changed. Joseph was living rent free in their heads and he didn’t even want to. This is what life is like when we don’t go and make amends to the people we have harmed.
But Joseph had learned of the mercy of God during his life. He was moved by their fear and he wept because he thought after their final meeting when they brought his dad and brother they could get back to living. He knew and trusted in the promises of the Lord. The Lord had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob they would become a great nation, that would include his brothers.
Judgment belongs to God is Joseph’s belief and attitude. While certainly his brothers meant evil for Joseph, God had a plan and turned it around for good. No doubt St. Paul is thinking about this in Romans 8, “God works all things for good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Therefore based on this, Joseph is going to continue to protect his brothers and their families.
We should have the same attitude and beliefs as Joseph. We like Joseph, who have been called to Abraham’s children through baptism should believe that we have been called by God and this promise belongs to us in all trials and tribulations. Like Joseph we should forgive those who sin against us as God in Christ Jesus forgives us. Unlike Joseph’s brothers we should follow Jesus’ command to make up with our accusers along the way and not let the sun go down with someone angry at us so we need not walk in fear all our days.
Heavenly Father, ever give us faith to trust in your divine providence over us as your children and grant us your Holy Spirit that we may forgive those who sin against us even as you have forgiven all who have sinned against you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion The Church Is For Blessing The People Of The Earth
Lent day 27 Friday
Read Gen 47:1–31
Gen 47:3-7 Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” (4) They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” (5) Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. (6) The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.” (7) Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
The Lord had blessed Jacob in his family through the disaster of the relationships between his sons. He had taken the murderous and hateful thoughts of Joseph’s brothers and turned into life for them and their families. The Lord had bless Joseph that he would find favor in Pharaoh’s eyes and become head of Egypt and to provide a plan for saving both Israel and Egypt. Now we see the culmination of that blessing. Pharaoh would give to Joseph and his family the good fertile land of Goshen. It was in the Nile delta which received the rich silt of the Nile and fertilized the land. There was good pasture there.
We then should not be surprised at what Jacob does. Jacob blesses Pharaoh. That is a function of the Church on earth. The Church is to be a blessing to the kings of the earth it lives under even if and maybe particularly when the kings of the earth persecute it.
Peter reminds us we are to blessing people, 1Pe 3:9 “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” And James in chapter 3 also reminds us of this vocation. Of course Jesus tells us this, Luk 6:28 “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” And so does St. Paul, Rom 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
Specifically St. Paul reminds us to pray for those in authority, 1Ti 2:1-4 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, (2) for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (3) This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” St. Paul gives two good reasons for this. One is for the Church that it might live in peace and two that they might come to a saving knowledge of the truth.
Lord, God heavenly Father, you have ordained powers and authorities in the world. We pray you would bless them with wisdom so they may lead their people with justice, mercy, truth and equity. We pray for their conversion to faith in Christ Jesus that they too may understand, believe and confess Jesus as their Lord now freely rather than when He returns and are forced to their condemnation. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.