Daily Reading: April 22


#DailyDevotion In Jesus You Become One Of God’s Chosen People

Easter Week 2 Saturday

Read Ex 19:1–25

Exo 19:5-6  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;  (6)  and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”…:11  and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

 

The Lord had chosen Israel from all the nations of the world to be his own treasured possession. Indeed he owned them all and through creation had revealed his eternal power that they might worship him. But to be God’s treasured possession is like the money I set aside just for myself out of every paycheck. I can do whatever I want with it without accountability. It is mine and I can spend it all on me. Maybe you have something similar. Israel was that treasured possession for the Lord and he for them. They were going to be his people because of the covenant he had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But not he enters into a covenant with the people of Israel. This covenant would be required if they and their descendents were going to be his covenant people. They would have to obey his voice and keep his covenant. In this covenant they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Yet we know, Israel broke this covenant pretty soon from this point and often afterwards. They were to be a light to the nations and witness to the glory of God so the nations of the world would come to know the Lord as God.

 

Well through this people Israel would come from their flesh one who would be Israel to the Lord, to God the Father and would obey the covenant in Israel’s place. That would be the Lord, God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus would be Israel and do all that Israel should have done. Jesus becomes the covenant that God would make not only with Israel but with the whole world. Those who would believe on Jesus and be baptized into his name would be joined to Israel and become Israel, not according to the flesh but according to the promise, according to the Spirit, Abraham’s descendents.

 

As the Lord revealed himself on the third day on the mountain to Israel, he reveals himself as Israel’s Lord and God to the apostles on the third day when he rises from the dead. This is the covenant the Lord Jesus makes with us, if we repent of our sins, are baptized and believe on him, i.e. trust him, our sins will be forgiven us and he will remember them no more. He will be our God and we will be his people. As Peter says, 1Pe 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

 

Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ, to be our covenant and for calling us to be your chosen people in Christ Jesus. Grant us faith to be faithful unto you always and proclaim the excellencies of Jesus to those around us so they too may repent, be baptized and become your holy people. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 21st


#DailyDevotion Is Your Lord Jesus Christ Greater Than All Other Gods?

Easter week 1 Friday

Ex 18:5–27

Exo 18:8-11  Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the LORD had delivered them.  (9)  And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.  (10)  Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.  (11)  Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.”

 

Moses’ father in law is like a lot of people.  They know about God, they might even know a fair amount about God.  But they believe the God they know (as much as they know) is one God among many gods.  When Jethro hears all that the Lord had done for the people of Israel through his son in law Moses his mind had to change a bit about God, the Lord.

 

First he rejoiced when he heard all that the Lord had done.  As Christians we need to witness about our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.  If we don’t open our mouths nobody will ever know the truth and they could never rejoice with us.  Secondly, through Moses’ witness Jethro came to know the one true God better and knew the Lord was at least “greater than all gods.”  Whether this is just a way of saying there aren’t any other gods, or whether he still gave some credence to other gods, I do not know.  But certainly Jethro realizes there is no god like Moses’ God, the Lord.

 

Hopefully in our witness to the world around us we can say such things about what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us that when we do open our mouths, they too will say with Jethro, “Now I know the Lord Jesus Christ is greater than all gods.” For our Lord Jesus Christ has become one of us. He has taken our iniquities upon himself. He has spilled his blood for us to atone for our sins. Jesus has taken our death upon himself that we might never taste death. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and promise to raise us also on the last day to everlasting life. Indeed Jesus is greater than all the gods which are not gods at all.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, so give us your Holy Spirit, that when we open our mouths concerning all you have done for us, people may give praise to you and put their faith in you. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 20th


#DailyDevotion Do You Grumble In Fear Or Pray In Faith?

Easter Week 1 Thursday

Read Ex 17:1–16

Exo 17:6-7  Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.  (7)  And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

 

You can hardly blame the Israelites. The Lord and Moses bring the Israelites out of Egypt into the wilderness and they bring them to a place where there is no water. Remember there are about 3 million people here. That’s a lot of water needed. Why does the Lord do this? Well we know the Lord was testing them to see if they would do what he told them to do.  The number one thing he wanted was for them to trust him.

 

Well instead of trusting the Lord, who had already done marvelous and mighty acts, they grumble again against Moses and the Lord. They question why the Lord would bring them to such a place. I think we probably can understand it somewhat. But what they don’t do is go to the Lord, humbly, with faith and present their request to him. They grumble and complain. Well the Lord hears their complaint and gives Moses a plan to bring them water. There is a large rock in the wilderness where this occurred and it does look like water has worn it down. Despite the people’s lack of faith, the Lord provided them water.

 

Now how do you live your life? Has the Lord brought you some places you would rather not be? Do you grumble against the Lord and tell him how unfair he is? I find that I and other people do not always come before the Lord humbly, remembering the Lord cares for me and them. We forget the Lord actually does know what he is doing with our lives and we do not see the big pictures. Finally, we don’t come to the Lord with our prayers, supplications and petitions with faith that he will get us through whatever it is we are going through. We need to remember several things all the time but especially when life gets rough. One our Lord Jesus Christ does know what he is doing and knows what is going on in our lives. Jesus and the Father do care for us. Third, Jesus does want us to come before the Father confidently and boldly and bring our petitions and he will hear us. And fourthly, our Father, for the sake of Jesus, will work all things for good in our lives. We simply need to trust him. We might want to pray for greater faith while we do so.

 

Heavenly Father, we do not always understand or know what you are doing and why. Give us such faith in your son Jesus Christ, that we may always come humbly, but also boldly and confidently in the mercies of Christ to bring our supplications and petitions to you, trusting you will do that which is best for us and for your Church to the glory of your Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 19th


#DailyReading Will You Trust Jesus’ Promises Or Not?

Easter Wednesday

Read Ex 16:13–35

Exo 16:16  This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.'”…19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.”…:23 he said to them, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.'”…29 See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”

 

Now earlier the Lord had said, Exo 15:26 “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” Now he is testing them to see if they will do as he said. He is giving them the manna from heaven, the food of angels, to feed them in the wilderness and to see if they will obey him, that is to trust his word.

 

As we see in this reading there are always some who do not obey the Lord, that is, they don’t trust what he is saying. Some kept leftovers and those leftovers spoiled. God was giving them daily bread: just what they needed for the day. On the sixth day the Lord gave them enough for two days and it would not spoil for the seventh day would be a day of rest for the people of God. Some people did not gather enough and they went looking for food on the Sabbath. There was none there. The Sabbath was a gift from God so his people could rest and spend that day in worshipping the Lord and meditating on all that God had done for them.

 

Now Jesus has told us not to worry about tomorrow or be anxious about it. He reminds us to pray for daily bread.  Jesus teaches us, Mat 6:8 “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” And Mat 6:31-34 “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (32)  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (33)  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (34)  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Like in the wilderness, Jesus is serious here. Will you be like the Israelites who trusted him or be like the ones who were disobedient? Trust Jesus and put receiving his gifts in worship first and you will see you won’t need to be anxious about anything.

 

Heavenly Father, grant us faith to trust your promises and obey your commands for you are a God who keeps his promises and our lives are better for it when we trust your word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 18th


#DailyDevotion Don’t Grumble Against The Lord

 

Easter Tuesday

Read Ex 15:19—16:12

Exo 16:6-9  So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt,  (7)  and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against the LORD. For what are we, that you grumble against us?”  (8)  And Moses said, “When the LORD gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the LORD.”  (9)  Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.'”

 

This will be a continuing problem with the Israelites. They will not be happy in whatever situation that they are in and they will grumble against Moses and Aaron. Whether at the Red Sea or Mara or any other times things aren’t quite right they will grumble against Moses.

 

And as a principle, they are not grumbling against Moses and Aaron but they are grumbling against the Lord who had delivered them up from the Egyptians.  For Moses and Aaron are the Lord’s representatives. They are doing what the Lord had told them to do. When the Israelites grumble against them, they are expressing their lack of faith in the Lord. Even after all the Lord had done for them so far and seeing the glory of the Lord in the pillar of cloud Moses has to tell them, “When this happens, you will know it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt.” How could they not believe this by now? But as we shall see, no matter what the Lord does and how often he delivers these people, their hearts will turn against Moses, Aaron and the Lord.

 

The Lord never the less has mercy on the Israelites, again and again and again.

 

We may not always be faithful to the Lord either.

 

Like Moses and Aaron, the Lord Jesus Christ has given us pastors to teach, preach and administer the sacraments that we might be built up in the Lord, strengthened in our faith and endure in the faith unto life everlasting. (Eph. 4:11-12)  But like the Israelites, we don’t like the water. We don’t like the food.  We don’t like the situation in the church that we have and we grumble against the one whom the Lord has chosen to minister to us.  It is not against the pastors we are grumbling but against the Lord who has given them unto us. The Lord is merciful and kind. Instead of grumbling we need to give thanks and bring our concerns and cares to the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer. He will hear your prayer and answer it. Striking the shepherd he sends will not get you what you want.

 

Heavenly Father, give us faith that we may always give thanks for all your benefits to us, eyes to recognize your goodness, and a heart that knows your mercy that we may not grumble against you but look to you for every good thing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 17th


#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Lord Who Won Our Victory

Easter Monday

Read Ex 15:1–18

Exo 15:1-2  Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.  (2)  The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

 

This victory song recounts in poetic fashion what the Lord had just accomplished and it prophecies what is yet to come. The Lord had rescued the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh and his army. He did it in a fabulous manner parting the seas and then drowning them in those same seas. For the moment they recognize the might of the Lord sing of his strength. They proclaim the Lord’s salvation. They even recognize that the Lord is not new to Israel but he is their father’s God. The song prophecies how they will take the land of Canaan and the Lord will set up his sanctuary there.

 

But the singing will be short lived. They will harden their hearts against the Lord and against Moses. They will be fickle and forget all of the Lord’s mighty deeds and they will fall into sin.

 

This same Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ. We sing his praise this Eastertide. For Jesus has won for us, for all people, even a greater victory over Satan. By his death on the cross Jesus atoned for the sin of the World. He swallowed up death in his death. Sin no longer has its hold on us like it once did so Satan has lost his power. By his resurrection, Jesus has manifested his victory over sin, death and the devil. His victory is our victory.

 

Jesus, as he killed Israel’s enemy, Pharaoh and his armies, in the flood has another flood in which we may participate in his victory over sin, death and Satan. That is in baptism. St. Paul writes, Rom 6:3-5 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  (4)  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  (5)  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

 

The flood waters of baptism are our participation in Jesus’ victory. There our sin is drowned and buried. There we are given eternal life. There we are given the promise that our bodies, like Jesus’ body will be raised from the dead on the last day and we too, like the Israelites will enter the promise land of the new heavens and new earth. Now that’s something to sing about.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you are mighty and glorious. You have overcome our sin, death, the grave and Satan. Give us faith that we may ever sing your glorious praise and your victory which you share with us in baptism. In your precious name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 16th


#DailyDevotion The Lord Jesus Has Won The Victory

Easter Sunday

Read Ex 14:10–31

Exo 14:13-15  And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.  (14)  The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  (15)  The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.

 

Today is Easter Sunday. We celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead never to die again. On this day of triumph over the grave we are called to remember another victory of the Lord Jesus. It was his victory of the armies of Egypt. The Egyptians were closing in on the Israelites who had just got their freedom from the Egyptians. Now they were afraid they were going to be killed out in the desert.

 

How often in our Christian life we too, like the Israelites forget the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ? We act as if we forgot that Jesus is victorious over the grave so we live in fear of this and that. We fear things that may never happen and we fear things that most probably will. But none of those things have the victory over what Jesus has won for us.

 

The Lord, with an outstretched arm defeated the Egyptians. The Israelites only needed to trust him and go forward as Moses said. They didn’t have to say anything. They didn’t have to fight. The fight was the Lord’s. He used their pride against them and drew them unto the path the Israelites were using. Then he closed the sea upon them and killed them all. The Israelites would never see them again.

 

Jesus, the Lord, also with his outstretched arms upon the cross led our enemies unto the path of our salvation, the cross. Sin, Satan and Death all attack our Lord Jesus Christ there upon the tree. They in their pride thought they had won. But Jesus swallowed them all up in victory. They went with Jesus to the grave and they can harm us no more. Jesus is risen and can never die again. His life is now our life. His victory is now our victory. We need not say anything. We need only trust the Lord and continue upon the path he has made for us. Like the Israelites, it will not always be an easy path. It may seem we too ar wandering aimlessly in the wilderness of our lives. But like the Pillar of Cloud and Fire which followed the Israelites and led them, Jesus is with us and carrying us through this life of ours. We simply need to trust Jesus.

This life of ours, with whatever happens, can be more joyful when we trust our Lord Jesus Christ has won the victory. Live like it is true.

 

Heavenly Father, grant us faith to believe Jesus has won the victory so we may live our lives not in fear of sin, death and the devil, but rather of joy in our Lord Jesus Christ. In His Name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 15th


#DailyDevotion You’re Not Ready Yet

Lent day 40 Saturday

Read Ex 13:17—14:9

Exo 13:17-18  When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.”  (18)  But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.

 

Sometimes I am asked how come since Jesus atoned for the sins of the world on Good Friday and all who believe in him have eternal life, why does he wait so long to redeem us and bring us into Paradise.  Beside the fact that he is waiting for the full number of the elect to be born and be born of the Spirit, and beside the fact he is being patient not wanting anyone to perish but that all would repent and receive eternal life, today’s lesson gives us a reason for believers to keep hanging around.  Even as the Israelites were not ready yet to enter the promise land for they were not prepared yet so too even though we have received eternal life, all of us whose trust is in the blood of Christ for our atonement, we are not ready to enter into God’s glory just because we believe.  But when we are ready then we are received.  You don’t want to enter into glory half-baked.  St. Paul writes:2Co 4:16-18  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  (17)  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  (18)  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  It reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” where those who have been brought to heaven have to toughen up and grow up before they can even handle walking on the grass.

 

Again St. Paul writes: Rom 5:3-5  “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  (4)  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  (5)  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  The Lord is still working on us.  Through our walking through this wilderness like the ancient people of God, Jesus is working on producing these characteristics in you.  He does this to prepare you for the day you enter into the promised-land.  It is a life-long work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Just as the Israelites were fully armed as they entered the wilderness, to fight in the Lord their enemies who they may encounter so too we are armed and prepared for battle. (Eph 6:11-13) In this wilderness it isn’t the Moabites or the Edomites we have to worry about.  No our foe is Satan and all his minions who tempt us to despair of our salvation or to think we are good enough and don’t need Christ. He places barriers in our way of reaching others with the good news of Jesus’ all sufficient sacrifice for sins on the cross.  Only with God’s armor, which is the Word of God in all its forms can we stand.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, as we await to enter into paradise, grant us such faith that we may persevere until the day you have fully prepared us to enter into paradise with you and the thief.  Amen.