Sunday, January 25, 2015
“Then Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and he bowed down and kissed him…” (Exodus 18:7). I find it rather remarkable that Moses, who works miracles and speaks to God is humbling himself before his father-in-law. But I’m also struck by the confidence of Jethro in verse 17 where he tells this man of God, “The thing that you are doing is not good.” But Moses is only doing what the Lord had told him to do. I’m not sure what to make of this situation; some commentators think Moses erred in listening to Jethro, while others think Jethro was a brilliant business man and it was good how he helped Moses. The text does not indicate that Moses ever asked God if this was good advice…. I can see both sides, but either way, I know that asking the Lord’s opinion is always the right thing to do!
Saturday, January 24, 2015
“So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.” (Exodus 17:11). This is the first time the people leaving Egypt would do battle. Joshua may have been an exceptional leader, but he was an inexperienced warrior. This battle was won by the Lord, not Joshua. In every challenge we face, we must depend on the Lord to see us through; left to our own devices, we are sure to lose. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Friday, January 23, 2015
“They could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter…. So the people grumbled at Moses.” (Exodus 15:23-24). Harsh treatment as slaves was followed by slain Passover lambs and freedom. Being trapped between the sea and Pharaoh’s advancing army was followed by the water parting and the army’s swift defeat. Now the people are thirsty and their only water source is bitter and undrinkable. So they grumbled. We’ve all done the same, even though God has redeemed us and been faithful towards us in countless ways. Next time you face a trial or tribulation, rather than grumble, remember the Lord has a reason for bringing you there and He has a way to sweeten the experience.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
“When I see the blood I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). Make no mistake about your final destiny, only the blood can save you. It did not matter if those were Abraham’s offspring; the death angel only looked to see if they had put blood over their door. When the day of final judgment comes, it will only be the blood of Jesus that saves you. God is not interested in your church membership or perfect attendance certificate. He doesn’t want to hear your list of good deeds done on His behalf. “No plague will befall you to destroy you” if you have the blood (Exodus 12:13).
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me.’” (Exodus 8:1). Hollywood film directors often miss the all-important ending of this verse. There’s a reason the people are to be let go – “that they may serve Me”, says the Lord. The Israelites weren’t to leave Egypt and do whatever they wanted; they were leaving behind an evil taskmaster and vowing their service to the One who would be as a loving Father to them. The same is true for you and me. We’re to stop serving our old master sin, and instead spend the rest of our lives serving our loving heavenly Father.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’… Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses.” (Exodus 4:10-14). The Lord had been speaking to Moses from a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire, his walking stick had become a snake, his hand had become leprous and then healed. But Moses balked at public speaking on God’s behalf. He feared his countrymen would not believe him and he feared the wrath of Pharaoh. Surely the Lord has done some mighty things in your life as well. Yet, chances are, there is something He has clearly been telling you to do and you’re balking.
Monday, January 19, 2015
“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8). Who was Joseph? His story is found in the last several chapters of Genesis. He was a national hero; his wise plan kept millions from starvation during seven years of famine. Here we are in Exodus, 400 years have passed and the new king doesn’t know of Joseph. This is an important lesson for Christians, especially parents. Every generation is just one generation away from forgetting our heroes, but more importantly, from forgetting the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20). This is probably the most frequently quoted verse from Joseph’s life, and, in my opinion, it should be! These words not only teach us about the character of this man of God, but they challenge us in how we react to all of life’s disappointments, both big and small. For even when we can’t see anything good coming out of a situation, there is always room for God and His plan.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
“Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.” (Genesis 47:7). Pharaoh had given Jacob’s family good land and a promise of food during the severe seven-year famine. Thus we can see that Jacob’s blessing of Pharaoh harkens back to Genesis 12:1-3, where the Lord told Abraham that He would bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. In every generation, those who look favorably upon God’s people will no doubt be rewarded.
Friday, January 16, 2015
“Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5). Joseph knows why he is in Egypt, his vision at this point is 20/20, “God sent me”. There is absolutely no animosity toward his brothers. You and I can have that same attitude if we will keep focused on God and His plans for us rather than the hills and valleys of this life. In every situation we find ourselves in, our goal should be “to preserve life”, seeking to save souls wherever we go.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
“Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me forget all my trouble….’ He named the second Ephraim, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me fruitful….’” (Genesis 41:51-52). Having been sold into slavery by his brothers, we can say without a doubt that Joseph has been through some tough times. Yet he chooses to honor the Lord in the naming of his sons. Joseph said God made him forget all his past trouble and he gave God the credit for all his present successes. As I consider the meanings of these names, I think we all need more of “Manasseh and Ephraim” in our lives.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
“When [the brothers] saw [Joseph] from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.” (Genesis 37:18). Jealousy can quickly grow into an ugly and uncontrollable rage, completely blinding us to what is right and honorable. Jealousy seeks to destroy whatever it touches – marriages, families, communities, and even nations…. Fast forward several hundred years, and we find another Man, the Lord Jesus was sent by His Father to His brothers who also hated and despised Him. But for both Joseph and Jesus, those who sought to destroy them, only served to help move them closer to their intended destinies.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Jacob says to his brother Esau, “Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously to me and because I have plenty.” (Genesis 33:11). There has been a dramatic change in Jacob. He had once used deception to gain Esau’s birthright and now he has insisted on giving him several hundred animals. The previous night of wrestling with the Angel of the Lord has transformed Jacob’s heart from deceiver to Israel, one who now willingly and generously blesses others.
Monday, January 12, 2015
“Then the Lord said to Jacob, ‘Return to the land of your fathers… and I will be with you.’” (Genesis 31:3). This promise from God should have given Jacob great confidence, yet we find him sneaking off out of fear (Genesis 31:20, 31). However, God is sovereign and He forbids Laban to do Jacob any harm (Genesis 31:29). Even though Laban did not believe in the God of Abraham, he must still submit to His authority! “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
Sunday, January 11, 2015
“So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.” (Genesis 28:1). The Lord wants and deserves our fullest devotion. He also knows that the choice of a spouse can set the direction of your life, for the rest of your life. Godly people should seek out the companionship of other godly people. This is especially true when seeking a spouse, but it also applies to who we choose to have as business partners or close friends. You simply cannot walk close to the Lord when your spouse is pulling you in the opposite direction.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
“Esau said, Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” (Genesis 25:32). There are at least two things wrong with Esau’s thinking at this point. First, he was hungry, not dying. But his perceived sense of urgency distorted his perspective and he made a foolish decision. Second, he failed to value something that should have been important to him. As heirs of Abraham, this birthright was much more than merely gaining possession of a few earthly goods. Esau traded a bowl of stew for the Promised Land and being in the lineage of the future Messiah.
Friday, January 9, 2015
“Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in every way.” (Genesis 24:1). Most often we think of blessings as gifts from God that we ourselves enjoy. However, when God bestows blessings, He intends them to overflow into the lives of others. In that sense, God’s blessings never stop flowing; they keep getting passed on from person to person. Acknowledge God as the Giver of all your good gifts and resolve today that you will help pass His many blessings on to others, beginning with your salvation by grace.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
“For I have chosen him so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.” (Genesis 18:19). Here we are given a very plain purpose for God choosing Abraham; it is also the same purpose for anyone to be chosen. We are called by God to share the good news with others, beginning with our own families. One of life’s greatest achievements is to successfully pass on the torch of your faith to the next generation, teaching them “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
“Abram was eighty six years old…” (Genesis 16:16). This verse ends chapter 16. The next chapter begins, “Now Abram was ninety-nine years old…” (Genesis 17:1). Thirteen years pass by here with no storyline. We are not given a reason for the silence and any offered is purely speculative. However, this is a lesson in patience for the next time we feel life just isn’t going anywhere too fast. There is a plan and sometimes “wait” is part of that plan. God had not forgotten Abraham, nor the promises made to him. Our heavenly Father has never forgotten any of His children, including you and me.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
“I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2). In writing to the Galatian church, Paul taught that every believer in Christ is an heir of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). The promise God made with Abraham is our promise as well. He promises to bless you and He promises to make you a blessing to others. We have been called to influence the world for good, to be light shining in the darkness. So go do that, be a blessing today to others.
Monday, January 5, 2015
“Come let us build for ourselves a city… and let us make for ourselves a name…” (Genesis 11:4). The problem here is not so much that city-life is wrong or that being famous is wrong. The problem is that these acts were done “for ourselves”. This is pride, plain and simple. We can choose to do a lot of things in this life, but when we choose to do them “for ourselves” we’re just begging the Lord to come spoil our plans. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).
Sunday, January 4, 2015
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:6). In every culture, murder is wrong; this law seems to be written on our hearts. This verse explains the reason murder is wrong; it is because we are made in God’s image. To shed a man’s blood unlawfully is not only murder; it also shows disrespect for God Himself. Jesus taught that even to call someone a contemptuous name was an extreme sin (Matthew 5:22). Every person we will ever meet is someone for whom Jesus died to save.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
“Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9). A righteous man loves justice; he chooses to do the right thing even when it costs him. To be blameless did not mean Noah was perfect, but that he had integrity and spiritual maturity. Finally, Moses says Noah was a man who walked with God; he chose to go in the same direction as God, walking down the path of God’s choosing and not his own. This also speaks of the close fellowship Noah had with God. To walk with the Lord requires time on your knees.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Genesis 3:8, “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” This wasn’t the Lord’s first visit, they recognized this familiar sound. God has always desired our fellowship. He walked with the first couple in their garden home. He dwelt with the nation of Israel in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Jesus came in the flesh to dwell among us as a man. His Holy Spirit dwells in each believer even now. And in heaven? There He will dwell eternally with the redeemed. The Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, delights in our presence.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Genesis 1:27, “God created man in His own image.” Whose image? The triune God who has eternally existed in the family-like structure of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are designed to be part of a community; something larger than ourselves. We begin life in the nucleus of our family. We grow up and create another family and we begin participating in the larger society around us. Failure to have meaningful associations with others is a failure to thrive. Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”