~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Exodus 2:11-3:22 ~ Matthew 17:10-27
Psalm 22:1-18 ~ Proverbs 5:7-14
Old Testament - Well, I debated posting up this water color of Moses killing the Egyptian from chapter 2 today, but the image probably captures things accurately enough. We cannot hide from some of the things in the Bible that are not squeaky clean & perfect. The Bible is not always squeaky clean & perfect in terms of the behaviors of people in the Bible. Life is not always squeaky clean & perfect. However God will ultimately make us squeaky clean & perfect - forever. And in this life God can even redeem Moses after this act:
Please do read up more on this act of Moses' in chapter 2 at bible.org at this link. At this link you'll see this line: "We dare not seek to defend Moses in the murder of the Egyptian, no matter how cruel he may have been. Moses’ act was in defiance of the authority of Egypt, and it was premeditated murder (“he looked this way and that,” v. 12). While Moses’ method of dealing with this problem was wrong, we can see that his motivation was commendable. Moses sought to defend the oppressed. When he sought to rebuke his Hebrew brother for wrongly mistreating another Hebrew (v. 13), Moses revealed, once again, the disposition of a deliverer." Moses was 40 years old when he killed the Egyptian. Moses then escapes to Midian - an area on the eastern side of the Red Sea that was very dry and desolate. Moses ends up living in Midian for 40 years:
In Chapter 3 today God speaks to Moses through the burning bush! What I love about this is in verse 4: "When the LORD saw that he had caught Moses' attention..." It seems like Moses probably could have seen this burning bush - and kept going. He could have somehow walked on by - maybe because he had to get the flocks back home or he was late for dinner or who knows what. He could have missed the adventure and the calling of his life. But he doesn't. He stops. He investigates. He has a conversation with God. God caught his attention. And I wonder in our lives today, is God trying to catch our attention? Is God trying to tell us something important? And are we just passing God by - or will we stop and investigate and have a conversation with God?
Exodus 3:14 is a biggee in today's readings as Moses asks God who he should tell the Hebrews who sent him: "God replied, "I AM WHO I AM. Just tell them, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" I AM WHO I AM translates into Yahweh in Hebrew. I read a great little commentary that said when God speaks of himself, he says "I AM". When we speak of God we should say "He is." I like that. He is. I actually heard a sermon recently about the unchanging nature of God. He is omniscient. Omni-present. Eternal. He is wisdom. He cannot learn anything, because He knows everything. He is. The Hebrew letters yud, hey, vav, hey (below) -- often depicted in English as YHWH or Yahweh -- spell the ineffable name of God:
Another powerful thing to note is that Jesus uses this same phrase of I AM and nearly gets stoned to death for sharing this truth in the Gospel of John chapter 8 verses 58 & 59: "“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds." Do you believe that Jesus is? So - when God says I AM! - what is our response? He is! :) I like that. He is. A great commentary on the Burning Bush & I AM in Exodus chapter 3 is at bible.org at this link.
New Testament - Today in Matthew chapter 17 verse 20 stood out to me: ""You didn't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible."" As I think about this verse, I wonder about my own faith. How much faith do I really have? Do I have enough faith in Jesus? And in all of God's promises? Or - am I hedging my bets? Do I also place a lot of faith in my own power? My own skills? My own "smarts"? Do I truly have complete faith in Jesus and Jesus alone? If so, and if it was Jesus' will, do I believe that I could move mountains? Could you? I don't think that this idea of not having enough faith means that I need to "try harder" in any way. I think it means I simply need to depend more - rest more - relax more - give more - to Jesus. Trust in Jesus. Trust that his grace is enough... As a great Jeremy Camp song goes - "All of you is more than Enough, for all of me." Is Jesus more than enough for you?
Verses 25 & 26 are awesome as Peter is about to ask Jesus about the Temple Tax: "But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, "What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the foreigners they have conquered?" "They tax the foreigners," Peter replied. "Well, then," Jesus said, "the citizens are free!"" Here we see that Jesus is recognizing himself as the King - and his disciples are his citizens who should not have to pay the tax. But - as to not offend those who did not realize that Jesus was the King, Jesus tells Peter where to find a coin, in the fish's mouth, to pay the tax.
Psalms - Psalm 22 is an amazing Psalm! This Psalm is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament. Re-read this Psalm again and see if you see parallels to Jesus' crucifixion? There are a lot in this Psalm. I'll list a few - Psalm 22:1a was quoted by Jesus on the cross - "My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?" As we see in Matthew 27:46 - "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Psalm 22 Verse 8: ""Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!"" We see in similar fashion in Matthew 27:42-43: "“He saved others,” they said, “but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”
Psalm 22 verses 16 & 17 make me want to cry... "They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count every bone in my body." The piercing of the hands and feet of Jesus are apparent with how the crucifixion took place. And these Psalm 22 verses are similar to John 19:33-37: "But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”"
And Psalms verse 18: "They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments." Compare to John 19:23-24 - "When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let's not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let's decide by lot who will get it.”"
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 5 verses 12-14 are some sad verses to imagine saying in our lives: ""How I hated discipline! If only I had not demanded my own way! Oh, why didn't I listen to my teachers? Why didn't I pay attention to those who gave me instruction? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace."" Do you love or hate discipline? Do you demand your own way? Are you listening to your teachers today? Who are your teachers today? Who is disciplining you? For Whom will you not demand your own way?
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: I realize that reading Psalm 22 and seeing some of the images I posted up can evoke a lot of emotions. I am wondering, how often do you meditate upon Jesus' passion and death? Do you do this just around Good Friday / Resurrection Sunday each year? Or more often? How do you meditate upon the Lord's passion and death? Are passion plays, movies, or books helpful for you to do this? Or are their other things you read or watch or do? Do you think we should or should not meditate upon Jesus' passion and death more often than once a year? Why or why not? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
In todays reading Proverbs
5:21 For a man's ways are in full veiw, stood out to me. It made me think about that old saying, actions speak louder than words. I printed it out so that I could remind myself, that before I say or do something God is watching. Thanks for your teaching today. Peggy
Posted by: Peggy | January 25, 2007 at 09:06 PM
Even though at times God may feel far away He never is.
He is always there
Which is very reassuring and worth remembering when we are down
Another thing worth remembering is that God uses us the most when we are down
10From the day I was born, I have been in your care, and from the time of my birth, you have been my God.
I wondered whether this could also apply to when we commit ourselves to God. I know that since my baptism on the 17th of May 1998 a day before my 28th birthday that He has been my Lord.
As I was reading the Psalm again it suddenly struck me that its talking about Jesus and what happened to Him on the cross. I was very surprised that I hadn’t picked up on that on my 1st reading.
I meditate upon Jesus' passion and death a lot. Especially since seeing the movie. That really effected me. Yes we should meditate upon Jesus' passion and death more often than once a year. It was the most important to ever happen. We need to remember just what Jesus did. I also think about as I have communion each Sunday.
Posted by: jen | January 25, 2007 at 10:19 PM
I guess we see love at it's greatest...Jesus dying for our sins.I cried when I saw the movie...there are a lot of people who critise the way it was done but I believe the sufferings of Christ were real...if He could feel hunger,thirst,then He felt every lash of the whip,He felt the pain of being nailed to that cross....and Jesus didn't deserve to die like that,He had no sin.
Today,many people look at God as a indifferent to what goes on in the world,we question His love for us when we are sick,bereaved,when we see children go through war and poverty.And we try to understand why a loving God would allow it to happen.
Israel was opressed 400years in Egypt,I'm sure most of them turned to other gods since God seemed to no longer care,there were people who were born into slavery and died slaves...We may not know the reason for God's silence during our afflictions but He sees it all,He knows it all because He's been aflicted Himself because of us....
God bless you all
Posted by: Anka | January 25, 2007 at 11:21 PM
the more we meditate on the death and passion of Christ, the more repentant we become; the more sensitive and pliable we are for our Potter.
Posted by: julie | January 26, 2007 at 09:22 AM
It is not supposed to be a matter of reasoning in posting because when I write devotions, the photo came to my mind for each one. Churches are not really preaching about the blood, the cross, the bleeding savior, salvation alter calls, and the truth is,,, more churches want to be popular with people and not hurt anyones feelings?? I like the passion pictures and I like the ones that show blood too. Course one of the groups I post in?? I get messages saying I am sinning by putting depictions (graven images they call them) on my messages. In the long run, as observing the blogs, I really like them, and each of us needs to be doing exactly what God is leading us to write about, after all, who knows,,, maybe during lent and Easter, God will have already.... come in the rapture?? Keep up the good work and know you are not out to please man or you would not write what God gives you to write, keep it up, Jackie
Posted by: Jackie | January 26, 2007 at 11:43 AM
The story of Moses is just so wonderful to read ... I can keep reading it on and on! I loved 2:23, the last part "... and their cry rose up to God". What a beautiful thought; when we need God, when we talk to him, when we cry, when we worship Him ... it will all rise up to Him. We know that of course, but to read it like that, gave me the chills. Good chills!!
Chapter 3, with the burning bush was just amazing!!! I read verse 6 "When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God". He covered his face? Why did he cover his face? Did he think he was not worth it to look at God? Or was he ashamed, cause of his sin? What a wonderful way to have a converstation with God ... at a burning bush ... The Dutch Bible talks about a blackberry-bush.
Psalm 22 is really inspiring to read! I love both Psalm 22 and 23 ... there's so much to read in those Psalms! Verse 8 kept going through my mind "Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!”. It made my toes curl ... it sounds just so sarcastic. This is what I hear a lot when people talk about religion "Oh really? So you believe in God? Let him make this a better world instead of all the wars that are going on! If you're His children, then He should save you!". Little they know .... Verses 16, 17 and 18 are terrible ... I don't even want to put them down here ...
I think about it a lot how and why Jesus died. I never meditated upon it ... not because I don't want to. But because I don't know how to. I know how to meditate, but I never meditate upon the Lord. For very personal reasons. It sounds weird. I know I will meditate upon the Lord in the future, but it's too early for me now.
Posted by: Mae | January 26, 2007 at 11:44 AM
What stood out to me in today's readings in Exodus is how God chose Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. Moses! The murderer! This showed me that you do not have to be perfect in order to be used by God. He accepts us just the way that we are. Thank you Lord!
I also liked Moses' obedience. God told him what to do and he listened.
I think if that were me today I would have been like, "look God those people are not going to listen to me who am I? Sorry, you may want to find someone else stronger and smarter than me." LOL!
Also, how God not only told Moses not to worry that He would be with him but He also said that He would make the Egyptians look favorably on Moses. He could have just said do as I say and that's that. What a great God you are!
Prayer: For obedience. Give me the wisdom to know when God is speaking to me and give me the strength to be obedient all the time. Whether it is something that I want to do or think that I can do at the time or not.
Praise: Thank you for you Word Lord and revealing yourself to me. You are awesome!!
Posted by: Keysha | January 26, 2007 at 12:05 PM
I remember studying the story of Moses in my Theology A-Levels at 17 and being amazed by it for the first time ever. It prompted me to write this song and todays reading reminded me of that so I dug it out. Thought I'd share it. It's called "Holy Fire"
Walking around, tending my sheep
Never thought I'd get in so deep
A humble shepherd, an outlaw on the run
Why me? What good could I have done?
Out of the darkness a light shone bright
Intruding my day, cleansing my night
Burning Fire, Holy Fire,
Fire getting higher and higher and higher
Burning Fire, Holy Fire,
Fire getting higer and higher and higher.
"Moses, Moses, Take off your shoe"
"This land is far too Holy for you"
I knew who it was and did as he said
Turning my face, my heart filled with dread
"Moses, Moses, I need you"
"Moses, Moses there's something you can do"
"Moses set my people free"
I cried "Why have you chosen me?"
And there was burning fire, Holy Fire, fire getting higher and higher and higher
Burning Fire, Holy Fire,
Fire getting higher and higher and higher
The Lord gave us laws by which to live
Said "I have land and people to give"
"You are the ones whome I choose"
"my love is something you'll never lose"
"Go for it Moses I'll stay by your side"
"I've choen Israel for my bride"
"Lead her to the promised Land"
"Go on Moses, take my hand"
Give me a sign Lord for people to see
For I'm someone they'll never believe
Give me your name by whom am I sent?
He said "I am who I am and no other gent"
See the Burning Fire, Holy Fire
Fire getting higher and higher and higher
Burning Fire, Holy Fire, Fire getting higher and higher and higher
The Lord filled Egypt with Terror and Fear
"Do not enslave my people here"
The bread didn't even have time to rise
We fled Egypt running for our lives
We reached the sea, cried "What can we do"
When all at once it split in two
Lost in the desert we cried out in prayer
We knew the Lord was always there
I'd done what he said, now we were free
I'd loved the Lord and he had loved me
I saw the promised land, my job was complete
I washed Egypts dust from off of my feet
Raised my eyes to Heaven and saw Holy Fire
Fire getting higher and higher and higher.
Hope that doesn't spoil the suspense for anyone reading the stroy of Moses for the first time! ;o)
Posted by: Sarah | January 26, 2007 at 01:33 PM
A point to make in Moses killing the Egyptian...he looked right and left. BUT, He didnt look up! We cannot get away with wrongdoing, if we do somthing cause we think no one is watching, we are wrong, the Lord is watching!
I like Ex 2:24-25 "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them."
God hears our groaning. Even wen we dont pray outright to God, the spirit intercedes for us and speaks through groanings n supplications to God. thats amazing to me! I love how it says, God was concerned for them. In this same way, He loves us and is concerned with all we go through! its amazing the God of the universe is concerned with me!
Another thing, Moses was concerned because He wasnt sure how God could use Him, he had a speech immediment, possibly a stutter. God will use who He wills and will equip them. My own dad has dyslexia n was called a dummy back in school n had to drop out of high school. to this day he has "i'm a dummy' mentality and is often wondering why he cant read and write well, but my dad is a man of God and he has been used by God is such an awesome way..my dad is sooo blessed. He's a tecaher at his church, gives sermons sometimes, has done mission work, does church counseling, did prison ministories and sooo much...every day he is working on something of the Lord. God gave him talent as an artist and he is skilled with his hands in making things. I see a man who is sooooo blessed and used by God, not a dummy, but a man of wisdom and perserverance. God equips those He calls. We may feel we have limitations, but often those limitations are HUGE blessings and inspirations to others! satan may tell us we are no good or useless, but God is not limited by anything!
I definately think about what Christ did for me every day. I mean, I'm soooo grateful. when we really study it at church and get into His suffering, it really hurts b'cos I love the Lord so much, my sweet Jesus, and hurts all the more that He did that for ME! and all of us.
We are currently in the book of John at church sunday nights, we are nearing the time of His crusifixion and it really does get me, i do lose it at church too. when I saw the Passion of the Christ, (yes, i was full on sobbing uncontrollably in the theater) but i was thinking, I couldnt go through that. Do I love anyone that much??? I dont think i honestly can give an affirmative. Would anyone besides Christ do that for me?? I highly doubt it, which makes His love more amazing. It defies human reasoning,...in fact many none of us will ever FULLY grasp His love for us until we see Him.
BUT, knowing Christ is more then an emotional experince. I know many nonbelievers who saw the Passion and cried, but that was it. They didnt "get" that they had a choice to make after seeing what Jesus did for us. What are we doing with Jesus? We cant just cry and say what a good man, He died of the whole world! well, only those who receive the gift are benefactors and heirs. we cant go on living ungodly lives thinking, 'Jesus died for me, I'm safe. back to living for self' What are we doing about that? We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him.
I think we can all say discipline is not pleasant in any way. But i love it!! (afterwards!!) I need His correction. His discipline proves I'm His child. if i was getting away with wrong, thats something to be concerned with....but i'm His child, and as a parent loves his child he corrects him b'cos he knows wats best, he sees the outcome of wat would happen if the child continued to disboey. I need instruction, i need His guidance, His teaching, His leading, His correction. I want God's hand on me every step of the way!!!! when i swerve off the path, i need a good scolding, some pain...b'cos in this, He saves my life!
Posted by: Jenny | January 27, 2007 at 02:02 PM
I mediate on Jesus's death whenever I receive communion. However, not always. I've attended quite a bit of passion plays, and it does help to spell out passion for me, to SEE it, to realize what Jesus went through. This isn't fictional. It actually happened two thousand years ago!
To mediate on Jesus' death...it is a must for every Christian to realize what their God went through for THEM, for US.
Psalms 22, I never realized that Psalms spoke about piercing of hands and feet. My goodness, it stood out to me and got me choked up.
Thank you for this post.
Posted by: Chelsea | January 28, 2007 at 05:49 PM
Posted by: Chintu Ambade | July 16, 2007 at 10:37 PM