~ 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!