Sometimes You Just Gotta Rest

In this crazy busy gotta-do-everything-right-now life we lead, seasons of rest seem to be less and less. So, I’m forcing myself to take one during the month of August. But don’t worry! I’ll be back. (I’m going to pretend you were worried.)

I’ve got some fun things lined up for the fall. Including a guest posts at (in)courage coming at ya on September 2nd and a free giveaway I’m working on with some other writers. It’s good stuff!

In the meantime, because I know how much you’re going to miss your weekly Deeper Devo, here’s a few of my favorites, from last year, to tide you over. (Hint, hint: They cover the life of Joseph.)

The Biggest Misunderstanding of God’s Love

When You Feel Disappointed with God

How to Navigate the Best Life Even Amidst the Worst of Circumstances

The Best Decision You’ll Ever Make

The First Step to Reconciliation

How We Move Past the Hurt and Heal

I appreciate you friend. Without your support (and the encouragement of Jesus of course), I probably would have quit this journey a while back. Will you do me a favor? Over the next month, will you share Deeper Devos with someone new? Muchas gracias! See you in a few weeks!

When the Pressure Is On, Do We Remember?

It’s no secret, I have a terrible memory. I’m not sure why. Partly I think it’s my lack of observation skills. You could tear a large building down. One I’ve driven by time and time again, and for the life of me, I’ll not be able to tell you what’s missing. “Well, hmmm, are there more wildflowers than usual?”

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 15:1-21
Key Verse: “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.” Exodus 15:2

But it’s not just scenery I struggle to take note of. Lines from movies? Forget it, they don’t stick. Historical facts? Let’s just say I’m the last person you want on a trivia team. Names of people at church? I really don’t want to go here. Incidents from high school? I’m beginning to wonder if I was even there. (Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But can we avoid the specifics please?)

I’d like to blame it on pregnancy and lack of sleep and the craziness that comes with being a mother of four. Because let’s be honest, there’s a lot to keep track! Like the last time they each bathed. (Was it Monday? Or was it Saturday? Oh dear, was it Saturday?)

But really, I think I just have a bad memory. And apparently, so did the Israelites.

They’d seen God administer ten miraculous plagues, marched safely away from their captors with the wealth of Egypt on their backs, and crossed the Red Sea with a wall of water on their right and their left. Then they watched as God pummeled one of the strongest military forces in the world (at that time) into the depths of the sea.

To say they’d seen a lot, would be an understatement. Clearly the LORD was on their side and now the entire world knew it. (Or at least all the parts of the world that mattered to Israel.) And the Israelites, safe and free on the other side of the Red Sea, knew it too.

Filled with gratitude and awe for the God who’d just delivered them from captivity, they sang a song of praise, declaring all the things they now knew of the LORD. Let’s look…

Verse 1: Man’s best defense is no match for God’s dominion.  “For he has triumphed gloriously.” Pharaoh’s army was state of the art. With the best equipment, the latest and greatest chariots, the strongest horses – yet they were nothing compared to the LORD. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Ps. 20:7). (The perfect verse for the Israelite’s, don’t you think?)

Verse 3: “The LORD is a man of war.” He doesn’t sit back and let the enemy win. He is a God of justice who fights for his people and delivers them. “The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (v.2). (Truly, He had.)

Verse 6: His right hand is “glorious in power,” shattering the enemy. (They watched it happen. They knew He could do it.)

Verse 7: “In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries,” consuming them like stubble. (Remember stubble from Exodus 5? When the Israelite’s were sent out to gather their own straw, they scurried about the land of Egypt gathering stubble for straw.) He is a God who pays attention my friend. He is a God of retribution.

Verse 11: There is no one like the LORD. He is “majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deed, doing wonders.” (He is in the business of doing wonders.)

Verse 13: His love is steadfast. He guides with his great strength, not to a place of forlorn isolation, but unto his “holy abode.” He frees His people to draw them near. (Is that not amazing?)

Verses 14-16: The neighboring nations have heard and tremble at the greatness of God. “All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.” And they did! Remember what Rahab said to the spies, “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea…and as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted and there was no spirit left in any man because of you” (Josh. 2:10-11). (And that was forty years later.)

Verse 17: God would faithfully bring the people in and plant them on his own mountain. (Israel knew this was God’s plan.)

Verse 18: And there “the LORD will reign forever and ever.” (No one and nothing could change that.)

These are the verses Israel sang loud and proud beside the Red Sea. These are the things they knew to be true of God. They knew there was no God like Him. They knew nothing could stand against Him.

Yet a year later, at the edge of Canaan, faced with a report that the land was good but the people were big and fierce, they forgot the truths they’d sung. They forgot who stood on their side. They forgot the works God had done. They forgot who it was that fought for them.

Oh how quickly we can be a people that forget! And oh how devastating is the result when we don’t take the time to remember! He is God and we are not. Remember when He saved us? Remember when He drew us out of the pit and brought us near? Remember when He filled us with His Spirit? A spirit “not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).

Have we forgotten who He is? Have we forgotten He’s called us to a life of holiness? Have we forgotten the victory we have in Christ? Have we grown fearful and timid at the report of the enemy?

May we always remember who it is we serve and the great and mighty works He has already done. Not to mention the works still to come! Because He who promised is faithful and He will raise us up on the last day to be with Him in the land of promise forever.

So don’t be afraid of the enemy, even when they do look bigger and stronger. For they melt away at the mere thought of Christ. Remember and stand strong, for it’s the LORD who is on our side.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What truths are you going to focus on today? When the enemy hits, will you remember?
What tactics can you use to remember the truths of God’s Word, not just during a crisis, but in the quiet of day by day?

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When God Gives a New Song to Sing

On any given Sunday, you’ll find congregations of people around the world singing songs to the LORD. Beautiful songs with lyrics like, “Show us your glory.” “Open the eyes of my heart, LORD.” “Draw me close to you.” Raising our hands in sincerity to a God we know rules on high, we sing loud and with conviction.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 14
Key Verse: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14

But then Monday comes. Or Wednesday or Friday. And life goes a little askew. Hard things happen. Things we don’t quite understand. Overwhelming things. Unfair things. Things that take us by surprise.

And with no thought to what we just sang on Sunday, we wonder why is this happening? Why is God allowing this? I do my best to serve Him and this is what I get? Upset we lose site of an important truth we see throughout the Bible.

It’s often in the difficult things we best see His glory and come to know Him more.

But I’m not pointing fingers! When I’m up to my neck in circumstances, it’s not generally the splendor of my Savior I’m most concerned about. It’s my survival. Though I know I’d have more peace if I’d simply focus on the Savior.

Just as Israel would have if they’d looked to God when stuck between Migdol and the sea. Strategically speaking, they were doomed. With the sea on one side and the Egyptian army fast approaching on the other, things had suddenly taken a turn for the terrible.

When they looked up, it wasn’t the pillar of cloud they saw. It wasn’t God’s presence they focused on. It was an angry Pharaoh. Who’d sought counsel with his advisors and realized maybe it wasn’t such a good idea he’d just let his entire workforce go. After all, they had a nation to rebuild!

“So he [Pharaoh] made ready his chariot and took his army with him, and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them” (v. 7).

With every Egyptian chariot locked and loaded and headed straight for them, I can’t totally blame the Israelites for their over the top reaction.

Scared out of their newly tied sandals, “They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (v. 11-12).

(Sounds like one of those dramatic speeches I hear from my children when I tell them we’re doing chores Saturday morning. “No, it’s not fair! It would have been better for me to have school today than break my arm vacuuming.”)

You’ll be fine.

Which in short, is the same speech Moses gave Israel. Except a little more valiant. “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today…The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be still.” (v. 13). (Perhaps I’ll break into this speech next time my little loves complain.)

But in all seriousness, Moses gets major points here. Though his blood pressure had to be off the charts, he pointed the people to Jesus. Reminding them, it’s God who’s in charge. It’s God who fights for you. (Remember all those plagues you just witnessed?)

But keep in mind, Moses didn’t know either how God was going to get them out of this little predicament. Not until God told him anyway! “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground” (v. 15-16).

Ohhhh, so that’s how you’re going to get us out of this.

Then the angel of God (Jesus) who had been leading the way, went behind the people. (Reminds me of the verse, “You hem me in behind and before.” Psalm 139:5) And of course the pillar of cloud went also, because Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. Providing light on one side so the Israelite’s could see and cross safely. (Literally, a light unto their path – Psalm 119:105). And darkness on the other so the Egyptian’s could see nothing as Moses raised his staff and the people crossed.

What a night! Could they see the fish in the walls of water? How tall was it? What did it sound like? An unimaginable experience, not even their sandals were muddy. God, in kindness, dried the ground for his people! Allowing each one of them to cross in safety before lifting the cloud so the Egyptians would follow in after, only to be swept away by a sudden, massive deluge of water.

“The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained” (v. 28). “Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians” (v. 30).

Giving them a new song to sing! (See Exodus 15.) “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and the rider he has thrown into the sea” (15:1).

But they didn’t stop there. The Psalms are full of songs regarding this incident.

Psalm 66: 5-6 “Come and see what God has done; he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him.”

Psalm 77:19 “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.”

Psalm 106:1-2, 9 “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise? He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry, and he led them through the deep as through a desert.”

And that’s just a sampling. There’s more!

My friend, to see God at work and experience the helping hand of the Almighty we may need to walk through some tough stuff. Sometimes he may part the waters. Other times, he may not. But if we look to Jesus, either way, He’ll walk us through it. And in the end, we’ll have a new song to sing! One that if shared could be sung for generations to come, both now and in eternity.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
When have you seen God powerfully work in your life? Did He give you a new song to sing?
If you were to write a new song today, what would the first line be?

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The Kindness of God Israel Missed. Have We Missed it Too?

God is so kind. Have you figured that out yet? Instead of leading the people into a battle with the Philistines they #1 weren’t ready for and #2 weren’t prepared for, He led them south. Yet I wonder how many Israelite’s mistook God’s kindness as an act of stupidity. “Why in the world are we going this way?” “This is ridiculous.” “The most direct route is over there.”

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 13:17-22

Key Verse: “By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go.” Nehemiah 9:12

I can almost hear the murmurs. Can you? Mostly because I know I’ve said something similar. Or perhaps it was more like. “You know, if I were running this show, we’d be doing things MUCH differently.” (Guilty again.)

Nonetheless, out of kindness, God took them south. Leading the people with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Anyone else a little curious what that looked like? Did it reach to heaven? Could you see at the back of the pack? I imagine so. Since it says pillar I’m picturing something tall and skinny that during the day spread out at the bottom like a huge cloud to cover the people from the hot desert sun. (Again, kindness.)

Psalm 105:39 says, “He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.” Protection at all hours of the day! The people, though in a land they didn’t recognize, were never without a visible manifestation of God’s presence.

At the completion of the tabernacle God’s glory in the form of cloud and fire then settled into the Holy of Holies. Exodus 40:38 says, “For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.” If the cloud lifted the people knew it was time to pack up and move again. But if the cloud stayed put, the people stayed put.

They never had to question when or where to move. They never had to wonder if God was with them. They never had to debate the glory or existence of the eternal God. He was right there!

God could have just privately told Moses where to go, but instead, in kindness, He made His presence known.

A picture to us of the Holy Spirit today. Who out of kindness, has been given to us as a helper to guide our steps; to show us which way to go; to counsel us in the ways of the word; to comfort and protect. Though not visible, the Holy Spirit is a manifestation of God’s presence in every believer so we don’t have to go this journey alone. Or question the existence of the eternal God because He’s always and forever right here!

Do you see it? The similarities between the pillar of cloud/fire and the Holy Spirit are many.

1. The “cloud” was not given to Israel until after the lamb had been slain, just as it was not until after Christ had been crucified, resurrected, and ascended that the Holy Spirit was given. (1 Peter 4:14 – But now we can say “the spirit of glory and of God rests on us.”)

2. The “cloud” was a merciful and gracious gift to Israel. Nowhere does it indicate that the people asked God for a “cloud” to guide them. And nowhere in the New Testament does it indicate that the apostles asked for the great Comforter to be given to them. It is God’s daily gift to us.

3. Just like the cloud was a covering over Israel, so is the Holy Spirit a covering over us. Protecting us from the evil one and sealing us for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14).

4. It was from within the cloud that the LORD spoke to Israel (Psalm 99:7; Ex. 33:9; Num. 12:5). Just as it’s by way of the Holy Spirit God speaks to believers. Instructing us in the way of truth. John 14:26 says, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

5. The “cloud” was with Israel until they reached the promised land. And so too is the Holy Spirit with every believer until we reach heaven. God didn’t remove his presence when the Israelite’s failed or rebelled and neither does he remove his presence from us. Purchased by the blood of the Lamb, it’s a done deal. Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

Just as God was with Israel day in and day out, so is He today with every one of His children, day in and day out. The question is, will we listen? Will we pay attention? Will we follow? Or like the Israelites will the manifestation of God’s presence come to mean nothing to us?

A year later (give or take), standing at the edge of the Promised Land, the pillar of cloud and fire having lead them every step of the way, the Israelites grumbled in their tents saying, “Because the LORD hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” (Deut. 1:27).

Never mind God’s kindness to us thus far. Never mind His constant presence. God must hate us because the people are like giants in the land of Canaan and the cities are too big! Ever been there? At the corner of bleak and uncertainty, a little dumbfounded as to why God would bring you here, to this place, at this point in your life?

Like the Israelite’s, in overwhelming situations, we’re often quick to forget the Holy Spirit is still guiding, still helping, still comforting, still protecting. And instead of looking up to the pillar of cloud still standing tall over the top of us we look down, overcome by worry at what might lie ahead.

If the Israelite’s had taken a moment to remember God’s kindness, seeking comfort in God’s presence, instead of sinking in their circumstances, I think the story would have turned out much differently. Yes, it was the pillar of cloud that lead the Israelite’s into the wilderness, but it was their sin that kept them there. God was ready to go, but they weren’t willing to follow.

Are we? With the Holy Spirit ever with us, guiding, comforting, helping, protecting, will we go where God calls? Or will we stay put? Forgetting all about His kindness and the promise of His presence no matter where life leads.

Psalm 105:37 says when the LORD brought the people out of Egypt, “there was none among his tribes who stumbled.” Lead by God, under His watch, not one fell on the rough terrain. Likewise Jude 24 says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,” be all the glory!

God’s got this! In kindness, He’s given us His spirit to guide us. He alone can keep us from stumbling. The question is, are we willing to follow?

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What similarities do you see between the pillar of cloud/fire and the Holy Spirit?
How have you seen God’s kindness in your life?
Faced with difficult circumstances when have you been willing to follow and when have you not?

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So You’ve Been Redeemed, Now What?

And they’re off! All 600,000 men, plus women and children. Perhaps making our grand total of Israelite’s hittin’ the road between two and three million. It’s only a guess, we won’t argue about it. But keep in mind Exodus 1 said God multiplied them greatly. And Moses says to the people in Deuteronomy 10:22, “Your Fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.”

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 12:37-13:16
Key Verse: “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the age has come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11

Can you imagine the potty stops with all those people? This was some caravan. Laden with the treasury of Egypt, did they have carts to pull and wagons to pile their stuff in or did they carry it all?

According to Exodus 3:22 they were to have their sons and daughters wear the jewelry they’d acquired. Perhaps here is where we get the phrase “travel in style.” Those kids were looking good. With moms and dads keeping close watch on their littles, I imagine an air of excitement permeated the people.

“Can you believe we’re doing this?”
“I never thought it’d happen!”
“Joseph, slow down, wait for mommy” (Oh you know there was some of that.)

Fresh off the heels of God’s deliverance, I’d say they were happy to carry their kneading bowls of unleavened bread on their shoulders. Shifting baskets of goods from one hip to another. “Don’t worry about it, we’re free!” I’d have been giddy – a fresh start before me.

Like we often are when someone comes to Christ. Freed from the grip of sin, granted new life in Christ, we celebrate, don’t we? We hug and cry tears of joy, exhaling big sighs of relief that our dear friend is now a sister in Christ. And they, cleansed, made new, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, experience a fresh start.

But then what? Usually it doesn’t take long and we (they) are back to reality. Oh yeah, I’m still a sinner. The Christian walk a little more taxing than we thought, we grumble. We grow weary. We sit down. We question. We waiver. We doubt. (See any of that in the book of Exodus? Um, yes.)

Because their story of redemption, echoes ours not only in the rescuing part, but in the journey also. So by stepping back and looking at Israel’s ride, we can gain a better understanding of not only God’s expectations for us. (And His love and patience.) But it also offers a glimpse of what might be waiting for us over the horizon. 1 Corinthians 10:11 says, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction.”

Specifically, I see five takeaways in today’s passage:

  1. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was immediate.

Directly following the Passover (the night of their redemption) came the Feast of Unleavened bread. From the fourteenth through the twenty-first of the month of Abib, they were to eat nothing with yeast to commemorate their Egyptian exodus. “For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses” (Ex. 12:19).

Yeast or leaven often a picture of sin in Scripture, Jesus told the disciples to be careful of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:6). (Because a little bit of sin can permeate the whole batch of dough. You get the idea.)  But what got me here is the timing of the feast. It started the day of Passover. Not a few days later or two months down the road, but that day. A picture to us of immediately, in Christ, leaving our life of sin behind. Not next month or two years from now. But at the point of salvation, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, we’re called to live a righteous, holy life.

  1. God took them the long way.

Verse 37 says, “The people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth.” Away from the land of the Philistines, though that would have been the shortest route (Ex. 13:17). Then from Succoth they went to Etham and then turned back to Pi-hahiroth (Ex. 14:2), where they found themselves in a bit of a pickle. But it was there between the Sea and an approaching Egyptian army (because Pharaoh had changed his mind), that they experienced one of the most remarkable miracles of all time – the parting of the Red Sea.

Ever feel like God’s taking you the long way? Uh-huh. Yet just like with Israel, maybe he’s protecting us from a battle we aren’t prepared to fight. (They weren’t ready to face the Philistines.) Or maybe he’s leading you to a place where his power and protection and providence will be so evident, like the parting of the Red Sea, you’ll praise him for it the rest of your life. Keep in mind the route made no sense to Israel, but made perfect sense to God.

  1. They were told to remember.

“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast” (Ex. 12:14). Remembering was everything. If they forgot, they’d turn away. So, from the get-go they were told to celebrate annually the Passover and Feast of Unleavened bread.

We’re not to forget either. Meeting together on Sunday’s, we remember. Partaking in communion, we remember. Annually celebrating the resurrection at Easter, we remember. Or do we? Distracted by the music we don’t like or the events going on later that day or Aunt Margaret’s comment to me last year at the Easter gather, do we remember?

  1. They were to consecrate to God all the firstborn.

Whether it was an animal or a child, the firstborn belonged to God. The firstborn acting as a representative of each one to come after, it established God’s ownership over a family. How’d they do this? Well, if it was a firstborn ox, sheep, or goat, it was sacrificed on the altar. But if it was a donkey or a child, a lamb was offered in its place. (Anyone else find it interesting we’re in the same category as donkeys? Both stubborn, both unclean – the only answer is a substitute!)

Later on, in Numbers 18 the redemption price for a firstborn son was set at five shekels of silver. (Joseph and Mary even paid this for Jesus.) A reminder to every set of new parents that they’re kids belonged to God. Today we might do a baby dedication at church, and the idea is the same. The key is to follow through with it, trusting that God loves our kids even more than we do.

  1. The enemy wasn’t far behind.

Fresh out of the gate and who was behind them? Pharaoh and the hosts of Egypt. A vivid reminder there’s an active enemy out there, pursuing us with all they’ve got. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

So what do we do? We stand firm in our faith (1 Peter 5:9). Because just like God showed up for Israel, he’ll show up for us. Restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing us in Christ (1 Peter 5:10).

The parallels are many my friend, but the promises are more. So don’t lose heart – take heart. Jesus will walk us through it. Just like He did, hour by hour, day by day, with Israel.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What parallels do you see between Israel’s journey out of Egypt and the Christian life?
Which parallel are you dealing with right now?
What promise can you hold onto to make sure you are standing firm in the faith?

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It’s Not What We Have, It’s How We Use It

It was done. The LORD passed over as he’d said and just like that the 10th plague was finished. The firstborn of every Israelite family was still safe, alive, and covered by the blood of the lamb. While the Egyptians, stunned, heartbroken, scared, mourned the loss of theirs. The death of their loved ones not necessarily a quiet passing, it says the Egyptians cried out in the night. Along with Pharaoh, who now faced life apart from his oldest boy.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 12:29-36
Key Verse: “The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing.” Exodus 12:35

The loss more than he could handle, Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron while it was still dark. “Get out of here. Go, all of you. Your flocks, your herds, your little ones. Leave. And bless me on your way out!” (My paraphrase.)

At last, they heard the word they’d been waiting for! “Go!” The Israelite’s after 430 years were free! Redeemed! No longer slaves in a foreign land, but God’s chosen people on their way to the Promised Land.

Walking away from the only life they’d ever known, with no time to prepare. The exodus so sudden, not even their cakes of dough had time to rise (v. 39). But it didn’t matter because the LORD was on watch that night (v. 42). They’d be fine, this was God’s will and He was with them. (A point I’d do well to remember when life surprises me, giving me little time to prepare.)

But they certainly weren’t leaving empty handed. Instructed to ask the Egyptians “for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing” (12:35), they had plenty. In fact, they were rich! The Egyptians more than a little afraid of the Israelites by this point, gave abundantly and gave freely. So much so, verse 36 says they plundered the Egyptians.

Can you imagine that conversation? “Hey, can I have your gold?” Or was it, “Oh by the way, I’d like your valuables. And that blue fabric back there – I’ll take that too.” Or maybe the shyer type took the lighter approach, “So I was thinkin’ maybe you could give me your valuables?” No matter how you state it, sounds awkward doesn’t it?

Yet the Israelites were told to ask. Specifically, the women, according to Exodus 4:22, “But each woman shall ask of her neighbor…for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing.” Fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham hundreds of years prior to bring his descendants out the land of their affliction “with great possessions” (Gen. 15:14). Another example to us that God never forgets a promise.

But the gold and silver spilling out of their pockets was more than just a fulfilled promise, it was a visible demonstration of God’s justice. Back wages, if you will, for their years of unpaid service. Not a day of injustice went by that God didn’t see and calculate. A refreshing thought, isn’t it?

It’s also a picture for us of the riches we gain at the point of salvation. Keep in mind the overall picture being developed in Exodus is Christ’s ability to redeem all people, not just the Israelite’s. And when He does, he grants us gifts. #1 Lavishing us with every spiritual blessing, “according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). #2 Sealing us “with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Eph 1:7, 13-14). #3 Filling us each with spiritual gifts. Ephesians 4:8 says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

Gifts like teaching, serving, encouraging, leading. Or mercy, wisdom, faith. (There’s more. God’s creative. This is not an exhaustive list.) In the first century church, there was also the gifts of healing, miraculous powers, the speaking of tongues, and the discerning thereof. Which God used to confirm the truth of His message. (Now we have the Bible to do that.)

In addition, James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” And I’ve got a lot of those! The point is, our pockets are just as full as theirs were! But the question is, what will we do with it all?

The Israelite’s chose well when they used their abundance of riches to build the Tabernacle. They gave freely and without restraint. Each one more than willing to handover the wealth I’m sure they’d come to cherish. In fact, they gave so much, Moses told them to stop!

Hearts overflowing with gratitude for the salvation they neither earned nor achieved, the Israelite’s used what they’d been given for God’s purposes. Their willingness a notable example to us of using our gifts for God’s glory. Building up and enhancing his kingdom, instead of our own. Keeping in mind if it weren’t for God, we’d have none of it.

But the pouring back of our gifts, the using them for God’s purposes and not our own, is not our natural bent. What if we need that money? What if we could use our talents for something beyond the church? A thought that if we’re honest, floats in and out of our minds. But the blessing of using what we have for God’s glory, will always far outweigh the blessing of using it for our own.

What I can gain now, is no comparison to what I can gain later. Besides, using the gifts God’s given me for my own purposes, doesn’t typically lead to good places.

Unsure if Moses would ever come down from the mountain, it was only a matter of weeks before the Israelite’s reached into their gold laden pockets to make a calf to worship. Using the gifts God had given them for their own satisfaction resulting in a fast and furious walk down the path of sin!

Igniting God’s anger. (He sent a plague.) Putting them at risk of attack. (Ever considered how sin puts us at risk of attack by the enemy?) And causing division. It’s at this point the Levite’s were separated from the rest of the nation as God’s ordained priests. But the original plan was for everyone to be a priest.

Because of Israel’s choice to serve their own desires, they missed out on some serious blessing.

To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). But we don’t sweat it. Just as God never missed a day of injustice, neither does he miss a day of offering given in His name. “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Heb. 6:10).

Our pockets are plum full. Overflowing actually. The question isn’t, do we have anything to give? The question is, what will we do with what we’ve been given?

The choice is ours. Choose wisely.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What gifts has God given you that you can use for His glory?
How are you currently using the gifts God’s given you?

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The Treasure of Passover

Digging into God’s word is like going on a guaranteed treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to get, but you can rest assured it will be well worth the effort.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 12:7-13, 21-28
Key Verse: “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” Psalm 119:162

Sifting through the seemingly insignificant details of the Bible my favorite, because that’s where the real gems are. The ins and outs of Passover, our Scripture today, a fitting example of the spoil to be found.

  1. Selecting the lamb. The Israelites were to select their lamb on the 10th day of the month but it was not to be killed until twilight of the 14th. As such the lamb was appointed unto death before it was slain, just as Christ was, “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19). During that four day period the family inspected the lamb to be sure it was without blemish. Jesus too was inspected prior his death. Interrogated before the high priest and Pilate who in John 18:38 said to the Jews, “I find no guilt in him.”</li
    1. It had to be a lamb without blemish. Because nothing but perfection can satisfy a Holy God. Foreshadowing Christ who though tempted in every way, remained sinless, “A lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19).
    2. The lamb was roasted, not raw or boiled. Boiling the lamb would have taken too long. And raw, besides being disgusting, was a pagan tradition associated with the worship of false gods. But more importantly, the fire represented the lamb enduring the wrath of God, just as God poured his wrath on Christ. “Wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed…and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
    3. They were to eat the flesh as well: Sound familiar? “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man…you have no life in you” (John 6:53).
    4. They were to eat all the lamb. Because Christ did not just sacrifice part of himself.
    5. And nothing was to remain until morning. No leftovers this time, because the sacrifice of the Lamb of God is not an ongoing process. Christ died once for all and it was finished. (Hebrews 9:25-28
    6. They ate it with unleavened bread. Leaven in Scripture, symbolic of sin, was not to be part of this meal. Nor was it allowed for seven days after during the feast of Unleavened Bread. Because when we come to Christ, we’re to leave our life of sin behind and walk thereafter in righteousness.
    7. They ate with bitter herbs. Lest they forgot where they came from! The bondage and persecution the Israelites had suffered in Egypt was unpleasant bitter thing. Yet so was the undeserved crucifixion of our Savior.
    8. They ate ready to go. “With your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand,” Their deliverance at hand they were ready. Ready to go and be a people set apart for God. But the question is, delivered and set free, are we? “Having fastened on the belt of truth” and for shoes, “having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace,” and taken up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Gal. 6:14-17), are we ready?

    A meal of fellowship they ate with family and friends. (And still do.) The Passover meal called Seder today traditionally consists of the roasted bone of a lamb, roasted or hard-boiled eggs. Horseradish and/or romaine lettuce for the bitter herbs. And parsley dipped in salt water in place of the hyssop.

    Hyssop being a sturdy bushy plant with minty leaves, it was used at Passover like a paintbrush to apply the blood of the lamb to the outside doorposts. Later it was used to sprinkle blood on people (or things) for ceremonial cleansing. Not surprisingly it was used to offer Jesus sour wine while he hung on the cross as the agent of our cleansing.

    Today’s Seder or Passover meal also consists of Charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, sugar, and cinnamon. (Resembling a paste. The only sweet food at the meal.) Perhaps a reminder of the sweetness of redemption. Along with three pieces of matso or unleavened bread.

    Traditionally the unleavened bread is placed in a bag with three chambers called an echad, which means one in Hebrew. The matso (unleavened bread) placed in the first chamber is never seen or touched during the meal. The matso placed in the second chamber is broken in half at the start of the meal. One half goes back in the bag and the other is wrapped in a linen cloth. The piece of matso in the third chamber is used to eat the Passover (Seder) meal.

    The piece of matso wrapped in the linen cloth is hidden during the meal as a game for the children who are present. Once they find it, it is held for ransom. A tradition I’m sure many have fond memories of. But it’s also another detail with meaning.

    The echad (the one bag with three chambers), being a picture of the trinity, the piece never seen or touched representing God the Father. The piece broken, with half hidden and placed in a linen cloth, a picture of Christ. (Remember Christ’s words to the disciples, “This is my body broken for you.” His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45) And the piece eaten with the meal, a picture of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer.

    Yet the Jewish people traditionally view the three pieces of matso in the echad as representing Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Though they can’t explain why they break Isaac in half and wrap part of him in a linen cloth.

    I know what you’re thinking (because I’m thinking it too). How could they not see it? Year after year of the Seder meal, matso, and echad, yet still the true meaning slips by the Jewish people.  But how many details have slipped past me? The stories in Scripture something I’ve heard since I was a little girl.

    Romans 11 tells us the LORD has blinded the Jews for a time, handing us an explanation as to why they just don’t see it. But what excuse do we have? God’s word a precious treasure are we seeking it?

    “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). Therefore, “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (Ps. 119:162).

    Keep digging my friend, and I’ll dig with you. There’s much more treasure to be found.

    Contemplate and Evaluate:
    What details blessed you most regarding the ins and outs of Passover?
    Do you nourish yourself with God’s word? Or is it merely a task or something you get to if there’s time?
    How can you rearrange your schedule to put Christ first?

    (Some of the information I found on the Seder meal came from A website I highly recommend as you dig into the details of Scripture.)

Why The Passover Is As Much Our Backstory As It Was Theirs

Besides parenting and folding a fitted bed sheet and feeding six people breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, writing has been one of the most challenging things I’ve put my mind to. Sharing details in a succinct manner is not easy. Each new story is like sewing a patchwork quilt. Turning squares this way and that; removing one and replacing it with another; until it looks just right in hopes of producing a “Wow, how lovely,” or “That’s incredible,” or a very special “I need another look,” from anyone who encounters it.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 11 – 12:7, 13
Key Verse: “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7b

The problem is, there’s always leftover squares. Details you wanted to include but for the sake of impact and purpose and a story your reader can easily follow, they had to be left out. And let me just tell you, choosing which details stay and which go, is like trying to decide which child gets on the plane with you and which one stays behind. It’s excruciating my friend.

Sometimes an author might add a bonus chapter at the end, filled with all the favorites that just wouldn’t fit in chapter five. Or other times after taking several chapters to lead the reader where they want, the author may pause to tell the backstory, adding in elements that didn’t fit elsewhere.

Which is exactly what Moses does for us in Exodus 11 and 12. After weaving the sovereignty of God through nine plagues, over four chapters, he pauses to give us some backstory.

Verses one and two of chapter eleven filling us in on a conversation Moses likely had with the LORD during the dark hours of the ninth plague where the LORD informs him, “You’re almost done. There’s just one to go.” Allowing Moses to respond with “Fine, no problem,” when Pharaoh says to him after the three days of pitch darkness, “Take care never to see my face again” (10:28).

But before Moses walks out leaving Pharaoh in the dust forever, chapter eleven gives us the rest of the story. Verses 4-9 a continuation of Moses and Pharaoh’s final conversation, we learn Moses gave Pharaoh one final warning. “Thus says the LORD: About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die” (11:4-5a).

Midnight! Yikes! Things were happening quickly, wouldn’t you say? Now it’s possible Moses meant midnight tomorrow or midnight in a few days, but it doesn’t say that. The text just says midnight. Leading me to believe there’s mere hours until the grievous final blow against the gods of Egypt.

Which in turn, means Israel was just mere hours from Passover. When the LORD would pass over Israel, instead of striking them with the same deadly plague, as long as the Hebrew household was covered by the blood of the lamb.  (There’s so much symbolism here, I’m giddy!)

But this wasn’t something God sprung on the people the morning before. According to chapter 12 (the backstory), God had been instructing for a few days now and Israel had been preparing. Selecting their male lamb (a year old, without blemish) four days prior to Passover. Separating it from the flock, they checked it over to be sure there were no blemishes. Many probably brought it indoors for those four days, keeping it close, making the sacrifice that much harder. (Think any kiddos grew attached to little lamby?)

Then at twilight on day fourteen, they killed it. At which time they were to use hyssop to place the blood of the lamb on the two doorposts and lintel leading into their homes. Then they were to roast the lamb and eat until it was gone. Any leftovers had to be burned.

When the LORD came that night to Egypt, the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, showed propitiation had been made for the household. Because they weren’t exempt. Ezekiel 20 explains how the Israelites weren’t any better than the Egyptians. They too worshiped idols and whored after false gods (Joshua 24:14). They too were unrighteous and deserving of death, just as we all are. “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10).

But God, for the sake of his glory before the nations and the fulfillment of his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saved them anyway. Yet he couldn’t just ignore their sin. Payment needed to be made, “for the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Thus, God enacted the principle of substitution. In place of the firstborn, was the innocent blood of the lamb.

A backstory we should be well familiar with because we’ve got the same one. I smile not because my day is perfect, but because my Savior is. I have hope not because I’m any good, but because my Savior is. “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7b).

Hebrews 9:22 makes it clear, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” Therefore, Christ’s blood was shed in our place. That first Passover and the day of Christ’s crucifixion, the blood was a propitiation (an appeasement) of the wrath of God. It’s not that the penalty for our sins was nullified; it’s that the penalty for our sins has been paid. “We have now been justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9).

Not because we deserve it, but that God might be glorified. That those who hear and believe may praise His Holy Name. Along with the angels, in awe of His willingness to die for a wretched people like us.

On that dreadful night in Egypt, when the LORD passed over, it didn’t matter who was in the Israelite home. It didn’t matter if they had a sketchy past or were a strange mix of people. It didn’t matter if they’d messed up yesterday or the day before that. It didn’t matter if they’d struggled and failed yet again to conquer a particular sin. The only thing that mattered, was the covering of the blood of the lamb.

My friend, it’s not going to church that saves us. It’s not being good. It’s not giving to the poor or walking the straight and narrow. What saves us is the covering of the blood of our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. It’s the backstory of every believer and it’s always, every day, one hundred percent, perfectly sufficient.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Are you covered by the blood of Lamb? Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
If this is your backstory, praise the LORD! Thank Him for his grace and mercy extended to you. And share it! Give someone the extended version today, with all the added details, as to why you smile and why you have hope.

Thanks for studying with me!

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When God Gives Us a Story to Tell

Do you ever get weary of saying the same things over and over to your kids? Me too. Stuck on repeat most of the day all I need is an automated recording of my voice that plays when the kids hit a certain decimal level and I’d be good to go. “Hey, come on guys, get along.” (28 seconds later) “Be nice.” (15 seconds) “Share.” (5 seconds) “If he had the toy first, you need to give it back.” All the while I’m outside enjoying some peace and quiet.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 10
Key Verse: “Then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” Deuteronomy 6:21

Now Exodus 10 doesn’t say it, but I’m just wondering if Moses was growing a little weary of saying the same thing over and over to Pharaoh. Because this time, with the eighth plague, the LORD adds a reminder. “Go in to Pharaoh…that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them” (v. 2).

“There’s a purpose for all this Moses. So keep at it. Just think of the testimony you’ll be able to tell your grand kids.” (My paraphrase.) And in turn, they can tell their children.

Deuteronomy 6:20-21 says, “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.”

With obedience rooted in salvation, they weren’t to forget how God rescued them. They were to tell their sons and daughters forever. Describing with detail the Nile of blood, the frogs, the gnats, the flies. The death of Egypt’s livestock, the boils, the hail, and then the eighth plague, the plague of locusts.

Reciting each event with awe and gratitude, they were to tell of God’s gracious protection over His people. His power. His glory. His promise. And then the victory. The redemption.

In regard to the eighth plague, they were to tell how the Egyptian servants begged Pharaoh to give in, to look around at the already ruined land, and to say yes to the God of Israel. And how Pharaoh tried compromising by insisting the kids stay behind.

Can’t you just picture the wide-eyed faces of little Jewish boys and girls at this point in this story? “Leave us behind?” And hear the cheers when told Grandpa Moses didn’t give in! “No, no grandpa would never agree to that. Instead he stretched out his staff and a fierce wind ignited blowing in dense swarms of locusts.”

Go grandpa Go!

Darkening the land (v.15), the locusts ate anything and everything left after the hail. Including the wheat and emmer, Egypt’s last hope of avoiding widespread famine. The land already in ruins prior to the invasion (v. 7), I can’t imagine what it looked like after. A skeleton of what it once was, Pharaoh referred to the eight plague as a death for him (v. 17).

No longer was there crops to trade or food to eat. Egypt a wasteland, the average Egyptian had no hope at this point. The gods of the harvest failing them just as every other god had done, what were they to eat in the coming days, weeks, months? How would they survive?

Gloom and doom the banner overshadowing their every move, it appears the ninth plague, darkness, hit close on the heels of the eighth. Verse 21 says it was “a darkness to be felt.” Unannounced in its coming, for three days the people sat pummeled with pitch darkness. (So much for Annie’s “The sun will come out tomorrow.”)

Scared, no one moved (v. 23). After all they had been through, most probably leery of what might be lurking in the darkness. This the final blow to the gods of Egypt, because most, if not all, worshiped the sun god Ra or Re (depending on your source). Deemed creator of everything, he was the big guy in the sky. The god of all gods.

Sound familiar? We have a God of all gods, but it’s not the sun, it’s the Son. LORD of Lords and King of kings, Jesus is the Creator (Heb. 1:2). And the radiance of God’s glory (Heb. 1:3). In fact, in eternity, the new Jerusalem will have “no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

Now I don’t know about you, but I smell a sultry pile of deception. Satan, a master at twisting the truth, was hard at work in the land of Egypt. Just as he is today, deceiving the nations (Rev. 20:3).

Though no people group sits without excuse, for God’s eternal power and invisible attributes have been made evident from the beginning of time (cf. Rom. 1:18-25), there is a roaring lion seeking to pull the wool over our little lamb eyes.

And he’s good at it. Taking Scripture out of context. Making it sound almost right, unfair, impossible, unimportant. Today’s standards overriding God’s ideals. Tempting us to think God’s grace is something of a past paradigm. Ineffective right now because otherwise my life wouldn’t be so hard.

But maybe it’s hard – so we’ll have a story to tell.

So we too can testify of God’s rescue, his grace and mercy, his authority. His deliverance from perils greater than me. His strengthening when I couldn’t walk the dusty road another day. His provision when I had nothing in and of myself to give.

Just think of the impact such a story could give. Maybe you’ve experienced it, the testimony of another encouraging your faith or opening your eyes for the first time to God’s undeniable grace. Or maybe right now, you’re the main character of a cliffhanger. One with an ending not quite written.

My friend, Israel’s story wasn’t quite written in Exodus 10 either. The promise of victory had been given, but they didn’t know exactly how or when it would end. The story wasn’t over. Yet God reminded Moses right in the middle, to keep at it, because the story matters. Not just for today, but tomorrow.

God gave Israel a tremendous story to tell so the next generation (and the ones after that) would know of His faithfulness. His active involvement in their lives. His sovereignty. His power. So they would trust, even when they couldn’t see. So they would believe, even when they didn’t know (their own story not fully written). So they would obey, their obedience deeply rooted in the foundation of God’s loving redemption.

If today, you’re holding onto God’s grace one day at a time, just think of the stories you’ll be able to tell. The glory you’ll be able to give to God when you get on the other side and realize, He was faithful.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What is your redemption story? Have you shared it recently?
What story is God writing in your life right now? Which of God’s attributes can you testify to?

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When the Storm Hits, Where Will You Be?

Storms excite me. Much to the dismay of my mother-in-law whom I left alone in the basement with my four terrified children (one of which was so scared he had just thrown up), because I had to go outside to see the tornado. I know, I’m a terrible mother! Or daughter-in-law, whichever you prefer. But I had to see it! (My excuse still to this day.)

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 9: 13-35
Key Verse: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36, NIV)

And it was worth the peek. God’s power, vividly on display in the storm, amazes me. When I see those dark clouds billowing in the west, I get all kinds of eager. I check the three different radar apps on my phone (don’t judge) and I watch it build. Oh man, it’s coming. How’s it going to hit us? When’s it going to hit us?

Then it gets here. Standing in awe at the window I love watching Jesus direct the lightning bolts (Job 38:35). I can see for miles, each one sent to its place, standing at attention before the King of Glory. Then I count and listen; how close was it? The rumbles of thunder apparently what Heaven’s throne room sounds like (Rev. 4:5). And the closest any of us has come to hearing the audible voice of God (Job 40:9).

But I don’t think I’d have been standing by the window when the seventh plague hit Egypt. Hiding under my bed, is probably more like it. The storm unequal to anything they had ever seen, God warned Pharaoh first. “Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall…therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter” (v. 18-19).

It’s coming. If you’re outside you won’t survive. Having seen enough already “whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field” (v. 20-21); much to their detriment.

The next morning, as promised, dark clouds billowed with vengeance. God flinging wide the doors to his storehouses of hail (Job 38:23), it fell hard “with fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail.” The pouring rain and thunder at a standstill over the vast kingdom, except in the land of Goshen. There, it was dry. Perhaps overcast, but I’m picturing sunny with a slight breeze out of the west and eighty-two degrees.

How long did the storm last? It doesn’t say. Long enough to break every tree in the field, strike anyone or anything caught outside, including the animals that had either been spared from the pestilence of the fifth plague or brought from neighboring countries afterwards, and crush the crops. Specifically, the flax and barley, placing the seventh plague most likely in the month of January. With the 10th plague (and thus Passover) occurring around Easter (Fitting huh?).

Growing up I pictured the plagues one right after the other. Ten plagues in ten days, but perhaps it took a year. With enough time in between each one for the Egyptians to consider their losses and their loyalties. The Egyptian gods doing nothing to protect them, can you imagine their dinner conversations? “I think we should serve the God of the Hebrews.” “What? Are you kidding?” But after the seventh plague I’m thinking there were a few more converts.

With a storm of this magnitude there was no denying God’s power or presence in the land of Egypt. God had shown up to save his people. His wrath pummeling the enemy. Incidentally, David spoke of his own rescue in similar manner, describing God’s presence as a storm.

“He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. The LORD also thundered in the heavens…And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them” (Psalm 18:10-14).

David goes on to say, “He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me” (v. 17). Sounds exactly like the seventh plague, don’t you think? God thundering from the heavens with hailstones, fire, and flashes of lightning.

And you know what? It’s not the last time God will show up in this manner. In the time of the great tribulation when the seventh bowl is poured out, He plans to do it again (Rev. 16:18). “And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each” (v. 21), will fall on the enemies of His people.

In other words, it’s coming. We’ve been fair warned. The question is, will we heed the word of the LORD, get inside, and be under the covering of Christ? Or will we ignore it, as the Egyptians did, paying little attention to the caution of God.

John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (NIV).

We can’t save ourselves, but we can come under the covering of Christ. “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:9, NIV)

By sincere, whole-hearted repentance. As opposed to Pharaoh who only went half way. Calling Moses and Aaron (because he knew they were the only ones who could fix this) he said to them, “This time I have sinned: the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong” (v. 27). In other words, “Make it stop!”

But Moses knew it was a hoax (v. 30). Pharaoh wasn’t sorry that he was a grievous sinner, he was sorry that his crops had been grievously destroyed – his economy collapsing.

My friend, repentance is of the heart, not the heartache. To repent means to change one’s mind. In the Biblical context to repent is to change one’s mind about two things: Who we are (a sinner) and who Christ is (the Savior).

And when that happens, with genuine sincerity, you can know, you’re safe in the arms of Jesus. Brought in, and given shelter from the storm. It’s as simple as “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

So seek shelter while you still can my friend; for there’s a storm brewin’ on the horizon.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Have you trusted in Christ for salvation with a sincerity that spills forth in devotion?
Who can you share the love of Christ with today

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