October 15, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 11

God has just sent nine incredible plagues upon Egypt to display His power to them, but Pharaoh, in his stubbornness, will not let the Israelites go. God has now told Moses to prepare the people because the tenth and final plague (striking down the firstborn child of all Egyptians in the land) will be the one that breaks the will of Pharaoh and forces his hand to allow the Israelites to leave.

There are a number of hard questions that come to mind from this passage. Why does God allow children to take the punishment for what Pharaoh is doing? Why does God continue to harden Pharaoh’s heart toward letting the Israelites go? Why couldn’t God just kill Pharaoh or miraculously transport all the Israelites to the Promised Land and skip all these plagues? These are questions we may struggle to understand. I know from other places in the Bible that God was hardening Pharaoh’s heart so that His power would be displayed and His name would become famous, but this is hard for me to comprehend.

Many people wrestle with these questions and they often become a stumbling block in trusting Jesus. They wonder how a loving, good God allow children to be killed, or more generally, how can a good God allow bad things to happen? I don’t have any complete answers; no human does. But think about this: what kind of God would our God be if we could give an adequate explanation for everything He said and did? What kind of God would He be if we could completely understand Him and there were no mystery about Him at all? He would be like our equal, and that is not the God that’s revealed in the Bible.

The truth is that we can’t understand the mind of God (1 Cor. 2:16) and we can’t think His thoughts or fathom His ways (Isaiah 55:8). It is much like a young child’s relationship with his parents. A toddler doesn’t really understand why certain decisions are made or why he has to take medicine or why his parents act the way they do. God’s ways are so high and His thoughts are so far beyond us. It is the mysteries of life and the tough questions about God that make Him a wonder to us, that draw us to know Him more and to cling to Him as our loving Father. Although we do not have all the answers, we can trust the One who does to be good, true and faithful.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd


October 14, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 10

The saga continues…Pharaoh is stubborn and God is relentless in showing His power. Some people will never learn! Pharaoh is a liar and constantly goes back on his word. He tries to entice Moses to compromise, saying “worship God if you will, but don’t leave Egypt to do it”, then “you can go, but don’t go far”, then “the men can go but women and children must stay here”, et cetera. All of these are compromises on what God commanded Moses to do. Some of Pharaoh’s reasoning even seems reasonable, but it’s not our job to determine what is reasonable – it is our job to obey God precisely.

I love Moses’ reply in verse 26: “Our livestock too shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind!”

Compromise is the beginning of the end. Don’t do it.

Verse 2 gives us further insight into why God allowed all of these occurrences and why He didn’t make Pharaoh obey from the beginning. As we learned already this week, one reason was to show His glory. Verse 1-2 give us another reason: “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”

Tell your children and grandchildren. God wants us to talk of Him in our homes and teach our kids about Him. Do you have a plan for this? What do you want your kids to leave home with? In what ways will you equip them? Here are some things for you to think about today:
1. Talk to them about the work of God in your life
2. Teach them about the Word of God and its impact on your family
3. Take them along with you in serving the world for God

Deuteronomy says it this way in chapter 6:6-9:
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

What an awesome privilege we have to show our children the work of God in our lives! How can you show Him off today?

Posted by: Tim Parsons

October 13, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 9


Maybe He is. Or maybe He already has your full attention. I won’t presume upon your life, but I know that at times in my life, He’s had to shake my world up so that I would stop and recognize that He is the Sovereign God of the universe.

But what if He is trying to get your attention, right now, today, through the reading of Exodus 9? God is a jealous God, and He is serious about having your undivided attention.

In today’s reading, God shows us the side that many of us don’t like to talk about: His jealous wrath. God loved His people, the Israelites, and He loved His servant Moses. He wanted them to be free. He had a plan and purpose for them. Moses challenged Pharaoh face-to-face and told Him about the Lord. He even warned him of the consequences of disobeying the Lord. Pharaoh, whose heart was hardened, chose not to obey and thus came the onslaught of plagues. In chapter 9, we encounter the death of the Egyptian livestock, the plague of boils, and the plague of hail. Pharaoh, confident in his own power and believing in his own divinity, refused to let the Israelites go. The vicious cycle of disobedience led to more and more pain and reproof.

The crux of what I want to drive home is this:
Even when God turned up the heat, Pharaoh refused to give Him his full attention and compliance.

Has this statement characterized your life at times? Is it true now?

Today, my challenge to you is simple: stop. Tell the Lord that you are 100% focused on Him. Give him your undivided attention. Give Him total devotion. Should you choose not to, know that God may turn the heat up in your life to bring you back to Him.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

October 12, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 8

“That they may know He is Lord…”

We have another great passage today. God is glorifying Himself through these chapters, and He wants you to read this in awe of who He is. There is a very important principle in today’s lesson. I will attempt to be faithful to the text by remaining true to the author’s intended meaning and ultimately God’s meaning in this chapter.

Today, we read how God continues to inflict plagues on Pharaoh and the land of Egypt because of the hard heart of Pharaoh. In this chapter alone we see three plagues: frogs (v.1-15), gnats (v.16-19), and flies (v.20-32). Each of these plagues was caused by God because Pharaoh would not let the Israelites leave Egypt. After each plague, Pharaoh goes back on his word and refuses to let the people go. This chapter is just part of the whole story of God freeing His people from Egypt, but it has so many important principles. I will just name some:

1. God is fighting for His people. He is showing persistence in freeing His people from the bondage of their slavery. He won’t stop until they are free.
2. God is showing His justice. God heard the cry of His people and He will not let evil prevail forever. Pharaoh is going down.
3. God is establishing a mediator. God speaks to Moses to carry out the plan and spread message. God is establishing Moses as the mediator between Himself and the world. This will be evident in the years when Israel is in the wilderness. As the mediator, Moses is foreshadowing Christ, who will be the one to ultimately free God’s people from their slavery and who will live as the permanent mediator between God and His people.
4. God is showing His power. Even the magicians can’t replicate the plagues. The Lord is able to do what He wants.
5. Even unbelievers know the truth about the existence of God! Pharaoh says in verse 8, “Plead with the LORD to take away the frogs”. He knows that God exists. He knows God is behind all of this and that God has the power to take away the plagues, yet he does not let the people go! People can believe in God and still have hard hearts.
6. God’s purpose is to glorify Himself. I propose that God has done all of this to reveal His glory. Verses 10 and 22 show that all of this is so they might know that, 1) He is the Lord and 2) There is no one like Him. To accomplish this, God will use anything and everything: a hard heart, the cry of His people, creation itself (the animals and insects), etc. But most of all, we see that He uses a faithful man who is committed to God.

Today’s “Walk-Away”

I’m just going to shoot it straight with you: the purpose of your life is…

1) To intimately know God
2) To glorify God

I know you’ve heard it before, maybe so much that it has begun to take on a false meaning. So pause to take it in: You exist to make the God of the universe known, true to His character as revealed in scripture. Your decisions, your time, your marriage, your work, and your ministry should all point to this great God. Any prayers for success in these areas should be for His sake. Check your heart to see whether you’re praying for success for your own sake or for the Lord.

John 14:13 says to ask anything of God and He will answer, so that the Father may be glorified through the Son.

Look at verse 10 in today’s passage: “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.” God did what Moses asked and was faithful to Him because God had a plan to glorify Himself, and Moses was committed to that plan. Are you committed to God’s glory? Is the motive behind all you ask of Him to make the God of the universe known?

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione