Monthly Archives: January 2016

Jan 31 – Oh, Moses

Exodus 4-6

Moses. Moses. Moses. (I am shaking my head) You really didn’t want to be Israel’s leader, did you?

Six times in the chapters we read today, Moses tried to talk God out of sending him. He said things like, ‘They won’t believe me.’ ‘I am slow of speech.’ ‘Please send someone else.’ ‘Why did you ever send me?’ ‘If the Jews won’t listen to me, what makes You think Pharaoh will?’ ‘Pharaoh won’t pay attention to me because of the way I talk.’

Sometimes Moses protested right after God promised to do great things through him. And sometimes God was a little angry at this reluctant leader.

Moses seems to be inhibited by his speech. Did he stutter? Did he have a deformity? If it was holding Moses back, why didn’t God just heal him? God does all things well. And in this case, Moses didn’t need to be healed.

Reading about Moses reminds me God can use the least of us to accomplish great things. We don’t have to be the best looking, most talented, most charismatic people in the church. What we need is to trust God, to obey Him even if our knees are shaking.

The Charlton Heston version of Moses shows a strong, confident, fierce leader who led the Israelites out of Egypt. But I’m not so sure Moses was really that person. From what I read today, Moses might have been a bit more of a wimp than that.

God delights in revealing Himself through those of us who depend solely upon Him. Nobody was going to look at Moses and say, “He was born to be a great leader.” But they will look at Moses and say, “Wow. Moses has a great God.”

I want them to say that about me, too.

Jan 30 – Raising Moses

Exodus 1-3

Moses was raised by an Egyptian woman. So how did he come to believe in the God of Israel? His adoptive mother must have told Moses about his birth family. Did she also tell him about the God they worshiped? How else would Moses recognize God’s voice, and obey Him?

Moses was raised in a pagan society. Yet he rejected the false gods and followed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Bible isn’t clear about those years Moses spent in Pharaoh’s house. But I think we can conclude that somehow, he was introduced to the One True God while growing up there. I’d like to believe his Egyptian mom had been touched by the influence of his Jewish mom who tended to Moses until he was weaned. Maybe she was the one who taught Moses to honor God. Just a thought.

I can’t help but pray for parents and grandparents today. Our world is every bit as pagan as was that in Moses’ day. Do your children know the God of Creation? Can they recognize His voice amid all the other voices vying for their attention? Are you raising children who know the Truth according to Scripture plus nothing?

Dear God, May You raise up an army of people like Moses because their parents lived and taught them according to Your Holy Word. May our children reject the influences of a society that rejects You. May they recognize Your voice. And may You give our children courage to follow You only.

Jan 29 – Why Jacob?

Genesis 48-50

Did you read about Jacob’s funeral today? Jacob, the father of Pharaoh’s trusted servant Joseph, received quite a burial. Even the Egyptians wept for him for seventy days. I can only imagine the funeral procession, with Jacob’s large family, plus all Pharaoh’s servants, all the elders, all Joseph’s household, Pharaoh’s chariots and horsemen who traveled to Canaan for the graveside service. This was a man who was given the ultimate honor.

But why? What was Jacob to Pharaoh except the father of Joseph?

Then it hit me. As a Christian, people look at me as the child of my Heavenly Father. Do they honor God because of how I live my life? They should.

My mom, especially when the cancer slowed her down, was so appreciative if one of us girls would visit someone who was ill, did something for someone in need, because she felt that, by extension, she was a part of that act of kindness. I loved being Moms’ arms and legs when she couldn’t get out and do those things herself.

Even today, twenty years after her death, I love it when someone says my Mom would be proud of me, or when I think something I do reflects positively on her.

How much more so my Heavenly parent?

Dear Father, I want to be the kind of daughter who reflects positively on You. I want people to honor You because of what I do, what I say, how I treat people. Make me ever aware that my life, by extension, represents You to people who still need to know of Your saving grace. 

Jan 28 – I Belong

Genesis 46-47

I was thinking about the famine again today as I read these chapters in Genesis. Joseph, who is sort of a picture of Jesus, held control of the only food in the land. Anyone who wanted to survive had to go to Joseph. He really was the only means of salvation.

But Joseph was accountable to Pharaoh. Every dime Joseph collected went into Pharaoh’s purse. Every animal surrendered went into Pharaoh’s pens. Every person who sold themselves became Pharaoh’s slave. In the end, all the money, livestock, land, and people belonged to Pharaoh. And everything Pharaoh gained came through Joseph.

Once again we see that God has provided salvation. We saw it in the Garden, in the flood, with Lot’s escape from Sodom, and here during the famine. And each time we see God providing one way of salvation. Not many ways. One.

Over and over in the Old Testament God will prepare us to meet Jesus. And each time we read an example of God’s saving grace toward His people, we will see He offers one plan. One escape route. One ark.

God wants all of us with Him. He loves the whole world. And He has provided one plan of salvation for us today. It’s a beautiful plan. It’s a simple plan. Like the people we read about today who had to go through Joseph, we have to go through Jesus. Joseph was their salvation from the famine. Jesus is ours from the consequences of sin.

And here’s what jumped out at me today. The people in Joseph’s day surrendered everything to Pharaoh. Money, all their worldly possessions, even themselves. When the people did that, they belonged to Pharaoh. They were his slaves. Pharaoh, through Joseph, provide food, and seed to plant food, protection, and life.

When I give myself to God, through the blood of His Son, I belong to Him. I am His servant for whom He provides all I need for this life and the life to come. But I, like the people we read about today, have to give Him everything. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

And when I do, He forgives me, lavishes me with Himself, protects me from Satan, and prepares a place for me where I will live with Him forever. I belong to Him.

And I like it.

Jan 27 – A Great Deliverance

Genesis 43-45

We don’t always get to see the answers to our “why” questions. But Joseph and his brothers did. I imagine there were times Joseph might have wondered why God allowed him to be enslaved, imprisoned, then exalted. It must have been confusing for the young man.

But Joseph knew the evil that had come upon him at the hands of his brothers came from Satan. Satan wanted the outcome of Joseph’s captivity to end badly. Instead, God used it to preserve the whole nation of Israel. Joseph called it a great deliverance.

Do you have the same confidence in God that Joseph had when circumstances are confusing, and seem unfair in your own life? Remember what Joseph said to his brothers, then apply it to your situation.

Because God is in control. God can bring about good out of the evil Satan throws our way. Because God loves you way more than Satan hates you.

Dear God, I pray for those reading these chapters in Genesis today who are facing circumstances that are confusing and difficult. I pray that they will trust You to bring about good. I pray that Your will will be accomplished in each life, and that those who don’t know You will find You through the examples shown in Your trusting children. Give strength where strength is needed. Give patience or boldness if either is needed. I pray for a great deliverance. May we trust You with every detail. And thank you for being in charge of the outcome.

Jan 26 – I Bow Down

Genesis 41-42

It was a famine that brought Joseph’s brothers to him. They were desperate for food, and went to Egypt to buy grain from Pharaoh’s right-hand man. And, just like in Joseph’s dreams, he was that man to whom his brothers bowed.

Sometimes it takes a famine to force us to our knees, too. Sometimes God uses heartache, disease, loneliness, guilt, helplessness, to give us a chance to realize our need, and recognize He is the only One who can fill us.

Jesus said He is the Bread of Life, the Living Water. When we bow down to Him, when we empty ourselves of pride, and dreams, and relationships, and popularity, and self – He gives us exactly what we need.

In fact, He gives us more than we can ask or think. He gives Himself.

I bow down.

Jan 25 – Oops, I Forgot

Genesis 38-40

How could the cupbearer “forget” about Joseph, when Joseph interpreted his dream to the letter? I doubt that kind of thing happened every day. Wouldn’t someone be inclined to remember a miracle?

But isn’t it kind of the same thing for me to accept the miracle of my salvation from Jesus, then put it on a shelf and go about my merry old way? Is it the same when I forget what it cost Him to pay for the lie I tell, or the gossip I spread, the hate I harbor, or when I neglect time in God’s Word?

I want to live my life with the ever-present knowledge that Jesus went to the cross, that He forgave my sins, and that His grace has set me free from sin’s control.

Lord, help me to remember.

Jan 24 – Favorite Child

Genesis 35-37

I’m very thankful our parents raised us girls without giving us reason for sibling rivalry. I think all five of us felt equally loved and special. And, even though our dad would joke that he had four “good” girls, neither parent treated us like they had a favorite.

Not so Jacob. He obviously favored Joseph, and his other eleven sons knew it. Jacob’s special treatment of Joseph stirred up jealously, then hatred toward their brother. And in the end, Jacob spent years mourning what he believed to be the death of his favorite son.

I pray for every parent reading these chapters today in Genesis. Often, because of personalities, a parent might find one child a little easier than another. But that child needs discipline as much, if not more so, than the child who is more of a challenge. And that difficult child needs affection and attention and affirmation much more than the easy child.

Do your kids know who your favorite is? Remember how that knowledge turned out for Jacob and his family.

Jan 23 – Good Old Boys

Genesis 32-34

I went on a Gospel Music cruise last week. (That’s why I’m playing catch-up with my posts today) We had a great time listening to great music and seeing a little bit of the world I’ve never seen before. Our hearts were blessed by the groups who sang throughout the week.

One group, the Dixie Melody Boys (I think) sang a song entitled “Good Old Boys”. Good old boys don’t get to heaven because they are good old boys. Living according to what someone thinks is right isn’t enough.

Simeon and Levi got revenge on Hamar and the whole city because Shechem had raped their sister. He needed to be punished according to what the brothers believed, so they gave what they thought was their right to give – death to every man, looting, stealing, kidnapping.

But their dad, Jacob, was not happy when he heard what his sons had done. Jacob didn’t shake his head and say, boys will be boys. He told his sons they had made a bad situation worse by their actions.

We humans tend to adopt our own standards of right and wrong. There are some people who refuse Jesus, yet are really nice folk. And some believe that should be enough to get them into heaven.

A verse ran through my head as I thought about this passage today. It tells us that there is a way that seems right by human standards, but in the end it leads to destruction.

The Bible is clear that there is only one way to the Father, one way to heaven. That is through the blood of Jesus. Only. It is by grace we are saved. Not of works so that no one can brag they’ve earned it on their own.

No, good old boys need Jesus just as much as the bad ones. All have sinned.

Yep. Even the good old boys.

Jan 22 – Because Of Who God Is

Genesis 30-31

I have to admit I don’t like Jacob very much. First he deceived Esau. He wasn’t very sensitive to his wives. He did the white-rod-thing so his animals would give birth to striped ones, had the strong ones mate with his and the weak with Laban’s animals.

Then he sneaked off at night like the coward he was. He was a liar and a cheat.

Yet God blessed him.

But this morning I am aware that God’s blessings weren’t given to Jacob as a reward for good behavior. God’s blessings were given because God is who He says He is!

And it’s no different today. I am glad God continues to bless His people even when we fail Him. I’m thankful He blesses me, as weak as I often am. I don’t deserve a portion of what He has given me.

Every good and perfect gift comes from our God who is good.