Sunday, March 6, 2011

Daily Bible Reading: March 7 - 13

March 7th

Reading: Exodus 12:18-51

"And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle"(vs. 29).

The day came and the Lord did just as He said He would. What an awful event as each family of Egypt lost their firstborn child. What a horrible consequence that the Egyptians had to suffer because of Pharaoh's unwillingness to grant the request of Moses. Yet, what a glorious story of God's power, purposes, and providence.

We see God's power in carrying out His plan just as He said He would. From the calling of Moses, through every plague, to the leaving of Egypt, we see God working His plan in every detail. We see God's purposes in separating Israel from Egypt, demonstrating His might for the people and future generations, and fulfilling His covenant promises to bring Israel out of Egypt again. And, we see God's providence as he provided a covering for the Israelites that they would not be touched by this act of death. Read verse 23 again.

"For the Lord will pass though to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your house to smite you."

That act of the Lord passing over the doors with the blood covering is why this event and the meal of the lamb associated with it is called the Passover. Thank God that in His providence He has provided a way for all of us to be covered and protected from His judgment. That covering, as we will one day read in Scripture, is found in the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

March 8th

Reading: Exodus 13:1-22

In this chapter, the Lord states His claim upon the firstborn among both the animals and the children of men. This is an introduction to what the Lord requires as a demonstration that all is His. By claiming the firstborn as His, this becomes a symbol that the Lord owns all the cattle, all the animals, and all the people.

The Lord states to Moses in verse 2 that the children of Israel are to "sanctify" to the Lord all the firstborn males of animals and of men. The word "sanctify" means to make clean or pure. It also means to separate or set apart for a holy or special purpose. The firstborn male animals were to be offered to God as a sacrifice. If the animal was a donkey, an animal that the Israelites would not offer as a sacrifice, then a lamb would need to be offered in its place.

When something is offered in the place of another, like the lamb in the place of the donkey, this is what is meant by the word redeem. To redeem something means to purchase it back. This is what is said about the firstborn males in Israel, they will be redeemed. Read the last of verse 13 again, "…and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem."

The Lord laid claim of the firstborn male babies of the children of Israel as a symbol that He owns all the children. Each family then was required to offer a sacrifice, usually a lamb, for that child, redeeming the child. This sacrifice was an act by the parents in which they recognized that this child, like all the children given to them, really belonged to the Lord. The Lord owns all of creation including all people.

March 9th

Reading: Exodus 14:1-31

It must have been a great feeling of freedom when the children of Israel left Egypt. There was probably great rejoicing and celebration as they walked away. But, things soon turned to a time of fear as they found themselves pinned against the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his army in hot pursuit behind them.

Even though the Lord had miraculously delivered them from the land of Egypt, when the children of Israel saw the predicament that they were in with the Egyptians coming upon them, they fell into fear and complained to Moses. We will see that these Israelites will tend to swing in their emotions from trusting the Lord to completely doubting His abilities and ways. This is a picture of the heart of every man that can so easily lose heart when distressing times come. The children of Israel cried out to the Lord, which was the right thing to do. But, they quickly complained to Moses and spoke of their desire to be in Egypt. This, of course, was sinful to do.

The Lord takes care of His own, and is able to handle any situation. That is what Moses spoke to the people. His words are words that we need to keep close to our hearts. Read these words again, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord" (vs. 13).

March 10th

Reading: Exodus 15:1-27

What a joyous occasion it must have been when Pharaoh and his army were destroyed in the waters of the Red Sea. We probably cannot even imagine how excited the children of Israel were to see their enemy, who had come so close to destroying them on the other side of the sea, now completely eliminated by the miraculous act of the Lord.

They were so excited that they created a song and sang it in celebration and remembrance of this act. There are great truths expressed in this song that we can take to heart ourselves. For example consider verse 2, "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him."

Israel, after their great deliverance, is ready to recognize God's might and the great salvation He has brought to them. In response Israel declares that they will exalt the Lord. This means that they will recognize and speak of how wonderful God is.

The deliverance of Israel from Egypt is a picture of the great salvation God provides for mankind from the enemies of sin and Satan. We, too, can sing a wonderful song of deliverance if we can say, like Israel did here, "The Lord is my strength…he has become my salvation: he is my God."

March 11th

Reading: Exodus 16:1-36

Early in our study of Scripture we were introduced to the sovereign nature of God. The One, True God is completely sovereign over all things. He controls all things and He can do all things. An outgrowth of God's sovereign nature, which is formed through His perfect love, is God’s providence. In this chapter we see an overt act of God's providence.

Can you imagine a huge number of birds, quail, flying into the camp each evening just waiting to be caught and eaten. Then, each morning, as the dew would melt away, the ground being covered with little, white seed like "things" that tasted like wafers made with honey. And there would be enough for every family every day. Not only that, but on the sixth day of the week, there would be enough that you could gather for two days.

They called the wafers that they gathered every morning, "Manna". The word Manna means "what is it?" The children of Israel had no idea what to call the food they were finding every morning, so they called it "what's this?" They did not know what it was, but it fed them day after day after day. In fact, we see by what it says in verse 35, that God provided them with this food for 40 years. Now, that's being a God of Providence.

March 12th

Reading: Exodus 17:1-16

The children of Israel complain again. This time it is because of a lack of water. We are going to have to get used to these people complaining, they seem to do it a lot. They complained for a lack of water at Marah, they complained for a lack of food in the wilderness, and now they are back to complaining about water.

In every tight and difficult situation God has provided for them. He separated the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptians, He turned the bitter waters of Marah sweet, He is raining Manna down from heaven, and He will bring water from the rock of Horeb in this chapter. But, before God is able to provide, the people get really angry with Moses. They get so angry over the lack of water that Moses believes they are about to stone him.

We read these stories and probably think that these Israelites were quite a bunch of complainers and sure had short memories about what God had done for them. But, the reality of the situation is that we can be a lot like these Israelites. We complain about the rough times in our lives and we often forget far too soon what God has done for us. The children of Israel would far too quickly forget about the faithfulness of God. And, we do the same thing. Take time right now to thank God for all He provides for you. Make it a habit to thank God each day for all His provisions in your life, both big and small.

March 13th

Reading: Exodus 18:1-27

The news of God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt has traveled to Midian where Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, lives. Jethro, excited about the news he has heard, leaves to meet with Moses in the wilderness. He brings Moses' wife and two sons with him. From this reading we learn that Moses had sent them back to Jethro before he completed his trip to Egypt (see vs. 2).

I am sure that was a wonderful family reunion for Moses who had endured so much standing alone without other family members around him. Jethro is a great help for Moses, giving him suggestions as to how he governs the people. But, of even greater importance, is Jethro's acknowledgment that the Lord is "greater than all other gods."

Jethro, you may remember, was a priest in Midian. It is likely that he did not have a full understanding of who the One, True God was. In fact, he likely recognized and worshipped other gods. But, now having heard of what the Lord had done and listened to the testimony of Moses, Jethro turns his faith to the God of Israel.

You may not have a testimony of God literally separating the Red Sea for your escape from trouble. But, if you have faith in God, then you do have a testimony of God's love, care and protection. As God gives you opportunity, like Moses, you should share this with others, so they can learn to trust in God and rejoice in His salvation as well.

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