Feb 21

The Finger of God

Have you ever received a handwritten note from someone? In today’s society, we have a lot of form letters, where all the sender has to do is put your name into it. I understand the need for form letters at times, because there are a lot of letters to write at times. However, there is something extra special about receiving a handwritten letter. A handwritten letter is exactly what we have in the Bible. In today’s text for Blogging Through The Bible in 2020, we are going to see an interesting phrase that should help us understand that the Bible isn’t an ordinary book, in fact, it has a Divine author. Exodus 31:18 says, “And when He (God) had made an end of speaking with him (Moses) on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”

Moses has been up on Mt. Sinai now for 40 days meeting with God. God has been speaking personally with Moses during this time, but also recording what He is saying. With these two tablets of stone, God is giving Israel all the instructions they will need for living a life that glorifies and pleases God. The tablets of stone have two purposes. They can serve as an encouragement for the people of Israel to know that God is with them, and that they can know God in a personal way. The tablets can also serve as a test of obedience for Israel. Will they love God and trust God enough to obey what He has written? The same is true for you and I. Only the Bible can claim Divine authorship. When we read the Bible, we are looking into the mind, heart, and will of God. He wrote it down not only for Moses and his generation, but God has preserved it for us to this day so that we can still know Him. Later in the Bible, God says that everything else will fade away, but His Word will be preserved forever (see Isa. 40:8). This is a reminder that the Bible is as eternal as its author.

One of the chief concerns or arguments about the Bible from those who are not saved is that the Bible is a book written by man, not by God. The reality is, I won’t be able to convince anyone. In fact, that’s not even my job. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to produce conviction, draw a person to God, and to save them. However, the Bible speaks to this in a few different places and I believe that it is worth looking at for a few minutes. The first thing we see is in our text; the phrase “the finger of God” is used to speak of how the tablets were recorded. This is the second time that this phrase is used in the book of Exodus. The other time was by Pharaoh’s magicians when the plagues were occurring. The tie in is this, if God is powerful enough to bring and end the plagues, then why would we think He isn’t powerful enough to write down His thoughts for us? The second text is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says, “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God…” The phrase “inspiration of God” in the Greek is literally translated as “breath of God.” This refers to the fact that God spoke His word. This of course is supported by the events in Exodus, because we see Him speaking with Moses on Mt. Sinai. The last text is 2 Peter 1:20-21 which says, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” What Moses, the prophets of the Old Testament, and the New Testament writers spoke and recorded was what the Holy Spirit gave them. Again, we can point to the 40 days on Mt. Sinai for Moses. We see God speaking to Moses, telling him what to say to Israel, not Moses telling God what he was going to say.

There are many other arguments and proofs that could be given on the inspiration of Scripture and the method of writing, but I don’t want us to miss the main point. The question we have to ask is this, is the Bible the Word of God? If you don’t believe that, no amount of arguments or proofs will convince you. However, if you believe that the Bible is the Word of God then that has some very important ramifications. The most important ramification is this, because God is the author of the Bible and I am a child of God, then I must be motivated by love for God to obey it. Because it is the Word of God, it is all inspired, not just the parts that I like or the parts that are easy to do. It is either all inspired or none of it is inspired. Finally, we must come to understand the sufficiency of the Bible. The Bible is either sufficient for all things or it is sufficient for nothing. It is in this area that I believe our nation is coming to a crossroads. There is a struggle in our nation, including in many of our churches and denominations on whether or not the Bible is all we need. However, let us remember that the Bible is the only book that can rightfully claim Divine authorship. Every Bible study or book written about the Bible is a book about the Word of God. Only the Bible is the Word of God. Therefore, when we read it, we should not do so casually as though we are reading any other book. The Bible contains the life giving, life transforming message of the Gospel, and it tells us how we can know Him and live to please Him. The Bible is the only book that demands a response from its reader. We will either bow our knee is humble submission to the King, or we will reject the Bible and therefore reject the King. What will your response be?

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 20

Bring Them To The Lord

There is a great hymn that we sing from time to time here at Westlake titled, Let Others See Jesus In You. The hymn is a great reminder of our responsibility as Christians to be ambassadors for Jesus everywhere we go. We see this same thought in our text for the day in our series, Blogging Through The Bible in 2020. The text is Exodus 28:11-12 which says, “With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engraving of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall set them in settings of gold. And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones, for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders as a memorial.”

God has already given the instructions for how to construct the tabernacle, and now God is giving the detailed instructions of the priest’s garments. Aaron and his sons have been selected by God to be priests for God to the people of Israel. Part of Aaron’s responsibilities as a priest is to pray for the people, to bring them before the Lord. He was also to be a representative for God to the people. This function for Aaron and his sons ultimately points us to Jesus. In 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul writes, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ.” Paul is pointing to the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. Just as Aaron would bear the responsibility for the nation of Israel and make sacrifices for them; Jesus was the full and final sacrifice for sin made on behalf of all mankind, not just the nation of Israel.

What an incredible privilege we are given as children of God to do this for God. It is not just the priests/pastors/bishops of today who are to do this, but it is the privilege of all believers. Not only is this a privilege, but it is also a tremendous responsibility. We are to continuously bring people before God in prayer, but we are also to give God’s Word to them. As a husband, this must first begin with my wife. Before there was the formal priesthood in the Old Testament, it was the responsibility of the husband and father to be the priest for the family. This also means that as a father, I am to continuously bring my children before the Lord, as well as, represent Him faithfully to the children that God has blessed me with. I am to do the same for those in the community where God has planted me. For me, God takes it one step further after having called me as a pastor. That extra step is the same as Aaron and his sons were charged with, I must bring God’s people at Westlake before the Lord continuously, and I must represent God to them continuously. This is not only an awesome privilege, it is also a tremendous responsibility. Therefore, I want to share something with the believers who will read this post. One of the greatest gifts you can give your pastor(s) is the gift of praying for us daily. I assure you, no one is more aware of our shortcomings more than we are. We, as pastors, feel the weight of our calling, and understand that none of us are qualified to do what God is asking us to do. But when we hear a brother or sister in Christ praying for us or hear that they have prayed for us; it reminds us that it’s not about us, our strength, or our abilities. It is all about who God is and what He can do. To myself, and my fellow pastors, let us take the charge from God to bring the people of God before Him daily very serious. God has not called us to build large churches, build platforms, or any of the other million things that we hear a pastor is to do. Rather, God has called us to pray for our people and to represent Him to the people by giving them His Word in word and in deed.

A great resource that can help us bring people before the Lord is called Bless Every Home. It is a website that you can go to and sign-up for free to be a light in your community. You can draw as big or small of a circle around your home location as you want. Then, every morning, the website will email you names of your neighbors to pray for. There are other resources there to help you serve them, reach out to them, and more. It is a great resource for Christians, but also for churches. I love getting my email in the morning, and I’m looking forward to God doing incredible things through prayer, serving, evangelizing, and inviting.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 19

Separated No More

I want you to think of the person that you love the most in life. No imagine that you can only see them or talk to them at specific times. If you want to see them, you actually would have to send a representative in for you. They would communicate accurately for you, and even bring back word from the person to you. Can you imagine how frustrating that would feel? In some ways, this is the picture that we get with the tabernacle, and later the Temple. the presence of God was there. But there were regulations on how, when, and who could go into God’s presence. Our text for today comes from Exodus 26. Exodus 26:33 says, “And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shallowing be a divider for you between the holy place and the most Holy.”

Here in Exodus 26, God is continuing to give step by step instructions and a description for the tabernacle. It is going to be the mobile sanctuary for Israel until the Temple is built many years later in Jerusalem. The tabernacle was the reminder that God was with them. The separation between Israel and God was actually for Israel’s good, because if one was to come before God, they must come the proper way. Only the high priest could go into the most Holy place, and as we will see later in Exodus, he could only go at a certain time. However, that was in the Old Testament. At the crufixion of Jesus something incredible happened. We read in Matthew 27:51, “Then, behold the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” The veil that separated God from every person was torn. The significance of it being done from top to bottom is that it is God who tore down the separation. This was symbolic of what God the Father was accomplishing through the death and resurrection of Jesus. No more would man have to be separated from God. No more would it depend on one specific person going into the presence of God on one day of the year. Because Jesus died and rose from the dead and the final and full sacrifice for sins, those who had been far from God could be brought near to Him.

Here is the amazing thing, not only could sinful man be redeemed because the Perfect had been sacrificed, but it also grants us an incredible privilege as children of God. That privilege is that we can go to God with anything at any time in any place. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” That’s right, we are encouraged to come to God to seek mercy and grace. And because of who He is, He has promised to grant both to us. Let me ask you something, are you taking advantage of this privilege? You don’t have to wait until life if falling apart to go and seek Him, you can seek Him just to say thank you, and indeed we should. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, this access to God wouldn’t be possible. Whatever is on your heart and mind today, take it to the Lord in prayer. Know that He already knows, He cares, and He even knows how He is going to work it out for His glory and your good. Don’t neglect or forsake one of the greatest privileges you have been given. What we pray about is what we are trusting God to work out, but what we don’t pray about is what we are trusting ourselves to work out. Could this be why we are so burdened and beat down? As the hymn says, “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” Don’t let that be the story of your life, take to Him because you love Him, He loves you, and He can work it out.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 18

Recorded For Us

Can you imagine what it would be like to talk directly with God? I imagine that would be an incredible experience, to be able to talk with Him, and to have Him directly respond. The amazing thing about it is this, we can! Prayer is us talking with God, and the number one way that God talks back with us is through the Bible. We are going to get a front row seat for one such conversation that God had with Moses in Exodus 24. Exodus 24:12-13 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.’ So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.”

With Israel at the base of Mt. Sinai, God is about to summon Moses up the mountain to speak with him, and to give him the Law. Moses is going to spend 40 days up on the mountain communing with God. Not only is God going to give the Law, He is also going to give instructions for how to build the tabernacle. The tabernacle would be the mobile sanctuary for Israel. In the center would be the holy of holies, which would contain the very presence of God. It was the evidence that God was with Israel.

God wrote down the Law for Israel, and the rest of what we know as the Bible for us, so that we could know Him. God didn’t want to leave it to chance for us to figure out how we could love Him and please Him. He didn’t leave us in the dark about what He expects of us, or what would happen in the future. Not only does God want us to know about Him, but He also wants us to teach others about Him. Moses here was training Joshua. Joshua was going to lead the nation of Israel once Moses was no longer there. What we see is the pattern that we as Christians are to follow. It is the pattern that Paul speaks us in 2 Timothy 2:1-2 when he writes, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” What Moses is doing, what Paul was doing, and what we are commanded to do is learn of God and pass on what we are learning to others. We were never to simply gain spiritual knowledge for the sake of gaining knowledge. What we learn about God is meant to draw us into a deeper, more personal walk with God and we are meant to pass it along to others. The primary place that we are to do this is in our homes. It is time for families to get back to reading Scripture and praying together. It is time for husbands to lead their wives, and dads to lead their families. God’s word was recorded for us, and for those who would come after us. Let’s pass it on!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 17

A Special Treasure

As we continue to walk through the book of Exodus, we will look into Exodus 19. Exodus 19:5 says, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine.”

Israel is now at the base of Mt. Sinai. God is speaking to Moses here, and giving him the message he is to deliver to the nation. God is outlining what it means to live as His people. It is important to understand that the Law is not how Israel was going to be saved. They had already been delivered and declared to be God’s people. The Law was designed to help them understand the nature of God, and His expectations of them as His children. The same is true for you and I. We are saved by God’s grace through faith, and not due to any merit in ourselves or anything that we do. However, if we have genuinely been saved then our life will reflect that in how we live. God here says that all the earth belongs to Him, this includes all the people. This doesn’t mean as some say that we are all God’s children. That false teaching is known as universalism, and has as it’s main teaching that everyone goes to heaven. God is identifying Himself as the Creator, and therefore the rightful owner of every thing. There is only one way to be saved, and that is by God’s grace through faith. It’s not enough to know of God or what He expects of you. Proof that we have bowed our knee to King Jesus is willful submission to Him through obedience to His word. If you want to be blessed by God, then we must live in a right relationship with Him. It is in this way that we see the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man working in harmony for the glory of God. Salvation is God’s plan accomplished by His means (Jesus’ death and resurrection). Obedience is man’s responsibility as a demonstration of our thankfulness for God saving us. Therefore, we will end by asking a very simple question, if you claim to be saved, what evidence is there in your life to support that claim? May we ask God to search our hearts, reveal our sin, help us to turn from it, and seek His help to live for Him each and every day.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 14

We Need Each Other

As we continue through Blogging Through The Bible in 2020, we come to the end of another week’s worth of Bible reading. Today, we are going to look at Exodus 17. Exodus 17:12 says, “But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

This is the first military conflict that Israel is involved in. Israel is fighting with a people group known as the Amalekites. Success for Israel came as Moses held his hands up. Anyone who has ever had to do that knows that you can do it for a while, but then it becomes impossible. God was showing Moses that the burden of leadership was too much for him. However, God is also showing Moses that He has placed other men around him who can help him carry that load. These men were a gift from God to bless Moses. This is something that unfortunately is being lost in our society today. We have become very individualistic, and it is hurting our society. Sadly, this individualistic mindset is also prevalent in the church, not just amongst leaders, but in the church as a whole. I would argue that this has had a crippling affect on the effectiveness of the church. The Bible is full of reminders that we need each other. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Then there is Amos 3:3 which says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Finally, there in Galatians 6:2 which says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” There are many others, but hopefully this will help us to see that there is no such thing as a lone Christian. The downfall of many church leaders is the Lone Ranger Syndrome. They try to do all the work themselves, or they refuse to let others get close to them, and the end result is moral compromise. Again, it’s not just in leadership, there are many in the pews who have this same prideful disease, and it is stunting their growth. God has placed people around you as a blessing for you, and as a reminder that He is with you. Don’t forsake your blessings from God, instead thank Him for them, and utilize them. We are stronger together!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 13

Comfort Zone

Today we come to a familiar story, the Crossing of the Red Sea. This is a story that is so incredible, so miraculous that many have questioned whether or not it really happened. I am 100% convinced that this is a literal story. The only explanation for this is this, it is God being God. Today, we are going to look specifically at Exodus 14:11-13. Exodus 14:11-13 says, “Then they said to Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.’ And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.'”

Israel is at the edge of the Red Sea with the Egyptians in hot pursuit. They are convinced that they are going to die. Therefore, they concluded that it would have been better if Moses had left them alone, and allowed them to remain slaves in Egypt. You and I can be liked that can’t we? We want to grow spiritually, but we are afraid of the process that God will use to accomplish that purpose. We are more comfortable in our comfort zone. We are restless, because we believe there is more to life than what we are experiencing. But we conclude that it is better to remain restless in our comfort zone, than to venture out and experience the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10. This is a good place for us to be reminded, you can’t go with God and stay where you are.

Moses gives the nation of Israel an interesting command in verse 13. Moses tells them to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” This flies in the face of mankind’s thinking. We want to believe that salvation depends on what we do. Yet, the Bible tells us over and over that salvation is by God’s grace. Not only is this giving us a picture of salvation from our sins, but it is also a reminder that we don’t have to fight the fights that are waged against us. There is a similar story in Acts 4, where Peter and John had been arrested by the religious leaders. Acts 4:29 says, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” The early church didn’t pray for safety or prosperity. They prayed for faithfulness and boldness to carry out their mission regardless of the cost. All Israel had to do was to trust God and be obedient. God had promised to do the rest. That is a same promise that He gives to us today. We see it in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (stand still). Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light” (obey).

In what areas of your life do you need to “stand still”? Are you trying to work your way to heaven? Are you trying to earn God’s love and favor? Where is God calling you to trust Him and be obedient? Will you?

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 12

Not Coming Back Here

We are reaching the dramatic climax of the plagues in Egypt. Today, we will look into Exodus 12. Exodus 12:10-11 says, “You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.”

God is talking to Moses and Aaron, giving them preparation instructions for this last plague. This is going to be what God uses to deliver Israel from their bondage in Egypt. The verses are speaking of how they are to prepare the Passover lamb. Not leaving any of it until the morning and eating it fully dressed indicates two things. Tonight was going was to be the night of their deliverance, and so they needed to be ready. Second, they weren’t coming back here.

This story gives us a beautiful picture of a believer’s story of salvation. The Passover was God’s plan, just as saving a sinner from their sin. God provided the sacrifice. This would tie us back to the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. But it also points us to the fact that God already had a plan on how to accomplish the redemption of His people from their sin. The third point is that there was only one way for the Hebrews to be saved. This points us again to the exclusivity of God saving sinners by His grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. This story also shows us our responsibility to respond to God’s invitation. God told the Hebrews how to be spared from the judgment, but also how to act once they had been spared. This pictures a believer repenting of their sin, and turning in faith and trusting in God every day. To come to Jesus in faith means that we turn our back fully on our sin. We no longer seek ways to fulfill our sinful flesh, but rather we seek to live for and please our Lord. Paul would write in Romans 6 that we are either slaves to our sin or we are slaves to Jesus. The way to tell who we belong to is by looking at how we are living. Does our life reveal that we have bowed and that we are continuing to bow before King Jesus? Maybe today, we need to pause and examine our lives. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5 that we should examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith.

If there is a way that I or Westlake Baptist Church can help you, I sincerely hope you will take a moment and reach out to us. If we can pray for you or help you in anyway, please contact us at westlakebc@gmail.com. May we examine our lives constantly, and be found faithful to King Jesus in all that we do.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 11

For Generations To Come

As we continue through the early chapters of the book of Exodus, we are quickly approaching the climax of the plagues in Egypt. Today, we are going to look into Exodus 10. Exodus 10:1-2 says, “Now the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.'”

God is speaking to Moses here. He is telling Moses the next part of His plan. God’s plan is not just for Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, and Pharaoh’s servants. God’s plan is to reveal Himself to those in generation after generation. This is to be a testimony of who God is. This is the importance of memorials whether they be made of stone or things written down. God wants us to know His faithfulness to His children, as well as, to know of His justice.

Have you ever been told something important, and been encouraged by the person telling you to write it down? What was your response to that? Most likely it was something along the lines of “I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it.” And what happened? Oh yeah, we forgot it didn’t we? This is one of the downfalls of human pride, we always believe in ourselves even when the evidence is squarely against us. Sure there are times that our minds are like steel traps, but those are seldom about things that we really need to remember. Science tells us that at best we only remember 10% of what we hear. However, if we say something (repeat back what we heard) and write it down, we tend to remember that information 70% of the time. I believe this is why God constantly instructed the nation of Israel to tell each other things, but also to write it down. It not only preserved it for the next generation, but it also helped them to remember what God had said and done for them. You and I could learn from this. While we may not write things in stone like they did or set up rocks to remember; you and I can write things down in a notebook. In fact, one of the greatest assets in my spiritual growth in recent months has been the fact that I started journaling what God is saying to me through His word, and recording how I need to apply it. Not only does this help me in remembering it, it also holds me accountable. But there is an added benefit that God tells Moses about writing things down. God says that Moses will be able to tell his son and his grandchildren about the faithfulness of God. This could be part of the spiritual legacy you and I leave our children. They could pick up our journals, see the date we read something, see the text, and then read what God was saying to us, and how He was answering our prayers. This can give them a spiritual boost when life gets difficult like it tends to do.

Therefore, I want to challenge you to start journaling if you aren’t already. Start slow, say 2-3 times a week at first, and then strive to do it up to five days a week. Grab your Bible, a notebook, and pen. Write the date, what Scripture you are reading, what God was saying in that text, and how God is asking you to respond. That’s it! I believe you will find it easier to remember what God is saying, memorize some Scripture, and it can be something your grandchildren one day could read. Who knows how God may use you and your spiritual journey to reach future generations for the kingdom of God.

If you start doing this, I would love to hear some stories about how God is using journaling to help you grow, and to encourage you in your walk with Him.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Feb 10

That They May Know

Today’s text for our yearlong series, Blogging Through The Bible in 2020, comes from Exodus 9. Exodus 9:16 says, “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

This is a conversation that Moses is relaying from God to Pharaoh. God has been raining down the plagues on Egypt. Each plague was aimed at revealing the power and control God truly has. Every time Pharaoh makes a promise to let Israel go, as soon as God stops the current plague, Pharaoh goes back on his word. This is clearly a sign that Pharaoh is choosing to disobey God, and ignore God’s command. Yet even in Pharaoh’s life, God has a purpose. It is a purpose that is much bigger than just Pharaoh. It is about Pharaoh and all of the people in Egypt.

Some of what God is showing us here in this passage is that He is the One who is truly in control. He is able to start something and stop it anytime He wants. God is showing us that He is the One who appoints leaders. That was not only true in Pharaoh’s day, but it is also true in our day. This doesn’t mean that every leader is a good leader. Rather, it is that God has a purpose for those He puts in leadership. God is also showing that He is gracious, patient, and just. All of this is God revealing His nature and His character to Pharaoh and those around him. This leads to the biggest lesson for us in this, the Gospel is for the world. Just as the plagues were not only for Pharaoh, but for others to know who God is; the message of the cross is for the world. God not only has a plan for everything, He also has a purpose for everyone. God can use anyone and anything to draw people to Himself. God also uses people and events to reveal our heart to us. He does this by how we respond to a situation. As hard as it is to think about it this way, how you and I respond to people or situations, says more about us than it does about them. One of the most loving things that God can do for us is to reveal our heart to us. It is loving, because we are prone to lying to ourselves about our motives, intentions, and attitudes. However, God can use our actions to reveal the truth about who we are, and what is in our heart. As painful as this can be, it is incredibly necessary. Only when we realize how sick we are, can we accurately recognize our need for a cure.

When God reveals that our heart is right with Him, we should praise Him for His grace and mercy. However, when God reveals that our heart isn’t right, the only proper response to Him is confession and repentance. James 1:2 says that we are to count it “joy when we fall into various temptations.” Count it joy when things go wrong, did I read that right? Yes we did! We can do that when we remember that every person and every situation in our life serves a purpose. How I respond to difficult situations demonstrates where my faith is. How I respond to difficult people reveals who God is to me. So the next time you find yourself in a tough situation or dealing with a tough person, take a moment and ask, what could God be trying to teach me or reveal to me? Then, let’s respond accordingly and in a way that glorifies Him.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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