Day Four: The Unrelenting One!

Exodus 7:20-21 – Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.

“It is also important to address the matter of God’s judgment on Egypt’s gods because He is making the critical point that He alone is God. This point has great application for us as we face the temptation to bow to our own idols. The plagues should serve as a warning not only for those who refuse to believe the gospel but for believers who are tempted to love, serve, and trust anything except the living God.” [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), 87]

In the act of the 10 plagues that the Lord unleashes upon Egypt, it shows how the Lord systematically, purposefully, and powerfully begins to destroy and dismantle every power, every idol, every way of living that was formed apart from the Lord. In particular, the first plague of turning the Nile into blood had incredible significance. The Nile was the lifeblood of Egypt. It provided water, food, transportation, and even their calendar was based upon the Nile. The Egyptians believed in the Nile so much, that they even had a deity associated with it, that if you worship this god of the Nile and if you surround and position your life to evolve around the Nile, you will be successful.

So, even the Israelites have come to bow down to the Nile River—where they believed that their sustenance, life, food, and blessing was by mimicking the Egyptians.

So, by turning the Nile into blood, the Lord is breaking the bondage of Israel’s trust and dependence upon the Nile.  Now the Nile as it was turned into blood, it became something that smelled foul throughout the land. Through this, the Lord is showing the Israelites—stop with this love affair with the Nile. It stinks!

When our hearts are not free to live in God’s blessing, faith, and surrender— and when we also bow the idols of this world, then we are also living for something that stinks! Here’s the question today. Where does our source of life, purpose, security, hope come from?

Today as you pray and worship with this song, “Always Enough” by Kari Jobe, may the Lord destroy all the power structures that we were taught or influenced to bow to.  Jesus alone is our everything.

– GK

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Day Three: The Supreme One!

Exodus 7:8-12 – The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.

“This initial sign has to do with a snake. The word used here signifies a large, deadly, venomous snake, which would likely have been a cobra. Again, God was taking on the gods of Egypt, not just Pharaoh. Snakes captivated the Egyptians. Pharaoh wore one on his head as a symbol of his authority. He was to be feared, like snakes were feared. The Egyptians were so awestruck by snakes that it led them to serpent worship. They reportedly built a temple in honor of the snake goddess Wadjet, who was represented by a cobra (Ryken, Exodus, 206).” [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), 54]

The reason this week’s message is called “God goes the distance”, is to capture the language of a boxing match or MMA, where the Lord goes the distance in this fight—where the Lord never loses, never quits, never gets hit, never falls, and will surely KO the enemy.

In Chapters 5-7 of Exodus, there is a stare-down that occurs between the Lord and the powers of Egypt, much like the way two fighters will stare each other down after the weigh-in.

In Exodus 5.2, this is how Pharaoh attempts at a stare down with the Lord. “Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.’” So here Pharaoh actually snickers by saying “who is this ‘lord’ that you keep on mentioning? I don’t know him, I don’t bow to him, and therefore you Israelites are mine—and you can’t escape.” How many times have we experienced similar thoughts/discouragements where our thoughts are filled with the sting of condemnation: “you are not free, you are not cleansed, you are still the same broken and damaged person.”

However, in Exodus 7, we are shown the Lord’s stare down to both Pharaoh and all the idols of Egypt, as Moses’ staff turns into a serpent and swallows up the serpents of the Egyptians. This display by the Lord is a clear declaration that all the enemies, powers, and idols that once held Israel captive are going to be swallowed up by the Lord.

This has so much meaning for us today, for Jesus on the cross had a stare down with our sin and death, and as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “death has been swallowed up in [Christ’s] victory.” Today, pray through this passage in 1 Corinthians 15 and declare that every sin, power, and death has been swallowed up in Christ’s victory.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 – “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

– GK

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Day Two: The Mighty One!

Exodus 6:6-8 – Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.”

In this passage, it says that the Lord will bring the people out from under the yoke of slavery, oppression and bitterness. Another way of saying this is: “I will snatch you out; I will forcefully pry open the hands of oppression that has so gripped you, so that you can be free.”

So how strong or firm was the grip of oppression over Israel? This power of enslavement over the Israelites was total and complete. Not only did the Egyptians by their military prowess subjugate the Israelites, but they also had complete psychological, emotional, physical, financial, spiritual dominion over the Israelites. So, the chains were composed of both the physical and the spiritual. However, in the passage we are shown that God’s hands are stronger than any power of Egypt or of any idols—for God’s outstretched arm and His mighty acts speaks of God’s unmatched and unrivalled power. This power was ultimately seen on the cross, where Jesus snatched us out of the grips of sin and death. Though we were once completely under the power and dominion of sin and death, we now belong to Christ.

Today, may we experience the Lord snatching us out from the hand and the power of sin and death—the inner fears, chains, doubts, unbelief.  May they all be crushed under the power of God’s outstretched arms and mighty acts, which was fully displayed upon the cross.  As you pray, listen to this song “Belong,” for we now belong to Christ.

– GK

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Day One: The Victor!

Colossians 2:13-15 – You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

“Who is your God? That is the most important question you will ever answer. The book of Exodus is a story that shows us who the real God is. In this section of Exodus, we are looking at the “plagues.” Now, I suppose the modern person may look at these plagues and say, “Are you kidding me? This scene is bizarre! Is God a cosmic jerk? Is He trying to annoy the Egyptians?” Or, “This is silly and hard to believe.” It is indeed strange and severe, but you must understand that there is something bigger going on with the ten plagues than what you see at first glance. God was judging not only the Egyptians but also the gods of Egypt. In Exodus 12:12 God said that He was going to perform the last sign, the death of the firstborn, and in so doing He was executing “judgments against all the gods of Egypt.” This was also repeated in Numbers: “The Lord had executed judgment against their gods” (33:4). The plagues fell on all the areas of life that were supposed to have been protected by Egypt’s gods. James Boyce said, ‘There were about eighty major deities in Egypt, all clustered about three great natural forces of Egyptian life: the Nile River, the land, and the sky…The first two plagues were against the gods of the Nile. The next four were against the land gods. The final four plagues were against the gods of the sky, culminating the death of the firstborn.’ [Ryken, Exodus, 216] God put His glory on display by judging these false gods. He is the Almighty.” [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), 50]

Today, consider this truth of what our God has done!  He has thoroughly defeated our enemies. All the spiritual and worldly influences that hinder us from knowing God – death, unbelief, despair, unrighteousness, hate, brokenness, etc. One by one, God crushes the pretensions of so-called gods, of other purported ways of human flourishing, of other claims of supreme authority, etc.

Today pray by declaring the above statement of what Jesus has done in our lives—thoroughly defeating all our enemies, powers, and influences that keeps us from the love of God.  As you pray, worship with this song “To God be the Glory.

– GK

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Day Five: Name…Above All Names

Exodus 3:13-15 (NIV) – Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.'” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me, from generation to generation.'”

Salvation and our answers in life to all our issues and needs are found in “I AM” and who He is. The answer to Moses’ fears and confusion were not in the details of the plan, but in the One who has the plan. God will accomplish His plan, in His name, on His terms, and for His glory and the people’s blessing. He did this in Christ for us, and in Christ His plan will continue to be accomplished in and through us, His Church.

In Jesus and the faith we have graciously been given, we live out God’s plan. His plan unfolds as our hearts and lives align under His name. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). This is the plan, this is what being saved is all about, and this is how God brings us into Plan A – to bring His glory and salvation in our generation.

Let’s pray and ask the Lord to bring every area of our lives under the Name (authority) of Jesus; and, that at His name in our lives we will bow and worship Him, we will joyfully follow Him, and we will obediently love like He loved us. Let’s end singing to, “Exalted Over All” by Vertical Worship.

– TR

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Day Four: Presence

Exodus 3:11-12 (NIV) – But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

“In reply to Moses’ qualms, the Lord, in effect, said to him – and this is reflected throughout 3:11–4:17 – ‘But what about me? Are you taking me into account? Where are your eyes fixed?’ The Lord did not take away – or even promise to take away – Moses’ nervousness, or to impart boldness to him. He did, however, call him to a position of trust. Consequently, the proposed solutions to Moses’ problems involved him resting in the Lord’s presence (3:12), bearing simple testimony to the Lord’s revelation of truth about himself (3:14)…

“Exodus is very clear about where true Christian service begins. It begins in the presence of the Lord. The Lord said to Moses, ‘I am sending you to Pharaoh’ (3:10), but before he sent him out he brought him in and let him stand in his presence and commune with his God. The biblical preparation for service is always that we be found in the presence of the Lord.” [Motyer, J. A. The Message of Exodus (The Bible Speaks Today Series), p. 61,63]

What a privilege and honor to be invited into God’s presence through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s presence is our assurance and hope in the midst of His plans. Can you hear the Lord’s patient words to you today, ‘But what about me? Are you taking me into account? Where are your eyes fixed?’ Fix your eyes on Jesus, put your trust in Him, and let the hope of the Gospel guide your thoughts, sweeten your words, and empower your love for those that God is coming to rescue. Let’s ask the Lord to fill us with His Presence today, for His glory and honor in all we do. And let’s worship to, “This We Know” by Vertical Worship.

– TR

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Day Three: God’s Plan

Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV) – The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

“God is a sending God. Notice three parts to this commission: (1) God’s motive, (2) God’s purpose, and (3) God’s plan. God’s motive is especially seen in verses 7 and 9… God hears the groans of people who genuinely cry out to Him…. Notice also God’s purpose. His purpose is to transfer His people. He will take them out of Egypt and put them in a place with milk and honey (3:8). It is a land occupied by other nations, and they will have to conquer them later. God is going to save them from something (slavery) for something (worship and witness). That is exactly what has happened to us in the gospel. Finally, see God’s plan. After revealing His great purpose of redemption, God told Moses the plan: ‘You’re it.’ God says, ‘I am sending you’ (v.10). God is a sending God.” [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), p. 24-25]

God’s plan is the only plan, His plan includes each one of us experiencing His salvation from something (slavery and sin) for something, worship and witness of His glory and love. As we experience the glory of God’s Presence in our lives, that experience is to become an expression of God’s likeness and love to others. It is the natural outcome – the norm – of a people embraced by God and transformed in His glory. What is most natural to you today? In Christ, the most natural thing is to be like Him for the world to see and know.

Today, let’s say, “Yes Lord, I will go and live Your plan today.” Let’s ask the Lord to make what is most natural to us in Christ – to display His glory and love – be what is most expressed to those we interact with. Let’s pray that the Lord will open the doors to reveal His grace and mercy through us. And as we pray and come into the presence of the Lord, let us worship to Matt Redman’s song, “Gracefully Broken.”

– TR

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Day Two: Holiness

Exodus 3:5-6 (NIV) – Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

God’s holiness is our beginning point. Being called by God means being confronted by His holiness. This was the first lesson Moses learned as God was preparing him for the task ahead. God’s holiness may not be something we readily frame our calling as Christians within. We are aware and ‘know’ God is holy, but the immediate reality and awe of His holiness don’t often register in our day to day activities. In part, because life feels so unholy.

But it is this same Holy God that Moses stood before that also confronts us into this calling and life of love. Because God is holy, His plan is holy. It will honor Him and bring Him glory. And it is and will always be the perfect plan for us – pure in love, perfect in its outcome, and good in all its ways. Not only will it accomplish His purpose but we will be transformed through it.  It’s in this deep understanding and awe, that we truly realize just how great and amazing our salvation really is. And what is even more humbling, more sobering is that the one and only Holy God extends His invitation to us, so lacking in perfection and holiness, to join Him…to be His plan.

Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV) – “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

As we pray today, let us draw near to God through Christ with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings. In Christ we have been washed of the old ways and brought into the holy and pure way of God. Let’s ask the Lord to deepen our sincerity for His plan in and through our lives, and let’s ask Him to strengthen and empower our resolve to love Him and bring Him glory today. Let’s sing to Matt Redman’s, “Greatest Hallejuah.”

– TR

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Day One: Plan A…

Psalm 96:1-4a (NIV)

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.

In William Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It”, the melancholy and often critical Jacques begins his well-known monologue like this:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

Take a long broad look at Exodus and we can see that world has become the stage, but its focus is not the mere players, famous as they may be – Moses, Pharaoh, Aaron, Miriam, etc. In Exodus the stage is set for the main player, the Lord Himself! He doesn’t just merely play His part, exiting and entering on a whim; no, He takes center stage to reveal Himself in all His glory. It is by Him that the rest of the world will now find their parts and their role. He is center stage – not Moses, not Pharaoh, not the Israelites…not even us.

The God of “center stage” has come to save His people, and that was Plan A! The good news is that there is no plan B. Therefore, He continues to save! This is the God of Moses, and this is our God too whom we know through Jesus Christ. Therefore, sing a new song…really sing! Sing to the Lord and praise His name. Proclaim His salvation! Yes, the salvation that has rescued you and brought you into the wonder and blessing of God’s great love. Proclaim that today in your homes, in your workplaces, with your friends, with your families, and in your communities. Sing it, shout it, talk about it, demonstrate it in love. Let His glory fill your life today. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.

Spend time in prayer and singing to your favorite worship song, remembering the great things that God has done in and through your life – thanking Him and rejoicing in Him. Let God and His greatness be center stage in your life today. “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise!”

– TR

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Day Five: Heard and Remembered

Exodus 2:24-25 – God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

“First, consider God’s knowledge of the oppressed. When the people cried out, He heard their cry. Not only did He hear it, He also saw or looked at their oppression, and He took notice, meaning He knew or was concerned (vv. 24-25). God heard. God saw. God knew. God’s ability to see and to hear appears throughout Scripture. Think of Psalm 34: 15: ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help.’ God’s exhaustive knowledge or omniscience also appears often in Scripture. When the Scripture says that God ‘knew,’ it means that He knew all about them. God was intimately aware of their agony. And because God knows, He acts. Second, “He remembered His covenant with Abraham” (v. 24). God’s covenantal memory gets underlined here. God remembers His unbreakable promise of salvation. To ‘remember’ something means to bring it to the front burner and act on it. The term “covenant” appears for the first time in Exodus here. It appears 25 times in Genesis. The best definition of “covenant” may be in The Jesus Story Book Bible: ‘a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love’ (Sally Lloyd-Jones, Story Book, 36). As mentioned above, Exodus and Genesis go together.”  [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary). p. 16]

God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and with Jacob. The word remembering, is not an accidental remembering, rather it is the reference to God’s faithful connection and adherence to the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, when we consider that in Genesis 15:12-16, God foretold of this exact occurrence, shows us that none of this was an unknown to the Lord, nor is salvation something that is reactionary of the Lord (as in the Lord never intended this, but he is now acting once realizing what has happened).  Rather, the situation of Israel and the Lord’s plan of salvation has always been planned of the Lord.  There was never a moment when Israel was outside of God’s plan of salvation. To take notice/remember, is a remembrance that is more than a mental act; it also includes a performance of God’s word: God hears, God remembers, God looks (considers), and God knows (is concerned). To remember is literally ‘to know’, which means to take note of with a new of caring. Hence, salvation is for the Lord to know, and for us to know the Lord. This leads us to also know that our salvation has always been in God’s sovereign plan and word (Ephesians 1).

Prayer Response: Lord, thank you that you hear and remember your covenant of love and grace! That is our salvation, displayed fully by the cross of Jesus Christ. Help us be mindful of this reality and live in the full confidence of your saving heart and faithfulness.

Song of Worship: Let’s join our hearts together as we sing “we hold on to every promise you ever made, Jesus you are unfailing!” “This We Know” by Kristian Stanfill

– MK

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