Day One: The Lord Will Fight for You

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:13-14,19-22)

“God finishes the fight to set the people free.  The Lord’s work of rescue does not stop short of full completion until the people are completely free.  In this fight, the Israelites are not tasked to aid nor supplement in the fighting in order to finish the work that the Lord has begun.  Perhaps that is why the Lord doesn’t instruct nor train the people to fight for themselves, nor does the He choose a servant (Moses) with military training.  Rather, the Lord shows His power in the midst of the people’s weakness, thus becoming a true demonstration of God’s work of salvation alone. The Lord who started this fight fully finishes it.” [Pastor Gus Kim]

“In these chapters in Exodus, the Israelites have their backs against a wall—on one side the Egyptians who are fully armed and ready to destroy and re-capture them, and on the other side the vastness of the Red Sea.  However, there are other players in this fight as “The Israelites need not fear for they have a lot of special company.  They have God’s angel/messenger (Ex. 14:1).  They have a cloud-encased fire (Ex. 14:19-20)…Best of all, they have Yahweh’s own presence, of which the first three are observable representatives of the Divine One in their midst, at both the front and rear of the camp.” [V. Hamilton, Exodus Commentary, p. 217]

“Therefore, though the Israelites were complaining and panicking at the sight of the Egyptian chariots, it is clear that the Lord’s very literal presence was with them as seen in the cloud/pillar of fire that was protecting them. Perhaps the Israelite’s fear led them to become blind and oblivious to the reality of God’s presence that was clearly with them.” [Pastor Gus Kim]

Let’s pray: Lord, we want to be more aware of Your presence with us. Instead of being overwhelmed by fear or panic, may we be more aware of how You are working in our midst.

– JP

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Day Five: Time to Change Your Facebook Status

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

“In ch. 6 of Exodus it says, ‘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.”’ …That word ‘to take’ is also language of when someone marries his wife, ‘He takes his bride.’ [Like in traditional wedding vows], ‘Do you, Timothy, take Brenda to be your lawfully wedded wife?’; ‘Do you, Brenda, take Tim… ?’

You see this imagery, where God says, ‘I’m going to pluck you out, snatch you out.’ And this isn’t just, ‘I’m going to set you free.’ But, ‘I’m taking you out of there and putting you in here!’ ‘I’m taking you into something that is so intimate and so real, something that you have never experienced as a people of God under Egypt.’ ‘I, the holy God, who can wipe out nations, wipe out Egypt, I choose you. My treasured possession, I take you out because I love you, I’m passionate for you.’ And out of that reality we become… a royal priesthood and a holy nation. An unholy people in an instant become what? A holy nation. Not because of what they’ve done, but because of God’s grace… taking them out, bringing them into this moment, and saying, ‘Now, this is who you are. Because I am holy, you are holy. You are no longer just a nation among nations. You are a holy nation… and to add to it, you are a royal priesthood!’” [from P. Tim’s message at AMC on 1/27/2018]

Let’s pray: Lord, we are amazed at Your love for your people, Your covenant faithfulness throughout generations. As Your people, may we live out our covenant faithfulness to You. May our love for You be fervent and passionate!

– JP

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Day Four: Married? Married. Married? Ya, married. Married? Married! Jeesh

“So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, ‘We will do everything the LORD has said.’ So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD.” (Exodus 19:7-8)

“God says, ‘You will be my treasured possession… out of all the nations that I have, all the wealth, everything I have, you, Israel, are going to be right here, close to me, because I love you. You are treasured. And you have value.’ He begins to speak into Israel, from living under the shadow of a mighty, tyrannical nation of Egypt, they come into the shadow of the Almighty, where they are now treasured and valued beyond any other place in all the earth.

This holy God, who says, ‘Don’t come up My mountain!’ [Now, says to the people of God], ‘You are going to be the closest thing to me.’ And Israel is like, ‘What do we do with this?’ But you and I in Christ, we know exactly what He does with that! Where He takes His very own Son, holy and perfect in every way. And for us, who are imperfect, can’t be with God, He lays His life down for us. So that our faith in Him, when He died and rose again… given to us as a gift of God that we could enter in… not only is God holy, awesome and perfect… but [now] we find ourselves right in His heart. That’s who God was saying, Israel, you will be. And that is who God says we are in this day.

The whole language of Sinai has this incredible imagery of how God loved Israel, treasured her. Then all of sudden from this point forward, there’s all this language in the prophets that talk about Israel as the bride of God. The covenant that was written, the covenant that was spoken on Sinai, was the moment where God would come and reveal His passionate heart like a husband toward His bride, the one He most treasures and loves. And in that covenant, it would never separate. God would hold to that covenant.” [from P. Tim’s message at AMC on 1/27/2018]

Let’s pray: Lord, Your love for Your people is overwhelming! May this love touch us and continue to change us, that we would be the faithful bride of Christ, displaying His glory in our world.

– JP

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Day Three: Flock of Segullahs

“Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, ‘This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.'” (Exodus 19:3-6)

“We see, also, in the midst of this, God is not just revealing his holiness but he’s revealing his intimacy for his people. And that is what is so profound about this covenant moment. We see the absolute holiness of God, purity, where we see no sin, where no one who has sinned can reside in the presence of God… and we see the absolute love and passion of God who just loves his people… and wants to be with them… But there’s this distance. How does that come together?

On this mountain we see this moment where God says, ‘It is going to come together! It is going to happen. That is part of the promise. This next phase in your life is to walk into this incredible, passionate love in the midst of My purity, come together, focused on you, for My glory through your life, and for your salvation.’

We read in verse 3, ‘Then Moses went up to God,  and the LORD called  to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings  and brought you to myself.  Now if you obey me fully  and keep my covenant,  then out of all nations you will be…’”’ …be my what? My segullah… You will be my segullah.

The imagery of segullah (‘treasured possession’) has to do with royalty. Like the Queen’s jewels, or the Hope Diamond. A king would have lots of plunder, but he would set this aside and say this is my precious [treasure]. Not only was it just precious and treasured, but it also …had incredible worth and value just because the king or queen said ‘that is mine.’” [from P. Tim’s message at AMC on 1/27/2018]

Let’s pray: Lord, only by Your grace we can come into Your presence and even go as far as claiming to be Your treasured possession. That is where our sense of worth and value comes from… to be identified with Your people as Your treasured possession on earth. We worship You!

– JP

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Day Two: God’s Treasure

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “…You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:3-6)

“The Lord redeemed his people, delivering them from the Egyptians, bearing them through their journey, bringing them to himself. All of this was rooted in God’s gracious covenant. He remembered his covenant with Abraham (2:23–25). He claimed Israel as his ‘firstborn’ (4: 22). He took Israel as his own people and gave them glorious covenant promises (6:6-7). Therefore he redeemed them out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (i.e., life maintained by human work).

Now, the Lord will give his redeemed people his requirements (20:1ff), essentially saying, ‘This is what it looks like to live in a blessed relationship with the God who has redeemed you.’ And he will give the promise of redemption’s (not work’s) reward: they will be God’s treasured possession and they will be to God a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

This movement of God’s grace is the same for God’s people today. God redeems us through Jesus Christ because of his gracious covenant; he gives us the requirements of his Word, picturing the life of grateful obedience; and he declares redemption’s reward, that we would be his inheritance (Eph. 1:18), his treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6).” [ESV Gospel Transformation Bible]

Let’s pray: Lord, thank you for Your grace in Jesus Christ. Not only did You rescue us from our sins, but You have saved us for a purpose, to be Your treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation in this world. We rejoice in Your redemption plan!

– JP

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Day One: Law of Love

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called  to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.'” (Exodus 19:3-4)

The Exodus is not just about God rescuing the people from oppression, or taking them to the Promised Land… it’s about bringing the people to Himself. Sinai is not just the place where the Law was given, it was where God revealed Himself and bound Himself to His people in an unprecedented way.

“What could God possibly have wanted with a tribe of Hebrews enslaved in Egypt? Why did God redeem them and guide them across the hostile wilderness (while they seem to have complained all the way) to… the mountain of God?

…God used this opportunity to give the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai… A careful study of Scripture reveals the astonishing truth that the Creator was unfolding his plan to come down from heaven, establish an intimate and loving relationship with his people, and live with them! …[T]he Ten Commandments… summarized their covenant and spelled out how he loved them and how his people could express their love for him.

…[T]he history of Israel is an amazing love story in which God loved the Hebrew people far more than they loved him… At Sinai, God established a covenant relationship with his people. This made their relationship more than a temporary liaison, more than a legal or political union… The covenant God established with his people resembled a marriage so closely that later prophets described it in those terms [cf. Jeremiah, Hosea, etc.].” [R. Vander Laan, That the World May Know: Vol 9, Fire On the Mountain]

Let’s pray: Lord, may your covenant people be faithful to You. May our hearts belong to You and You alone. May we love You with ALL our heart and soul.

– JP

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Day Five: The One who goes the distance!

Exodus 9:15-16 – For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Here is the question:  Why did the Lord do all this—10 plagues?  Why is the Lord going the distance?  After all, couldn’t the Lord have set Israel free by just one plague?  Why 10, and why prolong it?

One thing is clear—the reason why this battle was going for 10 rounds wasn’t because of the power and strength of Egypt, Pharaoh or the enemy.  For we see in Exodus 9.16 what is really going on: “ For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.”

This life is a battle indeed, but it is not the kind of battle that we are used to witnessing, where it can be anyone’s game to win. For when it comes to the Lord, the battle is such that it is always under God’s sovereign power, purpose, and authority. Hence, the battles that we go through are purposed by the Lord in order to show His power, and so that His name might be proclaimed in all the earth!

Therefore, one way to understand why of the 10 plagues, it is so that the Israelites will have seen and remember that the Lord has completely defeated every idol, every fear, every oppressive power that once held them captive.  Hence, it was for Israel’s sake!

That is how we are also to view and understand every battle that we go through. First, it is in order for us to witness the Lord crush all the power and dominion of sin and any other power in our lives that keeps us from living for the Lord. It is also in order to break away the wrong beliefs that we might still hold on to.

Today, let’s be encouraged that the Lord has gone the distance and still goes the distance so that each of us can and will experience the fullness of this victory. Pray today proclaiming God’s victory over every and all areas of our lives.

-GK

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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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