Psalm 77:19-20 (NIV) – Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock.
Even though God performed many miracles and led Israel out of slavery and into freedom, the Israelites often found themselves complaining. This is partly because they viewed their time in the wilderness as aimlessly “wandering.” But this was not the case. Despite the circuitous route they took, God had a purpose and was on a mission. What seemed like “wandering” was actually God’s desire to teach, test, and lead them, making sure their faith would hold up once they arrived. He wanted them to be fit for their new destination. In this way, the Psalmist gets it right when He acknowledges that even though God may have left no footprints, He is not far away. He was shepherding and directing His people always!
If you are feeling a bit aimless and without direction, perhaps God is purposely not taking a direct route. He may be taking the time to teach, test, and direct your steps to greater faith and trust in him.
Let us pray that God would set us free from “wandering” and into certainty that He is leading and shepherding us to greater faith and blessing.
Exodus 19:5 (NLT) – You will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth.
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) – You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
This is who we are – God’s “segulla” (treasured possession)! But part of being God’s special and treasured people is that we have the privilege of sharing and showing others the goodness of God, the same goodness that has saved and delivered us!
Let us pray and ask God to help us fully live out our identity as God’s “segulla” by displaying the goodness of God to our friends, family members, coworkers, and students on our campuses.
Let us worship to the song “Louder” by Matt Redman.
Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT) – Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock…But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.
The Gospel of Matthew includes many allusions to Exodus. We see this in several of the “mountaintop” narratives, such as the Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration, and the Great Commission. Here, in the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus emphasizes the importance of obedience in the life of a true disciple. Listening, hearing, and understanding is simply not enough. A true disciple must be wise and not foolish.
“The ‘fool’ (transliterated ‘moron’) is defined as the obverse, namely, the one who hears but fails to practice Jesus’ teachings. No one in Palestine would build a home on sand…In Psalms and Proverbs ‘fools’ are those who leave God out of their life.” [Obsborne, Exegetical Commentary on the NT, p. 276]
In Christ, we are equipped in every way to live wisely, actively choosing and inviting God into every aspect our lives.
Let us pray for the Spirit’s empowering to live a life of obedience, and worship to the song “Build My Life” by Housefires.
Exodus 19:4 (NIV) – I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
Whether eagles actually do this or not, God uniquely carries us and draws us to Him. It is easy to view Exodus as God simply taking us from a place of slavery to the land of promise. But it is so much more! One of God’s primary actions in Exodus is to bring us to Himself, and in the process, to form a people that will use their freedom to enjoy Him more and more.
Today, let us draw near to God and simply enjoy belonging to Him and Him alone. May God’s Presence bring the rest and comfort that you need.
As we express our love for God and His nearness, let us also worship to the song “I Belong to You” by Jesus Culture.
Luke 9:30-31 (NLT) – Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus.
“When we read the story of the exodus, we are not just reading about some events that occurred in the distant past, but acquainting ourselves with patterns of divine redemption that are still being worked out in the world today.” [Alastair J. Roberts, 10 Things You Should Know about the Exodus, Crossway]
As you take time to reflect and remember all that we received from God, pray and ask Him to open your eyes to see how He is working in your life at this very moment! Perhaps He is performing an Exodus miracle right now, orchestrating circumstances to bless you more, healing and forgiving you, or shepherding you into greater freedom so we can enjoy greater worship together!
Let us worship to the song “Jesus Saves“ by Elevation Music.
1 Peter 1:18-20 (NLT) – For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.
This is how secure and powerful this salvation plan of God is! God’s plans were never in any doubt, danger, or peril—for Jesus dying on the cross and resurrecting from the dead has always been God’s plan for us. Each of us have been saved from the empty, powerless, directionless, and hopeless life that once governed us. We have been rescued and ransomed not by mere gold or silver, but by the precious blood of Christ—the sinless and spotless Lamb of God! The idea of ransom is to redeem or to make an exchange. Hence, Jesus took our shame and exchanged it with His glory, and our sin-heavy burdens with His embrace and forgiveness. Even our faithlessness and tendency to go astray, has been replaced with the yearning to following Him in faith. Today, this is who we are—our worth and hope comes from the precious blood of Christ!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the immeasurably great power for us who believe. Not a worldly or human power, but the same mighty power that raised you from the dead and seated you in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Today and this week, we pray for your resurrection power to be at work in us. May you bring greater glory to your name through us, your church. Amen.
Isaiah 53:6 (NLT) – All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
The passage says that we have all strayed away. It is easy to follow when it sounds easy, pleasant, and it works for our benefit—in other words when following doesn’t require much faith. However, the faith that the Lord was teaching the Israelites in the desert (and us), is to trust in His power, promise, and rescue when everything around us tells us that it is going to be difficult, it might lead to death, and there is a good chance that it might not work out. We witness this with the Israelites in the desert, when things got a little difficult (such as feeling a little rumbling of hunger in the tummies). Fear led them to panic and for their survival instincts to kick in, resulting in grumbling and to the eventual forming of the golden calf.
However, when Christ took the burden of sin upon Himself, He also took that inability to trust, follow, and to obey from us. Our doubts, our fears, our instinct to run away is now ransomed with His faith, courage, and the yearning to draw near the Lord. Today may we have the faith that the Lamb of God has made possible for us.
Prayer: “Lord Jesus, thank you for choosing me and changing me, even as you chose and changed your servant Paul; continue your transforming work in me this day and this week as I seek to stay close to you, my source of love and joy. Amen.” [Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year. Page 214]
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrow that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
What the Lamb of God has come to do is this: to take upon himself all of our weakness, sorrow, and sin that weighs so heavy—and put it all on himself! We all know what this burden feels like—the burden of our weakness, when we just don’t know what to do, and the burden of death as life becomes so hopeless. That is why Jesus, the Lamb of God, was known as a man of sorrows, as he bore the depth of our rebellion, sin, and punishment upon Himself.
Today are you full of burden? Is your heart heavy? Instead of carrying it yourself or try to deal with it alone, stop and look (pay attention), for this Jesus, the LAMB of God has taken our burdens upon HIMSELF!
Prayer: “Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” [Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year. Page 211]
Continue in prayer as you listen to this song “Forgiven” by Bethel Music.
John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
“Look”—this word is more than simply saying: Hey, look at that interesting thing—or check this out! When John says “look”, he is saying “open your eyes people! Wake up if you have been sleeping, and come to full attention! Stop looking or paying attention, or being distracted by anything or anyone else! For this is what you were looking for and need to see—the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Today, what are you and I distracted by? What are we thinking about, concerned about, distraught about? Let’s stop and LOOK! Let’s open our eyes, and come to full attention because this Jesus that we have come to worship—is the Lamb of God. All the needs that we have, all of the questions that we have, all the burden that we carry, they are fully found in Christ. In Christ what we find is not a temporary nor a partial solution, but the full and the only solution and the resolution to our lives.
Prayer: “O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” [Book of Common Prayer]
Today, worship with the song, “Yours” by Elevation Worship.
Luke 24:5-6 (NLT) – Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!
Alleluia, Christ is risen! “He is risen indeed!” This bold announcement and jubilant response should reverberate each day. We exult as in a great victory. We shout as at hearing good news. We sing as if brimming with joy and hope. The narrative from [Luke’s] gospel tells the Easter story, along with the anticipations found in the OT and the glorious implications spelled out in the NT. Live inside the resurrection story this week and let its power and joy inhabit you. This is a week for wonder and worship: the one who was dead is now alive forever and ever! Find ways to focus your attention on the resurrection each day this week. It is like a display of spiritual fireworks dazzling us with each burst: Life! Power! Love! Triumph! Transformation! Hope! Joy! [B. Gross, Living the Christian Year, Page 202.]
Prayer: “Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” [Book of Common Prayer]
Today worship listening to the song, “Anthem” by Planetshakers.