Devotional Week 7 Friday
Week 7 Friday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“He Who sent Me is ever with Me; My Father has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.”
John 8: 29
“There is no lot on earth so lonely, no trouble so unshared, no fidelity so divorced from human help, but it may find its counterpart in the life of the Saviour.”
“Is thy path lonely? Fear it not,
for He who marks the sparrows fall is guarding thee;
And not a star shines over thy head by night,
But He hath known that it will reach thy sight;
And not a joy can beautify thy lot,
But tells thee still that thou art unforgot;
Nay, not a grief can darken or surprise,
Swell in thy heart, or dim with tears thine eyes,
But it is sent in mercy and in love,
To bid thy helplessness seek strength above.”
Today’s Study Text:
“For the Lord saw as very bitter the afflictions of Israel; there was no one left, bond or free, nor any helper for Israel. But the Lord had not said that He would blot out the name of Israel from under the heavens, so He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam (II) son of Johash.”
II Kings 14: 26, 27
“Unholy Alliances” – Part 5
“Reflecting God’s Glory”
“It is deeply insulting to God for us to open the Bible, and seeing many things about Him that we do not like, decide to reshape God into a more pleasing image. God is not whoever you want Him to be. He is who He is!”
Have I ever questioned why God acted in certain ways in my own life or in the lives of others around me?
Is my faith ever challenged when I witness those who appear to act in evil ways succeed in apparently everything they do?
“God cannot be all things to all people. He can only be those things that are consistent with Himself. He is truth; therefore, He cannot lie. He is eternal; therefore He cannot cease. While we choose to love or be merciful, God is quite different. God doesn’t choose to love or to be merciful. God is loving. God is merciful.”
“We must remember that God always acts like Himself. He has never at any time anywhere in the vast universe acted otherwise than in character with His infinite perfections.”
A. W. Tozer
To my way of thinking, whenever I find myself confronted by a questioning spirit, wondering what God is doing in this world and even asking myself what is my heavenly Father really like, I turn to a revealing story contained in the book of Exodus.
As I’ve reflected on the desperate wickedness which permeated the society at the time of the “King’s” rulership in Israel and Judah, rather than getting stuck in a rut that says, “Why didn’t God do more to check the immense evil,” I go back to Exodus 31: 18 and Exodus 32. I want to lay out the complete scenario for we must keep in context our review of God’s interaction with His trusted friend, Moses:
“An God gave to Moses, when He had ceased communing with him on Mount Sinai, the two table of the Testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”
Exodus 31: 18
I want to push the pause button for a moment as I call your attention to the last six words in Exodus 31: 18, “Written with the finger of God.” God invited Moses to come up on Mt. Sinai for an extended visit where He not only gave Moses a detailed description of the Tabernacle that He wanted Moses and the children of Israel to construct, but then, just before Moses began his descent back to the desert floor and the encampment of all the people, God gave Moses two tables of stone – written with His finger. What a moment in Moses’ life. Just imagine if God handed you something He had written with His own finger. I know if I had been in Moses’ sandals I would have walked slowly and carefully – making certain the cherished treasure that I was carrying made it safely down the mountain.
But here’s where our story takes a horrid turn. Before leaving the presence of God, our Almighty Father had a heart-rending message for Moses. In Exodus 32:7, God revealed to Moses that he needed to get back to the camp - pronto. Here’s why: “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down, for your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.’” Since the word “corrupted” is used in several versions of the Bible, I checked my Hebrew dictionary to make certain I understood the definition of this word used specifically in Exodus 32: 7. I found this to be a very strong word meaning, “to destroy, to rot, to mar, to decay.”
God was handing His precious tablets, which were written with His own finger, to Moses, a human. This copy of the "Testimony," contained God's perfect rules for the universe. However, while God was meeting with Moses, the people who had been led by Moses our of Egyptian bondage, because of Moses' delay in returning to their camp, came to the false conclusion that Moses wasn't returning. They couldn't even wait for a few days without demanding that Aaron, Moses' brother, build them a golden calf that they would worship instead of the God of heaven and earth who had not only just released them from Pharaoh’s iron-grip, but who had also made a way of escape through the Red Sea and covered these short-sighted people with a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire by night.
Needless to say, by the time Moses got within a distance down Mt. Sinai where he could hear the hullabaloo and merrymaking taking place – he was in no mood for lousy excuses which his brother Aaron offered. Especially this particular rationalization found in Exodus 32: 21 – 24: “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you, that you have brought so great a sin upon them’ And Aaron said, ‘Let not the anger of my lord blaze hot; you know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, Make us gods which shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him. I said to them, Those who have any gold, let them take it off. So they gave it to me; then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.’”
Frankly, this is one of the most stupid excuses in history. Aaron happened upon a self-building, self-appearing golden calf which jumped out of a molten fire, fully-formed and perched in the camp, all ready for a dance party. No wonder that Moses was so angry at the sight of the debauchery, he threw the perfect tablets, the “Testimony” of God, written by the Eternal’s own finger, down to the ground where they broke in pieces.
But it wasn’t just Moses who was filled with righteous anger. God clearly expressed His displeasure in Exodus 32: 9-15:
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and that I may destroy them; but I will make of you a great nation.’ But Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, ‘Lord, why does Your wrath blaze hot against Your people, whom You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, for evil He brought them forth, to slay them in the mountains and consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and change Your mind concerning this evil against Your people. Earnestly remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.’ Then the Lord turned from the evil which He had thought to do to His people.”
Exodus 32: 9-14
There are several important points in this story which call me to attention:
Point 1: I pray that I am a friend of God. A friend that doesn’t crave the honor due to my heavenly Father. I want to be God’s friend in the way Moses was God’s friend. I want to intercede with my heavenly Father just as Moses interceded on behalf of God’s children who had willingly entered into sinful behavior, completely forgetting all God had done for them.
Point 2: I want to recognize that the toxin of sin destroys my relationship with my heavenly Father. As commentator Matthew Henry writes in his study on this experience: “We need to observe what God says here to Moses concerning sin. The people had “corrupted” themselves. Sin is the corruption or depravation of the sinner, it is self-corruption. Sin is also a ‘turning aside out of the way.’ Sin is a deviation from the way of our duty.”
Point 3: I want to understand that the compassion of God, His gracious kindness, will never change, for when with a contrite heart I come to Him in repentance, accepting His forgiveness, God will accept me for He tells us that He has no pleasure in the loss of even one of his children.
It does us well as we study about the repeated sinfulness of God’s children in history, to remember that like Moses, we too can intercede on behalf of those around us. And we can pray that our own lives will bring only glory to the name of our unchanging Father. In the words of Psalm 79: 9, “help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name! Deliver us, forgive us, and purge away our sins for Your name’s sake.” As Matthew Henry penned, “The glorifying of God’s name ought to be our first petition.”
As we study about God’s intervention in history, especially at those times when His children, those who were called by His name, defaced the image of their heavenly Father, may our hearts be touched by the eternal compassion bestowed upon us by our unchanging heavenly Father. But may we also reflect on the corrupting pollution called sin, which when “toyed” with brings down its victims for as our Father warned His children in Eden: “Sin causes death.” In the words of the Psalmist David, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions…Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51: 1, 12, Amplified Bible).
“God never changes who His is. He is always consistent. He is not fickle. He was not a different God in the Old Testament or to your grandparents. He is and always has been the same God. He is holy (He keeps His promises). He is righteous (He always does what’s right). He is good (He loves us and is always working in us and for us). These things never change.”
“Let us, with gladsome mind
Praise the Lord, for He is kind;
For His mercies shall endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.”
"O burning mountain, O chosen sun,
O perfect moon, O fathomless well,
O unattainable height, O clearness beyond measure,
O wisdom without end, O mercy without limit,
O strength beyond resistance,
O crown of all majesty,
The humblest You created sings Your praise.”
Mechthild of Madgeburg
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus