February 5, 2017 Exodus 13,14; Matthew 5
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These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.
Illuminating the Path | Joni Tyner
S~ The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and He provided light at night with a pillar of fire. The allow them to travel by day or night. And the LORD did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people. Exodus 13:21-22 (NLT)
O~ The Israelites are starting their journey to the Promised Land. God is leading them and comforting them with His presence by providing a continuous visual reminder—the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.
A~ When I read this, my mind immediately thought, that would be nice to have a constant visual of God, that He is always with me. I read the notes at the bottom of the page in my Bible and it highlighted that verse. The pillar of fire and cloud were called a theophany—God appearing to the people in a physical form to give them protection and reassurance. It then said that we have the Bible to give us protection and reassurance and light the way of our path. And—we have the deposit of the Holy Spirit within us that guides and nudges our path. Dugh!!!! I knew that! 🙂 Why do I so quickly forget the gifts God has given me? The Holy Spirit never leaves me, He is always there and available,–but it is my job to be sensitive to His leading and look for it. He doesn’t send me texts every couple of hours with tips and hints on how to respond to a situation. But, His Word is very clear about responding to all with a heart of humility and compassion and love. (And, His Word is available on my phone, just like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!!!!) His Word is a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105) What an eye opener!
P~ Dear Lord, thank you for this reminder this morning that You are constantly with me. You are light and my comfort. I pray Your Holy Spirit continues to nudge my heart to get into Your Word and sit at Your feet.
Be Still, Already! | Kelley Deases
S~ ‘The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ spoken by Moses, Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
O~ Moses is reassuring the Israelites that, just as God was faithful to deliver them out of slavery in Egypt, He will continue to be faithful in overtaking those same oppressors who are now in pursuit. The word from the Lord given to Moses for the people was simply to “be still.” God will fight on their behalf.
A~ When I am being attacked or pursued, or someone in my family is being threatened, it is my instinct to attack back, or at least go on the defensive. God reminds me that sometimes I just need to be still and let Him handle it in His way and in His time.
P~ Father, I want to learn how to better “Be still and know that You are God.” The second part of that command is far easier; it’s that first part that trips me up.
I Had Forgotten | Luisa Penaherrera
S~ Then they turned against Moses and complained. “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? Why did you make us leave? Didn’t we tell you to leave us alone while we were still in Egypt? Our Egyptian slavery was far better than dying out here in the wilderness!” Exodus 14:11, 12 (NLT)
O~ The Israelites had just experienced God’s mighty power as He led them out of Egypt with many miracles. Here they could see the Egyptian army approaching and it must have scared them. They allowed the fear of what they were experiencing (seeing the Egyptian army approach) instead of turning to God and remembering what he did and then trusting him, then also getting going.
A~ I am guilty of the same. I moved here with great excitement and hope. Excited to be closer to our children and of course our grandbaby (now grandbabies). I realize all these other things started popping, in causing me anxiety. The lack of sunshine, the cold weather, the long winter months, feeling overwhelmed with everyone’s needs and our financial situation. All these things were a distraction. I had forgotten to look to you, to trust you no matter what I face.
P~ Father, I realize I have looked away from you to all these issues. Please forgive me. I choose to trust you. These verses remind me how quickly I can look away and how easy it is to get caught up in my circumstances. I have done that and I want to instead get all caught up in you.
Time to Master the Flint-Face | Vicki Burns
S~ You have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV)
Isaiah 50:6-8 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
:7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. :8 He who vindicates me is near.
O~ According to these related Scriptures, it seems believers take all comers!
All those people we would just love to hide from, get revenge on, hold back money, good or services from, these are the folks we are to look straight in the eye. We accept the evil person and look for ways to accommodate them. Oops!! They back-handed me. So, I offer them my other cheek. They take me to court, I offer more than they are asking/demanding. They demand service; I go over-the-top to please them. They ask. I give. And it gets worse!
Christ as personified in Isaiah offered His back to those who beat Him; His cheeks to those who pulled out His beard and His face to mocking and spitting. Does any of this get your dander up? Do you feel the burn? Well good! That’s what it’s here for! It leaves me gaping, appalled! I shout emphatically, I am not sufficient for such things!!!
So, the fix? “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me…I set my face like flint…He who vindicates me is near.” So. There ya go. I have One who vindicates me! It’s His job AND He is so much better at it than I! My part is to look this list over and wrestle the sore parts to the ground because as surely as I live and breathe, there WILL be a test. I had better master that flint-face thing and never, ever forget that “He who vindicates me is near.”
A~ Well, this study definitely brings to the fore my lack of preparation to enter intense persecution…or even the every day challenges of seeking the good of those around me preferring my brother above myself; giving to those who ask, time? inconvenience? Money?
P~ “The battle is the Lord’s”…my mantra these days. It keeps me focused. I am grateful You prepare me for the challenges ahead and no matter how hot the conflict, “He who vindicates me is near.” You never leave me nor forsake me. Thank You!
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