4 - Ex10 27

04 Feb: Daily Readings and Thought for February 4th. “BUT THE LORD HARDENED PHARAOH’S HEART”

 

         We thought about this for some time. How do we understand the references in today’s ch. 10 of Exodus.  We read, “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart.”  (v.1,10,27)   Can God blame man for what God does – if that is the way to understand this?  Notice how Moses conveys the message of the LORD (i.e. Yahweh/Jehovah) to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews; how long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” [v.3]

Pharaoh refused to recognise the power of the one and only God.  In the time of Joseph God’s power had been fully recognised as a result of the 7 years of famine and then of plenty.  Then we read in Exodus 1 v.8 “Now there arose a new king over Egypt that did not know Joseph” and the situation changed.  To restore the spirit of knowing and fearing the only real God was surely part of the purpose of God in sending the plagues.  God saw that a Pharaoh would ne “raised up” whose attitude and pride would cause this to happen.

We can see a more recent parallel to this.  When printing was invented, the first book printed in nearly every language was the Bible!  There was a celebration of 400 years since the King James Version of the Bible was first printed, but not many took any notice.  Four Centuries ago there was a wonderful change in the attitudes of many people; the world became more spiritual; laws were influenced by the principles set out in the laws that were read in the Bible.  The R.C. Church tried to resist this but the reformation movement, fed by the reading of the Bible, spread throughout the world.  People at last read for themselves what God had really done and said.  

The effect of this reformation movement came to an end during the 20th Century; now a generation or two have come into being who largely do not know the Bible.  Sadly a few read the Bible to get power and influence for themselves and distort what it says in trying to find in it things they want to believe; hearts have been hardened!.  

The stage is set therefore, for God to bring another series of plagues on the earth, to show his power to Godless man, so that once again people will be aware of the true God, but it will require one last dramatic act of God to really cause them to wake up – and that surely will be the return of Christ to rule the earth.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM_l_0D3NGY[/embedyt]
3 - Psa63 1

03 Feb: Daily Readings and Thought for February 3rd. “O GOD … EARNESTLY I SEEK YOU”

 

David’s intense personal relationship with God is an example and an inspiration for us. Psalm 62 starts, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” And then Psalm 63, ´ O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you “   Let us all us all develop such spirituality of thought and meditation that we can echo David’s words with all our heart. 

              David declares that God “alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” [62 v.2] And how our world is going to be “greatly shaken” as God’s judgements on its evil, its’ total ungodliness, start to happen.  Let us remember what we read in Psalm 16 recently. “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” [Psa. 16 v.8,9]

So let us be ready to say – again and again – with increasing intensity, ´O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; ´my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you. “ And what greater blessings can we have, for we have “the son of David,” – and very soon now – we sense – our seeking will become wondrous sight – and with the fullest reality, the words of the crowds we read recently in Matthew’s gospel, will be echoing again from the voices of a multitude of immortalised saints! “Hosanna to the Son of David … Hosanna in the highest.” [Matt. 21 v.9]

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFCsS849tJ4[/embedyt]

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2 - Rom12 19

02 Feb: Daily Readings and Thought for February 2nd. “VENGEANCE IS MINE I WILL REPAY”

 

Our ch. 12 in Romans is one of the most significant in God’s word.  How significant for us is the advice given in v.12.  “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  The world around us offers nothing in which we can genuinely rejoice.  Most if not all of us can feel blessings  in times of rejoicing between ourselves,  The only real rejoicing is in the “hope” we hold and live for.  

Our world is increasingly hopeless – it is a world that – becauseof its godlessness deserves the vengeance of God .  Paul advised the believers at Rome, advice that was surely for believers for all ages.” Repay no one evil for evil … so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all … never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” [v.17-19]

Later this month we will come to Psalm 94.  It starts “O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth.”  Our creator is one “who disciplines the nations” [v.10]  He did in ancient days – we are reading in Exodus how he disciplined Egypt – and later we will read how he disciplined those who escaped from Egypt under Moses.  History tells us how Israel was disciplined, indeed, in the end, destroyed in the 1st Century for rejecting his Son.  

So what of our world today!?  Has it not rejected God’s Son!?   Paul’s advice to Romans is totally applicable to us – let us heed it.  Paul told them (and us) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind …”[v.2] and then proceeds to describe that transformation.  Let us heed his advice, especially noting how the chapter ends, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QEZ7Fs8lJ0[/embedyt]
1 - Rom9 17

01 Feb: Daily Readings and Thought for February 1st. “MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED”

 

Yesterday we saw how our readings in Romans also referred to Israel in Egypt and God’s continuing purpose with them.  Paul told the Romans, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth’” [9 v.17]

It was not that the actual name of God, Yahweh, should be proclaimed, but that the reputation of Israel’s God in bringing them out of Egypt, with a remarkable display of power, would be widely known and feared. We will see repeated evidence of this in our readings in coming weeks and months.  

There are different reactions to this. The reaction hoped for, is that people will want to come and work and serve Israel’s God – as the only real God.  We now look at what Paul goes on to write in Romans 10, expressing his dismay that the Israelites in his day “have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” [v.2].  What does that mean?  Is there evidence of this today – in a different way?

Recall what we read in Job at the end of December. God accused Job of darkening “counsel by words without knowledge”  [38 v.2].  Job confesses, “I have uttered what I did not understand, things to wonderful for me which I did not know…  I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” [42 v.3-5]

So Paul tells the Jews, we read in Romans 10, that they “being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness” [v.3] 

This is “the righteousness based on faith” [v.6].  This is “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” [Ephesians 1 v.18] so we see the Jews, although having a zeal for God, did not possess a “knowledge” of God, a true sense of what God was. . Think of that as a ‘knowing’ of God which results in developing a true relationship – with our prayers to him coming from our hearts with a sense of awe.   

Understanding it in this way we can then read Romans 10 v. 8 to 13 with a humble mind, and God will be seen as “bestowing his riches on all who call upon him” [v.12] These are wonderful compared to man’s riches.   What are God’s riches?  Meditate on the final 4 verses of Romans 11, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!”  This “depth” will soon be seen and “proclaimed” as the world becomes aware of God and the wondrous meaning of his “name.”

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8OzQ6hVf7k[/embedyt]
31 - Rom9 17

31 Jan: Daily Readings and Thought for January 31st. “THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED”

 

Our readings today – in Exodus and Romans tie in together in their reference to the exaltation of Moses, now ready, in God’s sight, to serve him after 40 years of preparation “in the land of Midian.”  Moses is now a meek and humble man (Numbers 12 v.3) – God can now use him.  

    Paul’s points in our Roman’s chapter (9) are illuminating: first, he states how God “says to Moses, ‘’I will have mercy on whom I have mercy… So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.’” [v.15,16] In our Exodus reading yesterday we saw how God could not use Moses’ own “will and exertion” [2 v.11-15].  Paul then drives home the lesson that we cannot deserve, i.e. ‘earn’ God’s blessing by our own efforts.
All God’s blessings are an expression of God’s mercy. This is parallel to talking about God’s grace; therefore it is really saddening today when so many talk and write glibly about ‘grace’ as though it is an ever-flowing factor that they can be certain about – regardless of how they behave,

              Paul next makes the point that “Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth’”. [v.17]   This is not the proclamation of God’s actual name as an intellectual understanding, but of God’s reputation – that was about to be established by what he did.  We will read of this in the next few days; the dramatic deliverance from Egypt of the descendants of Jacob.

              In relation to this, look carefully at our reading in Exodus 3  where God’s name is given as , “I will be what I will be” [v.14 – as shown in the ESV footnote] Primarily, this means God will ‘make’ his name, that is, his reputation, by what is about to happen – “This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” [v.15].   Their deliverance from Egypt became a ‘memorial’ which all generations would look back to – as a foundation for their confidence in God.  Thus, when we come to read Psalm 135 and its praises to the LORD we will see the full significance in v.8-13 of the LORD’s name and “renown.”  It is fully expressed in Isaiah 63 v.11-14 how you God “led your people to make for yourself a glorious name.”  Daniel makes the same point in his impassioned prayer (9 v.15) 

              In the same way we look back to the sacrifice and resurrection of our Savior – and how God made for himself the name of ‘Father.’  This was not so in the Old Testament. We are privileged to call God   ‘Father’ – but how many “hallow” that name when they say the Lord’s Prayer?  Do we?  

              It is just as vital to ask; how many are striving to make a ‘name’ for themselves which Christ will “remember” when the time comes for him to “confess’ what those in his service have achieved according to the “talents” given to them?  Think about what Jesus says in Rev. 3 v.5, “The one who conquers (him/herself!) … I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”    

Our ‘name” i.e., reputation, Christ will “confess” – will be achieved by you and I in various ways; for example, to quote James 1 v.27, “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q6ncCvz5xc[/embedyt][embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q6ncCvz5xc[/embedyt]

30 - Rom8 23

30 Jan: Daily readings and Thought for January 30th. “WE WAIT EAGERLY FOR”

 

Paul’s letter to the Romans contains some of the most meaningful and thought provoking words in Scripture. It is extremely challenging to read it and embrace all its’ points in our minds.  Maybe, more than any other book in the Bible, this book calls for our diligent and meditative study.  But this is the challenge of the whole Bible, it is not at all like a school text book that you go through in a year’s study and then leave on the shelf for occasional reference.  God’s word is designed by him for our lifelong reading and reflection. 

Paul had been brought up under the Law of Moses with all its rules and regulations.  He had been zealous for the Law, but, as a result of his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, he had, with God’s help through the Spirit, applied his mind to the new reality of eternal things – especially – to a personal relationship to his Saviour.

The Law of Moses was a Law for Israel as a nation. This Law had been superseded by a situation in which each individual needed to develop a personal relationship with their Saviour the Lord Jesus and with his Father – and through him – is now ‘Our Father.’   

Paul writes, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing …” [8 v.18,19]  This sense of eagerness is felt by all those who see the emptiness in so much of what people enjoy today:  But it is all “creation” that waits for the removal of the curse imposed in Eden.  We learn in Genesis how God said to Adam “cursed is the ground because of you” [Gen. 3 v.17]  Paul goes on to say we “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons (& daughters), the redemption of our bodies” [v.23]   How true is the word eagerly – especially as we grow older and our minds and bodies feel the effects. 

  Those who find this life satisfying and enjoyable will not genuinely “wait eagerly” for that which is going to replace it. But for many in the world this life offers little that is enjoyable – so they are often in a far more spiritually acceptable frame of mind before God. Finally, let us all read carefully and prayerfully the last 8 verses (31-39) of Romans ch 8.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ISvVaffcN4[/embedyt]
29 - Psa51 5

29 Jan: Daily readings and Thought for January 29th. “IN WHICH GOD DELIGHTS”

 

The readings today all challenge us to think and meditate on their application to ourselves.  Much personal meditation is called for.  Genesis 48 contains Jacob’s reflections at the end of his life, his relationship with “the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day” [v.15].  

Psalm 51 contains David’s outpourings of remorse over his failures, pleading, “according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions” [v.1] saying to God, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart” [v.6] The secret heart is the hidden heart David had not been conscious of, which was in desperate need of repair. The Hebrew implies this. 

Today we would probably talk about inner integrity.  The central point is that we fail to truly sense how God sees how we think, as well as hearing what we say.

This is the point Paul has been making in writing to the Romans “if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness … you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?  While you preach against stealing, do you steal? [2 v.19,21]  The Jews lacked wisdom in their inward being; their knowledge of God was in the head, but not in the heart. 

“The Jews”, writes Paul, “were entrusted with the oracles of God” [3 v.2].   Many, especially their leaders, were proud of this.  But Paul asks, “Are we Jews any better off?  

No, not at all”, he answers, “all … are under sin, as it is written, ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God … there is no fear (awe) of God before their eyes” [v.9,10,18]  

Paul is quoting this from David’s Psalms (14 & 36), how appropriate!   It is essential that we train our hearts into ways of thinkingin which God delights in – and we can only do that if we are totally conscious of his all seeing eye.  This is the pivot on which living by faith revolves.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8JNyPeJnVQ[/embedyt]
28 - Rom1 22

28 Jan: Daily readings and Thought for January 28th. “CLAIMING TO BE WISE, THEY BECAME …”

 

Yesterday we started reading Paul’s letter to the Romans.  It contains so much that is relevant to life today.  Paul writes of how humans, “claiming to be wise, they became fools” [Ch.1 v.22]    

He says, “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” [v.19]   He says, “his invisible attributes …. have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” [v.20]   In other words, although God himself cannot be seen by human eyes, the evidence of his existence should be plain to humans because of all the remarkable things which he has created.   

Paul continues, “they became futile in their thinking and their foolish heart was darkened.” [v.21]   The foolishness of those days, which still continues among some nations, is to believe God is represented in animals, such as Elephants, and to worship them.

But today, throughout what we call the Western world, so many who are “claiming to be wise” – believe there is no God of any kind, that everything that exists in some unknowable way – created itself!  This was possible, they strangely reason, if we allow enough millions and billions of years, through an endless series of “accidents.”  

Yet the more humans discover the wonders of the world in which they live, the more incredible they finds it to be, all the wonders of DNA being one of the recent examples.  As a result, the more foolish their words in “claiming to be wise” appear to be!  Marvellous designs – but no designer!! 

The tragedy is that, having convinced themselves there is no God, the words of Paul which follow are even more true today than ever before.  He wrote “and since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice … haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless … “ [v.28-31]  

There is much more in this chapter including a condemnation of homosexuality; as things that humans do when they have no knowledge or belief in the one and only God.  It is becoming clearer that there is no middle road, we either believe or we do not – and if we believe, we must not be half hearted about it.

When the Kingdom is established, may our king say to us as Pharaoh said to Joseph, “there is none so discerning and wise as you are.” [Gen. 41 v.39]  But for the present we must heed Paul’s warning in Romans, “Never be wise in your own sight.” [12 v.16]

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gKxo7wFmkQ[/embedyt]
27 - Psa49 5

27 Jan: Daily readings and Thought for January 27th. “WHY SHOULD I FEAR IN TIME OF TROUBLE”

 

How challenging for us is the ungodliness that surrounds us. It has some degree of attraction for us in our fleshly weaknesses.  Our Psalm 49 today begins, “Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together!”    How few can “hear” God’s message to them today!

Verse 5 jumps out at us and challenges us to remember and keep repeating what we read here! “Why should I fear in times of trouble, when … iniquity … surrounds me …”  We are surrounded by iniquity more than ever. Such are the ways of life that almost no one has any thought of their being an all-seeing God who has his eyes onthe earth and the people he created.

The next verse asks about “those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?” What is described as their future? The Psalmist is inspired to write “no man can … give to God the price of his life … that he should live on forever …” [v.7,8]

In v,12 we pick up a heart-challenging declaration, “Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.”  But this is a description of a certain path – called elsewhere as the wide way!  Earlier this month we read the words of Jesus that “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” [Matt. 7 v.13]

However – back in Psalm 49 the Psalmist declares (and invites his readers to sing)“God will ransom my soul from the power of the grave for he will receive me.”[v.15]  All who have this hope in their hearts, those who are true committed believers in God and his word should ask themselves, as we read (and quoted) in v. 5, “Why should I fear in times of trouble?” We should recall what we read yesterday at the start of Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way ….”

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0TQwL1-ngY[/embedyt]
26 - Psa46 1

26 Jan: Daily readings and Thought for January 26th. “GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH”

 

Just as parts of the Psalms, such as  22 v.1 and 16 v,10,11 foreshadowed events and sayings in the mortal life of our Lord, so Psalms 46 and 47 we read today can be seen as portraying the awesome events at and after the time of his second coming.   The overview of those events which these Psalms provide, show how vital it will be for us to possess and “to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end … imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” [Heb.6 v.11,12]  

      The opening of Psalm 46 should be memorized and become part of our daily thoughts; “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way … though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble …” [v.1-3] “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter …” [v.6]  But in the midst of this awesome upheaval , “… the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High (is seen) … God will help her when morning dawns.” [v.4,5]

      Until that dawning, the darkness of human depravity and folly will dominate life on earth.  But with the dawning to a new day which the return of Christ will bring will come a sober reflection on God’s judgments:  “Come behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth, He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth …” [v.8,9]  How wonderful!  How awesome!   But as it becomes more and more evident that God’s judgments are starting today how vital it will be that “God is our refuge and strength”  and for us to “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations …” [v.10]

     At that time, may we, by God’s grace, be part of the action described in Psalm 47 “ Clap your hands, all peoples!  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!  For the LORD, the Most High is to be feared, a great king over the earth.  He subdued peoples under us, and nations …” [v.1-3]   If God is truly our refuge now – then, by his grace, that will be our experience.    

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7RLA19Pzv0[/embedyt]