Scripture: Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15:1-5 NIV
Observation: The Psalmist gives use a list of characteristics of heaven-bound people.
Application: That’s quite a list. A blameless man, a righteous man, a truth teller from the heart, one who doesn’t slander, doesn’t hurt your neighbor and doesn’t verbally slur anyone. A person who despises the vile and honors the Lord. A guy that keeps promises even when it is difficult to do it and never accepts a bribe or interest on loaned money. Yep, that’s quite a list. You might say that it’s an impossible list to get and keep…unless you have the Lord. Only through the power of the Lord are we “weak-willed” humans able to show those attributes. Those Christ-like attributes. It’s not impossible, it’s Christ.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being perfection for me. I can’t live the life I should based on Psalm 15 without you. Thank you providing that way for me. Amen
Scripture: And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. Exodus 34: 6-7 NIV
Observation: The Lord has a gigantic heart of forgiveness yet we must pay the consequences for our sin. Sadly those consequences a lot of the time are seen in our children and grandchildren.
Application: My children have paid the price over an over again for my sin. They are still paying today and so am I because of our damaged relationship. I was involved in a sinful lifestyle for over twenty years. Somehow I just didn’t get how important it was to live according to my Savior’s values. I was a believer but I was unchurched most of that time. I really had no idea what it meant to be a believer. I gave my children all the things, according to the secular world, that were important, nice home, bed time stories, sports and activities along with lots of hugs, kisses and “I love yous.” I love my children yet I failed them because sin got in the way. Today my children are struggling in their own relationships. They are saved but they don’t seek him and their lives suffer. My relationship with them suffers as well because they can’t trust my counsel; they look back and see so much sinfulness in my life. Now that my life is totally dedicated to Christ they have difficulty trusting me and don’t understand that the Holy Spirit lives in me.
Prayer: Lord, I praise you that even a sinner like me can find forgiveness through your Son. I thank you for giving me an opportunity to give my love to Doug, Ashley and Andrew. Lord, please help me live a life full of integrity, living out my days serving you. Over time, may my older children see and believe that living for you is like the icing on the cake that they already possess. Lord, let this devotion speak to the hearts of others to break the generational cycle of sin. Amen
Scripture: The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Exodus 33:11a NIV
Observation: God and Moses were friends and they spoke often and they spoke face to face.
Application: God considered Moses such a good friend that they spoke face to face. Moses was literally allowed into God’s presence. One day, we too will stand in His presence and speak with Him. I pray that God counts us worthy to be called friends. Are you ready to stand before Him and have a conversation? If not, ask now for His forgiveness for your sins through Christ.
Prayer: Father, I believe that this was the message that you gave me based on the passage in Exodus. Sometimes I don’t understand how the “application” actually applies to the “scripture” that you gave me but I know that you do. I pray that this blesses someone that reads it today. Amen
Scripture: He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” Exodus 33:21-24 NIV
Observation: Aaron claims that it was “them…not me” when confronted by Moses about the evil that was going on in the camp.
Application: This is the mother of all “the dog ate my homework” excuses. This one, in my opinion, is second only to the time Adam blamed God for his sin. According to Aaron, they, the Israelites, were evil and they made him do it. “And if that doesn’t work for you Moses, all ‘I’ did was put the gold in the fire, and then it came out like a calf. I guess you could say, God did it!” Seriously, Aaron, Moses’ brother and right-hand man; the man who boldly spoke to Pharoah for Moses, the man who helped lead the nation pf Israel out of Egypt, was reduced to blaming everyone else, even God, for his own sinful nature. His sin lead many Israelites astray. I don’t know why a strong leader like Aaron fails. I do know that we have had many godly men and women fall, spiritual leaders fail, and church organizations and charities prove to be less than they claimed. The consequences have been that many new believers, young or weak-minded Christians, and the church in general has suffered humiliation and ridicule. Our actions affect others. If we are representing Christ, and that’s what we should be doing at all times, our behavior should be above reproach. Let’s not play the blame game any more if we fail. Let’s acknowledge our failures and ask forgiveness of those we have hurt and of God.
Prayer: Father, help me to take responsibility when I sin. Don’t let me try to blame my short-comings on everyone except myself like Aaron did. I know that my failings can affect others negatively. I only want to affect others for Christ. Amen
Scripture: Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come. Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. Exodus 30:7-9 NIV
Observation: The Lord gives us directions for seeking him daily. He tells us we must come before him morning and night offering only what is worthy and without distraction.
Application: I must confess we have been studying in Exodus for the last few weeks in Sunday School. We have been focusing on how the tabernacle is a model of Christ, salvation, our relationship with him and prayer. That being said the scripture above tells me:
1. The Lord wants me to set aside time every morning and every night to seek him through his word and prayer.
2. The Lord gives this model to me through Aaron who tends the incense each morning and each evening. The incense is my seeking, reading and prayer, which is fragrant to him. I see the word “regularly” in the above scripture and I’m so guilty because consistency is not my forte.
3. The Lord wants quality from me. This must come without distraction or worldly attitude. I can always clutter my mind with sin and busyness.
4. This model was written in the second book of the old testament, which tells me the Lord already knew my heart and he knows yours too.
Obviously, this is going to take a lot of grace and patience from the Lord, but all I have to do is ask him and he will provide!
Prayer: Lord, you have convicted me! How can I serve you if I’m not taking the time to know you and spend time with you? Clear my mind and heart of thought born of the world and any distraction. Help me to stay focused on you. I live for you Lord and my only true hope is found in you. Your loving servant Amen
Scripture: When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:14-23 NIV
Observation: The gift of salvation is priceless. It’s a sin to attempt to purchase God’s Gifts with money. Money and actions can’t cover up what is in our heart.
Application: Giving to receive is never a good idea. It’s so self-centered whether it’s buying things to impress others or giving of your time and energy. Giving and servanthood inspired by the Lord come with a warranty that says “expect nothing yet receive eternity because I love you!” Salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit come paid for by the blood shed on the cross. To receive it you must admit your sin, ask forgiveness from the one true God and acknowledge Jesus as the son of that God who died for you. Jesus suffered for you and that suffering is so valuable we have nothing materialistic that compares. We have one gift for him and that’s our heart. The giving of it puts a smile on the Lord’s face. When we give of our talents, time and of our love to others with no strings that gives our Lord glory!
Prayer: Lord, help me to use my talents to glorify you. After all they are gifts that you have given me. Let me never take your love for granted. Lord, I never want to forget the life I came from before I knew you and the miracle of the new life I have built upon your word! Help me share your love with those around me. If given the oppprtunity, use me to further your kingdom. Your humble servant. Amen
Scripture: Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. Acts 6:11,12a NIV
Observation: The leaders and priests sought to persecute Stephen.
Application: These guys just missed the boat. They didn’t like the message of Christ that was being taught so they conspired to have one of the teachers, Stephen, charged with blaspheming Moses…and God. “And God,” really? That’s the problem. These people didn’t truly realize the real hierarchy. It’s God, then man. The leaders who conspired against Stephen put their faith in man, not God. Had their desires been to honor the Lord and not the memory of Moses, their hearts may have been receptive to Jesus’ message. Where does your heart lie?
Prayer: Lord God, help us to focus on you and your plan for salvation through Christ. Amen
Scripture: “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips. Exodus 23:13 NIV (Merriam-Webster dictionary states that invoke means to, petition for help or support, or to appeal to or cite as authority.)
Scripture: Do not let them live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.”. Exodus 23:33 NIV
Scripture: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1 NIV
Scripture: The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 5:41,42 NIV
Observation: There is a theme to today’s reading: “There is a God and man will forsake him if he is left to his own devices.”
Application: In Exodus God warns repeatedly about the dangers of the gods of the people the Israelites were displacing eventually causing them to stray. By the time David wrote Psalm 14, some had not only sought other gods but they had come to claim there wasn’t a God. These were the same people who were miraculously brought out of Egypt a few generations earlier. In Acts, the Apostles were flogged for doing God’s work in the name of Jesus by the very priests and leaders descended from Aaron. From the Old Testament reading through the New Testament reading today there is a steady eroding away of support for and belief in God. God knew that we would seek others if we got antsy or if he wasn’t “filling the bill” quick enough to suit us. That’s why the bible is full of these admonitions and warnings. All we have to do to see proof of this is to look at our society. We are either claiming there is “no God” and demanding that those that claim that there is one end claiming it, or we are calling on other names, (insert any number of Hollywood “gods” here). Not to mention those of us that worship cars, money, houses, sex, our looks, our jobs, etc. God knew we would corrupt his plan–and we have! Our job now is to acknowledge that our society is corrupt and going down the wrong path, seeking any and all forms of gods except for the one true God. We must speak the truth about him to those in our sphere of influence.
Prayer: God, forgive us for seeking other gods. Help us to guide the misguided in finding you. Amen
Scripture: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Exodus 20:7 NIV
Observation: Do not use the Lord’s name as a way of expressing yourself.
Application: Why would this even be listed as one of the ten commandments? Why would people turn to taking something holy and defiling it by cursing with it? We don’t say “Ashley dammit!” but we use “God” as if it were intended to modify the curse “dammit.” Why? How did God know that’s the point to which people would devolve. He made it a commandment because he knew that’s exactly what we would eventually do with his name–use it to emphasize a curse. He deserves better. We owe it to him to watch our mouths and honor him with our speech.
Prayer: Father, if we have offended you with our words please forgive us. Help us to honor you with our speech and our attitude. Amen
Scripture: But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go. Exodus 10:20 NIV
Observation: How many times did the Lord have to demonstrate his authority to Pharaoh? Horrible things were happening to the Egyptians, yet Pharaoh refused to acknowledge God’s soverignity over all creation.
Application: How many times do I just forge ahead without the Lord’s blessing or how often do I face a challenge and think I can handle it without going to the Lord first? On a whole worldview, how many world tragedies have to happen (in specific locations around the world) before we acknowledge the Lord’s purging of evil from his creation? Notice how we think we can pickup the pieces with our good will organizations yet those, often times, are usually as corrupt as can be as well and evil endures.
Prayer: Lord certainly your return to earth is coming soon. You are sending strong messages that sin will not be tolerated. Lord help me to speak your truth without fear and help me to acknowledge your power over my life seeking your will first in all things. Amen