Who Is This God?September 12-16
The God Who Saves: Flawless
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats,” – Exodus 12:5 (ESV)
There’s a story about a man whose cow had twin calves. He was so excited that he ran to the church and decided to give one of the calves to God in thanks. But he hadn’t decided which calf to give to the Lord. But after a week, one of the calves got sick and eventually died. The man came to the pastor and said sadly, “I’m sorry, but God’s calf died.” We too often want to give God things that don’t cost us very much.
In Exodus 12 God is preparing to once and for all deliver His people from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh. The last and final plague would require the people to sacrifice a Passover lamb in order to be saved from the plague. The lamb had to be spotless which symbolized sinlessness. And the lamb had to be killed. This was a foreshadowing of Jesus becoming the sinless sacrificial lamb who would die for the sins of the world.
We can easily be tempted to give God less than our best when it comes to our time, resources, and affection. How does it make you want to respond to God knowing He gave His best for you?
Hebrews 4:15-16 reads, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Praise Jesus for His sinlessness and grace.
The God Who Saves: Passover
The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. – Exodus 12:13 (ESV)
A prominent soap manufacturer and a Christian were once walking along a city street as the Christian was explaining the gospel to the businessman. But the businessman objected: “If what you say is true, why is there so much evil in the world?” The Christian was struggling with how to answer when he saw a little boy sitting on the curb. His face, hands, and clothes were filthy. The Christian asked, “I thought that you manufactured soap.” “I do,” said the man. “If that is so, why is this boy so dirty?” The businessman replied, “The soap must be applied.” “Exactly,” said the Christian. “The work of Christ on the cross must be applied.”
Exodus 12 provides us with God’s saving work through the Passover. Each home was instructed to sacrifice a spotless lamb and apply the blood of that lamb to the door of their homes. The homes which obeyed by faith were passed over by the death angel. This event serves as a beautiful illustration of the redemption Christ accomplished at the Cross (cf. John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7). Years later, Jesus died on the cross at the same time that the Passover lambs were being killed at the temple.
The crucial question is, “Have you applied the sacrificial blood of Jesus to your heart?” When we place our faith in Jesus His sacrifice is applied to our spiritual bank account and we are passed over for the judgment of our sins.
Praise God for the promise of 1 Peter 1:18-19, “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
The God Who Saves: Unleavened Bread
This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. – Exodus 12:14-15 (ESV)
Right after the 9/11 attacks, the president addressed the nation. He said, “A great people have been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot shake the foundation of America.” In other words, “even though we just experienced one of the worst days in American history, we’re going to make it. We’re going to survive because this nation is built on something solid. This nation has a sure foundation.”
Last Saturday we remembered the events from twenty years ago on 9/11. And 20 years later we continue to survive. The Passover was followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread and both were memorials to how God had saved His people. The Feast of Unleavened Bread portrays the fact that those who are saved must clean out the leaven of sin and be set apart unto God, who is holy (1 Cor. 5:7-8). C. H. Mackintosh observed, “The Israelite did not put away leaven in order to be saved, but because he was saved.”
One aspect of holiness is being set apart for a special purpose or special use. You have been called to be set apart for God’s special purpose or use. How do you think God has set you apart to be used by Him?
Thank God for sustaining you and our nation through all kinds of trials. Praise Jesus for cleansing you from your sins and giving you the power to live set apart for His use.
The God Who Saves: Extra Baggage
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.” – Exodus 13:19 (ESV)
Ed Watt was visiting a local department store with his wife. They had just purchased a piece of luggage and a cooler. As Ed was waiting for his wife to finish the rest of her shopping he dragged the luggage and cooler around with him to the shoe department. A clerk asked if he could be of assistance. “No, thank you,” Ed replied. “I’m just waiting for my wife.” At that point, a man behind him said, “I’m waiting for my wife, too, but I never thought of bringing a lunch and an overnight bag with me.”
Four hundred years before the Exodus, Joseph made Israel promise they would take his bones back to Israel when God delivered them from Egypt. And in Exodus 13:19 the time has come. So picture Moses getting ready to lead two million people out of Egypt and into the wilderness. I’m sure that their wagons didn’t have a lot of extra room. They’re just cinching down the pile of stuff when Moses says, “We forgot Joseph’s bones! We’ve got to make room for Joseph’s bones!” Actually, it was his mummy! With all of their household goods and kids and animals and food and water for the trip, they had to find room for Joseph’s bones! Why did Moses take Joseph’s bones? Taking that coffin back to the Promised Land shows that God is keeping His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God’s delays are not always God’s denial. Sometimes it takes time for God to fulfill a promise but His timing is always perfect. What promise are you waiting for and hoping God will fill? Ask God to help you patiently wait on Him.
Hebrews 11:22 says, “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.” Praise God for the gift of faith and for His faithfulness.
The God Who Saves: Divine Guidance
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. – Exodus 13:21-22 (ESV)
In an interview with an African Safari guide, he was asked, “Is it true that jungle animals won’t harm you if you carry a torch?” The guide replied, “That depends on how fast you carry it.”
God led His people out of Egypt as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. A cloud to protect from the sun, as well as a way of guiding the people. A fire by night also for guidance and for light in the darkness. All the people had to do in order to know where to go was to follow the pillar of cloud. If the cloud moved, they moved. If the cloud stayed, they stayed.
Sometimes we over complicate what it means to follow God. Someone recently said, “Simply wake up tomorrow and do the next right thing.” One benefit of starting your day in God’s word is it can give you insight into the next right thing God wants you to do. It also sets your framework for the day by reminding you of your godly worldview and desire to make all your decisions in a way that reflects your decision to be a Christ follower.
List some ways God has given you direction recently. Praise God for the gift of His guidance in those decisions.