January 19

Read Exodus 5 -- 7

In Today's Reading:

Moses' demands to Pharaoh; Aaron to speak for Moses; Moses' rod turned into a snake; plague of blood.

God commanded Moses to face the Pharaoh of Egypt, who referred to himself as a god, and say: The God of Israel, says: Let My people go, that they may hold a festival (offer a sacrifice) for Me in the wilderness. But Pharaoh responded, who is the LORD that I should obey Him? . . . I do not know the LORD, and . . . I will not let Israel go (Exodus 5:1-2).

Moses' immediate reaction was to blame God, saying: LORD, why have You caused trouble for this people? And why did You ever send me (to Pharaoh)? Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has caused trouble for this people, and You haven't delivered Your people (5:22-23) How often in life our questions far outnumber our answers: "Why have I been diagnosed with cancer? Why did my husband divorce me? Why did my child become a drug addict? Why was my child born with handicaps? Why did I lose my job? Why?" God didn't answer Moses' questions, and seldom does He answer us in the way we expect.

When Moses cried out: Why, LORD? God merely reminded him who He was. What is important for us to know is that God is the unchangeable, almighty, loving God of truth. He said: I will bring you out from under the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery. . . I will take you as My people, and I will be your God (6:6-8). Before He spoke the first I will, God said: I am Yahweh, meaning: "I am the only One who knows what is best and I am altogether sufficient to meet your needs" (6:2); and after the seventh I will, He repeated for emphasis: I am the LORD (the only self-existent One) (6:8). God has never once failed to keep His word; but, seldom are His promises fulfilled as soon as we expect, and almost never in the way we think would be best.

Pharaoh persisted in keeping the Israelites under his cruel authority. However, as had been foretold, the judgment of God was poured forth on each false Egyptian deity, on every household of the Egyptians, on Pharaoh's son, and eventually on Pharaoh himself and his armies.

Today . . . hear His voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:7-8).

Christ Revealed:

As the Redeemer from the bondage of sin. I will bring you out . . . I will redeem you (Exodus 6:6). Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13; also I Peter 1:18-25).

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Frank Mascara (PA) · Country: Maldives (300,000) 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka · Major languages: Dihevi and English · Christian witnessing is banned · 99.9% Muslim; .1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Revere and worship the Lord with godly fear and you will have no want (Psalms 34:9).

Optional Reading: Matthew 19

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:5