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The sky is falling, literally.
China has lost control of Tiangong-1, its 8.5-ton space station. It will collide with our planet’s atmosphere sometime between March 24 and April 19. It is likely to hit somewhere in the northern US.
However, the odds of being struck by debris are one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.
There’s plenty of other news to worry about, from the Nor’easter bearing down on the East Coast today, to Russia’s expanding role in the Middle East, to “superbugs” that are resistant to all known antibiotics. But there has always been plenty to worry about.
And every obstacle is an opportunity for people of faith.
A “teachable moment” for all time
Exodus 14 is a chapter that changed the world.
Before the cataclysmic events of this narrative, the Jews were enslaved to the mightiest empire the world had ever known. After this chapter, they were an empowered people protected by the mighty God of the universe. Their lives and destiny would never be the same.
After God parted the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptian army, the people responded to their deliverance with praise: “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, ‘I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him” (Exodus 15:1-2).
Unfortunately, it took only three days and a lack of water for the people to complain against Moses (vv. 22-24). But Moses, unlike the people, knew that the God who stopped the Red Sea could provide water in the wilderness. He “cried to the Lord, and the Lordshowed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet” (v. 25).
Then God used this “teachable moment” to make “a statute and a rule” for all time: “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer” (vv. 25-26).
Who are your Egyptians?
These miraculous events are God’s strategy for us when we face the Egyptians of our day.
First, view opposition as opportunity.
Even though the Jewish people were following God’s explicit will, the enemy nonetheless pursued them and threatened their very existence. We should expect spiritual Egyptians to attack us every day (Ephesians 6:12). But such challenges show us our need for God and draw us to him in faith. And, as Jesus said, persecution “will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:13).
Second, remember what God has done so we can trust him for what he will do.
His nature does not change: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). If he has forgiven your sins in the past, he will forgive them in the present (1 John 1:9). If he has met your needs before, he will meet them again (Philippians 4:19). All he has done, he can still do.
Third, “diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God” (Exodus 15:26).
The Word Biblical Commentary translates “diligently listen” as “pay close and committed attention to his voice.” The question is not whether God will speak to us, but whether we will choose to listen.
Fourth, obey his word and will.
If we “do what is right in his eyes,” we position ourselves to experience his best for us. Such provision is not legalism but grace. As we noted yesterday, we cannot earn God’s favor, but we can receive it.
Who are the Egyptians in your life today?
NOTE: There is a New Testament parallel to this Old Testament miracle. Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and left the tomb on Easter Sunday, and the world has never been the same. He came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8), defeating our spiritual enemy by dying for our sins and rising from our grave.
Our ministry has produced a guide to Holy Week titled The Week that Changed the World. I wrote the biblical descriptions; my dear friend, Shannon Skokos, provided photographs of Jerusalem; and my son, Ryan Denison, wrote the devotionals for each day.
We want to send you a copy of The Week that Changed the World as our thanks for your gift today to support the ministry of Denison Forum. To receive yours, click here. Our ministry is honored to partner with you in serving our risen King.
Publication date: March 7, 2018
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.