Introduction: God promised to lead His people through the desert to the mountain where they were to worship Him (Exodus 3:12). This journey was nothing less than Israel’s entering into her inheritance: spiritually following God’s call to gather as a nation to worship at Mt. Sinai, and physically when they entered the Promised Land. This journey was to be the stuff of late-night Bible stories, as God’s people passed down through the generations how God kept His promise to lead His people into their inheritance (Exodus 15:13-17). May God renew our confidence in His ability to lead us into the Heavenly throne room to worship there. This is our inheritance: to join with the saints in Heaven at the Heavenly Mount Zion (see Hebrews 12:22), confessing Jesus Christ as Lord.
Monday: read Exodus 2:23-3:12. We left Moses uncertain of God’s plans for his life as he sums up his forty years in the desert of Midian by naming his son “Gershom,” or “alien”; “For,” he says, “I have become an alien in a foreign land” (Ex. 2:22). But God did not forget his call on Moses’ life – nor does He forget His exalted purposes for ours. Just as God remembered His people and heard their groans and cries in Exodus 2:24, so He remembers us in our perplexities when we are uncertain of what the future holds. He certifies His determination to lead us into the discovery of His will for each step of life by giving us continual access to His throne of grace. No matter how silent or unclear the “signals” may be for us in our careers; vocations or life’s direction, we still have the only “sign” we need to guide us through each day: the call to worship God on His “mountain.” This was Israel’s heritage in Exodus 3:12, and it is the goal of each of our life-breaths, according to Hebrews 12:22: Worship gives us life’s meaning!
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for His goals for Moses’ life. Though Moses could not see the many struggles which lay before him in Egypt with the ten plagues, he knew straight away, at the beginning of his calling to serve God, that the end-result would be to “worship at God’s mountain”! In the same way, each period of our lives, no matter how many unanswered questions lie before us, is stabilized by the knowledge that we can begin and end each day seeking God’s direction at His mercy seat. And we know that our weary pilgrimage will one day bring us to the welcome in our Heavenly home for which we long. As Philip Doddridge’s paraphrase of Genesis 28 says:
|O God of Bethel, by whose hand
thy people still are fed;
who through this earthly pilgrimage
hast all our fathers led:Our vows, our prayers, we now present
before thy throne of grace:
O God of Israel, be the God
of their succeeding race.
|Through each perplexing path of life
our wandering footsteps guide;
give us each day our daily bread,
and raiment fit provide.O spread thy covering wings around,
till all our wanderings cease,
and at our Father’s loved abode
our souls arrive in peace!
Tuesday: read Exodus 15:13-18 and Ephesians 2:18. When it comes to thinking of the spiritual inheritance we share with Moses, from which all our comforts in this life and hopes for the next flow, we must begin with Ephesians 2:18 – a verse which highlights our greatest privilege, namely, our access to God’s mercy seat in Heaven at all our times of need: For through Jesus we both (Jew or Gentile) have access to the Father by one Spirit. As Charles Spurgeon wrote about the access which we enjoy through Jesus Christ:
The child of God has free access to the inner courts of Heaven. “For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” Let us then with confidence draw near,” says the apostle, “to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). (7/26 entry in the Spurgeon’s devotional, Morning and Evening)
And what precisely does Spurgeon mean when he alludes to this access to God’s “throne of grace” in the daily heart-breaks and trials of this life?
When Jesus gave Himself for us (Spurgeon’s January 30 entry), He gave us all the rights and privileges that went with Himself. So now, although as eternal God He has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal Head of the covenant of grace, He has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of His obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in Him.
Meditate and Pray: Give thanks to Jesus for your access to the Throne of Grace with the words of hymn # 631 of our Trinity hymnal:
|There is a place where Jesus sheds
The oil of gladness on our heads;
A place than all besides more sweet;
It is the blood-stained mercy seat.
|There is a scene where spirits blend,
Where friend holds fellowship with friend;
Though sundered far, by faith they meet
Around one common mercy seat.
Wednesday: read Exodus 15:18-21. In these verses, the precious name “Jehovah,” translated as “LORD,” is emphasized, as Moses declares that the LORD will reign forever in Exodus 15:18 and his sister Miriam leads Israel in dance, singing as the theme of her song that the LORD is to be “highly exalted” (Exodus 15:21).
What good news this “name of names” brings to God’s people! Sadly, this name is often misunderstood, either out of ignorance or superstitious fear. For example, when Moses introduces the LORD to Pharaoh, his response is: “Who is the LORD, that I should obey Him…?” (Ex. 5:2). Centuries later, even God’s people, out of a fear of misusing this name, limited its use to once a year on the great Atonement Day in the Most Holy Place in the temple. The result, as one scholar puts it, is that “…when, in reading the Scriptures, they came to that word “LORD,” they used a euphemism, putting another word instead of LORD.” Thus the reading of the sacred name in Hebrew was lost, symptomatic of the growing distance between God and His people before the birth of Christ. How desperately, therefore, did men of faith look for the coming of the LORD Jesus Christ to reintroduce the name of God to men!
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for the LORD Jesus Christ, who came down invested with the full authority of God’s personal name. Though all mankind had lost the knowledge of the LORD, we rejoice that the LORD Jesus Christ represented the return of the LORD to His people. No wonder Paul continually introduces His Savior, not merely as “Jesus Christ,” but as the “LORD Jesus Christ”! Just go to the beginning of all of his letters (Romans; 1 & 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; 1 & 2 Thessalonians; 1 & 2 Timothy; Titus and Philemon) and see His greeting: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ.”
Thursday: read Exodus 15:18-21 and Matthew 17:5. Israel’s promised inheritance would be realized when they were gathered as one nation to worship the LORD at the place called “the mountain of God” (Exodus3:1). This was Mt Sinai, where God “came down” (Exodus 19:20). This dense cloud with which the LORD robed Himself in His descent is the same cloud by which the LORD appeared to Abraham and walked between the pieces of his sacrifice (Gen. 15:12, 17), and is called the Shekinah glory of the Old Testament. This cloud also guided Israel through the Red Sea and through the wilderness, as well as appearing in the burning bush to Moses. In the New Testament Jesus is proven to be this same LORD of glory when, in Matthew 17:5, the cloud of glory rolled down upon the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Meditate and Pray: Thank the Father for the glory of God in the Gospels, proving the Divinity and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Men seek salvation and protection from human rulers and feverishly throw off the yoke of their current governments, hoping that the next administration will provide all their needs. But we preach only one as LORD, Ruler, Savior, Protector. Only in bowing the knee to Christ will the nations find any lasting hope. Ask God to preserve the true preaching of His Christ-centered Gospel in your church. May we never become a man-centered church, but always magnify Christ alone.
Friday: read Exodus 15:19-25 and Matthew 9:35-38. How needy Israel was for God’s tender shepherding! Like fickle, wandering sheep, they quickly descend from the praise of the LORD with Miriam in Exodus 15:19-21 to dangerous murmuring against Moses in Exodus 15:22-24. The danger of their hunger and thirst in the desert was compounded by Israel’s perverse desire to accuse Moses and even God of mishandling their lives. From such a tendency to criticize God’s motives for bringing them into the desert arose many bitter roots of sin and rebellion.
Ah, well, here is where the lesson of meek submission began to demonstrate itself in Moses’ life. The moment Israel begins to complain against him in Exodus 15:24, Moses takes the matter before the Lord, as if to say: “I don’t care what they say about me, God, but this is your affair. It is your reputation and honor which are being tarnished by your peoples’ complaints!” Thus Moses’ prayer lacks the very poisonous complaining in which Israel engages. He submitted to the difficulties of the desert as the “meek” leader of Israel. He is far more concerned with the spiritual danger facing God’s people if they continue to rebel than he is concerned for his own safety or reputation.
Meditate and Pray: Let us learn to meekly accept the troubles God sends into our personal lives, and ask God to fill us instead with the sweet spirit of prayer for others’ troubles. Then we will draw upon the humble strength which our Savior demonstrated in His compassionate concern for the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 9:36): When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.