Mar 3, 2022

(Exodus 14, Luke 17; Optional Psalm 42, Proverbs 12:13-17)

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EXODUS 14 – Fresh from 10 vivid illustrations of God’s power in all kinds of situations, both Israel and Pharaoh so quickly forget and get another awe-full demonstration! It’s another of many opportunities for believers to be both humbled and encouraged. Humbled by how we are so “prone to wander” and forget God’s goodness and power. Encouraged that God doesn’t abandon them and choose a new group, but teaches them yet again about who He is.

Ex 14:1-12 – God carefully leads His people where He wants them (v 1-2), and both Pharaoh and Israel can only see a trap. But God tells Moses exactly how the story ends – with God getting glory and all knowing more of who He is. I’ve written “R” by v 3 (because of Pharaoh’s decision that he will be held responsible for), and “S!” by v 4 because of God’s sovereign control of thinking/feeling and the whole situation.

Ex 14:11-12 – The beginning of a sad pattern: when things get tough, Israel tends to complain and wish they were back as slaves in Egypt. Though God has just shown His power through the 10 plagues and deliverance from slavery, THIS time they can’t picture how God could work, so they quickly despair and complain. They’re acting like there’s nothing worse than death. Not true! Jesus taught His followers to NOT be afraid of those who can only kill the body, but rather fear God, and let that pure fear burn away any other worry (see Lk 12:4-5, 22-32).

Ex 14:15 – Often AS WE OBEY God and take the next step (even when we can NOT see how it’ll work out), He acts and opens the way.

Ex 14:21-22 – A brand new way that no one had ever seen before. This is why we can’t ultimately trust our senses/feelings/thinking. God delights to work in ways no one can imagine to bring glory to His name!

Ex 14:22, 25 – Note how quickly the Lord changed the miraculously dry ground from v 22 into a mess that clogged the wheels of the Egyptian chariots. Chariots that so recently had looked terrifying were now a trap.

Ex 14:31 – May the Lord help us stay in this one pure and correct fear of HIM, so that we’re released from all lesser fears/worries! Also see v 13 and Proverbs 29:25 (ESV) – “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

LUKE 17 – As Jesus leads the disciples closer to Jerusalem and laying down His life, He teaches them more about the values of His kingdom and warns of future misinformation about His one-day return to earth.

Lk 17:1-4 – Two ditches about sin: 1) taking sin too lightly (v 1-3a).  2) Not forgiving repentant sinners (v 3b-4). Followers of Jesus are still sinners, and will need to keep forgiving one another.

Lk 17:5-10 – I’ve always wondered if the request to “increase our faith” was because they were thinking on how hard it is to keep forgiving someone! But it applies to the whole life of belonging to God as His servants/slaves (the Greek is definitely the word “slave” that is owned by his master) . The disciples seem to be wanting Jesus to increase their faith so things will be easier for them. Jesus teaches them that it’s NOT really about the size of their faith – they just need to do what they’ve been told. Reflect on Lk 15:17-24 and Lk 17:7-10. Followers of Jesus are BOTH beloved children of God AND happily belong to Him as His servants/slaves. We’ll see that the writers of the NT are very happy with both titles for themselves.

Lk 17:11-19 – Only one returned to give thanks, and he wasn’t Jewish. This one got more than just physical healing, though (see v 19)! Compare v 14 to Ex 14:15 from our OT reading – AS THEY OBEYED God did the miracle that they couldn’t see at first.

Lk 17:20-37 – Jesus handles multiple misunderstandings regarding His kingdom… 1) His kingdom (at least for now) is primarily an INTERNAL reality in the hearts/lives of His followers (v 20-21).  2) There will be all sorts of misinformation about the return of Jesus (v 22-26), but when the end of things will be clear to all (v 37) when it happens.  3) All should be ready for His return and the coming judgment – things will seem to be normal, and then judgment will come suddenly, like in Noah’s time and Lot’s time.

Lk 17:31-33 – Be ready to go! Don’t hang on to stuff – you’ll be destroyed. Lot’s wife looked back with longing on all they were leaving behind and was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen 19:15-17, 26).

Optional Psalm 42 – This and Psalm 43 have the same repeating chorus (see Ps 42:5, 11, 43:5), where the psalmist preaches to himself when he’s utterly discouraged/depressed. Rather than just listen to his feelings, he takes his feelings to God and then preaches to himself the TRUTH. The TRUTH is that this sadness will NOT be the end of his story. Although he doesn’t FEEL it right now, God WILL rescue him in the end!

Optional Proverbs 12:13-17  – Pr 12:15 is one of MANY reminders in Scripture of why we must not “follow our heart,” or trust our feelings/perceptions (also see Ps 42 from today’s readings)!