(Exodus 15, Luke 18; Optional Psalm 43, Proverbs 12:18-22)
Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox: www.2Tim3v16.wordpress.com
EXODUS 15 – Appropriately, God’s people burst into a new song of praise to celebrate the brand-new, never-seen-before way that God had acted to deliver His people. The song exults in how God EASILY thwarted what SEEMED like an unstoppable, terrifying enemy.
Ex 15:2 – This becomes one of the favorite praise choruses in the Bible – it appears almost verbatim also in Ps 118:14 and Isa 12:2. It’s a command to sing new songs to the Lord, AND it’s also wise to remember and continue to celebrate the foundational truths sung in the old songs, too!
Ex 15:3-10 – Some may be taken aback by the celebration of such a gruesome event. But remember, OUR great redemption event (the cross) is a particularly gruesome event where God used the wicked choices of SEEMINGLY powerful leaders to ultimately showcase HIS glorious power and deliverance!
Ex 15:9-10 – I’ve written “R” by v 9 because of the wicked plans of the enemy that they are held responsible for. And “S!” by v 10 because of how EASILY our sovereign God thwarted those plans and brought about HIS plan and HIS good purpose. Compare Ps 115:3 and Pr 19:21…
Psalm 115:3 (ESV) – Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.
Proverbs 19:21 (ESV) – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Ex 15:11 – All of this to show HIS unique glory – even with all the purported “gods,” there is none like Yahweh!
Ex 15:13-17 – Even though God is also showing His justice by judging His enemies, God’s people focus on the love and mercy He is showing to His people by REDEEMING them. We beautifully see all three points that we should connect with the word REDEEM… 1) A price paid (see v 16b – “purchased / bought”). The price paid for THEM was a Passover lamb sacrificed and blood applied to the door. For US to be redeemed, the price is the blood of Jesus, God’s perfect Lamb (1 Pet 1:18-19). 2) A rescue made (see v 13 and really Ex 6-14). 3) A claim laid (see v 13b, 17) – God did NOT set His people free to do their OWN thing, but to bring them to HIMSELF!
Ex 15:22-25 – After God turned the water in Egypt to blood, then opened up a dry path in the middle of the sea for them to walk on, you’d hope that they’d never forget that God can handle ANY problem they’ve got, CERTAINLY any water issues! But sadly, we’re prone to wander and complain. God yet again works in a never-before-seen way to rescue them. I can’t help but see pointers to the cross which, when thrown into the bitterness of life, turns the bitter into sweet.
Sometimes God brings tough times into the lives of His people to correct us because of sin, but that is NOT what brought Israel into their last two tough times. When apparently trapped between the sea and Pharaoh’s army in Ex 14 and in Ex 15 where they have no drinkable water, they are following God’s clear leading. We need to remember that God often brings us into tough times. He’s giving us an OPPORTUNITY to trust Him (and trust His timing), while Satan is hoping we’ll fall to the TEMPTATION to turn away from God.
LUKE 18 – In v 1-8 Jesus tells a parable (an earthly story with a heavenly meaning) that will confuse you if you try to push on too many details in the story. Bible study tip: Many parables are like this – they often have ONE MAIN point, and the other details in the earthly story shouldn’t be pressed. God inspires Luke to highlight the point of this parable – PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER (Lk 18:1, 5). God is NOT an unjust judge, and loves to answer His people, and WILL give final justice one day (v 7-8). Don’t miss the urgent application question of Jesus in v 8! As Jesus gets ever closer to laying down His life in Jerusalem, He gets more urgent in preparing His people also for when He will leave earth for awhile before His return.
Lk 18:9-14 – Another parable relating to prayer. V 9-12 are how NOT to pray, and v 13-14 models the humble brokenness that SHOULD mark our praying. Note the strong encouragement given by Jesus in v 14 for those who humble themselves before God! The word “justified” in v 14 means “declared righteous”. The one who is fully aware of his sin and throws himself on God’s mercy will be declared righteous, while the one that looks to a righteousness in themselves is NOT truly righteous in God’s eyes. Too many look in their Bible readings for something that will make them feel good about themselves. But all through Scripture God is both humbling and encouraging us. The strong encouragement of v 14 is only for those who are humbled first.
Lk 18:15-17 – I’ve heard this wrongly applied, where people say we need to have the innocence of a child, or something like that. But children come into this world with a sin nature (see Eph 2:1-3, Ps 51:5, Job 15:14). Besides, the CONTEXT lets us see what Jesus is referring to – the humble helplessness of a little child. A little one is completely dependent! Contrast the perceived self-sufficiency in v 9-12 and v 18-25.
Lk 18:18-19 – The rich ruler is too lightly using the word “good”! He needs to realize what he’s saying about Jesus (he WASN’T understanding that Jesus is God in the flesh) and he needs to realize that the ruler isn’t nearly as good as he thinks he is.
Lk 18:22 – THIS man’s idol is his money/stuff, so he needs to let go of it all in order to come to God and have eternal life. But this is NOT the call to everyone. In the very next chapter when tax collector Zacchaeus believes in Jesus he voluntarily gives away half of his goods to the poor (Lk 19:8). Jesus does NOT respond that that’s not enough but celebrates Zacchaeus’ salvation.
Lk 18:24-27 – The disciples had bought into a common wrong way of thinking – that money is always a sign that God is pleased with the person. So they wondered how ANYONE can be saved if it’s extra hard for the rich (important side note – compare Lk 18:14 and Lk 18:24). Note that Jesus does NOT say “You’ve misunderstood – it’s easy to be saved,” and then say something that would boost self-confidence like, “Just choose to believe.” Instead, He builds their GOD-confidence, again both humbling AND encouraging: “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Lk 18:27).
Lk 18:31-34 – Jesus again gives details of His upcoming crucifixion. Notice that all that will happen will be to fulfill the exact plan of God (foretold to His prophets many years before), even though it will be carried out by the sinful decisions and actions of people.
Lk 18:35-43 – Even though Jesus is focused on His upcoming sacrifice, He still shows infinite tenderness to the hurting who cry out to Him!
Optional Psalm 43 – See notes from yesterday. In Ps 43:2 the psalmist is clear on what he’s FEELING, but in v 3 the psalmist prays that God’s light and truth would lead him in this dark time (NOT his feelings, which so often mislead us).
Ps 43:5 – The psalmist closes with the wonderful preaching-to-his-own-soul chorus that we also saw in Ps 42:5, 11!
Optional Proverbs 12:18-22 – Much of this section is a common theme in Proverbs – the importance of our TALK, and how it reflects who we are. Remember that v 21 is both generally true in this life (many problems ARE avoided for those who follow God’s way), and completely and fully true at the END of our story – see Rev 21-22.