February 18, Monday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Who Is the LORD?”

Exodus 5:1-2

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” 

As a parent, one of the most fun and randomly joyful moments/phases is when I would give my son a dirty napkin (or something else) saying, “Tyler can you put this in the trash?” and exuberantly and joyfully he would exclaim, “OK Daddy!”  And then he would take the dirty napkin, and jubilantly gallop to the trash can, open the trash can, and throw that napkin in, and come back to me as if he had done the greatest thing ever. Such obedient behavior from my son can, of course, be attributed to me and my wife’s superior parenting skills and my commanding and authoritative presence.

But much to my surprise, my skill as a parent and my authority don’t work with other kids.  When I go to other kids and say, “Hey, you kid, put this napkin in the trash!” they don’t listen to me.  Why is that? Because if I were to do that, each kid would look at me and think or say, “Who are you? Who are you to tell me what to do?”

In Exodus, Moses appeals to Pharaoh, asking for the freedom of the Lord’s people, and Pharaoh replies, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?”  What Pharaoh says to Moses—and ultimately God—is ”Who are you to tell me what to do?”  He isn’t willing to listen to God and set his people free because he does not know God.

As followers of Jesus, one of our desires is to see people listen and obey the Lord.   And we especially would love to see people in positions of power, working to bring freedom and justice to this world.  It is a worthy cause for us to fight to see greater righteousness and justice in our world today. However, realistically, in order for those in power to follows God’s way, they must know God first.  The only reason my son is willing to listen to me is because he knows that I am his father; whereas, other kids are not willing to listen to me because I am assuredly not their father.  In a similar way, we must pray that our friends and neighbors, and even those in power, will know the Lord because if they know the Lord, they will listen to His voice. And more importantly, let us be people who seek to know the Lord and follow Him.  

Prayer: God, I pray that I will know You this day.  Help me to know and follow Your ways. I pray that through me and through Your body that the world will know You and follow You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Matthew 6


Lunch Break Study

Read John 10:1-5: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 

Questions to Consider

  1. How do the sheep know who to follow?
  2. What do the thief and stranger represent in this passage?
  3. How do we know Jesus as our Shepherd?

Notes

  1. The sheep recognize the voice of the shepherd, so it means that they are accustomed to hearing his voice.  And not only do the sheep recognize the voice of the shepherd, but the shepherd knows each sheep by name. The shepherd personally knows his sheep, not just as a flock, but individually as well.
  2. Jesus may be hinting at false messiahs that came before Him, or He could be talking about the religious leaders of the time, or even Satan himself; but regardless of who Jesus is talking about directly, for our lives, we can understand the thieves and strangers to be anyone or anything that has a voice that could lead us away from our Shepherd.
  3. Just like the sheep in the metaphor Jesus gives, we must make it a habit to listen for Jesus’ voice, especially through prayer, the Bible, and the body of Christ.  We don’t usually learn to hear His voice all of a sudden in a holy moment; instead, we must grow and learn to do so consistently. And we know we can grow in this since Jesus knows us personally and wants to speak to us.

Evening Reflection

The culture and society that we are living in is not conducive for us to hear and follow the voice of God, so we must be intentional and vigilant about spending time with Jesus and hearing His voice.  Spend some time in silence and solitude, and listen for His voice. And then pray that others can come to hear His voice as well.

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