Devotional Thoughts for Today
“A Believing Remnant”
“Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside.”
I have some friends at work who are Chinese natives; becoming friends with them is not just a boon to my social life in the office but helps me practice my Mandarin. Two years ago, before Good Friday (a holiday that our company keeps), one of them asked me what I would do on my day off. I replied that I would celebrate with my church. As she asked me what we would celebrate, I quickly realized that my language skills were inadequate to explain why I could celebrate that my God died on Good Friday. After an extremely flustering conversation, I walked away realizing that, despite my upbringing, I never learned the vocabulary of the Gospel in Chinese because I never thought I would talk to someone who wanted to hear it.
The reception from the Egyptians has been hostile, unbelieving, and cold. But though Pharaoh opposed Moses, some of his officials were a believing remnant that God had left for Himself among the Egyptians. There were people there who wanted to fear God. Had Moses not been faithful to appear and demonstrate the works of the Lord, these officials would have been unable to listen to God’s words and respond accordingly.
Today, there are people around us in unexpected places who would like to hear more about the Jesus we profess to love. Our witness consists not only in sharing truths but in demonstrating the love and power of the Spirit. Are we aware that we have been placed around people who desire to know and fear God? Let’s ask Him to open our eyes and our hearts so that we might see and receive them today. May He give us the wisdom and grace to speak His truths to whoever has ears to listen. If we remember that there are people seeking His truth, even in unfriendly and surprising places, then every inch of the earth we cover can be a place of worship to Him today.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You may be found when we seek You. Give me a heart that is aware that others are longing to meet You; make me an instrument who responds to that need. Bring people around me so that I might share the wonder of Your love with them and remember for myself the joy of knowing You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 23
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12: “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
Questions to Consider
- What are the marks of a believer’s life as Paul writes about here?
- In the passage, who teaches the believers how to live?
- Paul writes two times in this passage that the Thessalonians are living correctly, but he urges them to do so “more and more.” Why? Is this reflected in our own lives?
- Paul writes that believers are distinguished by numerous qualities: holiness, love, and peace. Holiness comes from living in obedience to God – particularly in this case Paul writes about avoiding sexual sins. Love is not just inwards (within the community) but is spread outwards: “throughout Macedonia.” He also challenges them to live quiet lives; the Thessalonians seem to have the need to grow in the area of living winsome lives towards unbelievers.
- The believers learn how to live from Paul and his friends – in fact, he reminds them that these instructions ultimately come from God. The truths had been transmitted by the authority of Christ, and the call to be holy comes from God’s Holy Spirit. The ability for the Thessalonians to love generously comes from God – God Himself and the way that He loves is where the Thessalonians take their cues from. It is interesting to us that, though people may be a model by which we are introduced to the things of God, it is still God who teaches and guides us in these aspects of our living.
- Paul seems to suggest that they should raise the bar. Perhaps there are deeper, more sustained, and greater ways to live in holiness and in love than what they have known. Or, perhaps Paul writes this so that no one can stay satisfied by the level that has been achieved but will always move towards the highest example set by Christ. He challenges them not to settle for what has been accomplished but always to yearn for more.
Did you think about an opportunity to reflect God, His truth, and His character today? Or did someone come to mind that you can begin showing His love and truth to? Let’s pray for God to make more opportunities arise in our lives and for us to be ready to demonstrate His love and truth.