Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Called by Love”
There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again. But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’
The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
One of the privileges I have in ministry is walking alongside young adults as they figure out the big topic named CALLING. It’s an issue many gravitate towards because it’s exciting to think about our purpose and future; but it also leads to a lot of questions and patient waiting since no individuals can get the clarity they are hoping for in one instance. Our instinct is to find out what to do with our lives, but we don’t get that “microwave answer” because calling is actually something that is realized through an ongoing relationship with God and the clarity of what to do matures overtime.
From what we can glean from the Exodus story, God first calls Israel to Himself—to a love relationship with Him. He identifies himself as a Father and Israel is His “firstborn son” (Ex. 4:22). In today’s passage, God is about to send a final plague unto Egypt, but the calamity will not hit any of the Israelite homes. The plague will “pass over” them, and the loud cry in the land will cause Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. Today’s Scripture shows us that God’s act of deliverance makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. Israel is not only set free, but is “called out” of the darkness of slavery and “made distinct” as a people for God Himself. God calls Israel out of their “former life” to a relationship with Him, in which He would be their new Lord and Master. He called them because of His love for them and His promise to their forefather Abraham, and not based on their works or merit. Through the ministry of the tabernacle and the giving of the Law, they would spend the first season outside of Egypt learning what it means to obey and relate to God.
Later, after being delivered from Egypt, God then reveals His vocational calling for them, which is to be a kingdom priests and a holy nation (Ex. 19:6). They would be a vessel through which other nations would get to know God. As Christians, we each have a unique calling, or vocation, to fulfill in God’s kingdom, but the foundation to our vocation is the same, which is a calling to God Himself. We are distinct in that God pursue a relationship with us first, and it is through our response to a relationship with Him that the task He has for us becomes clear. This morning, let’s bask in the reality that God has delightfully chosen to be our Father and calls us to a personal relationship with us.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank You that You have called me to be, first and foremost, Your son/daughter. Help me to be an unhurried recipient of Your grace and love. I praise You because there is no other God like You, who chooses people based on Your love and an invitation to a relationship with You. May Your grace and love empower to respond to Your mission and assignment for me as You make it clear to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 3
Lunch Break Study
Read Hosea 11:1-4: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.”
Questions to Consider
- What kind of relationship does God have with Israel?
- What event is Hosea referring to in the first verse?
- What does this passage reveal about God’s purpose for delivering Israel out of Egypt?
- Through the prophet Hosea, God reveals that his relationship with Israel is like a father to a son. He loves Israel like a father raising his child – teaching him to walk, taking him by his arms and bending down to feed him.
- Hosea is referring to the Exodus event, when the Lord delivered Israel out of slavery in Egypt by hardening Pharaoh’s heart and sending the 10 plagues which eventually caused Pharaoh to drive the Israelites out of Egypt.
- He delivered them, not only to set them free, but it was a calling to a relationship with Him. He delivered them so they could enter into a relationship of trust, faithfulness and obedience to Him. Israel had a history after the Exodus of turning to other gods and abandoning God as their God, yet God faithfully kept calling them back to Himself through his covenants and prophets.
The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:13-14, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Reflect on whether you are really living the life of the kingdom of the Son in whom we have received the forgiveness of our sins. This behooves us to ask: Are we still holding onto old grudges that is keeping us from forgiving someone close to us? Perhaps, tonight is the night we let that go—because of Jesus.