March 13, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“With Your Loins Girded”

Exodus 12:11-13

Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Romans 10:8-10

But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

When I was serving in East Asia, one precious moment that I will always cherish was witnessing several natives praying the sinner’s prayer or hearing them process why they want to get baptized. As they declared their faith in their own words, I got to witness new believers “cross from death to life” (Jn. 5:24). After this initial confession of faith, it would take several more steps for these baby Christians—with virtually no knowledge of Scripture—to truly comprehend that the free gift of salvation is available to them by faith, and not by performance, good works, or background. Once the Holy Spirit guides them to this truth, they cheerfully receive the good news by firmly believing in their hearts and sincerely confessing with their mouth.

In today’s passage, God instructs the Israelites to prepare to eat the Passover Lamb and to put some of the lamb’s blood on the doorpost of their home so that they will be passed over during the plague of the firstborn. This is to prepare for the impending judgment upon Egypt and for Israel’s deliverance from slavery. The emphasis in this passage is the manner in which God instructs the Israelites to eat the Passover lamb—“with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand.”

In ancient times, both men and women regularly wore tunics, and “girding up their loins” meant to hoist up the fabric above their knees so they could have mobility to run or do the labor. Along with putting on sandals and holding their staff, these actions represent readiness to receive the Lord’s deliverance and is an act of faith, declaring their trust in Him that He will indeed bring them out of the bondage of slavery and that the blood of the Lamb is a sign of the Lord’s Passover.  In the Old Testament, this was the way God prepared His people to receive their deliverance from Egypt.

When it comes to our salvation in Christ, the New Testament teaches us to receive salvation by using our mouth and believing in our heart the works of Jesus. Though we are not in the same situation as the Israelites, we can find insight in the Exodus passage for our own faith because the manner in which they ate the Passover lamb should be the posture in our heart by which we receive not only the grace of salvation, but also the daily grace we need for living out our faith.

So, in what ways do you think the Lord is leading you to act “with your loins girded” to show your readiness and faith in His works?  Give it a prayerful thought.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for Your great salvation! As You have led me to receive Your salvation by faith and confession, help me to continue to receive Your daily grace with faith and empower me not to rely on my own strength. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 3


Lunch Break Study

Read Deuteronomy 9:3-7: I Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you. “Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people. Remember, do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord.

Questions to Consider

  1. When and where is Moses saying these words to the Israelites?
  2. What is Moses’ main message?
  3. What does Moses want the Israelites to remember?

Notes

  1. Moses is speaking to the Israelites in the land of Moab, across from the Jordan River. He is preparing them to go into Canaan to possess the land that God has promised to give them.
  2. Moses is warning the Israelites not to mislead themselves to think that they are receiving the Promised Land based on their own doing or righteous works. They are going to possess the land because God Himself “is crossing over before you” (vs. 3) and He is using Israel as His holy nation to execute judgment on these nations. The Israelites of recipients of God’s promise and grace.
  3. He wants the Israelites to remember that they have actually been rebellious and acted in disbelief towards God between the time they left Egypt up until now. Later in chapter 9, Moses explains that the Lord remained merciful and slow to anger because he prayed on their behalf; that is, Moses, pleaded with the Lord to remember His promise to Israel’s forefathers and asked God to display His ability to fulfill His promises (9:28-29).

Evening Reflection

The Passover meal in Exodus signifies the exodus from Egypt and was not the exodus itself. It served as a way to remember and think of the Lord’s salvation. Today, we remember the Lord’s salvation through taking communion as a community of believers. How do you prepare your heart as you partake in communion each time?

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