Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Am I God-Centered or Self-Centered?”
Exodus 15:1-18 (ESV)
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider[a] he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? 12 You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them. 13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. 14 The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. 17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. 18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”
Our self-worth/value is greatly affected by whether we are anchored to a God-centered or self-centered viewpoint. We know that self-centeredness, which originates from our fallen nature, focuses everything on the self, thereby causing our self-worth to become diminished or bloated based on our performance. No doubt that we live in a culture where an individual’s value comes from an external and superficial perspective, rather than from something greater than the self.
Often, we are swayed by other people’s opinions, or comparison to others, which, then, leads us to doubt or question our intrinsic value as God’s child. So we say to ourselves: “My friend landed a better job and makes more money than me. What I’m doing is nothing in comparison”; “My friend is skinny and really pretty. She’ll have no problem getting matched, but what about me?”; “my friends do and say things I don’t agree with. I feel they won’t like me if I disagree with them. I want to be accepted, that’s why I support them, but what if standing up for what I believe in means I’ll lose them as friends?” Given this situation we all face (some more than others), to develop and strengthen our original God-given value, we need to intentionally make the effort to change our perspective, that is to say, it won’t change unless we make that effort.
Notice in this passage that this great song of Moses is completely God-centered, glorifying God from beginning to end. We may think that it took a great leader’s courage to lead approximately two million people out of the land of slavery and into the wilderness. Yet, there isn’t a word about Moses the entire song. The name of God is mentioned twenty-seven times (by my count!), including pronouns referring to God. The song even moves from a celebration of God’s past deliverances to the future victories yet to come. This is the God-centered faith that we are called to live in!
When the people stood at the edge of the Red Sea and Moses told them to go forward, they obeyed by faith. Moses said, “Stand firm and you will see the Lord’s deliverance,” and that is the challenge to faith today. F.B. Meyer puts it very well: Learn what God will do for his own. Dread not any result of implicit obedience to his command; fear not the angry waters which, in their proud insolence, forbid your progress; fear not the turbulent crowds of men who are perpetually compared to waters lifting up their voice and roaring with their waves. Fear none of these things. Above the voices of many waters, the might breakers of the sea, the Lord sits as king upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth as king forever…Dare to trust Him.
In light of this passage, make sure to:
- Ask the Lord to show you how He sees you and what kind of value He has assigned to you. Can you think of an example where you connected to your unique value as God’s son/daughter?
- Surrender areas of your life where you have allowed society’s perspective to affect how you feel about the values and beliefs you cherish because they are rooted in God’s truth.
Prayer: Lord, I always want to trust in You. Thank You for Your past deliverances as well as the ones that are yet to come. Help me to see things as You do. If more of You is less of me, then take everything from me! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 20
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Questions to consider
- Psalm 1 is a contrast between two ways in life: the self-directed vs. the God-directed life. What are the benefits of the one who strives to make the Word of God (God-centeredness) the focus, rather than external accomplishments and opinions?
- It bears repeating what was asked in the morning devotion: Ask the Lord to show you how He sees you and what kind of value He has assigned to you. Can you think of an example where you connected to your unique value as God’s son/daughter?
- The imagery in Psalm 1:3, paints a picture of several results in a God-centered life:
- Stability (“he is planted”)
- Vitality (“by streams of water”)
- Productivity (“yields its fruit”)
- Durability (“does not wither”)
- Prosperity (“in all that he does, he prospers”)
- Personal response
I invite you to think of a situation where you feel conflicted about seeing this situation from God’s viewpoint or a self-centered viewpoint. Make a commitment to ask a close friend what he or she thinks is God’s perspective on this situation; also ask how he or she feels about the perspective you’re taking. How would that impact your proactive approach to the situation?