April 3, Wednesday

Devotional Thought for Today

“God Who Redeems our Pain.”

Exodus 18:1-12

Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her home, 3 along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”), 4 and the name of the other, Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”). 5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was encamped at the mountain of God. 6 And when he sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her,” 7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent. 8 Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. 9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.” 12 And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.

Moses, after delivering the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, is reunited with his wife, two sons, and father-in-law. Scripture specifically highlights his sons by not only naming them, but also by explaining the meaning of their names. This is interesting because in the case of Gershom, we already know the meaning of his name from the account of his birth in Exodus 2:22. So why repeat it? It’s almost as if the names of his sons took on new meaning in light of Egypt’s deliverance from slavery. It’s as if Moses’ sadness at his plight in Exodus 2 had been redeemed, with the names of his sons reminding him of how far God had taken him and the Hebrews.

There’s great encouragement to be received from Moses’ story. It reminds us that God is a Redeemer, and that we can hope in Him for the redemption of our pain and adversity. Moses is a reminder that truly, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). And this even becomes a testimony to the nations, for Jethro, a Midianite, declares, “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods”! And this was God’s aim all along. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 9:17, “Or the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’”

We must not lose sight of the fact that our suffering and eventual redemption serves as a light unto the nations. When we face adversity, put our hope in God and persevere, we experience God’s faithfulness, and that speaks volumes to the watching world about who our God is.

Prayer: Lord, grant me the perseverance to walk with you faithfully, even through the valley of the shadow of death. Grant that I may come to see the Gershoms and Eliezers of my life in a new light, trusting that God is a Redeemer, as He has shown us through the cross. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 28


Lunch Break Study

Read Acts 6:8-15: Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Questions to Consider

  1. How would you describe the manner in which witnesses against Stephen were produced as well as the nature of the accusations?
  2. How might you have felt or reacted if you were in Stephen’s shoes?
  3. According to v.15, how did Stephen react?  What can we learn from him?

Notes

  1. The witnesses were “false” and the accusations egregious distortions of Jesus’ teachings, abused to the benefit of Stephan’s accusers.
  2. A sense of anger, indignation, or injustice?
  3. No matter how we are wronged, no matter the injustice we experience, can we face it with “the face of an angel”?  This doesn’t necessarily mean succumbing to whatever evil befalls us, but it does mean approaching every situation with love, forgiveness and blamelessness.

Evening Reflections

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).  

Have a wonderful rest in Lord.  Good night.

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