Devotional Thoughts for Today
“God Who Delivers”
Exodus 23:9 (NIV)
“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
This is the second mention of God’s concern for the wellbeing of strangers and foreigners. (This same command is given near the end of Exodus 22.) In this command, what God is calling the people of God to do is have empathy, caring for others in light of their own experiences. While we’ve never been slaves in Egypt and experienced God’s deliverance through the parting of the Red Sea, we have experienced our own forms of bondage and God’s deliverance in our lives, the greatest of which being the salvation afforded us through Christ. We must remember our former state and allow the grace of God in our lives to inform our dealings with those who are oppressed, vulnerable, and in need around us.
In light of this, I’d like share a QT I wrote back in 2013 on Psalm 114 – a song of remembering God’s deliverance.
Psalm 114 (NIV)
When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, 2 Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; 4 the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back? 6 Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.
This is a psalm that God’s people would sing at Passover. It tells of God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and of his sparing them from the plagues of judgment (particularly the death of the firstborn). As we now know, God’s deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery and the Passover celebration (to remember that time) all pointed to Christ’s coming – when God would not only deliver the Israelites, but all of humanity not merely from physical bondage, but spiritual slavery to sin and death.
The notable element of this praise is that it highlights an appropriate response to the salvific work of God. All of nature yields to the work of God. The sea, river, mountains, and hills all tremble before the Lord and move according to His will. We see this literally displayed when the Red Sea parted before the people of God during the exodus. Likewise, the psalmist calls for all of humanity to follow suit and appropriately respond to God’s salvific work in the world. We should tremble before the Lord – in awe of God’s power and in full submission to the amazing things God is doing in the world around us.
Prayer: Eternal God, you alone can save and meet all of our needs. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “If only [fill in the blank with what is relevant for you], then I’d be satisfied.” But that is a lie. You have promised to meet all my needs and I trust that you’ll do it. In Jesus’ name.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 15
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Peter 1:13-21: Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Questions to Consider
- What three commands does Peter give us in this passage? How are we to carry out each one?
- What is our motivation for following these commands?
- Somehow in the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection we are given freedom from our old ways of sin. Because of Jesus, we are able to live life to the fullest. Is your hope set fully on Christ? Are you no longer conforming to the ways of your flesh? Are you living in reverence of God above all things? Take some time to commit yourself to God in these areas.
- (1) Set our hope fully on the grace we receive through Christ: Not merely grace in this life but in the life to come. We have to live with eternal perspective of what God is doing for us through Christ – giving us eternal life. We do this by keeping our minds sober and ready for action – not drunk with sin and things of this world.
(2) No longer be conformed to our passions: We should no longer give ourselves over to the desires of our flesh because we are called to be like Jesus (holy). We do this through our obedience to the word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
(3) Conduct ourselves with fear: Instead of living whatever way we want during our time on earth, we instead live our lives with reverence for God. We do this by being mindful of what He’s done for us through Christ. He sacrificed His own son so that we may have a life free from sin. Our proper response to this is complete devotion (Romans 12:1-2).
- Peter ends this section by explaining that Jesus came for us – Christ was made know to us so that we may have faith and hope in God. Therefore we do all these things because of what Christ did for us – not because we’re obligated, but because Jesus makes it possible. Christ died so we could have life to the full!
- Personal reflection.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
For those of us who’ve put our trust in Jesus, we have died with Christ so that sin no longer has control over us. And we’ve been raised with him, so that we can (through the power of the Spirit within us) live a new life. Take time to reflect on God’s perfect sacrifice and how you can take full advantage of the new life offered in Christ. In light of yesterday’s quiet time and our passage this morning, how might that new life include caring for those in need around you? In what ways does remembering God’s deliverance lead you to care for the vulnerable folks in your community?