FRIDAY, JULY 18 | Exodus 20 and Galatians 6
Reflection on Exodus 20
By Art & Jeannie Shenk
The context of Exodus 20 is Moses coming down from Mount Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments from God. The reaction of the people is revealing:
“Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:18-20)
Scripture refers to fearing God at least 300 times. Why?
“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death”
William Eisenhower, Ph.D., PCUSA pastor and adjunct professor Fuller Theological Seminary suggests,
“Unfortunately, many of us presume that the world is the ultimate threat and that God’s function is to offset it. How different this is from the biblical position that God is far scarier than the world… When we assume that the world is the ultimate threat, we give it unwarranted power, for in truth, the world’s threats are temporary.”
Jesus warns, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:4-5)
Application: Consider, “Does my life show a reverential fear and awe for a Holy God? If so, how? If not, what can I do today to begin to cultivate the “fear of the Lord as a fountain of life”?
Reflections on Galatians 6
By Jessica Kendal
We know that the concept of “sowing” occurs frequently in the Bible. In the parable of the sower (found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke), we learn about paying attention to where seed is sown. In Psalm 126, God’s people are encouraged that even if they are weeping as they sow, they will reap with tears of joy. And in Galatians, the Lord gives us both a warning and encouragement—choose to plant what is good, and don’t give up in doing so!
Did you know that the meanings of the word “mock” include “to ridicule, challenge, or defy?” The world we live in—and our own sinful natures—love to encourage us that we can reap without sowing, or sow “to our flesh” and yet still reap the blessings of God. One author commented that sowing to the flesh and expecting the Spirit is like planting seeds for cockleburs (spiny and poisonous), but expecting roses to grow. It’s crazy!
The Lord also knows how much we struggle with a desire for immediate gratification. Don’t grow weary in doing good, dear ones, for “in due season” we will reap…IF we don’t give up. Just like Josh preached from the Word on Sunday, the “beautiful thing” of living for God, against the culture and even without immediate results, is sowing to the Glory of God. It might not be in your timing, but the Lord’s season of reaping is always the right one. He alone knows when to harvest what He’s been growing in you. Trust Him, and don’t give up!
Are there any areas of your life where you are “sowing” to your flesh, instead of to the Lord?
How can you persevere in doing good for Him and His people today?
THURSDAY, JULY 17 | Exodus 19 and Galantians 5
By Rhoda Dixon
Met by the Living God: with His presence and word
In Exodus 19, the people of Israel are now at Mt. Sinai and the living God, in His majesty and power, is speaking to Moses, directing him in what he is to communicate to the people. In the next chapter, God will give forth the Ten Commandments, but in our text today, the people are being prepared, and the greatness of God’s presence is on display. Yet, we see in the text that just as evident as our God’s great presence, is His gracious promise:
“…while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:3-6)
As a treasured possession of God, the people are being called to respond to all God has done by obeying God’s voice and keeping His covenant.
Led by the Living God: by His Holy Spirit
Here, in our text in Galatians 5, as the Galatian church knows freedom in Christ, there is a call to walk by the Spirit, and to keep in step with Him. Indeed Paul’s words here are both a mark of the people of God, and they are also a daily desire of God’s people:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
A few application recommendations for the days ahead:
• We can meditate on God’s faithfulness as a covenant-keeping God
• As God’s people we are called to walk in His ways and display the fruit of His Spirit. But we do not need to be condemned when we recognize areas for growth, but we can be encouraged that God would place His Spirit in us, and that in His kindness He would work through us and enable us to be a reflection of Him. We can then ask for His help and leading to help us to grow.
• We can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in our actions, and that how we respond in our hearts and the decisions we make would be marked by His ways.
• We can encourage others this week in how we see the fruit of the Spirit at work in their lives.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16 | Exodus 18 and Galatians 4
Reflections on Galatians 4
By Jessica Kendal
There are very few “heart pains” in the world as intense as watching a child—or anyone—you love making choices that are wrong and leading to their own pain and suffering. In Galatians 4, Paul says he is in anguish as he continues his pleading argument to the church to turn away from justification by the law, and back to Christ alone. Knowing that they are children of God’s promise, and reminding them of how blessed they were upon learning the Gospel, why then would they turn to the law? How could false teachers, who wanted to imprison them in rules and regulations, convince them so easily away from the freedom of grace?
But isn’t that most of us, in some form, today? We so often long for the “proof” of our justification and crave the control we think we have when we are successfully following rules, or the acceptance of being part of the “super-Christian” clique, just like the Galatians. Matthew Henry describes this so well:
“Yet as Abraham turned aside to Hagar, so it is possible a believer may turn aside in some things to the covenant of works, when through unbelief and neglect of the promise he acts according to the law, in his own strength; or in a way of violence, not of love, towards the brethren. Yet it is not his way, not his spirit to do so; hence he is never at rest, till he returns to his dependence on Christ again. Let us rest our souls on the Scriptures, and by a gospel hope and cheerful obedience, show that our conversation and treasure are indeed in heaven.” (From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Galatians 4)
The Lord longs for us to be free in Him to do good works, not doing good works to be free in Him! Lord, please search our hearts today and find those anxious thoughts, those ways that we are striving to measure up or look good to You or others, and free our hearts from that slavery. We can’t do it without Your grace.
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
(All I Have is Christ, by Jordan Kauflin)
TUESDAY, JULY 15 | Exodus 17and Galatians 3
Reflection on Exodus 17
By Eryk Zimmerman
The people have complained about the lack of water, and God commands Moses to take up his staff.
This is the staff that made a way for Israel across the Red Sea; it gave them a path in the sea and saved them, and the same staff gave them water in the desert. A dry place in the water and a spring of water from a stone - God can do anything!
Moses carries the staff now, not to punish the people for their anger, but rather to bless them, by striking the rock to bring out streams of water.
And the rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). The rock that was struck by the law of Moses, because of our disobedience. See the heart that we have pierced, the heart that loves us in return! The heart of Jesus is an infinite supply of patience and kindness.
All who drank in the desert had to drink again, and the rich man in hell was tormented with thirst. But for all who know Jesus there is a river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb.
MONDAY, JULY 14 | Exodus 16 and Galatians 2
Reflection on Exodus 16
By William Li
This chapter is a humbling reminder that nations and individuals often forget the blessing of the Lord. The title of the chapter is ‘Bread from Heaven’, where God leads his people through the wilderness of Sin and tests them through blessings instead of hardships.
Israelite Congregation: “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Ex 16:3)
God: “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.” (Ex 16:4)
God gave the people meat and bread untill they were full. They had quail in the evening and bread from Heaven in the morning. God commanded them to not to leave any of it over till the morning and not to gather more on the Sabbath. But the people did not listen and left part of it till morning when it bred worms and stank. They did not honor the Sabbath even though the Lord provided twice as much as they normally gather on the sixth day. As Christians living in a prosperous county, often our tests will come in the form of prosperity instead of scarcity. When the Lord blesses us, we must honor Him in a way that truly shows our appreciation through a redeemed life lived in accordance with his commands.
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