Day 113 – April 23

Numbers 20:1-13

What does it say?

God provided water for His people despite Moses’ disobedience.

What does it mean?

For decades, Moses faithfully followed God while the Israelites complained, even though God consistently met their needs. In a moment of frustration, Moses became angry with the people and disobeyed God. Rather than doing as God instructed, Moses rebuked the entire community and reacted in anger. Moses had a responsibility to demonstrate God’s mercy and grace. Instead, he chose to give in to frustration. Consequently, Moses and Aaron lost the privilege of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. God’s charge was that they “did not trust” or “honor me as holy in the sight of the people.” The momentary lapse had devastating consequences.

How should I respond?

We all experience moments of frustration, but too often we blame events and circumstances for our responses. Our obedience and our reaction is our choice. When you feel yourself growing impatient or angry, you have to decide whether you’ll give in to how you feel in the moment or demonstrate God’s love and mercy. Who frustrates you? What response to that person would be obedience to God? What response would be disobedience? Regardless of the circumstances, we are meant to be examples of Christ. Choose to show Christ’s example in every interaction today.

Day 112 – April 22

Numbers 17-18

What does it say?

God confirmed that he had appointed Aaron and his sons to serve in the priestly office while the other Levites were to assist the priests in the care of the Tent of Meeting.

What does it mean?

The previous chapter records an open rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Even some Levites openly challenged the position of their God-given spiritual leader. The budding of Aaron’s staff showed the Israelites that God had chosen him to be the high priest, putting an end to the public challenge of his authority. Aaron‘s affirmation by God shows the seriousness of His call to action and how abundantly He equips those He calls for His work.

How should I respond?

Have you taken time to consider what God has planned for you? Regardless of your role or responsibilities, God has designed you for a purpose and is preparing you to fulfill that purpose. God’s equipping comes through both the opportunities He gives and the challenges He allows you to face. Are you going through opposition at the moment? How is God using it to stretch your limits? What affirmation have you been given by the Lord? Look for opportunities to use your natural and spiritual gifts. You may find that God has equipped you in ways that you never realized.

For further reading: Numbers 19, Laws of purification

Day 111 – April 21

Numbers 16

What does it say?

God passed judgment on a group of community leaders who led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron’s authority. Even so, the Israelites continued to grumble.

What does it mean?

God had already confirmed that Moses was the leader He had chosen to deliver the Israelites from slavery and lead them into their own land. However, rather than submit to Moses’ God-given authority, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram formed a rebellion in order to promote their own positions within the community. They were more interested in their own agenda than God’s plan. The Lord’s answer was swift and unquestionable. But less than twenty-four hours later, the Israelites opposed Moses again, bringing even more judgment. Challenging Moses’ authority was a challenge to God’s authority.

How should I respond?

Who has God placed as an authority in your life? What is your attitude toward the people who make decisions in your community, church, and home? There’s no doubt that not all leaders are cut from the same cloth as Moses. We’re bound to have differences of opinion and even disagreements with people in positions over us. In those times, ask God to reveal any signs of rebellion in your heart. How might you be trying to promote yourself and your own agenda? Look for opportunities to talk about issues that come up in a way that shows respect for a leader’s position. How can you show support for God-given authority today?

Day 110 – April 20

Numbers 14

What does it say?

Moses’ intercession for the Israelites held back God’s immediate wrath. But when they tried to enter the land on their own, the Amalekites and Canaanites defeated them.

What does it mean?

God had never once failed to take care of His people, yet they constantly displayed a lack of faith when challenges arose. Looking back on His faithfulness should have given them the trust needed to go into the land He promised them. It was only after judgment was passed on their defiance and on the ten who spread the bad report about the land that they admitted their sin. But rather than repent, the people rebelled against God’s judgment and tried to take control by entering the land against the advice of Moses. As a result of being outside of God’s will, leadership, and protection – they were defeated.

How should I respond?

You have two options when challenges arise: trust God or take control. Like the Israelites, we sometimes sit on our hands when God tells us to move, or we try to make something happen when He wants us to wait or stop. In what current challenge do you need to trust God more? How have you tried to manipulate the outcome on your own? Think back on how God has been faithful and trustworthy in the past. Allow those times to strengthen your faith and obedience for today’s challenges. Ask God to reveal any evidence of rebellion in your life. How will you display trust in God today?

For further reading: Numbers 15, Covenant statutes

Day 109 – April 19

Numbers 13

What does it say?

Moses sent twelve men into Canaan who returned with a report of the land. Most of the men were fearful, but Caleb encouraged the people to take possession of the land.

What does it mean?

Having reached the land God had promised, the people should have been praising God for His faithfulness in meeting all their needs for so many months. Instead, they allowed a small group of ten men to influence them with a disheartening report. Joshua and Caleb were the only two of the twelve who continued to trust God, knowing that He would enable them to overcome any obstacles in the land. How different the outcome would have been had all of them trusted God and realized He would continue to be faithful just as He had been in the past.

How should I respond?

Standing alone for God and His Word is never an easy task. What fearful or discouraging situation do you find yourself in today? Are you the only person standing firm in your faith at home, work, or school? God has not changed. He is able to overcome any and every situation; even the ones that make you feel small and weak. What fear is holding you back from believing God and taking Him at His word? Trusting Him to do a mighty work when you can’t see the result is true faith. He will always help you accomplish any work He wants you to do. What action do you need to take today?

Day 108 – April 18

Numbers 12

What does it say?

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, causing Miriam to be struck with leprosy for seven days. God reaffirmed Moses as His chosen servant and friend.

What does it mean?

The issue of Moses’ marriage was not the root cause of Miriam and Aaron’s complaint. They had become envious of his relationship with God and his authority to lead Israel. Their jealousy overflowed into a tirade against Moses, pointing out their own contributions. They never imagined that God Himself would come to Moses’ defense. The incident offers unique insight into the relationship between God and Moses. God forgave their sin of coveting Moses’ position, but Miriam bore the consequences.

How should I respond?

Proverbs 13:10 says that pride leads to quarrels. Take a moment to look into your heart. How often is your anger at a sibling, co-worker, or friend rooted in pride and envy? Do you crave the attention or position currently given to that person? God has given us different levels of responsibility within our family, church, and community. If you are in a leadership role, like Moses, commit to following the Lord whole-heartedly so that your words and actions will be blameless. Those in supporting roles should consider the value of encouragement, assistance, and prayer for those in God-given leadership positions. What issue of pride do you need to deal with today?

Day 107 – April 17

Numbers 11

What does it say?

The Israelites complained about food, and Moses complained about the people. As a result, God sent quail and judgment into the camp.

What does it mean?

Two complaints received two very different responses from God. He took extreme measures to deal with the constant complaining of the people. They completely lost perspective of the Lord’s deliverance by wishing to be slaves again, just to eat what their bodies craved. At the same time, Moses had reached an emotional breaking point from carrying the responsibility of the nation on his shoulders. But rather than reprimand Moses, the Lord saw his heart and immediately offered a solution while reminding him that it was God carrying the people. Any work for God must be done in His strength.

How should I respond?

Followers of Christ are not immune to pressure, stress, or disappointment. The question is – what goes on in your heart when you’re overcome with negative emotions? Do you suddenly crave things that were part of your old life, or do you take your feelings to the Lord? It’s not wrong to express frustration to God; He already knows what’s going on in your head and your heart. The pressure is greatest when we attempt to face life in our own strength rather than rely on His strength. Where have you reached your breaking point? Check your heart, be honest with God, and look to Him for wisdom and guidance.

Day 106 – April 16

Numbers 10

What does it say?

God instructed Moses that it was time to begin the journey toward the land of Canaan. Moses compelled his brother-in-law, Hobab, to journey with them.

What does it mean?

God had everything in place for Israel to embark on the journey that would fulfill His plans for them. He gave Moses detailed instructions for every facet of the trip so there would be order rather than chaos. God had even given Moses the names of the men who would lead each tribe -Num. 1. Moses invited Hobab, who had knowledge of the terrain, to go with them on the journey and share in “whatever good things the Lord” promised to Israel. The journey would not be easy, but God had planned every aspect to guide and protect His people.

How should I respond?

God has a plan and purpose for you, just as He did for the Israelites. What life journey are you embarking on right now? God sees every aspect before you take a single step and wants to prepare you for what’s ahead. What changes do you need to make to bring order to your life so you can better follow His plan? Are your finances and family in good standing, allowing you to obey God’s direction at a moment’s notice? Who is the spiritual head of your family – the one you can look to for help as you navigate the road ahead? Ask God to use this journey to develop Christ-like character and deepen your dependence on Him.

Day 105 – April 15

Numbers 9:15-23

What does it say?

God put a cloud over the Tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire by night. When the cloud moved or stayed, the Israelites would move or stay with it accordingly.

What does it mean?

In those days, Israel lived in tents. They had no houses yet. They could move from place to place quickly. Their mobility would help them find food, avoid enemies, and adjust to diverse living conditions throughout the year. They always knew where God wanted them to go. He gave them a visible sign by day and night. From anywhere in the camp they could see if it was time to stay or time to leave. They never had to wonder what God’s will was for their lives because He spelled it out in great detail through Moses and led them from place to place during their time in the wilderness.

How should I respond?

Do you ever wonder what God wants you to do with your life? For that matter, do you wonder what God wants you to do today? Just like the Israelites looked toward the Tabernacle every day to see what God wanted for their day, so we can look to God in prayer daily. Another way we can connect with God daily is to read the Bible. It is His letter to us, and it is full of great instructions for how we can live our lives. When we read Scripture it’s like listening to God talk, and when we pray we’re talking to God. He wants to lead you day to day. Are you having a daily conversation with God?

Day 104 – April 14

Numbers 9:1-14

What does it say?

A year after God dramatically delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, Israel celebrated with the Passover–an annual feast of remembrance of how God delivered them.

What does it mean?

God instituted a ceremony to remind His people of the most important day in their history: the day He rescued them from the hand of their cruel masters and harsh conditions in Egypt. A year had gone by since then, so God instructed Moses to have the people celebrate the Passover. They would continue to do this every year throughout their history according to God’s plan. Even the foreigners who were visiting in Israel were invited to celebrate as long as they purified themselves and followed the rules of the ceremony.

How should I respond?

Annual holidays exist in most every culture to remember important things in their history. Some celebrate their national independence or the end of a war. Individually, we may celebrate birthdays or remember loved ones on the anniversary of the day they died. On what special date did God do something profound in your life? Do you remember a time when He delivered you from a difficult situation? Mark that date on your calendar, and plan to remember it every year. Perhaps there is something right now you need His deliverance from. Begin to pray specifically and look for ways that He may be working in your favor. God is the great Deliverer!

Day 103 – April 13

Numbers 7:1-10, 84-89

What does it say?

When the tabernacle was finally completed, Moses dedicated it and everything in it. Leaders from all twelve tribes of Israel brought offerings to celebrate its completion.

What does it mean?

What an exciting day that must have been–the Tabernacle was finally completed! Hundreds of details had been put together by the plan of God and carried out by the obedience of His people. Imagine how it must have felt to be a part of that celebration. Leaders came from every tribe in Israel to present gifts in celebration of God’s goodness and His forgiveness of their sin. The tabernacle was dedicated for perpetual use among God’s people for dealing with sin and celebrating God’s goodness.

How should I respond?

Think about how much God has given us to be thankful for in our lives. We often take for granted the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the people He has given us to love. Take a few minutes to make a list of five things God has given you for which you are most grateful. Then look at the list carefully. Talk to God one-on-one about each of these things, and tell Him you are thankful. Each time you thank God for what He has given you, it is like one of those offerings brought to the tabernacle to celebrate God’s goodness. We can celebrate God’s goodness every day through our thankful prayers.

For further reading: Numbers 7:11-83; 8

Day 102 – April 12

Numbers 6

What does it say?

God gave Moses guidelines for Israelites who wanted to take a special vow to God–above and beyond their normal devotion to God. It was called the “Nazirite Vow.”

What does it mean?

Taking a Nazirite vow involved dedicating or setting aside something as special. The length of time and the reason for taking the pledge were totally left up to the individual. However, there were certain regulations to follow, which ensured that others would be aware that the Israelite had taken the vow, such as not cutting the hair. This promoted a sense of accountability in the community for the Nazirite. When the time of dedication was completed, an offering was made to celebrate before the Lord.

How should I respond?

Americans have a habit of making a New Year’s Resolution–a promise they intend to keep entering a new year. What helps a person keep a promise? Two things: the reason for the promise and continuing accountability. What needs to change in your spiritual life? What issue do you need to take more seriously? Whether you call it a resolution, a promise, or a vow – determine a course of action and stick to it. God will guide and strengthen you in any undertaking that honors Him. Who can you ask to be a trustworthy accountability partner? Don’t wait for a new year – ask God what resolution you need to make today.

Day 101 – April 11

Numbers 5

What does it say?

God gave Moses directions on what to do with unclean people in the camp, people who sinned in general, and husbands who suspect their wives of being unfaithful.

What does it mean?

One theme that runs through all three sections of this chapter is purity. God’s ideal is that His people should be pure in every way. If there were physical diseases that might spread throughout the camp, the people with those diseases were to be separated from the others until they were physically pure, so they could return. If someone sinned against their neighbors, they were to make amends, so there would be no bitterness spread throughout the camp. If there were unfaithful wives, they were to be confronted and punished, so that marital unfaithfulness would not spread throughout the camp.

How should I respond?

The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” -Rom. 3:23, and if anyone says they have no sin, they are deceiving themselves -1 John 1:8. How can we who are impure live in the presence of the perfectly pure God? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, and will purify us from all impurity” -1 John 1:9. We get cleaned up, so to speak, by humbly recognizing our impurity, asking God for forgiveness, and trusting in God’s promise of forgiveness. All of that is only possible because Jesus was punished in our place. Have you asked God for forgiveness?

Day 100 – April 10

Numbers 1

What does it say?

God instructed Moses to take a census of all men who were twenty years or older except for the Levites, who were to be responsible for the Tabernacle.

What does it mean?

What was the reason for this census? Did God know how many people there were in Israel? Of course He did! Jesus told us that God even knows the number of hairs that are on each person’s head -Luke 12:7. God instructed Moses to count the number of men that were able to serve in the military, so the Israelites themselves would know how vulnerable they were to the established militaries of the nations in the Promised Land. It would also serve as a baseline for showing later generations how much God would bless them as they grew into one of the mighty nations of the earth.

How should I respond?

Are you feeling outnumbered or overwhelmed as you face the challenges of life this week? Have you taken a census, so to speak, of your human abilities and strengths only to realize that what you have does not seem as strong as what faces you? Paul told us that God’s power is perfected in our weakness -2 Cor. 12:9. He specializes in giving us the ability to face life’s challenges no matter how strong they seem. When David faced the giant, Goliath, God gave David the confidence to proclaim, “the battle belongs to the LORD” -1 Sam. 17:47. Does your “battle” today belong to the Lord?

For further reading: Numbers 2-4, Remainder of the census and camp arrangements

Day 99 – April 9

Leviticus 27

What does it say?

God gave regulations concerning vows and the dedication of persons, animals, and property. A tithe of everything belonged to God.

What does it mean?

Although special vows were not required, God gave specific regulations concerning the keeping of vows. Once a vow was made, God expected the person to follow through on what he promised. There are several examples in the Old Testament of vows or promises made to God, such as Hannah’s promise concerning her son -I Sam. 1- and Jacob’s vow at Bethel -Gen. 28:20. A two-fold lesson is found in this passage: “Be careful what you promise,” and “Keep your promises.”

How should I respond?

God always keeps His promises and expects His people to keep their promises – not only to Him, but also to others. Believers who go back on their word aren’t demonstrating the character of Christ. Are you quick to commit to something but often fail to follow through? Parents, can your children count on you to do what you say – even regarding discipline? The ability to keep your word starts with being careful about what you say. What promise do you need to follow up on today? Of whom do you need to ask forgiveness for failing to keep your word? We can always count on God. Can God and others count on you?

Day 98 – April 8

Leviticus 26

What does it say?

Obedience to the Lord assured that Israel would be fruitful, victorious, and experience the presence of God. Disobedience meant punishment and required repentance.

What does it mean?

The nation of Israel has a special place in the heart of God. God described the tremendous blessings Israel would receive for obedience, especially the promise that He would walk among them and be their God. Then, He described the punishments for disobedience, punishments that seem extremely harsh. However, God disciplines in love to motivate His redeemed people to turn from sin and return to Him. In God’s sovereign will, He had established a nation through Abraham’s descendants – a nation “entrusted with the very words of God” -Romans 3:2. From that nation would come the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel experienced God’s miracles, provision, and revelation like no other nation on earth. God expects the best from those He gives His best.

How should I respond?

All of the sacrifices, offerings and cleansings in Leviticus speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has provided everything we need to live godly lives in Him. In what area of your life have you continued to stubbornly disobey God? His purpose in discipline is to bring repentance so that we will live before Him in faith and godliness. What will you do this week to obey God’s specific instructions to you? In Jesus, God has given us His very best. Will you give your best to Him?

Day 97 – April 7

Leviticus 25

What does it say?

God gave Moses regulations concerning the sabbatical year and the year of Jubilee.

What does it mean?

Throughout Leviticus, God provided instructions in all aspects of ceremonial worship, individual holiness, and social relationships. Now, He initiated a plan for economic security. In the Sabbatical year, the Israelites were to let the land rest, cancel all debts, and free all Israelite slaves (Deut. 15). During other years, a close relative, a kinsman-redeemer, could pay the price to redeem an Israelite slave. In the Year of Jubilee, the trumpet sounded on the Day of Atonement, liberty was proclaimed throughout the nation, and every Israelite returned to his family’s land. God had freed His people from bondage in Egypt, and He wanted them to remain free to serve Him.

How should I respond?

The Day of Atonement pointed to the future day when God’s Son, our Kinsman-Redeemer, would offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. True liberty comes only through the atonement provided by the blood of Christ. Have you been freed from your bondage to sin through faith in Jesus Christ? If so, how are you preparing for the day the trumpet sounds, calling you home to Heaven? Ask God to give you opportunities to use your time, resources, and abilities to “proclaim liberty” through Christ to those who need their sin debts canceled. You have been set free to serve Him.

Day 96 – April 6

Leviticus 24:10-23

What does it say?

God specified the penalty for blasphemy and gave instructions concerning restitution and punishment for other offenses that would, in essence, fit the crime.

What does it mean?

Israel was being established as a nation chosen by God to carry His message of hope, life, and a future with Him to the entire world. In the midst of setting standards for righteous living, worship, and fellowship, an incident occurred that demanded immediate attention. Just a short time before, God had given the commandment: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” A blasphemer rejected God’s moral law by using God’s name in a curse. God used the incident to remind Israel that He is holy – and those who want to live with Him must honor His holy, righteous character.

How should I respond?

Our society has become accustomed to hearing God’s name misused. God takes His name and His Son’s name seriously because His name reveals His glory to His people. The Father sent the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name; salvation is in Jesus’ name; and one day every knee will bow “at the name of Jesus” (Philippians 2:10). The Lord knows your name and your character. How well do you know Him? How can you show honor to your Savior’s name as you pray and as you interact with others? Pray for those who misuse His name, and extend grace to them as God extended grace to you.

Day 95 – April 5

Leviticus 24:1-9

What does it say?

The priests were to tend the golden lamps continually and make offerings of twelve loaves to the Lord every Sabbath.

What does it mean?

Both the lamps and the bread served as reminders that God’s presence was always with His people. They were to have unbroken fellowship with Him. The preparation of the oil made it of higher quality than household oil. The priest refilled the lamps daily so that they burned continually. The recipe for the bread was symbolic of God’s coming Messiah. It was made from fine flour and without yeast, which represented impurity. The cakes, one for each tribe, were always before the Lord, just as His eyes were always watching over His people.

How should I respond?

Light and bread represent two basic human needs. Without light we have no direction, and without food our bodies and minds become weak. The same needs exist spiritually. Hidden pitfalls and obstacles can devastate your life. Only by “walking in the light” will your way be illuminated so you can avoid the dangers (1 John 1:5-7). Do you ever wonder, “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” People turn in all directions to satisfy their spiritual hunger but are often left unfulfilled. Are you spiritually stumbling in the dark? Where have you looked for satisfaction? The only lasting answer is Jesus, the Light of the World (John 8:12) and the Bread of Life-John 6:35.

Day 94 – April 4

Leviticus 23

What does it say?

God instructed Moses regarding national days of worship, starting with the Sabbath. Spring and fall festivals commemorated God’s protection and forgiveness.

What does it mean?

Surrounding nations held festivals to honor false gods. The Lord, however, gave Israel special days to celebrate actual events and interaction with Him. The Sabbath was a weekly day of rest, in remembrance of God’s rest after creation. But it was also practical – the mind and body need rest from work. The spring feasts dedicated the upcoming harvest and commemorated God’s protection during Israel’s hurried exodus from Egypt (vv. 4-22). The fall festivals comprised a month-long national sabbatical to focus on God’s past protection and present forgiveness (vv. 23-44).

How should I respond?

Throughout our nation, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are quickly becoming non-religious holidays. There really is a difference between Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. Followers of Christ have to decide individually what secular aspects of these special days to take part in while emphasizing the true meaning of the day. Easter is a time to remember the cost Jesus paid for our salvation and the power behind His resurrection. What plans can you make to focus your Easter on Christ this year? Don’t just celebrate a holiday – commemorate the greatest event in history!

Day 93 – April 3

Leviticus 18-19

What does it say?

Every aspect of life was to reflect the holiness of Israel’s God, setting the Israelites apart from every other people.

What does it mean?

Everything God commanded the Israelites to do or not do was based on His holiness. Their lives were to be a reflection of their God as a testimony to other nations. The Lord went to great length to set boundaries for moral purity, strictly forbidding the detestable practices of Egypt and Canaan. He explained further how to live holy lives in practical ways. God called His people to a high standard and held them responsible for their actions toward others. But holiness isn’t mere outward action; it reflects purity of heart displayed by godly behavior. God’s chosen people were to be known by their love for one another and their honesty toward all.

How should I respond?

The moral and ethical aspects of God’s decrees never change because His nature remains the same. Followers of Christ are called to be holy because God is holy. Our neighbors and co-workers should get a glimpse of God’s holiness just by watching how we live and interact. Which characteristics from this passage would your friends use to describe you – generous, honest, fair, compassionate? How has our culture influenced your thinking about moral purity? Your attitude and behavior today will either call attention to yourself or reflect the holiness of God. Which will you choose?

For further reading: Leviticus 20-22, Punishments, restrictions and sacred offerings

Day 92 – April 2

Leviticus 16

What does it say?

The Day of Atonement was a Sabbath on which the high priest could safely enter the Most Holy Place to make atonement for the sins of all Israel, including himself.

What does it mean?

Throughout the year, individual sacrifices were made for personal sin; but on the Day of Atonement, sacrifices for all Israel were made. Also, the tabernacle was sanctified, making it possible for God’s presence to remain there. One goat was sacrificed as a sin offering. Then, the sins of the people were confessed over the head of the scapegoat, and it was sent from their presence. The activities of the high priest were accompanied by the ordinance for the people to refrain from eating or working, demonstrating true remorse for their sin. This day was an annual reminder of their sinful state before God (Hebrews 10:1-4).

How should I respond?

Jesus made the atonement for our sin when He died on the cross. The sins of the entire world were placed on Him (Isaiah 53:6). Claiming His blood as the payment for your sin cleanses you as a fit sanctuary for the presence of God. Because Jesus is perfect, His sacrifice never needs to be repeated. Sin and guilt aren’t just covered for a year – they are removed. When was your “Day of Atonement”? Have you claimed the blood of Jesus for your personal sin? Stop and consider what it cost God to redeem you. How will your recognition of what God did for you change how you live today?

For further reading: Leviticus 17, Laws for sacrifice and eating meat

Day 91 – April 1

Leviticus 10

What does it say?

Aaron and his remaining sons received further instructions after God killed Nadab and Abihu for violating His commands regarding their priestly duties.

What does it mean?

Nadab and Abihu deviated from God’s instructions, approaching Him as they saw fit. So God set a precedent that His commands must be honored. This is the only time in Scripture that the Lord spoke directly to Aaron, reinforcing the magnitude of His words. Under these circumstances, God’s presence must have been both comforting and terrifying. The Lord’s instructions to forgo “fermented drink” could indicate that Aaron’s sons were intoxicated, which would have affected their discernment. Because the priests had the privilege of approaching God, they also had the responsibility of reflecting His character. In doing so, God would receive the honor and glory He deserved.

How should I respond?

Parents give instructions in order to protect and develop their children. With that comes the expectation of obedience. As a loving heavenly Father, God gives instructions and expects obedience. Doing as God asks results in accomplishing His purpose, spiritual growth, and protection from harm. How have you deviated from God’s instructions in Scripture? What has been the result? As a believer, you have the privilege of living in God’s presence and the responsibility of demonstrating His character. What changes do you need to make today that will honor and glorify God?

For further reading: Leviticus 11-15, Laws concerning uncleanness

Day 90 – March 31

Read Leviticus CH 9

What does it say?

The people fell facedown in worship as the glory of the Lord appeared, and He consumed the first priestly offering with fire.

What does it mean?

Even though Aaron and his sons had spent seven days in seclusion after their ordination, their first act was to make a sacrifice for their own sin. The natural state of the human heart is sinful; the priests had to be completely clean before the Lord in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. Only then was God’s presence manifested through “the glory of the Lord” and the fire that consumed the sacrifice. Both were visible evidence that God’s presence was among them and that the priests and their offering were acceptable. The people appropriately responded to God in worship.

How should I respond?

Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can live every day in His presence. As a believer, the Holy Spirit is with you continually. God’s presence may not be visible, as it was with Israel, but His presence is evident when He convicts you of sin or helps you to understand His Word and how it relates to your life today. Because He never leaves you, the Holy Spirit experiences everything that you experience. How does that awareness change the places you’ll go, the words you’ll say, or the television shows you’ll watch this week? There’s only one reasonable response to the presence of the Lord…worship.

Day 89 – March 30

Read Leviticus CH 8

What does it say?

Moses prepared Aaron and his sons for priesthood at the Tent of Meeting.

What does it mean?

God’s instructions for the ordination ceremony indicate the significance of the priests and the tabernacle in the daily life of His people. The anointing by Moses signified that both were holy to the Lord and set apart for His purpose. As High Priest, Aaron would act as mediator between God and the people, allowing them access to His mercy and forgiveness. The ears, hands, and feet of the priests were marked with blood from the sacrifice; their entire being was to submit to the power of God as they heard Him speak and carry out His purpose with their hands and feet. A new era had begun.

How should I respond?

Followers of Christ are part of a “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:9) by virtue of our relationship to Christ, our Great High Priest and King (Heb. 6:20.) Are you effectively carrying out your duties as a believer priest? Just as Aaron and his sons were marked with the blood of the sacrifice, we are to operate under the power of Jesus’ sacrifice, which gives us direct access to the grace and mercy of God, the Father. Do you intentionally open your ears to what God has to say in Scripture? How are your hands and feet faithfully carrying out His instructions? On whose behalf do you need to pray today? Determine to live today as a “priest” in the Lord’s service.

Day 88 – March 29

Read Leviticus CH 7:11-34

What does it say?

The worshipper’s family shared a meal from the fellowship offering, celebrating unhindered communion with the Lord. Once again, the obedience of God’s people provided the needs of the priests.

What does it mean?

Time dedicated to focus on companionship with God and others was built into Israel’s law. The fellowship offering reinforced that unhindered communion with the Lord requires being clean and pure in His sight. The communal meal following the offering was designed to magnify God’s goodness to their family or to commend the taking of a vow before God. Such times of celebration passed on a proper view of God from one generation to the next.

How should I respond?

Does your family stop to focus on the goodness of God? In America, we express thanksgiving in November, but why not make it a recurring theme throughout the year? Plan a meal in which each family member can share a specific blessing of God from the week. Explain to children ahead of time what the meal is about and have them participate in preparing the meal and setting the table. What “unclean” thought, habit, or attitude needs to be removed so you can enjoy unhindered fellowship with God and with each other? Don’t wait until the end of the year; celebrate God’s goodness now!

Further Reading: Leviticus 3 The fellowship offering

Day 87 – March 28

Read Leviticus CH 5:14-6:7

What does it say?

God holds individuals responsible for wrongdoing against others, which is also sin against Him. Whether intentional or not, restitution and atonement had to be made.

What does it mean?

The guilt offering made atonement for wrongful acts against God or another person when damage or loss occurred. Mistreating or taking advantage of another person is a sin against God because all people are created in God’s image. The Lord emphasizes again that people are accountable for their sins, even if unintentional. The distinctive feature of this offering was the element of restitution, to both God and the person wronged, on the same day as the offering. It was similar to a settlement in a court case; but rather than being compelled to pay, the offender was to offer more than the value of the loss as an admission of guilt and demonstration of remorse.

How should I respond?

For any relationship to stay healthy, wrong must be made right as quickly as possible. The principle of restitution requires the offending person to act in humility with attitudes and actions that say, “I am in the wrong and want to more than make up for it.” Some wrongs are emotional and cannot be compensated monetarily, but God expects us to make the situation right as best we can. In what way have you wronged someone but not yet settled the issue? How can you take the first step toward restitution today? Followers of Christ should keep short accounts with God and with others.

Further Reading: Leviticus 7:1-10 Regulations for the guilt offering

Day 86 – March 27

Read Leviticus CH 4

What does it say?

Even unintentional sin leaves one guilty before God, requiring a blood sacrifice. The Law made provision for any economic class to receive forgiveness.

What does it mean?

God held His people responsible for all sin: premeditated, willful, unintentional and careless. The sin offering was made as soon as the person became aware of his offense toward God, restoring broken fellowship immediately. God removed both social and economic barriers, as neither affect one’s standing before Him. First, it didn’t matter whether the offender was a priest, a leader, an individual, or the community as a whole—all were responsible before God for their actions. Next, no one could claim that he could not afford a sin offering. Each person offered the best he had, from a bull down to a tenth of an ephah of flour—even the poorest person had access to God’s forgiveness.

How should I respond?

God’s justice and love are two sides of the same coin. They are measured out equally.
He holds us accountable for every careless word or unintentional act that offends His holy nature. On the other hand, God doesn’t judge us based on our social or economic status, nor is His love based on such shallow thinking. He sees straight through all worldly distractions to your heart. God poured His justice out on Christ so that His love could be poured out on you. Have you claimed the blood of Jesus as your Sin Offering? What unintentional sin is hindering your intimacy with God? Ask for His forgiveness now.

Further Reading: Leviticus 5:1-13; 6:24-30 Regulations for the sin offering

Day 85 – March 26

Read Leviticus CH 2

What does it say?

The grain offering consisted of fine flour, oil, incense, and salt but no yeast or honey. The priests burned a handful on the altar as a memorial portion and ate the rest.

What does it mean?

The grain offering was a voluntary expression of devotion and gratitude. It also acted as provision for the priests. As the people willingly gave back to God, those who served Him by occupation were provided for. The preparation of the offering is rich with symbolism. The fine flour represents the perfection of the coming Messiah; oil—the Spirit of God; yeast (leaven)—evil and sin; and salt—the (incorruptible) Covenant of God. The incense added to the cakes made them different from everyday meal preparation. It wasn’t just the act of worship that was pleasing to God but also the attitude of thanksgiving in which His people approached the offering.

How should I respond?

No one wants to be around an ungrateful, complaining person. The key to guarding your heart against ingratitude is found in the symbolism of the grain offering: deliberately live in the presence of Christ under the control of the Holy Spirit and weed out intentional sin in your life. As your devotion to God increases, so does the desire to be grateful. For what provision from God are you specifically thankful today? How will you willingly give back to Him this week? When you recognize God’s provision in your life, it’s natural to present it back to Him with an attitude of gratitude.

Further Reading: 6:14-23 Regulations of the grain offering

Day 84 – March 25

Read Leviticus CH 1

What does it say?

The priest sacrificed a burnt offering of dedication and devotion on behalf of the worshipper. The aroma was pleasing to the LORD.

What does it mean?

Leviticus is a manual for how the priests from the tribe of Levi were to help the Israelites approach God in worship. God is holy and people are sinful. A blood sacrifice is required for sinful people to enter the presence of a holy God (Heb. 9:22.) God graciously allowed the transference of sin from the worshipper to the animal. The Israelites willingly chose to place their hands on the head of the animal, symbolically claiming it as their substitute. In order to represent total dedication to the Lord, fire consumed the entire animal in the burnt offering. God is pleased when His people voluntarily express their commitment and total surrender to Him.

How should I respond?

The ceremonial sacrifices of the Old Testament were rich with meaning, pointing worshippers of that day to God’s future and perfect sacrifice—Jesus Christ. Just like the Israelites, you are responsible for your sin. On what basis do you approach God? Have you chosen Jesus as both the sacrifice for your sin and the peacemaker between you and God? As a follower of Christ, determine to express your devotion to Him today by complete surrender of your thoughts, attitudes, and actions to His will.

Further Reading: Leviticus 6:8-13 Regulations for the burnt offering

Day 83 – March 24

Read Exodus CH 40

What does it say?

Assembly and staging of the Tabernacle were completed. Once the work was finished, God’s glory filled the Tabernacle, and His presence resided with His people.

What does it mean?

With the completion of the lavish components for the Tabernacle, God’s people now had the opportunity to assemble this massive structure. As the Israelites viewed the finishing stages of the project, they must have been awed at the beauty and significance of the work God had given them to do. But more importantly, God’s people now had a place to worship Him where His actual presence could reside. Rather than remain at a distance, God made sure His people knew the reality of His presence “during all their travels.”

How should I respond?

God still wants to be involved in the lives of His people. God sent His Son Jesus to be the visible, tangible evidence of His desire to be with us. Through Jesus, you can have an ongoing, personal relationship with God. He no longer inhabits a place; His presence inhabits His people. The same presence that descended on the Tabernacle lives inside the life of every follower of Christ. Take time today to reflect on the reality that the Almighty God desires to be intimately involved in your life. Are you pursuing a relationship with the One who is so interested in you?

Day 82 – March 23

Read Exodus CH 36:8-39:43

What does it say?

God demonstrated the importance of detail in His requirements for the materials used in the Tabernacle.

What does it mean?

As work began on the components of the Tabernacle, it was clear that no expense was spared. Rare and costly materials of every kind were used to create and adorn the elements of this new meeting place that would house the very presence of God. No item was insignificant. From the curtains to the poles, each element was designed with a specific and unique purpose. And, most importantly, the attention to detail was unparalleled. Every item was designed, stitched, and engraved with the highest level of detailed craftsmanship. God made it clear that His creation would be special, purposeful, and distinguished.

How should I respond?

The detailed description of the creation of the Tabernacle is an illustration of how God designs everything that exists – and that includes you. His creation is made with absolute precision, adorned with beauty, and designed for a specific reason. Everything He has equipped you with is intentional and has purpose. Are you using your gifts and talents for Him? Draw closer to Him each day and discover the opportunities to use your unique gifting to experience God’s specific purpose for your life.

Day 81 – March 22

Read Exodus CH 35

What does it say?

As God prepared His people to build the Tabernacle, a place of worship, He looked for those whose “hearts were willing” to give their resources in support.

What does it mean?

For many generations God’s people were held captive in Egypt. God used Moses to deliver the Israelites and lead them to a new land where they would be free to worship Him. Moses now began to assemble the materials and the skilled workers to complete God’s specific instructions for building the Tabernacle, a place set apart for Him to dwell among His people. God gave His people the opportunity to give to that project. He could have compelled them to give as the price for their freedom. Instead, He chose to look for those who would give willingly. In response, the people gave much more than was needed and work was able to commence.

How should I respond?

God always looks for willing hearts. He is all-powerful and has the ability to demand or take whatever He wants whenever He wants. Instead, He demonstrates His heart for people by allowing us the choice to be involved in what He is doing. Giving is an act of love and is demonstrated when done by choice, not by force. Even now, God does not want to compel people; instead, each day, He looks for “whoever is of a willing heart.” Are you actively and abundantly giving your time, energy, and resources to God’s work? If not, you’re missing the opportunity to join Him in what He is doing.

Day 80 – March 21

Read Exodus CH 34

What does it say?

Moses went back to Mount Sinai to copy God’s commands for a second time. After coming down, Moses’ face was radiant because he had been in the presence of God.

What does it mean?

God created a covenant, an unbreakable promise, with Israel. As God’s own people, Israel was to follow His commands. God warned Israel not to intermarry or make political treaties because it would bind His people to idol worshippers. God established a day of rest for Israel to focus on Him rather than their work. Giving Him the first of all they had was a constant reminder that everything came from God. Because Moses had been continually in God’s presence for so long, his face reflected God’s glory. The radiance was evidence to the people that Moses spoke to them on behalf of God.

How should I respond?

Today, believers live under a new covenant with God through the sacrifice of Jesus. Like Israel, following God’s commands sets us apart as His people. Spending time alone with God and His Word teaches you about His character and His commands. But having a daily devotion or quiet time isn’t simply about learning—it’s about life change. How does your life reflect that you’ve been in the presence of God? Do you radiate God’s grace, mercy and love? Determine this week not to just read Scripture, but to put it into practice. God’s presence in your life will be evident to those around you.

Day 79 – March 20

Read Exodus CH 33

What does it say?

God promised to go with Israel into the Promised Land. Moses is granted an encounter with God’s glory and goodness. ¬¬

What does it mean?

Moses had an intimate friendship with God, speaking “face to face.” It was in the context of this friendship that Moses expressed his concerns about leading Israel any further without God’s presence going before them on the path. Moses’ greatest desire was to know and please God. He didn’t list problems for God to fix or beg for stuff he wanted. He asked for God, for more of…God. Because of this, God gave Moses a unique experience. He reassured Moses by showing him His goodness and proclaiming His name. Moses’ courage to lead came out of experiencing the presence of God.

How should I respond?

How would you describe your relationship with God? How would God describe it? Like Moses, we all need time and space in our lives to get “outside the camp” and meet with God to strengthen the intimacy of the relationship. But then, like Moses, we need to do more than simply “do devotions.” What do you ask for when you pray? Are you desperate for God’s presence? In what situation do you currently need to seek His guidance before you make a move? As a friend of God, ask to see more. Love God by asking Him for more of Him.

Day 78 – March 19

Read Exodus CH 32

What does it say?

While Moses met with God on the mountain, Israel convinced Aaron to create an idol to worship. Moses begged God for mercy but many Israelites died due to their idolatry.

What does it mean?

The Israelites grew impatient with Moses. He had been on Mount Sinai for almost forty days meeting with God when they asked Aaron to make a god for them to worship. God had made great promises about a land of rest and peace, but the Israelites had run out of patience. They wanted a god who would reward them now, but the one true God does not share worship with idols. They paid a terrible price because they didn’t trust God to deliver His promises, giving their worship to a golden image instead.

How should I respond?

This story is a reminder that God’s promises are worth waiting for because they are actually better than what we can provide for ourselves. How have you let go of God’s promises to seek a little pleasure right now? Who or what has captured the adoration you owe to God? Look at John 14:1-3. What is Jesus preparing for you? Anticipation of His promises will keep your heart from the shame of idolatry. Today’s “golden calves” might come in the form of money, respect, or a relationship, but none of them can offer what Jesus offers. Be patient. God always fulfills His promises.

Day 77 – March 18

Read Exodus CH 27-31

What does it say?

God directed Moses to build a bronze altar for the tabernacle, outer curtains to show the borders of the courtyard, and provide olive oil for the lamps that would remain lit every night.

What does it mean?

As Israelites entered the tabernacle, the first thing they would see is the bronze altar. It was 7.5’ across, 7.5’ long, and 4.5’ deep. They would bring their own animal to sacrifice, the best of their flock or herd. They would lay their hands on its head, visually depicting their sinfulness being put upon the animal (Leviticus 1:4).

How should I respond?

God put the bronze altar at the entrance of the tabernacle to teach His people that the first step in having peaceful fellowship with Him is by admitting our sin and asking for and receiving forgiveness. Do you, at this moment, have peaceful fellowship with God? The first step is to admit your sin and ask for His forgiveness. God sent His Son, Jesus, to be your sacrifice, so by trusting simply and completely in Jesus, it is as if you are laying your hands on Him, who was your sacrifice when He died on the cross for your sin. This is the only way to have peaceful fellowship with an infinitely good God.

Day 76 – March 17

Read Exodus CH 26

What does it say?

God provided specifications to Moses regarding four layers of curtains that were to cover the tabernacle’s frame and details regarding the veil in the middle of the tabernacle.

What does it mean?

God wove beauty, majesty, sturdiness, and mobility into the structure of His tabernacle – the tent where He lived among His people. There were four layers of fabric: fine linen on the inside, goats’ hair, rams’ skin, and an outer layer made from “the hide of sea cows” (perhaps manatee or porpoise skins). The fabric was held together by metal rings and clasps for easy set-ups and take-downs, and the fabric was supported by a wooden frame. God’s design for His dwelling place protected the people and articles inside from harsh weather and provided royal beauty for the tabernacle furnishings.

How should I respond?

The same God Who designed His own dwelling place with so many wonderful and specific details also designed you. Like the tabernacle, you are protected on the outside with layers of skin and hair. Underneath are muscles, tissue, blood vessels—beautifully and majestically woven together and supported by a skeleton to protect your vital organs. Spend a few minutes talking to God about how you are, as David later so elegantly declared, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-16). God designed and made you beautiful, majestic, sturdy, and mobile. You reflect the glory of the Creator.

Day 75 – March 16

Read Exodus CH 25

What does it say?

God gave specific instructions to Moses and Israel to collect materials out of which the tabernacle, God’s dwelling place, would be made, so God might live among them.

What does it mean?

On the one hand God lives in Heaven, a place described as having gold streets, pearl gates, and many bright, precious stones (Revelation 21-22). On the other hand God lived among the Israelites in a special tent called the “Tabernacle” that they and Moses built according to God’s specifications. The author of the book of Hebrews even wrote that the Tabernacle in Moses’ day was built the way it was to resemble the way things look in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5). In this chapter God gave Moses specific instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant, the Table of Showbread, and the Golden Lampstand.

How should I respond?

Imagine what it would be like to live back in the days of Moses when the God of Heaven personally lived in the Tabernacle of Israel. The very presence of God was living among His people! Did you know that God tells us today that we are His tabernacle, and God’s Spirit lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)? Imagine that—God’s Spirit lives inside of His followers! If God visited His tabernacle in your heart today, would He find it in order—neat and tidy according to His specifications; or would He have to do some demolishing and renovating? Is your heart prepared for God’s dwelling inside of you?

Day 74 – March 15

Read Exodus CH 23:20-24:18

What does it say?

God promised to go ahead of the Israelites and clear a path for them to inhabit the Promised Land. The Israelites agreed to the laws and offered sacrifices to seal the deal.

What does it mean?

God made a conditional promise to the people of Israel that if they walked in His ways, He would send an angel ahead of them into the Promised Land to defeat their wicked enemies as they gradually moved into the land. “With one voice” the people agreed to walk in God’s ways. Moses built an altar to commemorate the promises of God and the people of Israel on that day. The people of Israel offered sacrifices to God to honor Him and give a tangible sign of their sincerity. God and His people would often make promises to each other in the form of a covenant, or legal agreement.

How should I respond?

God gave Moses the law and made promises to His people as they entered the land. Today, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, gives us a new law: to tell people the good news of God’s forgiveness of sin and to help them become followers of God (Matthew 28:19-20). When we obey Jesus and help people become followers of God, Jesus promises that He goes with us everywhere and every time. This is His new promise for those who choose to follow Him. Will you join others “with one voice” who choose to follow Him, and will you help others to follow Him? He will go with you always and everywhere!

Day 73 – March 14

Read Exodus CH 21:33-23:19

What does it say?

God provided directions for people on how to compensate their neighbors in cases of personal or property damage and how to treat those who have been harmed in general.

What does it mean?

God could have simply told His children, the Israelites, to be people of integrity, honesty, and character, and to have love and respect for one another. However, His children needed specific, concrete examples of how these things would be lived out in real life. If a person caused damage to his neighbor’s property or person, then the one who caused the damage should compensate his neighbor—not only for what was damaged but a little extra as a matter of showing concern at a deeper level. The same extra measures were to be shown to widows, orphans, and the homeless.

How should I respond?

It is inevitable: at some point in time you or someone in your house will cause harm to a neighbor. Your dog may dig a hole in your neighbor’s yard. Your tree may fall onto your neighbor’s roof, or you might back into your neighbor’s car. These things happen in any neighborhood—even when we are being careful. When this happens, rather than think of your neighbor as someone who must be compensated, think of him as someone God has planned for you to care for whenever the opportunity arises. Look for opportunities to help your neighbor (or any anyone else) beyond what is expected.

Day 72 – March 13

Read Exodus CH 20:22-21:32

What does it say?

God gave His people instructions on how to worship Him and how to treat one another with fairness and love.

What does it mean?

God had recently rescued Israel from 400 years of an oppressive form of slavery in Egypt. The Egyptians treated the Israelites brutally – often beating them to make them work harder and longer. The last thing God wanted was for His people to treat one another the same way the Egyptians had treated them. Therefore, when Israelites hired one another, they were to limit the term of service to six years. If one neighbor caused physical harm to another, the one causing the harm should compensate fairly the one harmed. God’s people were to act like God’s people – not like their former oppressors.

How should I respond?

When Jesus was asked which biblical law was the most important, He gave two answers: Love God with everything you have, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40). The laws you read about today are summed up in these two ideas of loving God and your neighbor. Do you know a neighbor who could use a loving word or action today? Is there someone at work, in a store, at school, or any other place you go to whom you could show the type of kindness God’s people in Exodus were to show one another? We show our love for God when we show love to His people.

Day 71 – March 12

Read Exodus CH 20:1-21

What does it say?

God gave the Ten Commandments to Israel to show them how to relate to Him and each other properly. These instructions form the foundation of a successful life.

What does it mean?

The Ten Commandments fall into three categories. The first three commandments teach Israel how to relate to God, who had just delivered them from Egyptian slavery. Since He is the one and only God and deserving of respect, Israel was to have no other so-called gods or idols, and Israel was to use God’s name only in an honorable way. The fourth commandment regulated the weekly routine of the Israelites to imitate God’s six work days in creation followed by a seventh day of rest. The last five commandments taught Israel how to live unselfishly together, so they would not sin.

How should I respond?

God created you to do good things (Ephesians 2:10). He designed you to recognize Him as your Creator by worshiping Him alone and honoring His name. Is God really first in your life, or is something or someone else in that place in your heart where only He belongs? God also created your friends, family, and neighbors. How would God have you treat them (even the least and/or worst of them)? Thinking of God and others only in terms of what they do for you reflects selfishness and works against the Creator’s design. In what practical ways will you seek to better love God and others today?

Further Reading: Exodus 20:22-23:19 Various laws of Israel

Day 70 – March 11

Read Exodus CH 19

What does it say?

God gave Moses instructions to prepare the people for a meeting with Him at Mt. Sinai. He told Moses of His desire to enter into a convent relationship with them.

What does it mean?

God wanted to establish the validity and solemn nature of the covenant by having the people prepare themselves to meet with Him at Sinai. It sounds severe that anyone who touched the mountain while God’s presence was upon it would die, but God is holy and they could not stand in His presence. Only Moses and Aaron were “called up” to speak with God. God promised them that if they would obey Him, He would make of them a holy nation, and a “kingdom of priests.” Only those that He makes holy can enter into a relationship with Him.

How should I respond?

God desires to be in a relationship with you. He still desires to come down to us, knowing that we cannot approach Him on our own merits. The Good News is that through the holiness of Christ we can have a relationship with God. It is not through our efforts at holiness that we are made worthy, but through the holiness of Christ. He comes to us where we are, and through Christ we are made holy in God’s sight. Have you committed your life to Christ? How will your life today show that you have been made holy through Christ?

Day 69 – March 10

Read Exodus CH 18

What does it say?

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, gave good advice on how to handle conflicts and issues that arose among the people.

What does it mean?

While Moses’ heart was in the right place in wanting to help all the people, there were too many daily details and decisions for one person. Moses had no time to rest, physically or mentally. He heeded the wisdom of Jethro and understood that he needed to minister to the people in such a way as to be available for those issues that were of high importance. Training others to resolve smaller issues allowed leadership and wisdom to be developed and spread throughout the entire nation.

How should I respond?

We need to be sure that as we seek to be a blessing to others that we take care of our own spiritual and physical needs as well. A person who is exhausted is not as effective as someone who is fresh and ready to bless others. We need to exercise discretion in when to engage in a ministry opportunity and when to trust God to use others to participate. Additionally, just as Moses was willing to listen to wise advice from Jethro, we need to ensure that our hearts are open to hearing wisdom from those around us. God can use others to guide us; and while we must make sure that all advice is consistent with Scripture, we need to be on the lookout for God’s direction coming from others. What are you doing to make sure that you are physically and spiritually ready to minister and bless others?

Day 68 – March 9

Read Exodus CH 17

What does it say?

In Chapter 17 of Exodus, two events are recorded. The first is the grumbling of the people when they did not have water, and the second is the defeat of the Amalekites.

What does it mean?

Despite God’s miraculous provisions, the people of Israel still did not trust God to give them what they needed. After moving on from the oasis mentioned in Chapter 16, the people began to complain again to Moses about the lack of water, even going so far as to threaten to stone him. God did provide the water that they needed, as well as the ability to fend off an attack from the Amalekites.

How should I respond?

Are you guilty of having a short memory when it comes to your faith? Do you trust that God will be there when you need Him? It is easy to point out the lack of faith that the Israelites displayed throughout the journey to the Promised Land. However, each of us may experience times of doubt and fear, even though we know that God loves us and will provide a way. It is in these times of doubt and fear of the future that we would do well to look back and remember all of the times that God provided for us in the past. It is not possible for God to be unfaithful to us because unfaithfulness is not part of the character of God. His desire to bless us is never ending. Open your eyes and continually look for the ways God is blessing and providing for you on a daily basis. What can you do today to keep the blessings of God at the forefront of your mind?

Day 67 – March 8

Read Exodus CH 15:22-16:36

What does it say?

The people of Israel had to rely on God for all their needs while in the wilderness. From water and food to health, everything was provided by God.

What does it mean?

The time in the wilderness was necessary for the people of Israel to come to know that they could trust God not only to save them from their captors, but also to provide for their daily needs. The manna and quail were sent as a reminder that God was looking after them and providing for them each day.

How should I respond?

Our society lives in a bulk mentality. We shop at warehouse clubs and store up huge amounts of food in order to save time and money. But what if you had to start each day without a single crumb? Would you be more aware that it was God providing what you ate each day? Even though God provides for us using methods that differ from those He used for the Israelites in the wilderness, He is still the source of our daily needs and the One who is to be thanked for those blessings. What basic needs has God provided for you today? Have you stopped to thank Him for what you have, whether it seems great or small? When we recognize and appreciate God’s provisions that are all around us, we are drawn closer and closer to Him. Today, focus on the Provider, not the provisions.

Day 66 – March 7

Read Exodus CH 15:1-21

What does it say?

Moses and the people of Israel stopped to praise God with singing and dancing. The song recounted the miracles they had witnessed throughout the exodus from Egypt.

What does it mean?

Musical expression is a gift from God. It honors the Creator when that gift is used to express love and gratitude for the numerous miracles and blessings He has performed on behalf of an individual, family or community. The people of Israel took the time to look back on their lives and give God credit and praise for the blessings that they had received. They recognized that both their freedom and the ability to express their gratitude through song were gifts from the Lord.

How should I respond?

We, too, should take opportunities to give God the credit He deserves for providing us with the freedom that is available in Christ. This freedom is not something that we earned; it is a gift to us, as was the case with the Israelites. Take a moment to look back on your life. In what ways has God come to your aid? Give Him credit for those blessings, including the freedom from sin that comes through Christ. Is there a song that voices your thoughts and devotion toward the Lord? Sing or hum along in the car or at home – God will be honored, and your heart will be refocused. How will you express your gratitude to the Lord today?

Day 65 – March 6

Read Exodus CH 14

What does it say?

Pharaoh pursued the Israelites into the wilderness, and they were caught between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. God made a way through the sea and destroyed Pharaoh’s army.

What does it mean?

Although the Israelites were no longer in Egypt, they were not free from danger. Pharaoh changed his mind and wanted to bring the Israelites back to Egypt as slaves. The people of Israel were caught between two obstacles—the Egyptian army and the Red Sea. However, God was going to show the people that He was capable of providing a way through a seemingly hopeless situation, and Pharaoh’s army would not stand in the way. All the people had to do was to walk forward, and God would move the obstacle from before them.

How should I respond?

We have all faced situations in which there seems to be no way out. However, God delights in making a path when we see only obstacles. As He guides, our job is to press on and keep moving forward. What situation in your life seems too big to overcome? Will you stop right now and tell God that you trust Him to work it out? Begin today to move your thoughts towards trust in God and away from fear. When you persevere, you’ll be amazed at the miracles He will do right in front of you.

Day 64 – March 5

Read Exodus CH 13:17-22

What does it say?

The people of Israel left Egypt and traveled by way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. God guided the people in a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire during the night.

What does it mean?

The people of God were not rescued from the hand of Pharaoh to fend for themselves or to be left alone in the wilderness. God provided not only protection but also the direction for the journey. Knowing they might be tempted to turn back to Egypt out of fear, He guided them away from the land of the Philistines to help them maintain their courage and trust in Him.

How should I respond?

Just as God was with the people who were delivered from slavery in Egypt, He is with those He has delivered from the slavery of sin. He also does not leave us to fend for ourselves. Instead, He stays with us to lead and guide us through paths that will protect and preserve us. Through the guidance of the Bible and the Holy Spirit, we are never apart from His presence and direction. Are you paying attention to His guidance by reading His Word and praying to Him so that you can follow His leading? Commit today to stay focused on His plan and path by engaging in regular prayer and time in the Bible. Just as He led the Israelites through their journey, He will guide you day and night through your life-journey as well.

Further Reading: Exodus 13:1-16 The law of the firstborn

Day 63 – March 4

Read Exodus CH 12

What does it say?

The final plague caused the death of the Egyptians’ firstborn males. Pharaoh commanded Moses and his people to leave Egypt.

What does it mean?

God’s final action against the Egyptians resulted in the death of all the firstborn sons and firstborn male animals in the land. However, the children of Israel were given specific instructions in advance to protect their sons. The blood of a lamb sprinkled on their doorframes signaled they were God’s chosen people, and their sons were spared. As the cries of death rang throughout Egypt, Pharaoh witnessed the harsh reality of his refusal to heed God’s warnings. He summoned Moses and commanded him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.

How should I respond?

This passage offers a beautiful picture of Christ as our “Passover Lamb.” His blood, shed on the cross, has the power to cleanse you from all the wrongs you have done, and He invites you to put your trust in Him. Have you claimed His sacrifice as your own and placed his blood over the “doorframe” of your heart? Just as the blood on the doorframes saved the Israelite children from death, Christ’s blood protects believers from eternal death. If you have not invited Christ into your life, would you consider doing so today? By simply confessing your sins, asking His forgiveness and placing your trust in God, you will be set free to serve Him and live a life that is distinctly different.

Day 62 – March 3

Read Exodus CH 9, 10 & 11

What does it say?

The Egyptians were faced with many plagues at the hand of God; however, the Israelites were unharmed.

What does it mean?

A distinction was clearly being made between the children of Israel and the Egyptians. The effects of the plagues were destroying the Egyptians’ livestock, crops and health while the children of Israel remained untouched. God’s hand of protection hovered over them despite the raging hardships and suffering that was swirling through Egypt. The Egyptians, however, were painfully enduring the consequences of Pharaoh’s refusal to free the people. Finally, Pharaoh attempts to negotiate with Moses for a partial release, but God reminds him that He isn’t interested in compromises. He will free His people regardless of Pharaoh’s stubbornness.

How should I respond?

Leadership tends to bring out the best or the worst in people. How do you handle situations when you are in charge? When God places people in positions of leadership, He expects them to follow His instructions and treat others with fairness and respect. Has God placed others under your authority? What changes do you need to make in order to lead them in a way that honors God? Your choices regarding personal obedience to God trickle down through your organization, business and family. Which leader will you emulate: Moses or Pharaoh?

Day 61 – March 2

Read Exodus CH 7:14-8:32

What does it say?

Because Pharaoh refused to listen, the Lord began a series of plagues on Egypt. After each plague, Pharaoh was given an opportunity to change his mind.

What does it mean?

As God moved His hand against the Egyptians, Pharaoh became more resistant. Despite the hardships and suffering of his own people, Pharaoh was unmoved. His heart was oblivious to the needs of his people and the Israelites. When Pharaoh’s magicians could no longer match the plagues God was bringing upon the Egyptians, they urged Pharaoh to release the Israelites. Unfortunately, Pharaoh was only interested in bargaining with Moses and his God. Pharaoh promised release of the people in exchange for relief from the devastating effects, but he continually failed to keep his end of the bargain.

How should I respond?

You are not the only one impacted by the consequences of your choices. When you fail to listen to God, others are affected negatively through your disobedience. The longer you refuse to listen, the easier it is to turn away from God’s instructions. Out of His great love and compassion, God will do whatever it takes to get your attention. What things or people in your life are distracting you from hearing God’s voice? What can you do this week to align your actions with what God is asking you to do?

Day 60 – March 1

Read Exodus CH 7:1-13

What does it say?

Aaron was appointed by God to serve as a prophet and spokesman for Moses. God promised to pour out His mighty acts of judgment upon the land of Egypt.

What does it mean?

Even at the age of eighty, Moses was willing to obey God. Despite God’s warning that things would get worse before they got better, he still obeyed. Moses learned that God would transform his weakness and empower him to stand even in the presence of a stubborn king. While God performed many miraculous signs through Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh refused to let the people go. Why? Because through Pharaoh’s resistance and the Lord’s mighty acts, the Egyptians would know that the Lord was against them and that He was the One delivering the Israelites. Moses and Aaron were God’s chosen leaders, but God was the ruling authority defending His people.

How should I respond?

When have you allowed your age to interfere with what God is asking you to do? It’s easy to offer excuses such as, “I’m too old, someone else can do that now,” or “I’m not old enough to take on that kind of responsibility.” Or maybe you’ve chosen to disobey God because the task seemed overwhelming. The key is to take your focus off the size of the challenge and put it on the size of your God. Some tasks might take you out of your comfort zone. But as you exchange your weakness for His strength, God will empower you to overcome any obstacles that stand in your way. What is God asking you to do?

Day 59 – February 28

Read Exodus CH 6

What does it say?

God reassured Moses of His plans to deliver Israel. Moses conveyed God’s words to the people. When they refused to listen, Moses was reluctant to confront Pharaoh.

What does it mean?

The children of Israel found it easier to define God in their own terms rather than trust in His unchangeable character. Nothing was going the way they expected, and even Moses had reverted to offering God excuses for why he couldn’t lead the people. Discouragement had caused them to forget what God had promised and what He had done in the past. God’s instructions to Moses didn’t change, but He did reassure Moses that Pharaoh was no match for Him.

How should I respond?

When you experience resistance, how do you handle it? What might cause you to turn to people or things rather than to God? Does He seem distant? Any temporary solutions apart from God will always end in greater disappointment. When we zero in on the pain and suffering we are experiencing in the moment, we often fail to remember that He hears our cries and acts to meet our needs. Anything that touches your life is visible to God. He is fully aware of your joy, success, pain and heartbreaks. He is present in each moment: the good and the bad. His intervention in your life may not look like what you expected, but God is faithful to keep His promises.

Day 58 – February 27

Read Exodus CH 5

What does it say?

Moses and Aaron confronted Pharaoh asking him to let God’s people go. Pharaoh refused and made their life harder. Moses questioned why God sent him.

What does it mean?

The road to freedom was not going to be easy for the children of Israel. Pharaoh was more concerned with keeping them busy than releasing them to worship a God he didn’t even know. Rather than meet their request with approval, Pharaoh made their lives even more difficult. Moses had sought God’s help, but their circumstances became worse rather than better, leaving Moses and the people feeling powerless, Moses chose to pour out his discouragement to the Lord and ask Him, once again, to act on behalf of His people.

How should I respond?

Obeying God is often met with opposition. Satan does not want us to do what God asks; therefore, he strives to make our circumstances difficult. By creating discouragement, causing doubts, and pointing blame, Satan attempts to turn us against God. When has your obedience to God made your situation more challenging? How did you respond? Doing the right thing and getting a negative response can tempt you to take matters into your own hands, leaving God out of the equation. Will you follow Moses’ example and talk to the Lord about your discouragement? Waiting for God’s timing and walking in obedience will ultimately result in victory.

Day 57 – February 26

Read Exodus CH 4

What does it say?

Moses questioned his ability to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God gave Moses miraculous signs and offered Aaron to be his spokesperson.

What does it mean?

God gave Moses three miraculous signs to prove that he had been sent by God. Even after witnessing his staff turning into a snake, his hand becoming diseased, and the Nile River turning into blood, Moses still focused on his own abilities. God promised to help him speak and teach him what to say. When Moses asked God to use someone else, God was angered and offered Moses’ brother, Aaron, to be his spokesperson. God never intended for Moses to act in his own strength. Only by admitting his weaknesses and relying on God’s strength would Moses accomplish the huge task before him.

How should I respond?

What excuses have you offered to God? Focusing on your abilities and magnifying your weaknesses will always justify your excuses. However, when God gives you opportunities, you must exchange your doubts for His strength. What is God asking you to do right now? Ask God to open your eyes to see how He has prepared you for the task. Who has God strategically placed in your life to assist you? Don’t miss out on what God has purposed for you to do. He will empower you, He will go with you, and God will be pleased when you trust Him to do what seems impossible.

Day 56 – February 25

Read Exodus CH 3

What does it say?

The Lord told Moses, through a burning bush, that he had been chosen to deliver God’s people from Egypt. Moses was to tell Pharaoh to set the people of Israel free.

What does it mean?

Moses had developed humility through his experiences as a shepherd in the wilderness over the last forty years. Moses could not comprehend how God could use him for such an enormous task. The Lord, however, reminds him that it is not because of Moses’ talents, but because of God’s power that success will come. God had chosen to free His people through the person of Moses, and all Moses had to do was to obey in humble service to the God who identifies Himself as “I AM.” Moses would now have to learn complete and utter dependence on the Lord.

How should I respond?

God is still in the business of choosing ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Like Moses, the call from God seldom comes when we’re looking for it but rather as we faithfully complete the regular, mundane, everyday duties of life. What does God want to accomplish through you? How can He use you to bless others? If you knew the big picture, it might be a little scary; but remember, it’s God’s strength and power, not your own. Are you listening for God’s guidance and direction? Walk in humility and obedience to God, depending completely on Him, and you may be surprised at what He can do through you.

Day 55 – February 24

Read Exodus CH 2

What does it say?

Moses was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter and grew up in Pharaoh’s Court. After killing an Egyptian slave master, he fled to Midian and married a shepherdess.

What does it mean?

Moses grew up identifying with two cultures. He was born a Hebrew, but was raised and educated as Egyptian royalty. Moses may have felt that his distinctive position qualified him to act as a savior when he saw an Egyptian assaulting a Hebrew slave. But he acted impulsively and outside of God’s will by killing the Egyptian slave master. As a result, Pharaoh called for his death, and Moses fled for his life. He tried to assume a position to which God had not yet called or equipped him. But God never forgot His people during Moses’ forty years of preparation in the wilderness. A much humbler Moses would emerge from Midian as the deliverer of the Israelites.

How should I respond?

It’s hard not to take matters into our own hands when we see injustice in the world. Even in the everyday stuff of life, we notice people in authority who mishandle and mismanage what has been entrusted to them. God desires to use believers as an influence on the world, but every action must be at His prompting and in His timing. When you recognize that you are simply the instrument in God’s hand, it allows you to become part of what He is doing. What outcome are you trying to force? Have you assumed a role or position that God hasn’t given to you? Humbly follow God and allow Him to guide your path. He needs to equip you before He can elevate you.

Day 54 – February 23

Read Exodus CH 1

What does it say?

The Israelites grew in number, which intimidated the current Pharaoh. So he made them slaves and ordered his people to throw every Hebrew baby boy into the Nile River.

What does it mean?

The desire of the Egyptians to enslave the people of Israel came from fear. The Pharaoh, who did not know or care about Joseph, feared that the people of Israel might rise up against them or side with Pharaoh’s enemies against Egypt. This fear led to a desire to control the Israelites by enslaving them and killing their male babies. Pharaoh hoped that this would serve to weaken them, but God intervened and multiplied the Hebrews, in spite of Pharaoh’s efforts.

How should I respond?

Nothing blinds you to reality faster than fear. It can cause irrational, manipulative, and even cruel behavior. When circumstances are outside of our control, it’s easy to give in to fear. What is your response in those situations? Do you rise up against others in an effort to protect yourself, like Pharaoh? Maybe, like the Israelites, your worst fears have been realized. Are you being treated unfairly or unjustly? Will you continue to humbly trust God to fight your battles and work the situation out? God had a plan to free His people from oppression, and God has a plan for you as well. Stay faithful and allow God to work on your behalf.

Day 53 – February 22

Read Genesis CH 50:15-26

What does it say?

Joseph reassured his brothers of his forgiveness and promised to provide for their families. He asked for an oath from his family to take his bones out of Egypt when God delivered them from there to the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

What does it mean?

Joseph’s willingness to forgive his brothers for the harm they had caused him was evidence of mature faith. Joseph knew that God is the greater Judge and had actually brought something good out of what they had intended for evil. Joseph’s obedience in the midst of God’s providence moved him from slavery to prison to power. That knowledge and intimacy with God removed thoughts of retaliation and replaced them with the genuine desire to provide good things for his brothers and their families.

How should I respond?

At one point or another, we’ve all been hurt. It’s difficult to imagine any good coming from some situations. But God is still Judge and Sovereign Lord over every hurt you’ve experienced. Who are you having difficulty forgiving? How has that situation exercised your faith? If you can’t see yet how God might “intend for good” what someone else “intended for harm,” keep obeying, praying and trusting. With God’s help, you can forgive and even desire good things for that person. Remember, it’s impossible to have intimacy with God and refuse to forgive those who’ve wronged you.

Day 52 – February 21

Read Genesis CH 49:29-50:14

What does it say?

After Jacob died, Joseph used his relationship with Pharaoh to carry out his father’s last instructions to be buried in Canaan with his fathers.

What does it mean?

Being at peace with God and having blessed his children, Jacob slipped into eternity to meet God face to face. Utilizing his authority with Pharaoh, Joseph and his brothers honored their father by burying Jacob according to his instructions. Joseph’s power as Prime Minister and his fame as the savior of Egypt called attention to the respect and honor he gave his father upon his death. The funeral procession into Canaan was a grand display and witness to the Canaanites—so much so that they renamed the land. Once again, Joseph’s actions pointed everyone around him to the God of his father, Israel.

How should I respond?

How you treat your family speaks volumes to those around you about the validity of your faith. Do you, like Joseph, treat your family with such honor and respect that it causes others to take notice? Find a way to show appreciation to your parents or grandparents for their provision, discipline, counsel or godly foundation for life. What tangible way can you demonstrate respect for your parents this week, whether they are living or deceased? What kind of family legacy are you leaving your children? The way you care for your aging parents is a model for your children. Follow Joseph’s example and point everyone around you to Jesus by demonstrating His love for those closest to you…your family.

Day 51 – February 20

Read Genesis CH 49:1-28

What does it say?

Jacob blessed his sons, describing their present character and prophetically revealing their future blessings and adversities.

What does it mean?

Through God’s enabling, Jacob told his sons how their individual character and choices would impact their future, as well as that of their descendents. Several of his sons received Jacob’s rebuke for their wrong choices. But two of his sons, Judah and Joseph, were given extensive blessings including the promise of God’s presence and protection for future generations. From Judah will come “Shiloh” or peace. (Jesus came from the tribe of Judah.) From Joseph, who had been strengthened by the “Mighty One of Jacob…the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,” would come great provision and blessing.
All of Jacob’s sons—“the twelve tribes of Israel”—received the special blessing of being a part of God’s chosen family.

How should I respond?

Siblings growing up in the same home and environment often turn out differently as adults. From childhood, individual choices shape the character of each person. The decisions you make each day affect your future as well as future generations of your family. What consequences might your grandchildren inherit from a choice you make today? What thoughts, attitudes or actions do you need to change in order to leave your children a blessing rather than a burden? If you don’t make God a part of your present, He will not be a part of your future.

Day 50 – February 19

Read Genesis CH 48

What does it say?

Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, giving a greater inheritance to Joseph’s family. Ephraim, the younger son, was prophetically given the blessing of the first-born.

What does it mean?

When a man is about to die, he often recognizes and shares what is most important to him. Jacob knew that birthright and legal tradition were subject to the sovereign choice of God. In this case, additional portions of land were given to Joseph’s sons. All of this was setting in motion God’s plan for the land and the nation of Israel. Jacob shared his greatest blessing when he described God as the One “who has been my Shepherd all my life” and “has delivered me from all harm.” The greatest inheritance Jacob left his family was not the land God had promised—but faith in the God who keeps His promises.

How should I respond?

Parents usually want to provide for their children to have a better life than they had. We spend countless hours working, planning and saving in order to give them what they need and much of what they desire. But how much thought have you given to building a spiritual inheritance for the next generation? Whether you are a parent, grandparent, uncle, teacher or neighbor – your life is shaping and influencing someone younger than you. What will they believe about God based on the testimony of your life? The greatest gift you have been given is faith in Jesus Christ, an eternal inheritance.

Day 49 – February 18

Read Genesis CH 47:13-31

What does it say?

Joseph administers a God-given plan to save everyone in Egypt from famine. Jacob blesses his family and asks to be buried with his fathers in the Promised Land.

What does it mean?

Joseph’s obedience to God during so many difficult years had given him the perfect platform to save his family and the Egyptians from an epic famine. Joseph’s previous experiences running Potiphar’s house and being in charge of the prison had taught him to rely on God and seek His wisdom. As a result, Jacob was able to live out his years watching his sons and grandchildren live in God’s provision. Although Jacob knew Goshen was a good land for his family at that time, he remained focused on the greater land God had promised to him and his children. God had preserved His people.

How should I respond?

In what position of influence has God placed you? Whether you’re a parent, employer or friend, the decisions you make every day affect more than just your own life. For what situation do you need wisdom today? As you obey God, He will provide guidance for each challenge you face. As a result, you will be a blessing to your family, co-workers and community. You never know…God may be using today’s circumstances to prepare you for greater responsibility. Will you be up to the task?

Day 48 – February 17

Read Genesis CH 46-47:12

What does it say?

Jacob, now advanced in age, was ready for the trip to see his son Joseph. When Jacob’s family arrived in Egypt, Pharaoh welcomed them and offered to let them settle in the best part of the land.

What does it mean?

Jacob had no idea his life would change so drastically when he sent his sons to Egypt. How long he must have waited and prayed for word that all was well with his children! He had twelve sons, but three were thought either dead or in great peril. They returned, however, not only with Benjamin and Simeon but also with news that Joseph was alive and well and making preparations for the entire family to come to Egypt. God graciously assured Jacob that the trip was in His will. The reunion between father and son was all that could be desired.

How should I respond?

It’s been said that a parent is only as happy as their most unhappy child. No matter how old or where your children are, their burdens and challenges are yours. You may currently be at peace with their choices, or you may be praying constantly for them to turn to God. Even though you want to protect them from hurt, the truth is you cannot. How can you pray specifically for your children today? What opportunity do you have this week to show them God’s love? Their two greatest needs are your unconditional love and God’s saving grace!

Day 47 – February 16

Read Genesis CH 45

What does it say?

Joseph and his brothers shared an emotional reunion. Pharaoh invited Joseph’s entire family to move to Egypt and promised to give them the best land.

What does it mean?

Joseph had waited nearly twenty years for this family reunion. The trials and hardships that previously seemed so overwhelming now fell into perspective as Joseph saw how those experiences had served to save his family. He had been strategically placed in a position that literally took his family from famine to feasting. Rather than focus on the years of agony, Joseph chose to focus on the sense of purpose he felt. The forgiveness he generously gave would never be forgotten. Joseph’s entire life had led to this moment. God used the suffering and hardship of one man, Joseph, to preserve the future nation of Israel.

How should I respond?

No one wants to linger in painful circumstances. It doesn’t matter if the pain is physical or emotional, we try to end it as quickly as possible. Like Joseph, you may not see how God can use your difficult circumstances for anything positive while in the midst of them, but given time your perspective can change. God doesn’t cause every situation we find ourselves in, but if He has allowed it, then He can use it to accomplish His purpose for you and for those your life will impact -Rom. 8:28. What past situation do you now see in a different light? Ask God for His perspective on the circumstances you face today.

Day 46 – February 15

Read Genesis CH 44

What does it say?

Joseph’s brothers again left Egypt with food but were soon overtaken and accused of theft. Once more in front of Joseph, Judah pleaded to be substituted for Benjamin, who appeared to be guilty.

What does it mean?

Joseph’s brothers were about to be tested to determine if their hearts had changed in the years since selling their younger brother into slavery. They were stunned when the supposed object of robbery was found in Benjamin’s bag. Joseph was willing to let them go only by keeping Benjamin as his slave. Judah, full of emotion and concern for their father’s life, begged Joseph to accept him as a substitute for his younger brother.
This was the confirmation Joseph desperately wanted to hear. He had given them a chance to prove themselves and was not disappointed. Restoration to his family was now possible.

How should I respond?

Chances are—your family squabbles haven’t escalated to the same level as Joseph’s. However, conflict between family members can cause division that lasts weeks, months and even years. What individuals have you had a falling out with? Have you written them off? Years of disagreements can lead to thoughts such as, “They’ll never change,” or “They don’t deserve another chance.” What can you do today to start mending those relationships? Will you choose to pray that God will bless them and soften their hearts? Remember, as long as you each have breath, there’s hope that the relationship can be restored.

Day 45 – February 14

Read Genesis CH 43

What does it say?

Jacob sent his sons on another trip to Egypt to buy grain. Judah knew their only hope would be to take Benjamin with them, so he guaranteed Benjamin’s safety to their father.

What does it mean?

The fact that Judah took personal responsibility for Benjamin’s safety was evidence that he had changed. It had been Judah who urged his brothers to sell Joseph — rather than kill him. Joseph put a plan in motion to see if they were truly repentant. From the time the men arrived at Joseph’s home, nothing was as they expected. They were treated as honored guests – not thieves and were seated according to birth order. The household even seemed to know the God of Abraham -vv. 23, 29. When they left Jacob on their journey to Egypt, they could not have anticipated the feast that would be set before them. Who was this merciful and generous “governor” of Egypt?

How should I respond?

Although this passage isn’t written about Jesus, there are parallels between Joseph’s relationship with his brothers and our relationship with Christ. He—knowing your heart of repentance for your deeds—forgives you freely and erases the transgression. He has gone to prepare a place for you – John 14:2 – and will prepare a feast for you -Ps. 23:5. You will enjoy His presence forever -Rev. 21. God knows everything about you and loves you anyway. Have you bowed in recognition of the King of kings and Lord of lords?

Day 44 – February 13

Read Genesis CH 42

What does it say?

Famine became severe in Canaan, and Jacob knew his family would survive only by purchasing grain from Egypt. Ten brothers made the journey, not realizing their younger brother was now the person in charge of the food supply.

What does it mean?

During Joseph’s years in Egypt, the Bible says nothing about the maturing of his older brothers whose characters had been steeped in jealousy and violence. Surely it would have been sufficient for some to journey to Egypt, yet God had all the sons but Benjamin go, giving Joseph the chance to hear their unified regret. Their conversation revealed years of guilt over their treatment of Joseph, causing him to be overwhelmed with emotion. Even so, Joseph decided to test whether or not their hearts had truly changed. He was not ready to reveal himself until he knew Benjamin was truly alive and well.

How should I respond?

Words spoken in haste or knee-jerk reactions from the past can cause feelings of guilt and regret. It’s not always possible to go to people you’ve wronged in order to seek forgiveness; but when you do, it can bring healing to everyone involved. What relationship in your life needs to be restored? What specific words or actions do you need to apologize for? Have you said or done something this week that needs to be set right? Guilt and regret over the past accomplish nothing unless you attach it to action in the present. Regardless of the other person’s response, you can be released from guilt.

Day 43 – February 12

Read Genesis CH 41

What does it say?

Two years passed, and Pharaoh became troubled by a series of dreams. God gave Joseph the interpretations, and he was then placed in a position directly under Pharaoh.

What does it mean?

God had been refining Joseph for most of his life as he went from one trial to another. Each time he had reacted with godly integrity and strength of character. He had been faithful in each set of circumstances, and now God was ready to elevate him to a position higher than he could have imagined. Being brought before the Pharaoh of an idolatrous nation, he unhesitatingly gave the true, living God credit for his life and wisdom.

How should I respond?

Those who work with valuable metals know that the long purifying process includes two vital parts, heating and refining. As the heat causes impurities to rise to the top, they are skimmed off, and the process starts again. How has God been purifying your life? What heat or trial has God allowed to linger? The Bible says that once you have been tested and purified, you will come forth as gold -Job 23:10. Are you, like Joseph, ready to give God the credit for His strength and grace in your life? When the opportunities arise, don’t hesitate – God has been developing your character for just such a moment.

Day 42 – February 11

Read Genesis CH 40

What does it say?

Two servants of Pharaoh were thrown into prison and placed under Joseph’s care. After Joseph interpreted their dreams, one servant was released but soon forgot him.

What does it mean?

Even though Joseph was wrongfully imprisoned, he used his God-given abilities to serve his fellow-prisoners. He could have wallowed in self-pity and spent his energy questioning God. Instead, he chose to serve God in every way he could – exactly where he was – because it was the place God allowed him to be. Joseph’s actions were from a heart that truly trusted God for his life. How was Joseph repaid for his kindness to the cupbearer? He “did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” Joseph would have to wait for God’s reward in God’s time.

How should I respond?

At some point, we’ve all done the right thing, only to have it overlooked. It’s easy to feel unappreciated when no one seems to notice the time and energy you’ve given at home, at work or in your community. When those emotions arise, ask yourself, “Why did I do it in the first place?” Were you trying to impress someone or promote your own interests? Or, was your motivation purely to use your talents and gifts to serve the Lord? Others may forget the good things you’ve done, but God hasn’t. Stay committed to serving Him in every way you can, right where you are. His is the only pat on the back that really counts.

Day 41 – February 10

Read Genesis CH 39

What does it say?

Potiphar, an Egyptian officer, bought Joseph as a slave. Potiphar’s house was soon blessed in all that was within Joseph’s control until false accusations sent him to prison.
What does it mean?

If anyone ever had a reason to be angry or bitter at circumstances, it was Joseph! He is an example of how to respond when treated unfairly. He was sold by jealous brothers, falsely accused by his master’s wife, and unjustly imprisoned after fleeing to protect his integrity. Although he suffered greatly -Psalm 105:17-19, Joseph continued to be so committed to God that soon he was in a position of authority in the prison, again with God blessing him beyond measure. Rather than becoming bitter, Joseph allowed God to shape and mold him through difficulty.

How should I respond?

Are you, like Joseph, in a time of adversity? How has someone’s treatment of you caused pain and grief? Your response to those situations will play a huge part in determining who you become. Times like those will either increase your faith in God or cause you to become angry with Him and turn away. Do a self-examination; is any area of your heart being withheld from God because of bitterness from a wound? Give the hurt to God and commit to honoring Him in the midst of it. God can use even the worst circumstances in your life to make you more like Him.

Day 40 – February 9

Read Genesis CH 38

What does it say?

Judah made a new life in a Canaanite town. God killed two of his three sons for wickedness. After Judah sent his daughter-in-law Tamar home to live as a widow, she deceived him, became pregnant, and had Judah’s twin sons, Perez and Zerah.

What does it mean?

Israel and his sons were the only family in Canaan that worshipped the one, true God. Nevertheless, Judah left his family and immersed himself in a godless culture. As a result, Judah’s family was heavily influenced by the wickedness around them, costing two sons their very lives. Fearful of losing his last son, Judah deceitfully returned Tamar to her father’s house rather than giving her in marriage to his youngest son. In return, Tamar deceived Judah and became pregnant. Disobedience and deceit had plunged Judah’s life into one of disappointment and regret.

How do I respond?

The encouragement of godly companions is as important in our society as in Judah’s day. Immersing yourself in today’s culture is an invitation to a sinful lifestyle. In what way has our society influenced you? How has that influence affected your home and family? Having someone keep you accountable is as necessary for your spirit as a doctor is for your body. If you haven’t already done so, ask someone to pray for you each day and hold you accountable as you live for Christ. Will you live a life of faithfulness or regret?

Day 39 – February 8

Read Genesis CH 37

What does it say?

Jacob had many sons, but favored Joseph. His jealous brothers became even more jealous after hearing about Joseph’s dreams that they would one day bow to him. So, they sold him as a slave and led their father to believe he was killed by wild animals.

What does it mean?

Jacob was no stranger to parental favoritism; he had been favored by his mother and had fallen into the same pattern with Joseph. Jealousy led his brothers to scheme for a way to get rid of their younger brother. They were not willing to accept that Joseph’s dreams could have been revelations from God. As a result, they turned to their own misguided ways to deal with the issue—choosing to sell Joseph into slavery. Favoritism and jealousy had caused discord and separation between two generations of siblings.

How should I respond?

The attitude of jealousy is a problem for many. Whether it occurs in the home, at school, or at work, jealousy can cause a major problem if not dealt with correctly. What causes your feelings of jealousy? How have your attempts to handle it on your own been misguided? First, take the situation to God who loves you as much as He loves anyone else. Second, if you need to work something out with someone, don’t delay; waiting only gives time for negative emotions to fester. As a parent, ask God to reveal any words or actions that show favoritism toward one child. Action on your part today sets the stage for healthy sibling relationships in the future.

Day 38 – February 7

Read Genesis CH 35

What does it say?

God told Jacob to return to Bethel. There, God renewed His promises with Jacob and gave him the name, Israel.

What does it mean?

Difficult times were ahead for Jacob—the death of his beloved wife Rachel while giving birth to her second son Benjamin and later the death of his father. Two things helped prepare Jacob for the rough road ahead. First, God called Jacob to go back to a place of major spiritual significance, Bethel. He sought to strengthen Jacob by renewing His promises to him. Next, Jacob needed to remove false gods that had crept into his life and his family. Spiritual renewal required renewed commitment. God was drawing Jacob into an even deeper relationship, which would bring comfort in the days ahead.

How should I respond?

Some periods of life are more difficult than others. We seldom know ahead of time that we’re headed into a rough season until we are in the middle of it. The same two things that helped Jacob can still help us. Where is your “Bethel”? What places or events hold significance in your spiritual growth? Those are reminders that God is present and ever-faithful, even when life seems to fall apart. Then, where have you gotten off track and complacent in your relationship with God? What ungodly influence needs to be removed? God is patiently calling you back to Himself. He desires to give you the strength and comfort needed for everything you will face.

Further Reading: Genesis 36 The descendants of Esau

Day 37 – February 6

Read Genesis CH 34

What does it say?

Shechem, the son of a city ruler, violated Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. Even though he sought to marry her, Jacob’s sons deceived and destroyed the men of the city.

What does it mean?

Our last chapter was a beautiful picture of love and forgiveness. Here we see what a lack of forgiveness and revenge can do. Shechem and his father came to Jacob with a repentant spirit and a desire to make things right. They even went as far as submitting to circumcision to be able to intermarry with Jacob’s family. Yet the sons of Jacob, bent on revenge, held hatred and bitterness for the men of Shechem. Led by Simeon and Levi, they attacked and killed all of the men, plundered the city, and took the women and children captive. The children of Jacob responded to their anger in a way that made them just as guilty as Shechem.

How should I respond?

Our first instinct is to lash out and strike back when we or someone close to us is harmed. But anger and vengeance have a way of blinding us to the truth. When we let anger get the best of us, we no longer see things clearly and forget the grace that has been shown to us by God for our sin. Who has wronged you? Take time right now to search your heart. Are you harboring anger against that person? Now is the time to give your anger, hurt, and bitterness to God. When you remember that Christ has forgiven you, it is easier to forgive others.

Day 36 – February 5

Read Genesis CH 33

What does it say?

Jacob prepared to be reunited with Esau. He separated his family by their wives and went ahead of them. When he saw Esau, he bowed down before him. Esau saw Jacob and ran to him, threw his arms around him, and wept.

What does it mean?

Jacob by his actions was seeking his brother’s forgiveness. The gifts he sent ahead of him were an attempt to pay back what he stole from his brother when he took his birthright and blessing. He humbled himself by bowing before his brother to show his repentance for how he had treated him. Jacob was met with unexpected forgiveness from Esau. Upon seeing Jacob, Esau ran to meet him. He threw his arms around Jacob and kissed him. This simple act by Esau showed that Jacob had nothing to fear and that their relationship as brothers had been restored.

How should I respond?

What relationship in your life needs to be restored? This passage is a beautiful picture of what God can do in a life when it is surrendered to Him. From whom do you need to seek forgiveness? Maybe your family is struggling relationally, and you don’t know how to fix it. Be encouraged because God is able to reach even those farthest from Him. Take time now to pray for your family. Ask God how you can show humility to those you may have offended. God is in the business of mending relationships. Ask in faith, and wait for Him to do the impossible.

Day 35 – February 4

Read Genesis CH 32

What does it say?

Jacob prepared to return home to face Esau. As a result of wrestling with God all night, his named was changed to Israel, and he received a permanent limp.

What does it mean?

Jacob was wise in preparing for the worst, not knowing if Esau still planned to kill him for taking his birthright twenty years earlier. As Jacob went off by himself to pray, he had no idea that the meeting with Esau would pale by comparison to the encounter he was about to have with God. Before the night and the wrestling match were over, God would change Jacob’s life and his name. No longer was he Jacob, the “deceiver” but Israel (“one who has power with God”). As dawn broke, he returned to his family limping—a physical reminder that he was forever changed by God’s touch.

How should I respond?

Many times we find ourselves in situations in which we have no control over the outcome. But we can put our hope in God to deliver us in times of crisis and uncertainty. Like Jacob, remind yourself of what God has already promised to do. Take some time to find and ponder some of the promises God has made to you in His Word, and then get alone with Him and pray. Even if you “wrestle” with God over the situation or the outcome, time alone in His presence is life changing. What crisis are you facing today? You can trust Him. His “touch” on your life will be evidence that you’ve had an encounter with God.

Day 34 – February 3

Read Genesis CH 30:25-31:55

What does it say?

Jacob separated from Laban. Jacob’s faithfulness and obedience were met with anger and accusation.

What does it mean?

Jacob served Laban faithfully for twenty years, and in that time he multiplied Laban’s wealth and family exponentially. Then, as he prepared to return home, his diligence and obedience were met with deceit and hostility. After so many years of faithfulness, he was treated as a thief and a liar. He could easily have questioned why God allowed this to happen. Instead, he chose obedience, and God showed that all along He had been faithful in protecting and prospering Jacob.

How should I respond?

There are times when circumstances are the opposite of what we expect even when our actions come from pure motives. In those moments, it is easy to feel hopeless or alone. Though we may not see it, God is always actively involved in the lives of His children. We can choose to focus on the circumstances or on the God who is constantly watching over us. Do you believe that God is actively involved in your life even when you can’t understand what’s going on? Take time to pray and ask God what He is doing in your life. You may discover that even though you didn’t realize it, He has been moving all along.

Day 33 – February 2

Read Genesis CH 29:31-30:24

What does it say?

Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah give birth to eleven sons of Jacob.

What does it mean?

Driven by jealousy and discontent, Leah and Rachel turned childbearing into a competition. Even in the face of repeated blessing, the sisters were not content with what God had given them. They each wanted what the other had: Leah coveted the love that Jacob showed to Rachel, and Rachel yearned for Leah’s ability to have children. Again and again they competed in their search for contentment only to find frustration. No matter what they were given, or what they achieved, they could not enjoy it because their focus was on winning rather than being thankful.

How should I respond?

At times we may find we are not satisfied with what we have or where we are in life. It’s easy to think the solution is just around the corner and that contentment will finally be found in the next achievement or possession. This is never the case since those things provide only temporary satisfaction. God has designed us to find contentment in our relationship with Him. And how is this done? Commit each day to thank Him for everything He has given you. Focus on pursuing Him and praising Him for what you do have rather than what you don’t. Remember that the contentment found in Him is the only contentment that lasts.

Day 32 – February 1

Read Genesis CH 29:1-31

What does it say?

Jacob labored seven years for the right to marry Rachel, but he was deceived by her father, Laban. Rachel was given to Jacob after Leah’s bridal week, but he had to work seven more years for her.

What does it mean?

The custom of the day required that the oldest daughter be married before the youngest. When Laban made his agreement with Jacob, he knowingly deceived him with the promise of marrying the younger daughter, Rachel. This is not the first time deception was used in this family. Jacob deceived his father for his older brother Esau’s blessing. This was done at the encouragement of Rebekah (Laban’s sister). In both cases, what was rightfully earned was deceitfully taken with significant long-term cost. Now Jacob understands how Esau felt as he experienced firsthand the price of deception.

How should I respond?

Deception is dangerous and can have significant long-term impact. The choice Jacob faced is the same choice we face when we encounter this behavior: Do we focus on the wrong done to us, or do we allow God to use it to shine light into similar places in our lives? As difficult as it may be sometimes, eliminating deceit in our homes and our families shows the character God desires in all of us. Ask God to show you where deception exists in your life, and with His help, eliminate it.

Day 31 – January 31

Read Genesis CH 28:10-22

What does it say?

Early in Jacob’s long journey, he had a dream of angels going up and down a ladder to Heaven. God spoke and reaffirmed the covenant He had made with Abraham and Isaac.

What does it mean?

This is the first time we observe the Lord speaking directly to Jacob. As a young boy, he must have heard his grandfather Abraham talk of God’s covenant promises and His faithfulness. He was fifteen when Abraham died. Isaac also spoke to Jacob of the Lord their God. Now, God Himself spoke personally with Jacob. God made no conditions on the promises He made. Awed by what he had seen and heard, Jacob said, “Surely the Lord is in this place.” Knowing that this place would always be significant to him, Jacob set up a stone memorial and made a commitment to the Lord who promised, “I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

How should I respond?

Have you only heard about Jesus from others or have you had your own divine encounter with God? When did your relationship with God become personal? Nothing compares to hearing His voice whisper to your soul. Jacob called the place of his encounter “awesome…the house of God…the gate of heaven.” When God speaks, how are you moved? What is He calling you to do? Where is He calling you to go? God has His very best in store for you if you will trust Him, obey Him, and follow where He would have you go.

Day 30 – January 30

Read Genesis CH 27:41-28:9

What does it say?

When Esau’s hatred intensified to a determination to kill Jacob, Rebekah convinced Isaac to send Jacob to the home of her brother Laban.

What does it mean?

Esau’s hatred for Jacob burned in his mind to the point of planning his murder. Upon hearing this, Rebekah intervened once again to protect the son she loved. She told Jacob to leave until Esau forgot about the matter. She persuaded Isaac to send Jacob to Paddan Aram to her brother’s house under the ruse of wanting Jacob to find a suitable wife—not a wife from “the daughters of Heth.” Isaac agreed, blessed Jacob again, and sent him to his uncle’s home. It is unlikely that she ever saw Jacob again—a high price to pay for their deception. To retaliate, Esau married the daughter of his Uncle Ishmael.

How should I respond?

How many times do you think Rebekah longed to have her son back? What circumstance has come between you and a friend or family member? With whom have you lost touch? Would a phone call or personal note now alleviate regrets in the future? Family ties can be broken so easily, but humility and a forgiving spirit can restore what was once thought ruined. Have you, like Esau, made a bad decision just to get even with someone? Was it worth the price? God can restore those relationships if you let Him. The choice is yours.

Day 29 – January 29

Read Genesis CH 27:1-40

What does it say?

When Rebekah overheard Isaac’s plan to bless Esau, she convinced Jacob to trick his father so that he could get the blessing instead.

What does it mean?

In Isaac’s older years, he decided it was time to give the blessing of the firstborn to Esau. Esau was happy to oblige Isaac’s request to hunt and prepare a meal for his father before receiving his blessing. Rebekah, who obviously favored Jacob, came up with a plan to manipulate the situation and deceive her husband. Worse still, she involved her son in the devious plan. Isaac was tricked, and Jacob received the blessing. Esau was enraged when he learned of Jacob’s deception.

How should I respond?

Just about every one of us has had a situation come up in which we have twisted something so the outcome would be in our favor. It is our sinful, human nature. When, if ever, is deception ever justified? Being honest and allowing things play out without manipulation requires trusting God to work things out according to His will and not our own. When have you been tempted to help God help you? At work? At school? Is there someone you need to make things right with because you were deceptive like Jacob? If so, ask God for the grace to make things right.

Day 28 – January 28

Read Genesis CH 26

What does it say?

Isaac and Rebekah escaped a famine by going to Philistia. Two times God confirmed to Isaac the covenant promises that He had made to Abraham, his father.

What does it mean?

Isaac and Rebekah had to leave their home and journey to a place not devastated by the famine. God allowed Isaac to stay in the land of the Philistines. There God told Isaac that because of his father’s obedience, He would continue to be with him and bless him. God’s blessing was so evident to King Abimilech that the king made Isaac move because he was “much mightier” than they were! Isaac moved down in the valley, and God continued to bless him there. God appeared to Isaac in Beersheba and told him again that He was with him and would bless him because of Abraham, his father. God’s presence was accompanied by His blessing, His provision, and His protection!

How should I respond?

Is God with you? If you have accepted Christ as Savior, know that Almighty God is with you! He is eager to bless—not to condemn and punish! What are your circumstances? What kind of famine are you fleeing? Are you spiritually dry? Emotionally famished? Physically weary? God is with you. How have you experienced His presence this week?
For what specific provision and protection do you need to thank Him? Just as God was with Isaac and blessed him, He wants to bless you because you are His child.

Day 27 – January 27

Read Genesis CH 25:19-34

What does it say?

Isaac and Rebekah had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. Years later, a famished Esau sold his better inheritance to Jacob for a bowl of stew.

What does it mean?

Isaac and Rebekah had been married twenty years before God blessed them with twins. Esau and Jacob were completely different. Esau was a hairy hunter while Jacob was a smooth-skinned homebody. After a long day of hunting, Esau came home to the delightful smell of stew simmering and couldn’t wait to dive into a bowl. Jacob, whose name means deceiver, took advantage of this opportunity and basically told his brother that it would cost him his birthright to get some dinner. Esau gave up his birthright to satisfy his temporary hunger.

How should I respond?

What captures your heart: the temporary or the eternal? What feeds your soul on Sunday: football or fellowship? It is easy to say, “Oh, I would never…,” but how many times have you settled for a fleeting pleasure when God had a blessing waiting for you if you had just waited for His timing? What is your “bowl of stew”? Food? Alcohol? Wealth? Work? There are so many temptations Satan uses to lure us away from God’s best. Stand strong, friend! Nothing beats God’s best!

Day 26 – January 26

Read Genesis CH 25:1-18

What does it say?

Abraham remarried and had six more sons. Before his death, Abraham gave gifts to his sons. He left everything he owned to Isaac.

What does it mean?

God allowed Abraham to witness many of His promises become reality. Upon Abraham’s death, Isaac and Ishmael came together to bury their father alongside Sarah in the portion of the Promised Land he rightfully owned. Abraham left great wealth; but it was his legacy of strong faith, carried to future generations, that has made the most impact.

How should I respond?

Television bombards us with ads regarding the importance of providing for our loved ones in the event of our death. But have you contemplated ways to pass on a spiritual inheritance? Tell your children and grandchildren your salvation experience. Share with them specific ways that God has worked in your life and provided exactly what you needed at just the right time. Look for opportunities to discuss Scripture, pray with them, or serve together in your church. By turning everyday life into teachable moments, you will create a spiritual legacy that will outlive you!

Day 25 – January 25

Read Genesis CH 24

What does it say?

Abraham commissioned his servant to find a bride for his son, Isaac.

What does it mean?

According to the customs of the day, it was Abraham’s job to find a suitable wife for his son, Isaac. He entrusted the task of locating a bride for Isaac to a servant whose conduct and faithfulness were already proven. The servant sought God’s direction by requesting details concerning the woman God had chosen for Isaac. Those prayers were answered as the servant talked with Rebekah. She consented not only to go with him, but to go at once. God confirmed His direction for Isaac’s marriage when he and Rebekah met.

How should I respond?

The person you choose to marry is one of the most important decisions you will make. Marriage should always be approached carefully with prayer for God’s direction and blessing. While our culture doesn’t utilize arranged marriages, the advice of godly parents can guide a child through this pivotal point in life in order to establish a strong home. Are you praying for your children’s future spouses? It’s never too early to start. Begin by asking God to place exactly whom He wants in each life and help them understand the importance God places on the decision. If you are single, how much time do you spend seeking God’s direction and godly counsel regarding the person you should marry? Strong marriages start with prayer.

Day 24 – January 24

Read Genesis CH 23

What does it say?

After the death of his wife Sarah, Abraham negotiates the purchase of a cave for her burial.

What does it mean?

The small burial plot Abraham bought for his wife, Sarah, became the first piece of land he owned in Canaan, the land God had promised to give him over 77 years before. Abraham believed so completely in God’s ability to keep His promise that he acted as if it were already a reality. He firmly believed his descendants would own all of the land one day; therefore, he was determined to pay any price for Sarah to be buried in Canaan. Abraham’s actions backed up what he claimed to believe—that’s true faith.

How should I respond?

Faith claims what it cannot see, trusting God to supernaturally accomplish His plans. What promises of God are you claiming by faith? Every follower of Christ has the promise of His return and a future home in Heaven. Are you living as if Heaven were already your home? Or, have you been distracted by temporary trinkets and pleasures? When you live for God’s purposes, you store up treasure in Heaven – Matthew 6:19-21. How will you invest in eternal things today rather than temporal? Faith is proven by our actions, not our words.

Day 23 – January 23

Read Genesis CH 22

What does it say?

God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. After testing Abraham’s faith, God provided a substitute sacrifice and renewed His covenant with Abraham.

What does it mean?

God tested Abraham, not to tempt him to sin, but to prove his faith. It was not God’s intention for Isaac to actually be sacrificed; that would contradict God’s character and His promises to Abraham. Faith in God had taught Abraham not to argue with His instructions, but to trust and obey. He was confident that God was good and that His promises could not be broken. Abraham proved that he trusted God with the one thing he had waited for the longest – his son. Strong faith is often exercised with strong trials.

How should I respond?

Whatever is dearest to you on the earth is your Isaac. Are you willing to give that person or object by faith into God’s hands? Sometimes a prized possession or treasured relationship can become an idol, replacing God’s rightful position in our hearts. What is that earthly thing or person in your life today? Can you unreservedly release that to God? Faith is like a muscle that only becomes stronger when it’s exercised.

Day 22 – January 22

Read Genesis CH 21:22-34

What does it say?

Abimelech’s servants had seized one of Abraham’s wells without Abimelech’s knowledge. The two men established the Treaty at Beersheba to settle the issue.

What does it mean?

Abimelech saw evidence of God’s hand on everything Abraham did. It was obvious that the promises of God to Abraham would be fulfilled. It was in Abimelech’s best interest to have a peaceful relationship with a person of Abraham’s standing and character, so he was honest about the ownership of the well and sought to settle the issue quickly. Both men chose to seek peace rather than additional conflict. Abraham’s gifts to Abimelech secured the well as his permanent possession, avoiding future disputes. When all was said and done, Abraham was not ashamed to publically worship his God, Jehovah.

How should I respond?

When conflicts arise, you have a choice: fight the person or fight the problem. The more time you spend trying to prove that you’re right, the longer the conflict will linger. How do you handle issues within your family, at the office, or at school? If you are the first to offer solutions with kind, calm words, it can defuse the entire situation. With whom do you need to make peace? When there’s friction, does your response cause others to notice that your relationship with Christ is the most important aspect of your life?

Day 21 – January 21

Read Genesis CH 21:8-21

What does it say?

Abraham planned a feast to celebrate the weaning of Isaac. When Ishmael mocked Isaac, Sarah became angry and demanded that Abraham order Hagar and Ishmael to leave.

What does it mean?

The arrival of Isaac was an occasion for both joy and heartache in Abraham’s household. His birth fulfilled God’s promise. However, years earlier Sarah had disregarded God’s perfect plan and had taken matters into her own hands. Ishmael was born but was not the chosen son. Isaac was. Radical twists and turns occurred once Sarah’s anger and jealousy surfaced. Banishment from Abraham’s camp required a fresh new perspective for Hagar and Ishmael. God was faithful. He met them in desolation and provided consolation.

How should I respond?

Circumstances in life can change abruptly and sometimes for the worse. It has been said that faith begins when man’s power ends and God’s power begins. Desperation draws us near to God to seek his wisdom and strength. What has changed in your life without warning? Where have you turned for help? Is there a trusted friend who will present a different perspective? Seeking God’s promises in Scripture and praying specifically will help guard your heart from becoming bitter. Like Hagar, you are not alone. God sees, hears and is beside you to help. Will you turn toward Him or away?

Day 20 – January 20

Read Genesis CH 21:1-7

What does it say?

Sarah became pregnant when she was 90 years old—way past her days of fertility—just as God promised. Her laughter of doubt at God’s promise turned into laughter of joy.

What does it mean?

God keeps His promises even when the promises seem impossible. Who would have believed that a 90-year-old woman would be able to get pregnant and bear a child in her old age? Abraham and Sarah laughed at the idea when they first heard it. However, after Sarah gave birth to her own son, she named him Isaac, which means “laughter.” Her laughter of doubt was turned into laughter of joy and thankfulness. Sarah came to realize that with God nothing is impossible. He made this seemingly impossible promise come true to demonstrate His power and faithfulness.

How should I respond?

Is there a promise God has made to you that you might consider laughing at because it sounds impossible? He has promised to forgive you for your sins if you confess them to Him (1 John 1:9). Does this sound too good to be true? He has also promised that you will not be tempted beyond what you are able to handle – 1 Cor. 13:10. Is there an area of your life in which you feel pressure to give in or give up? Talk to God today about His promises. Ask Him for help in understanding and believing them. Trust God to turn your doubt into rejoicing and thankfulness for His promises.

Day 19 – January 19

Read Genesis CH 20

What does it say?

Once again, Abraham instructed Sarah to say she was his sister, and Abimelech took her into his harem. God appeared to Abimelech to warn him of the outcome if he treated Sarah as a wife.

What does it mean?

Abraham seemed to have forgotten the lesson from his previous experience in Egypt when he was untruthful about his relationship with Sarah. Rather than learning from his past mistakes, he repeated the sin of deceit and once more caused Sarah’s virtue to be vulnerable. Abraham was blinded by his own fear rather than focused on Sarah’s safety. God protected her this time as well, but He allowed Abimelech to publicly reprimand Abraham, the future father of God’s people.

How should I respond?

Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it! We’ve all had moments of repeated consequences because we did not learn our lesson the first time. What words or behavior from the past week do you need to avoid in the future? How did God act in mercy or use someone to correct you? Learning from mistakes requires an understanding of why you behaved that way in the first place. Did you act or speak out of fear, pride, or discouragement? Ask God for help with the underlying issue. Thank Him for the grace He has shown you and move on!

Day 18 – January 18

Read Genesis CH 19

What does it say?

The wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah finally resulted in God’s total destruction of those cities. After fleeing with their father, Lot’s daughters conspired to seduce him.

What does it mean?

The depth of evil in Sodom and Gomorrah demanded that a holy God intercede with judgment. Lot had gradually moved from living toward Sodom to being part of the city. Though Lot was a righteous man and grieved by “the lawless deeds he saw and heard” (II Peter 2:7-8), his hesitation to leave and his wife’s backward glance are indications that they were far too comfortable living among the wicked. It was by the Lord’s mercy that the angels took the four of them by the hand and led them out to safety. The sordid manipulation of Lot by his daughters is clear evidence that they had embraced the thinking and lifestyle of the cities in which they had lived.

How should I respond?

You don’t have to look far to see evidence of depravity in our society. Moral values are almost a thing of the past. What sinful behavior grieves your heart? What worldly attitudes have you allowed to infiltrate your thinking so slowly that it’s hardly noticeable? Take a mental inventory of the entertainment choices and friends who influence your thoughts and behavior. You can’t impact the world if you’re isolated from it, but neither can you be an effective witness for Christ if you’ve grown accustomed to sin. Commit to read God’s Word every day, allowing Him to be the chief influence in your heart and mind. It’s not easy to stand alone, but God can enable you to live a holy life that draws others to Him.

Day 17 – January 17

Read Genesis CH 18

What does it say?

The Lord, along with two angels, appeared to Abraham in the form of men. He again foretold the birth of Isaac, as well as the fall of the wicked cities of the plains.

What does it mean?

As three men approached Abraham and Sarah’s home, Abraham recognized that these were not ordinary men but angels accompanying the Lord Himself. The Lord spoke to Abraham as a friend (James 2:23), telling him of the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. With great humility and heartfelt emotion, Abraham entreated the Lord for the lives of the people living there. Abraham displayed boldness in asking God over and over to show leniency to the wicked in order to save the righteous. It is to Abraham’s credit that he desired mercy, rather than judgment, on those wicked cities.

How should I respond?

We like to talk about God’s love, but we rarely discuss God’s judgment on sin, which can fall at any time on any nation. Intercession for the world around you is the responsibility of every follower of Christ. What specific things are you praying about that could change the direction of your community and nation? Do you honestly desire God’s mercy for those who live contrary to His commands? How often do you pray that your neighbors, government leaders, and those in authority would repent and come to Christ? Start today. Be intentional. It might be your boldness that brings a community to Christ.

Day 16 – January 16

Read Genesis CH 17

What does it say?

God gave new names to Abraham and Sarah, enlarged His promises, and established the sign of the covenant—circumcision.

What does it mean?

Changing Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham (“father of many”) and Sarah (“princess”), reinforced the fact that God would keep his long-awaited promise of a family. Their new names symbolized a new identity in Him and a future that rested in God’s hands. Circumcision would be the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham and Isaac, the son of promise, setting apart God’s chosen people from the others in the land. Abraham demonstrated his faith in all God told him by immediately and fully obeying.

How should I respond?

As a believer, you also have a new identity – “child of God.” That identity gives you a new future in Christ and entitles you to the promises God has made to all who call Him, “Father” (Galatians 3:14). God’s promises in the New Testament are His new covenant with you through Jesus Christ. That covenant is sealed through the circumcision of your heart – symbolic of the change made in your life by accepting Jesus as Lord (2 Cor. 5:17). How is your identity in Christ evident to those around you? Your obedience to God’s Word demonstrates your faith in His promises.

Day 15 – January 15

Read Genesis CH 16

What does it say?

Sarai urged Abram to have a child by her handmaiden, Hagar. The resulting conflict caused Hagar to flee to the desert where God comforted her before sending her back.

What does it mean?

Sarai’s grief at remaining barren caused her to take matters into her own hands. Fathering a child by a wife’s handmaiden was a common practice, but it was not how God intended to fulfill His promise to Abram. Sarai’s desire to control the situation, as well as Abram’s conceding, resulted in strife and discord in their home. But God didn’t simply remove Hagar and continue with His plan. The Lord’s care for her in the wilderness demonstrated that He saw her, knew her situation, and loved her. Abram and Sarai would have to live with the consequences of their choice.

How should I respond?

We love to be in control, trusting our own logic and common sense to solve issues in which we can’t see God at work. In what situation are you about to take matters into your own hands, like Sarai? But taking control also means taking the consequences of your actions. Being impatient can cause even more difficulties than you’re dealing with at the present time. Are you, like Hagar, going through a wilderness experience? Have you been driven to a place of hopelessness? As a believer, Christ has promised to never leave you. He sees you and wants to comfort you right now—where you are.

Day 14 – January 14

Read Genesis 15

What does it say?

God understood when Abram expressed disappointment that he remained childless. The Lord again restated His will and covenant. He also foretold what the years would bring to the future nation.

What does it mean?

Abram and Sarai were distressed about their childless state. God reminded Abram that He was all he needed, but Abram’s response showed his discouragement that the promise of a child from God had not been fulfilled. As Abram poured out his distress, God re-affirmed His covenant, showing His constant care for Abram’s concerns and needs. God caused Abram to fall into a deep sleep, during which he had a vision of the future nation that would come from his offspring. God will fulfill His promise in His time.

How should I respond?

What are you currently waiting on God for? Has it been so long that it seems God has forgotten you? It is easy to think He has answered, “No” when He may be saying, “Wait.” During those times, being patient for God’s answer increases your faith. Like Abram, tell God exactly how you feel. He cares for you enormously and wants to meet your needs in His way and in His time. A deeper knowledge of His Word will always encourage you. Make a list of the verses that admonish you to “wait on the Lord” and memorize them. He never changes, and His promises are true and constant. Continue to trust that God is working out His timeline in your circumstances. He will never fail you.