May 30, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 28

What does it say?
The Israelites were given a series of great blessings and serious warnings.

What does it mean?
God takes disobedience very seriously. He gave this exhaustive list of terrible curses to help Israel take sin seriously, too. God wanted them to understand the dire consequences of disobeying His commands. There are 14 verses of blessings and 54 verses of curses. Many of the curses are exact, word-for-word opposites of the blessings. Israel had a choice: obey and live in God’s blessing or disobey and receive the opposite – God’s chastisement.

How should I respond?
Does this chapter leave you feeling that God is harsh and unkind? He is none of those things. Because He is God, He sees sin as it actually is. He never excuses or marginalizes our sin. We do. If God, who knows all things, gave 54 verses of terrible warnings, then read them as if they are the most loving way He could possibly handle sin. God is the perfect Father. He knows that disobedience will ultimately harm you and put distance in your relationship with Him. What attitude or habit is standing between you and your heavenly Father? You have the same choice as Israel: obey and live in God’s blessing or disobey and receive His discipline.

May 29, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 27

What does it say?
God gave the Israelites instructions for an altar upon which all of God’s laws were to be clearly written.

What does it mean?
God instructed the Israelites to create monuments as reminders of His mercy, grace, and justice. The altar He commanded them to build would take hard work but would be a visual reminder for them as well as for future generations. After reciting a list of laws, they were to write them all on the altar. They heard the Word of God. They recited the Word of God. Then they made a representation of the Word of God. This is a timeless memory technique. The Lord was training His people to hide His Word in their hearts. He is a great teacher!

How should I respond?
God knows that if we are faithful to Him, we will discover greater and greater joys that can only come from being close to Him. That’s why scripture memorization is so important. Start with one verse on an index card and place it where you’ll see it. Read it often and repeat it out loud. Ask God to teach you the meaning of the words and show you how to apply them to your life. Once you begin to memorize His Word and surround yourself with reminders of God, you’ll realize the comfort, joy, and guidance that come from hiding His promises in your heart and mind.

May 28, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 26

What does it say?
God set Israel aside as His special nation and put the tithe in place as a continual reminder of His deliverance, provision, and love.

What does it mean?
God wanted to remind the Israelites that He had brought them to this land and had given them the prosperity they currently enjoyed. Some of the first fruits of the land were to be placed in a basket and taken to the priest at the place God had chosen as a dwelling. As part of the ceremony, their deliverance from Egypt and the journey to the Promised Land was recounted. The ceremony was a public acknowledgment of the fact that they were serving a truly good and loving God who deserved their trust, love, and obedience.

How should I respond?
God is the Provider of everything we have. In return, we can offer back to God a portion of the time, money, and energy He gives us. How would your feelings about giving or volunteering at church change if you first stopped to recite all the ways God has been good and loving in your life? Start a list of things God has done to free you and lead you in your personal journey. Put it on your dashboard or on your closet door where you will see it before you head out to church. When we’re reminded of just how much we have to be thankful for, giving back to God is an easy thing to do.

May 27, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 19

What does it say?
God set rules concerning manslaughter, property lines, and perjury.

What does it mean?
This passage communicates the value God places on justice and civil order. “Safe” cities were placed at regular intervals to limit personal vengeance. Any citizen could put himself under the protection of the city elders until he was found either guilty or innocent. Those causing an unintentional death would thereby not be subject to the same punishment as one who premeditated murder. Similarly, God established consequences for dishonesty in court and in the community. Judges ensured that dishonest persons suffered precisely the consequences they were trying to inflict on someone else.

How should I respond?
God is just, always seeking to protect the innocent. It stands to reason that His followers should pursue justice and fairness in their role as citizens and in their personal relationships. Are you retaliating against someone, even though the harm that person caused was unintentional? How have you laid claim to something that doesn’t belong to you and, in essence, moved the boundaries? Have you led someone to believe something that isn’t true? Ask God to give you His sense of justice. Look for opportunities to stand up and protect the innocent today.|For further reading, Deuteronomy 20-25.

May 26, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 18

What does it say?
God warned Israel against those who practiced sorcery or posed as spiritual authorities. He also promised to send prophets who would speak God’s Word.

What does it mean?
God warned Israel about the various pagan practices of nations in the land they were about to enter. The Lord knew that some of their customs would intrigue the Israelites, enticing them to do deplorable things. While God declared that those nations would be driven out, He also added a promise: prophets would come who would speak His words directly to His people. A true prophet of God would be easily recognized – what the prophet of God spoke would come true. God would hold anyone directly accountable who didn’t listen to His prophet.

How should I respond?
There are influences in our culture that could lead us away from God, even if we don’t realize it. That’s why it’s so important to set aside time to read Scripture daily. We also benefit from the wisdom of those who have a greater understanding of the Bible. Which God-ordained authority are you listening to for direction in life? Check what they say against Scripture – does it match up? Make sure you’ve aligned yourself with those who speak God’s truth, not their own ideas or agenda. The more familiar you are with God’s Word, the easier it will be to spot those who are preaching error.

May 25, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 16:18-17:20

What does it say?
God defined His standards for administering justice.

What does it mean?
As the government in Israel was being set up, Moses explained God’s principles on how justice was to be administered among His people. Since God’s justice was based on His law, obeying Him was the central principle. Judges and officials were to be appointed in every town to administer justice and enforce God’s laws without partiality. Making right decisions came as the result of understanding and explicitly following God’s commands. The expectation to “follow justice and justice alone” was directed to every member of the community – from king to judge to servant – regardless of the circumstances.

How should I respond?
After a highly publicized court case, the public often debates whether or not justice has been served. Many times it’s hard to tell. As followers of Christ, we have the comfort of knowing that God will ultimately administer justice wherever needed. To truly understand God’s justice, we need to invest time in learning and observing Scripture. Our job as Christian citizens is to follow the laws of the land and obey God’s commands. As you take a stand for what God says is right, you will be part of administering His justice in the world.

May 24, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 16:1-17

What does it say?
Moses reviewed instructions for the celebration of Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

What does it mean?
The feasts of Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles were significant national events to the children of Israel. Three times a year the nation would come together to participate in specific acts of corporate worship. Focus was given to what God had done and what He was going to do. And, as a part of these events, each man would travel to a central location in Israel to bring offerings to God. These feasts were an opportunity to worship, reflect, and celebrate. They also served to keep the nation’s attention on the One who delivered them and the future that He promised.

How should I respond?
Failing to reflect on what God has previously done for us can hinder our ability to recognize what He is doing right now. The busyness of life often crowds out time to refocus, examine our priorities, and give God the recognition He deserves. How can you purposefully refocus your attention on God? What specific provision can you thank Him for? How has His love, mercy, grace, or holiness been evident to you this year? Starting right now, make spiritual reflection a regular practice. Then celebrate what God has done and worship Him for Who He is.

May 23, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 14:22-15:19

What does it say?
God’s expectation for dealing with idolatry is made clear. Those who encouraged the Israelites to worship pagan gods were to be stoned to death.

What does it mean?
God’s financial plan for His people was defined by unbridled generosity. In the economy God created, the needs of every person were met in abundance. Giving was not just an expectation, but also the cornerstone of the nation’s financial practices. The poor were provided for and given the opportunity to prosper. Being soft-hearted would result in being openhanded with their wealth and possessions. And, unlike any other culture or civilization, ongoing debt was not allowed. God’s plan for financial prosperity was based upon His standard of perpetual and abundant generosity.

How should I respond?
Too often financial success, both personal and corporate, is measured solely on how much is acquired. For many, the concept of generosity is not an essential part of their lifestyle. But ask yourself: is this what God intended? His people were taught that prosperity and generosity were interwoven, not independent. Obstacles like debt can make prosperity and generosity seem an impossible ideal. How closely is your life aligned with God’s financial principles? How are you regularly practicing generosity? Determine today to make His standards the cornerstone of your financial life.|For further reading, Deuteronomy 14:1-21.

May 22, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 13

What does it say?
God’s expectation for dealing with idolatry is made clear. Those who encouraged the Israelites to worship pagan gods were to be stoned to death.

What does it mean?
The children of Israel knew well that idolatry was a violation of the First Commandment. Because of the serious danger of idolatry to the entire community, mere avoidance of the pagan religious practices was not enough. Every individual had personal responsibility to make sure that any form of idolatry was eliminated. God expected His people to confront and remove anything that detracted from worshipping Him – no matter the source.

How should I respond?
There is a world of difference between avoidance and elimination. Allowing anything that draws you away from God to remain in your life leaves the opportunity to be tempted by it. What things has the Lord prompted you to eliminate completely? Do certain entertainment choices cause sinful thoughts? Which friendships put you in situations displeasing to Christ? Resolve to remove any hindrance to your relationship with God or your worship of Him. Don’t delay – the time to act is now.

May 21, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 12

What does it say?
Israel received instructions on how to prepare for worship and celebration of God.

What does it mean?
As the Israelites prepared to enter Canaan, Moses reminded them to worship God alone and resist all forms of idolatry. Too often they had gone astray on their journey only to find death and destruction. God desired the focused, sincere worship of His people, and the first requirement was very simple: eliminate everything that would hinder their relationship with Him. The land they were about to enter was filled with people who worshiped false gods. He did not want His children lured away. With the distractions removed and His commands followed, the Israelites could finally come together and celebrate in the worship of God the way He wanted and deserved.

How should I respond?
We are bombarded every day with countless opportunities, circumstances, and technologies – all of which fight for our attention. Even the regular stuff of life can divert our attention from our relationship with the Lord Jesus, diminishing our trust in Him. Our personal wandering is too often the result of refusing to remove anything that draws us away from God. What things in life are you allowing to lure your time and attention away from Christ? Ask God to help you eliminate them so that you can experience the joy of worshipping Him the way He deserves.

May 20, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 11

What does it say?
Moses called on the Israelites to remember the mighty works God had done on their behalf, observe His commands, and teach His statutes to their children.

What does it mean?
Moses reminded the people of all that God had done to bring them out of Egypt and to sustain them throughout their years of wandering. In order for future generations to avoid the kind of rebellion that brought about God’s judgment, it was important to recount God’s gracious actions on their behalf. After all, it wasn’t their children who had seen the miraculous wonders God had performed. But the parents’ responsibility didn’t stop with telling their children about the Lord. They were also to demonstrate how to follow Him faithfully by keeping God’s Word in their hearts and minds. As long as they were faithful to the Lord, they would live prosperously in the Promised Land.

How should I respond?
What stories from your family history do your children or grandchildren love to hear? What accounts of God’s past faithfulness and provision do you include? The responsibility to teach our children about the Lord is evident throughout Scripture. Communicating experiences regarding your faith will encourage faithfulness in those who come after you. What can you do today to train the next generation to wholeheartedly follow Christ? It all starts with filling your heart and mind with God’s Word. Then, demonstrate how that truth makes a practical difference in all aspects of your life.

May 19, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 10

What does it say?
Moses told how God had renewed the covenant with Israel by rewriting the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. He called on the people to recommit to God.

What does it mean?
Moses’ oral history of Israel is continued from the last chapter. After being reminded of God’s law in the Ten Commandments, the people were instructed to love and serve Him with all their heart and soul. God didn’t desire a simple outward compliance but obedience that resulted from genuine love and worship. Just as circumcision was an outward sign of the covenant God made with Abraham, Moses told the people to make sure that inwardly their hearts were also in covenant with God.

How should I respond?
As followers of Christ, we sometimes confuse what we do with who we are. It’s possible to maintain the outward appearance of serving God while our hearts are actually serving other things. Keeping up appearances may impress other people, but God sees straight into our hearts. Reread verses 12 and 13. What part of your life, service, love, or obedience needs to change? In what ways are your heart and actions out of alignment? Recommit today to love and serve God with all of your heart and life. Regardless of appearances, you’ll begin to live a new way – abundantly, righteously, genuinely – His way!

May 18, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 9:13-29

What does it say?
Moses described instances in which the people of Israel rebelled against God, and he reminded them of the intercession he made on their behalf in order to prevent the judgment they deserved.

What does it mean?
Moses gave an oral history of Israel’s past to show the people that God’s grace was the only reason they were able to enter the land. God was faithful to His covenant even though the Israelites were rebellious and unfaithful to Him. Moses recalled how he fasted and prayed to spare their lives in spite of their sin. The words “once again” demonstrate that Moses was in the habit of praying for the people he led. This intercessory prayer showed his love for God and for the Israelites. He wanted all the nations to know that Israel served a merciful God.

How should I respond?
We can easily become stuck in a rut of self-serving prayer. The concerns and busyness of our own lives can become all consuming. Moses gives us an example of habitual prayer on the behalf of other people. What person has God placed within your circle of influence? Who has He given you to lead? Maybe someone you love is living in disobedience to the Lord. Praying for God’s mercy and guidance is both a responsibility and a privilege. Such prayers are humble reminders that we too are sinners in need of God’s mercy. Who do you need to intercede for today?

May 17, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 9:1-12

What does it say?
Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them they were not entering the Promised Land because of their own righteousness, but because of the wickedness of the Canaanites.

What does it mean?
Through Moses, God wanted to make sure that the people of Israel were moving forward with humility and full reliance on the grace and mercy of God. Moses reminded them that they had been complaining and grumbling since they had left Egypt. He wanted to make sure the Israelites were fully aware that it was God’s grace making a way for them in the land of Canaan and not because of anything they had done. God was honoring His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

How should I respond?
We can be tempted to think that we are entitled to certain things, such as getting a promotion or being treated a certain way. We may even think we’ve earned forgiveness for our sin. But like the Israelites in today’s passage, we have no righteousness of our own. If not for the grace of God, salvation would be impossible. Sometimes pride prevents us from humbly turning to God in thankfulness. Is there something you feel you deserve? How might your pride be involved in those feelings? Take a moment to reflect on the grace and mercy of God. Thank Him for everything He’s provided, both spiritually and materially. Ask God to promote your cause in His time and for His reasons.

May 16, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 8

What does it say?
The Israelites were not to forget all God had done for them.

What does it mean?
The Israelites had wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their lack of trust in the Lord (Numbers 14). God used the years in the wilderness to test them. Could they learn to be obedient? Would they trust Him to fulfill all of their needs? Although God knew the heart of His people, the time in the desert was necessary to bring the Israelites to an understanding of their need for God. Providing food, water, and shelter, He completely sustained them. Their shoes didn’t even wear out! Moses urged them not to forget all they had learned once they entered the Promised Land and were enjoying the blessings of God. Deterioration of faith begins with forgetting God’s provision and love.

How should I respond?
The struggles of life will never be too far away. We tend to realize our utter dependence on God when it seems our world is crashing down around us. Remembering the ways God has taken care of us before is the best way to get through today’s difficulties. How has the Lord provided for you in the past? What did you learn in those moments of desperation? Remembering those lessons will strengthen your faith and keep you reliant on the Lord. The next time you’re tempted to focus on your struggle, remember that God is your Provider and Protector – yesterday, today and always.

May 15, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 7

What does it say?
The Lord promised victory over the seven nations living in the Promised Land. Any involvement with the current inhabitants would turn their hearts away from God.

What does it mean?
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they needed to rid the land of all enemies. Even though other nations were more numerous and powerful, the Lord promised to fight for His people, just as He had done in Egypt. God’s command to completely destroy the land’s inhabitants and everything they possessed is shocking but just. By doing so, Israel would carry out the Lord’s judgment on those who had aligned themselves against the one true God. Anything that the Israelites allowed to remain would be a snare for future generations. They needed to preserve their holiness by decisively removing everything that would tempt them into idolatry.

How should I respond?
How seriously do you take personal holiness? Are you ruthless when it comes to ridding your life of anything that displeases God? It’s dangerous to hang on to any type of sinful attitude or behavior, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Eventually, it will become bigger than you can handle. What sinful habit or indulgence has entangled you? How could that same habit ensnare your children? Anything that is contrary to Scripture should be treated as the enemy and removed completely. You are not alone. Obey what God tells you in Scripture and trust Him for the victory. He is all-powerful!

May 14, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 6

What does it say?
Moses spoke to the Israelites regarding their need for complete obedience.

What does it mean?
Love for God is demonstrated by obedience to His commands. The Israelites were instructed to love God completely – with every part of their being – and to express that love in every aspect of their lives. God’s law was to be in their hearts, to be constantly in their thoughts as a reminder of how He wanted them to live. Only then would it influence everything they said and did. Parents were instructed to use daily opportunities to teach and equip their children, the next generation, to know God and to love and obey Him.

How should I respond?
Obedience to God is not just a Sunday thing. Genuine obedience is motivated by love that honors God with your entire life – everything you say and do, every day. But no one is perfect; we all mess up. Like the Israelites, we constantly need to be reminded of what God’s Word says. How can you allow Scripture to influence more aspects of your life? Consider having a family devotion time during dinner one night a week. Listen to worship music in the car. Index cards or sticky notes are perfect for keeping Scripture in view. Read the Bible, write verses down, and talk about them. Once Scripture permeates your heart, it will affect your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors.

May 13, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 5

What does it say?
Moses summoned the children of Israel and reviewed the Ten Commandments given by God. He again challenged the children of Israel to follow God’s laws.

What does it mean?
Reviewing each commandment, Moses wanted to ensure that the people didn’t forget the relationship God had established with them. The fact that these former slaves of Egypt were about to enter the Promised Land was proof of God’s faithfulness to His people. He had gone before and behind them every single day, leading and guiding them in the way to go. Now God desired that same faithfulness from the people so they would experience the best life possible. By learning and carefully following God’s specific instructions on how to relate to Him and how to interact with others, the children of Israel would prosper and prolong their days.

How should I respond?
Learning is an ongoing process whether you’re in the classroom, at home, or at work. Each day presents new opportunities to apply God’s truth as you face difficult situations and as you interact with others. Life experiences are a great teaching tool because you gain insight on what works and what doesn’t. What lessons has God been teaching you recently? In what ways has your relationship with God grown through your victories and struggles? God is faithful, and He will guide you each step of the way if you listen for His voice and obey His commands.

May 12, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 4:15-49

What does it say?
Moses warned the people about worshiping anyone or anything other than God.

What does it mean?
Living as slaves in Egypt, the children of Israel were exposed to all kinds of man-made gods of wood and stone. However, none of these gods could match the mighty deeds God performed to rescue them. Moses knew it would be tempting to make an image of God or to worship His creation rather than the Creator. The hardships of Egypt would fade away when they moved into the Promised Land and received their inheritance from God. Moses reminded the people that God’s miraculous signs and wonders were strategically done so that they would know that the Lord is God.

How should I respond?
The priorities you set reveal what or whom you really worship. What takes top priority in your life – your job, money, or possessions? Even family and friends can incorrectly take a place in our hearts that should belong only to God. Anything or anyone that consumes your thoughts or controls your life can become an idol. While you cannot see God visibly on this earth, you might be tempted to worship the benefits God has provided rather than God Himself. However, the blessings that God desires for your life are contingent on your worshipping Him alone. What steps do you need to take to ensure that no one or no thing takes the place of God in your life?

May 11, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 4:1-4

What does it say?
Moses urged the children of Israel to obey the commands of God and teach them to future generations.

What does it mean?
Obedience to God’s commands was not optional if the children of Israel wanted to enter the Promised Land. Moses knew there were no exceptions, so he warned the people about adding to or subtracting from God’s words. He reminded them of the day they stood at Mount Horeb and heard the voice of God declaring the Ten Commandments. Remembering what God had done and who He is was crucial to their continued success. By examining their lives and training future generations to respect God’s laws, the people would experience the bene ts of a close relationship with God.

How should I respond?
Knowledge plus obedience is the perfect formula for spiritual success. When you study God’s Word and apply His principles, you’ll make wiser choices and avoid the pitfalls that occur when you try to live your own way. It’s easy to twist God’s truths until it fits what you want, but doing so will set you up for difficult consequences. What principles from God’s Word do you need to apply to your life? What changes do you need to make? How can you share these life lessons with your family? When you rely on God’s strength, He will enable you to make the necessary changes to create a lasting legacy for future generations.

May 10, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 3:23-29

What does it say?
Moses begged God to let him enter the Promised Land, but his request was denied. Instead, Moses was instructed to prepare Joshua to lead the Israelites into the land.

What does it mean?
God had already told Moses that he wouldn’t be allowed to enter the Promised Land because of his disobedience (Num. 20:12). However, recent events had renewed his hope. Moses’ bold request is evidence of the intimate nature of his relationship with God. While God chose to deny the request, He lovingly allowed Moses to see the land with his own eyes. Despite his disappointment, Moses’ respect for God’s authority enabled him to encourage and strengthen his assistant, Joshua, to be the new leader of the people.

How should I respond?
It’s not easy when God says, “No” – especially when your hopes and dreams are affected by the decision. It’s even more difficult if God allows someone else to have what you’ve been denied. You may even nd yourself begging, pleading, and bargaining with God to change His mind. Regardless of the outcome, you can trust that God’s love for you will always be the motivating factor in His response. What bold requests have you brought to God? Are you living in obedience to Him so that you’re positioned to receive God’s very best? A mark of spiritual maturity is accepting God’s authority to answer however He sees best.

May 9, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 3:1-22

What does it say?
Moses gave an account of Israel’s conquests during the journey toward the Promised Land.

What does it mean?
As Moses spoke about the people and lands that were conquered, the Israelites were reminded that they were successful only when they stayed close to God and allowed His presence to go before them. The victories they experienced were due to God’s power that was with them. Although they were often outnumbered or lacked weapons and strategy, they defeated their enemies because they listened, obeyed, and allowed God to have complete control of the situation.

How should I respond?
Life is full of “battles.” However, Moses’ final words to the people of Israel, “Do not be afraid….for the Lord your God will fight for you,” still ring true today. No matter what we are facing, if we want to overcome enemies or adversity, we must not try to do it alone. Find your confidence in God’s strength; He already knows what’s ahead of you. The challenges will be real, but there is no enemy or situation too big or too strong for the Lord. What adversity are you facing right now? In what practical way can you let God’s strength be your strength? In what ways have you already seen God fight your battles? You may be outnumbered or lacking in strength – but God is not!

May 8, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 2

What does it say?
Moses recapped the Israelites’ wandering.

What does it mean?
The people of Israel had demonstrated distrust in God’s ability to give them the land He promised. They disobeyed, trying to do things their own way. As a result, the Israelites found out that rebellion against God has unpleasant consequences. Although He never abandoned them, God did not allow that generation to enter the land He promised to give them. Instead, they wandered in the desert for 40 years without any permanent residence. Through their experiences in the wilderness, God was teaching His people to trust and obey Him.

How should I respond?
Loving parents don’t let disobedience and rebellion go unchecked. Ultimately, it’s bad for the child. Likewise, your heavenly Father loves you enough to discipline you when necessary. Even though it’s unpleasant at the time, the lessons learned through this loving discipline should bring us to a place of better understanding and even thankfulness. What consequences have you faced as a result of demanding your own way? What lessons have you learned? Are you able to view discipline from God as a blessing? God desires the best for you and loves you enough to correct you when you stray from it. Ask God to show you any form of rebellion lurking in your heart today.

May 7, 2020

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Read – Deuteronomy 1

What does it say?
Moses spoke to the people of Israel, recapping their exodus from Egypt and rebellion against God.

What does it mean?
The Israelites needed to be reminded of how their rebellion affected their path toward the Promised Land. By not trusting God and not allowing His presence to be their guide, they delayed being given the land God had promised. Moses knew he would not be going with them into the Promised Land. So, he used this last opportunity to speak to the people about what they had been through in the hope they would learn from it. Only then could they move forward properly.

How should I respond?
No one likes to be reminded of past failures. Messing up is bad enough when it happens. The last thing we want to do is rehash the details. But sometimes it’s necessary if we hope to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. Just as the Israelites missed out on the blessing of God, we too will miss out on what God has for us if we continue to demand our own way. What mistakes have you made? How can you use these past mistakes to help with future decisions and actions? Sometimes, we have to recall the past before we can move forward.

May 6, 2020

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Read – Numbers 35

What does it say?
The tribe of Levi received 48 cities throughout the land. Six were to be designated as cities of refuge for anyone who caused the accidental death of another person.

What does it mean?
God puts a high value on human life; therefore, atonement must be made for the taking of a person’s life. Yet God in His mercy knew there would be times when accidental deaths would occur, so He required Israel to set up cities of refuge. The cities provided protection and a fair trial for anyone who caused an accidental death. If the leaders found the person innocent, he stayed in the city until the death of the high priest. In essence, the priest’s death would provide atonement. God’s holiness demands justice – at the same time, His compassion offers mercy.

How should I respond?
You are extremely valuable to God. The book of Hebrews refers to Jesus as the believer’s High Priest whose death on the cross atones for our sin. Those who have ” ed to take hold of the hope” offered in Christ Jesus have a place of refuge forever (Hebrews 6). The cross of Christ demonstrates both God’s justice on sin and His mercy toward the sinner. Have you accepted the gift Jesus gave to you by His death on the cross? What does the price paid for your sin tell you about your value to God? While He cannot overlook your sin, God has provided a way to redeem you from it. Take a moment to see yourself through His eyes – precious!

May 5, 2020

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Read – Numbers 33-34

What does it say?
Moses wrote down the stages of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land. When they entered Canaan, they were to drive out the inhabitants and destroy their idols.

What does it mean?
The children of Israel were about to enter the Promised Land, and God wanted to set them up for success. First, the Lord gave a record of their past wandering to remind Israel of all He had done. Those fresh reminders allowed them to face the battles before them with confidence in Him. The purpose behind driving out the land’s inhabitants and their idols was for Israel’s protection. For Israel to remain God’s holy people, they had to serve Him alone. The casting of lots for each tribe’s portion of the Promised Land gave no room for argument. They had to remain focused on the task ahead.

How should I respond?
God has designed a plan for you and wants you to succeed in it. But often, we’re not quick to remove temptations that would sidetrack that plan. God has given each of us clear areas that are our responsibility to protect: family, finances, time, talents. How are you protecting your relationship with God and what He has given you? What enemies to those areas do you need to “drive out”? Start by remembering how God has guided and protected you before. He wants the best for you and will help you fight current battles against temptations. They will become a snare in the future if you don’t protect your borders today.

May 4, 2020

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Read – Numbers 32

What does it say?
Two tribes asked Moses if they could remain where they were rather than crossing the Jordan. A specific agreement was made which would allow them to settle in Transjordan.

What does it mean?
When the tribes of Gad and Reuben asked to settle in Transjordan, Moses was concerned that their request could cause disunity and discouragement to the other tribes. The motive behind the request was paramount; doubting God’s ability to give victory would cause the destruction of Israel. He reminded them of the Lord’s punishment on the previous generation’s disbelief (Numbers 13-14). They assured Moses they were ready to fight alongside the other tribes to take possession of the Promised Land. Then, they would come back and settle east of the Jordan. Moses listened and agreed to a compromise.

How should I respond?
Often, compromise is necessary to settle difficult issues. Many misunderstandings could be avoided by calmly looking at the matter from another person’s point of view. What relationship in your life has suffered because you were adamant that you were right? Ask God for wisdom to understand the other person’s perspective; then take the necessary steps to make amends. Don’t let a misunderstanding come between you and someone you love. Determine to listen rather than assume you have all the answers.

May 3, 2020

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Read – Numbers 30

What does it say?
Moses relayed the Lord’s commands concerning vows.

What does it mean?
God always keeps His Word. So, it stands to reason that anyone associated with His name should reflect His character and be honest and trustworthy. Men were expected to keep the vows they made. In the culture of the day, husbands and fathers were also responsible for vows made by their wives and unmarried daughters. If a man didn’t voice an objection when he heard about the vow, the vow would stand. As the God-ordained leader in the household, God held him accountable for the decisions that were made. A vow made by a widow or divorced woman would also have to be kept.

How should I respond?
Trust is earned. It’s difficult to re-establish trust once it has been broken, whether at home, school, work, or church. If someone doesn’t keep his word about one thing, it can be hard to believe what he says the next time. As Christians, our character should demonstrate the honesty and trustworthiness of Christ. Are you a person who can be counted on to keep your word? What do you need to do to follow through on a promise or commitment you have made? Being true to your word might be just the thing that attracts someone else to Christ. God always does what He says…and so should we.

May 2, 2020

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Read – Numbers 27:12-23

What does it say?
The Lord reminded Moses that he would not enter the Promised Land. Joshua was chosen to succeed Moses and lead the Israelites.

What does it mean?
Moses struck the rock for water at Meribah when God told him to speak to it (Numbers 20). As a consequence, he was prevented from entering the Promised Land. Moses knew the Israelites needed a strong, God-fearing leader to take them into the land God promised them. The Lord told Moses to commission Joshua as the new leader in front of the entire community. Moses was also instructed to give Joshua some of his responsibilities so the Israelites would start to follow him. Everything was put in place before Moses died so that he could prepare and mentor Joshua in his new role.

How should I respond?
Teaching and training someone to serve the Lord is a privilege – especially one from a younger generation. What names or faces come to mind right now? How could you encourage them in their spiritual gifts? Ask a teenager or younger adult to help you at church or in a local ministry. Encourage that person to go on a mission trip with you. Maybe you could come alongside a friend and host a Bible study together. Many people are hesitant to volunteer, but a gentle nudge from you might set them on the path of service. Who will be your “Joshua”?|For further reading, Numbers 28-29

May 1, 2020

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Read – Numbers 27: 1-11

What does it say?
The daughters of Zelophehad were not given their father’s inheritance when he died because they were not sons. The five women went before Moses to plead their case.

What does it mean?
Five daughters of Zelophehad, from the tribe of Manasseh, boldly went before the whole nation to plead their case: why should they be denied the inheritance of their father because they were women? These women were very brave to stand up together for what they believed was right. Moses brought their argument before the Lord, and He agreed. The Lord said that if a man dies and has no sons, his inheritance would go to the daughters. The condition was made later that those daughters would have to marry within their tribe to keep the inheritance from transferring to another tribe.

How should I respond?
It’s not always easy to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. It takes courage to stand your ground and defend what you know is right. But there is strength in numbers. Which friends would you call on to stand with you in a tough situation? In what situation would your presence give someone courage? If no one comes to mind, remember that the best way for followers of Christ to find like-minded friends is to get connected at a local church. Difficult situations will arise; be prepared. Find friends you can count on, and let them know they can count on you.

April 30, 2020

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Read – Numbers 26:1-4, 16-25|What does it say?
The Lord instructed Moses and Eleazar, the priest, to take a second census of men twenty years of age and older who were able to serve in Israel’s army.

What does it mean?
The first generation of Israelites who had left Egypt during the exodus died, except Joshua and Caleb. A second census was taken to find out how many men in each tribe would be available for battle. The Lord knew that Israel would face many conflicts as they set out to claim the land He promised them, and they would need to be prepared to face those battles. The information was also used to determine the amount of land each tribe was given. The tribe of Levi was not included in this census. They were a tribe of priests, not soldiers. God had promised that He, Himself, would be their inheritance.

How should I respond?
We face spiritual battles every day and need to be prepared for the struggles, temptations, and choices that come our way. How do you prepare yourself each morning? Do you start the day reading God’s Word and committing your day to Him? Periodically, take a self-evaluation of areas where you need to be better armed for the task – a spiritual census. What tools and resources would better prepare you as a spouse, parent, or friend? Ask the Lord to make His battle plan clear and give you the grace to follow that plan.

April 29, 2020

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Read – Numbers 25

What does it say?
The men of Israel worshiped Baal and gave in to sexual immorality, bringing God’s punishment. Phinehas acted to carry out God’s judgment on Zimri’s blatant sin.

What does it mean?
On the doorstep of the Promised Land, Israelite men succumbed to the temptations of Moabite women and made sacrifices to their gods. The ensuing execution of the leaders and punishment of the people involved were required by God as the price for the severity of the sin. Then with contempt and defiance, Zimri openly brought the sin into Israel’s camp. Phinehas’ zealous act, as an extension of God’s punishment, showed how seriously this priest took the violation of God’s law. His righteous act served as atonement and stopped the plague.

How should I respond?
Though society has its own view of right and wrong, God still takes our sin and commitment to Him very seriously. In order to maintain a vibrant relationship with Christ, believers have to live very different lives from those around them. What ungodly attitudes and behaviors have you adopted? How often are you asking God to help you see sin that may be hindering your relationship with Him? God always disciplines sin in the lives of His children. Consider how seriously God looks at your sin, and act with zeal to eliminate it.

April 28, 2020

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Read – Numbers 23-24

What does it say?
Balak’s attempt to curse his enemy backfires. Israel is blessed three times, and destruction is proclaimed on their enemies.

What does it mean?
Fear of Israel had taken hold of the people of Moab. Balak enlisted the help of Balaam, a local diviner, because he understood there was a spiritual element behind Israel’s victories. However, instead of issuing a curse, Balaam proclaimed blessing over Israel in the presence of the enemy leaders. Not only was that the opposite of what Balak asked Balaam to do, it also put him in a position of great danger. Regardless, Balaam said exactly what God told him to say. Balaam understood who God was and that His message had to be spoken.

How should I respond?
There are many places in the world where it’s dangerous to speak the name and message of Jesus. In our culture, Christians aren’t imprisoned or put to death for following Christ, but the fear of disapproval can still be paralyzing. Think about the last time God prompted you to talk about your faith. Did you speak up with boldness and confidence, or did you hold back because of the audience? Ask God today to show you where you need to speak His truth. You can be confident that if you honor Him with your heart, He will give you the right words to honor Him at the right time.

April 27, 2020

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Read – Numbers 22

What does it say?
Balaam followed after riches and accolades, but God used a donkey to intervene.

What does it mean?
Some of the nations were beginning to fear Israel because of their large numbers and victories in battles. Balak wanted to destroy Israel through a curse by Balaam, a well-known diviner. Balaam’s words seemed to comply with the Lord’s instructions, but God saw what was in his mind and heart during the journey. Balaam’s resolveappears to have been affected by the lure of promised wealth and importance. Using extreme measures to get Balaam’s attention, God showed him the reckless path he hadchosen. God graciously corrected Balaam’s foolish course of action.

How should I respond?
Following Christ should make many decisions in life easy. God clearly lays out right and wrong in His Word. In Christian circles, we’re quick to nod our heads in agreement, but God knows when our hearts are not in full compliance. What temptation have you continued to entertain because of its appeal? How has God tried to get your attention? Don’t wait for God to intervene! He may correct your actions, or He may allow you to continue and suffer the consequences. Take time to ask Him what selfish desires could lead you on a wrong path – and let them go. No matter how alluring the potential gain, the peace that is found in obeying God is beyond compare.

April 26, 2020

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Read – Numbers 21:4-9

What does it say?
The Israelites’ impatience brought God’s punishment by way of venomous snakes. God healed anyone who looked at the bronze snake that Moses put on a pole.

What does it mean?
The people of Israel had entered the Promised Land. God mercifullydelivered them from their enemies and gave them victory in battle. Instead of showing gratitude for His blessings, the people gave in to impatience. They persisted in their complaints, and God sent severe punishment in the form of venomous snakes. Even so, God showed His mercy in giving them a way to be healed. A snake was placed on a pole and erected in the camp with a simple command given: “Look at it and live.”

How should I respond?
The venom that inflicted the children of Israel is an excellent picture of sin’s destructive effect on our lives. And, just as with Israel, we have the same opportunity to “look and live.” The serpent on the pole was symbolic of the cross. In the New Testament Jesus referenced this story to help people understand what He was sent to do and what it would mean (John 3:14). Christ died on a cross for the sins of all mankind. However, unlike the temporary healing Israel experienced, Christ’s selfless act gives permanent life to all who receive Him. Have you “looked” to the cross of Jesus? God’slife-changing gift is waiting there – if only you choose to embrace it.

April 25, 2020

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Read – Numbers 20:22-29

What does it say?
Aaron, his son Eleazar, and Moses ascended Mount Hor. Moses placed Aaron’spriestly garments on Eleazar. After that, Aaron died on top of the mountain.

What does it mean?
Aaron served God faithfully while Israel wandered in the wilderness. He was appointed the first high priest, and God gave Him the responsibility of managing all who served in the Tent of Meeting. He was a minister to the people – a representative whoseevery action was meant to reflect the very heart of God. Even so, God could not ignore Aaron’s failure to trust God at the “waters of Meribah” – Aaron would die before the Israelites entered the Promised Land. God graciously allowed Aaron to see his son, Eleazar, take his place. Fittingly, all Israel mourned the loss of their spiritual leader.

How should I respond?
The end of Aaron’s life is a powerful reminder of just how seriously God looks at each of our actions. Every life has highs and lows, frustrations, and tragedies. Even the ordinary things of everyday life can seem so difficult. The way you respond to each of today’s challenges will determine the life you will reflect on in your later years. No one wants to look back at a life of bad choices. What consequences will result from your decisions and reactions this week? Regardless of the circumstances, focus today on making Christ-centered decisions that leave no room for regret.

April 24, 2020

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Read – Numbers 20:14-21

What does it say?
Israel asked for help from Edom. Instead of help, they found opposition.

What does it mean?
Israel’s request to use the “King’s Highway” was reasonable. This route, commonly used by many for travel and trade, provided safety and shortened the north/south journey. Edom had the opportunity to help their “brother” Israel in a time of great need. These two nations were descendants of brothers, Jacob and Esau. But what should have been a helping hand became a threat of violence. Israel faced the sting of rejection along with the harsh reality that their difficult journey would be much longer.

How should I respond?
There are times when each of us encounters opposition for no apparent reason. Even when our motives are pure, the actions and attitudes of others can seem to conspire against us. Are you facing rejection that you do not understand? What unexpectedopposition is making a difficult situation even worse? Regardless of the source,consider that God has allowed it to happen. We don’t always know why, but the Lord often uses obstacles to shape and mold us to be more like Him. What have you learned about God in your current circumstance? What have you learned aboutyourself? How do you need to respond in order to accomplish God’s purpose for you and for the other person?

April 23, 2020

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Read – 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.

April 22, 2020

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Read – 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.|Further reading, Numbers 19

April 21, 2020

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Read – 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 theIsraelites 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 thepeople 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?

April 20, 2020

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Read – 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.

April 19, 2020

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Read – 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 praisingGod 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 ordiscouraging situation do you find yourself in today? Are you the only personstanding firm in your faith at home, work, or school? God has not changed. He is able toovercome 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?

April 18, 2020

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Read – 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 leadIsrael. Their jealousy overflowed into a tirade against Moses, pointing out their owncontributions. 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?

April 17, 2020

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Read – 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. Thequestion is – what goes on in your heart when you’re overcome with negativeemotions? 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.

April 16, 2020

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Read – 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.

April 15, 2020

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Read – 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 towonder 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?

April 14, 2020

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Read – 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 harshconditions 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 yearthroughout 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 theirhistory. 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!

April 13, 2020

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Read – 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, N

umbers 7:11-83 and

Numbers 8.

April 12, 2020

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Read – Numbers 5

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 theindividual. However, there were certain regulations to follow, which ensured thatothers 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 beforethe 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.

April 11, 2020

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Read – 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?

April 10, 2020

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Read – 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, read Numbers 2-4.

April 9, 2020

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Read – 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 concerningthe 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’tdemonstrating 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?

April 8, 2020

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Read – 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 to whom 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?

April 7, 2020

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Read – 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.

April 6, 2020

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Read – 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 demandedimmediate 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.

April 5, 2020

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Read – 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, because yeast 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 spirituallystumbling 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).

April 4, 2020

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Read – 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!

April 3, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 17-18

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 practically. 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.

April 2, 2020

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Read – 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?

April 1, 2020

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Read – 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, read Lev. 11-15.

March 31, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 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.

March 30, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 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.

March 29, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 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!

March 28, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 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.

March 27, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 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.

March 26, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 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.

March 25, 2020

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Read – Leviticus 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.

March 24, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 23, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 22, 2020

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Read – Exodus 35-36:7

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.

March 21, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 20, 2020

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Read – Exodus 33:7-23

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.

March 19, 2020

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Read – Exodus 32:1-33:6

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.

March 18, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 17, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 16, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 15, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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!

March 14 , 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 13, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 12, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 11, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 10, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 9 , 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 8, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 7, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 6, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 5, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 4, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

March 3, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 2 , 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

March 1 , 2020

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Read – Exodus 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?

February 28, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

February 27, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

February 26, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

February 25, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

February 24, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

February 23, 2020

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Read – Exodus 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.

February 22, 2020

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Read – Genesis 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.

February 21, 2020

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Read – Genesis 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.

February 20, 2020

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Read – Genesis 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 descendants. 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.