Day Two: Holiness

Exodus 3:5-6 (NIV) – Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

God’s holiness is our beginning point. Being called by God means being confronted by His holiness. This was the first lesson Moses learned as God was preparing him for the task ahead. God’s holiness may not be something we readily frame our calling as Christians within. We are aware and ‘know’ God is holy, but the immediate reality and awe of His holiness don’t often register in our day to day activities. In part, because life feels so unholy.

But it is this same Holy God that Moses stood before that also confronts us into this calling and life of love. Because God is holy, His plan is holy. It will honor Him and bring Him glory. And it is and will always be the perfect plan for us – pure in love, perfect in its outcome, and good in all its ways. Not only will it accomplish His purpose but we will be transformed through it.  It’s in this deep understanding and awe, that we truly realize just how great and amazing our salvation really is. And what is even more humbling, more sobering is that the one and only Holy God extends His invitation to us, so lacking in perfection and holiness, to join Him…to be His plan.

Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV) – “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

As we pray today, let us draw near to God through Christ with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings. In Christ we have been washed of the old ways and brought into the holy and pure way of God. Let’s ask the Lord to deepen our sincerity for His plan in and through our lives, and let’s ask Him to strengthen and empower our resolve to love Him and bring Him glory today. Let’s sing to Matt Redman’s, “Greatest Hallejuah.”

– TR

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Day One: Plan A…

Psalm 96:1-4a (NIV)

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.

In William Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It”, the melancholy and often critical Jacques begins his well-known monologue like this:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

Take a long broad look at Exodus and we can see that world has become the stage, but its focus is not the mere players, famous as they may be – Moses, Pharaoh, Aaron, Miriam, etc. In Exodus the stage is set for the main player, the Lord Himself! He doesn’t just merely play His part, exiting and entering on a whim; no, He takes center stage to reveal Himself in all His glory. It is by Him that the rest of the world will now find their parts and their role. He is center stage – not Moses, not Pharaoh, not the Israelites…not even us.

The God of “center stage” has come to save His people, and that was Plan A! The good news is that there is no plan B. Therefore, He continues to save! This is the God of Moses, and this is our God too whom we know through Jesus Christ. Therefore, sing a new song…really sing! Sing to the Lord and praise His name. Proclaim His salvation! Yes, the salvation that has rescued you and brought you into the wonder and blessing of God’s great love. Proclaim that today in your homes, in your workplaces, with your friends, with your families, and in your communities. Sing it, shout it, talk about it, demonstrate it in love. Let His glory fill your life today. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.

Spend time in prayer and singing to your favorite worship song, remembering the great things that God has done in and through your life – thanking Him and rejoicing in Him. Let God and His greatness be center stage in your life today. “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise!”

– TR

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Day Five: Heard and Remembered

Exodus 2:24-25 – God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

“First, consider God’s knowledge of the oppressed. When the people cried out, He heard their cry. Not only did He hear it, He also saw or looked at their oppression, and He took notice, meaning He knew or was concerned (vv. 24-25). God heard. God saw. God knew. God’s ability to see and to hear appears throughout Scripture. Think of Psalm 34: 15: ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help.’ God’s exhaustive knowledge or omniscience also appears often in Scripture. When the Scripture says that God ‘knew,’ it means that He knew all about them. God was intimately aware of their agony. And because God knows, He acts. Second, “He remembered His covenant with Abraham” (v. 24). God’s covenantal memory gets underlined here. God remembers His unbreakable promise of salvation. To ‘remember’ something means to bring it to the front burner and act on it. The term “covenant” appears for the first time in Exodus here. It appears 25 times in Genesis. The best definition of “covenant” may be in The Jesus Story Book Bible: ‘a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love’ (Sally Lloyd-Jones, Story Book, 36). As mentioned above, Exodus and Genesis go together.”  [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary). p. 16]

God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and with Jacob. The word remembering, is not an accidental remembering, rather it is the reference to God’s faithful connection and adherence to the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, when we consider that in Genesis 15:12-16, God foretold of this exact occurrence, shows us that none of this was an unknown to the Lord, nor is salvation something that is reactionary of the Lord (as in the Lord never intended this, but he is now acting once realizing what has happened).  Rather, the situation of Israel and the Lord’s plan of salvation has always been planned of the Lord.  There was never a moment when Israel was outside of God’s plan of salvation. To take notice/remember, is a remembrance that is more than a mental act; it also includes a performance of God’s word: God hears, God remembers, God looks (considers), and God knows (is concerned). To remember is literally ‘to know’, which means to take note of with a new of caring. Hence, salvation is for the Lord to know, and for us to know the Lord. This leads us to also know that our salvation has always been in God’s sovereign plan and word (Ephesians 1).

Prayer Response: Lord, thank you that you hear and remember your covenant of love and grace! That is our salvation, displayed fully by the cross of Jesus Christ. Help us be mindful of this reality and live in the full confidence of your saving heart and faithfulness.

Song of Worship: Let’s join our hearts together as we sing “we hold on to every promise you ever made, Jesus you are unfailing!” “This We Know” by Kristian Stanfill

– MK

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Day Four: Groans and Cries

Exodus 2:23 – During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.”

The Israelites were now at a point of utter misery and need. Up until now there is no mention of crying out. They were just coping with life even through all the oppression and dominance, they seem to just be going with it. But they have come the realization, they are no longer seeking a betterment of their lives, hoping for relief, but finally they cry out in desperation. They have come to the realization of the utter despair, their eyes were opened to the ultimate deprivation of oppression, and finally come to crying out in desperation, the cry for help.

What does it mean to cry out in desperation and how is it done? First there needs to be a clear understanding of what sin and the oppression does in our lives. The ultimate effect is bitterness, life void of God’s rescue and blessing. Then wake up to your senses and stop settling with how things are and stop just coping with the disappointments, and the wrongs in our lives. Crying out is not about volume or just an emotional cathartic experience, but with the entirety of your life in honest assessment before the Lord and crying out for His help and deliverance. Let’s ask ourselves this question, do you really care that God takes notice of you? Has God taken notice of you? Have you placed yourself in a position that God would take notice of you? This is our salvation, when God takes notice of us and intervenes by His power through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer Response: Lord, help me in my current situation. Lord help my family. Lord help me in my work. Lord rescue me and those I relate with. Holy Spirit, come and intervene in my life.

Song of Worship: Let’s proclaim together over our lives, if “death could not hold you the veil tore before you, you silence the boast of sin and grave”, then how much more has the Lord’s salvation won over the oppression of sin and it’s effects? “What A Beautiful Name by Ben Fielding and Brooke Ligertwood

– MK

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Day Three: Store Cities

Exodus 1:11 – “So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.”

The wording of “store cities” (Pithom and Rameses) is very similar to the wording ‘tabernacle’—the house of the Lord. Therefore, the idea being that the oppression of the Israelites led them to build monuments/structures of the oppressors. The very people of God who were called to worship only the Lord, they were instead oppressed to build places of worship for the enemies of God. However, what God’s rescue leads them to is to build a tabernacle—where they celebrate God’s covenant, revelation, rescue, and freedom. The rescue of God is not just for the release from building the monuments and structures of the oppressors, but to build instead the tabernacle of God where he dwells with His people and to celebrate God’s presence with us.

“God’s desire extended beyond liberating Israel from political, economic, and social slavery. He desired worshipers. He wanted Israel (like Adam) to know and worship Him. Further, He wanted to use Israel to make worshipers from all nations. Therefore, God responded to all of the dimensions of Israel’s slavery. He did not just free them from social-economic-political oppression and let them worship any god. Neither did He just free them spiritually without changing their awful situation.” [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary). p. 12]

Prayer Response: Lord, thank you that salvation is not just from living and building our lives in and for the world, but towards living in your abundant presence and building our lives for your glory. Spirit of God help us to grow in worship daily in your church and may that be a vehicle to bring others also into worship of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Song of Worship: Let’s lift up this song in prayerful desire unto the Lord. “Build My Life” by Housefires.

– MK

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Day Two: Marah

Exodus 1:14 – “They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”

“Bitterness starts out small. An offense burrows its way into our hearts. We replay it in our minds, creating deep ruts that will be hard to build back up. We retell our hurts to any available listener, including each sordid detail. We enlist support, pushing us further into our resentment. We hear the offending person’s name and cringe. We decipher the offense as intentional and our offender as full of spite. We look for other reasons, both real or imagined, to dislike our villain. With each new piece of information, we form another layer of bitterness. We fool ourselves into thinking no one will know, but anger and resentment have a way of seeping into everything. Resentment is like a beach ball we try to submerge in the water. No matter how valiant our efforts, it pops up with all its vitality, splashing everyone around.” [Peterson, Anne, “How to Deal with Bitterness.” Christianity Today. March 15, 2011]

Bitter and harsh labor: this wording connotes the state of the Israelites and their need of rescue. Bitter (marah) is a common biblical word used when considering a life devoid of God’s rescue and blessing. That’s the effect of sin and oppression, bitterness mounts up. When you get bitter, there is no sense of God. It’s hard to think about God’s blessings in your life. It’s hard to think about God’s rescue. You also get tempted to make the wrong decisions about your faith, your family, your call in life. We really need to be aware of what bitterness does.

Prayer Response: Lord, would you open my spiritual eyes to see things for what they are. To see how bitterness can creep in and mount up and interfere with making the right decisions, thinking biblically and ultimately worshiping you with the whole of my life. Holy Spirit come and help, rescue me from bitterness of life that is transformed to worship you, serve you and love others.

Song of Worship: as we join in this song, let’s lift up our eyes to God. Away from the bitterness of life, unto lifting our eyes, our lives singing “you are the giver of life!”  You Alone Can Rescueby Matt Redman

– MK

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Day One: The Basic Message

God intends to rescue people from bondage and bring them into a relationship with him, so that they might live abundantly in his presence. You can see this thematic flow in the outline of Exodus below.

Rescue (1-18) In Egypt and in the desert

  • Out of Egypt (1-12)
  • Through the wilderness (12-18)

Relationship (19-40) At Mount Sinai

  • Principle (19-24) for the relationship, law.
  • Presence (25-40) building of the tabernacle, the manifest presence of God among his people.

“Why would you want to study this book? First, we need to know God better. We meet the living God in Exodus! Think of Psalm 66:5-7: Come and see the wonders of God; His acts for humanity are awe-inspiring. He turned the sea into dry land, and they crossed the river on foot. There we rejoiced in Him. He rules forever by His might; He keeps His eye on the nations. The rebellious should not exalt themselves. Come and see! We will see that God wills to be known and glorified. We will see a God who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” ( Exodus 34: 6 ESV). In encountering this holy God we should, like Moses, bow down and worship (34:8).

“Second, we need to understand God’s redemption better. Exodus is a picture of the Gospel, and we will seek to understand Exodus in relation to Jesus. There are a number of reasons for this. In Luke 24, Jesus explained the Old Testament “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets…concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (v. 27). “Moses” here is short for the Pentateuch, which includes Exodus! Earlier, in Luke 9:31, when Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration and Luke says that Jesus spoke about His “death,” (lit. His “departure,”) the word there is exodos, the Greek word for “exodus.” Jesus’ triumphant death and resurrection was the greater exodus. Jesus would pass through the waters of death in order to deliver His people from bondage to their sin and take them to the new heavens and new earth. In the New Testament, Jesus is also referred to as “our Passover Lamb,” using terminology from Exodus (1 Cor 5:7).” [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), pp. 4-5]

Prayer Response: Lord, thank you for the overarching heart of love and redemption. As we go through this series would you do a mighty work in your church. Help us to understand who you are and how you save. Helps us to have a greater understanding not just cognitively but also in reality of our daily living. In Jesus’ name.

Song of worship: As we join in the chorus, let’s proclaim that He alone is our salvation. “You Are My Salvation” by Martin Smith



– MK

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Day Five: God In Person

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.

We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 John 1:1-4 MSG)

“But Christianity is unique [from other religions]. It doesn’t say incarnation is normal, but it doesn’t say it’s impossible. It says God is so immanent that it is possible, but He is so transcendent that the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ is a history-altering, life-transforming, paradigm-shattering event…

“If Jesus didn’t come, the story of Christmas is one more moral paradigm to crush you. If Jesus didn’t come, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere around these Christmas stories that say we need to be sacrificing, we need to be humble, we need to be loving. All that will do is crush you into the ground…

“[But] if Jesus Christ is actually God come in the flesh, you’re going to know much more about God… If Jesus is who he says he is, we have a 500-page autobiography from God, in a sense. And our understanding will be vastly more personal and specific than any philosophy or religion could give us. [Because of Christmas] look at what God has done to get you to know him personally. If the Son would come all this way to become a real person to you, don’t you think the Holy Spirit will do anything in his power to make Jesus a real person to you in your heart? Christmas is an invitation by God: ‘Look what I’ve done to come near to you. Now draw near to Me. I don’t want to be a concept; I want to be a friend.’” [Tim Keller, “Why Christmas Matters”]

Let’s pray: Father, may Your Spirit fill us with power that we would truly and personally know Jesus. We want to come and draw near to You more than anything. Enable us to experience the reality of Your presence in our midst. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– JP

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Day Four: The Glory of Self-Giving Love

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it…

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:1-5, 10-13)

“‘In the beginning was the Word.’ I suspect there are many people who, if they know no other sentences in the New Testament, know that one—because they have heard it in carol services, in parish churches, or on the radio, every Christmas. Very few perhaps realize what John is doing when he starts his Gospel with those words…

“[J]ust as the book of Genesis begins with the making of the world, with the crown of creation being the shaping of man and woman in God’s image, so this extraordinary poem of new creation in John 1.1-18 reaches its climax with that wonderful statement in verse 14: ‘the Word became flesh.’ How else could the living God express himself within the world? What else would he become if not a human being, made in his image? John goes on to say that we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, the perfect reflection of the glory of God…

“This glory was revealed supremely in Jesus’ giving of his own life as the sacrifice for sins of the world, enthroned on the cross… when we look at this Jesus, and above all at Jesus crucified for the sins of the world, then we see the true nature of the Father’s heart. It is a heart of glory, the glory of self-giving love.” [NT Wright, Reflecting the Glory, p. 86]

– JP

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Day Three: Ecce Homo

To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? …Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. (Isaiah 40:18, 21–23)

“We prepare to witness a mystery. More to the point, we prepare to witness the Mystery, the God made flesh. While it is good that we seek to know the Holy One, it is probably not so good to presume that we ever complete the task, to suppose that we ever know anything about him except what he has made known to us… He cannot be comprehended, but he can be touched. His coming in the flesh—this Mystery we prepare to glimpse again — confirms that he is to be touched.” [Scott Cairns, in God with Us, p. 57]

“In an incomprehensible reversal of all righteous and pious thinking, God declares himself guilty to the world and thereby extinguishes the guilt of the world… God stands in for godlessness, love stands in for hate, the Holy One for the sinner. Now there is no longer any godlessness, any hate, any sin that God has not taken upon himself, suffered, and atoned for… That is what God did in his beloved Son Jesus Christ. Ecce homo — see the incarnate God, the unfathomable mystery of the love of God for the world. God loves human beings. God loves the world—not ideal human beings but people as they are, not an ideal world but the real world.” [D. Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger, p. 30]

Let’s pray: Father God, take us deeper into You, the mystery of Your love, the reality of Your presence.

– JP

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