Monday, January 16, 2012

Book of Exodus Devotional

The Genesis Project: Life Project Part 2: Exodus
Pastor Matt Roberts
At the end of the book of Genesis we find the budding nation of Israel fleeing famine and drought to Egypt under the leadership of Joseph. The 12 sons of Israel were welcomed with open arms, a party was thrown in their honor and it looked as if Egypt offered every possibility for a great new life! Isn't it funny how time can change everything?

When we pick back up with the story of Israel we find the party is over! 430 years later Egypt was a very different place than the hospitable nation under Josephs rule. Soon after Josephs death the nation of Israel was enslaved to the throne of Egypt's Pharaoh. Isn't it interesting that there was no great battle, that there was no invading army in the middle of the night, not even the slightest hint of a fight. Israel had walked into their slavery with hopes of a better life, a new beginning, a reinvention of themselves. But slowly the lights of Egypt faded and what was once a new and promising land soon turned into a prison of long days, hard nights and a complete lack of freedom. Israel had lost control and probably had a hard time telling you exactly when that happened.

Even in the depths of despair God began to unfold a plan to deliver His people from their desperate circumstances. No matter how poorly Israel was treated they seemed to prosper. So much so their growing numbers alarmed the insecure Pharaoh. A decree was set forth to have every male Jewish child killed on the spot. Horrible? Yes, but God was working. A baby boy named Moses was born. The hand of God saved the life of this slave child and delivered him into the house of Pharaoh. The stage seemed to be set for another Joseph to rise to power in Egypt and deliver his people. But God had other plans.

With everything going for Moses; power, influence and riches. We find him at 80 years old a murderer on the run in the middle of the wilderness not realizing any of the potential his early life had seemed to promise. Moses 1st 80 years was a story of what might have been. What if he would have made different choices? What if he hadn't lost his temper that fateful day? What if he could have made a difference for all of those hurting people back in Egypt. Had he blown his one chance? It seemed as if he had. For now he was an old man with no power, no influence, and not 2 pennies to rub together.

Then there was a burning bush. It was not just another brush fire in the dry and arid wilderness. This fire was different. It burned brighter than anything Moses had seen before, it seemed to permeate the darkness of Moses' wandering life and bring to life things inside of him that he believed were long dead. Moses' encountered the presence of a living God and that day through that bush God spoke to Moses and his life would never be the same again! All of a sudden a man whose tomorrows always looked like today was consumed with the passion of a freedom fighter, the direction of a visionary and the purpose of a man confidant in a promise that was bigger than anything he had ever known before.

Prior to Gods calling Moses' life never seemed to gain any momentum, 80 years of walking in circles physically, emotionally and spiritually. But things changed! Within months Moses' was leading an entire nation out of slavery in Egypt, through the parted waters of the Red Sea and towards a promised land of hope, heritage and healing.

But the journey wasn't an easy one. 250 miles is all that separates Egypt from Israel and the journey took 40 years! That's a snail's pace of just over 6 miles a year, well that's assuming they walked in a straight line and we know that's not how journeys look. There were starts and stops, impassioned pleas and temper tantrums, affirmations of loyalty and coups, laughter and tears, life and death. After 40 years you would have thought Moses' would have quit a dozen times over (he tried many times!), what kept him going? What fueled his desire to keep walking through the wilderness even when it seemed impossible? What tied him to a people who were always grumbling and complaining? What sustained Moses from the beauty of a burning bush through the hell of the wilderness? A divine promise. He was heading somewhere only God had seen, a place that far exceeded his wildest expectations. Moses knew that trials and setbacks were temporary holdups to a surefire promise. Without a promised land in front of him the wilderness would have been a very hopeless place.

Just like Moses God has spoke promises into your life. It is easy for us to understand the awe, wonder and excitement of standing at that bush barefoot and bewildered. We have to hold on to those moments, guard the promises of God in our hearts. Sometimes that is the very strength that sustains us in the wilderness of life. May we not lose sight of the truth that we are a chosen people with divine destination! God's promises to you are just as sure as his promises to Moses. Don't quit walking towards all God has called you to. Discouraging circumstances, dead end roads, lost relationships and angry mobs all pale in comparison to God's plan for you.

Suggested Reading For 1/16 - 1/21
Monday 1/16 - Exodus 1-6

Tuesday 1/17 - Exodus 7-13

Wednesday 1/18 - Exodus 14-19

Thursday 1/19 - Exodus 20-27

Friday 1/20 - Exodus 28 - 31

Saturday 1/21 - Exodus 32 - 40

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