February 1

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“So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea” (Exodus 13:18 NLT).

From: February 1, 2018

Why didn’t God lead the Israelites out of Egypt and straight to the Promised Land? The Lord answered this question in Exodus 13:17 saying, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” God knew they weren’t ready for battle. They weren’t an army. They were a rabble of slaves with no training nor confidence. They were free, but they didn’t know how to live in freedom. So, the Lord had to take them the long way, lasting 40 years, in order to prepare them to possess the Promised Land.

‘Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”’ (Matthew 21:23 NKJV).

From: February 1, 2017

The chief priests and elders were the recognized religious authority in Israel. Yet, Jesus taught without their stamp of approval. Their authority came from men, but Christ’s came from God. If only they would have listened to His teaching, they would have recognized God’s approval upon it. But to listen and believe would have required them to humble themselves and accept His authority as Lord. Isn’t this the real problem for most?

‘When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.”’ (Exodus 13:17 ESV)

From: February 1, 2016

This explains why the Israelites went the long way around to get to the Promised Land. God felt they needed time to grow in faith before facing warfare. God led them like a coach preparing a fighter for a match. He put them in front of weaker opponents before taking on a real contender. Sometimes we struggle with why it’s taking so long to grow or to see the dreams that God has given us, come to reality. But perhaps God is preparing us. If He gives us the bigger responsibility too soon, we may fail because we are not yet prepared for it. Perhaps God is taking us around the long way.

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matthew 21:43 NKJV)

From: February 1, 2015

Using the “rejected stone” imagery from Psalm 118, Jesus applied it to the Jewish religious leaders and their rejection of Him. Since they had rejected John the Baptist as the forerunner and had also rejected Jesus as the Messiah, they would be rejected by God and His kingdom would be “taken” from them. The chief priests and Pharisees did not bear the “fruits” of the kingdom. They had not repented of sin and accepted the Christ as their Lord and Savior, therefore their rejection of the Son would result in them being rejected by the Father. Even when they heard these words of warning from Jesus, they did not repent, but only became more determined to kill Him. And to what “nation” was the kingdom of God to be given? It was given to a holy nation, a nation without borders or end, to a house made up of those who accepted Christ as the Chief Cornerstone, and became themselves “living stones” in His temple (Read 1 Peter 2:4-10). Those who accept the Son, have life in the kingdom. Those who reject Him, do not (1 John 5:12).

“There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

From: February 1, 2014

The Lord’s emotions are both infinite and pure. There is no “shadow of turning” in Him. He loves and He hates. Both passionate extremes are red hot and wild in Him, yet always under His righteous control. Our emotions are mere muddy rivulets compared to the raging torrent of His zeal. Do not make the mistake of limiting God’s love to a narrow band of syrupy sentimentality. When we speak of God’s love, we must include the terrifying whole of His passion. His love covers the entire spectrum of feeling that produces both a heaven and a hell. Do not think to mute God’s full register of feeling by removing hate from its range. When we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, God’s love flows to and through us, so that we begin to love what He loves and hate what He hates. There is no inconsistency in this, for both extremes of feeling are present in Him.

“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, ‘I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea'” (Exodus 15:1)

From: February 1, 2013

The Red Sea crossing showed God’s miraculous saving power to both the Israelites and the Egyptians. News of the crossing also struck fear into the peoples of Canaan. It represents the moment of Israel’s believing and salvation. They will continue to struggle with wanting to go back to their old way of life, but they have been brought out by God and He will not let them turn back. God was preparing a people to recognize and receive His true salvation through His Son, Jesus the Christ.