Monday: Genesis 25
Tuesday: Matthew 25
Wednesday: Esther 2
Thursday: Acts 25
Friday: Genesis 25, Matthew 25, Ester 2, Acts 25
Monday, Genesis 25:
For 20 years, Isaac and Rebekah prayed for sons, and God answered their prayers and His promise to keep Abraham’s lineage going. But when their sons are finally granted to them, will they continue to believe in the promises of God? God reveals to Rebekah that the older one will serve the younger one, which was certainly a reversal of cultural expectations. Can they believe that God will indeed go before them?
Are you having trouble clinging to some of the promises of God in your life?
List them out here and then look up scripture to remind yourself of the truth of His word. You may not see if yet, but God is always a God who fulfils His promises to His people!
Tuesday, Matthew 25:
There He is again, throughout all of time, throughout all of history, going before us, preparing a place for us! Are we ready? Are we stewarding what He has entrusted us in such a way that if He came back today we would gladly run into His arms knowing that we have used our time wisely here on earth and are ready for new life in eternity? I don’t believe this text is meant to be scary, but certainly an exciting encouragement to live every day ready, fully trusting Him, and fully desiring to use each gift, each breath, each moment He has given us for the glory of His name!
How would you live today if you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow?
We don’t know, and the Bible makes it clear that no one can know the exact time Jesus will return. This should encourage us and spur us on to love and serve. How glorious it will be on that day to be among His sheep!
Wednesday, Esther 2:
Esther. The only book of the Bible with no mention of God and yet God’s divine favor is clearly with Esther, Mordecai, and the Jews. Can we believe for a second that the events in this book are just happenstance as they position Esther and Mordecai in the perfect position to later save their people from impending destruction? There will be no signs and wonders, no blatant miracles, and yet it is so evident that God is working every little detail together for the bigger story, the salvation of His chosen people.
Even when God is most hidden, He is here. Even when we cannot see Him, when there are no signs or wonders or miracles, He has a purpose. And that purpose is always to deliver His people, to draw them to Himself.
Is there an area of your life where you don’t see or feel God at work?
Can you believe He is in the details, orchestrating all events, big and small, for the good of His people (you!) and His own glory?
Thursday, Acts 25:
Unlike Isaac and Rebekah, Paul is sure of God’s promise to bring him to Rome to share the Gospel. Still being deterred, still being questioned, still being tried like a criminal. But Paul, faithful and true, unwavering in his trust of God and God’s plan for his life continues to share his same Gospel boldly.
I want this kind of faith! I want to finish the race in this way! If Jesus comes back tomorrow, I want Him to find me here faithfully serving my people, boldly sharing His Gospel, firmly clinging to His Word.
Lord Jesus, make us a faithful people, a people who shine like stars in the universe, holding firmly to the Word of life. Lord make us people confident that you have gone before us and give us the grace and strength to live as those just passing through, on our way to our heavenly home. We love you. Amen!
Sometimes I think about my early days in Uganda. I lived with the most generous host family who spoke barely any English in a room smaller than my old closet. Sometimes, the loneliness took my breath away. But sometimes the beauty did, too. I think about standing on the first acre of property I purchased here, just a plot of grass with a mango tree right in the middle, the tree we would gather under for years to sing praise and study God’s Word as a community.
I had no idea.
Sometimes I think even further back to that little girl kneeling in front of a hard church pew having swallowed down bread and wine, overcome with gratitude to Jesus and bowing her head to ask God to use her little life for something, anything that would build the Kingdom. I remember the rough, pinkish upholstery on the kneeler.
I had no idea.
I think of young Esther. We don’t know much of her background other than she lost both parents at a young age, something no child should ever endure. She has grown up in exile as a minority, likely facing hardship and mistreatment. There she is in the middle of many women subjected to all kinds of beauty treatments and diets, hiding her true identity as she awaits being taken before the king.
I bet she had no idea.
No idea she would indeed become Queen, not just of her own people but of a foreign people as well. No idea that God had orchestrated all these events – the removal of queen Vashti, Esther’s appointment as the queen instead, Mordecai’s overhearing of a plot against the king, the records that wouldn’t be referenced for years – not just to save her, not just to save her family, but to save her people, God’s people. I bet she had no idea that all of these things were in fact God orchestrating the salvation of His chosen people.
For thousands of years throughout the Old Testament, God has preserved a remnant of the Jewish people no matter how much they rebel or disobey. God’s saving work in and through Abraham’s descendants would have come to an end if God had not been in every little detail of Esther’s life and story. God’s people have endured thousands of years of persecution and hardship, and now an enemy seeks to completely destroy them.
And yet, God goes before.
I think of Esther, young and newly queen, reporting the officer’s plot to the king and giving credit to Mordecai. She was probably just trying to do the right thing, to protect her husband and maybe even herself. She may have thought it was “by chance” that Mordecai “just happened” to overhear the guard’s plans. And maybe many years later it would be “just by chance” that the king would be unable to sleep and “just happen” to ask to read the exact place in the Chronicles where it had been recorded that Mordecai saved his life.
But we serve an intentional God, a God who goes before. A God who doesn’t let things happen by chance but uses even the seemingly small to bring about His purposes.
I get teary now to think of it, in those early days in a foreign country, how I had no idea. But God knew. I had no idea of how He would answer my little heart’s cry to live a life poured out to Him, of how He would bring rich community and fellowship into my loneliness, of how one day hundreds and thousands of people of all ages and tribes would hear His word preached there on that plot of grass. I feel overwhelmed and small and undeserving as I let the realization sink in – He always knew. He had always already gone before me.
He knew when I made small steps to move here and a man from my hometown “just happened” to be visiting and when little girls’ lives “just happened” to intersect with mine that He was building my family. He knew when I walked that acre of grass with the mango tree that it would be one of hundreds of acres I would walk falling more deeply in love with this country and community each day. He knew one day I would look down the hill at that same little mango tree and it would be surrounded by classrooms, a chapel, and a clinic, surrounded with children and parents laughing and eating and just enjoying one another.
And He knows right now as I go about my day that all the other little things that just happen to crop up might indeed be shaping our future, the future He has for us, the one we can’t see yet, but we can rest in certainty that it will bring us to Him.
And you might be where I am now, looking at your family and your ministry and your very life standing in awe of the way that He worked it all together. Or you might be closer to little orphaned Esther, little me on the church-kneeler asking God to do something with her life, young me in a foreign place lonely and yet hopeful for what might come. And that’s ok. Even when we can’t see it yet, God goes before us. He is going before you now, Beloved. He is making a way. He is going to take all these pieces and He is going to weave them all together beautifully into the story He is writing.
One day we’ll look back and we will know with certainty that He has always, already gone before us.