Monday: Exodus 1
Tuesday: Luke 7
Wednesday: Psalm 22-23
Thursday: Galatians 6
Friday: Exodus 1, Luke 7, Psalm 22-23, Galatians 6
Monday, Exodus 1
We will barely scratch the surface of Exodus this year, but it’s just too good not to start. This beautiful redemption story, foreshadowing our rescue in Christ, gives us great hope, and I pray that you would continue to dive in long after this year is over.
No matter how difficult the situation in Egypt became, God’s favor, blessing, and protection remained with His chosen ones. Though we are often tempted to ask where God is in all of our suffering, He stays with us, His chosen people. God was kind to the midwives who honored Him and He is kind to us now as we continue to put our faith in Him.
In what ways have you seen the favor and provision of the Lord stay with you, even in the most difficult seasons?
Reflect on God’s kindness to you. Allow this to spur you on to trust in and believe for His future kindness to you.
Tuesday, Luke 7
The centurion believes Jesus is capable of anything. He doesn’t have to come into the house and touch the servant, He can simply say the word and the servant will be healed. Do we have this kind of faith in Jesus? Do we believe He can simply say the word and heal, restore, redeem anything? As we cry out to Him with the deepest prayers of our hearts, do we truly believe He is more than capable of answering these prayers?
The sinful woman at Simon’s house shows the same hope in Jesus. Because of the immense debt that she has been forgiven, she adores Jesus and pours out her life, her tears, and her worship before Him. Do we worship Jesus with this same kind of trust and adoration?
Wednesday, Psalm 22-23
I remember memorizing Psalm 23 when I was 13 years old, mulling the words over in my mind and imagining myself like a sheep in the hands of my tender shepherd. Now, more than ever, I find myself in need of this assurance that God cares for all my needs, that He tenderly leads me down carefully chosen paths and that He promises to walk with me down them.
As the world spins loud and chaotic, Our God desires to give us rest, refreshment, and restoration. He intends to stay with us through the deepest darkest valleys and on the highest mountaintops. Just as His favor remained with the Israelites through all manner of hardship, His hand remains on us, protecting us, upholding us, pouring out His goodness and mercy.
Let’s take some time out of the business of this season to memorize Psalm 23. Let the words sink deep into your soul. He is for you.
Thursday, Galatians 6
Let us not grow weary. In this season where we sing the words, “the weary world rejoices,” it is still easy to feel bone-tired. The only way to not grow weary is to lean on the one who is Immanuel, God with us. He is the good shepherd, tenderly leading His sheep. He is the committed Father, leading His wayward people even through suffering. He is the Savior who welcomes and forgives sinners. We can lean on Him and know with certainty the harvest is coming, He is coming, and He will keep us safe in Him until He comes.
Where are you feeling weary?
How does the certain hope of Jesus’s coming empower you to continue to do good and bear the burdens of your loved ones and community?
The sick are healed, the dead are raised, the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Jesus’s works and ministry are on full display, and still, even John – who has proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God from the very beginning – has his moments of doubt. Where is this questioning and uncertainty coming from? Did John perhaps wonder why his personal circumstances weren’t changing as he sat in prison? Had Jesus failed to meet John’s expectations for what the Messiah might do for the current political situation in Israel? Why is He asking if Jesus is “the One who is to come?”
Suffering can be utterly confusing. It’s easy to believe Jesus is the Messiah when we can see the sick healed, the broken relationship restored, the outward circumstance changing to our benefit. But when we, like John, are stuck in our difficult situation without much indication that it will get better, when we pray and we don’t see healing or we don’t see restoration, it can be easy to wonder… Are You who You say You are?
And maybe there is another question underlying the one John sends his disciples to ask. “If you are the Messiah, why don’t you do more?”
If I am honest, it’s a question that sneaks itself into my thoughts more often than I would like. I want to be grateful. I am grateful. I praise God for all He has healed and redeemed and provided for me and my loved ones. But there are still the prayers that remain unanswered. There are still the hurts and illnesses that haven’t healed, there are still the relationships that seem too far gone to mend, the situations that appear almost hopeless. There is still suffering in this world that just doesn’t make any sense to me.
“Are you the Coming One?” John asks, almost as if he is asking, “Do you see us here suffering, Jesus? And are you going to do anything about it?”
Jesus heals the centurion’s servant and He raises the widow’s son from the dead. But He doesn’t release John from prison or keep him from later being beheaded. He doesn’t completely release Israel from their current bondage to the Romans. He does something even better – He releases those who, like the centurion, are willing to put their complete trust in Him from their bondage to sin, guaranteeing their eternity with God the Father. Yes, He can heal the sick and raise the dead, but this isn’t the sole reason He came. He came to be Immanuel, God with us. He came to restore us back to our loving Father, to forgive our sins and bring us into relationship with Him, forever.
And while John might wonder why Jesus isn’t doing “more”, the sinful woman at Simon’s house is grateful just to be in His presence. She isn’t looking for Jesus to perform or put on a show, she just wants to be near Him.
When we, like this woman, realize the depth of our sin and depravity, being forgiven is the miracle. Being free to sit at the feet of Jesus, to be loved and cherished by Him no matter how far we have fallen, no matter our past sins or future mistakes, is miraculous enough to cause us to weep, and to put our complete trust in Jesus’s compassion toward us. He is our Good Shepherd, the one who will lay down His life for His sheep.
While the world said this woman should not have even considered herself worthy to be in the presence of Jesus, she threw herself at His feet. And the reality hits deep, I shouldn’t even be able to approach God because of my sin. I am just like this woman, completely unworthy and yet completely forgiven and adored by Jesus. This is miraculous, the greatest restoration and release from bondage of all time. The woman’s hope and belief that Jesus will not condemn her but embrace her is beautiful and trusting, and this is the miracle that the world needs, more than healings or freedom from prison – a love that takes away our sin and brings us into right relationship with the God of the Universe.
The miracle is that we can find our home in Him, we can rest eternally accepted, secure and loved by Him, with Jesus looking straight into our eyes and our hearts and promising peace.
Rather than asking, “Why?” Let’s find ourselves at His feet today. We may pour out tears or we may pour out praise or maybe a bit of both, and Jesus who cups our faces in His hands wants every bit. His arms stretched out to you are safe, His gaze toward you is loving and His deep desire is that you would know Him and be known by Him, God with us.