Tag Archives: Old Testament

Exodus 8:16-11:10

While full and meaningful in itself, the story of the exodus feels like a foreshadowing. Plagues and devastation make me think of what’s to come in Revelation. And the three days of darkness and the death of the firstborn son make me think of Jesus’s death and three days in the tomb.

Other things I notice in the reading: God intentionally brings these things to pass so that generations will remember what he’s capable of, and so that Pharaoh and his officials will know there’s no one like him.

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:13-16, NIV)

God spares his people of these losses, and they are a witness to others of God’s promise.

But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”

The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go. (Exodus 9:4-7, NIV)

A hardened heart is the breeding ground for corruption, deceit, sin, and cruelty. How quickly when the pressure is off, an unchanged heart returns to its wickedness. An unchanged heart cannot be trusted.

29 Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (…) 33 Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.

In all the occasions that Moses spoke to Pharaoh, of all the things that happened as Moses said they would, Pharaoh still refused to believe him. And it would cost him dearly.

So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. (Exodus 11:4-8, NIV)

God wants a relationship with his people. Here, he works to set them free from enslavement so that they are free to worship him (through sacrifice). And it makes me think of Christ’s sacrifice so that we could be free to worship God. So much of the Bible tells of this desire to be in relationship, and so that God will be known throughout the world.

Father God, Your Word is living and active, and I am so very grateful to have access to it.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 18:9-21:21

The word chosen catches my eye, and I’m hooked. “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19, NIV)

After delivering the news that Sarah will birth a child the next year, the Lord is on the way to Sodom and Gomorrah to examine the situation for himself. There’s a conversation between Abraham and the Lord, about sparing the city if there are at least ten people who are righteous. It turns out, there are not. Lot, his wife, and his two daughters are told to flee. In this, I read protection, and it is life. Protected from the angry mob that is struck blind. Protection from the impending destruction.

When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:16-17, NIV)

I’m currently reading a book written by a Hungarian Holocaust survivor (The Choice by Edith Eva Eger). There is a haunting mention early in the book where her parents had been given warning to flee, and papers to help with safe passage, and they didn’t act upon it. I think of them in this moment of Lot’s hesitation.

There are other moments of protection and provision in this reading: of Sarah being spared from Abimelek’s attentions, of Hagar’s provision when she is sent away.

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. (Genesis 21:15b-19, NIV)

In these Bible stories, I read of God’s very real presence, and it comforts me.

Lord, thank you for reminding me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Old Testament

Daniel 10-12; John 20

A man comes to Daniel and shares a vision of the future. He tells it like it has already happened. He gives details in strategy, character, weaknesses and strengths–like it already happened. And even though the news is a wartime play-by-play, there is a message of certainty, comfort, and guidance.

11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” (Daniel 10:11, NLT)

19 “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” (Daniel 10:19, NLT)

This man speaks of “appointed time” in several spots–and there is sovereignty in those words.

Regarding the words another man spoke, Daniel says:

I heard what he said, but I did not understand what he meant. So I asked, “How will all this finally end, my lord?”

But he said, “Go now, Daniel, for what I have said is kept secret and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means.

11 “From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration is set up to be worshiped, there will be 1,290 days. 12 And blessed are those who wait and remain until the end of the 1,335 days!

13 “As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.” (Daniel 12:8-13, NLT)

In the Old Testament reading, blessed are the ones who wait and remain until the end. In the New Testament reading, blessed are those who believe without seeing.

26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:26-31, NLT)

When things don’t make sense or seem unbelievable to be real, when trials purify, cleanse and refine, Lord, help me to quiet my thoughts and remember this: you are sovereign. Nothing happens without your knowledge and appointment. Help me to walk out my days in faith and confidence.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 37-39; Psalm 87; John 13

Someone noticed that I talk a lot about God’s care and protection.  It seems like I come across these themes quite a bit, especially in my readings found in the Old Testament.

Their king will always come from the family of my servant King David and will care for them like a shepherd. The people of Israel will faithfully obey my laws. They and their descendants will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, just as their ancestors did. I solemnly promise to bless the people of Israel with unending peace. I will protect them and let them become a powerful nation. My temple will stand in Israel for all time – Ezekiel 37:24-26  CEV

I think it excites me to read these passages of scripture because they relate so freely to the love that Jesus has for me.  If He can love a group of people who reject Him so often, so fully, lacking so much gratitude for what He has done in their lives, then I know His love for me can equal such actions from me.

It was before Passover, and Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to return to the Father. He had always loved his followers in this world, and he loved them to the very end. – John 13:1  CEV

Unconditional love, a word that is known but a word rarely experienced.  I look for it in all my relationships that matter.  It is inside me to want and I believe it is in me to give, but I choose judgement over love sometimes.  Somehow I feel it gives me more power.  But love changes the world, as it has me.  If I want someone to know just how much they mean to me, how much I cherish them, how much they matter to God, then I need to let them know of Jesus love for them.  Jesus can care and protect more than anyone or anything this world has to offer. What other gift can I give to you other than Jesus and His love – what other gift would you want from me?

Father, remind me that your unconditional love is the greatest gift I can give to someone today.  No matter if they are looking for something else, like the forty year old lame beggar at the Beautiful Gate who was looking for a gift of money.  Peter and John said, we do not have money, but we have Jesus, can we give Him to you? Taking the man by the hand they said stand up and walk.  That Lord, that image of love, has not left my mind for some time.  That is the kind of love I want to give away today.  Fill me with Your Spirit and enable me to do that with those I meet.  Thank you for allowing me to be a bit of You in someone’s life. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, BG2, Ezekiel, James, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Zechariah

Job 34-36; Revelation 20

11Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. Earth and sky ran away from him and disappeared. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And the book of life was opened. There were also other books opened. The dead were judged by what they had done, which was written in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. Each person was judged by what he had done. 14And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 (ICB)
I’ve been enjoying cheesy Christmas romantic comedies the last couple of weeks. They’re light-hearted and they distract me from the difficulties in the day to day of life, despite being particularly predicable.
This week I watched  a new one, called “How Sarah Got Her Wings”. It was about a woman who died and had to come back to earth to get her name on the list to get into heaven. She was desperate not to got to hell, a place where the people look pathetic and forlorn like a row of wallflowers at a junior high school dance. So the manager of purgatory sent her back to earth to do something, anything to get her name on the list. It took her a few tries, but she finally figured out the way to get into heaven.
Though the movie was cute and enjoyable, I had to shake my head at the message that’s being sent by a movie which sets up the gates of heaven to be like a hip new restaurant that you need reservations for.
The truth is the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ and He’s the only one who can make certain that my name is in the book of life. It doesn’t matter how many good deeds I have done in my life. It doesn’t matter how many amazing things I do for other people or how many sacrifices I make before my life is over. What matters is whether or not I believe in Jesus-come to earth in the flesh-that I believe that He died on the cross, and rose again, and is now sitting at the right hand of God continually interceding on my behalf.
When and only when I turn my life and my heart to Jesus, will I be able to enter heaven when my time comes. My name will be in the book of life.
Yesappa, Thank You for choosing to lay yourself down, so that in death and in life we can always be connected. Thank You for the eternity in heaven that You made possible for me. Thank You for rescuing me from the pit of hell and writing my name in the book of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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