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February 10, Day #41 – The Garden Still Has Weeds

Yesterday, in Exodus 1-3, "under a new king who did not know about Joseph” (cf., 1:8), we saw the Egyptian oppression of the Israelites and God’s call of Moses, a man whom God could use in spite of his weaknesses (cf., 2:11-12). Today we come to Exodus 4:1 - 6:2 where we see God bestowing on Moses the resources and tools he will need to lead his people – God’s people - out of Egypt. Moses is timid about his own leadership, and he doubts his abilities. This is actually the kind of man that God finds useful – a man who is humble and dependent on the Lord for strength and confidence. In Exodus 4:24, we see that Moses’ personal doubts tried God’s patience. We are not told why, but God was going to take Moses’ life. The context seems to indicate that Moses had somehow been negligent or even disobedient about God’s regulations concerning the circumcision of his son. However, it seems that his wife, Zipporah, interceded before God on behalf of Moses, “so the LORD let him alone” (4 24). Then, in Egypt, God provides Aaron, Moses’ brother, to assist. In Exodus 5, Moses confronts Pharaoh who pridefully does not wish to cooperate with God. Not a good idea. This initial confrontation only seems to make Pharaoh irate, and the workload of the Israelites is severely increased. This only serves to frustrate Moses as he goes before God and says, “Is this why you sent me? You have not rescued your people at all” (5:22-23). Moses is about to learn an important principle here. If God calls us to a task or a ministry, He will not do our work for us. God is definitely going to rescue His people, but He is going to use Moses to do it. Because sin has complicated everything about our world, sin has made man’s work messy – even that work which is of the Lord. Moses will need to confront Pharaoh many times before he will allow the people to leave, and each confrontation is going to increase in complexity. Where man is called to participate in the work of God, it’s still work, and because work is messy – the garden still has weeds that need to be pulled.

In Proverbs 4:10-19, again, we find the writer’s wise counsel to “listen and accept what he says - that the years of our lives may be many” (verse 10). For several years now - as a result of my own regular readings in Proverbs - I have prayed practically every day that God would fill my loved ones with (1) Truth; (2) Wisdom; (3) Understanding; (4) Insight; (5) Knowledge; (6) Discernment and Discretion; and (7) Love for God’s Word. I strongly recommend you to do the same. Why? First, because God tells us to ask for them (cf., James 1:5-7). Second, we know that these valuable resources don’t just spring forth by their own will, and third, God delights in giving them to us. God knows that truth is always veritable - it is fixed - it never devolves or disintegrates into something less than what it already is. Truth is always faithful and reliable because God is the ultimate Truth; truth is whatever God decrees. Thus, it is a dependable GPS by which we can chart our lives, and it will lead us to our proper home. Wisdom derives from a correct grasp of the truth in life. Truth ignored or misapplied has no value, but wisdom helps us to recognize the value of truth. Understanding enables us to apply wisdom appropriately, and insight helps to put understanding into practice effectively. Knowledge, discernment, and discretion are the beneficial results of exercising good insight. These benefits come from a love for God’s Word. Proverbs 4 teaches us these things: to “walk in the way of wisdom” so that our “steps will not be hampered” (verse 12). But notice: “the way of the wicked is darkness; they do not [even] know what makes them stumble” (verse 19).

In Matthew 26:31-46, we come to our Lord’s prediction of Peter’s denial. Once again, I want to emphasize that this passage teaches us how little we know about ourselves. Peter said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (verse 35). Just a few hours later, Peter denied Him three times – the third time – with a curse. We need to remember that, because we are human beings, we are capable of anything similar to what any other human being is capable. Only God knows us fully – we hardly know ourselves at all. Here, we see Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where his disciples were “sleeping” (verse 40). I don’t believe they went into the garden with the intent to sleep. Jesus asks, “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?” (verse 40). He went away again, and came back the second time “and found them sleeping” (verse 42). “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (verse 41). Truly, we have good intentions, but we hardly know ourselves at all.

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