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February 13, Day #44 – Not Always Right; Seldom Wrong

Both the Old Testament and New Testament readings for today dovetail prophetically to reveal and identify the Person and work of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. It is amazing how - from before the foundation of the world - God has devised and set in motion His eternal plan. Here in these Scriptures, as we consider the unfolding of His plan by His divine hand, I am astonished and blessed to note the precision of every detail … the difficulties of Egyptian bondage; its effects on the Hebrews; the hardness and stupidity of Pharaoh’s heart; and God’s sovereign control over the entire panorama. Think about the nature and application of each of the plagues as a rebuke against the gods of Egypt, all leading climactically up to the deaths of the Egyptian firstborn – including in Pharaoh’s own household. In Exodus 12, the “blood … on the houses where you are” was a prophetic “sign” that, when the LORD “saw it,” He promised to “pass over” them, and “no destructive plague would touch them” (12:13). The blood indicated that a substitutionary death had already occurred in that household. Think as well about how the Passover lamb in Exodus points to the future, selfless, and saving death of our Lord – Who became the sacrificial Lamb of God for us all. When we recognize how all of these activities and events fit into the grand design conceived by a loving Creator - Who included me (us) in that plan – I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Literally, God moved heaven and earth to save us from sin, death, and hell. We should praise the Lord!

Psalm 21:1-7 identifies many of the blessings that God has lavishly poured out on us, as a result of His grace. In verse 1, David reminds us to “rejoice in the strength” of the LORD. He enables us to experience the joy of “victories” – not just one – but plural, meaning many. Nothing in the universe can overcome the strength of God. In verse 2, David addresses God’s answers to his prayers – “You have not withheld the request of his lips.” God answers our prayers! Our relationship with Him is not one-sided – it is fellowship with our Creator. In verses 4-6, David emphasizes God’s “rich and eternal blessings. A crown of pure gold; life itself; length of days (forever); splendor and majesty.” But notice in verse 6, David states that God has made him “glad with the joy of His presence.” Knowing the presence of God is a blessing beyond our description – that God is with us; before us; behind us; above us; around us; for us; and within us. We are never alone and never far from Him. And all because of His “unfailing love” (verse 7). Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God” (cf., Romans 8:11-39).

We come then to Matthew 27:11-44 where we see Jesus before Pilate and his political ineffectiveness. Here is a Roman leader who wants to please everyone and ends up pleasing no one. It seems that Pilate expresses a serious interest in Jesus, but he cannot bring himself to go against the chief priests and the elders or the people. We detect that Pilate, “who knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him” (verse 18), would prefer to release Jesus, but Pilate is a weak leader who allows himself to be swayed by the pressures of the crowd (verse 20). In fact, Pilate reveals two incredible leadership flaws about himself: (1) Pilate ignored the message of his wife, whose dream caused her a great deal of suffering because of this “innocent man” (verse 19). I want to say this carefully: a good, loving wife is not always right, but she is seldom wrong. This is especially true for a husband whose wife cares truly about him, his work, his family, etc. God has placed a wife to be the better half at a man’s side, and he ought to listen to and consider whatever she has to say. How foolish of Pilate to ignore her! A good leader always considers the insights of his wife – his life’s partner. (2) Notice Pilate’s question to the crowd: “What shall I do, then, with Jesus?” (verse 22). A good leader never relinquishes his decision-making responsibilities to “the crowds.” Crowds are simply mobs – followers - not leaders. This was not their decision to make – it was Pilate’s … and he blew it on both counts!

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