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February 15, Day #46 – Important “Never” Lessons

Today’s readings reveal how God is ever-present with us, and how He watches over us, protects us, and provides for us, although we notice both praises and grumbling. In Exodus 15, we read the Song of Moses and Miriam; they sang this song unto the LORD. Beginning with the LORD’s exaltation for “hurling the horse and the rider into the sea” (verse 1), this song captures and describes some of the historical events of the exodus, and it serves to praise God – for being our God – and for His strength and salvation to His people during their removal from Egypt. “The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is His name” (verse 3). These realizations are consistent with what Moses told the people earlier: “He will fight for us” (cf., Exodus 14:14). “The LORD brought the waters of the sea back over Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and horsemen” (verse 19). Recently, I saw a video which documented several explorations in the Red Sea where an archeologist has detected evidence of a whole underwater field of what appears to be coral-encrusted chariot axles and wheels – possibly from the exodus. Also in this chapter, we see the Israelites moving into the desert – coming to the bitter waters of Marah. The Lord shows Moses a piece of wood – thrown into the waters – to make them sweet. This is a picture of the power of Christ’s cross which overcomes the taint of bitterness that sin has left in our lives. His cross can make our lives “sweet.” In Exodus 16, the Israelites make the statement about longing to return to Egypt: “There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted …” (verse 3). Who are they kidding? It sounds like their Egyptian lives were luxurious! How quickly and easily these Israelites have forgotten their bondage! How selectively they have forgotten the bad things of life (i.e., their slavery). And think of all their grumbling! From these accounts, may we learn some important “never” lessons: (1) never forget God’s saving and redeeming mercy; (2) never “long to return to Egypt;” and (3) never grumble. Grumbling is not good for us and it is dishonoring to God. I am so thankful that God is patient with us!

In Psalm 21:8-13, we see the authority of God in that no enemy of God can oppose Him. He makes them to be “like a fiery furnace and swallows them up” (verse 9), and He “destroys their descendants from the earth” (verse 10); “they cannot succeed” (verse 11). This is an awesome Psalm that expresses the strength and might of God from beginning to end (cf., verses 1 and 13).

We come now to Matthew 28 – the last chapter of this book. Here again, we see God’s power in the resurrection of His Son, and although it was accompanied by an earthquake, as we said yesterday - nothing could stop it. Nothing – certainly not man’s security measures - could keep Christ confined to death or to the grave. At the mere appearance of an angel, the rough and tough Roman guards were filled with fear – “so afraid that they shook and became like dead men” (verse 4), but the angel’s news filled the women’s tender hearts and ears with joy. The book of Matthew closes with Christ giving us His Great Commission. We note that our commission is based on “all authority” – His authority – which was “given” to Him. Personally, I am grateful and especially comforted that Jesus, in His great commission, promises to be with us to the end of the age. That has meant a lot to me during these past two years. I pray that we may always express our gratitude to God for His presence among us.

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This wonderful picture hangs in my counseling office. When I worked at the rescue mission I had many men talk to me about what the man of the cliff was thinking.

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