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February 25, Day #56 – Jesus Came for Everyone

Today’s Bible readings focus on what God is able to do with people who are willing to serve Him wholeheartedly. Within God’s creation, we observe that He determined a pattern for growth and development - He even gave the command, “be fruitful and multiply” (cf., Genesis 1:22). This is His universal created order for things - growth. It’s interesting that astronomers believe that the whole universe is expanding - consistent with God’s command and order. Everything grows, develops, and multiplies! We wonder, “How could there be room for it all?” Of course, it’s His business to take care of that, and we needn’t worry about it. If He can make it, He can also make a place for it. I’m fascinated by God’s form of multiplication, which doesn’t always line up with what the world thinks will or should happen. He is the greatest Mathematician, and He knows and can solve any problem. Also interesting to me (and fully consistent within God’s created and permitted order for the world) is the unfortunate growth of evil. Evil multiplies in the same way that trees produce more trees or insects more insects. As we observed on Day #41 (February 10th), the garden still grows weeds. For now, God allows the weeds to grow alongside the wheat (cf., Matthew 13:24-30), but one day - eventually - He promises to separate them.

In Exodus 35-36 we see the LORD’s call for the Israelites to bring their “offerings of gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen,” etc., for the construction of the tabernacle and other worship elements (verses 4-9, ff.). We see that Bezalel and Oholiab were especially “filled with the Spirit of God” - the same Spirit Whom God has given us – to create “all kinds of artistic craftsmanship” (verses 30-34). Chapter 36 details the construction of the tabernacle. We note in these chapters the generosity of the Israelites: that “everyone who was willing … brought an offering to the LORD” (35:21) and later, that the people had to be restrained from their giving “because what they already had was more than enough” (36:7). Regarding just these two chapters, God wants us to be mindful of His interest in completeness. For example, consider His emphasis on these expressions: “the whole Israelite community” (cf., 35:1; 35:4; 35:20;); the repetition of “all” (twenty-two times); “everyone” (four times); and “everything” and “anything.” God’s purpose here is to reveal His will that all men and women might be included in His program. He desires that none should perish and that all should come to Him (cf., 2 Peter 3:9). We should be encouraged to know that God can also use us today to accomplish beautiful works for Him in similar and amazing ways.

Today in Psalm 25:16-22, we see David’s call to the LORD and his “hope” in Him (expressed three times in this Psalm – verses 3; 5; and 21). By faith in God’s promises, David understands the LORD to be his “Refuge from an increased number of enemies” (verse 19). Although David’s iniquity is great, God forgives his sin “for the sake of His name” (verse 11). When we, like David, feel “lonely, afflicted, troubled, in anguish, and distressed” (verses 16-18), we should do exactly what David did – “cry out to the Lord for His deliverance.”

In Mark 7:24–37, we come to the section that treats the life of the Syrophoenician woman, “whose little daughter was possessed by a demon” (verse 25). As a Gentile, who may have lived “in the vicinity of Tyre” (verse 24), this woman had no legitimate right or claim to approach Jesus with any request because she was an outsider. “She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter” (verse 26), but Jesus told her, “first let the children eat all they want” (verse 27), a strange expression that refers to the children of Israel for whom He primarily came. However, her faith was great, and Jesus honored it by removing the demon. This story is followed by a similar one – the healing of a deaf mute. These healings “amazed and overwhelmed the people” (verse 37), and both events are consistent with Exodus 35 and 36; they show us that Jesus came for everyone.

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