God’s Promise


Exodus 5-8 (NLT)

Discover His heart: Through His perspective, nothing is impossible

When painting a picture, an artist goes to great length to exact the proper perspective in a landscape or portrait. An old trick that many painters use is to hold up the thumb at arm’s length to measure the apparent height of a tree in the foreground in relation to objects in the background, etc. The apparent height of the tree may look like it is the length of the thumb; but of course, we know the actual height is much taller. It’s all about perspective, the measured or objective assessment of an object or situation.

If the perspective in a painting is off, the entire picture will look skewed and off balance. This fact holds true in all of life as well – if our perspective in a situation is wrong, our response and behavior will be off balance and skewed. Moses learned a lesson on perspective in our reading today.

After finally acquiescing to God’s call on his life to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses buckled at the first sign of resistance from Pharaoh, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”(5:22-23) God had to put things into perspective for Moses.

Once again, God revealed to Moses precisely with whom he was dealing, “I am Yahweh—‘the Lord.’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them.”(6:2-4) The patriarchs knew Him as the Almighty, but now He also would be known as Yahweh, Jehovah, the One who would keep His covenant with Israel, the One who would perform great miracles in order to do so.

Moses! Raise your thumb and see the Egyptian landscape through faith in Jehovah, the One who keeps His promises. When I think of the challenge before Moses, I’m reminded of the story of David and Goliath. As David looked out on the landscape before him and saw the giant, perhaps his boldness came from a raised thumb as he thought, “God will help me take him! Why that giant is no bigger than my thumb!” Faith changes our perspective.

Moses went before Pharaoh with this promise from God, “Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh, and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet.”(7:1) Through God’s perspective, apparently, Moses seemed like God to Pharaoh who was considered a god himself. Even though Moses still met with much resistance from Pharaoh, he was allowed regular access to him because of his status.

How do we look at the challenges we face? When our trust is in Jehovah, the One who keeps His promises, we will measure our problems with a different perspective. We will hold up our faith, that thumb if you will, and see our apparent trial as God sees it. And in order to keep His promises, He will do great miracles. Thumbs up!

Moving Forward: Today my thumb is up. I’ll not look at my challenges in the natural, without faith. I’ll view them as God apparently sees them, and nothing is impossible for Him! He kills giants, parts water and raises the dead!

Tomorrow @ I Samuel 21-25

Psalms 36-38 (NLT)

Discover His heart: He responds to our delight in Him with delight!

My husband and I have never bought extravagant gifts for each other on our anniversaries. We usually enjoy a nice dinner together at a favorite restaurant and often give each other some little meaningful gift. One year my husband told me that his gift to me that day was that he would spend as much time at the shopping mall with me as I desired. You probably don’t understand the magnitude of this gift, but let it suffice to say that he’d rather have his fingernails pulled off one at a time than walk in a mall. This was huge!

Well, needless to say, I gratefully received his gift, and we strolled through the mall for several hours, laughing, drinking coffee and shopping for Christmas presents. My husband’s gift made me feel cherished and appreciated and brought me much joy. His gift was intentional because he knew me so well, and he delighted in being with me and giving me joy. My response was to make him feel cherished as well.

@ Psalm 37
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” (4) Because we are made in his image, the actions that delight the Lord are not so unlike our own. Just as we celebrated our special anniversary day, what would delight the Lord more than for us to intentionally give honor and celebration to His special day – the Sabbath? “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day…Then the Lord will be your delight.” (Isaiah 58:13-14) On our anniversary, we pulled away from our regular activities to honor our special day and delight in one another. On His day, we bring joy to His heart when we rest from our busy lives and delight only in Him.

What could delight the Lord more than for us to spend as much time as He wants at the place where He most desires our fellowship – His Presence? “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) Pleasures forevermore!

“…and He will give you your heart’s desires.” This promise that follows our delight in Him can be understood in two different ways. First, when we delight in Him, when we take time to honor His special day and cherish our time spent with Him, His response is to fulfill our heart’s desires. We understand this response because we react to delight in much the same way.

His response that I know to be true as well is that He will place in our hearts the desires that He wants us to have because we delighted in Him. He will give us what our hearts should desire. Delight in Him and suddenly our heart’s desires will be His will and receive His stamp of approval. When our desires are not in sync with God’s word, perhaps we are not delighting in the Lord and have found someone or something else to delight in. In this case, God is not the one we take pleasure in, appreciate, revel in and enjoy.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (23) We delight in Him, and He delights in us! When we question our next step in life or the path we should follow, our best effort to find direction is when we delight in the Lord. Honor His day, seek His Presence, revel in Him, cherish, savor and enjoy Him. His will becomes our heart’s desires, and He directs our steps.

Moving Forward: My song today, “I delight in the Lord, with all my heart…All my mind and my soul. I delight in the Lord, with all my heart…All my mind and my soul. As I wait upon the Lord, I grow stronger…” (Boloche)

Tomorrow @ Job 25-26

Genesis 48-50 (NLT)

Discover His heart: He speaks blessing and promise over our lives

“Get over here! You never do anything right! You’re just good for nothing! You’re never gonna amount to anything, boy.” I cringed as I heard a man scolding his young son in public. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at the boy who had just been humiliated by a man I assumed to be his dad. This young one had probably been disobedient and had somehow gotten on his dad’s last nerve, but I was embarrassed for him. Even more devastating to me was hearing the man speak curse after curse over his son. I wonder if he knew the weight a father’s words can carry in the life of a son.

It made me think of the words I often heard my dad speak to me, “Honey, you can do anything in life that you want to do.” Or, “You can be anything you want to be. The sky’s the limit.” He called me beautiful, pretty or cute almost every day. I don’t know if he really believed it, but because he said it, I did. Although dad didn’t know the Lord when I was young, he knew enough to speak blessings and promise over my life, for which I am eternally grateful. I wonder if he knew the weight a father’s words can carry in the life of a daughter.

@ Genesis 48
At the close of the book of Genesis, we find Jacob on his deathbed calling for Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, desiring to speak a blessing over them. “May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked—the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—may he bless these boys. May they preserve my name and the names of Abraham and Isaac. And may their descendants multiply greatly throughout the earth.” (15-16)  After stealing his brother’s blessing at one time, Jacob must certainly have understood the weight a father’s words could carry in the life of a son or grandson.

Throughout the book of Genesis, we read about the blessings from God to Abraham, from Abraham to Isaac, from Isaac to Jacob and now from Jacob to Joseph and his sons. Not all of Jacob’s pronouncement over his other sons were the blessings they had hoped to receive, nor was Noah’s curse on his son Canaan. But all of these curses, pale in comparison to the curse of sin found in Genesis 3 through the fall of Adam and Eve that brought us separation from God. However, our loving Heavenly Father would never leave us cursed – by anyone!

God gave this little message to the serpent that fateful day in the Garden, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel.” (3:15) This was God’s prophetic message of One who would come to die on the cross, His heel would be bruised, but He would crush the head of the serpent, who has spent his days on his belly ever since. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Romans 8:1)

No condemnation, no curses! We belong to Him! The power of the life-giving Spirit has freed us from the power of sin, the power of curses and of those things that anyone may speak over us. Although man’s words may be hurtful at times, we do not need to walk under the weight of man’s confession over us. We walk with the Father’s blessings of abundant life through His son, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, NKJV)

Children need our disciplines at times, but they never deserve cursing and humiliation. When we speak words of blessing and promise to our children, we are partnering with the heart of God who has promised blessing and abundant life to His children as they follow Him. Partnering with God – isn’t that something we would want to do?

Moving Forward: I am forever challenged to speak blessing and promise to my children, and actually, all of God’s children. Oh, how He loves them.

Tomorrow @ I Samuel 11-15

Job 19-20 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He is our Light and our Redeemer

Whether we’re moving through a mountain of laundry or walking through a difficult situation in life, we live for that moment when we see the light at the end of the tunnel, when the tunnel becomes an illusion, and the light becomes our reality.  Of course, there will be the pessimists who see it another way – The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train, or perhaps the quote that has special meaning for us today, “Politicians are people who, when they see the light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.”  Ugh. However, I choose to side with Job who delivered an optimistic statement of hope in our reading today – he saw the light! 

@ Job 19
“I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me… God has blocked my way so I cannot move. He has plunged my path into darkness… His fury burns against me; he counts me as an enemy… My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me.”  And to add insult to injury, “My breath is repulsive to my wife.” (7-17)  Job once again rehearsed his miserable condition, but through his pain in a moment of clarity, he went on to declare, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last.” (25)  Job saw the slight glimmer of light at the end of his agonizing ordeal.

Job was looking for God to be his mediator in Job 9:33, and then his witness in Job 16:19, but now he saw God as his Redeemer, his vindicator, his Savior.  As we read in the Book of Ruth, the redeemer was a relative who paid the debt of those held captive to bring about their freedom, but Job’s family and close friends had deserted him.  His Redeemer would be his God, who, regardless of Job’s miserable circumstance, still lived and would one day stand on the earth.  What a statement of faith!

“And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!  I will see him for myself.  Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.  I am overwhelmed at the thought! (26-27)  In his day with little knowledge of life after death, this was quite a declaration.  David and a few others referred to it in the Old Testament, but Job was the first to answer his own question in Job 14:14, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” Job made it clear that he won’t see God in a vision or dream or represented by someone else, but he would see Him, his Redeemer, with his own eyes.

Through the benefit of time, we can better understand the concept of eternal life and have come to know our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  Few have ever experienced all the tragedies of Job, but regardless of what difficulty we may be walking through today, how can we declare anything less than Job’s pronouncement, Job’s light at the end of the tunnel, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives!” 

Moving Forward: Instead of what I see in the present, I look to the future, to my Redeemer, the One who is alive, and to the mighty works He will do on my behalf. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 51-55

Ruth (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He blesses the sacrifices we make

The story of Ruth and Naomi reminds me of the selflessness portrayed in the story of the Gift of the Magi by O. Henry that we often read at Christmas.  It is the story about a desperately poor young couple, Jim and Della, who want to buy gifts for one another at Christmas.  The husband chose to sell his prized gold watch to buy ornate combs for Della’s beautiful long hair. Della cut and sold her beautiful long hair to buy a gold chain for Jim’s prized watch.  Both had sacrificed their most valuable treasure because of the deep love they shared.  Their story reflects the gifts of great value given by the wise men to baby Jesus and God’s most valuable treasure, His Son, that He gave to redeem us.  Out of love, Naomi and Ruth, too, selflessly gave to one another the only gifts of value they possessed. 

@ Ruth 1
“With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.  But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage.’ Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.” (7-8)

All three women had lost their husbands.  Widows of that day were often neglected and lived with little provision, especially older widows who could not work.  Naomi gave up her daughters-in-law who could have cared for her in the years ahead, giving them the freedom to marry again in their own land.

“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.  Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.”(16-17) The young woman, Ruth, gave up her freedom to marry again so that she could remain with Naomi and provide care for her in the days ahead.  Not only did Ruth love Naomi, but she had come to serve the God of Naomi.  How could she ever turn her back on Him!

Sometimes circumstances in life ask us to make a personal sacrifice of our own desires and goals to help fulfill the dream or calling of another because of our love and commitment to that individual.  And sometimes God requires us to put aside our own desires to accomplish His higher purposes – His eternal purposes.   When we choose the difficult road of sacrifice, not only are we blessed in the doing of it, but we open the door to future blessings we cannot imagine.

“So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women of the town said to Naomi, ‘Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family!  May this child be famous in Israel’…And they named him Obed.  He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David…” (4:13-17)  And from this lineage came Jesus!

Who would have thought that the offspring of this lowly Moabite widow would one day deliver royalty into the world!  Not only did God reward Ruth for her unselfishness when He provided a husband, a wealthy one at that, but He also extended the blessing on her children for generations to come – something beyond her imagination.

We don’t know how God will use the sacrifices we make for Him and for others, but if we do it with the willing heart of Ruth and not grudgingly, He will bless our lives in ways beyond our imaginations. 

Moving Forward: I’m even more grateful today for the supreme sacrifice He gave at Calvary.  It calls me to a willingness to sacrifice all that I am and all that I have to fulfill His eternal purposes. 

Tomorrow @ Psalm 27-29

Genesis 36-39 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He will not allow us to be tempted more than we can endure

As a rule, it’s helpful to maintain a measure of self-confidence as we move through life accomplishing God’s purpose for us otherwise we might not ever get out of bed.  We can spot individuals with this admirable attribute from the way they walk and carry themselves, heads held high, shoulders back, confident smiles. This demeanor works well for those who have it, and most have learned to carry it with caution so that they don’t appear arrogant and self-absorbed.  From scripture it seems that young Joseph was one of these confident individuals – favored, handsome, well-dressed – but unfortunately he had not learned how to carry it off successfully. 

@ Genesis 37
“When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half-brothers…But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.  Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children…So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.” (2-4)  Bad blood!  Add to Joseph’s favor and confidence the fact that he was the family snitch, and we can understand the disapproval shown by his brothers.

“One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. ‘Listen to this dream,’ he said. ‘We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!’” (5-7)  I’ve often wondered just exactly how clueless Joseph was to share his dream, or was he intentional in his revelation?  Evidently, God saw some of the latter in Joseph and started to process this young man into a vessel worthy of the honor He would one day give him.

“When the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt… the Midianite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.” (28,36)   And this began the processing of Joseph, confident son of Jacob, now slave.

While we may think that Joseph received a little comeuppance, as they say, God was preparing this confident young man to save His people.  The thing that put Joseph in this dire situation is the very thing that pulled Joseph through to the other side of his trial because fortunately, he was even more confident in the Lord than he was in himself.  When Potiphar’s wife came after Joseph (39:6-23), he confidently declared, “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” (9)  God was not surprised by Joseph’s response.

God uses the strengths He has placed within us to accomplish His good when we surrender them to Him, acting out of humility rather than pride.  Sometimes we are processed like Joseph in order to bring this about.  This is not done to crush us or to destroy who we are, but to transform us into useful vessels of honor.  “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (I Corinthians 10:13)  In the process, we may not believe this, but it is true nonetheless – God is on our side, and just as He did with Joseph, He sees us as we will become. 

Moving Forward: I’m grateful that He loves me enough to process and perfect me.  Sometimes I’m a slow learner, but He’s a patient God. 

Tomorrow @ Ruth

Psalms 24-26 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He is faithful to give direction to our lives

What is it with men and asking for help with directions when driving?  I’m not into man bashing by any means, but I don’t understand their reluctance to ask for help in finding an address, store or whatever.  I think it may have something to do with their God-given drive to conquer, defend and provide, but I’m not certain.  Fortunately, put an electronic device in the hands of a man, and he’ll ask it to find absolutely everything.  A word of praise for the GPS!  The Psalmist David, on the other hand, had no trouble asking God for directions – a great paradigm for men and women alike! 

@ Psalm 25
“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” (4-5) Astonishing! A man asking for directions – a King nonetheless!   In truth, women are often guiltier than men in trying to move forward in their own strength and wisdom without asking for God’s guidance because they are multitaskers, always doing, fixing and nurturing.  Most certainly, everyone needs God’s direction every day.

In the next several verses, David shared who may receive God’s directions and how He reveals His direction.  The Lord gives directions to “those who go astray…the humble…all who keep His covenant and obey His demands…those who fear the Lord.” And God reveals His direction in different ways, “he shows the proper path…he leads…teaching them His way…with unfailing love and faithfulness.” (8-12)

Sometimes we miss God’s directions because our view of how He reveals His guidance is too limited.  Yes, we love the wide open door that only the clueless individual could miss; but most often He reveals our path by leading us one step at a time to our future.  The Word of God is God’s instrument, His GPS if you will, to teach us His ways, the non-negotiable path to His promises.  Regardless of how God leads, we can rest assured that He will lead with “unfailing love and faithfulness” when we follow Him with a heart of obedience.

When we stand before that fork in the road, when we see no way forward at all or when we cry, “Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow,” we have this assurance from David, “Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who reverence Him, and with them He shares the secrets of His promises.” (14,TLB)  To His friends He will reveal His promises; and the path to His promises that may be hidden from view at times, He will show the way.  His guidance is never early, His guidance is never late, and it will always deliver us safely to our destination. 

Moving Forward:  Based on our friendship, I believe He will direct my path today, and I will trust His faithfulness and His perfect timing.

Tomorrow @ Job 17-18

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