Acts 3:18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. ESV
These Third Chapters have each provided a golden thread to be woven into the fabric of daily life. Long before there was a New Testament there was a golden thread woven into garments for ministering in the Holy Place. “They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen—the work of skilled hands.a“ Today’s golden thread is the Good News of repentance: “that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.”
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?b” You are now that Holy Place! Who could imagine the tarnish of sin could not only be blotted out through contact with Jesus, but that repentance might become the golden thread that turns daily life into your garment of ministry?
a Exodus 39:3 NIV.
b I Cor 6:19 NLT
Exodus 3:14 & 15b God said to Moses, “I am who I am…“This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.
”…every time you see “Lord” in the English Bible you should think: This is a proper name (like Peter or James or John) built out of the word for “I Am” and reminding us each time that God absolutely is.” John Piper from “I Am who I Am
• John 6:35 “…I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
• John 8:12 “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
• John 10:9 “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
• John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
• John 11:25 “…I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
• John 14:6 “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
•John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
I don’t think I’ve ever consciously thought of God in terms of His proper name being “I Am.” That idea has added another dimension to the already meaningful “I Am” statements of Jesus. If you’ve ever had an English class you know the definition of a verb is a word of action that supports the main identity of the subject. Our subject is God. His name “I Am” is the verb. “I Am” is the present-tense version of the verb “be/exist.” God is! The “I Am” statements of Jesus confirm the reality of his complete identity with I Am.
That’s a reality that’s still true for us today. “I Am” is our confirmation that Jesus is still taking action to create an unbreakable thread that binds his followers between Himself and I Am.
Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before[besides] me.”
Current events have once again challenged my perspective and driven me back to these words from God’s own mouth, His #1 commandment. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” This is God’s #1…forever!
God’s “Egypt,” then, didn’t specifically mention the little “g” gods that occupy our “land of slavery” now. Today our “land of slavery” is defined by vital issues like mass shootings, racism, political affiliation, sexual orientation and individual rights. Too often we’ve let those issues lead us to justify any means to an end as long as it’s the end we’ve decided is best. That’s a sure sign we’ve replaced the real #1 with the god we know best, ourselves. Over time we’ve let God’s Word go in one ear and out the other.
God’s #1 purpose is still to remind us the “land of slavery” is real. It’s filled with vital issues we can’t solve alone. Only when we’re willing to recognize that fact will He bring us out of the “Egypt” of our own making and make His own #1 commandment our #1 priority too. “You shall have no other gods before [besides] me.”
3. Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:…
11 Give us today our daily bread
• Numbers 11: 5 We [the Israelites] remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
• Exodus 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” … 19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”…21 Each morning everyone gathered as much [manna] as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.
It’s not much of a leap from this line of the Lord’s Prayer to the “manna” bread God provided daily for the Israelites. They ate it but they grumbled about it even though it was what sustained them during their wandering years until they reached the promised land. Their grumbling was focused on the familiarity of what they had to eat but in reality their problem was what they “wanted” to eat.
I’m not that different from the Israelites after all. I’m not immune from grumbling about the “daily” aspect of the spiritual nourishment God has provided for me. It’s hard to get up every day and want to look for fresh food in the familiar Book and the familiar Word when I could just flip on the TV. I remember fondly the tasty spiritual meals I’ve already had and can easily forget they were just “enough for that day.” I confess I need to hear Jesus remind me “this then is how you should pray…give us today our daily bread” and then tell me “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
I read and ponder daily because because Jesus is that mental leap for me that turns familiar bread into the bread of “wanting” what will sustain me until the banquet at end of my wanderings.
Posted in Exodus, John, Matthew, Numbers, Sunday
Tagged Familiar Book, Familiar Bread, Familiar Word, Jesus, That Mental Leap, Until the Banquet, Wanting
Exodus 14:11-12 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Quote from Ray Cortese, Pastor at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Lecanto, Florida. “It’s easier to take people out of Egypt than it is to take Egypt out of people.”
That statement hit home for me in a very personal way. “Egypt” is my metaphor for entitlement – “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” See if my story sounds familiar to you.
I am like those Israelites. It seems to be built into me to feel I am entitled to more from my faith…from God…from circumstances…and from people too. There was that thrilling moment of freedom when I accepted God’s promise that he would give me more than I deserved. That’s when the amazing journey began. I could clearly see I was being led to a new place and was eager to get there. It’s that timeline between being led and getting there that is the problem.
I guarantee you won’t forget being saved. Just as surely I can testify that your sense of entitlement will become an issue. That realization hit me hard on Sunday. Like the Israelites I know what I have escaped. I have my own forty years walking with Jesus. Shouldn’t wisdom and faith be like second nature that just oozes out of me by now? Why do I have to spend so much time reading, studying, writing and rewriting to end up with a few paragraphs of belief only to discover I still have so far to go? Don’t I deserve some kind of powerful response to my will to keep walking?
Ah, there’s the tell…”my will.” That’s my “Egypt.” This is what brought me to tears: you don’t get credit hours or special privileges for time spent walking through Egypt with God. Your time is the only thing that can make the one entitlement you actually have been given a reality…to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5