5th June: Mark 1:1-20
This is a new ‘beginning’. The prophets had spoken. Now, the Saviour has come. This is good news. John has prepared the way. Now, he stands aside to make way for Jesus Christ, the Son of God’ (1,11). Following Jesus’ baptism, there was temptation. This was Kingdom against kingdom. Satan’s kingdom was under threat. The Kingdom of God had come. Christ triumphed over Satan. In Him, we triumph when, hearing the Gospel declaration – ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand’ – , we obey the Gospel command – ‘repent and believe the gospel’ (15). With the command, ‘Follow Me’, there is the promise, ‘I will make you…’ (17). Christ’s call is ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14). It is truth – a call to discipleship. It is grace – a call from Jesus. In Christ, we become ‘a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We become ‘fishers of men’ (17).
6th June: Mark 1:21-2:12
Great things were happening. God was moving in power. In all this, we could easily overlook something very important: Jesus prayed (35). He made time for prayer. This was not wasted time. This was time well spent. Jesus was mighty before men – the power of God was flowing freely. Jesus knew where the power comes from – He was humble before God. We long for this – ‘they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”‘ (12). We must pray in faith, bringing people before the Lord, convinced that such prayer ‘is powerful and effective’ (2:5; James 5:16). “If my people…pray…, I will…forgive their sin and heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14). “O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee. Send a revival. Start the work in me. Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need. For blessing now, O Lord, I humbly plead’ (Mission Praise, 587).
7th June: Exodus 6:14-7:24
This list of names emphasizes that God is concerned with the ‘little people’, and not only the ‘the big names’ like Moses. Gifted individuals have their important place in carrying forward God’s purpose. Such individuals are used by God for the blessing of the whole people of God. The forward movement of God’s work is often preceded by great difficulties. We must ‘walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7). Adverse circumstances must not defeat us. The Lord is calling us on to greater faith. God’s purpose of grace moves forward according to His power and not our weakness. Moses spoke ‘with faltering lips’ (30). God worked miracles (8-24). Turning to ‘sorcerers’ and ‘magicians’, Pharaoh, the servant of Satan, ‘would not listen’ to God’s servants (11,13;7:22). ‘Our God is marching on’ – to glorious victory (Church Hymnary, 318)!
8th June: Exodus 7:25-8:32
God’s work is ‘in the midst of the earth’. He claims His own people for Himself (22-23). To ‘all the ends of the earth’, He says, ‘Turn to Me and be saved’. Concerning His own people, He says, ‘In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory’ (Isaiah 45:22,25). In the plagues, we see God’s power and Pharaoh’s pride. There is a conflict between the reality of God and Pharaoh’s fantasy. Conflict is God’s training ground for spiritual growth. We take our stand on the reality of God. Those who oppose God live in a fantasy world, imagining that they can successfully oppose the mighty God of salvation – ‘To pluck from His hand the weakest, trembling soul, it never, never can be done’ (Sacred Songs and Solos. 508). Pharaoh was neither the first nor the last to oppose God- and fail! Put to death by men, Christ was raised by God (Acts 2:23-24) – Hallelujah!
9th June: Exodus 9:1-35
Today, we highlight three lessons: The importance of trusting Christ as your Saviour, the folly of refusing Christ’s salvation and the danger of professing conversion without really meaning it. Each of us must choose: Will you step into Christ or remain outside of Him? Will you flee to Him and take refuge in Him or will you neglect Him and remain under judgment? ‘Flee from the wrath to come’. ‘How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?’ (20-21; Luke 3:7; Hebrews 2:3). You can enter into salvation through faith in Christ or you can, in unbelief, remain outside of Christ (Hebrews 4:2-3). Pharaoh ‘confessed’ his sin, but didn’t really mean it. He had had ‘enough’ of God’s interference. That was his ‘reason’ for admitting his sin. This was not real repentance – only a dislike for suffering! Make your decision for Christ, and make it real!
10th June: Exodus 10:1-29
The conflict between God and Pharaoh is a conflict between light and darkness. We are to shine as lights – for God, the ‘Light’ in whom there is ‘no darkness at all’ (Matthew 5:16; 1 John 1:5). God’s purpose is moving forward. Pharaoh becomes more determined in his rebellion. Pharaoh’s stubborn unbelief becomes his own undoing. Pharaoh doesn’t want God. God confirms him in his unbelief (28-29). God says, ‘You can go your own way, but you will be spiritually dead’ (Psalm 106:13-15). God says, ‘Do not harden your heart. You may be very close to the point of no return’ (Hebrews 3:8; Proverbs 29:1). Before you lose all inclination to return to the Lord, let Christ’s love touch your heart. Only His love can ‘create in you a clean heart’. Only His love can ‘put a new and right Spirit within you’ (Psalm 51:10).
11th June: Exodus 11:1-12:28
Here, we focus attention on two verses which emphasize the importance of being saved by the Lord and going on to live for Him: ‘when I see the blood, I will pass over you…you must eat unleavened bread’ (13,20). In verse 13, we are directed beyond the Passover to Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins (John1:29; 1 John1:7). In verse 20, we have the call to holy living. In 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and Galatians 5:7-9, Paul uses ‘leaven’ as a symbol of ‘sin’, which holds us back from ‘running a good race’. We are to live as a new creation, who feast on ‘the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’. Forgiveness of sins and holy living belong together. We are not to rejoice in God’s forgiveness and then gloss over His call to holy living: ‘justified by faith’, we are to ‘walk in newness of life’ (Romans 5:1; 6:4)
12th June: Exodus 12:29-13:16
God delivered His people from their bondage (3,14,16). There is, in the Exodus, a great picture of the Gospel, which sets us free. Christ sets us free. He does this by His Word of ‘truth’ (John 8:32,36). The Gospel says, ‘Sin will have no dominion over you…You have been set free from sin’ (Romans 6:14,18,22). Through ‘the Spirit of God’, we have received ‘not…the spirit of slavery…but…the spirit of sonship’ (Romans 8:14-15). Israel’s deliverance from the land of bondage was also deliverance for a new life in ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (5). We look back in grateful remembrance. We look forward in eager anticipation. We have received ‘the first fruits of the Spirit’. There is more to come – ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God…the redemption of our bodies’ (Romans 8:21-23).
13th June: Exodus 13:17-14:31
Sin may be ‘near’, but God never leads His people into it (13:17, James 1:13). Following Christ means walking a narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14). We are surrounded by many temptations. Pray that your feet will not slip (Psalm 37:31; 17:5; 44:18). Sometimes, the Lord leads us ‘by way of the wilderness’ – a way of apparent fruitlessness. Why? – So that ‘equipped for battle’, we might learn to serve Him better (13:18). The Lord does not leave His people in the wilderness. Pursued by their enemies (the Egyptians), they were guided by the ‘cloud’ and ‘fire’ (13:21-22). God was with them, and He was about to reveal His saving power in a mighty way (13-14). There is judgment as well as salvation (30). Looking to neither the ‘right’ nor the ‘left’, we must look to the Lord (14:21-22). Rejoicing in ‘the great work’ He has done, our faith ‘in the Lord’ grows strong (31).
14th June: Exodus 15:1-21
This is a song of redemption – God has redeemed His people; a song of thanksgiving – we give thanks for God’s redemption; and a song of hope – we look forward to the complete fulfilment of God’s redemption. This is not only a ‘song of God’s people’. It is also the song of Moses, a personal song. This is worship – not a mere formality, but worship which arises from the depths of Moses’ heart. Deeply moved by the grace and glory of God, Moses pours his heart out to God in worship: (i) He praises the God of grace – ‘my strength…my song…my salvation’ (2). (ii) He praises the God of glory – God triumphs ‘gloriously’ (1). His ‘glorious’ power is demonstrated in His ‘glorious’ deeds (6,11). (iii) Worshipping this God of grace – the redeeming God (13) – and glory – the reigning God (18) – , we say, ‘You are my God, and I will praise You’ (Psalm 118:28). Let us worship God – personally as well as publicly.