Journey Church
Awe - Week 3 Bible Reading Plan
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  • Journey Church
    3500 Spring Forest Rd, Raleigh, NC 27616, USA
    Sunday 10:00 AM
In last week’s reading we were introduced to the birth of a nation. Up to this point, we have only covered the first two books of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus. This week we will cover the other 37 books of the Old Testament (!!). Actually, there is no way to accomplish that in seven days, so we will simply tackle a few of the major themes to see how God walked in relationship with His people Israel. The remainder of the Old Testament contains stories of judges and kings, messages from prophets, and poetry and writings. What you will see is that regardless of whether or not the Israelites were faithful to God, He remained faithful to them.
An important line in today’s reading is, “Now there arose a king over Egypt that did not know Joseph.” The new king, or Pharaoh, didn’t have the perspective of Egypt’s past, nor was he aware that the land of Egypt had been saved from hardship and ruin because of God’s intervention through Joseph. All he knew was that the land was filled with Jewish people and that if he didn’t do something fast, they would become far too powerful for the Egyptians to handle. So, Pharaoh came up with a plan to exercise full control over the Jews; however, his plan failed for one important reason: God had full sovereign control over His chosen people and their circumstances. Proverbs 19:21 states, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” It’s not that your plans don’t matter, it’s just that they are not as good as God’s plans for you. Remember, He is infinite and perfect. He sees the beginning and the end. We, on the other hand, are finite and flawed. Much of the time our pursuits are self-absorbed and potentially self-destructive. As you read, ask God to help you consider Him and His plan for your life.
Have you ever felt that you weren’t good enough, smart enough, or skilled enough? Have you ever felt that no matter what you did, you couldn’t measure up to the standard expected of you? This week we are introduced to Moses, a man who struggled with feelings of inadequacy. See, God had selected him as His representative, a responsibility with enormous weight and importance. However, Moses had heavy reservations about God’s decision. So what did God do? Knowing Moses’ hesitation, He brought Moses’ brother, Aaron, to his aid. God had equipped Aaron with the gift of effective communication, which, in turn, gave Moses the confidence he needed to respond to what God was asking of Him. God knows all about our insecurities and hesitations, but He is also well aware of His limitless power. His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). The salvation of the Israelite people was not dependent upon Moses’ abilities, but rather God’s power and faithfulness to His chosen people. God made good on His promise to Abraham centuries earlier. In fact, it is impossible for God NOT to make good on His promises. Today, thank Him for His faithfulness and His promises to you.
We pick up our reading today at the end of a series of ten plagues that God unleashed on the Egyptians for their harsh treatment of His chosen people. During the onslaught of each plague, Pharaoh plead with Moses for mercy and asked for the plagues to cease. In each case, God withheld his judgment, but as soon as the plagues stopped, Pharaoh rescinded his concession. Finally, God brought one last plague that ultimately lead to Israel’s freedom. The interesting element of this plague is that it serves as a foreshadowing of Jesus. Just as the Israelites were instructed to slaughter a spotless lamb and wipe the blood over the doorposts of their homes, so Jesus became the spotless lamb who was crucified to take away the sin of the world. When we trust Jesus’ death on the cross, God forgives us of our sin and brings us from death to life. As you read, think about Jesus’ death on the cross and His blood that was shed for you. Thank Him for His sacrifice and His love.
Today’s reading is one of celebration and deliverance. After rescuing His people from slavery, God directs their journey out of Egypt with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. You might think that, by now, Israel would be walking in confidence and trust, knowing that the God of the Universe was on their side. What we forget however is that this was new territory for them. Yes, they were free, but free to do what? This new walk with God was just that—new. Their uncertainty was evident by how quickly they began to question their decision to follow Moses. Maybe you can relate. As you read, ask the Lord to reveal to you any mistrust of His character that you may be holding onto.
At many funerals, the children of a deceased parent will share a eulogy about the father or mother they lost. Often, they will make statements like, “My Dad was such a good man.” Or, “My mom was so amazing! Her shoes (or “his shoes”) are going to be really hard for me to fill.” We know what they’re trying to communicate, right? In essence, the child is expressing a level of admiration that causes them to wonder how in the world they will ever measure up to the kind of person their father or mother was. In today’s reading we are introduced to Joshua, Moses’ successor. He had followed Moses through the Israelite wanderings, and now the baton was being passed to him. The baton of leadership came with the expectation that Joshua would finish the job and lead God’s people into the land He had promised. As you read today, put yourself in the shoes of Joshua. Imagine that you have been shaped and trained to take this role, but you are filled with uncertainty. Take special note of how God communicates with Joshua and the reassurance that He gives him. As you do, be reminded that God has equipped you for what He has called you to. He will never leave you or forsake you.
As we get into today’s reading, we see that God has fulfilled His promise of bringing His people into the promised land. In Joshua 21:44 we read, “The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hands.” Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel, reviewed their history (tracing God’s hand all the way back to Abraham), and then, figuratively, drew a line in the sand. This line-in-the-sand moment came to a rousing crescendo with the following words: “You have both heard and seen all that God has done for you, so determine if you will serve Him or not.” Joshua knew he needed to help his people do two things: 1) gain perspective, and 2) determine their level of commitment. You and I have the same two needs when it comes to following Jesus. Without the proper perspective, we will have extreme difficulty in loving people the way Jesus commands us to love people. We will have extreme difficulty in forgiving people as Jesus asks us to do. We will have extreme difficulty serving people the way Jesus modeled for us. However, when we keep Jesus and His work on the cross in clear view, He will help us live, love, forgive, and serve as Jesus’ followers.
Although we’ve come to the final Old Testament reading, today’s selections serve as a blueprint for and a summary of the rest of the Old Testament. Time after time, God’s chosen people decided to walk their own way in spite of all the blessings of God. As generation after generation passed, they both forgot and ignored the strong hand of God on their behalf. That sounds like us sometimes, doesn’t it? When we stop for a minute, we cannot help but be overwhelmed by the blessing of God in our lives. We may be sick. We may be without money to pay our bills this month. We may even be in a season where there is relational strain in our marriage. But, if we are honest, and we lift up our eyes to all that we have been granted in this life, we can’t help but identify the blessings of God. Take a moment to thank God for the blessings in your life. In addition, wind back the clock on your life and notice all the seasons where God showed up and blessed you. As you spend time thinking through His blessings on your life, give Him thanks. Moving forward, allow His blessings to fuel your love for and devotion to Him.