A big shout out to Brother John Raines, who is helping me out by writing today's devotional (and yesterday's too, if you missed it). Thank you!
Big Idea: God called Israel out of Egypt to worship Him, and His glory came down from Heaven so we could.
Key Verse: Exodus 40:34
As we conclude the book of Exodus with today’s devotional, I am reminded of the beginning of the exodus journey when Moses approached the pharaoh requesting the people be allowed to journey to worship God. We know that ultimately God’s intention was to bring His people out so that they could worship freely, but what began as a promise some 400 years earlier to Israel, now ignites in a request to worship. Pharaoh would not allow the people to worship God as He had called them to worship, hence God would facilitate Israel’s ability to worship.
The passage we find ourselves reading today centers around setting up the tabernacle for which Moses had received the instructions for its construction. Notice our key verse, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” God’s glory came down to represent His presence with the people and their call to worship.
We, as modern-day followers of Christ, are not unlike the people of Israel in that we are also called to worship, although at the time they (Israel) were not where God intended for them. I am reminded of the Jim Reeves song, “This World Is Not My Home” where the first stanza states, “This world is not my home I’m just passing through.” While this world may not be our home, we too are called to worship. That is why in John 1, we see where God sent His Son to be the light of the world. We too are called out of "Egypt", figurative language representing sin, so that we can worship.
As we were reminded in yesterday’s devotion, the people of Israel became accustomed to God’s presence and provision and became complacent. We too often become accustomed to God’s presence and provision and become complacent, not remembering the sacrifice that was made through Christ so that we could experience the Glory of God. So always remember the access to God’s Glory that Christ has provided us and your call to worship.
Discussion Idea: What do you think Israel’s reaction to the Glory of God filling the tabernacle was? Are you awe-inspired with your opportunity to worship? What are some things we allow to get in the way of our worship?
Prayer Focus: Lord, help me to be mindful of the sacrifice made so that I can experience Your Glory. Help me to make my worship of You a priority in my life.
Key Verse: Hebrews 13:13
Big Idea: With the Son of God, we are at home with God and exiled from the world.
In the final chapter of the book of Hebrews, the supremacy of Jesus is applied to ordinary life. If we have a better Word from God, better promises, and a better Priest, we ought to live in a better way. Some of the ways this works out are mundane, such as showing hospitality to foreigners or following the pastors of your church. Others are extreme, such as grieving with fellow Christians unjustly imprisoned. But they all point out that as Christians, we live in this world but are not of this world. We are pilgrims, only living here for a little while, but our true citizenship is not of Texas (in my happy case), the United States, or even the Earth. The cities of this world are passing away, but our eyes must be fixed on the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven.
Our faith is inescapably the faith of exiles, living where we do not belong. Even Jesus was crucified just outside the gates of Jerusalem, like the sacrifices of old were taken outside of the camp. These sacrifices were removed from the community because they were defiled by the sins of the people. As Christians, we must be ready to follow Him outside the camp. Sometimes it is because the message of the gospel is offensive or unpopular with the unsaved and sometimes it is because the fullness of the message is unpalatable to the religious. But we must go to Him. We must go where the Son of God is, even if it is a place of stigma and shame. We must go where the Son of God is, even if following Him means that we stand out from the crowd. We must go where the Son of God is, because He gives us a real home that we can never lose. The God of peace will give us peace, even when we are rejected.
Discussion Idea: Why is the idea of being rejected so painful for us? When does following Jesus make us lower in the eyes of other people?
Prayer Focus: Think of an area in your life where you are tempted to worry about what people think instead of what God thinks. Pray for the wisdom to follow Jesus wherever He leads.