God can make people have compassion on us. God can make people grant us favor. God can protect us through the storms of life! God can protect us through the valleys of life! He can do it when we are young! He can do it when we are old! Where does your hope come from? As for me and my house, we’ll serve the Lord in whom our hope comes from!
Today’s reading begins in Exodus with young Moses…
1Now a man from the house of Levi took as his wife a daughter of Levi.
2The woman conceived and gave birth to a son. Now when she saw that he was delightful, she hid him for three months.
3But when she could no longer hide him, she took a basket of papyrus reeds, coated it with tar and pitch, put the child inside, and laid it in the reeds by the bank of the Nile.
4His sister stood off at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe, while her maidens walked along by the riverside. When she saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her handmaiden to fetch it.
6When she opened it, she saw the child—look, a baby boy crying! She had compassion on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew children.”
7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a nurse from the Hebrews to nurse the child for you?”
8Pharaoh’s daughter told her, “Go!” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.
9Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.
10After the boy grew older she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. So she named him Moses saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
11Now it happened in those days, after Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers and saw their burdens. He noticed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.
12So he looked around and when he saw that there was nobody, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
13Then he went out the following day, and saw two Hebrew men fighting. So he said to the guilty one, “Why are you beating your companion?”
14But the man answered, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Are you saying you’re going to kill me—just as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “For sure the deed had become known.”
15When Pharaoh heard about this, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, where he sat down by a well.
16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came and drew water. They filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
17But shepherds came and drove them away, so Moses stood up, helped them and watered their flock.
18When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “How come you’ve returned so soon today?”
19So they told him, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds. He also drew water for us and watered the flock.”
20“Where is he then?” he said to his daughters. “Why did you leave the man behind? Invite him to have some food to eat!”
21Moses was content to stay on with the man. Later he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah.
22She gave birth to a son and he named him Gershom, saying, “I have been an outsider in a foreign land.”
23Now it came about over the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. Bnei-Yisrael groaned because of their slavery. They cried out and their cry from slavery went up to God.
24God heard their sobbing and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
25God saw Bnei-Yisrael, and He was concerned about them.
–from Exodus 2
Moses was saved! Moses’ mother didn’t have to lose her son to the threat of drowning in the river! Moses’ mother got to nurse her own son and get paid! God protected him and provided for her.
But fear is a crazy force! It can you do things or avoid things. How do you handle those situations?
But God can meet you in that moment! He can call you to even greater things! He can speak to you to get you beyond the fear! He is your protector! His plans for you are good! His plan is to turn what was planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good!
Angel of Adonai in a Burning Bush
1Now Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. So he led the flock to the farthest end of the wilderness, coming to the mountain of God, Horeb.
2Then the angel of Adonai appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. So he looked and saw the bush burning with fire, yet it was not consumed.
3Moses thought, “I will go now, and see this great sight. Why is the bush not burnt?”
4When Adonai saw that he turned to look, He called to him out of the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” So he answered, “Hineni.”
5Then He said, “Come no closer. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
6Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” So Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7Then Adonai said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their slave masters, for I know their pains.
8So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up out of that land into a good and large land, a land flowing with milk and honey, into the place of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
9Now behold, the cry of Bnei-Yisrael has come to Me. Moreover I have seen the oppression that the Egyptians have inflicted on them.
10Come now, I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people Bnei-Yisrael out from Egypt.”
11But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring Bnei-Yisrael out of Egypt?”
12So He said, “I will surely be with you. So that will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt: you will worship God on this mountain.”
13But Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to Bnei-Yisrael and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ What should I say to them?”
14God answered Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. ” Then He said, “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.”
15God also said to Moses: “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, Adonai, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and the Name by which I should be remembered from generation to generation.
16“Go now, gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them: ‘Adonai, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—has appeared to me, saying, I have been paying close attention to you and have seen what is done to you in Egypt.
17So I promise I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.’
18“They will listen to your voice. So you will go, you along with the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and say to him: ‘Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to Adonai our God.’
19Nevertheless, I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, except by a mighty hand.
20So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders that I will do in the midst of it. After that, he will let you go.
21“Then I shall grant these people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. So it will happen that when you go, you will not leave empty-handed.
22Every woman is to ask her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house for silver and gold jewelry and clothing. You will put them on your sons and your daughters. So you will plunder the Egyptians.”
–from Exodus 3
Who will you turn to? Who will you call out to? Who will you go to? Turn to God for His plans for you are good! He is you protector! In all the trials and the trouble, He is your protector! He is more interested in your eternity! He is with you! He will never leave you! So walk through it for it is better to lose the whole world and gain your soul! Do what is right! Do what is good! Do what He calls you to do! Align with Him and finish the work He has called you to do in faith, trusting in Him!
Appeal to Caesar
1Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
2There the ruling kohanim and the leading Judeans brought charges against Paul. They were urging him,
3asking a favor—to have Paul sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the road.
4Festus then answered that Paul was being guarded at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly.
5“So then,” he said, “let the prominent men among you go down with me; and if there is any wrong in the man, let them accuse him.”
6After spending not more than eight to ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, he sat on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought in.
7When he arrived, the Judeans who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove.
8Paul said in his defense, “I have committed no offense against the Torah of the Jewish people, or against the Temple, or against Caesar.”
9But Festus, wanting to do the Jewish leaders a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me?”
10But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Judeans, as you very well know.
11If then I am in the wrong and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
12Then when Festus had consulted with the council, he responded, “You have appealed to Caesar—to Caesar you shall go!”
Festus Seeks Agrippa’s Counsel
13Now after several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.
14While they were staying there several days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left behind as a prisoner by Felix.
15When I was in Jerusalem, the ruling kohanim and elders of the Judeans brought charges against him, asking for a judgment against him.
16I answered them that it is not Roman practice to turn over anyone before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense concerning the charges.
17So when they came together here, I did not delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat and ordered the man to be brought in.
18When the accusers stood up, they were not bringing a charge of what crimes I suspected.
19Instead, they had certain issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Yeshua, who had died, whom Paul claimed to be alive.
20“Since I was at a loss as to how to investigate these matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there in regard to them.
21But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”
22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”
23So on the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pageantry. They entered the audience hall with the commanders and the most prominent men of the city. Then at the order of Festus, Paul was brought in.
24Festus said, “King Agrippa and all present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Judean population petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting out that he ought not live any longer.
25But I found that he had done nothing deserving of death; and when he himself appealed to His Majesty the Emperor, I decided to send him.
26Yet I have nothing specific to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you—and especially before you, King Agrippa—so that after the investigation has taken place, I might have something to write.
27For it seems illogical to me when sending a prisoner, not to report also the charges against him.”
–from Acts 25
God will bring you before leaders and kings! Be prepared to testify of the hope that is in you! You may be like Joseph who throughout the trials finds favor with those in authority over you – so do what is right and what is good! Be prepared to testify of the hope that is in you! You may be like Paul who throughout the trials continues to be called before those in authority! So let’s be light into the world around us! Let’s be living in a way that causes others to praise God! Let’s live lives that point people back to Jesus so that they will return or stick close to God! Let’s be humble! If we are to serve, let be humble servants! If we are to lead, let’s be humble servants! Let’s serve those God has brought into our lives in a way that will bring Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!
Do you want to be great? Do you want to lead? Do you know what you need to do?
1At that hour the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2And He called a child to Himself, set him in the midst of them,
3and said, “Amen, I tell you, unless you turn and become like children, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4Whoever then shall humble himself like this child, this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5And whoever welcomes one such child in My name, welcomes Me.
6“But whoever causes one of these little ones who trust in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea!
7Woe to the world because of snares! For snares must come, but woe to that man through whom the snare comes!
8“And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life crippled or lame than, having two hands or two feet, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.
9If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life with one eye than, having two eyes, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.
Parable of the Lost Sheep
10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father in heaven.
11[footnote: Some manuscripts add verse 11: For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost;]
12“What do you think? If a certain man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go looking for the one that is straying?
13And if he finds it, amen I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t stray.
14Even so, it’s not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”
Restoring a Lost Brother
15“Now if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault while you’re with him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.
16But if he does not listen, take with you one or two more, so that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.’
17But if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to Messiah’s community. And if he refuses to listen even to Messiah’s community, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector.
18“Amen, I tell you, whatever you forbid on earth will have been forbidden in heaven and what you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.
19Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in heaven.
20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”
Lessons about Forgiveness
21Then Peter came to Him and said, “Master, how often shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Yeshua said to him, “No, not up to seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven!
23Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.
24When he had begun to settle up, a man was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
25But since he didn’t have the money to repay, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26Then the slave fell on his knees and begged him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll repay you everything.’
27And the master of that slave, filled with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt.
28“Now that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii. And he grabbed him and started choking him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe!’
29“So his fellow slave fell down and kept begging him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’
30Yet he was unwilling. Instead, he went off and threw the man into prison until he paid back all he owed.
31“So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply distressed. They went to their master and reported in detail all that had happened.
32Then summoning the first slave, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave all that debt because you pleaded with me.
33Wasn’t it necessary for you also to show mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed mercy to you?’
34Enraged, the master handed him over to the torturers until he paid back all he owed.
35“So also My heavenly Father will do to you, unless each of you, from your hearts, forgives his brother.”
–from Matthew 18
Don’t be someone who trips other up in order to get ahead! Don’t be someone who is a snare that tries to hold others back in order to get ahead! Get rid of those evil desires!
Let’s help the lost find hope! Let’s help the lost be restored! Let’s help the lost get back!
Let’s be ambassadors of forgiveness! Let’s never stop forgiving! Forgiveness is the key!
With the title of this post, it would be hard to close without adding to today’s reading a Psalm to meditate and prayer over…
Dwell in the Shelter of Elyon
1He who dwells in the shelter of Elyon, will abide in the shadow of Shaddai.
2I will say of Adonai, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
3For He will rescue you from the hunter’s trap and from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness is body armor and shield.
5You will not fear the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.
7A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8You will only look on with your eyes and see the wicked paid back.
9For you have made Elyon your dwelling, even Adonai, who is my refuge,
10so no evil will befall you nor any plague come near your tent.
11For He will give His angels charge over you, to guard you in all your ways.
12Upon their hands they will lift you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread upon the lion and cobra, trample the young lion and serpent.
14“Because he has devoted his love to Me, I will deliver him. I will set him securely on high, because he knows My Name.
15When he calls on Me, I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, rescue him, and honor him.
16With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.”
–from Psalm 91