“It’s not fair!” January 30

 

It's not fair!It’s not fair! Have you ever looked around at the lives of others and thought just that?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 9 & 10
Psalm 17.8-15
Proverbs 5.21-23
Matthew 20.1-16

 

It’s not fair!

 

Matthew 20.1-16:

Unfair Labor Practices?

 

In “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard,” a businessman hires workers at various times throughout the day. At the end of the day, he pays the same wage to those who were hired just before quitting time as to those who worked all day. Some of them said, in effect, “It’s not fair!”

Have you ever felt like those laborers who were hired early in the morning? Perhaps, on the job or, possibly, in your spiritual life?

Maybe you were raised in church. Or maybe you were the “good” son or daughter, the one who didn’t rebel against your parents or your Christian upbringing. Or maybe you’ve been a believer for a long time, faithfully serving Him and there are things you’ve prayed about that haven’t happened.

Maybe you got a diagnosis you didn’t want or your spouse walked out on you? Then you see some new believer all excited because God has done something great for her!

Or maybe you’ve had a hard time accepting the fact that your “n’er-do-well” brother-in-law got saved after years of drug use and wild living and now everyone acts like he’s the golden boy! It hardly seems fair.

We can be so like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15.11-32). He was mad because his father forgave his wild younger brother and even threw a party when he came home (more about that when we get there).

But, if we’re honest, we might look back and admit that though we may not have “run off” into riotous living like the prodigal, there have been many times when our hearts were far from God, times we harbored bitterness and unforgiveness, times when we were selfish, manipulative, unkind and unloving. Instead of being upset over God’s grace in the lives of others, we need to get down on our knees and thank Him for His grace in ours.

And no matter what … even when it doesn’t seem fair to us, we can trust in the goodness of our sovereign God. A great book to help you understand His goodness and sovereignty in the midst of difficulty is the book It’s Not Fair! by Wayne Mack.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Exodus 9 & 10:

On Dogs & Sows

 

God is about to deliver His people from Israel, but so far Pharaoh has refused to let his cheap labor force leave Egypt.

Over and over he agrees to allow them to go, only to harden his heart when the “crisis” of each plague is over and the “pain” is not so intense (see Jan. 29 post, “Sleeping with Frogs”). Don’t we often do the same?  Continue reading

“Sleeping with Frogs” January 29

 

Sleeping with Frogs - Frogs ... they're everywhere! ... in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God's messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he'd like them removed, he says, "Tomorrow." "Just let me spend one more night with those frogs." How about you? Are there any frogs you're keeping around for another sleepover?Frogs … they’re everywhere! … in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God’s messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he’d like them removed, he says, “Tomorrow.” “Just let me spend one more night with those frogs.” How about you? Are there any frogs you’re keeping around for another sleepover?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 7 & 8
Psalm 17.1-7
Proverbs 5.15-20
Matthew 19.1-30

 

Sleeping with Frogs

 

Exodus 7 & 8:

Hard Hearts

 

It’s time. God is about to deliver His people. But first, He prepares Moses and Aaron for the task ahead:

¹ So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them” (Ex. 7.1-5).

“I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” At first glance, that might seem a little unfair! Is God on His throne pointing to one person and saying I don’t like the way she looks, I think I’ll harden her heart? God is God and He can certainly do as He sees fit, but that is not the picture we see here.

God said He had heard the cries of his people in Egypt (Ex. 3.7), cries against which Pharaoh had already hardened his heart. When we harden our hearts and refuse to show compassion on others, why should we be surprised if He withholds compassion from us?

Even as believers, though we don’t lose our salvation, we can damage our fellowship with Him and set in motion laws of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6.7-9). And if we repeatedly harden our hearts, it may be a sign that we are not really saved, because the Bible teaches that though believers may sin, they will repent.

Even in these passages in Exodus, Pharaoh continues to harden his own heart. Ten times it says Pharaoh hardened his heart and ten times God hardened his heart. God’s hardening was judicial hardening in response to Pharaoh’s personal, sinful hardening.

We see a similar picture in Romans 1 beginning in verse 18. We sometimes call this passage the downward spiral of sin. We see men and women refusing to respect God as God though they know the truth and choosing to continue in their sin. In verses 24, 26, and 28 we see the response of God. It says He, “gave them up …,” “gave them up …,” and “gave them over …” John MacArthur says in his Study Bible, “When men consistently abandon God, He will abandon them by removing His restraint and allowing sin to run its inevitable course.”

This results in hearts that are more and more hardened by their own sin. As we look around our world today, we see this in abundance. It’s interesting that the example God uses in Romans 1 is that of homosexuality. Consider that as you listen to the news.

 

One More Night with the Frogs

 

One of the plagues God brought on the Egyptians was frogs (Ex. 8.1-15). Can you imagine? Frogs are everywhere—in in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! When Pharaoh had once again promised to let the people go, Moses said, “Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you …” In other words, “When do you want me to get rid of the frogs?” And Pharaoh says, “TOMORROW!” Tomorrow? “Yes, let me spend one more night with the frogs!”

It seems ridiculous, yet, there can be things we refuse to give up in spite of the consequences. Areas where we are saying, in effect, “Let me have one more night with these frogs!”

Then notice verse 15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.”

How many times have you and I repeated the same pattern? We have a crisis Continue reading

“Watch out for bad advice!” June 2

 

The Danger of Bad Advice - There is great danger in bad advice. God's commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.There is great danger in bad advice. God’s commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 13 & 14
Psalm 69.16-21
Proverbs 17.23-24
John 12.27-50

 

1 Kings 13 & 14:

The danger of bad advice

In yesterday’s reading, Jeroboam had set up altars to false God’s to keep the people from going back to Jerusalem where they were supposed to worship. Now in chapter 13 God sends a prophet to Jeroboam to warn him this great sin is about to be judged.

Once it’s obvious that the prophet is from God, Jeroboam invites him to “stay for dinner,” Perhaps he thinks the prophet can get God to change His mind or maybe he wants to kill him, but whatever the reason, God had already told the prophet that he was not to eat or drink there or even return home the way he had come.

Once he leaves, another prophet catches up to him and claims that an angel told him it was alright for him to eat and drink with the older prophet and it ends up costing the Judean prophet his life! Continue reading

June 2 “The danger of bad advice” & LINKUP

There is great danger in bad advice. God’s commands and principles are not intended to limit our joy and blessings, but to protect us. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache.

bad advice

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 13 & 14
Psalm 69.16-21
Proverbs 17.23-24
John 12.27-50

1 Kings 13 & 14:

The danger of bad advice

In yesterday’s reading, Jeroboam had set up altars to false God’s to keep the people from going back to Jerusalem where they were supposed to worship. Now in chapter 13 God sends a prophet to Jeroboam to warn him this great sin is about to be judged.

Once it’s obvious that the prophet is from God, Jeroboam invites him to “stay for dinner,” Perhaps he thinks the prophet can get God to change His mind or maybe he wants to kill him, but whatever the reason, God had already told the prophet that he was not to eat or drink there or even return home the way he had come.

Once he leaves, another prophet catches up to him and claims that an angel told him it was alright for him to eat and drink with the older prophet and it ends up costing the Judean prophet his life! Continue reading

January 29 “Sleeping with frogs”

Frogs

Frogs … they’re everywhere! … in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God’s messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he’d like them removed, he says, “Tomorrow.” Just let me spend one more night with those frogs. How about you? Are there any frogs you’re keeping around for another sleepover?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 7 & 8
Psalm 17.1-7
Proverbs 5.15-20
Matthew 19.1-30

Exodus 7 & 8:

When we harden our hearts

Have you thought about the statement where God says He will harden Pharaoh’s heart? At first glance, that might seem a little unfair! I mean, is God on His throne pointing to one person and saying I don’t like the way she looks, I think I’ll harden her heart? God is God and He can certainly do as He sees fit, but that is not the picture we see in Scripture.

Remember that Pharaoh had already hardened his own heart. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, He told Moses that He had heard the cries of his people in Egypt, cries against which Pharaoh had already hardened his heart. When we harden our hearts and refuse to show compassion on others, why should we be surprised if He withholds compassion from us? Even as believers, though we don’t lose our salvation, we can damage our fellowship with Him and can set in motion laws of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6.7-9). And if we repeatedly harden our hearts, it may be a sign that we are not really saved, because the Bible teaches that though believers may sin, they will repent. Continue reading