Category Archives: Trust

Work hard and trust God! (Exodus15-16)

Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 15-16, Psalm 25, and Matthew 25. Our devotional is from Exodus 15-16.

Pharaoh determined to pursue the children of Israel and enslave them again in spite of the ten plagues Egypt had suffered (14:1-9).  Encamped at the edge of the Red Sea, Pharaoh’s army became visible in the distance, and the people began to murmur against Moses (14:10-12).  Moses stilled the hearts of the people and the LORD parted the Red Sea allowing Israel to cross over on dry ground. When Pharaoh’s army pursued the people into the midst of the Sea, the LORD brought the waters upon them drowning the Egyptians (14:23-31).

Exodus 15 records Israel’s celebration for their salvation and deliverance from Pharaoh (15:1-21).  Incredibly, in spite of the LORD miraculously delivering Israel from Egypt, three days past and the people began to murmur and complain there was no water (15:22-24).  Moses cried out to the LORD (15:25) and the LORD made bitter waters pure to quench the thirst of the people (15:25-27).

Exodus 16 finds the people murmuring again, accusing Moses of leading them into the wilderness where they risked starvation (16:1-3).  In answer to Moses’ plea, the LORD assured him He would provide bread in the morning sufficient for the day, with the exception of the sixth day when they would be provided bread for two days so the people would not need to gather food on the Sabbath (16:4-5).  The LORD also promised to send the people meat to eat in the evening (16:8, 12).

What lessons did Israel learn from God providing for their needs? The first lesson, the LORD is faithful and His promises never fail (16:13-15).  A second, the LORD provided only what was sufficient for the day. When the people gathered more than their daily bread and meat, it spoiled in their tents (16:19-30).

Consider a brief lesson we can take from God’s dealings with Israel:  When we, like Israel, fall prey to being poor stewards of God’s provisions and hoard His blessings, we risk what we have spoiling and rotting as the breads and meats Israel hoarded in her tents.

Let us not become rich fools who hoard what we have in hope of eating, drinking and being merry (Luke 12:19-21)!  After all, we are commanded, “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Work hard and trust God!

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith

“There is Power in the Blood of the Lamb” (Exodus 11-12)

Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 11-12, Psalm 23, and Matthew 23. Our devotional is from Exodus 11-12.

The fears Moses entertained before returning to Egypt were overcome when the LORD gave His servant “favour in the sight of the Egyptians…and in the sight of the people” (11:3a).  Far from the proud prince of Egypt, we find Moses, the man who shepherd sheep in the wilderness forty years, humble enough for God to use mightily.

God warned Moses the tenth plague, would mean the death of all firstborn in Egypt, from the throne of Pharaoh to “all the firstborn of beasts” (11:5).

The LORD instituted the Passover in Exodus 12 and promised to spare Israel the tenth plague if the blood of a lamb, a lamb without blemish, a male of the first year” was applied to the doorposts of the house (12:7, 15).   The firstborn of the house was saved from death by the blood of a sacrificed lamb (12:12-13).  The difference between the households of Israel and those of Egypt was the blood of the lamb.

Prophetically, the Passover lambs were a type, a picture of God’s punishment of sin ultimately fulfilled in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.  The apostle Peter writes, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 
19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The author of Hebrews writes: “Christ was once offered [i.e. sacrificially] to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).   Paul writes, “For He [God] hath made Him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In the same way God spared Jewish households the death of the firstborn by the shedding of the blood of the Passover lambs, believers are spared the penalty of our sins, not because of any good works we have done (Ephesians 2:8-9), but because our faith is in the redemption and forgiveness of sin we have in Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross (Romans 3:23-25, 28; John 1:29, 36).

For Israel, the institution of the Passover marked the end of their slavery and sojourn in Egypt and a new beginning.  Delivered from slavery, God promised to guide His people to the land He had given Abraham and his lineage as an inheritance.

Christian friend, our faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins, His burial, and resurrection from the dead marks a new beginning for all who repent of their sin and put their faith in Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Salvation promises a new beginning, it is our responsibility to walk a new life in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 – 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith

Our God is Creator and Sovereign of the Nations (Exodus 9-10)

Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 9-10, Psalm 22, and Matthew 22. Our devotional is from Exodus 9-10.

We continue our study of Exodus and Moses’ petition that Pharaoh set God’s people free to go into the wilderness and offer sacrifices to the LORD (Exodus 9:1).  Having suffered four plagues (Exodus 7:19-8:24), Pharaoh continues to harden his heart.

The fifth plague fell on the livestock of Egypt (Exodus 9:3); however, as a testimony of God’s sovereignty and love for Israel, none of Israel’s livestock perished (9:4-7).  Yet, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart against the LORD.

The sixth plague was the misery and suffering that comes with boils and blisters and fell upon man and beast in Egypt (9:8-11).  Once again, Pharaoh did not repent and  “the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh” (9:12).

The seventh plague brought hail raining down and destroying the crops in the fields of Egypt (9:13-35).  Some of Pharaoh’s servants believed Moses’ warnings and sheltered their servants and livestock in houses (9:20).  When Pharaoh saw the plague of hail had ceased, “he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart” as he had in the past (9:34-35).

Egypt suffered enough loss at the end of the seventh plague that hunger and famine became the lot of the people.  Nevertheless, Pharaoh refused to repent of his sin and the LORD commanded Moses, “Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants” (10:1). [On a personal note: don’t underestimate the influence of a nation’s leaders on its citizens; as Pharaoh’s hardened his heart, the same was true of the people].

The eight plague to come upon Egypt was locusts and they devoured what was left of the nation’s crops (10:3-20).   Darkness was the ninth plague (10:21-29).  While Israel enjoyed the comfort of light in their dwellings, a darkness oppressed the Egyptians that was heavy and frightening.  Still, Pharaoh refused to allow Israel to go.

Why did the LORD not simply deliver Israel from bondage by the force of His will and power?

Exodus 10:2 – “And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.”

The LORD wanted Israel to know and remember through successive generations all He had done in Egypt.  His dealings with Pharaoh and the Egyptians was to serve as a lasting testimony of the LORD’s person, His power, and His presence among His chosen people.

Though a nation of slaves, Israel’s God was the Creator and Sovereign of nature and He would bring the greatest ruler and most powerful nation in the world to her knees.

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith

Call to Our God, He is The LORD of Creation! (Exodus 7-8)

Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 7-8, Psalm 21, and Matthew 21. Our Bible devotional is from Exodus 7-8.

Exodus 6:28-7:13 records the second confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh.  Of Pharaoh we read, “But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and stubborn and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said” (Exodus 7:13).  The stage is set for ten judgments identified as ten plagues that will gradually bring Pharaoh to yield his will to the will of the LORD God of Israel (7:14-12:36).

Realizing today’s scripture reading is limited to Exodus 7-8, I will list briefly four of the ten plagues that troubled Egyptian households, but from which the Hebrews living in Goshen were spared (8:22-23).

1) The Nile and waters turn to blood and fish die. (7:19-25)

2) Frogs die and the stench of their dead carcasses fill Egyptian households. (8:1-15)

3) Lice, most likely gnats or other biting insects, afflict the Egyptians. (8:16-19)

4) Flies distress the people (8:20-24). Today’s Egypt has biting “dog flies” (probably similar to “deer flies” that inhabit southeastern United States).

Here’s a question to ponder: Why did the Lord bring plagues upon Egypt?  Why did God not simply defeat Egypt and deliver His people out of slavery?  I believe the answer to those questions is twofold.

The first, God’s desire was to break Pharaoh’s will so he would allow the Hebrews to depart out of Egypt.  The second, the plaques demonstrated to the Hebrews that their God was Lord of creation Whom they could trust.  It is that knowledge, the personal, demonstrative knowledge of the LORD that will strengthen and carry them through the Red Sea and the Wilderness to the Promise Land.

Pharaoh offered to compromise with Moses and permit the people to sacrifice to the LORD in Egypt (Exodus 8:25).  Moses wisely refused to yield God’s will to please the king, stating the sacrifices would offend the Egyptians (8:26-27).

Pharaoh offered a second compromise, begged Moses to pray for the LORD to remove the flies out of the land, and he would allow the Israelites to depart and offer sacrifices (8:28-31).  Moses prayed and God removed the flies; however, “Pharaoh hardened his heart” and would not “let the people go” (8:32).

The LORD’s answer to Moses’ prayer reminds us He hears and answers the prayers of His people.  Pharaoh’s response is typical of many who, cry to the LORD in times of trouble, but when the distress passes they turn from Him and return to their sinful ways putting their souls in peril.

2 Chronicles 15:2a– “…The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith

God Uses Broken Vessels (Exodus 5-6)

Today’s Bible reading and devotional is Exodus 5-6.

Picking up the story of Moses’ return to Egypt, we read in chapter 4, “30And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31And the people believed…” (Exodus 4:30-31).

We are not told how Moses gained an audience with Pharaoh; however, Exodus 5 records the first clash of wills between them when Moses and Aaron delivered the demand of “the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness” (Exodus 5:1).

Proud and unbroken, Pharaoh declared, “I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go” (5:2).

Rejected, Moses and Aaron depart from Pharaoh’s court and soon realize their demand for freedom has increased the hardships of the people (5:6-20).  The leaders of Israel confronted Moses and Aaron, accusing them of multiplying the suffering and sorrows of the people (Exodus 5:21).

Distraught, Moses cried to the LORD, “Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all” (Exodus 5:22-23).

Hearing Moses’ plea, the LORD renewed His promise to deliver His people out of bondage, reminding Moses, “I am the LORD” (Exodus 6:2-8).

When Moses rehearsed with the people all the LORD had told him and reminded them of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the people dismissed his words (6:9).

The LORD commanded Moses to go before Pharaoh a second time and demand freedom for the Hebrews (6:10-11); however, shaken by the failure of his first meeting, Moses rightly observed the rejection of his people and asked, “how then shall Pharaoh hear me” (6:12)?

Refusing to rescind His plan and covenant with Israel, the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron to give “a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt” (6:13).

I conclude today’s devotional noting the brief record of three genealogies found in the closing verses of our study (Exodus 6:14-25).  We read the genealogies of three sons of Jacob whose sins shadowed their lineages: Reuben, committed incest with his father’s concubine (6:14; Genesis 35:22; 49:3-4); and Simeon and Levi (6:15-25) murdered the Shechemites to avenge their sister’s shame (Genesis 34:25-29; 49:5-7).

Of course, the most important genealogy is that of Levi from whom Moses and Aaron descended.  Levi’s genealogical record not only establishes Moses and Aaron’s rightful birthright as children of Israel, it also serves as a testimony of God’s grace.

God chose Moses as Israel’s deliverer, not because of his lineage, but as a testimony of God’s grace. Yes, Moses was a talented, well-educated leader; however, it was his faith, the fact he believed the LORD, that God used him to deliver His people from bondage.

Don’t forget God took forty years to break Moses’ will in the wilderness; however, when the LORD called him to serve he was ready and willing to obey.

How about you?  Are you ready to humble yourself to God’s will and obey?  After all, God can turn broken pieces into masterpieces.

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith

Whatever the task, when God calls, Do It! (Exodus 1-4)

Today’s Bible Reading and devotional study is Exodus 3-4.

A period of change, especially in leadership, is a perilous time for churches, institutions, corporations, and nations.  Inexperienced leadership combined with a failed appreciation for legacy and history invariably leads to decisions and changes that often prove detrimental.

Such is the case in the opening verses of Exodus 1 when we read, 6Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation…8  Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:6, 8).

The new Pharaoh did not know Joseph or his service to Egypt; however, he recognized the population growth of the Israelites in the midst posed a threat to his nation (1:9-22).

Some might ask, “Why would God allow His people to suffer such calamity?”   My answer: The sorrows and suffering Israel faced was God’s plan to move the Hebrews from the comfort and riches of Egypt to the land He covenanted to give the descendants of Abraham.

The children of Israel were slaves when Moses was born under the threat of infanticide (1:15-22; 2:1-4).  Risking her life, Moses’ mother “hid him three months” (2:2), eventually making a small vessel of reeds and setting her son adrift on the Nile River, entrusting him to God’s care (2:3-4).  Providentially, infant Moses found favor in the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter and she, having compassion on him, employed his mother Jochebed as his nurse (2:5-10).

Moses spent the first 40 years of his life as an Egyptian prince and favored with the finest education and training of the age (Exodus 2:10; Acts 7:21-22).  In spite of his Egyptian facade, the heart of Moses was knit with the suffering of the Hebrew people (Exodus 2:11-15a; Acts 7:23-29a) and in an act of vengeance, he took the life of an Egyptian (2:11-13).  Fearing Pharaoh would soon know his crime (2:14-15), Moses fled into the wilderness, spending his next 40 years as a shepherd (2:16-22; Hebrews 11:24-27).  Moses, the prince of Egypt, accepted the humble life of a hireling shepherd and married Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite shepherd, who bore him two sons (Gershom– 2:22 and Eliezer– 18:4).

Now the children of Israel began crying out to God and He “heard their groaning, and… remembered His covenant” (Exodus 2:23-24).  In spite of his solitude in the wilderness, God had not forgotten Moses and when the time came, He summoned His servant (3:4-6).

Exodus 3:5-6 – “5 And [The LORD] said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6  Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Forty years in the wilderness had changed Moses.  The once proud prince of Egypt was content to live as a shepherd and wondered aloud, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh…?” (Exodus 3:11).

Alone, Moses knew he could not deliver Israel from slavery and his question was sincere.  How can one man challenge the most powerful man leading the most powerful nation in the world?  God gave Moses the assurance he needed… “I will be with thee”(3:12a).  The God of Israel was his commissioning officer (3:16-22)!

God answered Moses’ fears of inadequacy with three signs… a rod turned to a serpent (4:2-5), a leprous hand restored (4:6-8), and the promise of turning the water of the Nile to blood (4:9).  When Moses protested his inadequacy to speak, God commissioned his brother Aaron to speak for him (4:10-16).

“Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel…[and] spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people…. And the people believed…and worshipped” the LORD (Exodus 4:29-31).

I close encouraging you, whatever the task, if God has called you, you can do it with His help and strength!   The apostle Paul, living out the same principle, would write, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

In the words of the NIKE athletic shoe commercial, when God calls, “Do It!”

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith

An Exhortation to Pray for Our President (Psalm 20)

Today’s Bible Reading is Exodus 1-2, Psalm 20, and Matthew 20. Today’s devotional is from Psalm 20.

Psalm 20 is a nation’s intercessory prayer for her king the day before he leads the sons of Israel into battle.  The psalm is instructive and serves as a reminder of our responsibility to pray and intercede with God on behalf of our leaders.

I am afraid the majority of 21st century Christians look at the drama in Washington, DC as little more than political theater.  Some Christians suggest we be impartial in political matters and give little thought or time to them.  Of course, the matter of praying for those in authority is unquestionably commanded by God (1 Timothy 2:1-3).  Let us consider Israel’s prayer for her king (Psalm 20).

Psalm 20:1-2 – “The LORD [Eternal God; Jehovah] hear thee in the day [time] of trouble [adversity]; the name [fame; renown] of the God [Elohim; the Mighty God] of Jacob defend [strengthen] thee; 2  Send thee help [aid] from the sanctuary [holy place], and strengthen [support;; sustain] thee out of Zion [site of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount];

Israel was confident the king had come before the LORD, sought His wisdom and offered sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to God.  The people prayed God would not only hear the prayers of the king, but would go before him into battle (20:1-2).

Confident the battle was the LORD’s, the people prayed He would accept the king’s sacrifices, hear, and answer his prayers (20:3-4).

Psalm 20:3-4 – “Remember [think of] all thy offerings [sacrifices], and accept thy burnt sacrifice [offering]; Selah [lit. pause; or pause to think]. 4  Grant [Deliver] thee according to thine own heart [mind], and fulfil [accomplish] all thy counsel [advice; purpose].”

Before the battle was fought, the people promised the LORD He would be the object of their praise believing He would answer their prayers and give the king victory (20:5).

Psalm 20:5 – “We will rejoice [sing; shout] in thy salvation [deliverance], and in the name [fame; renown; reputation] of our God [Elohim; the Mighty God] we will set up our banners [flags; standard]: the LORD [Eternal God; Jehovah] fulfil  [accomplish] all thy petitions [request; desires].”

On a personal note, troubles and spiritual battles are an ever-present reality for us in this sin cursed world.  Some adversaries threaten us with physical harm, others attack our character, question our motives and assail our testimony.  We also face spiritual trials that tempt us to turn aside from God’s purpose, question His goodness, and threaten our joy.

Consider three spiritual lessons from Psalm 20.

The first, the LORD hears and answers prayer.  Israel prayed for God to bless the king in battle and be his shield and fortress (20:1-2).  Christian friend, we should pray the same for our President.  As Israel prayed for her king, we should pray for President Trump.

The second, we need to pray and assure leaders of our prayers (20:3-4).  More than an assurance of goodwill, Israel assured the king their prayer was for the LORD to grant him wisdom and bless his strategy for battle.  Agree or disagree with his politics,  believers should be brokenhearted to hear President Trump’s enemies assail him, his family, and supporters with a vitriol exceeding any we have witnessed in modern times.  Such malicious attacks should move us to pray for our President and nation.

The third lesson expresses the faith of the nation in God’s grace and blessings.  Before the battle was waged, the people were planning the victory celebration; confident God heard and would answer their prayers.

A farmer told the story how he heard a voice when he was walking through the woods near Washington’s army encampment at Valley Forge during the American Revolution. Drawing near, the farmer found General George Washington on his knees, his cheeks wet with tears, praying to God.

Returning home, the farmer assured his wife America would win her independence.

When the farmer’s wife asked how he could be so sure.  He answered, “Because I heard Washington’s prayer.”

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – 1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith