Today: Psalms 19:7-14; Matthew 26:47-68; Exodus 6:13-30; Exodus 7 & 8
“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul…” Psalms 19:7
I grew up in a very legalistic church. I was taught that being a Christian meant following a lot of rules. How cold and boring! Of course I rebelled against that sort of teaching as a teenager. The closer I get to God the more I understand that legalistic doctrine is completely backwards to the true kingdom of heaven the Bible teaches us about. Following God restores our souls, rejoices our hearts, and enlightens our eyes. Legalism focuses on rules. But true relationship with God focuses only on God. He is our goal, the prize that is “more desirable than gold, yes than much pure gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (v.10)
Matthew 26 – Jesus is Arrested
By the time Judas and crew arrive to arrest him, Jesus has wrestled his conflicting emotions into submission. He is completely resolved to follow God’s plan and is ready to get on with it. “Friend, do what you have come for,” he tells Judas. (v.50)
Jesus is given yet another opportunity to turn back when his disciple attacks the crowd with a sword. But Jesus refuses to fight back. “Put your sword back into its place…” he says, “Do you think I cannot appeal to My Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (v.52-54) Jesus didn’t need swords. At any moment he could have refused the cross. The only thing forcing him upon the cross was love… his love for his Father and for us. He loved us literally to his own death. He had fought against Satan and his own flesh and love won.
How confused the disciples must have been. They thought they were going to conquer the Romans and rule with Jesus. They must have wondered, why didn’t he fight? It wasn’t supposed to happen this way and they fled in confusion and fear into the night.
Sometimes this life can be so confusing. Sometimes it seems like Jesus is silent and absent when things don’t turn out the way we think they should. The disciples traveled that same bewildering road. But one day they would completely understand God’s perfect plan. Just as we also will some day. What a beautiful day that will be.
God’s plan didn’t appear to be working. Pharaoh wasn’t listening to Moses and was making life much more difficult for the Israelites. So the Israelites stopped listening to Moses too. Seemed like everybody hated him now…
Again Moses takes it up with God; nobody is listening to me, Lord! But God is having none of it. You WILL do as I say, he tells Moses. And what’s more, God says, I myself will keep Pharaoh from listening to you. Why ya’ gotta be so mean, God?
But there was a divine reason. God always has a plan. We just have to trust His plan even when we haven’t got a clue. Some day it will all make sense. Believe it.
It’s interesting to observe how scared and whiny Moses is. We often think of him as this weighty Charlton Heston character. But at this point, Moses did not want to do what God was commanding. It was difficult, scary, and wasn’t working out. But Moses obeyed anyway. And he eventually did become a fearless mighty leader.
God can do anything with us, make us into whatever person He wants us to be, if we will only commit to following His plan. Your will be done, LORD.