Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February 1

Exodus 13:17-15:18; Matthew 21:23-46; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 6:16-19

Our God is an awesome God! How could you read passages like today's Scripture and not come to that conclusion? I am, literally, awestruck when I picture the greatness and mightiness of how our God leads Israel out of captivity and into freedom. I am envious of my sister Sarah, who gets to read about such a wonderful story, like the parting of the Red Sea, each year on her birthday (Happy Birthday, Sarah!). I think my birthday reading is something in Amos and Revelation. Sure to be enthralling, no doubt.

But enough sarcasm from me, let's get back to the story. Sometimes when we read these well-known passages of Scripture over and over again, we begin to take them for granted and overlook the richness of what God may really be saying to us as we read. So if you sort of glossed over this familiar passage in Exodus, or if you haven't read today's Scripture yet, I would challenge you to slow down and try to look at this passage afresh. Look for the little things, while still marveling in the big things. Put yourself in the story. Imagine what you would be thinking, feeling, saying, smelling, touching as you walked through the parted sea. Lose yourself in the drama of Pharaoh and his horsemen behind you, wondering if you and your family are going to make it through. What kind of God is this that can do all that?

Now that you've done that, I'll share a few of the things I saw and noticed:

1. Our God is a tender and careful God. Even when he is doing big things, he still pays attention to the small things. See how he leads the Israelites away from the Philistines, even though it is a less direct route (Ex. 13:17-18), to keep them from being fearful and possibly encountering war.

2. God is present. The Israelites experienced a presence of the Lord that has never been known in all of history, before or after them. He was a physical, tangible presence day and night. Can you imagine what it would be like to have a visual, almost touchable experience of our God?

3. God wins our battles, not us. "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today....The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent" (Ex. 14: 13-14). I love this verse! God is not dependent on our ability, skills, readiness, or even willingness to act in mighty ways. He is able all by himself. We only need to be silent, wait, and see the salvation of our God. What good news.

4. God is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving when we see him act in such awesome ways. We see the Israelites do just this as they respond in song and dance as they recounted the wonderful deeds of the Lord. They did as it says in Psalm 26:7, "proclaiming aloud [his] praise and telling of [his] wonderful deeds." 

What did you see? Any of these same things?  Anything new or fresh? Tell someone. Share what God is speaking to you. We, too, need to recount the wonderful deeds of the Lord in our lives. Better yet, share your own "exodus story" with someone. Is there an act of God in your past or present life that proclaims the awesome power of our God? Throughout the rest of the nation's history, the exodus is what the Israelites point back to over and over again to remind themselves of who their God is. So what is your exodus story? I wish I could hear it. Tell someone. Maybe someday I can tell you mine too.

Well, I have left no space to talk about today's New Testament reading. I guess I just got too excited about the Old Testament.  So I'll be quick. In Matthew 21, we see this God of great and mighty power bestowing that same authority onto his son Jesus.  That's really what these Matthew passages are addressing - Jesus' authority and power. This same potential for salvation and deliverance has arrived in the tangible, physical, and, at long-last, touchable experience of Jesus Christ. Jesus is making an even greater exodus story. In Jesus, we need not fear, but be still, and ultimately see the "salvation of the Lord."

Praise you, Lord and Savior throughout all of history! Open our eyes to your power and might. May we not forget your deeds of old.  May we recount your awe-inspiring greatness.  Amen.

- Mary Matthias

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 


  1. Thanks, Mary. I was really struck today by the the "wall" of water that they walked between. We aren't talking about a small stream that God parted but a huge sea, so big that when the water was pulled back, it made two huge walls. Amazing! Imagine the faith it took to step in between those walls! (And happy birthday, Sarah! Love you!)

  2. I'm always struck by the dry land that they walk across. I suppose with modern technology we stop water from flowing, but to dry up all that eternally-sodden ground is just amazing. (And thanks for the lovely birthday wishes. I feel very loved.)