I’ve been reading through Exodus while on a break from study as part of my daily Bible reading plan. I’ve got to be honest that I haven’t really been reading it with much excitement. The intricate details of the tabernacle and the law that God gives to Moses and his people as He led them out of Egypt is overwhelming. Clearly there’s something in this book of the Bible that the Lord is really wanting me to think through. In His sweet sense of humor, a book I’m reading is doing an overview of Exodus and a children’s devotional I read to my son in the mornings is also going through Exodus right now!
As I sit here writing to you and explain what I’m thinking I see my hardness of heart towards God’s Word. My son’s devotional goes through the different meanings of God’s name. Today we read about His name meaning “The Lord Will Provide.” The devotion walked through chapters of Exodus explaining to the reader about the Lord providing the pillar of cloud for the Israelites by day, the pillar of fire by night, the bread from heaven, the quail, the water from rocks, the list goes on. The Lord provided everything that the Israelites needed. In the book I’m reading, Missional Motherhood, the author talks in depth about the details of the tabernacle, the symbolism of it all and the amazing way the Lord provided for His presence to dwell with them because He knew that they needed Him. He was all they needed, and even in the midst of their grumbling and complaining, He chose them, He loved them, and He provided a way even then as His story of redemption was unfolding for His presence to be with them. Oh goodness friends, how easily I take this for granted. I’m almost through the book of Exodus and honestly didn’t give any of this a second thought. It’s so sad to me how easily my mind and heart can veer so far from the Lord and His ways.
While this makes me sad to confess to you, oh I am so thankful. Last night I was with a sweet group of women at a Christmas party that all love the Lord by His grace. It was a sweet night of fellowship and just a time to praise and thank the Lord for what He has done this year. We had a time of prayer as some women were experiencing being around people that simply cannot see the Lord right now, they cannot see the truth. As I listened to women pray about this I thought back to our most recent study Heart of a Woman and Laurie saying “It is no small thing to be given the gift of faith.” I have been given eyes to see, eyes to see even when my heart is hard to His truth. This is no small thing. This is such a gift and so worthy to give thanks to the Lord for.
I went back to my Heart of a Woman book this morning and saw a paragraph that I had underlined. This time of year, more than others a lot of times, can steal our focus away from what really matters. I know all too well as I’m preparing for baby boy number two any day now that Christmas can be a time of celebrating God’s provision and God’s coming and the anticipation of Him coming again or it can be about getting Christmas cards out, presents wrapped, my house perfectly decorated, cookies made, traditions started and for me on top of that, curtains hung in the baby’s room, car seats installed, everything spotless, blah, blah. Not that any of those things are bad in and of themselves, I LOVE getting Christmas cards in the mail ha, but goodness the focus can just so easily be off Christ and onto self. This is where I find myself today; my heart hard, my focus on me, but thanks be to God that it doesn’t have to stay this way and He allowed me to see! Maybe you find yourself in a season similar? If so, I pray that you find encouragement in this truth today from Heart of a Woman if you are in Christ.
“Your flesh no longer has power to control you. If may feel like it does, but it’s just an illusion. In the midst of that hour, all you may see is your fear, your anger, or your frustration; you may not be able to see Christ in you at all. You may not feel Christ in you at all. But faith is in the unseen! So believe in what you cannot ‘see’ at that moment. Believe that Christ does dwell within you and tell yourself that the overwhelming feeling of fear, anger, or despair is merely a shadow of fear, an illusion of your old girl that was crucified with Christ and is dead. Tell yourself, ‘If I no longer live and Christ lives in me, I will choose to believe that He can overcome. I do not have to give into my feelings or my circumstances. I will not identify or offer myself to unrighteousness but will instead choose Christ and identify with Christ and offer myself to be an instrument of righteousness. I do not have to fear—I can have faith and trust in God.’ So as you are aware of your limitations, your circumstances, your feelings, your passions, choose to believe that God has given you everything you need; choose to believe He has given you himself. Your weakness? God’s strength. Your sin? God’s grace. Your enemy? God’s shield and strong tower of protection. Your fear? God’s faithfulness….” (Page 156-157).
Just like the Israelites, God provides for us now, but instead of the tabernacle needed for Him to dwell, He actually dwells within us; we are the tabernacle if we are in Christ! And just like God provided everything they needed in the wilderness, as you read above He provides that for us now—Jesus is our bread from heaven (John 6:25-59). Jesus is ALL we need.
Planted for His Glory