Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Who is your God?"

Day #14

Scripture Reading:  Exodus 1 - 4 ...

Who is your God?  There is no question more important than that one.  Many people today claim to believe in “God,” but don’t know who He is!  And a growing number of people today would answer, "I don't believe in God," or "I don't think it really matters, as long as you believe in something."  That’s not what GOD says!  In Acts 17 we read about the Apostle Paul in Athens on one of his missionary journeys.  As he walked through the city he saw their objects of worship, their statues and idols and images, and he saw an altar with this inscription, “To the unknown god” (Acts 17:23).  Paul proceeded to tell them, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:24-25).  He went on to explain that God may have “overlooked” the times of ignorance in the past, “but now commands all people everywhere to repent.  For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed.  He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Since that time mankind has imagined many gods, and as it was then, the true God is unknown to most because they have not accepted the revelation God has given of Himself in the Bible to the prophets and apostles, and through His Son, Jesus Christ.  As we come to the book of Exodus, having seen God make His covenant of grace with Abraham and pass on the promises to Isaac and then to Jacob, we find God moving to bring His people, now a large nation, out of their slavery in Egypt.  What was their greatest need?  Some might answer, “Food, clothing, shelter, a homeland” or other such things, but their greatest need was to KNOW their GOD!!!!  The history of the people of Israel displays what happens when people don’t know God ... and the history of mankind in recent centuries reveals the same tragic consequences of the sinful nature that is ignorant of God and His purposes.

Perhaps you are thinking, "What does this have to do with me?"  The easy answer is, "EVERYTHING!"  To the world, Christians are just another religious group.  But if you believe the Bible to be the very Word of the one, true God, and if you believe that it is true from cover to cover, then THIS God is YOUR God and His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are YOUR promises, too!  That's why it is important to see the beginning of the book of Exodus as part of God's plan to save those who would believe in Jesus Christ centuries later.  As God sends Moses to deliver Israel, God already has in mind the sending of His Son to deliver US from our slavery to sin.  If this is NOT true and if this is NOT the true God, then everything we believe is false and we have no hope!  Do you see why this is important?

In order for the promised Messiah to be born from the line of Judah, Israel must become a nation.  As God had told Abraham, his descendants became slaves in a foreign land.  Satan continued to attempt to stop God's plan and to eliminate these people, but to no avail.  God used even the midwives to assure that His plan would be carried out through a man named Moses.  There are many details about how God revealed Himself to Moses and then sent Him to Pharaoh.  Most of us know the story well.  But there is an important fact that is repeated throughout these opening chapters of Exodus that we must not miss:  WHO this God IS!!

Here are some significant statements:

"God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob" (2:24).

"I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob" (3:6).

When Moses asked God what he should say if the people asked what God’s name was, God answered, "I AM WHO I AM."  "This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ...  'The LORD, the God of your fathers - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob - has sent me to you'" (3:14-15).

“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers - the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - appeared to me’ ..." (3:16).

"This is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob - has appeared to you" (4:5).

You cannot understand the Bible without understanding God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His promise to send a Savior from the tribe of Judah, Jacob’s son.  The New Testament begins in Matthew 1:1-2 by saying, "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, ... the father of Isaac, ... the father of Jacob ... the father of Judah ..." 

Without the Old Testament there is no New Testament; without God's promises to Abraham, there is no Savior, no Christianity, no Church, no Gospel, no eternal life through faith in Jesus.  The Bible is one book with one story that reveals one plan to establish God's kingdom.  Either you believe it and believe in the God who revealed Himself to Moses and the people of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, OR you reject God's truth and try to find your own "god" ... a powerless, imaginary god who is not worthy of worship and who is not involved in your life or in our world.

Who is your God?  Do you know Him?  As we continue to read through Exodus consider this:  God doesn't change; He is the same God today as He was then.  If you know Him ... if you really know Him, then it is your purpose to make Him known to others.  The God who leads people out of Egypt and brings the plagues and opens the Red Sea is OUR GOD!!!!  Think about that when facing trials.  Read God's Word and learn His promises and trust in His power to give you strength and courage to endure, to overcome, to have victory over temptation.  HE IS ABLE!!!  He is our God!

"Lord God Almighty, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I believe in You and I trust You.  I thank You for opening my eyes, my mind and my heart by Your Spirit so that I can "see" You through the eyes of faith.  You alone are God and I rejoice that You are MY God!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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