Australia Kneels : Week 7 – Day 7

Sabbath – a Time of Worshipping the Father and our Lord Jesus through His Spirit of Truth, Leading us to a Place of Resting in His Presence.

The Garden Catalogue For Today

The National Day of Prayer will be held all over Australia on
Saturday 18th May 2024.

Australia is a nation known for its Fruitfulness

Word:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in MeJohn 15:4

Reflection:   

During a recent prayer time with a friend, the Lord began to remind me of the fruitfulness our nation is known for, our apples, oranges, grapes, the iconic Big Banana and the Big Pineapple, all point to a nation known for its fruit. Those who choose to come to Australia on a working holiday are required to pick fruit on rural farms and thousands migrate here to work in the cane fields, orchards and farms all over the country. We are indeed a nation blessed with fruitfulness, so much so foreigners are sent here to harvest the crop. I can almost see the Father leaning over the land lovingly speaking over it with pride “this land will be known for its fruitfulness; this land will be known for its harvest”. Yet we know that for fruit to be produced it must abide in the vine, grapes cannot grow without first receiving their nourishment from the vine planted deeply into the soil underneath.

As we come together on the National day of Prayer to “Be still and know that He is God” we are aligning ourselves to abide in the vine, to abide in Christ, let us not just pause for a day, but take this posture of returning to him and abiding in him into every moment of our lives, where we plant ourselves deep in his word and presence, bearing much fruit, producing a harvest of righteousness and having an abundance of love to share with the broken, frightened and confused world around us.

Pray:

Oh lord, Let the redemption of this nation be found in its people who have been redeemed and restored back into the Garden, abiding in Christ and bearing much fruit. Thank you that you are our redeemer, and all things find new life, live and move and have their being in you.

Worship:

“Communion” by Steffany Gretzinger and Brandon Lake. (Music clip with lyrics below). The lyrics to this song strike so deep to the heart of what I sense God is wanting to do on the National Day of Prayer and for the people of our nation. Take a moment to listen to this worship song and ask the Lord what he wants to say to you through it. Offer these words back to him as a prayer “Take me back to the garden” and prophecy with us as a nation “we are returning to the desire of your heart”. (John 17:24)

Information on how to register to receive National Day of Prayer devotions and communications can be found at australiaprays.com.au

We look forward to abiding with you in this season including 18 May, for the National Day of Prayer. REGISTER HERE to join us today !

God bless you,
Krystal Woodhead, National Coordinator Australia Prays

10 Days of Prayer leading up to Pentecost for the Jewish Nation – Started on Ascension Day (9th May, 2024)

10 Days Pentecost kicked off on Thursday, May 9 – running up to May 19th around the globe. We’ve received reports of hundreds of locations that are joining in prayer during these days. We’ll also be kicking off a USA Summit and Africa Summit on Thursday as well.

As in past years, there is a 24/7 online virtual expression (Registration) for 10 Days Pentecost. We are partnering with 2BC (2 Billion Children) to cover 24 hours of prayer.

Click Here for more information

Praying for Israel and the Jewish People

This year, on Pentecost Sunday (May 19th), millions of believers around the world will be joining in a Global Day of Prayer for the Jewish World. During 10 Days Pentecost (May 9-19), hundreds of locations are joining in 10 Days of Prayer for the Middle East and Israel.

On this occasion, I wanted to share both why we should pray for Israel and the Jewish people, and how to have our hearts transformed so we can pray effectively. I’ll be drawing out three principles from Romans chapters 9-11.

God’s Heart Longs for the Jewish People to be Saved

There’s something special about your firstborn child. While parents love all their children, the firstborn holds a special, enduring place in their hearts. God the Father calls the nation of Israel His firstborn son. So, we can imagine His anguish of heart over their rejection of Him.

Think about it from God’s perspective. After thousands of years of preparation and prophecy, He sent His only begotten Son to be the Messianic King and savior of the nation of Israel, and through them, to bless all the nations of the earth. And yet, in their moment of visitation, the majority of the nation rejected the very Messiah they were longing to see. Thousands of years of preparation were seemingly squandered. Tragically, most missed their hour of visitation.

In Romans 9:1-5, the Apostle Paul shares his heart for unbelieving Jews, which reflects the heart of God.

Click HERE for a PRAYER GUIDE for the 24 Hour Prayer for Israel this weekend:

PRAYER GUIDE INTRO:

Global Day of Prayer for the Jewish World
May 18 (8pm JT) – May 19 (8pm JT). 2024

Repentance unto a John 10 – Sensitivity to the Voice of the Good Shepherd

1) ENCOUNTER
Pray for the LORD to deepen all believers’ desire for Jewish people to come to an encounter with Yeshua (Jesus), their Messiah, the True and Good Shepherd. Romans 10:1, Romans 11:25-27, Ezekiel 34:11-16, John 10:14-16

2) UNDERSTANDING
Pray the nations would understand the depth of God’s zeal for Zion. Isaiah 60:12, Isaiah 62:1-7, Zechariah 8:1-3.

3) HUMILITY
Pray for a spirit of humility and fear of God in the body of Christ, repent for hardness of heart, arrogance, and ignorance toward the Jewish people. Romans 11:18, 20, 25

4) RETURN
Pray for the Jewish people to return to the LORD, and for the veil to be taken away so they may see Yeshua’s lovingkindness toward them. 2  Corinthians 3:16, Joel 2:12-13

5) REVELATION
Ask the LORD to pour out a spirit of grace and supplication so that many will see Yeshua, mourn for Him, having a full revelation of His lovingkindness, everlasting mercy, and desire to comfort them. Zechariah 12:10, Zechariah 13:1, Isaiah 40:1, Hosea 14

6) FORGIVENESS
Pray for Israel to repent (teshuvah) and for God’s promise of forgiveness to be fulfilled. Isaiah 1:18, Isaiah 9:2, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Micah 7:18-20, Ezekiel 36:22-38 (heart of flesh and the indwelling Spirit)

7) DELIGHT
Pray for the Jewish people to delight in the LORD alone. Psalm 37:4, 39-40, Isaiah 55:6-7

8) SHALOM
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6

9) PASSION
Pray for all believers to have from the LORD a spirit of remembrance and conviction for God’s desire for Jerusalem. Psalm 137:4-6, Zechariah 2:8, 12, Psalm 48:1-3, Zechariah 1:26, Zechariah 8:3, Psalm 132:13-14

10) SECURE
Pray for Israel’s borders to be secure and for Jerusalem and the land to be protected from being divided. Joel 3:2 Revival unto a John 15 Abiding Intimacy with Yeshua (Jesus)

11) POWER
Pray for believers to be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit within, that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith; that they being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ, that they may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

12) WISDOM
Pray believers are filled with God’s will, wisdom, and understanding to live lives worthy of Him and to bear fruit in every good work. Colossians 2:6-7

13) AWAKENING
Praying for the outpouring of the Spirit upon the people of Israel and for a youth awakening to the character, plans, and purposes of God.. Isaiah 44:3-5, Joel 2:28-32

14) SHARE
Pray for believers to share the gospel boldly and its saving power with everyone, Jewish people first and the Gentiles also, so they have opportunity to believe. May we be filled with urgency for those who are in darkness and unrepentant. Romans 1:16, 2 Peter 3:9

15) WATCHMEN
Pray that God would post watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and she becomes a praise on the earth! Isaiah 62:1, 6-7, Isaiah 19:23-25

16) LABORERS
Pray for God to send forth laborers like the apostle Paul to proclaim the gospel for a revelation of Messiah. Romans 11:13-14, Matthew 9:36-39, Romans 1:16

17) PROVOKE
Pray that Gentile believers will live with such love and sincerity, concern and joy that they provoke Israel to jealousy.. Romans 11:11 Restoration unto a John 17 Unity, Oneness and Love

18) MESSIAH
Pray for the Jewish people to know their Messiah, Yeshua, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 53, Micah 5:2, Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 23:37-39, John 19:6

19) CALL
Pray for Jewish people to call on the LORD, the Creator, the Holy One and be saved. Romans 10:12-13, Isaiah 44:24, John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:16

20) GLORY
Pray for God’s favor to shine on His people and His glory to be seen on them. Isaiah 60:1-2

21) RESTORATION
Pray for the restoration of the Tabernacle of David – for worship saturated day and night prayer to arise throughout the earth longing for God to fulfil His word. Malachi 1:11, Amos 9:11-12, Isaiah 62:6-7

22) PRAISE
Pray for Jerusalem to be a praise on the earth. Isaiah 62:6-7

23) UNITY
Pray for protection for believers in Israel and that the body of Messiah would be in unity and their love for Him and for one another would reveal Yeshua (Jesus). John 17:11, 23

24) JESUS
Pray for the Spirit and the Bride to be continually crying, “Come, Lord Jesus,” who is the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. Revelation 22:16-21

More info and resources: www.pentecost.world

I SEEK FIRST YOUR KINGDOM

I seek first Your Kingdom
I pray that Your will be done in me
Start with me

I want to surrender
Obey You in everything You say
I will obey

Oh take me completely
You fill my life so sweetly
Christ be exalted
Glorified and praised everyday

Jesus, Prince of Peace
Take Your rightful place and release
Your Spirit upon me
Oh, lead me in Your will and Your grace

 

c) Sharon Jane, 2015 www.livingstream.net

Humility.

The answer to arguably the biggest problem we face: Pride.

Pride rebels against God.
It deceives us.
Is stops us facing our sin.
It divides and isolates.

Humility opens the way to receive Truth.
It softens hearts.
It brings gratefulness.
It makes us more forgiving and compassionate.
It positions us to carry authority.
It is the true basis for boldness to face every evil without fear.

“... Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility and subject yourselves to one another; for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:5b-7 WEBBE‬

‭But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Be subject therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
James 4:6-10 WEBBE‬

 

Sharon Jane

www.livingstream.net

What is the Meaning of Life?

To love God and enjoy Him forever. We were born to praise Him! Everything we go through in this life is preparing us to praise and worship Him forever. When we realize that it really changes everything! We live for the eternal and we see that everything that happen here in this life has a purpose. Jesus gives us eternal life full of joy. Every tear wiped away.

I wrote this song in 2016. This recording is a simple demo at home. I hope to record professionally one day. I pray you are blessed and encouraged by the video.

BORN TO WORSHIP

Born to worship
Born to praise You
Born to love You, Lord
Born to live with You forevermore
Forevermore

And I’ll praise You
every breath that I take, Oh Lord
Praise You
every moment I wake, Oh Lord
Praise You every night
And each day, Oh Lord
I’ll praise You Lord
Forevermore

Born of Spirit
Born of water
Born of holy fire
Born to carry love beyond this life
Beyond this life

And we’ll praise You
as You come back again. Oh Lord
Praise You
as You take us back home, Oh Lord
Praise You in eternity’s love, Oh Lord
We’ll praise You Lord forevermore
Forevermore, Oh
Forevermore

(c) Sharon Jane, 2016

Thoughts about the Freedom and maturity of a life of Forgiveness Developed in the Presence of the Lord.

There is a chasm between how we feel in our hurt, a sense of betrayal or shock, in contrast to what Jesus teaches us.

In Matt 6:11-15 The Lord’s prayer makes it clear that God can only forgive our sins to the extent we forgive others.

Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt 6:11-15

This is a sobering reality, also reflected in John 20: 20-23 when Jesus challenges His disciples to go and forgive others their sins, just as He asked His Father to forgive us all of our sins for we know not what we do,  after Jesus had just experienced the agony of being nailed to the cross.

Some key questions ‘Divorce Care’ Session 10 unpacks (see:  divorcecare.org)  

The hurt one is feeling, can make forgiveness feel impossible and underserved. Your feelings are understandable, but forgiveness is essential for your own healing and to avoid the trap of bitterness.  Learn ways to forgive and to truly let go so that you can move forward.

The longer we hold onto the pain, we can hinder and complicate our healing process. The reality is that the sooner we can surrender the other person who has hurt us to the Lord in forgiveness, the more benefit it is to you.

If we do not forgive, there are some real and serious long-term consequences that we see in Matthew 18:22-35

However, when we’re asked the question: Are you willing to be willing to forgive? This can be a very costly decision emotionally to let go of our altar of offence and self-defence and protection. But it is so realising when see that we are not ‘letting them off the hook at all? The father is working with each one of us.

Biblical forgiveness releases us from the right and craving to retaliate – Dr Ramon Presson.

John Bevere in his book, ’The Bait of Satan’, unpacks how the ‘altar of offense’ can deeply impact the state of our mind, heart and emotions leading us to be deceived into believing false perspectives.  As we mentally reach out to others in Jesus’ name the Lord can heal us. He lifts from us our burdens, as we chose to obey God’s word and receive ‘Jesus grace to  forgive’. Matt 6:11-15

This is so we too, might be forgiven. It’s important we realise that as we surrender our demand for justice, this does not let the other person off with no consequences, we simply surrender them into God’s hands as Jesus taught His disciples the first time He appeared to them after His resurrection, for them to be set free in John 20:20-23

We might find it a healing process to journal our feelings and experiences. Then to turn our thoughts into prayers to the Lord. We can ask Him to release us from the consequences of our unforgiveness and various anger and hurt ‘coping mechanisms’ and self- defensive reactions. It can be very tempting to hold onto old grudges and learned behaviours which block us from feeling the pain.

Let us ask Jesus for His Grace to receive His Holy Spirit and as our helper, to guide us to receive His divine perspective of Truth to process any unresolved trauma and grief. We can then look at how much Jesus has forgiven us personally at the cross, fulfilling the new covenant through the price of His shedding His sinless blood for us. Let us allow the Lord Jesus to heal us and give us His grace gift of Faith to move towards the decision to forgive with thankfulness of in our hearts for all Jesus has forgiven us for. That way Jesus can forgive our sins and any negative words, as we surrender the burden of it all to the Lord. If we do not allow Jesus to heal us we can remain stuck.

Some common traps:

When our reactions of bitterness become our identity. This is not what Jesus intended for us and is from the evil one.

When forgiving the other feels really ‘unfair’ and counter intuitive, where there is deep disgust or rejection involved.

Not putting healthy boundaries in place between you the person hurting or abusing your trust, as you stay in denial.

Be alert ask questions, how has this been affecting me spiritually, in my soul and body?

Where incidents are repeated, the power of proclaiming ‘Blessing ‘over the person who has been cursing us can be releasing, ending any payback cycles. Rom 12:14-21, Heb 13:20-21.

When you forgive, it means that you no longer require the other person to ‘pay’ for what they’ve done or said and you cancel the debt they owe you knowing that God will deal with them. James 3:13-18; 4:1-12

The Healing process starts when we choose to no longer express hurt as anger but acknowledge our feelings and express our hurt as the hurt that it is, but not in an aggressive way.
Rom 12:18 states, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you…live at peace with everyone. 

It is powerful declaring God’s Promises:

Heb 8:12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and forgive their sins, and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Oh the goodness of God!

Ps 103:1-6

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He [a]knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is [b]gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You [c]ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Footnotes Psalm 103:14 Understands our constitution Psalm 103:16 not Psalm 103:21 servants

 

Jesus desires that we refocus off the other person to seek the healing face of Jesus for our own woundedness, generational sin patterns and heart issues to come into alignment with Him and His Word.

We seek God as to His personal Rhema Word of breakthrough and comfort for us. He desires to heal us so that we will grow, to overcome and learn to thrive despite the trials, challenges and broken heart issues we’ve had. Isa 53; 61:1-4

This healing process leads us to ask questions: What steps can I take to really forgive from the heart, to heal and grow and walk like Jesus as His Disciples, constantly letting go of offence?

God’s way forward.
– We need to recognise that Jesus waits for us to respond to His presence near us. He desires to show us our next steps, as we come to him as a child of Jesus Jer 29:11-14

– To come to find Him. He longs to fill us with His Holy Spirit and resurrection life. Also, He desires that we bring all these burdens to Him and lean on His way forward, not our own understanding. Matt 11:28-30, Prov 3:5-8; 4:20-27.

Jesus gives us the grace to choose…….to walk through the Ps 23 valley of suffering and to come out into His Victory………

To release the other person in forgiveness into the blessings of all the Lord’s has for their lives, their callings and relationships.’

A Great Book for Breakthrough is the “Grumble Fast and the Gratitude Feast” by Ruth Webb

The God Who Speaks

by: Rev. Peter Fast, National Director, Bridges for Peace Canada

Download the PDF Version HERE

From Bridges of Peace

For many Christians, the events which culminated in the Israelite Exodus from Egypt and the thunder of Sinai may bring images to mind of Charlton Heston as Moses or inspire awe at the magnitude of the impressive display of thunder, rushing wind and fire enveloping the mountain. Or perhaps what captures our focus is how Moses’s face shone, the inscribing of the commandments or God’s voice quaking from the mountain (Exod. 20:18–21). The events at Sinai highlight God’s holiness and power, and move us deeply.

At Sinai, we see God’s character of covenantal relationship and His promises to the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ps. 105:7–11)—on full display as the tribes became a nation (Exod. 19:6; Deut. 7:6). However, something profoundly significant occurs behind the scenes of the Exodus and Sinai account that Christians in the 21st century rarely understand. This profound significance would have deeply impacted the Hebrews as they stood at the base of the mountain. They didn’t just see erupting fire and wind or hear a voice. Recall that they had already experienced the outpouring of God’s wrath upon Egypt in ten plagues and had miraculously passed through the Red Sea. This significance was something far deeper than simply being awestruck by supernatural wonders. What they experienced ran contrary to everything represented within the pagan world.

The Ultimate Voice

The Hebrews did not just hear a voice from the mountain. They heard and saw the ultimate voice! The source of the voice was the LORD God of their forefathers who shared no power with any other god (Exod. 20:1–6; Deut. 6:4–5). His revelation to the Hebrews delivered another earth-shattering reality. The God of Israel was a relational God, full of steadfast love and mercy (chesed), as described in the magnum opus of God’s name (Exod. 34:6–7). So, what exactly did it mean for the people of Israel to actually hear the voice of God and learn His name (YHVH, the unspeakable name of God)? Contrast this against the entire paradigm of the pagan world from which they had just emerged after living as slaves for generations.

The ancient pagan world was shrouded in darkness. It was believed that all of creation, including mankind, had been created as slaves to the deities, to exist in a perpetual state of servitude. With this belief, mankind saw deity in everything, and the magnificence of nature drew them into worshiping creation and electing gods and goddesses who supposedly held power, influence and control over the forces of nature. Dennis Prager’s commentary on Exodus states:

“It is thoroughly understandable that human beings would worship nature. In this world, nature, after all, is everything. But nature, unlike the God of Torah [Gen.–Deut.], is amoral, and therefore unworthy of worship. Whereas God is preoccupied with good and evil and with justice, nature has no interest in any of them.”

Pagan Understanding

The pagans, in an attempt to make sense of their world and confront the unpredictable power of nature, created mythologies of the polytheism they were immersed in. These mythologies represented actual life for them, not fairy tales, and were taught and believed as answers to how the cosmos and the world operated. The deities even reflected and behaved as humanity behaved—sometimes worse. Ancient Near Eastern scholar John Walton states, “The mythology of both Mesopotamia and Egypt makes clear that the gods had origins. They exist[ed] in familial relationships, and there are generations of gods.” Walton continues:

“It would be difficult to discuss with ancients the concept of divine intervention because in their worldview, deity was too integrated into the cosmos to intervene in it. For the most part, deity is on the inside, not the outside. The world was suffused with the divine. All experience was religious experience; all law was spiritual in nature; all duties were duties to the gods; all events had deity as their cause.”

However, these deities were distant, indifferent to the needs of humanity, and did not convey their minds, wills or desires to humanity, let alone show love to humans. Instead, what was required was for humans to divine the will of the gods in order to placate them. For if the gods held absolute power over nature and human affairs, then how was one to discern the will of the gods from prosperous times of plenty juxtaposed to violent natural events such as earthquakes, flooding or famine? Thus, oracles, priests, diviners and magicians took center stage in order to discern the will of the gods so the nation could survive (Exod. 7:11; 1 Sam. 28:7–20; Dan. 2:1–3).

These “intercessors” employed incantations, laid offerings before idols, administered sacred spaces with temples, held festivals, sacrificed animals and took notice of natural signs. Priests would go into drug-induced trances to hear from the gods, believed that certain prophets could be possessed by deities, and inspected animal livers, hearts and intestines for divine signs. They would sometimes harm themselves (1 Kings 18:28) or make music and dance in an effort to gain the deities’ attention. It was believed that deities did not speak with people. The only possible way to know the mind of the gods was through supernatural signs, which could only be deciphered by a professional “intercessor.”

This left people in a state of constant underlying fear, disconnect, hopelessness and vulnerability. The gods could bless an individual one moment, and then torment him the next. Take, for example, the Neo-Assyrian prayer, “A Prayer to Every God.” Walton explains:

“The worshiper is seeking to appease a deity from anger over an offense that the worshiper presumably committed. There are only two problems: He does not know which god is angry, and he does not know of anything he has done wrong. He therefore addresses each confession he makes to ‘the god I know or do not know, the goddess I know or do not know.’”

The worshiper’s frustration, so clearly evident in the prayer, should appeal to our sympathy. “I would constantly seek (for help) but no one would help me. I cried but they did not approach me…I am distressed; I am alone; I cannot see” (cf. Acts 17:23). Walton continues:

“This is the plight of those who live in a world without revelation. In the end, for all of their conscientious ritual, they did not know what [the] deity wanted—they could only adhere to tradition and ride out the storm.”

The Power in a Name

Names in the ancient world were associated and tied to role, function and identity. We see this throughout Scripture and certainly with the God of Israel (Exod. 34:6–7). For Christians, it’s wonderful to know that even the name Jesus (Yeshua) means “the Lord is Salvation.” Yet in the ancient pagan world, many of the names of the deities were only pseudonyms, for the gods kept their distance and refused to give their true names for fear that mankind would be able to control or manipulate them.

Again, the problem with the pagans was that their gods did not speak to them. There was no relational voice, comfort, love, hope, justice or salvation to be heard, just empty silence in a wild world as diviners channelled the gods and brought back abstract messages. The God of the Bible, however, presents the complete opposite reality. The God of Israel reveals Himself (cf. Gen. 12:1–3) and literally gives His word through men who are led by His Spirit (2 Peter 1:19–21).

For the Hebrews, after four centuries in Egypt, immersed in a pagan world where gods controlled everything from the Nile River, the sun, moon and crops, as well as existed in everything such as frogs, cats, crocodiles, cattle—the events leading up to Sinai were titanic. Naturally, the Hebrews could recall the God of their forefathers. Even Joshua, much later at the renewal of the covenant at Shechem, reminded the Israelites of this fact prior to entering the Promised Land (Joshua 24).

God’s Faithfulness Revealed

Had God still cared for His people whilst they served the Egyptians as slaves? Would He rescue them? Would He speak to them? Or had He become like the gods of Egypt, silent and indifferent to their pain and suffering? The pagans believed gods were ranked strongest to weakest. Pharoah, after all, was a “son of Ra,” so maybe the God of the Hebrews was not as powerful as He had come across to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? All of this would be answered at Sinai.

At Sinai God thundered and revealed His faithfulness. He had saved them from Egypt, and through Moses’s leadership, He gathered them at the base of the mountain. God called to Moses from the mountain, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” (Exod. 19:3b–4). God’s love is abounding. He shows His faithfulness to the nation, His covenant people, whom He describes as a “special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine” (Exod. 19:5; cf. 1 Chron. 17:21).

The entire Hebrew nation witnessed the power and majesty of the God they served. They saw His mighty acts and heard His voice. They learned His Name (Exod. 3:14) and were given His commandments (Exod. 20) in which to know the will of their beloved and that they served a Holy God. He reflects justice and love. He is absolute holiness and perfection. He is Father! He shares no power with other “deities,” as revealed clearly in the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exod. 20:3).

God’s Power, Holiness And Love

The Hebrews were reminded that the LORD is holy (kadosh), and the people must treat His holiness seriously and be clean before Him (Lev. 11:44–45). God even instructed Moses to set boundaries around the mountain while His presence came down, lest the people “break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish” (Exod. 19:21). When God spoke, it completely eclipsed anything they had ever experienced in pagan Egypt. The Hebrews were overwhelmed and terrified at the display as they cried out for Moses to intercede (Exod. 20:18–21).

At Sinai, God upheld the promise He gave to Abraham and the covenant He cut (see Genesis 15). He forbade a graven image (Exod. 20:4–5). He spoke to the entire nation of Israel through Moses, and they beheld His presence and power. Then God literally led them to the Promised Land by cloud and fire. The echo of the Torah (Gen.–Deut.) and prophets right through to the Writings of the Apostles (NT) is that the God of Israel will defeat evil, restore the world, redeem Israel and the nations, be worshipped by the nations and eradicate all ungodly worship of other deities. However, at Sinai, amidst His faithful covenant-keeping nature, God revealed His unchanging, everlasting, steadfast love for His people Israel. “And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth’” (Exod. 34:6).

See the full message HERE on Bridges for Peace

Bibliography

Arnold, Bill T. and Brent A. Strawn ed. The World Around the Old Testament: The People and Places of the Ancient Near East. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016.

Block, Daniel I. Covenant: The Framework of God’s Grand Plan of Redemption. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021.

Brown, Francis, S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs. The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979.

Green, Jay P. ed. The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English. USA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1984.

Hawkins, Ralph K. Discovering Exodus: Content, Interpretation, Reception. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2021.

Keel, Othmar. The Symbolism of the Biblical World: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Book of Psalms. Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1997.

Prager, Dennis. The Rational Bible: Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom. USA:Regnery Faith, 2018.

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. The Stone Edition Tanach: Artscroll. Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, 2010.

Walton, John H. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018.

Walton, John H. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. USA: IVP Academic, 2009.

Our Worship Song for the Week:

The Power of Your Love   Song by Hillsong Worship
 

Ps Jeff’s Special Today:  “Failure to hallow Almighty God.” 

Today’s issue is failure to hallow Almighty God. Moses and Aaron failed to be allowed entry into the Promised Land by failing to believe and obey His instructions, failing to hallow God: Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:12). 

His instructions have to be followed. It’s is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1,2). 

To get to that place of love for Almighty God, first repent to join His Kingdom, thereby receive the Holy Spirit, and then display His fruits worthy of repentance. The first fruit is LOVE! (Galatians 5:22) !

Ephesians 6:5-7 shows us how to obey and lovingly serve others, as to the Lord, not men: Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men….

Being candid with yourself and the Holy Spirit, is there any remnant of your old pattern, pursuing your own agenda instead of obeying the Lord and thus hallowing Him? Is there any old vow you made in this area that now needs to be removed? Do you think this is only applicable to Moses and Aaron years ago? Do you have any residue of a residue of this issue for such a time as this? Was it connected to your upbringing as a child? Was it a family pattern in any way?

God bless you as you seek His Holy Spirit Wisdom and Comfort on this issue. May you go forward on His path, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

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Bible Verse of the Day

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.