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Daily devotional

April 16 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the calling of God

“Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” - Exodus 3:10 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10 The burning bush not only speaks to the holiness and mercy of God, but also to God’s calling of Moses. The revelation of holiness and mercy, in fact, leads to the revelation of one’s calling. Revere My holiness and mercy as I call you into My service. Revelation readies us for obedience. That happens all the time in everyday life. Think about how many things we do better when we have someone’s backing or when we do so out of respect. God does not tell us to be ready and willing to serve Him without first telling us why. God does not make us guess as to who He is or how He cares for us. He tells it plainly. I am great, holy and powerful; in mercy you can count on Me. So, serve Me; serve Me well. To his shame, Moses was not yet ready to serve the Lord readily and willingly. Thankfully, Jesus never had that problem. “I have come to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). Jesus knew that when he would do God’s will perfectly, God would not let Him see decay (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27). For Jesus’ sake, we too can serve in God’s kingdom in a spirit that imitates our Saviour. A self-serving world is no motivator to Christian service. What overcomes such a self-serving example are eyes open to the marvels of God’s holiness and mercy to us in Jesus Christ, which spurs a selfless attitude of gratitude to the Lord. Suggestions for prayer Be in prayer thankfully for the marvels God has shown you in Jesus Christ. Pray that the Lord might use those marvels to spur you on to love and good deeds. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 15 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the mercy of God

“He looked and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” - Exodus 3:2 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10 The fiery bush speaks to the holiness of God, but also to the mercy of God. For Moses’ sake and for our sake in Christ, we can be exceedingly glad for this. God is holy and we are not, yet we are not consumed. We can see ourselves in the burning-bush event as unconsumed, celebrating God’s mercy to us through faith in Christ. What made the bush unusual was not that it was burning, but that it was burning and not being consumed. Scripture does indeed speak of God as a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29), but here the fire does not consume. When you think about what Israel and Moses had been enduring, such a bush is a fitting sight. Israel was God’s chosen people, treated differently than other nations so as not to be consumed like other nations, but not because of anything deserving about her. Such a non-consumption is how it is for God’s covenant people, both in the Old Testament days and now in the New Testament days. Hebrews 12 says that kingdoms of the world will not last, but the kingdom of Christ, to which we belong through faith and grace, will not be consumed because of the grace of God and the righteousness of Christ. This is the joy of the gospel, for before the holy face of God, we all deserve to be consumed, but by the wondrous mercy of God through the crucified Christ we can confess that we are not. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to the Lord for the marvellous mercies of God, who consumed your sins in Christ so that you need not be consumed. Pray for an ever-increasing devotion to serve your Saviour well, given the marvels of His grace. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 14 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the holiness of God

“Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”” - Exodus 3:5 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10  These commands refer to “holy ground.” This area had become the house of God, His sanctuary, because He was dwelling there. In this sanctuary, God had made ground that was unclean, clean. God had cursed the ground in Genesis 3:17. In this event, however, God overcomes the curse by His very holiness. He can sanctify what would otherwise be perverse. Moses was called to respect that restored sanctity. Such a sense of sanctity and godly respect are to extend to farther ends for the followers of Christ today, where “holy ground” is found wherever God’s Spirit-inhabited people worship and work; both are realms of holy endeavour. As temples of God’s Spirit, our bodies are to be respected in a stewardly and chaste way as well. In all places and things, God’s people are called to godly respect for Christ’s sake—a respect that goes lacking in much of our world today. We are called to respect what God has given us to use for His glory. We are called to respect authority for the sake of Christ Who endows it. We are to respect the time that we have been given and to approach all our callings as holy and pleasing to God, which is our spiritual worship. As we live reverentially, we do so, anticipating the return of Christ, Who will make all things new and holy unprecedentedly. “Respect My holiness,” says the Lord, “wherever you go, and certainly whenever you gather to worship to hear My Word.” Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the various ways in which you can carry out holy endeavours in His name and thank the Lord for His Spirit’s presence in your life that allows such holy endeavours to take place. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 13 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the holiness of God

“Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”” - Exodus 3:5  Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10 Moses sees an unusual sight, a burning bush that is not consumed. He comes closer, only to hear the Word of God coming forth from the bush urgently telling him to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground. In those days, as is often the case today, people did not wear their shoes indoors. It was a matter of respect, of cleanliness, because your shoes were carrying in dirt from the outside. However, Moses is not inside, but outside. Yet, Moses is asked to take off his shoes for where Moses stands has now become a sanctuary; God is present. Shoes are removed out of respect for the person whose house you entered—even more so for the sake of God, Whose sanctuary Moses was entering. Without a respect for the person and Word of the Lord, we will not be ready and willing to serve Him. Such respect is missing from much of our world today. People’s actions today of impurity, discontent and destruction betray their irreverence for God. God demands and deserves our reverence. Whenever He meets with His people to supply His gospel Word, that is a holy place. Wherever people are, that is a place where they ought to live as if they are in the holy presence of God, for they are. When we know Christ as Saviour and Lord, such reverence makes us respect every moment as a holy endeavour before God, which is what makes life worth living. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to help you appreciate the holy act of worship all the more and to be more sensitive to the Christian ideal that we live Coram Deo—in the presence of God. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 12 - God prepares a deliverer: A lesson from Midian

“She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”” - Exodus 2:22  Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 In Midian, we again see Moses’ tie with the past. Isaac received a wife after an episode at a well (Genesis 24). So did Jacob (Genesis 29). Moses increasingly is identified with God’s people and his forefathers—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By grace, God was blessing Moses in Midian, equipping him with power, hospitality, and providing a wife and a son. Israel, in Exodus 1, knew similar blessings. God’s deliverer identifies with his brothers. Exodus 22:21 says that Israel was to treat the sojourner with respect because they too were aliens in Egypt. Moses has no land to call his own so God can use him to save His people. Moses pictures Jesus Christ, Who had no place to lay His head, humbled to the point of crucifixion. No one can relate to us like Christ, tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin, so that we can seek Him out in time of need. If we follow Christ, we too are aliens and strangers in a world that is alienated from Christ. We know God blesses us now, but the lasting and greater blessings are yet to come, lest we get cozy with the passing things of this world. We do not see perfection yet, but we know it is coming, so we are content to be strangers now, called to a holy life of faith in Christ as lights to the world, salt to the earth, as reflections of the Light of the world Himself. Suggestions for prayer Be thankful if you find that your different life in Christ is shining forth as a light to the world. Pray that the Lord will use you to be a difference in the world and that you will be ready to give an account of the hope within you to anyone who asks. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 11 - God prepares a deliverer: Lessons from Egypt

“When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian.” - Exodus 2:15  Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 Another lesson of Egypt is that what man means for evil, God will use for good. In our passage, we see other ties back to Genesis. Moses’ situation resembles that of Joseph. Joseph goes out to his actual brothers (Genesis 37) and is rejected by them. Moses goes out to his “brothers,” and he is rejected by them. Joseph is exiled to Egypt by Midian traders (Genesis 37:25-36), while Moses is “exiled” to Midian by the hand of the Egyptians. Yet both Joseph and Moses experience final victory in Egypt. Here again, we see the tie to the past of Genesis as a foretaste of the victory that God will bring about in due time. What is meant for evil God will turn to good. Such is true for Joseph, for Moses, for Christ and for all those who are in Christ. We have to cling to such hope in evil times. God will work it all out. He always does. He always has and we see it no better than at the cross of Jesus Christ. That’s why there is always gospel hope. That is why there is always good news for those who follow Christ. Part of what makes the gospel such good news is not only that we are reconciled and redeemed by Christ, but that the transformation that He has accomplished for us as Christians is of such a nature that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Suggestions for prayer Recall times when God has worked evil in your life for good and give thanks to the Lord for such times. Pray to the Lord for the consoling vision to see how God will work out all things in your life for His glory and your good, so that hope may reign even more in your life. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 10 - God prepares a deliverer: Lessons from Egypt

“Who made you a prince and a judge over us?” - Exodus 2:14 Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 Another lesson for Moses was to suffer as a deliverer. Moses will get used to rebukes and opposition when he becomes the leader and deliverer of God’s people. Even if Moses went ahead of himself in killing the Egyptian as he did, he was right to intervene to bring peace and order among those who were part of God’s covenant people. But as with this rebuke of Moses, the people of Israel in the future will be quick to speak, slow to listen and quick to become angry with Moses, like a rebellious mob. Such a rebellious, mob-like attitude is what brought Christ to the cross and it is an attitude that prevails today among those who have not come to know the peace of God in their lives. Such a life knows nothing but chaos. Moses came to his own people and they did not receive him—that was not to their advantage. Christ also came to His own and they did not receive Him. Christ comes to people who have grown up in the church and they do not receive Him. No matter who we are, if we don’t receive Christ, our life will be as chaotic as a mob scene. But to those who do receive Christ, who believed on His name, He gave the right to become children of God, born of God (John 1:12). Those who receive Him will know the peace of God and peace with God. Many are missing such peace. Suggestions for prayer On this day of worship—which may be a day where you hear the shouts of hosanna: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” thank God for the coming of His Son and the peace He has brought to your life. Pray that many more may come to a lasting peace with God. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 9 - God prepares the deliverer: Lessons in Egypt

“He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” -  Exodus 2:12  Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 In our passage, God is preparing Moses to be the deliverer of His people by what Moses does, whether good or bad. As we are called to be like Christ in our lives, we can be grateful that we can learn from our failings and rely on God all the more. Moses learns many lessons in Egypt. One of them is that the ends do not justify the means. Moses has a compassion for the people to whom he actually belongs. Such compassion is commendable—we can learn from that. Moses wants to fill a need, but he tried to fill it outside of God’s will and timing. Moses is deceptive like Jacob. Such deception does not honour the Lord. Moses is taking the deliverance of God’s people into His own hands, rather than waiting for God’s timing that arrives in verse 23. Taking matters into our own hands is not to be the character of God’s people who were called to use godly means for godly ends. Such was not Christ’s way for His people and such is not to be the way for us. If good things happen to those who wait, certainly this is the case for all of God’s people called to a godly patience today. Don’t go ahead of God and take matters sinfully into your own hands for God will work all to your good when you are in Christ through faith. Suggestions for prayer Pray for pardon if you are not valuing God’s timing in your life. Pray that the Lord might help you to wait patiently and obediently for God to supply your needs in due time. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 8 - God prepares deliverance through an unlikely rescuer

“When opened , she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him…” - Exodus 2:6 Scripture reading: Exodus 2:1-10 God’s deliverance includes an unlikely rescuer. Pharaoh’s daughter delivers baby Moses, the future deliverer. Pharaoh is cruel, but Pharaoh’s daughter shows pity. God often uses the unlikely to accomplish His ends. Some people know it; others do not. Often the ignorant are in lofty positions, like Pharaoh’s daughter who unexpectedly does not follow the cruelty of her father. God often uses the unexpected to declare His greatness and to stress His grace. Those who oppose Him the most, as often depicted, are but means that the Lord uses to accomplish His purposes. Pharaoh is foiled by his own daughter in God’s plans. God has used Caesar Augustus, Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate—the powerful and the influential, to fulfill His plans. They may counsel against God, but God laughs from heaven (Ps. 2:4). God can use many or a few to accomplish His purposes. He can shame the strong with the weak, the wise with the simple. He can make us strongest when we are weakest as we lean on Him. Christ becomes poor for our sake so that we can become rich. He humbles Himself on the road to glory. Christ’s cross of shame becomes the Christian’s glory unto salvation as God displays His power at Golgotha. This is why the gospel is so often foolishness to the Gentile and a stumbling block to the Jew. God uses the unexpected for His purposes. God uses us this way as well by His grace in Jesus Christ. Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord that He is able to use all things, even the most influential to His saving purposes and the good of His people in Christ. Pray that the Lord will help you see His hand at work in the days in which you live, so that you might praise Him all the more. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 7 - God prepares deliverance through a special infancy

“When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.” - Exodus 2:3 Scripture reading: Exodus 2:1-10 The infancy of Moses is also special because Moses is placed in a basket—literally an “ark” lined with pitch and set in the Nile River. Our children know about Noah’s ark, but this is Moses’ ark. The same word that is used in Genesis 7:1 for “ark” is used here. Noah put pitch on his ark (Genesis 6:14), as did Moses’ mother on Moses’ ark. Another allusion to Genesis! God delivers His people through Noah, but Noah must survive a water ordeal for it to happen. Moses also survives a water ordeal; he is drawn from the water. In the end, he delivers God’s people from the waters of death. Also, Moses was laid by “reeds”, the same word that describes the Sea of “Reeds” through which the people went in Exodus 13:18. A remembrance of the past and an anticipation of the future are revealed here. God provides a deliverer who will take them through the waters of death in victory and rest over their enemies. Jesus undergoes death for His people and comes out alive so that He can be their deliverer. When we are in Christ through faith, we are buried with Him, dead to sin, but then made alive to Christ and righteousness. Through Him alone, we are delivered to everlasting rest. The special infancy of Moses led to the deliverance of God’s people. The special infancy of Christ led to a fuller deliverance, one that we can know through faith and await in certain hope. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the great deliverance that Christ has won for you. Pray that the Lord might fill your heart with the hope that the promised fullness of that deliverance provides. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 6 - God prepares deliverance through a special infancy

“Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.” - Exodus 2:1-2  Scripture reading: Exodus 2:1-10 Looking at the special infancy of Moses, we see that Moses’ mother “saw that he was a fine child” (v.3). Literally, she “saw that he was good.” Exodus 1 already alluded to Genesis, because Exodus continues the covenant revelation of Genesis. Genesis 1 speaks often of how God saw the good creation. Someone reading Hebrew wouldn’t miss the same refrain here, his mother “saw that he was good.” Why use this creation-type language? When God delivers, it is like a re-creation. In the flood event of Genesis, God uses creation terms as He delivers His people from judgment. The New Testament says that anyone who is in Christ Jesus is a new creation, the old has passed and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). We also await a new heaven and a new earth where there is complete deliverance for the people of God, the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). Here God prepares a deliverer associated with new beginnings, a new land, a new creation, if you will. This newness is part of what makes this infancy special. Moses will be used to deliver God’s people and bring them to a new land. He will be a saviour of sorts, picturing the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, the reason why we can live in hope of a new heaven and earth, and the reason we can be new creatures, saved and delivered by Christ, so we can serve God as His new creatures. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His transforming grace that makes us new creatures in Christ. Pray for the opportunities to display that new creation before a world in need of spiritual transformation. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 5 - God prepares deliverance through a special infancy

“Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.” - Exodus 2:1-2 Scripture reading: Exodus 2:1-10 Yesterday, we saw that God delivered through a special infancy. Part of what made that infant special was the times in which he was born—a time when male Hebrew infants were not allowed to exist. Pharaoh decreed that all the males should be thrown into the Nile River—considered a god of life, yet used for death. The river of life is used as a river of death by the one who wishes to destroy the covenant seed of the woman. The days of Exodus were anti-Christian days governmentally, but the parents of Moses did not let those days become reason to give up hope or faith, for the Almighty God had promised a deliverer. Hebrews 11:23 says that the parents of Moses hid Moses for three months and were not afraid of the king’s edict. They feared God rather than men, even as the midwives of Exodus 1 had done. Their assurance of things hoped for and their conviction of things not seen moved them to do the right thing. Things did not look good, but they still did not fear men more than the Almighty God of promise—to save, preserve and provide for His people. In essence, they were saying, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what shall man do to me?” Things may not always look good, but those things give no reason for us to trade in our fear of the Lord for the fear of men. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that we might find our peace with Him in Christ, and our peace in life through Him in Christ. Pray for the courage to place our reverence for God before our fear of others. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 4 - God prepares deliverance through a special infancy

“Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.” - Exodus 2:1-2 Scripture reading: Exodus 2:1-10 God’s plans prevail for His glory bringing hope to God’s people for deliverance. Here, God is preparing a deliverer for His people. God’s preparation for deliverance includes a special infancy. Two from the house of Levi marry. Their names are not as important as their lineage. Soon, the Levites were going to be priests mediating for God’s people before the Lord. Moses’ infancy is special in part because he would be a special instrument from the tribe of Levi used by God to deliver His people. This special servant and work would picture an even more special person and work—the greater priest and apostle over the house of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. In this special infancy and preparation, we get a foretaste of God’s desire to commune with His people through the priesthood. God’s plans to deliver His people are being made clearer, slowly but surely. Deliverance begins with small things, a birth of a child—but that seed blossoms to a grand deliverance from Egypt, a testimony to the power of God to overcome the powerful through weakness. In due time, an even grander deliverance would begin with a special birth, Christ the Lord, born to deliver His people from their sins. Our passage teaches, in part, that God will not leave His people without a deliverer, despite evil’s power. How thankful we can be for that truth. How thankful we can be when we find ourselves to be beneficiaries of this deliverance through faith in Christ. Suggestions for prayer Pray with thanks for the desire and the power of God to provide spiritual deliverance through the coming of Christ. Pray that the Lord would help you to glory in Him all the more for His sovereignty over evil and His sovereign grace at work in your life. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 3 - God’s promises prevail over evil

“But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.” - Exodus 1:17  Scripture reading: Exodus 1:8-22 Today is the day of worship for Christians. Worship is meant for the covenant God alone, but sinful humanity wants to substitute God for something else. Some make that object of worship the “princes” of this world—royalty, or other politicians. Often, such “princes” would oblige or even coerce the masses to such a state of worship. However, passages like ours remind us that we ought not to put such confidence in mere human potentates, simply because they are no match for the sole-worthy, covenant God. Ignorant and arrogant Pharaoh is being used by Satan as his instrument to try to kill off the covenant promise of God to bring a Redeemer. Pharaoh may not know Joseph, but he does know that he wants to keep what he considers his supremacy whatever cost. While the most powerful of kings seem to be able to do what they want, they are still subservient to the plans of God—Pharaoh’s plans are in fact foiled at every turn. He thinks he is great, but God is greater still and the only One worthy of worship. The midwives realize this and so must we. Whenever the kings of the earth take counsel against the Lord, it is all in vain. God has them in derision (Psalm 2:4). This vanity was so at the cross of Christ and continues to be so today. God alone is worthy of our worship for His plans alone prevail in Christ. May He, therefore, receive our worship today. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His sovereignty over the powers that be, and petition the Lord that He might fill your heart with the joy of worshiping Him well today on this Lord’s Day. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 2 - Signs of hope for succeeding generations

“But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.” - Exodus 1:7  Scripture reading: Exodus 1:1-14 Yesterday, we saw that time does not prevail over God’s promises in Christ; God’s promises prevail over our times. Faith and obedience are always contemporary callings from God’s Word. Today we see that God provides signs of hope so that we can trust His promises—even in adversity. One such sign for Israel was the blessing of children—a reminder of God’s covenant promises to bless all the nations of the world through His victory over evil. With every child born came hope for such a future, even in adversity. Pharaoh, who did not know covenant history, imposed slave labor upon the people of God out of fear and jealousy. Nevertheless, children continued to be born to God’s covenant people despite the despotic calling to the midwives to kill the baby boys (Exodus 1:16). Hope for the future flourished through covenant births. Oppression struck God’s people, but the signs of hope continued. For the sake of Christ, the promised deliverer, God blessed with children. For the sake of Christ, God still blesses with children. Births to covenant parents have always been viewed in Scripture as a reason for thanksgiving and hope. They point us to God’s covenant mercies in Christ. With births, Israel learned that despite evil’s power, the seed of the woman would crush evil’s head. God’s promise to bring a deliverer was going to come through the covenant line. Thanks to God’s promises of ultimate victory, hope need not die for the people of God. Good news! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the joy and blessing of covenant children and be in prayer for those children, that by God’s continued grace they might be used mightily for the sake of Christ as they grow and mature. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 1 - Introduction to the book of Exodus

This month we reflect on Exodus 1 to Exodus 6:13. These introductory chapters of Exodus can fill our days well with lessons on the relevant truths of God’s covenant promises, God’s prominence, God’s prevalence, God’s power, God’s mercy and God’s justice. The term “Exodus” literally means “the way out.” “Departure” describes “Exodus” well; Exodus reveals the departure of God’s people out of Egypt. People often conclude that the Old Testament Scriptures have little relevance for the New Testament church. However, all Scripture speaks to God’s covenant dealings with His people. Believers in Christ today, as God’s covenant people, can find relevance in all the Scriptures as they point to Christ and the calling to respond in penitence, faith and gratitude to God in Jesus Christ. Exodus is not just a remembrance of past events that carries no significance for the present. Exodus is very contemporary; it is a history lesson for upcoming generations, testifying to the God Whose covenant promises are “Yes” and “Amen” in Jesus Christ. This is a month where we take special time to reflect on the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Exodus helps us remember those pillars of the Christian faith. Moses points to the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ, Who becomes the ultimate Passover Lamb so that God can truly be the covenant God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God of the living. May you be edified by this devotional on Exodus—unto the praise of the covenant God of the living.  God's promises prevail throughout the generations “Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly…” - Exodus 1:6-7a  Scripture reading: Exodus 1:1-7 Exodus starts with the word “and,” which doesn’t show up in the English translation, but that little word expresses that the covenant plans of God are continuing to unfold. Exodus continues the covenant history of Genesis, deriving covenant-family history from Genesis. Exodus is a history lesson for upcoming generations. What is gleaned from the history of redemption is addressed to the present and the future. History lessons are for the young and for others who can learn about the past of which they are not aware. The first to read about this covenant history would have been those about to enter the promised land. Succeeding generations would also read this book, including our own—which reminds us that Scripture is not merely old or for the old. It speaks to those in the present, called to listen to and learn from the history of God’s covenant plans, ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In this family history, we read that new generations arose to take over for the old. As they did, it was their calling to carry on in covenant with God. The God of new generations was not a new God. It was the same God as the God of their spiritual forefathers. The generations had changed, but God’s promises had not. This history was not just to show that someone had a large family, it was to show that time does not prevail over God’s promises; God’s promises prevail over our times—ultimately in Christ. Good news! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His stable Word in unstable times and pray that many might come to appreciate that stability. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

March 31 - No enemy can stand in the way of our salvation in Christ

“And these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the people of Israel defeated on the west side of the Jordan. . . in all, thirty-one kings.” - Joshua 12:7, 24b Scripture reading: Joshua 12:7-24 Joshua 12:7-24 is a who’s who of ancient Canaan. It’s a list of thirty-one kings who challenged Israel, who tried to keep God from giving His people what He had promised them. One by one, Joshua defeated them, took possession of their land and gave it to Israel. That was a picture of Jesus’ victory over our enemies, which Paul records in Colossians 2: He disarmed the rulers and authorities, the demonic powers of hell and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in the cross. At present, says Hebrews 2:8, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. But the apostle John saw it in a vision in Revelation 11: then the seventh angel blew his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to You, Lord God Almighty, Who is and Who was, for You have taken Your great power and begun to reign” (Revelation 11:16-17). Jesus encourages us to live by faith in this promise so that we share in His victory: The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21). Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the historical record of the conquest of Canaan, knowing that through Joshua, God defeated Israel’s enemies, took their territory and gave it to Israel, because it prophesies the victory of the church, through Jesus Christ. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 30 - No enemy can stand in the way of our salvation in Christ

“Moses, the servant of the LORD, and the people of Israel defeated them. And Moses the servant of the LORD gave their land for a possession to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.” - Joshua 12:6  Scripture reading: Joshua 12:1-6  The chapter starts talking about Sihon and Og, two mighty kings with huge kingdoms on the eastern side of the Jordan outside the land of Canaan. When Israel was on the way to Canaan, they came to the border of their kingdoms and asked politely if they could pass through. But they attacked Israel and Israel defeated them by taking possession of their land. These events might not stand out for us in the history of Israel, but they’re quite prominent in the Bible. Judging by what Rahab and the Gibeonites said, everyone in Canaan was terrified because of what Israel had done to them. In Psalm 136, among all of the reasons why we should give thanks to the LORD, the psalmist mentions how God struck down Sihon and Og, and gave their land to Israel. The victories over Sihon and Og weren’t politically important, in the first place, but spiritually important. It was the offspring of the serpent against the offspring of the woman, trying to keep God from giving His people the inheritance He had promised them. We need to know what God did to Sihon and Og because the offspring of the serpent continues to oppose the offspring of the woman. Those mighty enemies show you that God will never let anyone or anything stand in the way of us receiving the inheritance that Christ has gained for us. We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to use God’s defeat of Sihon and Og to build up your faith, so that you may wrestle against “the rulers”, “the authorities”, “the cosmic powers over this present darkness” and “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”, in the strength that He provides. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 29 - The Arc de Triomphe

“Now these are the kings of the land whom the people of Israel defeated and took possession of their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arabah eastward. . . . And these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the people of Israel defeated on the west side of the Jordan.” -  Joshua 12:1,7  Scripture reading: Joshua 12 Even if we’ve never been to Paris to see the real thing, many of us have at least seen pictures of the Arc de Triomphe. It’s one of the landmarks of that city. It was commissioned by Napoleon, in imitation of the emperors of ancient Rome, who built more than fifty triumphal arches celebrating glorious victories. You could almost describe Joshua 12 as a kind of triumphal arch, a monument built in words, because it records the great victories of the first two Israelite generals, Moses and Joshua, for the same reason that those arches of the Roman Empire did. It doesn’t only mean to say, here are some things that happened in the past. It wants to make an impression; it wants to communicate a message that goes beyond just passing on the historical information. You can divide the book of Joshua into several parts. Chapter 12 closes off the first part of the book, which tells the story of Israel entering the Promised Land and conquering it. And the writer of Joshua closes off the story of the conquest of Canaan with this catalog of the cities that were conquered by Moses and Joshua in order to show that the conquest was complete. This record of Israel’s complete conquest of Canaan is a prophecy of the complete conquest of the world, when the God of peace crushes Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20), and the great Conqueror Jesus Christ establishes His eternal kingdom. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the promise, embodied in this passage, that Jesus will carry out a complete conquest of the world and on the day when His victory is complete, we will enjoy eternal rest and never be troubled by our enemies. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 28 - Victory through Joshua

“Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel . . . And the land had rest from war.” - Joshua 11:23a Scripture reading: Joshua 11:21-28 To hear the Holy Spirit tell it, you’d almost think Joshua defeated all Israel’s enemies singlehandedly. Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. Joshua was faithful to God; he was careful to follow all the law that Moses had commanded him. And he won the victory. Not even the Anakim, who were giants, who had terrified ten of the spies in Numbers 13, could stand before him. Who would have imagined, who would have believed, that Israel would ever conquer Canaan? Who would ever have imagined that they would ever possess the inheritance that God said He had prepared for them? They had been slaves in Egypt. And they were up against powerful enemies. Giants. But Joshua was faithful and through him, God gave them the victory. Joshua gave all the land for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war. That’s the gospel. It is for us. The Spirit highlights Joshua’s faithfulness and the victory that God gave him and the inheritance he gave Israel because they’re pictures and promises of the faithfulness and the victory of our Joshua. God gives us this picture and this promise to encourage us: Put all your trust in Joshua; follow Him. That’s the way that leads to salvation. That’s how you share in victory over your enemies, even sin and death and how you receive all the wonderful things that God has prepared for you. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the faithfulness of Jesus and for His victory over His enemies and ours in His death and resurrection. Pray that soon we will enjoy the rest that God promises when we receive the inheritance Jesus has won for us and go to live with Him in the new heaven and the new earth. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 27 - Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” - Psalm 46:1 Scripture reading: Psalm 46:1-11  We know that we’re not in control of what happens in our lives, or in the world. But in another way, we all feel like we can steer things in the right direction, that the way things go depends on what we do. We have an expectation that everything’s going to turn out the way it should like it does in our favourite stories. Maybe you feel like the ground is shifting under your feet right now; maybe God is making it clear to you, in one way or another, that you’re not in control. Things in your life and in the world might not turn out the way you think they should. It’s frightening. It’s disorienting. Psalm 46 says, Don’t be afraid, because as complicated as things may seem, as big a mess as you might feel you’re in, the almighty Creator, your faithful Father in heaven, is your refuge and strength. He will keep you safe. He will bring you where you need to be; He knows the way. Worship is a time for us to be reminded and to rejoice, that God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. He loves you in Jesus Christ; He is absolutely faithful; His promises are sure. “Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with their surging” (Psalm 46:2-3). Suggestions for prayer Thank God for a day of rest, in which you can hear the gospel, remember God’s work of salvation in song and confess your faith in Him, and, ask the Holy Spirit to make you thoughtful and attentive and intentional, so that you may genuinely worship Him and be encouraged to live in faith. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

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