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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....

Daily devotional

March 26 - Preserving in obedience by faith in the promises

“It was God’s will to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses.” - Joshua 11:20  Scripture reading: Joshua 11:16-20 After what the LORD did to Jericho and Ai, and to the coalition of five Amorite kings, it really made no sense for the Canaanites to keep trying to fight Israel. But, apart from the Gibeonites, they all did. The Holy Spirit explains in verse 20, It was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy, but be destroyed. It reminds us of how Pharaoh refused to let Israel go, even when the plagues were destroying Egypt. God said, “I will harden his heart.” God is sovereign and He has the right to do whatever He pleases in this world. But that’s not all there is to say. The LORD had told Abraham in Genesis 15 that He would give the land to Abraham’s descendants when the iniquity of the Amorites was complete. That time had obviously come: the sin of the inhabitants of Canaan was complete. God doesn’t treat people like puppets. People make choices and God holds them responsible for that choice. It was not wise for the Canaanites to keep fighting Israel when it had become perfectly obvious that they could never win. God let them suffer the consequence of their foolish decision. In fact, God uses the foolish choices of His enemies to bring them to their destruction and to accomplish the salvation of His people. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for His sovereign direction of all things, leading to the judgement of His enemies and the salvation of His people, and thank Him for the grace He has shown you in bringing you to Himself in repentance and faith. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 25 - Preserving in obedience by faith in the promises

“Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.” - Joshua 11:18 Scripture reading: Joshua 11:16-20 God didn’t let Israel just walk in and take the land of Canaan. According to verse 18, Joshua made war a long time. Why did Israel have to fight at all? God didn’t need their help. He could have just swept all of those Canaanites out of the way and given Israel the land. Why did God make them fight? We might ask the same question about why God doesn’t just snap His fingers and bring every elect person to faith or why He tells us to go and make disciples. Our business is to believe and, by faith, obey. God said to Israel, I’m going to give you the land in the way of faith and obedience. That’s how we receive the things that He’s prepared for us. And we always have to be asking ourselves, Are we living by faith in the promises? Are we doing what God has commanded us to do? When we set our hearts on what we see, we will live for what we can have here and now, and we will fall away. But when we set our hearts on having what God has promised us, we have our hearts set on doing what God has commanded us to do, and we will persevere. The Holy Spirit is saying, This is how you endure, how you conquer, how you receive all of the wonderful things God has prepared for you: by setting your hearts on what He’s promised and on doing what He has commanded you to do. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you set your heart on having what God has promised you and to be committed to living the life God commands you to live. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON...

Daily devotional

March 24 - Until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet

“And when they brought those kings out to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come near; put your feet on the necks of these kings.”” - Joshua 10:24  Scripture reading: Joshua 10:16-28 One by one, each of the defeated kings was called out to appear before Joshua. They had hidden in the cave, but when God comes to judge, there’s nowhere to hide. We confess that on the great day of judgement, “…all people, men, women and children, who ever lived, from the beginning of the world to the end will appear in person before Jesus Christ.” Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the chiefs of the men of war, “Come near; put your feet on the necks of these kings” (Joshua 10:24). When archaeologists opened the tomb of Tutankhamun, they found a picture of his throne, with a footstool that had the images of Egypt’s nine traditional enemies engraved on it. Every time Tutankhoman sat on his throne, his feet would be on the necks of his enemies. The meaning is pretty obvious: he was proclaiming total domination over his enemies. It seems a little barbaric to us, but this is the great promise of Psalm 110: The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Paul says in I Corinthians 15, This is where human history is going: Christ is reigning until He makes all His enemies His footstool. And notice that Joshua didn’t put his foot on the necks of these kings; He told the commanders of the army to do that. The LORD defeated these kings, but the people shared in the LORD’s victory because, by faith, they fought against His enemies. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord will help you to believe that Christ is reigning over all things right now and that He is leading world history to the day when He makes all His enemies a footstool. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 23 - There has been no day like it before or since

“There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.” - Joshua 10:14 Scripture reading: Joshua 10:12-15 The destruction of the Amorites is a picture of the great day of judgement. Hail was one of the plagues against Egypt; it is a feature of God’s judgement prophesied in Isaiah 10, Ezekiel 13 and in the book of Revelation. When he commanded the sun to stand still and the moon to stop, Joshua foreshadows Jesus as Saviour and Judge. People insist that it’s not possible. The sun couldn’t stand still; it would have been catastrophic. Therefore they try to come up with explanations that avoid the straightforward meaning of what it says here. But it says that Joshua prayed and God suspended the normal order, the pattern of day and night. The Holy Spirit underlines it: there has been no day like it, before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel. The LORD fought for Israel because Joshua was bringing His judgement on God’s enemies and giving His people their inheritance. One day, the whole world will unite, like these Amorite kings, to attack God’s people (Revelation 20:7-10). On that day, the greater Joshua will come in all His glory and fight for us. Then there will be another day like that one, when the Lord heeds the voice of a Man and will bring an end to the pattern of day and night, of sun and moon. Then Jesus will bring God’s final judgement on His enemies and we will inherit the new heaven and the new earth. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Spirit to help you to live by faith in the promise that the great day of your vindication is coming and pray that soon, we will see Jesus coming with the clouds of heaven. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 22 - The victory that overcomes the world

“And the LORD threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.” - Joshua 10:10 Scripture reading: Joshua 10:6-11 The Holy Spirit opens our eyes here to the way things are in the conflict between the church and the world. The bottom line, if you want to say it that way, is that though the world attacks us because we are not of the world, the war is actually between God and the world. That’s reflected in the way the Spirit describes the battle. On the one hand, He says Joshua and the army marched all night and came upon the Amorite armies suddenly. At the same time, He says the LORD threw the Amorite armies into a panic. That means that the LORD used what we might call the powers of nature, to terrify the Amorites. (see also e.g. I Samuel 7:10-11, Psalm 77:13-20) And then it says that Israel struck the Amorites with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by way of the ascent of Beth-Horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. But the footnote says that we could also translate this way: He - the LORD - Who struck them and chased them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. It seems like two contradictory accounts: the LORD did it and Israel did it. But both are true. Israel had to fight, but the LORD was fighting for them. The battle belongs to the LORD, but we must put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and overcome the world by faith (I John 5:5-6). Suggestions for prayer: Pray that the Holy Spirit will make you fully confident that the battle belongs to the LORD and that He will enable you to fight against the devil, the world and your own flesh in that confidence. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 21 - The Lord’s friend is their enemy

“Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.” - Joshua 10:4  Scripture reading: Joshua 10:1-5 We don’t know how much military or strategic sense this attack made, or what those kings were hoping to achieve from a strategic point of view by attacking Gibeon. But the author of Joshua says they didn’t attack Gibeon for military reasons, or for strategic reasons. They did it for spiritual reasons. Notice what Adoni-Zedek said: We have to attack Gibeon because they made peace with Joshua, and with the people of Israel. The name of Joshua was bound up with everything the LORD was doing, to judge the nations and to give their land to Israel as an inheritance. And in their minds, when Gibeon made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel, Gibeon became their enemy. The Spirit is showing us again how the world instinctively reacts when God enters the world to bring salvation. The world reacts with hatred and violence to the church and to anyone or anything that seems to be connected in any way to the name of Jesus Christ. And whatever differences there are between the West, Islam and communism, they’re united in their hatred for Christ and in their warfare against Him and His people. This is how the world reacts to anyone who identifies himself, or in their eyes seems to identify himself with Jesus Christ. It doesn’t always make very much sense, logically speaking. It’s actually irrational. But this is what it’s all about; we shouldn’t be surprised and we should remember the history of Joshua and the history of Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to recognize that the world’s hatred for the church is rooted in its instinctive response to Jesus and to strengthen our faith by the gospel that God has triumphed over our enemies in Him. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 20 - Who shall dwell on God’s holy hill?

“Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right.” - Psalm 15:1b-2a Scripture reading: Psalm 15:1-12  Today is our day of worship. When we worship, we enjoy fellowship with God. But Psalm 15 says that only the blameless may have fellowship with God and that might make you wonder whether you have the right to enter His presence in worship. That’s because we think that blameless means sinless. But if you look the word up in a concordance, you’ll find out that David, Noah and Job were blameless, and some who are called upright in the sight of God and righteous. Since the Bible says that every person is conceived and born in sin, the Spirit can’t be saying that these people were sinless. We know from the Bible that Noah got drunk; Job demanded that Lord explain Himself to him and Zechariah didn’t believe the angel Gabriel who told him that he and Elizabeth were going to have a son. So blameless doesn’t mean sinless. In the Bible, blameless means, trusting in God’s Word and seeking Him with all your heart. It means, living in repentance for your sin, claiming God’s forgiveness for the sake of Christ’s death and seeking to live the holy life that David describes here in Psalm 15 – the life God gives you through faith in Christ. If you are a sincere believer, if you live by faith in the promises that the triune God made to you when you were baptized, you have peace with God and stand in grace. You are welcome to enter the presence of God in worship. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that in Christ, He has opened the way for you to worship Him with a clear conscience today and to live with Him forever. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 19 - People loved the darkness rather than the light

“As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction … and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel … he feared greatly.” - Joshua 10:1-2a  Scripture reading: Joshua 10:1-5 We’re not sure how much difference it makes why the king of Jerusalem responded the way he did to the news that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel, but the writer of Joshua obviously thought that was an important part of the story. The Holy Spirit keeps coming back to this in the book of Joshua, how the Canaanite kings and their people responded to the news of what the LORD did to Jericho and to Ai, and before that, to Sihon and Og on the far side of the Jordan. They’re always afraid. On the one hand, we say, of course, those people were afraid when they heard what the LORD had done. The foundations of their world were shaking. This is how the world naturally feels and responds when God comes into their land and into their world, so to speak. They don’t welcome the arrival of this righteous and almighty God. It terrifies them. But they don’t surrender. Of all the people in Canaan, it seems like Rahab was the only one who repented and believed. The overwhelming response is fear and hostility. Jesus explains this natural response to God in John 3: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. This is the suicidal impulse of the guilty conscience: to fight God rather than repent of sin. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His sovereign grace, by which you were brought to repentance and faith in Jesus, so that you would not perish, but have eternal life. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

Daily devotional

March 18 - Every knee shall bow

“But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place that he should choose.” - Joshua 9:27  Scripture reading: Joshua 9:22-27 Look at what God did for these lying Gibeonites. The people of Israel wanted to wipe them out, but Joshua delivered the Gibeonites out of the hand of the people of Israel. In His sovereign goodness, God let these deceivers live and stay in their cities. In that respect, we might be inclined to say that their lie paid off. But Joshua made them day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place that He should choose. Don’t just skip over that. The Gibeonites were allowed to live, even though they didn’t repent and believe in Israel’s God. But throughout their generations, they cut wood and drew water that was used in the worship of the LORD. Paul says in Philippians 2 that when Jesus comes again, every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. This is a picture and a promise of what will happen on that day. Not every knee will bow in worship; not every tongue will confess His Name with joy. The world will still hate Him. Just like it says in Revelation 16, in spite of experiencing the wrath of God, the world refuses to repent. But willingly or not, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD to the glory of God the Father. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to haste the day when we will see the whole world kneel before Jesus and hear every tongue confess that He is Lord and to give you faith to live in expectation of that day. Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON....

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