Morning
April 6

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (NIV) 26See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse– 27the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.


Recently, the Prayer of Jabez has become quite popular. It is a wonderful prayer that asks for the Lord to change the circumstances in which we find ourselves into blessings. We do need to remember that blessings are contingent upon obedience. As New Testament saints, we emphasize grace, but that does not change the principle of these verses. We still reap what we sow. We cannot ask for blessing while walking in disobedience and expect God to wink at our disobedience.

The choice to obey is clearly laid before us. Instead of the many rules of the Old Testament Law, we have the leading of the Holy Spirit that indwells us. We choose to obey or disobey. We choose curse or blessing. It is sad that we think we can pray for God to remove this just principle. It is there to deter us from evil and guide us into life.

What are these other gods? They are ones that promise prosperity in spite of disobedience. They are lies that say that the pleasure of sin is more than momentary. They offer an alternative to the cut and dried choice of obedience and blessing or disobedience and curse. They lie! They are disobedience and curse in disguise.

Meditation: Obedience brings the blessing of God!


Evening
April 6

Matthew 27:45-46 (NIV) 45From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"–which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"


Jesus was crucified around the time of the morning sacrifice, 9 A.M. At noon there was a strange darkness. It lasted until the afternoon sacrifice, 3 P.M. It is reminiscent of the plague of darkness that covered the land of Egypt. In the area that Israel lived, there was light, but the rest of Egypt was covered with a thick darkness. God is light. In Him is no darkness at all. Was hell unleashed upon the Savior in those three hours because our sins were laid upon Him?

Toward the end of the three hours, Jesus cried out in a loud voice the beginning of Psalm 22. It is not likely that He could have said the whole phrase at once. Each painful breath had to be drawn while pulling against the nails in His wrists and pushing against those in His ankles. These few words had to say volumes. In that psalm, David prophesied the very details of what was taking place. He predicted Jesus' anguish, His thirst, the lots cast for His clothing, and even the nails in His hands and feet. Many have taken this to be a voice of despair. I see it more as a battle cry against the darkness. Read the rest of the psalm and you will see Jesus' thoughts are toward the victory He is achieving for those He loves. He was turning His disciples' minds to the Word of God. It was one way, with the limited strength He had left, He could explain that this was all predicted and would end in a glorious outcome.

I encourage you to read the whole psalm to understand the fullness of where Jesus was turning their minds. Here are the last two verses. Psalms 22:30-31 (NIV) 30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn– for he has done it.

Consider: He has done it, for you and me! We are a part of those future generations declaring the victory won on the cross.