January 29

Exodus 3:2, 7 (NIV) 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

7The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

The angel of the Lord is referred to by rabbi as the Prince of the Countenance. We know Him as Jesus, the visible manifestation of the invisible God. When Moses made his choice to side with his people, he had to flee for his life from the very people that had raised and educated him. In the wilderness of Midian, he received the second half of his training. Now he knows he can do nothing. He is humbled and ready to be called by God. Most of us would rather skip the last half of God's training, but it is essential. Without it we end up polluting what God would do with our own wisdom and ways. When Moses was ready, Jesus met with him.

This is the same Jesus of the New Testament that looks on people with compassion. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God said, "I have seen their misery and heard them crying out..." God is concerned about suffering wherever it takes place and to whomever as we saw in the story of Hagar. We are made in His image, and He loves and values each life.

It is argued that the God of the Old Testament brutally destroyed lives and therefore is not like the New Testament God. He does end life when it is so corrupt and perverted that it only inflicts pain. If you are experiencing a time of suffering, know that God sees your misery and hears your cries. He will bring a change or see you through it because of His great compassion.

Meditation: God is concerned about suffering and I should be also. His life in me will demonstrate His concerns.

January 29

Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV) 18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20At once they left their nets and followed him.

This was not the first time they had met. John tells us that they had even baptized people at Jesus' direction while down in Judea. They had seen His miracle of turning water into wine and believed in Him. Luke tells us that this call came after the miraculous catch of fish. The expression, "Follow me!" is used 19 times in the Gospels. To get a sense of this expression and its forcefulness, think of it used to call your dog when he is running off. "Come back!" It can also mean, "Come behind me!" When He first met them, He asked them to "accompany" Him. (John 1:43) Now He is telling them that it is time to become a follower. In doing so, they will learn a new occupation, netting men. Not everyone is called to leave their occupation. The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians that they should be employed.

We are all called to learn from Jesus the art of netting men and to learn of Him. We tend to want to learn from others, or imitate their methods. Jesus knows our gifts and make up. He will teach you in the way He has uniquely designed you.

If you are called to "Come after!" you will know it is the LORD. Many enter into ministry at the first call to "accompany me", but then they wonder why they struggle so. They would be more fruitful to work within the occupation they left. Right there in the business world are those who could be reached by a consistent testimony from a fellow worker. If the call comes to "Come after!", everything that is your old way of life is left behind. Your old security nets, the things with which you are familiar, are forsaken. You cast yourself upon God, and He teaches you your new calling.

Consider: In either case, learn from Him.