February 2

Exodus 7:16-17 (NIV) 16Then say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened. 17This is what the LORD says: By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.

The indictment against Pharaoh is that he will not listen to the LORD. God is always speaking in the world to set the captives free. Are we listening or are we as guilty as Pharaoh? When we refuse to listen to God, that is, not just to hear but to take to heart, then He must use more drastic methods to get our attention. Pharaoh would not listen because he had respect for other gods. They are not truly gods but just creations that the LORD had made. God began to show Pharaoh that Jehovah alone is God.

The most revered god of Egypt was the Nile. It was the first to be touched by plague. Each plague struck something that Egyptians worshipped. When you read the story, notice that during the early plagues Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Even though God had demonstrated that Pharaoh's gods are nothing, he refused to take the word of God to heart. About halfway through the plagues, God hardened his heart. Pharaoh had enough evidence that the LORD is God, but he would not yield. Now the real god of Pharaoh is obvious. It is Pharaoh himself.

The things that we refuse to hear the LORD tell us to forsake will be taken from us or shown to be worthless. What will we do when we find the real god we have worshipped is self? Will we turn around before we cross that line?

Meditation: Hear God today. Take to heart what He speaks to you.

February 2

Matthew 5:13-15 (NIV) 13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

Jesus' words capture the imagination. He speaks with such depth of meaning that you can see the words on a number of levels. In this passage He employs two metaphors. He calls those who believe in Him salt and light. It is an expression that is meant to help us see our role in the world as He sees it. He is continuing to teach the disciples Kingdom thinking.

Salt has to stay salty to be of value. If you lose your flavor, your distinctiveness, then you have lost your value. The Christian brings savor to life. His presence brings the perspective of the Holy Spirit and that completely changes the way things are seen. The Spirit points out eternal realities. He takes the mundane and fills it with eternal importance. The world needs your saltiness.

Jesus said that He is the light of the world. As Christians, we are the little lights, bringing His light in a way that is comprehendible to man. Our testimony makes the eternal something they can see at work. God is not so distant or unreachable when they see Him at work in our life. But if we hide that light for fear of being different, how is the world to see it? We have something desperately needed by all. Don't hide it! If you truly have Him, you can't really hide Him. Don't attempt to hide Him to fit in. The world needs Him! Let the light shine! Let it shine in the world, and let it shine in your home. Let them see Jesus manifested in your mortal life.

Remember: Jesus is the One everyone needs most desperately to see.