February 3

Exodus 12:13 (NIV) 13The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

The Exodus is a story of deliverance. After God showed the Egyptians that He was greater than all things they worshipped as gods, they still refused to let the Israelites go to worship Him. The last plague was the death of the firstborn. Pharaoh was worshipped as god by the Egyptians, and his son would take his place. This was the last god of the Egyptians to be plagued, because God is merciful.

God gave His people a way to escape the angel of death. They were to take an unblemished lamb and kill and eat it. The blood was to go upon the doorposts. If the blood marked their dwelling, God would pass over (pacach) them. The word in Hebrew is that of a mother bird hovering over her chicks. God is not going to just skip over their home, but stand as their protector, their shield (Isaiah 31:5). If the blood was applied, no destructive plague would touch them.

The Lamb has been slain. The lamb God had promised to Abraham that He would provide died on Calvary. His blood was spilled that you and I could mark the doorposts of our home. When we do, we can be assured that He will hover over us to shield us from the plagues that come upon the world (Psalm 91). It is not that we will not face difficulty and tests, but that they will not be destructive to us. Instead they will mature us. The trials will be productive instead of destructive, and so we can count it all joy when we face them. If the blood is on your heart, the Lord will pacach you. The Destroyer will not be allowed to enter your dwelling.

Prayer: Keep me safely under the shadow of Your wings, Lord Jesus.

February 3

Matthew 5:27-29 (NIV) 27"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

In Matthew 5:21, Jesus begins a string of 5 contradictions to commonly accepted sayings of the day. Each begins with "You have heard that it was said..." Then Jesus gives His correction with "But I say unto you..." The culture in which we live has commonly accepted ideas that we absorb without much thought as to their validity. Jesus was correcting the perception of those ideas in the culture of the people of God. He was getting down to the spirit behind the letter. They had focused on the technical meaning of the letter.

The people of Jesus' day knew that they were not to commit adultery. Jesus redefined what adultery is. His corrected interpretation included the action of the heart. The people of that day were adept at skirting around the edge of the Law. Jesus said that was a vain effort. Sin is too destructive to interpret in such a confined sense. Sin begins in the heart and mind of the individual before it becomes manifested outwardly. Sin is so destructive, so detrimental to our lives, so anti-God and all His goodness, that every form of it must be avoided. To play on the edge of a 100-meter cliff is to invite death.

It is so dangerous that Jesus recommends the amputation of any body part you can't bring under control. That is much better than the just judgment that would be yours. From the context of Scripture as a whole, we see that Jesus is talking about anything in life that would keep you from yielding your heart to Jesus as Lord. His presence in you can bring victory over your carnal desires. We crucify them with Him on the cross and live in resurrected life, a brand new life. Has something kept you from inviting Jesus to reign in your heart? Whatever it is, it is not worth it.

Consider: Take Jesus' serious advice to see the source of sin, your heart. Then surrender your heart to His control so that you don't find it necessary to become a blind, deaf and voiceless quadruple amputee.