February 9

Exodus 16:8 (NIV) 8Moses also said, "You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD."

After the plagues, parting of the sea, destruction of Pharaoh's army, and provision of water at Marah, you would think the Jews would realize that it was God that delivered them and spoke to them through Moses. What does it take for us, after all that we have seen and read, to know that it was God who spoke to us in His Son? Do we know He has been our Deliverer?

The people were complaining about not having anything to eat. "Can God provide a table for us in the wilderness?" What happened to their herds? That was their wealth, but they were unwilling to see them as God's provision. God will provide quail and manna so that they may be convinced (16:6). How patient God is with us! What will it take to convince us? If we will open our manna, the Word of God, every morning and evening, we will find it is God who gives us our daily spiritual bread. Then our hearts will be convinced that it was indeed the LORD who delivered us. Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven." (John 6:51) "The word became flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:14) We should collect our daily manna just as the Israelites did.

The last part of that verse is an encouragement to pastors. When your pastor is preaching the Word of God and those in the church grumble against him, they are not grumbling against him, but against the LORD. Be careful whom you oppose as you may be opposing the LORD.

Consider: Realize that complaints against men are often a complaint against the LORD.

February 9

Matthew 7:1-2, 5 (NIV) 1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

This has become one of the favorite verses of the Bible, but for all the wrong reasons. The world culture of today would like us to believe that there is no clear cut good or evil. It teaches that what is good for you may be evil to me. Postmodern philosophy teaches that everything is subjective. In other words, it depends on how you personally experience something in your particular environment. You can see how this verse would suddenly become popular.

Jesus isn't teaching that there is no such thing as evil. It is very clear from His teachings that He believes in good and evil, God and Satan. What Jesus is teaching is that we need to deal with our own sins first. We need to get our act cleaned up before we go out of our way to accuse others. Recognition of our own weaknesses will help us deal with others in gentle humility. That is more likely to be received. Without that, we come across as pompous hypocrites.

Jesus is not rebuking those who point out other's faults. In fact, verse 5 encourages us to help our brother overcome his faults. By recognizing that the measure we use to judge others is the same one that will be used to judge us, we look for the biggest measure of grace and the smallest measure of justice. Ignoring sin only leads to destruction. We can't do that for others or for ourselves. Let us deal with it the way the Father does. He applies mercy and grace but He does not ignore justice and the need for change. Don't point you finger at others without dealing with the issues in your own life first.

Consider: What issues have you been avoiding?