February 14

Exodus 20:18-20 (NIV) 18When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." 20Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."

The people continually had a problem esteeming the word from Moses to be the Word of God. We must remember that this is the age of the prophet, when God spoke to us through men. (Hebrews 1:1-3) Today God speaks to us through the Son. His Spirit indwells us so that we can commune with Him. The reason is still the same. He is testing us. He is instilling the fear of God in our lives to keep us from sinning. Do not think of God as being like sinful man. He is not holding a whip and commanding you to do His bidding or be beaten. He is showing you that the Father knows best. He can see the past, present and future. He sums up all that is truly good. The fear He wants to instill in us is that of His awesome understanding. He tells us to obey because it is best for us.

Imagine how much better off the Children of Israel would have been IF they had obeyed the word from Moses. There would have been no plagues upon them. All their enemies would have been defeated. They would not have had to wander 40 years in the wilderness. The older generation would have lived to see the Promised Land. IF only they had the fear of God that kept them from sinning!

Their sinning says they either did not believe God's good motivation for His commands or they thought they knew better than God. Our sin says the same today. We have His word. His Spirit speaks to our heart, so that the fear of God will be with us to keep us from sinning. We stand at the same crossroads of blessings or trials.

Meditation: God's instructions teach me what is best for my life.

February 14

Matthew 8:1-3 (NIV) 1When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." 3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.

The Jews lumped all types of skin diseases under one category. God had given Moses specific instruction about quarantining those who had skin disease. They were to live apart from others. If anyone approached them they had to warn them by shouting, "Unclean!". To touch a person that had a skin disease required the one who touched them to go through a cleansing ritual to see if they had contracted the disease. This man's disease must have been quite obvious. He may have had what we call leprosy. There was no need to tell Jesus what it was that he needed cleansing from.

It is hard to imagine not having the touch of another person for a long period of time. The man must have been not only suffering physically but emotionally as well. As he yelled, "Unclean!", the people parted as if an invisible wedge cleared the way to Jesus. "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." The man expressed His faith in the ability of Jesus. He called Him a master. Jesus does not have servants and great wealth. He is a different kind of lord. He is master over His creation.

Then Jesus did something that required faith. He touched the man. If the man was not immediately cured, Jesus would have been considered defiled. Jesus would have to go through the cleansing ritual. Jesus responded, "I am willing. Be clean!" His touch and words made the man whole. We cannot defile Jesus. His purity overcomes our defilement. He is willing to touch and cleanse you. Are you suffering? Know that He is willing. He will touch you. His purity is greater than your defilement.

Consider: Jesus is willing to reach out and touch you.