Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Exo 1; 2
"Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and
she became pregnant and gave birth to a son" (Exo 2:1,2).
"Exo 1 had portrayed in graphic detail the suffering which
Pharaoh had inflicted upon the Israelites. What would God do about it? Would He
have mercy on the Hebrews and deliver them from their shame? And if so, how?
"Exo 2 begins to answer these questions, but apparently in a
tangential manner. For God's solution consists not in some phenomenal miracle or
in the promotion of a mighty israelite leader who was already alive (either of
which we might have expected, had we not already known the story). God's
solution consists instead in the birth of a son.
"This provides both a pattern for the future and a salutary
lesson. One day God would again send a son -- this time HIS OWN -- to deliver a
people from slavery. Again He would prepare the child from birth, bringing it
safely from the womb and nourishing and developing it for the immense task that
lay ahead. How does one begin to create a people, as God begins to do in the
book of Exodus? One does it, so Exo informs us, by means of a son. How
remarkably history repeats itself!" (Mark Vincent, Testimony
So now... almost 80 years later....
"During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The
Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help
because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he
remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked
on the Israelites and was concerned about them" (Exo 2:23-25).
"It is because the cry of the Israelites is so intense that
the story continues to unfold in the way it does... they cry, and consequently
(and immediately) God responds. It is a pattern which is repeated time after
time in the Scriptures. The cry of Israel initiates history; God is galvanized
into action. His people cry; God is mobilized into activity on their behalf. Not
that He has not been working quietly in the background all along -- far from it,
for the instant they cry Moses is ready to be sent, yet this was a process that
was set in motion many years before! But whereas God had been preparing behind
the scenes so that everything would be ready once His people cried to Him, now
that pivot point has been reached God springs into action. For He is a
responsive God; what He does is determined to some extent by the actions of His
people. If they cry to Him then He will listen, and potentially intervene on
their behalf" (Mark Vincent, Testimony 71:239).
Reading 2 - Psa 55:22
"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will
never let the righteous fall" (Psa 55:22).
Jesus himself did this: John 17:11; Psa 22:10; 37:5. 1Pe 5:7
quotes the LXX, as a sequel to "Humble yourself under God's mighty hand." Read
with the emphasis: And he shall sustain YOU, as well as your burden.
CARES: "Burden" (AV). Notice that "burden" here (yahab) is
"gift" in the margin: The "gift" of God to us is a life of cares and burdens, so
that we might learn to trust in Him alone (v 23)! "Come unto me, all ye who
(are)... heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mat 11:28,29).
"Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if
carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious
care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated
by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving
transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are
wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into His place to do for Him that
which He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy
He will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if He were
unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to His plain
precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption in intruding upon His
province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of
sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God's hand, but will carry his
own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself.
This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to
human wisdom. This is going to the 'broken cistern' instead of to the
'fountain;' a sin which was laid against Israel of old (Jer 2:32). Anxiety makes
us doubt God's lovingkindness, and thus our love to Him grows cold; we feel
mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become
hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus
want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him; but if through simple
faith in His promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon Him, and are 'careful
for nothing' because He undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him,
and strengthen us against much temptation. 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee' " (GVG).
Reading 3 - Rom 8:29
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to
the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers"
We probably all have a pretty good idea what "predestination"
is NOT. It is NOT "eternal security"; it is NOT "once saved, always saved".
But... the question here is: What DOES it mean? Consider the
FOREKNEW: From Greek "proginosko" = to know in advance. Cp 1Pe
1:18-20: "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or
gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from
your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish
or defect. He was chosen (the same word: proginosko) before the creation of the
world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." Note the Passover
PREDESTINED: From Greek "proorizo" = to mark out, or set a
limit (ie, horizon, where the sky stops) in advance. This is the blood of the
Passover lamb, which marked out, or put a limit upon, the work of the Destroying
Angel. Those who had faith sprinkled the blood of the lamb on their doorposts.
In doing so they were marked out ahead of time (Exo 12), and were saved out of
Egypt, while all around them others -- the other "firstborns" (see this very
verse for a "firstborn" connection!) perished (including the firstborn of
Pharaoh: Rom 9:17)! There are other Passover connections with the immediate
context here: Rom 8:32 (Gen 22: ram, offering), Rom 8:36 (Psa 44:22: sheep to be
The same word (proorizo) occurs in Eph 1:5,11 -- where the
righteous are "sealed" (separated for special use, marked out) in Eph 1:13.
Also, the same word occurs in Acts 4:28 and 1Co 2:7.
Of course, the "proorizo" is the really interesting Greek word
here. "Pro" = before, ahead of time. And "horizo" (like the English "horizon")
marks the point, or line, beyond which the sun cannot go, that is, the line of
demarcation between earth and sky.
So, in Old Testament times, how did God "mark out", ahead of
time, an absolute line of differentiation between one group of people and
another? One answer (maybe the best answer?) is at the first Passover in Egypt,
when the blood of the Passover lamb -- painted on the door posts and lintels of
the houses of (some) Jews in Egypt -- saved them from death when God sent His
destroying angels out to kill all the firstborns.
Was this "predestination" done by God solely? Of course not.
The Jews had to CHOOSE whether they would put the blood on their houses, AND
whether they would remain in the house during the night. They had to act in
faith upon the principles, and promises, which God had given them. If they did,
then they were "predestined" (marked out beforehand) to be spared, to be saved,
while all around them were perishing.
And, of course, they had to continue to remember God and His
promises, and continue to keep the Passover, as a reminder of what God had done
for them, and -- presumably -- as an act of faith in the greater "Passover lamb"
to come, who would truly take away the sin of the world.
But it was still God's "predestination" in the first place. 'I
have marked out a place where you will be safe from the death that will be
visited upon the world. That place is one of absolute security. But... you need
to go there, do what I say, and -- above all -- remain there! Otherwise, you
will not be "marked out" for My Glory!'