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Take Notice of God’s Patience
13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18 Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.19 Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’”
20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. 21 But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field. (Exodus 9:13-21)
God’s patience and grace should lead us to true repentance. But why do we often resist God’s gentle rebuke? Should we wait until calamity strikes before we reconsider our ways and repent? Sadly, many of us still harden our hearts in spite of God’s mercy upon us. God can easily allow us to be destroyed but instead He keeps us alive in spite of our stubbornness or rebellion. When will we learn? God in His mercy will tell us the consequences of our continuous sin, so that we may reconsider our ways. He may give us more time to think about it. Others may even show us the way, just to give us encouragement. Models can be powerful motivators, if we’re willing to take notice of it. But how do we respond? Often we persist in our ways. The purpose of salvation is to bring complete healing into our lives. There is so much to heal and repair in our lives. Our hearts in particular are set toward pride and rebellion. But God’s grace is more powerful, if we will just humble ourselves and repent. When sin abounds, His grace much more abounds. How can we resist such gentle love? Today, if you realize that God has been patient with you all along, as you look back at the circumstances of your life, then make that courageous decision to repent. Turn from your wicked ways, and turn to God. God will save you, if you really ask Him with humility and faith. Do it today. Remember, take notice of God’s patience.
27 We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.” (Exodus 8:27)
Sometimes we have to come away to a far away place in order just to worship God. Not that God is there and He is not here. The truth is God is everywhere. We can worship Him anywhere. But there comes a time when we have to find a quiet place to experience silence and solitude. It’s really a blessing if and when we can do that. Grab the opportunity if it comes. Never mind the expense. Our souls need rest every once in a while. Don’t feel guilty about it. Rest is a gift and command from God. Pursue it like any other goal in your life.
See the difference?
22 “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction[b] between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’” (Exodus 8:22-23)
Have you noticed anything different in the lives of those who follow the Lord? Perhaps if you look closely, you will see the difference. For one thing, their relationships are not as messy and conflicting as others. They are not perfect, but you can see the difference. They are more able to talk things out. It seems that crucial conversations are just part of their daily routine. Notice their lifestyles? They tend to live more disciplined lives. Of course, there are exceptions. But that is only because of immaturity. Those who follow the Lord closely have distinct lifestyles that show that God is with them. God is always making distinctions, so that everyone may take heed and repent. God’s kindness is poured out abundantly upon those who fear the Lord. Emotionally speaking, they are not as stressed out as most people. They tend to live in peace. Their minds are often more focused on important things, thus they are able to accomplish more good. Their hearts seem to be more pure, more sincere, and more honest, generally speaking, with some exceptions, of course. Not everyone are really following the Lord closely. So you will find some dishonest Christians out there. But if you find someone who is truly following the Lord by faith, you will find these attributes. They are the results of God’s gracious acts of making a distinction between those who follow Him and those who do not. They are the fruit of the Holy Spirit transforming people’s lives. So if you notice them, please take heed. Perhaps the Lord is calling your attention, because He wants you to experience His kind of life also. By faith, your life can be transformed by the Holy Spirit also. But you need to humble yourself. You need to submit yourself to the Lord and trust Him. That is the key to transformation, not just once but everyday of your life.
Take the Cue
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” 17 They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18 But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere, 19 the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:16-19)
When believers ascribe glory to God for something that is unusual that would be expected. But when unbelievers do the same that is surprising. Normally a person who does not believe in God would brush off a miracle or a sign from God as mere coincidence. They might explain it away using science or scientific facts, as if, by doing so, they would imply that there are two separate realities: science and spiritual. That is of course not true, for all realities, whether natural or supernatural, have spiritual connotations or implications. But it’s hard for unbelievers to acknowledge anything that might be associated with the concept of God. However, in Asia for instance, people are more open to this possibility. Especially when they can no longer explain away the event or phenomena. The suggestion that perhaps something might be of God, or at least supernatural in nature, should cause you to pause and think. What if it is true? If a friend, who normally would not talk about God, or describe anything as coming from God, or at least something that might have supernatural connotations, would come to you and tell you that perhaps such and such is from God, would you listen? If he or she says, “I think this is from God,” would you consider that as a cue? Perhaps God is indeed speaking to you or calling your attention about something. Would you pause for a while and perhaps reconsider your current direction? Do not harden your heart. Learn to take the cue, especially when it is coming from someone you don’t normally expect would talk about God.
Just Ask for Help
8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” 10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. (Exodus 8:8-10)
God’s amazing grace works wonderfully and yet we are not free of responsibility. Just like Pharaoh, God may grant us deliverance. But it would be up to us to decide when we would really want it. God does not force us to receive His gifts of grace, and especially deliverance, if we don’t really want it. God wants to help us, to show us His power and grace in times of need. But often we do not really ask. Or, when we ask, we do not really mean it. So God wants us to make up our minds, to ask because we really want His help. The reason is quite simple and straightforward: He wants us to have experiential knowledge of who He really is. He wants us to know Him as Lord of all. In other words, He wants us to know Him, not just know about Him. Knowing that there is God will not help us unless we really know Him personally. So why don’t you make up your mind today. Ask His help if you really need it. Why be prideful? Why pretend that all is well when it is not. Ask and you shall receive so that your joy may be complete.