21 Day Fast Daily Devotional


Day 21 – January 29, 2022

Read Luke 7:18-35; John 3:27-30

Jesus on John the Baptist:
“28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:28

John the Baptist on Jesus:
“27 A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:27b-30)

We spent the first two weeks of our 21 day season of fasting and prayer looking at God’s revelation of Himself through His “middot” or character qualites in Exodus 34. We saw how they are foundational to our understanding of God, further revealed and fulfilled in Christ, and extremely inspiring to our worship. We then spent the last week looking at 2 Corinthians 5, the reconciliation we enjoy with God through Christ, and the ministry of reconciliation given to us by God in Him. Our concluding admonition yesterday echoed Paul’s challenge to not receive God’s grace in vain (2 Corinthians 6:2). As we come to the conclusion of our season of fasting and prayer, I’d like to take a brief look at John the Baptist and some very revealing aspects of his view of Christ and of Christ’s view of John.

John - the Greatest Prophet of the Old Covenant

John’s mission was utterly unique in scripture. John was the last prophet of the Old Covenant. He was called to a lifetime of separation and preparation for the very short season that inaugurated Christ’s ministry. John was the forerunner of Jesus in the fulfillment of Isaiah 40 and Malachi 3 (see also Matthew 3:1-3, Luke 1:13-17, John 1:19-23, Matthew 17:10-13 and Mark 9:11-13). John went before Christ to prepare Israel to receive the world’s Messiah. John carried out that ministry faithfully.

Yet Jesus began His ministry by choosing twelve other individuals as His disciples. John carried out his ministry that overlapped with Jesus’ ministry but was somewhat separate from it (John 3:22-26). When John’s crowds began leaving John and following Jesus, John’s conclusion was not focused on himself. John simply said, “He must increase. I must decrease.” John knew (much better than us I think!) that a person can only serve out of what has been given to them by the Father. When John’s ministry was fading and Jesus’ was growing, John celebrated in a profound way. He answered his disciples by saying, “28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.” John recognized that his ministry was to prepare Christ’s bride, the Church of believing Jews and Gentiles, to receive Jesus. John celebrated that he was counted not only as a servant of Christ but also His friend. He rejoiced at Christ’s voice. His joy was complete because He had seen the Messiah with His own eyes and had served his purpose in this life!

We have so much to learn from John! The last prophet of the Old Covenant embraced Christ, rejoiced at His voice, prepared His bride and sought to bring glory to Christ and away from himself! God’s grace was not lost on John - he lived out his calling and fulfilled his ministry.

It should be deeply considered that Luke described the responses of both the faithful and unfaithful responses to John’s message, even though John’s announcement had a limited view of Christ’s full mission.

29 All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John. (Luke 7:29-30)

All the people, even the tax collectors, responded, repented and were baptized in acknowledgment that they had fallen short of God’s plan for them. These people were ready for Jesus and “acknowledged that God’s way was right.” John’s ministry had a tremendous impact in these people’s hearts in preparing them for Jesus. But the Pharisees and the “experts” in the law “rejected God’s purpose for themselves… because they had not been baptized by John!” What a travesty! They were too “good,” too “schooled,” and too arrogant to embrace God’s plan for them that included listening to an unlikely prophet.

John - Less than the Least of the Church!

With regards to John’s ministry, Jesus said he was the greatest person born up until that point, apart from Christ Himself. Christ said, “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” What a monumental comment! Jesus inferred that the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than the greatest prophet of the Old Testament! How could this be? John spoke as the final prophet of a covenant that was being fulfilled by Christ, and John spoke to a bride who would become the temple of the Holy Spirit on Earth! John saw the shadows of this but did not participate in the fulness of it! With Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension and the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the youngest born again believer in Jesus would be greater than John! They would be Kingdom regents and ambassadors of God’s reconciliation with humanity through the cross and the announcement of the Gospel!

Sadly, John did not live to see the ministry of Christ in its fullness in person. He was beheaded on a whim at the hands of a corrupt ruler. He no doubt had a priceless view from above.

John - Broken Like All of Us

As we look at the profound way in which Jesus honored John, it is important to realize that John was a human with his own frailties and faults. While he was imprisoned prior to his execution, John began to have questions that surely came from his isolation from Christ and His ministry. John sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:19) Though John had seen the witness of the Spirit and heard the voice of the Father proclaiming Jesus’ identity as God’s Son and Israel’s Messiah, John probably wrestled with his own expectations of what the Messiah’s ministry would look like. The Romans had not been overthrown. John was still in jail. John surely wondered what was taking so long. Even in John’s doubts and misunderstandings, Jesus loved him dearly and honored him for what he had done well in fulfilling his ministry.

Us - Friends of God and Christ and Ministers of the Spirit and the New Covenant!

So much to consider. What floors me is the magnitude of the ministry Jesus has given you and me. We have the full revelation of the Messiah, the fulfillment of all God’s promises in Christ, the presence of the empowering Holy Spirit, the complete canon of scripture, the Bride of Christ that Jesus Himself is building up, and a very full view of God’s plan for the new creation inaugurated with Christ’s resurrection. We have been given the Gospel and God’s ministry of reconciliation! Paul told the Corinthians, “Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.” “He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” Let us therefore draw near to God to know Him through Christ by His Spirit so that day by day, Christ increases to fill every aspect of our lives. Let us fulfill our calling as God’s New Covenant ministers of reconciliation to a lost and dying world! Let us partner with the Spirit as Christ builds up His Church in anticipation of Christ’s return for her!

Prayer Focus: 2 Corinthians 6:1

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the good news of the Gospel, the reward of being Your sons and daughters, and the ministry of reconciliation which You have given us in Christ. Thank You that we are living stones tightly fitted together in Your temple of the Holy Spirit. Fill us with the revelation of Christ and a heart set on obedience. Let us fulfill your purposes and plans in our generation! Let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven! In Christ's name, Amen.”


Day 20 – January 28, 2022 Ambassadors for Christ, Part 3

Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Yesterday, we looked at the scripture prior to the “therefore” that begins verse 20. Today we broaden our focus outward and forward to see more of Paul’s purpose in writing this passage of scripture.

Background of 2 Corinthians

Paul writes to the Corinthian church on a number of occasions, and the Bible includes only two of those letters. He wrote his letters to deal with difficulties the church experienced but also to defend his own ministry. He was almost embarrassed to do so, but he knew God had called him to make the good news of Jesus clear to these first century churches. So Paul wrote letters to the church in Corinth, and through God’s sovereign plan, two of these letters became part of our New Testament. As you read 1 and 2 Corinthians, you can see why! Their celebration of Jesus and the application to our lives is astounding!

In chapter 5, Paul is describing the ministry he had received from Jesus and challenging the Corinthian church to understand and believe the good news he was presenting that was being threatened by false teachers that had come into the church. Paul describes the ministry of reconciliation that he had been given - that in Christ, God is reconciling the world to Himself one life at a time for those who believe the message of Christ. Paul invites the Corinthian church to enjoy and participate in this ministry, and by implication, we are invited as well!

Don’t Receive God’s Grace in Vain

As we move into chapter 6, Paul gives a challenge to the Corinthian church - don’t “receive the grace of God in vain…” Paul has implored the church to “be reconciled to God” in 5:20. This ultimately has two emphases: first, that they make sure that they have truly submitted themselves to Christ and His Gospel; and secondly, that their lives reflect the grace of God by remaining in the truth of the Gospel and living it out as devoted Christ followers. The person who is born again of the Spirit through faith in Christ has been reconciled to God by being made a part of His family. Further relational reconciliation occurs as we become responsive to God and mature in our relationship with Him and others. Paul quotes Isaiah’s exhortation to Israel in Isaiah 49 that “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Isaiah prophesied of the suffering servant, the Messiah, who would come as the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, and much of Israel missed Christ when He came. Paul is instructing the young church, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” Don’t miss this important moment as God extends His grace to you!

As we discussed in the Day 18 devotion, in Christ, we are given a “positional” righteousness in Christ in that we are forgiven of our sin in Him and born again into God’s family. Because we have believed God’s word of Christ, He has placed us “in” His Son and are adopted into His family as sons and daughters! Christ took the penalty for our sin and gave us the benefit of His righteousness! Out of that miraculous new birth and new relationship, the Spirit then helps us grow in “practical,” day to day righteousness. We learn to hear God’s voice through His word, His Spirit and His people. We learn to follow Him from our new heart and please Him with our lives and love. This is part of the reconciliation Paul is referring to, and he tells the Corinthians (paraphrased), “Don’t receive the grace of God in vain! God has presented you with His truth. Many of you have believed it. Don’t be deceived by these false teachers and distracted from the truth of the Gospel! Take this message of Christ, let it transform you into the very character of Christ, and become Christ’s ambassadors with me! Join me in the ministry of taking the good news of God’s reconciliation with mankind in Christ to the rest of the world!”

What an invitation from Paul! But the invitation is actually coming from God! Consider this amazing news!

We were dead in our sins
Christ died to pay for our sins
Christ rose from the dead
We believed God’s word to us about Jesus Christ
God accounts our sin to Jesus
God accounts Christ’s righteousness to us
God places us “in Christ”
We are born again of the Spirit
God gives us His Holy Spirit and a new “heart”
We are raised with Christ
We are a new creation
God forgives us
God places us in His family
God gives us the ministry of reconciliation
God teaches us how to live in His righteousness
God will take us home to be with Him one day
God will reward us for our obedience
Christ is making all things new,
A new Heaven and Earth where righteousness dwells
We will be with Jesus, Our Heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit
and His family
Forever

Wow! This is just what I could think of in a few minutes in no certain order in my own words. (To the theologians out there, I am not presenting a new ordo salutis but a meditation of awe!)

There is so much more we could write! This is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak!

To this, Paul says, “Don’t receive this grace in vain! Respond to it! Guard it! Live in it! Grow in it! And tell it to others!” Learn to live in this ministry of reconciliation by receiving it yourself then giving it away to others!

Prayer Focus: 2 Corinthians 6:1

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us new life in Your Son. Thank you for your Holy Spirit Who now lives in us. Thank You for the new creation that has begun in us and will spread to all of creation. Thank you for giving us the Gospel, the good news about Jesus, to transform our lives and to share with others. Help us to be faithful servants in the great commission! In Christ's name, Amen.”


Day 19 – January 27, 2022 Ambassadors for Christ, Part 2

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Today we broaden our focus to view more of the rich context of the passage on which we have been reflecting this last week of our 21 day fast.

What’s the Therefore There For?

Whenever you see the word “therefore” in scripture, it is helpful to ask, “What is the therefore there for?” I don’t know who came up with that little question, but it is a great one! Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are ambassadors for Christ is looking back to what Paul had just discussed. Paul’s declaration that we are “ambassadors for Christ” looks back to His exultation in the fact that God has reconciled us to Himself in Christ and given us His ministry of reconciliation to take to our world! To the person who doesn’t know Christ, Paul says, “Believe what God has done in Christ and be reconciled to God through Him!” To those who have trusted Christ, he says, “Enjoy your relationship with your God in Christ! Then go forth as Christ’s ambassadors to be a part of God’s active restoration of the world!” You have the message of reconciliation, and that message carries with it the power to bring about God’s new creation! (Romans 1:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Set Free From Self-Centeredness to Live For Others

As we go back a little further, we see another amazing aspect of what every believer is called to experience. God made us a new creation and gave us His Spirit so that we would be set free from our self-centeredness and learn to live for others! Jesus said it like this,

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25).

Our world craves self-actualization, but until we discover God’s design for us in Christ, we are sadly lost in our self-absorbed existence that bears no correlation to the life that God offers us in Christ. Christ sets us free to live with God and discover His purpose for our lives. What a joyful privilege to walk in fellowship with our Creator! And our God loves people! He sends us out as His ambassadors and gives us the ministry of reconciling people to Himself. Astounding! We do this by the announcement of the Gospel, the good news of what God has done for us in Christ.

I’ve Come and I’ve Brought My World With Me!

The Gospel is not an argument or an alternate worldview, it is God’s announcement of Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Him. (John 14:6)

When Jesus began His ministry, Mark records the profound way Jesus announced it:

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

Jesus began “proclaiming the gospel of God.” The word “gospel” means good news and was the word used to describe the good report that one person would bring to another, particularly in times of crisis or trial. When a war was going on, a runner would be dispatched to bring an update of the victory to the people. We are those runners carrying the best news of all!

Jesus declared, “The time is fulfilled…” Every promise God had made was now going to be realized in Jesus! Jesus announced, “The Kingdom of God is at hand!” Dudley Hall paraphrases this as, “I’m here and I brought my world with Me!” In Christ, the Kingdom of God (which is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven in scripture) breaks into this world to begin the process of renewing all of creation beginning with us. We are called then to “repent and believe in” this good news. Jesus is the King. He is in authority. He has come, and He has brought His world with Him. To repent means to change your mind and turn another direction. To respond to this announcement, we must turn to Christ and learn to follow Him.

Paul declares in Romans 1:16-17 that this announcement has the power within itself to save. God saves us as we believe this announcement and yield to Christ and His authority. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul describes us as the new heralds to declare this message everywhere we go! We are Christ’s ambassadors, proclaiming the good news and inviting people to turn to this King to be saved and set free into their destiny in Him. The Holy Spirit takes our proclamation of the Gospel and uses it to draw the lost to God the Father. What an amazing ministry we have received, and what a glorious vocation to engage in it and lead people to Christ!

Put on Your Gospel Shoes

Paul instructs us that we are to “shod our feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace…” (Ephesians 6:15). Like putting on our shoes each day, we are to carry the message of Christ with us and be ready to give it away to others. Isaiah declares 700 years in advance of Christ’s coming,

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7)

Paul quotes this in Romans 10 as he encourages the Romans to engage in their mission, the ministry of reconciliation. There is no greater mission or purpose than to carry this good news with you wherever you go. And there is truly no greater joy than being able to partner with the Holy Spirit as He draws others to Jesus Christ. The message not only includes how to be born again into God’s family but all of the benefits that come with Christ, His Spirit, and a restored relationship to God the Father. Will you engage more deeply in your mission, the ministry of reconciliation? Who is the Lord leading you to reach out to with the message of the Gospel?

Prayer Focus: Isaiah 52:7

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the good news of the Gospel, the announcement that Christ is Lord, the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Thank you for setting me free from self-centeredness in Him. Help me to learn to live each day centered in Christ as Your ambassador of this good news. Help me to proclaim Your peace and to speak Your salvation to those around me. Let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven! In Christ's name, Amen.”


Day 18 – January 26, 2022 Ambassadors for Christ, Part 2

Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Yesterday, we looked at these two amazing verses that have captivated Christ-followers for the last 2,000 years. Yesterday, we looked primarily at verse 21 which Martin Luther called “the great exchange” - Christ took our sin and gives us His righteousness.

We Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

We see that the world is broken, and we long for it to be healed. Until God reveals it to us, we don’t know that we are the problem. We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23-24). Our desire for the healing of a broken and hurting world begins with the reconciliation between God and man, and only God can accomplish this. He does this one life at a time by inviting us to believe what He says. Our brokenness comes from not believing God and the ramifications of that unbelief. Yet without God’s intervention, there would be no hope! The Psalmist writes in Psalm 130:3-4,

3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.

The answer to our unrighteousness and sin problem is found only in God, only in His forgiveness and restoration. Something epic must occur to remedy our brokenness, and it does not come from within us! Jeremiah prophesied that the Lord, YHWH, would be our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16)! Zechariah worshiped God at the birth of John the Baptist, echoing the hope of Israel that that they would one day worship God in true holiness and righteousness in the Messiah (Luke 1:75). When Jesus announced the New Covenant in Himself in the Sermon on the Mount, He declared that in Him, we would finally be satisfied in our thirst for God’s righteousness (Matthew 5:6)!

Righteousness is a Gift

It is important to note that the righteousness that God offers us in Christ is a gift of grace. This is nothing we could ever earn; it is something we receive only through faith (Romans 4:3-6). Paul exclaimed that he counted everything “rubbish” so that he may “... be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Philippians 3:9).” God reveals His Son Jesus to us, we look at Christ and believe, receiving Him as our Lord, and God gives us the right to become children of God (John 1:12)! We are born again through faith in Christ (John 3:3-21)! And in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul reveals that we are a new creation in Christ! God has begun the restoration of the world by renewing hearts in Him!

The Position, the Practical, and the Promise of Righteousness

The Righteousness that the Bible speaks of is a position we stand in, a practical lifestyle that we grow in, and a promise that we hope in. As we looked at yesterday, by faith in Christ, we are now “in Christ,” clothed in His garments of salvation and wrapped in His robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). By faith in Christ, God accounts His righteousness to us, and we are treated as Christ is (Romans 4:1-5:2). Our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4)! That’s how effective God’s salvation is for us in Christ!

Yet God gives us His Spirit and wants us to grow up into the maturity of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Paul instructed his disciple Timothy to “pursue righteousness” and that the word of God was “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness” (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22, 3:16). This is the practical lifestyle we grow in.

The writer to the Hebrews makes an amazing statement to this effect in Hebrews 10:14,

“For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

This verse contains aspects of both the completed work of Christ (“perfected for all time” - our position) and the ongoing work of the Spirit (“are being sanctified” - our progress in practical growth). It has been said that the Christian life is “becoming what you already are” in Christ!

When we finally see Him face to face, we also have the promise that our sin nature will be gone and we will be able to enjoy our God and each other without sin! The writer to the Hebrews spoke of the believers who had died and gone to Heaven as “the spirits of the righteous made perfect…” The apostle John said, “… we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2b-3) John is encouraging his flock in helping them see that the normal path for a Christ follower is to learn to walk in righteousness here on Earth (“purifies himself as he is pure”) but that our sin nature will be removed when we see Him (“we will be like Him.”). This is a glorious promise!

All of these, the position, the practical and the promise of righteousness are gifts from God to us in Christ. The Father gave us the Son so that we would be positionally “in Him,” wrapped in His robe of His righteousness. The Father gave us the Holy Spirit so that we would be set free from sin to learn how to walk practically in God’s holiness. And God’s promise to us is that when we finally stand before Jesus, we will be like Him.

Prayer Focus: (Hebrews 10:14, 1 John 3:2-3)

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the place of righteousness where we stand in Christ, the practical ways you are growing us up into the character of your Son, and the promise that we will be like Him when we finally see Him. We hunger and thirst for Your righteousness, and it is only in You, Your Son and Your Spirit that we are satisfied. In Christ's name, Amen.”


Day 17 – January 25, 2022 Ambassadors for Christ, Part 1

Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I remember the first time I heard this passage. It was the night I gave my life to the Lord in the summer of 1985. God brought this passage alive in me, and it filled my life with immediate purpose, joy and hope. God did something in Christ so magnificent, so wonderful! God shared this with humanity in Christ and then invited us into His eternal plan! What is this announcement, and how are we to respond?

Verse 21 of 2 Corinthians 5 has captivated the minds of believers since Paul wrote it in the first century. As Paul reflected on his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus where he first believed (Acts 9) and then searched the Old Testament scriptures to see what he had missed in God’s foreshadowing of the Messiah (Galatians 1:11-24), Paul came to one glaring conclusion that was given to Him by the risen Christ. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who was perfect and Who perfectly kept the law of God, to bear our sins and die in our place so that we might be given forgiveness and right standing with God by faith! Paul summed this up by putting it like this (my additions are in the parentheses):

Him (Jesus) who knew no sin
He (God) made to be sin on our behalf;
that we might become
the righteousness of God
in him (Jesus). (ERV)

Libraries of evaluation have been written on this verse! Martin Luther famously called this the “Great Exchange.” Christ takes the believer’s sin on Himself, forgives us of that sin by His payment for it on the cross, and gives us His own righteousness! This raises a thousand questions such as “How does this happen?” “How do we receive His righteousness?” And we could go on and on from there.

The key I believe is in the way Paul wrote this sentence. It begins and ends with Jesus. It literally starts with “The One…” Jesus. Jesus took our sin. And it ends with “in Him,” one of Paul’s most consistent expressions of what it means to be made right with God. When we believe God’s message of Christ, God places us “in Him.” As an example, read Ephesians 1:1-14 and notice how many times Paul centers the full blessing of God “in Him” or “in Christ Jesus.” In Isaiah 61, one of the great Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, Isaiah rejoices in this salvation from God:

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD,
My soul will be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10a)

God’s prophetic foreshadowing of being “in Christ” was to be “clothed… with garments of salvation” and “wrapped… with a robe of righteousness.”

We don’t have to be scholars to see the glory of what Isaiah prophesied, Christ performed and revealed, and Paul proclaimed. God took our sins upon Himself in Jesus and gives us His righteousness as a gift when we believe. From there, we are invited to be ambassadors of this message and to enjoy and communicate all of its benefits!

Prayer Focus: 2 Corinthians 5:20

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of our sin in Christ! Thank You for giving us Your righteousness in Him! Thank You for clothing us with Christ Himself, and in Him, being able to enjoy You and the blessings of Your Kingdom. Help us to respond with grateful hearts of worship. Help us now be faithful stewards of Christ and this message to those around us as Your ambassadors. In Christ's name, Amen.”


Day 16 – January 24, 2022 What’s in a Name?

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

In one of the most central passages of scripture to the Old Testament, God reveals His glory to Moses by telling him His name which included these snapshots of His character. These character qualities of God have come to be called by some, the “Middot.” Middot (pronounced with a long o) is the Hebrew word for personal characteristics and virtues and is based on the word for norms or measures. God certainly intended for us to consider these profound descriptions of His character as we relate to Him.

In many other places in scripture, God further explained Himself in light of His actions in caring for the nation of Israel. Here in the Exodus list, God calls Himself merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. In other Old Testament passages, He calls Himself or is called by His people, our Provider (Genesis 22:14), our Healer (Exodus 15:26), our Victory (Exodus 17:15), the LORD Who Sanctifies (or makes “holy,” Leviticus 20:8), our Peace (Judges 6:24), our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1), our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6), and the LORD Who is Present with us (Ezekiel 48:35).

Jesus used the unique and holy name of God (“I AM”) for which he was nearly stoned, as the Jews realized that He was equating Himself with God by using that unique name (John 8:58-59). He also declared Himself to be the Bread of Life (John 6:35), the Light of the World (John 8:12), the Gate (John 10:9), the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-26), the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), and the Vine (John 15:5). There are many names for or descriptions of the Holy Spirit as well in scripture. (See The Names of God (rolmason.org))

To the Old Testament individuals who experienced God in ways consistent with God’s revelation of His name, their response was to worship. And it is to be our way as well. Consider in Exodus 20 the third command that says, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” It seems that most people connect this with not swearing or using the GD word. That is a bare minimum, and really is absurdly lacking, when you consider that He has revealed to us these majestic aspects of His nature that should lead us to intimate and humble worship. What God seeks in us is a reverence for His name that comes from an understanding of His character and how He relates to us. If we are not to misuse it, how are we then to use it? In worship. Declaring the name of the Lord and placing our expectation and hope on Him in light of those names.

In the New Testament, consider one of the most central passages of the entire Bible, the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. As Jesus taught us to speak with our Heavenly Father, He taught us to do so by first “hallowing” or “making holy” His name. How do we do this? In worship, we declare the name of the Lord and place our expectation and hope on Him in light of those names.

And finally, we turn to the name above all names. Consider Paul’s explanation of the Gospel to the Philippian church:

8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11)

God’s final word to us is in Christ, and Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s own nature (John 1, Hebrews 1). God has chosen to exalt Christ through the cross, for it is in and through Jesus and His death for us that we can be saved and restored to God the Father. Christ is the “measure” of God’s love for us, which is infinite. Christ provides a way for us to enter the most holy place in God’s presence, to the throne of grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16), where we can truly know Him through the Son by the Spirit.

As we wrap up this two week focus on God’s revelation of Himself through His name and through the name above all names, Jesus, let us respond in deeper worship with more understanding and more gratitude than ever before. We have a humble, compassionate, merciful, faithful God yet who is righteous and just. He gave Himself for us by sending His Son to die on a cross for our sins. Christ has risen from the dead so that we might be raised with Him. Every blessing in the Heavenly places is ours in Christ. Every promise is yes and amen in Him. Let us recount these and all the promises related to God’s self-revelation and worship Him.

Prayer Focus: Philippians 2:8-11

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing Your name to us in so many profound ways, and ultimately through Your Son Jesus Christ. Hallowed be Your Name! Thank you for giving us the true measure of who You are and revealing the magnitude of Your mercy, grace, patience, love, and faithfulness in Him. We worship You and thank You deeply for Your glorious salvation! In Christ's name, Amen.”


Day 15 – January 23, 2022 Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today we look at the phrase “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” This phrase is one that has caused a lot of concern and questioning of God’s character. What is He telling us here?

As we have discussed over the last couple of days, It is necessary to go back to Exodus 20 where the LORD gave Moses the Ten Commandments, as this passage in Exodus 34 occurred just shortly after God announced the Ten Commandments to the Israelites from Mount Sinai and must be considered in light of the second commandment. As noted in the Day 12 Devotion, the “guilty” of Exodus 34 are associated with those who hate God and cling to their idols in Exodus 20, and those who love God and keep His commandments in Exodus 20 are associated with the forgiven in Exodus 34.

The forgiven enjoy God’s eternal steadfast loyal love and all of His benefits! Those who remain in their guilt experience death and its ongoing, eternal consequences. There are two types of people according to the Bible. The guilty and the forgiven, because all are guilty before God. Some are justly forgiven through the cross and faith in Christ.

As I mentioned in the Day 12 devotional, God does not punish the children for their parent’s sin (Ezekiel 18:20) - but the generational consequences of sin are very evident. One person’s sin can affect whole families for decades, both the guilty and the forgiven. Additionally, we all bear the pain from the sin of the first parents, Adam and Eve who brought sin into the world in the beginning. Sin brings death, and sin’s consequences spread widely. God is telling us that He reserves the right to justly allow the continued consequences of people’s rebellion against Him, and that applies to everyone. That clearly needs to be something we come to terms with, because this is part of God’s perfect justice. But there are many mitigating factors that God has given through His mercy.

First of all, the concerning end of verse 7 comes after verse 6 and the beginning of verse 7 that outline God’s benevolent, loving character. The end of verse 7 simply highlights His justice that is a firm barrier to resist and afflict the evil in humanity’s hearts. However, He chooses to limit this judgment of the temporal consequences of sin to the window of a human lifespan rather than accumulate judgment and condemnation.

Related to this, there is a common grace that is evident in the world so that the world does not devolve into uncontrolled chaos as it did in the days of Noah. God in His mercy sovereignly sets boundaries on the effects of people’s sin so that His grace may be experienced by every individual according to His plan.

Additionally, God does not condemn or punish the children for the sins of their parents (Ezekiel 18:20); to the contrary, God actively pursues us even in the midst of the sins of the family members all around us. God’s mercy to an individual cannot be stopped or thwarted by any other person’s sin. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more! (Romans 5:20)

To those who are forgiven, they are adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters. Rather than facing eternal judgment, they enjoy the care of a loving Father and His careful discipline for our good so that we can share in His holiness! (Hebrews 12:10)

On top of that, we simply turn to the cross to get the ultimate perspective on God’s justice. Our God loves so deeply that He chooses to die in our place so that we might be saved and set free to enjoy Him, His family, and His life for eternity. What can we say to that? He is telling us that He is holy and just, and oh, are we thankful for this! Our God will right every wrong, judge every injustice and heal every wound of the sin that has plagued us. Yet were it not for the cross, we would all be unforgiven and condemned. But God in His mercy has drawn us to Himself, forgiven those who have responded to His mercy, and promises to heal this world of its sin problem with His new creation, beginning with us!

God reserves the eternal accumulation of blessing for those who are forgiven! The implication for the guilty is that they remain under His judgment and condemnation for eternity, which is consistent with what Christ Himself told us in John chapter 3. Many people are familiar with John 3:16 and maybe even verse 17:

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Less are familiar with what follows in verse 18:

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

It really doesn’t get more clear than that. If you are reading this and have not trusted Christ as your Savior, you can do this right now. To all who have trusted Him, thank Him for the cross that reveals the depth of His holiness and justice, His love such that He went to the cross in our place, His power to raise us from the dead as He did His Son Jesus, and His perfect ability to keep sin in its place as He sets us free from it by the power of His Spirit. Hallelujah!

Prayer Focus: John 3:16

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your salvation that is so perfect in its ability to free us from our sin and bring us safely to You. Thank you for holding back the effects of sin in our world so that we can find You and enjoy You by Your abundant grace and mercy. Help us to reflect Your light to this world who so desperately needs to see You. Help us to find our satisfaction daily in You alone. In Christ's name, Amen.”


Day 14 – January 22, 2022 Perfect Love and Justice at the Cross

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today we look at the phrase “but who will by no means clear the guilty.” This phrase is tied in closely with the preceding and following phrases, so I will briefly repeat some important observations from the previous day’s devotion.

It is helpful to go back to Exodus 20 where the LORD gave Moses the Ten Commandments, as this passage in Exodus 34 occurred just shortly after God announced the Ten Commandments to the Israelites from Mount Sinai and must be considered in light of the second commandment. As noted in the Day 12 Devotion, the “guilty” of Exodus 34 are associated with those who hate God and cling to their idols in Exodus 20, and those who love God and keep His commandments in Exodus 20 are associated with the forgiven in Exodus 34. The forgiven enjoy God’s eternal covenant steadfast loyal love and all of His benefits! Those who remain in their guilt experience death and its ongoing, eternal consequences. There are two types of people according to the Bible. The guilty and the forgiven, because all are guilty before God. Some are justly forgiven.

When God says that He will by no means clear the guilty, He is saying that justice will always be served. All sin will be addressed and dealt with. When you look at the previous phrase, “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,” and then compare that with “but who will by no means clear the guilty,” it raises the question, how can He justly forgive if every sin must be addressed? That question must have rolled around for centuries until God answered it for us in Christ. God can only offer forgiveness while still justly punishing every sin by dying in our place.

The writer to the Hebrews speaks to this saying,

19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:19-28)

The writer to the Hebrews connects the dots for us. The animal sacrifices at the tabernacle that God prescribed in Exodus point to the one true sacrifice that would remain as our offering before God Himself in the Heavens forever. Our salvation is only as secure as the sacrifice that was offered for us, and Christ “by a single offering… has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 9:14) Christ, the perfect offering, keeps us secure in the covenant that He has kept for us with God. We are as secure in that covenant by faith as Christ is secure before God! And Jesus is One with God and One with us! It does not get any more secure than that!

So as we celebrate the profound love of God, we must never lose sight of the cross and its justice where a Holy God condemned sin by paying for it Himself and offered forgiveness to all who would simply believe what He has spoken to us in Christ. These, He captivates with His steadfast covenant loyal love demonstrated finally and fully in Christ.

Prayer Focus: Hebrews 9:22

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for paying for our sins, nailing them to the cross, and bearing our shame while we were still sinners. Thank you for letting us see the glory of Your Son so that we might believe in Him and be saved and forgiven. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Thank you for the blood of Christ that fulfilled Your perfect justice and purchased our perfect salvation. In Christ's name, Amen.


Day 13 – January 21, 2022 Our Forgiving God

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today we look at the phrase “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” As a reminder from yesterday’s devotion, to get the full import of what the LORD is saying here, it is helpful to go back to Exodus 20 where the LORD gave Moses the Ten Commandments. God was setting the new nation Israel apart for Himself to be a holy people who would represent Him in the earth. It is ironic that while the LORD was meeting with Moses on Mount Sinai, the Israelites were down below breaking multiple of the commandments before God and Moses could even wrap up their meeting. The Bible is filled with examples like this, which emphasizes the righteousness of God and the brokenness of humanity. The Israelites only days before had heard God speak these commandments, yet were now making and worshipping idols and “drinking” and “playing” which is most likely a euphemism for drunken revelry and sexual immorality! God tells Moses to go deal with the situation, and Moses arrives and breaks the tablets of the Commandments on the ground.

After God has Moses discipline Israel for their sin, and before God sends Moses down the mountain again with a new set of tablets, Moses asks God to show him His glory in Exodus 33. We then see God’s response in Exodus 34 above. So the situation for God revealing His name to Moses could not be more profound. God is telling Moses He will forgive iniquity and transgression and sin while they are down below the mountain committing iniquity, transgression and sin! So what is the meaning of these three different words?

The word iniquity in Hebrew is “avon” and means morally perverse, twisted, crooked, or broken. It speaks of the state of the human soul that has chosen an idol over God. We become bent and morally twisted.

The word transgression is “pesa” and means crossing a boundary, rebellion, breaking trust or a personal offense. It speaks of the attitude of the human heart that wants to be in control and unyielded to God and His authority. We become self-centered and lack the proper respect for God and His leadership in our lives.

The word for sin is “hatta” and is the general word that describes us falling short of God’s standards. It means missing the mark, failure to fulfill a goal, or getting lost and not arriving at the destination. The first time the word hatta is used for sin in the Bible is in Genesis 4:6-7:

The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Sin appears as a wild animal crouching at the door. Once sin entered the world, life became a constant battle to resist its deadly but alluring invitation. No wonder that the devil is described “like a lion seeking someone to destroy” (1 Peter 5:8).

As we saw yesterday, the wages of our inquiry, transgression and sin is death. Isaiah describes this death relationally:

1 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
2 but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear.

Like Adam and Eve in the garden, sin causes us to run from God and to try to cover ourselves. We have no idea of the depth of our offense toward God and its consequences, and we think we can solve the problem. Only the cross reveals the magnitude of the chasm between us, the horrific nature of our trespass and the depth of God’s love, justice and mercy to fix it. How does God fix this?

God forgives. With the sacrifice of the animal in the garden and the sacrificial system that He gave to the Israelites, God points forward to the day when the Lion of Judah would come and die in our place so that we could be born again and set free from the penalty and power of sin.

The word forgive means “to carry away.” God lifts our sins off of us, carries them away with Jesus and nails them to the cross. Paul said,

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

There are two types of people according to the Bible. The guilty and the forgiven, because all are guilty before God. Some are just forgiven.

Prayer Focus: Colossians 2:13-14

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving us of our brokenness, our rebellion and our failure to follow you. Thank you that in Christ, our iniquities, trespasses and sins are nailed to the cross! We bear them no more! Thank you that in Christ, we are alive together with Him. Thank you that in Him, we are able to come boldly before your throne of grace to receive grace and help in time of need. In Christ name, amen.”


Day 12 – January 20, 2022 Kept by God’s Eternal Covenant Loyal Love

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.
Today we look at the phrase “keeping steadfast love for thousands.”

In order to evaluate that phrase, we need to consider a few things from the other parts of this passage and from surrounding passages of scripture.

  1. “Steadfast love” is the word “hesed” that we covered in Day 10, and we summarized that word as “God’s Covenant-Making Promise-Keeping Loyal Love.” (If you missed that devotional, I encourage you to go back to it and read it on FB or at http://www.rolmason.org/21-day-fast-daily-devotional.)
  2. When God spoke of “thousands” or “the third and the fourth,” God was speaking of numbers of generations. The word “generations” is not in the text, but implied. This is clear by the way God spoke of the “third and the fourth” in terms of the children and grandchildren of the fathers in verse 7. Generations in the Bible are often described as anywhere from 40 to 100 years, and the number “thousands” is often used as a generally round number indicating a very long, indefinite time or a very large number. So at a minimum, God describes His blessings going forward 40,000+ to 100,000+ years! Given that Moses lived only about 3,500 years ago, God is speaking of eternal blessings to those kept within His “hesed” covenant love!
  3. God is comparing the infinite generational blessings of those forgiven people within His “hesed” covenant love with those who are “not forgiven” (by implication, “guilty”). These incur God’s judgment to them and the consequences of their sin to their families to the third and fourth generations. Thus the contrast is between the forgiven and the guilty.
  4. The conditions for the difference between the forgiven who enjoy God’s covenant loyal love and the guilty who don’t are not specifically indicated in this passage. To see this, it takes looking at the 10 Commandments given in Exodus 20 and reiterated in Deuteronomy 5. In both of these passages, God gives the revelation as to what separates these two groups. God had already revealed this to Moses in the second commandment:

    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-9)

  5. In the second commandment, God makes a massive distinction between those who hate Him and persist in idolatry (loving other “gods”) and those who love Him and keep His commands. To those who persist in idolatry and reject God, God calls them guilty and emphasizes the multi-generational effect of their sin.
  6. God does not punish the children for their parent’s sin (Ezekiel 18:20) - but the generational consequences of sin are very evident. One person’s sin can affect whole families for decades. Additionally, we all bear the pain from the sin of the first parents, Adam and Eve. Sin brings death, and sin’s consequences spread widely.
  7. The guilty of Exodus 34 are associated with those who hate God and cling to their idols in Exodus 20, and those who love God and keep His commandments in Exodus 20 are associated with the forgiven in Exodus 34. The forgiven enjoy God’s eternal covenant steadfast loyal love and all of His benefits! Those who remain in their guilt experience death and its ongoing, eternal consequences.

Our emphasis on God “keeping steadfast love for thousands” of generations points us to His other characteristics - merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Those who are forgiven will enjoy these aspects of God now and throughout eternity. These will witness His healing influence permeating their lives as well as those of their family, friends and communities. The guilty who reject God in favor of their idols will be separated from God for eternity having left a wake of destruction behind them. The only difference between those who enjoy the eternal covenant faithful love of God and the guilty is the forgiveness and renewal that comes by faith through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

23 … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Prayer Focus: Romans 3:23-24; 6:23

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for drawing us to Yourself that we might be forgiven and born again into your family. Thank you that you do not hold our sins against us but rather transform us into the image of Your Beloved Son. We lift up those who don’t know you to ask for their salvation, that they would yield themselves to you in Christ and be set free. Thank you for keeping us safely in Your hand for eternity and sealing us with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the majesty and glory of your promises and their fulfillment in Christ that have become life to us. In Christ’s name, amen.


Day 11 – January 19, 2022 Our God, Faithful and True

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today we look at the word faithfulness. The word in Hebrew is “emet,” and it means certainty, truth, trustworthiness, reliability, sureness, stability, and continuance. When God declares that He is abounding in “emet” (faithfulness), He addresses a very important question - can we depend on Him? Is He trustworthy? Does God keep His word?

When God says that He is “faithful,” God is telling us that He is abounding in truth, certainty, trustworthiness, reliability, stability and continuance. And our experience with God is without question one of impeccable, perfect faithfulness. I testify with complete awe and amazement of how He has kept every promise and answered prayers in accordance with His word in ways that simply cannot be explained. But to the scriptures! What do they say about our God’s faithfulness? The entire Bible testifies to God’s perfect fulfillment of His word and His utter trustworthiness. But here are just a few passages to consider:

King David wrote of God’s words in Psalm 12,

6 The words of the LORD are pure words,

like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,

purified seven times.

7 You, O LORD, will keep them… (Psalm 12:6-7a)

These are not words written simply as an idealistic statement; they are a song written to celebrate the infinite trustworthiness of God’s word by someone who had experienced the awe inspiring precision and blessing of God’s faithfulness personally.

God told the prophet Isaiah,

I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;

I have purposed, and I will do it. (Isaiah 46:11b)

and

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Jesus Himself said of the Old Testament law:

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)

And yet, the entire Old Testament spoke of Jesus, as Jesus revealed to the distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus after the crucifixion and resurrection:

25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Theologians use the word “exegesis” to describe the interpretation of scripture. The word basically means “explanation” or “exposition.” The goal of exegesis is to understand what the author originally meant so that it can be properly applied.

The apostle John tells us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Word of God, from John’s perspective as he saw Christ in light of the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament), is Jesus.

Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us “1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,…”

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the full and final word of God to us. The “exact imprint of his nature” essentially means that Jesus is God fully revealed to us in the flesh. Jesus is God’s exegesis of Himself, His Living Word!

If we look at the full narrative of scripture, we see that God is telling us our story within the bigger story of Himself, His Son and His Spirit. God made many, many promises to mankind in His word and faithfully fulfilled every promise through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Paul highlighted this when he said, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)

And in the Revelation to John, we see Christ’s fulfillment of Exodus 34 on display in Revelation 19:11 “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war!” Christ is the visible expression of God’s faithful and true glory, and one day we will see with our eyes the faithful culmination of everything in Christ. Until that time, we see it by faith as we look to Jesus each day and learn to feed our souls in the light of His glory.

Prayer Focus: 1 Corinthians 1:9

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being faithful and true to your word. Thank you for giving us the Living Word, Jesus Christ, and fulfilling every promise in Him. Thank you that by faith in Christ, we are your sons and daughters who are able to enjoy you forever. Thank you that one day soon, Christ will return to bring to completion all you have promised in Him. We set our hope on that day and thank you in advance for the mercy we will receive on that day. Thank you that we have been forgiven and set free in Christ. In His name we pray, amen.”


Day 10 – January 18, 2022 God’s Covenant Making Promise Keeping Loyal Love

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today we look at the phrase “abounding in steadfast love” and the way God uses it to describe Himself. To start with, let’s look at the smaller phrase “steadfast love.” The Hebrew word is “hesed,” and that one word communicates a history of God making promises and keeping them and doing this because of His deep love and care for us. The word implies kindness and humility and is translated “lovingkindness” in one version of the Bible.

The meaning of the word carries the profound example of God entering into covenants and binding Himself with humanity for the ultimate blessing of the world! Throughout recorded history, God has made covenants with people that reveal this profound quality of God. Covenants are promises made between individuals that declare a lifelong commitment for the benefit of both parties even unto death. With God, this is very one sided to begin with as God has everything to offer humanity and humanity has nothing to offer Him other than gratitude and faithfulness. As we see in scripture and know personally, no human being has ever been able to do this perfectly or even remotely well – until Jesus.

When God’s people failed in their commitment to respond in love and faithfulness in return, God told them of the pain they would bring upon themselves. But the amazing nature of God is to train His covenant partners even through their infidelity and bless them by keeping both sides of the covenant! In covenant, God and His covenant partners say, “to death do us part so that we may bless one another.” Yet because of man’s inability to keep simple promises in the relationship, God must act in order to restore and preserve the relationship.

The institution of marriage is meant to be a picture of hesed to help us understand a long term, unifying commitment based upon a loyal love and desire for one another. But with God, His hesed is perfect and not dependent in any way upon us. God just IS a covenant making, promise keeping loyal and unconditional love kind of God! Even when we have failed, God has kept His promises in innumerable and unfathomable ways, and His covenant making, promise keeping loyal love is ultimately demonstrated for us in Jesus Christ.

With Adam and Eve, He gave them the world, literally, but they broke covenant immediately by not trusting Him. They brought devastating consequences upon themselves and to the world, but God promised to still care for them. He then blessed them to His own hurt by the death of an animal given to cover their nakedness and the promise to crush the head of the serpent who tempted them. With Noah, God graciously delivered Noah and His family and promised to heal the world in spite of mankind’s horrific slide into total depravity. God made a promise to bless the world through Abraham but showed him in a vision that God would keep both sides of the covenant! Abraham slept while God worked! God promised to bless the world through the nation Israel, Abraham’s family, who God miraculously delivered from slavery in Egypt. When Israel needed leadership and all of their leaders ultimately failed them, God promised David that He would give Israel a King who once again would bless the world and fulfill all prior promises. When Israel as a nation was ultimately unfaithful to God, God sent the perfect Israelite to fulfill the Mosaic covenant, to make the sacrifice of death on their behalf to preserve the relationship, and to provide them with an eternal King who kept every promise!

The cross is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant making promise keeping loyal love. Just how far will God go to keep His word and ensure blessing to an unfaithful people? Look at the cross. God keeps both sides of the covenant and dies in our place so that an unfaithful world can still know Him and enjoy Him forever. That is God’s definition of “abounding in steadfast love!” God has kept His word by giving us the Living Word Jesus who keeps the covenant on our behalf and dies to pay for our breaking of covenant! What does He ask of us in return in God’s new covenant with Jesus? To believe Him. Believe that God has fulfilled every promise in love through His Son Jesus. And to those who believe Him, to them He gives the right to become His children forever. Those who trust God’s word of Jesus are “in covenant” with God through Jesus. We are “in Him” as Paul said. The covenant is as sure as God’s word is faithful!

Prayer Focus: John 3:16

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that Christ and His cross reveal Your profound, infinite, eternal nature to bless us even to Your own hurt. Thank You that You loved us so much that You gave Your only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. Thank You for showing us Your covenant making promise keeping loyal love in so many ways and fully and finally in Jesus. In Christ’s name, amen.”


Day 9 – January 17, 2022 Return!

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today we look at the phrase “slow to anger” and the way God uses it to describe Himself. The phrase for “slow to anger” in Hebrew is literally “long of nose,” and is an idiom for God’s patience with us. It is similar to what we would say is a “slow fuse” when it comes to getting angry. People’s faces really do get red when they get angry, particularly their noses! Another response of anger that is shown in the nose is the way nostrils flare when you get angry! These are physiological responses that come with anger, and being “long of nose” means it takes a long time for you to get angry to the point of acting on that anger. What would cause God to get angry?

God’s anger is always directed at sin and injustice. God is holy; His actions are perfect and only work for the best interests of everyone. Sin is destructive and brings death (Genesis 2:17). While some sin is done in ignorance, most is done in the deliberate disregarding of God’s law. Humanity is bent toward a rejection of God, His authority and His revelation of what is right. We learned it from our parents, Adam and Eve. When we choose to violate His commands, we are hurt and others are hurt. Sin unleashes a torrent of death and destruction that is all too evident around us in the world today. Our appetite for sin without God’s intervention is a constant spiral downward and away from God. The generation of Noah in Genesis is a pointed example of this. God’s anger burns against mankind’s addiction to evil and evil’s injustice. All of us are guilty of this before God. As the Psalmist writes prophetically, “They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:3)

Rather than immediately punish the sin of those who don’t know Him or immediately discipline those who do know Him, He gently leads us to turn from our sin and return to Him and His ways. This is called repentance, and His desire is to lead us gently and patiently as we turn to Him – He is slow to anger! David spoke of this when he wrote, “You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great (Psalm 18:35).” Paul speaks of this in Romans 2:4, asking of all who have sinned before God, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

When His anger is aroused, it is always justified and works to bring about the fulfillment of His will and our turning to Him in repentance. Even the grotesquely idolatrous nations that Israel dispossessed from Canaan in the conquest following the Exodus received His longsuffering patience. We don’t know all the details from scripture, but Genesis 15:16 reveals that God’s timetable to bring Israel to a point of displacing the people of Canaan related to His patience with the idolatrous nations as He gave them time to repent. Revelation 2:20-21 speaks of God’s patience with a false prophet in Thyatira, saying of her, “I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.” While God is absolutely just in dealing with sin swiftly, He chooses to be gentle and slow to anger. While we wish He were quicker to deal with other people’s sin, we are ever thankful for His patience with us!

God is always training His people to lay down their “idols” and turn to Him. John Piper has said, “Our hearts are idol-making factories.” This is so true! We were dead in our sin because of our idolatry, and He graciously brought us to life through faith in Jesus. As His sons and daughters, we are still so easily deceived by sin and distracted with even good things that pull us away from investing in our relationship with God. And God, in His patience and kindness, calls us to return to Him.

Fasting is a Biblical way to rid our heart of idols as we learn to feast on His goodness. He is after our heart for our benefit and joy and even for His own pleasure! The prophet Joel, as he called Israel to repentance, said:

12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
13 Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:12-13)

Isaiah proclaimed God’s longsuffering patience with Israel:

15 For this is what the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said:
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,…
18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Observe how Joel’s invitation from God looks back to God’s declaration of His character in Exodus 34:6-7. Isaiah’s reflection also looks back to Exodus and highlights His desire to show us His gracious compassion and blessing, but His justice is exercised to call His people to repentance.

In this season of fasting, ask the Lord to set you free from what will not satisfy you, and return to Him with a whole heart to feast on His goodness.

Prayer Focus: Joel 2:12-13; Isaiah 30:15-18

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Thank you that you are gentle and patient with us, and we ask that you would set us free from our idols so that we can be satisfied with you first and foremost in our lives. Captivate our hearts with the good news of your Son, and fill us with your Spirit. In Christ’s name, amen.”


Day 8 – January 16, 2022 To the Praise of God’s Glorious Grace!

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today we look at the word “gracious” and the way God uses it to describe Himself. The adjective in Hebrew describes a person who gives a beautiful, delightful gift that brings joy, especially to those who don’t deserve it. In the Old Testament, the related noun “grace” is often translated as “favor” and used with the word “find” as in “finding favor” with someone, especially someone in power. God’s description of Himself is very informative. The Israelites had found favor with God and were given the gift of freedom from Egypt and a relationship with YHWH Himself, though they were sinful and undeserving.

In the New Testament, “grace” and “gracious” carry forward the same meaning as the Hebrew words with the added emphasis of grace being the gift of God Himself in Christ and His mighty power working in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The apostle John, clearly with Exodus 34 in mind, says of Jesus:

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:14-17)

As we look at God’s mercy and grace throughout scripture, we see that mercy is God’s deep compassion for our misery and suffering from the effects of our sin, and grace is the free gift of Himself and His blessing through the forgiveness of our sin and adoption into His family in Christ. The magnitude of God’s benevolence and majesty can only be seen through Jesus, the cross and His resurrection. Listen to how Paul exclaims the good news of God’s grace to us in Christ in the introduction to his letter to the Ephesians:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory! (Ephesians 1:3-14)

The Gospel, the Good News about Jesus, is called by Paul the “Gospel of grace” (Acts 20:24)! God’s grace transformed Him and energized His work for Christ (1 Corinthians 15:10). God’s grace was the power that brought about maturity particularly through our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). By God’s grace, Christ tasted death in our place (Hebrews 2:9), and God invites us to Christ’s throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)! Peter tells us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). And when we finally stand before Christ, Peter tells us to set our hope fully on the grace to be given to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13). The last verse of the Bible celebrates the glory of Christ in eternity by concluding, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21).

Our God is merciful and gracious! Hallelujah! Worship Him and thank Him for His kindness, mercy and grace given to us, especially through His Son Jesus Christ! This is our God! You can see why Moses fell before God in worship when he heard God shout His name and declare what it meant in Exodus 34. May we have the same response every day!

Prayer Focus: 2 Peter 1:2

“Father, thank you for your glorious grace! May your grace and peace be multiplied to us in the knowledge of you and of Jesus our Lord. Fill us with Your Spirit so that we may walk faithfully with you and enjoy You as we extend Your mercy and grace to those around us. In Christ’s name, amen.”

Day 7 – January 15, 2022 Wanted: Worshipers

Read John 4:23-26

23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Before we go any further into the attributes of God in Exodus 34, I want to address something very important for your spiritual health and emotional well-being. You were created to worship. And you are worshipping something. You are giving something or some things the very best you have to offer – the most emotion, the most time, the most money, your most precious thoughts. God is seeking to become first in that space for your ultimate pleasure and well-being. God’s plan for you is to set you free from the idolatry of loving lesser things to the joy of being fully satisfied in Him. Idolatry is simply the worship of anything other than God. Nothing and no one else can save you, take care of you, and satisfy you. And the one true God tells us that we must come to Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ by His Spirit (John 3:16-18; John 4:1-26).

God is seeking those who will worship Him in the truth of Jesus through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. To worship God in truth, we must do so through the written word, the Bible, that leads us to the truth of Living Word, Jesus Christ. To worship God in the Spirit, we must be born of the Spirit and learn to follow the Spirit’s leading (John 13-17; Galatians 5:22-23). Nothing will satisfy you but Him. And as we discussed yesterday, we are also overcoming the graveclothes of death as we learn to respond to God in the life of the Spirit.

We are to be learners in this relationship, and God does not shame us for our weakness. He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Those who come to God through Jesus in humility will learn to find the living water of the Spirit and the bread of life in Jesus. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle when you read the Bible. It is a growth process. Continue to press into the scriptures until they yield their treasure. Fasting and the discipline of both solitude and fellowship help us in growing up into this enjoyment of Him through His word. And this is not a fantasy or a pipe dream, it is the very essence of reality. Which leads me back to the point I would like to make about worship.

Yesterday we talked about our utter sinfulness apart from the grace of God and the penalty for sin that we have been spared in Christ. The more time we spend with God, the more we see his holiness and realize where we fall short. Through this process, our forgiveness becomes much more precious to us and overwhelming in its magnitude. The sinful woman whom Jesus pointed the Pharisees to as an example of worship in Luke 7 deeply understood her brokenness. This awareness of her sin made her forgiveness all the more precious and her worship all the more extravagant. Yet, we are all in a place of utter poverty before our Holy God. God will lead you to discover your own depravity so that you can enjoy His holiness and forgiveness! This is why the Beatitudes begin with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) The more you understand your own weakness, the more precious His gift to you of salvation becomes. The person who is forgiven much loves much, and we have all been forgiven much! (Luke 7:36-50)

It is important to learn not only what were saved FROM, but also what we are saved TO! Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are God’s adopted sons and daughters, siblings and co-heirs with Christ, embarking on an eternal journey of joy that begins with our own daily transformation here in this life that will be completed when we finally stand before Him! “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). This growing awareness of our inheritance in Christ should cause us to respond in an ever growing salvo of worship! The Spirit will help us!

As we continue to meditate on these attributes of God in Exodus 34 in the coming days, ask the Lord for a heart that responds in worship as Moses responded in verse 8: “Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.” Worship is to flow through our lips in thanksgiving and songs of praise but is also to be reflected in every area of our lives.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).

You were created to worship. God shows us His glory so that we will be satisfied in Him. You have a cup for satisfaction that is only filled through knowing your God and His Son Jesus Christ. Ask your Heavenly Father to fill that cup with a knowledge of Him that lays hold of this amazing truth that the Psalm writer exclaimed, “… in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11b)

Prayer Focus: Psalm 16:11; 90:14

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself to us in such abundant ways through your word. Let the written word lead me to the Living Word, Jesus Christ. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days! In Christ’s name, amen.”


Day 6 – January 14, 2022 “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful!!!"

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Today, I want you to meditate on a couple of key aspects of our relationship with God. Our God desires to be with us. Yet He is holy, and we are dead in our sins and separated from Him unless He resurrects our spirit to hear His voice and respond to Him. Paul told the Ephesian church, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins!” (Ephesians 2:1). They were alive physically but had been dead spiritually. Think of Lazarus in the grave in John 11. He was dead and gone until Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come forth!” This is how we remained until God spoke to regenerate us and make us able to respond to Him. Can a dead person raise themselves? No. God must in His mercy raise us from the dead. Paul says in Ephesians that even the faith we have is a gift from God (2:8). Truly, if God did not make us alive and reveal Himself and His Son to us, we could see His works and know of Him, but we could not know Him or stand in His presence. Without His mercy and compassion, we would be dead in our sins forever.

But God… those two precious words! Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-5, “4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved!” Hallelujah, what a God! Merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness!

We all have too high a view of our own righteousness and too little a view of our sin. We are in denial that there is really anything that bad in us. We compare ourselves to those who may have committed the worst of sins, so we think arrogantly that we must be ok in the grand scheme of things. And we are lulled into a hellish denial that maybe we just need a little help to get to God or just a little grace to get through the day – when the reality is that without God and His mercy, every thought would be utterly devoid of God and righteousness.

You may think that sounds over the top – but without God’s grace, we learn in Genesis 6 that in Noah’s days, man became devoid of any good, that “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence…” and that “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Microphone drop. Without God’s mercy and intervention, this is where we would still be – hell on earth. Paul makes this the basis of his argument in Romans 3 regarding every person’s guilt before God, quoting the Psalms (14 and 53),

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is none who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

Were it not for God’s mercy, we would be hopelessly lost. The words mercy and compassion are synonyms that translate the first adjective in God’s description of Himself. The Hebrew word is related to the words for “womb” and “deeply moved.” God says through the prophet Isaiah,

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)

Our God is moved deeply for us even in our brokenness as a loving parent for their child! Were it not for His great mercy, He would have justly condemned us forever for our rebellion against Him! Yes, that is God’s just view of our sin! Staggering, sobering, flooring, damning! And God’s plan before creation was to show us His abundant, overflowing mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ, in His death for our sins on the cross (Ephesians 1). There is no right response other than humble adoration, praise and thanksgiving to our merciful, compassionate God!

Prayer Focus: Isaiah 49:15

“Dear Heavenly Father, your compassion toward us is overwhelming. A mother may forget her child, yet you do not forget us. You are deeply moved by our struggle with sin, its effects in the world and the pain it causes us. You demonstrated your great love and mercy toward us in that while we were still dead in our sins, you died for us. We bow and give you thanks for your mercy to us in Christ. in His name, amen.”


Day 5 – January 13, 2022 Jesus is The Rock of Our Salvation

Read Exodus 33:19-23

19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

As God works with Moses in response to Moses’ request to see God’s “glory,” God places Moses beside Him, standing on a rock, hidden in the cleft or crevice in the mountain, while God covers Moses with His “hand.” The rock is a shadow of Christ which God uses throughout the Bible to describe His nature and reveal His glory through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Twice in the forty years following the Exodus, God provided water for the thirsty Israelites from a rock – once right after the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 17), and a second time forty years later before they entered the promised land (Numbers 20). The first time, Moses was directed to strike the rock where God stood before him for the water to come out and satisfy the Israelites. This foreshadows Jesus, the Son of God, who was struck to provide us with the forgiveness of God the Father and the living water of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives (Isaiah 53 & 55; Mark 14:27, 65; John 7:37-39). The second time, God directed Moses to speak to the rock. Moses disobeyed and struck the rock twice in anger, but God provided water for the Israelites anyway though disciplining Moses by not allowing him to enter the Promised Land.

I believe that God struck the first rock to indicate that Christ would be struck for our sins. God’s instruction the second time given to speak to the rock foreshadows the wondrous invitation we have to know and relate to Christ as we journey into our destiny. Paul summarizes this foreshadowing of Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4: “10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.”

In Psalm 18:1-3, David says,

1 “I love you, O Lord, my strength.

2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,

my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,

and I am saved from my enemies.

Daniel prophesied of the stone cut by no human hand that would establish a kingdom that would supersede all others and fill the earth (Daniel 2). This of course is a prophecy of Christ and His Kingdom.

God revealed Himself to Isaiah as “the Rock of your refuge” (Isaiah 17:10) as well as “stone of offense and a rock of stumbling” (Isaiah 8:14; 28:16). Peter saw Christ as this Rock whom Israel stumbled over but who has become the Chief Cornerstone of God’s temple, the family of God in Christ (1 Peter 2)!

God takes the Rock with the cleft (Jesus struck in His side) to draw us close to His side and hide us in Christ. God leads us to the Rock struck (Christ crucified) and to the Rock spoken to (Christ our Savior and Brother) to give us His living water, the Holy Spirit given to us when we believe. God is building His Kingdom through Jesus as He builds with the rock of the confession of Christ as Lord (Matthew 16:18). And as we, the family of God in Christ, chosen and precious, are being built up as living stones into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light! (1 Peter 2:4-5, 9)

Prayer Focus: Psalm 18:1-3

“Father, thank you for Jesus, our rock, our fortress and our deliverer! He is our rock in whom we take refuge, our shield, and the horn of our salvation, our stronghold. We call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and we are saved from our enemies! Thank you for hiding us in Him, forgiving us of our sins in your mercy, and leading us into our destiny with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. In His name, Amen.”


Day 4 – January 12, 2022 God is Sovereign

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

When Moses asked God, “Please show me your glory” in Exodus 33:18, I believe Moses was asking a question that related most likely to his inability to see this God whose voice He had heard years before at the burning bush described in Exodus 3 and had followed through the miraculous deliverance from Eqypt through the Exodus. Moses, as a child growing up as a servant in Pharaoh’s court, had no doubt heard of the God who had initiated with his ancestor Abraham hundreds of years earlier. But I can only imagine that in Moses’ understanding of God in Exodus 33, he truly wanted to see with his eyes the God whose voice He heard. He had heard God speak, he had seen His mighty deeds, now it was time for a big “ask.” “Show me your glory!” God responded in a number of ways that is worthy of deep reflection.

In Exodus 33:19-23, God responded to Moses,

19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

First, God told Moses that He would show Moses ALL of His goodness AND proclaim His name to Him, but that God would have to hide Moses in a rock and cover Him with His “hand” until He had passed by. He would not let Moses see His “face” because the unveiled presence of God would have killed Moses or anyone else. Now, we have no idea what Moses saw in that moment of God’s “back” or how literally God was speaking regarding His visible attributes, but it is important to see by faith some key elements of God’s revelation of Himself to Moses.

First, He let Moses stand closely next to Him on a rock and within the cleft of that rock. A cleft is a narrow split in a mountain face. This is clearly a metaphor of God hiding us in Christ, and space does not allow for the full unfolding of this beautiful picture of God hiding us in His Son and Christ’s wounds that became our salvation. (See for example, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Isaiah 53:3-6). That alone is worthy of deep reflection.

But what Moses emphasized as he wrote under the leading of the Holy Spirit was what God was clearly emphasizing to Him: His name, what His name meant, and one other remarkable response of God. “And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Verse 19) God was re-emphasizing what Moses had seen as God dealt with Pharaoh. We do not control God; He is sovereignly in control of everything; and life with Him is something He initiates, provides for and fulfills through His word. And God does not say anything else specifically about His sovereignty in this moment, but that it works in our lives through His great mercy and grace.

We will look at those words related to God’s name in the coming days. But for today, I encourage you to come to grips with that mystery that God declares before He delved further into the glory of His name. He alone is God, He is sovereignly in control over the affairs of our lives, and He does so out of His mercy and grace. This is really the key to us understanding who our God is. We must humbly accept Him as He reveals Himself, and He tells us that we can only receive Him and the revelation of who He is by faith.

Prayer Focus: Exodus 33:19

“Heavenly Father, I humbly ask you today for the grace to truly come to grips with the immutable, unchanging truth that You are sovereign, you are in control, and You offer us Yourself in Your magnificent mercy and amazing grace. Help me to humble myself and receive You for who You are and as You have chosen to reveal Yourself through Your name and by hiding us in the cleft of Your Rock, Your Son, Jesus Christ. Strengthen my faith, and thank you for revealing Your glory to us through the word of Your Son. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.”

Day 3 – January 11, 2022 Hallowed Be Thy Name

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

When God stood with Moses there, God proclaimed the name once again that He had given Moses before the exodus at the burning bush. God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.” (Exodus 3:14) In the next verse, God gave to Moses what is God’s proper name used throughout scripture, YHWH, which means “HE IS” or “HE WILL BE.” (When you see God’s name as “LORD” in all caps in the Bible, God’s proper name YHWH is being used and is translated as LORD.) However you look at this, God is saying that He simply IS; He is eternal and self-existent. Jewish people to this day won’t pronounce this name out of a respectful desire not to malign it in any way in honor of the fourth commandment to not take the name of the LORD in vain. They usually say “Adonai” or “Hashem” which means, “the NAME,” or even write it “G-D.”

The heart of the fourth commandment is that we treasure God and His name. To not use the word “God” when you curse is so far from the worship that should accompany our discussion of God and His name! His name is associated with His perfect attributes which are provided throughout scripture in moments when God’s character is profoundly on display. For instance, YHWH Jireh, “the Lord will provide,” is the name attributed to God in Genesis 22:14 by Abraham when God provided the ram for Abraham’s sacrifice. YHWH Rophe, meaning “I Am your Healer,” is revealed by God in Exodus 15:26 after the LORD led Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt and promised to be their Healer! These names and many more throughout scripture reveal God’s divine nature as God’s gift of Himself to us, and all of them foreshadow God’s revelation of Himself to us in Christ. (See link to a resource on God’s names in scripture below.)

The Hebrew name Yehoshua (Joshua) derives from a combination of YHWH and the Hebrew word “yasha” and means “YHWH is salvation.” Later Yehoshua was shortened to Yeshua, which is the Hebrew name for Jesus!* So when the Angel told Mary that her baby’s name would be Jesus, God’s name once again was beautifully on display. As Christ went to the cross, was raised from the dead, and the good news of the Gospel was fully revealed, it led Paul to exclaim to the Philippians, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!” (Philippians 2:9-10)

So when God stands beside Moses and proclaims His name twice, “I AM! I AM! The God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,…” God was once again pointing us to the cross, to His Son, and to the Passover meal that Moses had just experienced in the exodus. Moses understood only shadows and early revelations of God to mankind, but now we see God’s revelation of Himself fully in Christ. Today we have The NAME revealed to us in Jesus, YHWH is Salvation! And as God stood by Moses to proclaim His name, today we have the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit living in us, in our human tabernacles, declaring the glory of Christ to us (John 16:14)! Wow, what a God! He loves us so!

(Link to overview of God’s names in scripture: http://rolmason.org/the-names-of-god )

* (You can find discussions on this in many places on the web, such as gotquestions.org)

Prayer Focus: Philippians 2:10

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing Yourself to us in so many profound ways. Thank you for giving us your Son Jesus, whose name is above every name! Help us to treasure and honor Your name, especially the name of Jesus, as we meditate on all that You have given us in Him. In Christ’s name and for His glory, Amen!”


Day 2 – January 10, 2022 God Shows Us His Glory In Jesus

Read Exodus 34:5-8

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

When Moses responded to God’s call to him to lead His stubborn, rebellious people, Moses had nothing other than his belief to bring to the relationship. Every action of Moses was a response to God’s gracious initiative in his life and in the life of the new Israelite nation. This passage of scripture above is right in the middle of God describing the tabernacle, the place where God desired to meet with Israel in the wilderness! God absolutely loves to meet with His people! God desired to meet with Israel to show them who He is and teach them how to do life with Him. Yet by the time Moses can get back to the camp to share the amazing truths God has shown him, Israel is already worshiping idols in direct opposition to what God has revealed as first steps in a relationship with Him! (Exodus 32)

God graciously gives Israel another chance. And as God processes all of this with Moses, Moses just has to see if he can get a look at this God who is talking to Him. So Moses asks God to reveal Himself – to show Moses His “glory” (Exodus 33:18). Moses is simply asking of God, “Let me see you! Let me see what you are really like!” And in response to Moses’ request, God humbly descends, shrouded by a cloud, and stands with Moses, declaring His name and His character. “YHWH! YHWH! A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…!” The humility of our God is astounding! To a man who asked to see God’s glory, God responds by standing beside Him and declaring His name!

1500 years later, an old man named John has walked with Israel’s Messiah, Jesus Christ, witnessed His life, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension back into Heaven. John has reflected on Jesus almost his entire life, serving Him and those who had believed the good news of the message of Christ John had preached. And as John writes his Gospel, in John 1:10-14, he marvels that God had once again responded to His people’s cry to see Him, but had this time come and “tabernacled” (“dwelt”) among them showing us God’s glory… full of grace and truth:

10 He (Jesus) was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

As John looked at Jesus, he saw the fulfillment of Exodus 34. God had declared His name once again to us as He stood beside us, but this time as a human being in a way that put all the pieces together of His astounding love, holiness, justice and mercy. And to everyone who believed this final word of God in Christ to us, he gifted us the privilege of becoming His sons and daughters!

Jesus Christ is the full glory of God on display. His written word was given for us to “see God’s glory,” and God’s glory is fully seen in His Son Jesus Christ. The writer to the Hebrews begins his letter with this profound view of God revealing His glory finally and fully in Christ:

“1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,… (Hebrews 1:1-3a)

As you spend time with God today, reflect on the miraculous way God showed us His glory through Jesus Christ “tabernacling” among us and through His cross where our sins were removed forever.

Prayer Focus: Hebrews 1:1-3a

“Heavenly Father, thank you for Your unfathomable love and humility to answer our need to see you. You have revealed Your name to us in many times and in many ways, but ultimately through the name that is above all names, Jesus Christ. Help us to see Your goodness through Christ and His love demonstrated for us on the cross. Help us to learn to be constantly satisfied in this revelation of Yourself that so profoundly shows us the fulness of Your glory. In Christ’s name, Amen.”


Day 1 – January 9, 2022 Trading Our Pleasures for the Pleasure of His Presence

Read Isaiah 58

In beginning a season of prayer and fasting, it is tempting to think about what we hope to get from God that is not God. More of this or a better one of that. Relief from our problems or a solution to our stresses. Our problem is that we want things other than God more than God. And that really gets to the heart of what a fast should be – to invite God to increase our appetite for Him and for what pleases Him. This is a transformation of the heart that only God can do. We are ultimately 100% dependent upon Him, and a fast helps us come to grips with this sobering reality. This can be a discouraging thought initially until God helps us see more clearly Who He is and His profound desire to satisfy us with the very best – Himself.

In a fast, we trade food, entertainment, or shallow pleasures to give Him time to perform the heart surgery necessary that sets us free to be truly satisfied by Him. This ultimately is what prayer is all about. Fasting is an exclamation point in our prayers that God has chosen to honor. And the result of learning to find our satisfaction in a deeper and deeper relationship with Him is transformed lives. Transformed lives are the by-product of our relationship with God. We can’t skip relationship and expect to get to the results promised in Isaiah 58.

At the end of chapter 58 in verses 13-14, God provokes us with the fourth commandment that since the time of creation invites us to trade our own “pleasures” to gain delight in Him,

13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

The heart of a fast is also the heart of the fourth commandment – God invites us to fast from our work every week to learn to rest in Him and celebrate His profound covenant love, care, and provision that He ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, His cross, resurrection and ascension. “Stop. Rest. Learn to trust and delight in Me!” Nothing and No one else will satisfy us.

Prayer Focus: Isaiah 66:2b
“But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.”

“Father, help me learn to treasure You, Your Son, and Your Holy Spirit above all else. Help me love your word. Help me learn to love how you love and live how you live. I am completely dependent upon You to transform my heart by Your Holy Spirit. Help me live daily in the truth that fulness of joy only comes in Your presence. In Christ’s name, Amen.”


Introduction to our 2022 21 Day Fast - Saturday, January 8, 2022

As we begin this season of fasting and prayer, I encourage you to read Isaiah chapter 58 and refer back to it and the other passages mentioned below* throughout these next three weeks. Isaiah 58 is a profound invitation to the kind of fast that pleases God – learning to be satisfied in Him, and in response, learning to live as He lives – for the good of others. This is not something we can accomplish on our own. The motivation for a fast is the awareness that God alone can satisfy and transform us. Even this realization and desire are gifts from God to us!

The prophet Isaiah announced God’s judgment on Israel for their rejection of Him. He continually called them to know Him, to enjoy Him and His ways, and to live faithfully as His people in the earth. Israel’s great sin was that she sought her satisfaction outside of God and blamed Him when things didn’t work out well as a result! This has been humanity’s problem from the beginning and is ours as well today. Yet, without His mercy, we can’t see our failure and don’t know how to fix the situation! Thus, we are hopelessly lost and harmed from our self-preference and self-dependence (the Bible calls this “idolatry…”) apart from the grace of God.

Isaiah (and the rest of scripture!) describes how God constantly offers Himself to us so that we will learn to find our satisfaction in Him alone. His final offer to us is in His Son, Jesus Christ. Those who reject Jesus ultimately incur God’s eternal judgment; those who respond to God’s merciful invitation in Christ are forgiven, restored and taught how to live life with God the Father. Humility is simply acknowledging our brokenness and need for Him who alone is truly good. Repentance is seeking to turn from that which grieves God and harms us. Grace is God’s power in Christ by the Holy Spirit to respond to God and learn life with Him. Humility, repentance and grace are active when we say yes to Jesus the first time (justification) and are also active daily in our relationship with Him (sanctification). (Colossians 2:6; Galatians 3:1-6)

Fasting is a physical response that invites God to help us in humility repent from our ongoing addiction to our “idols” to learn to live fully satisfied in Him. We don’t learn this all at once but through a life of “abiding” in God, His written word, and His Living Word, Jesus Christ (John 15). Fasting is one way we can invest in the process in a greater way. Something about eating too much food makes us sleepy. Fasting is a self-discipline that God honors as we seek instead to feast on Him. Fasting is empowered by the Spirit to wake us up to His presence, His power and His pleasure. (Matthew 6:16-18).

In Christ, God has offered Himself to us in the way that most fully reveals His nature and character. As we begin this time, we encourage you to ask God to be set free to enjoy Him more fully in our reflections on Christ, His cross, His Spirit, His love for us and His mission for us in this world. We fast to humble our flesh so that our spirits may be built up in Him.
Come back to this page for daily devotionals as we seek the Lord together.


* (Isaiah points us repeatedly to God’s solution to the problem of our sin and to our lack of humility and repentance. From the prophecies we sing about at Christmas in the early chapters of Isaiah (7, 9, 11) to the Suffering Servant poems of the Messiah (chapters 42, 49, 50, and 52-53) to the concluding chapters that point us to the satisfaction and new creation He brings (chapters 60-66), we are invited to humble ourselves in response to His great love and mercy toward us. Chapter 55 invites us to feast on Him and His word rather than on the “food” that does not satisfy. Chapter 58 offers us the result of “fasts” that are productive for us and honoring to God. We seek Him for our food, and we invite Him to transform us into those who love what He loves and live like He lives. The result of grace-led humility and repentance before God always results in the Spirit-empowered laying aside of sin and seeking the good of others.)

Helpful videos for the context of Isaiah 58:

Bible Study Resources