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Lent 2020 Devotional – Introduction

Lent 2020 Devotional – Introduction

How would you like to get a fresh perspective on your life? How would you like to see more clearly where you have been, where you are now, and where God wants to lead you? The purpose of this 40-day devotional is to help you to do just that. You will get a God’s-eye-view on things by daily reflecting on the Bible’s story of the Exodus as your story.

Each day we will journey with the ancient Israelites out of Egypt, through a Wilderness fraught with danger and opportunity, and into the blessings of the Promised Land. In doing this you will see that the Exodus is more than a great story of something God once did long ago, but a story of how God always goes about redeeming and transforming lives. The Exodus is the story of us! In fact, the New Testament tells us that the things that happened to the Israelites in their Exodus “happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us” (1 Corinthians 10:11). God invites us into His story of redemption and grace!

We are setting aside 40 days for exploring the Exodus story because the Bible does assign special significance to 40 days of time. Moses twice spent 40 days on Mount Sinai meeting with God (Exodus 24:18; 34:27-28), and later sent scouts into the Promised Land for 40 days to survey the Israelites’ inheritance. For 40 days the prophet Elijah journeyed to Mount Horeb (aka Mount Sinai) where he met with God and was renewed for the task ahead (1 Kings 19:8). The Lord gave the people of Ninevah 40 days to repent; they did (Jonah 3:4-5).

Forty days in the Bible signals that God is up to something, something big. Jesus set aside 40 days in the Wilderness preparing to begin His ministry (Luke 4:1-2), and another 40 days between His Resurrection and Ascension preparing disciples to take on the world (Acts 1:1-4). Early Christians thought it important to set aside the 40 days leading up to Easter to pray and reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Who knows what can happen as you set aside the next 40 days for meeting with and listening for God!

YOUR 40 DAYS

PRAY

Each of the 40 days’ readings begins with prayer, the prayer of Moses in the Exodus: “Show me Your glory, I pray” (Exodus 33:18). Can you think of anything more wonderful than for God to show you His glory! But that is the bold prayer we begin with each of the 40 days. God’s answer to Moses’ prayer is a qualified “Yes!” God will reveal to Moses His glory, but not all of it, “for no one shall see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). Yet in answer to Moses’ prayer God does promise: “I will make all my goodness pass before you” (Exodus 33:19a). And as Moses came down from the mountain after 40 days His face glowed with God’s glory (Exodus 34:29- 35). Spending time in God’s presence and beholding His goodness and glory are always transformative for those who seek Him.

READ

Each day you will read a passage of Scripture about the Exodus story and see how it is also your story. Because God’s Word is “living and active” and “more to be desired than much fine gold” (Hebrews 4:12; Psalm19:10), you will find it life-giving to prayerfully ponder Scripture. And the apostle Paul promises that Old Testament stories, like the Exodus, bless those who read them: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

You will notice in the daily Scripture readings that the word “LORD” is in all capital letters. When the word “LORD” is in all capitals it translates the holy, ineffable, Hebrew name for God, which is Yahweh. The generic Hebrew word for God is Elohim; but the name by which God’s people know Him personally is Yahweh. It is the very name by which God promises faithfulness to Exodus people: “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the LORD [Yahweh] your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:7). So, each time you see this wondrous word in all capital letters, give thanks for God’s longing to be in relationship with you! You shall know that He is the LORD your God!

REFLECT

After PRAY and READ, it is important to take a few moments to REFLECT. You will likely see yourself reflecting on some of these Exodus stories throughout the day: they are that powerful. But as you take time to reflect on the day’s scripture, the Holy Spirit will apply truth to your life. As you reflect you will see how the Exodus story is truly your own! It is the story of God’s redemption and grace!

Know that there are people praying for you to behold God’s glory in these next 40 days as you gain a fresh perspective, a God’s-eye-view of your Exodus story.

A Fellow Traveler,
Tim

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