Water from the Rock

Water from the Rock

Daily Reading

 The entire Israelite community left the Wilderness of Sin, moving from one place to the next according to the Lord’s command. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.So the people complained to Moses, “Give us water to drink.”“Why are you complaining to me?” Moses replied to them. “Why are you testing the Lord?”But the people thirsted there for water and grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you ever bring us up from Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? In a little while they will stone me!”The Lord answered Moses, “Go on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Take the staff you struck the Nile with in your hand and go. I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.” Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. He named the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites complained, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

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Daily Reflection

God’s provision often comes from the unlikeliest source.

Complaints had reached a feverish pitch. The elders of Israel stared at Moses as mutinous imaginations bubbled to the surface of the minds. Some younger men in the crowd, with their feet,  loosened fist-size rocks with from their earthy bed.  A few of them already wielded stones with white-knuckled grasp. Moses felt their gaze burrowing into his back, and their complaints filled his ears. All Moses could think was, water from a rock? Nevertheless, he trusted Yahweh’s instructions.

After wiping the sweat from his brow, Moses stretched the rod of God to the heavens bringing it down on the rock with an echoing crack. The mob of mad Hebrews winced at the deafening blow. The murmuring slowly halted. In the silent moment, the sound of water grew from a faint trickle to a gushing crescendo of living water. God had given the provision of water from the unlikeliest source. Life-sustaining water flowed from a rock.

In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul affirms that the rock “was Christ.” Who would have considered a carpenter born of seeming scandal in Bethlehem, raise a Nazarene, would build a bridge to glory? Can anything good come from Nazareth? Jesus of Nazareth was struck for us. From His suffering, flows living water for all that believe. Some may wonder why God chose this method, but He delights in using the unlikeliest means to accomplish His will. Have you drunk from the Fount, which is Christ?

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Suggested Prayer

Lord, thank you for Christ’s sacrifice. Help me to realize today that my help may come from the unlikeliest source. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 


In the Word TogetherIn the Word Together is a devotional blog series based on the Narrative Lectionary that aims to aid in daily devotions. Unless stated, all posts are written by Kevin W. Bounds.  Necessary attributions are as follows:

Christian Standard Bible – Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Narrative Lectionary –The Narrative Lectionary (http://www.narrativelectionary.org) is an open-source project created by Profs. Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.

Daily Readings for the Narrative Lectionary – Copyright © 2018 Clergy Stuff

Daily Bread

Daily Bread

Daily Reading

The entire Israelite community departed from Elim and came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left the land of Egypt. The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites: “This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt,and in the morning you will see the Lord’s glory because he has heard your complaints about him. For who are we that you complain about us?” Moses continued, “The Lord will give you meat to eat this evening and all the bread you want in the morning, for he has heard the complaints that you are raising against him. Who are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your complaints.’” 10 As Aaron was speaking to the entire Israelite community, they turned toward the wilderness, and there in a cloud the Lord’s glory appeared.

11 The Lord spoke to Moses, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them: At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will eat bread until you are full. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”

13 So at evening quail came and covered the camp. In the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew evaporated, there were fine flakes on the desert surface, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they asked one another, “What is it?” because they didn’t know what it was.

Moses told them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each person needs to eat. You may take two quarts[b] per individual, according to the number of people each of you has in his tent.’”

17 So the Israelites did this. Some gathered a lot, some a little. 18 When they measured it by quarts,[c] the person who gathered a lot had no surplus, and the person who gathered a little had no shortage. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat. 19 Moses said to them, “No one is to let any of it remain until morning.” 20 But they didn’t listen to Moses; some people left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. Therefore Moses was angry with them.

21 They gathered it every morning. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat, but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

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Daily Reflection

God desires daily dependence.

“What is it?” asked every quail-filled Hebrew. Bewildered, in the dawning light, they gazed at the frostlike substance blanketing the desert sands. With slow-reaching hand, some gathered it for closer inspection.  While inhaling the scent of this foreign substance smiles formed on their faces. It was the promised bread of heaven.

“It tastes like honey… and…umm…wafers,” declared one from the camp.

After this Moses and Aaron instructed the people on how to collect and keep heaven’s provision. They were to depend on this regular distribution, except on the Sabbath. God was testing their obedience. Would they come to Him daily for fresh nourishment? Unfortunately, some tried to preserve the manna, but it spoiled filling the camp with a foul smell.

Many people are merely surviving on what God provided yesterday. They are living in the “glory days” of yesteryear. Put the stale bread down. God wants you to encounter His fresh grace and thrive each every day.

Are you living off a previous Sunday sermon? Or are you engaging the Scriptures every day? When is the last time you felt the wind of the Spirit rush over your soul? Has hunger pangs become normal for you? Like the Israelites, God desires your daily dependence.

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Suggested Prayer

Lord, forgive me for attempting to live off of past experiences. Your grace is renewed every day. I need a freshness in my walk with You. In Jesus name, Amen.

 


In the Word TogetherIn the Word Together is a daily devotional blog series based on the Narrative Lectionary that aims to aid parents in leading family devotions. Unless stated, all posts are written by Kevin W. Bounds.  Necessary attributions are as follows:

Christian Standard Bible – Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Narrative Lectionary –The Narrative Lectionary (http://www.narrativelectionary.org) is an open-source project created by Profs. Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.

Daily Readings for the Narrative Lectionary – Copyright © 2018 Clergy Stuff

Bitter Water Made Sweet

Bitter Water Made Sweet

Daily Reading

22 Then Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea, and they went out to the Wilderness of

Shur. They journeyed for three days in the wilderness without finding water. 23 They came to Marah, but they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter—that is why it was named Marah. 24 The people grumbled to Moses, “What are we going to drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable.

The Lord made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah, and he tested them there. 26 He said, “If you will carefully obey the Lord your God, do what is right in his sight, pay attention to his commands, and keep all his statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you that I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy date palms, and they camped there by the water.

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Daily Reflection

Obedience during trials is the key to God’s blessing.

Sun-baked skin ached. The tongues of the Israelites cleaved to the roof of their mouths. Three days passed but there was no refilling of their wineskins. Where was this Moses – the “man of God” – leading them? At least the taskmasters in Egypt gave them water when they labored in the heat of the day. But this Moses, and his unseen God, marched them without refreshment. Murmurs rippled.

Then on the horizon… could it be? Was it a mirage? Excitement overtook some as they ran for the seeming lifespring but with one large gulp, it was bitter. One Hebrew shouts in disgust, “Marah!” The low murmur morphs into a borderline mutiny. What was God up to?!?

Much like the Israelites,  you will experience the sour taste of disappointment. When following God, your taste buds will revolt and want to reject the source of your spiritual refreshing. However, it is how you handle these periods of testing that will determine your level of blessing.

We, like Moses, must seek God’s direction during the seasons of bitter testing. After praying, God directed Moses to cast a tree in the salty waters. This tree sapped the salinity away. The pool, that if consumed would produce death, now provided life! The Lord issued a statute and ordinance that day that if His people would obey they would experience His abundant blessing.

You may not be in a physical desert, but if your soul is dry, there is fresh water for you. Moses sweetened the waters of Marah by hurling a tree in its midst. You too can freshen the saltiness of life with a tree. In your trials, focus on the cross of Christ, for from it flows living water. Knowing that God loved us enough to endure the embarrassment and the torture of Golgotha should refresh your weary soul.

In your trial, pray to God for grace and guidance. For obedience is the key to experiencing God’s abundant blessing. Do not fall into rebellion, but rather submit to the trial with joy. God has not forsaken you. Look to the cross, and you will witness His love again.

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Suggested Prayer

Lord, like Moses at Marah, allow me to pray for guidance and surrender to your will. Give me the grace to not lose sight of the tree that gives me life. In Jesus name, Amen.


In the Word Together is a daily devotional blog series based on the Narrative Lectionary that aims in aiding parents in family devotions. Unless stated, all posts are written by Kevin W. Bounds.  Necessary attributions are as follows:

Christian Standard Bible – Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Narrative Lectionary –The Narrative Lectionary (http://www.narrativelectionary.org) is an open-source project created by Profs. Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.

Daily Readings for the Narrative Lectionary – Copyright © 2018 Clergy Stuff

What God Says Goes!

What God Says Goes!

Daily Reading

89 LORD, your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven. 90 Your faithfulness is for all generations; you established the earth, and it stands firm.91 Your judgments stand firm today for all things are your servants. 92 If your instruction had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for you have given me life through them. 94 I am yours; save me, for I have studied your precepts. 95 The wicked hope to destroy me, but I contemplate your decrees. 96 I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your command is without limit. Psalm 119:89-96 (CSB)

Daily Reflection

Be encouraged! God’s Word is firmly fixed in heaven.

What does David mean when he says, ” LORD, your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven” (89).  Eugene Peterson’s rendering illuminates the meaning of this verse. Peterson translates it as, “What you say goes, GOD, and stays, as permanent as the heavens.” Psalm 119:89 (MSG)  In other words, God is sovereign and what He decrees is settled. Nothing can change it!

What difference does that make for us as believers? God’s Word is full of promises for us. Paul says, “For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 (CSB) If you find a promise in the Bible, then you can stand on it. God will come through for you! We should all be encouraged by the fact God’s Word is firmly fixed in heaven.

 

 Suggestion for Prayer

Thank God for His sovereign decrees and ask for the faith to keep believing! 

 


If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Train Your Brain with the Bible

Train Your Brain with the Bible

Daily Reading

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping your word. 10 I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you. 12 LORD, may you be blessed; teach me your statutes.13 With my lips I proclaim all the judgments from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in the way revealed by your decrees as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways. 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:9-16 (CSB)

Daily Reflection

If you train your brain with the Bible, the Spirit will tame your heart.

Be honest. You struggle to do what is right. Me too. We struggle with thinking wrong thoughts, saying the wrong words, and even doing wrong stuff. We’re flawed humans. However, there is hope for us.

In today’s reading, the biblical author provides some valuable insight on how to live a godly life. He writes, “I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways” (15). This mediation is not that of Eastern religions but means merely to murmur or converse with oneself about the Scriptural precepts. (Yes, speak the word out loud to yourself. Don’t worry, people already think you’re crazy anyway.)

This process of “meditating” on God’s word or reading it out loud to oneself is what the Apostle Paul called “renewing your mind.” (see Romans 12:1-3). This discipline spiritually rewires your thought making process (Paul calls it taking captive every thought to obey Christ. See 2 Corinthians 10:5).  As you are thinking over and over again on the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit cements these things in your heart (i.e., internalization) and changes your behavior.  It has been said, “This Book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this Book.” Train your brain with the Bible, and the Spirit of God will tame your heart. Remember, a desire for a pure life should motivate us to memorize God’s Word by meditating on its precepts.

 Suggestion for Prayer

Ask the Lord to develop a hunger for his Word in your hearts and feast on his words. Find a verse or two to memorize this week. (Hint: There are some gems in today’s daily reading.) When you find a verse, comment below and let me know what your memorizing. 

 


The “In the Word Together” (ITWT) blog at www.kevinwbounds.com is a systematic approach to reading and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures in a community. 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

 

 

We Must Commit to God’s Word

We Must Commit to God’s Word

Daily Reading

Psalm 119:1-8

 If only my ways were committed to keeping your statutes! Psalm 119:5 (CSB)

 

We must Commit to God’s Word. 

Do you want to live life to its fullest potential? Then we must commit to obeying God’s Word. The Bible is the bedrock of faith and practice.  Often, people read the Bible and their sinful nature zeroes in on the “Thou shalt not’s.” They ignore all the blessings God provides. This is no new trick. Satan – that slithering Serpent – has cast doubt on the validity of the Word of God since the Garden. True happiness and fulfillment come only from obeying God’s commandment.

God’s commands are like guardrails on the road of life. They keep us from veering into danger. The problem is, we often leap over the barriers in disobedience. This will only result in setbacks and sorrow. We must resolve to travel on the right path.

It’s true we cannot keep all the commandments of God. And I am not arguing for a legalism. However, Jesus did say, ” “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” John 14:15 (CSB) Are you committed to God’s Word? Are you struggling? God’s grace is sufficient.

 Suggestion for Prayer

Ask for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to help obey God’s Word. When you fail, ask for forgiveness and press forward in faith. That’s what grace is for. 

 


The “In the Word Together” (ITWT) blog at www.kevinwbounds.com is a systematic approach to reading and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures in a community. To learn more about its origins click here.  

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.