Exodus 7:25-9:35 ~ Matthew 19:13-30 ~ Psalm 24:1-10 ~ Proverbs 6:1-5
Today is the 29th day of January. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian and it is great to be here with you at the threshold of a brand new, shiny, sparkly week. Before this week is out, we will be moving into the second month of the year and just like that we are up to cruising altitude and moving on our way through the Bible this year. So this week we’ll read from the English Standard Version and we’ll dive back into the story that we’re reading in the book of Exodus, where Moses and the Lord and Pharaoh are in the midst of a showdown and signs and wonders known as plagues are coming on the land of Egypt. Exodus chapter 7, verse 25 through 9:35 today.
Let’s go back over to Egypt. So these plagues, seven of them have fallen on the land of Egypt as God is insisting that it is time for the people to leave, the people he has chosen, the people he has given a promise to so long ago, all those centuries ago. They are a vast population now and they are slaves and God is about the business of freeing his children from slavery, so seven plagues have fallen. There is just so much richness in all of that. I’ve heard research that ties each one of these plagues to a specific Egyptian god that the pharaoh would have had allegiance to, and so there is a dismantling of what the Egyptians worshiped as divine happening here. The pharaoh himself would have thought himself to be divine, to be a god to be worshiped. So another god of a slave people coming into his land and making demands upon him? Well, you can see where his heart would be hardened toward that.
A lot of times when I’m reading the Bible, though, I am trying to find myself. I’m looking for hints of my own life in these stories and I can see myself in Pharaoh. I can see pieces of my history, times in my history where I was like this. You probably can too. You know how it is when things go sideways all of a sudden and now you’re facing something that you don’t know how to get out of, right? It could be a financial problem. You know, how are you going to get the bills paid? Or it could be a more long term problem. You don’t know how to get over this health thing. Or this relationship, it is heartbreaking and absolutely devastating and there is carnage all around you and you just don’t know how you got to this place with a person you loved so much at one time. Maybe they’ve betrayed you or maybe you’ve betrayed them and it is just a mess. It is kind of in those times that we turn to God and hold on for dear life, right? Because it becomes a point where we don’t feel like we have anything else solid to hold onto, so we hold on and our intimacy with God grows profoundly and our awareness of the world that we’re living in, even though we’re in a lot of pain, is clear and we can see and we’re like I’ll never go back to that other me again. But then, once the hardship has kind of moved on and God has come through in some sort of way and we’ve followed him and he has navigated us out of whatever it was, we harden our heart again, right? And we find ourselves slipping back toward the old paths, toward the more known places in our lives, the very things that had gotten us into trouble in the first place. We just kind of wander back into that slavery.
So I kind of get it. I mean, when we come and have an encounter with God, God is life, God is love, God is true and pure and holy and righteous and all-powerful and all-knowing, he is that He Is, once we’ve experienced that, to turn and move in other directions, to walk away, to betray that friendship and relationship requires that we harden our hearts in order to move there. And it can happen in very, very subtle ways, but we know it is happening. Which explains a lot when God says “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” Of course, anything other than what God is, well, to be apart from that we have, to harden our hearts, to be away from it, we have to deny what we know and then start questioning what we think we know and move ourselves into doubt and then move ourselves into cynicism in order to get away. Our hearts have to grow cold and hard.
I’m pretty sure it’s not just me that has ever experienced this in my life. Like I’m pretty sure we all have in one way or another experienced this in our lives, and so all of a sudden we’re here rooting for Moses and Aaron and looking for God to smite the Egyptians so that his people can be free, not realizing that we’re more like Pharaoh than maybe we realize. But as we’ll find in the story, we’re very much like the children of Israel too as the story unpacks and unfolds. We will find ourselves in so many of the nuances of these stories. So may we look at this one as we continue forward in it and find the places, the times where we’ve allowed our hearts to grow hard, because we’re coming up against the righteousness of God and the invitation to life, but the blinking lights that promise quicker gratification pull us away.
Father, we invite you into that. Our hearts have gotten hard in lots of ways in lots of different seasons, but you haven’t grown hard toward us. You haven’t turned your back on us at all. You’ve remained true. You are that you are and you are present to us. It is we who have hardened our hearts to you So we invite you into that, Holy Spirit. It is like we have things we need to invite you into almost every day. But this is how life is transformed, by inviting you to access those places, those wounds, those bitternesses, those betrayals, that pain, those situations, our hopes, our dreams and aspirations. We invite you into all of them to show us the ones that really have nothing to do with you and that we’ve excluded you from because we can see where this road is going and we can choose. We choose you. We choose to humble ourselves before you. Apart from you we can do nothing and it is like that is a lesson we have to keep learning for some reason. Help us to just know it now. Apart from you we can do nothing. With you, you would move heaven and earth to set us free. So come, Holy Spirit, into all of this, we ask, in the name of Jesus, amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hey family. This is Arjen from Florida. I’m calling to lift up Tim and Carissa from New Mexico. They lost a child. Father, first and foremost, I ask that you would make very clear to them that you know this pain of losing a child, that you lose children who don’t know you or go astray, that you know what it is like and you know what grief and sorrow and darkness is like because you went there for us. Father, first I pray that you would plant that fruit into the heart of Tim and Carissa, Lord. Father, I also just pray that you would show them that you are there. Show them that even though this is going on, that through their grief, even through the turbulent waves of their grief, that you are there to comfort them, Lord, and make your presence very clear. Lord, I pray that you would let them enter into a season of their lives where this will seem so dim because of the children and the love that you are going to give to them, Father. Strengthen them. God, Dad, please, please strengthen them and I pray all this in Jesus’ name. Tim and Carissa, I just want to say we’re here for you as a community. I’ve lifted up my prayers, but I also offer my shoulder to cry on. My email is AlexIyer12@gmail.com. I love you, Brother. Bye.
Good morning Daily Audio Bible family. I’m new to this ministry. This is my first day of starting. I’m not a new believer, but I’m new to this ministry and so, so excited about being able to hear God’s word and everyone responding to prayer. I’m calling to ask prayer for our brothers and sisters in the central part of India, in __________, specifically a young missionary there. His name is Ahmed D. They have been working with __________ Christian Mission for the past nine years and this past Sunday he was found in a nearby village, had been stabbed and tortured badly. The reasons are still unknown, but they are asking for prayer for his wife, Dorothy, his 6-year-old daughter Erica, and also please pray for __________ and __________, the founders of this mission. This mission is 30 years plus and going strong and has accomplished so much for the gospel in India and for India. So please be in prayer for the family of this precious young man who was martyred this past Sunday. We know quite often that the blood of martyrs becomes seed for explosive __________ of the gospel, so please pray that the seed that he has planted through his ministry will land on fertile ground and will continue to produce a crop of souls for the gospel. Thank you so much. Be blessed.
Hi, this is Elaine from Victoria, Canada. This is for Tim and Carissa from New Mexico. I heard your plea for comfort. My sister went through the same thing, but I want to give you Matthew 5, the beatitudes. Matthew 5:3-4: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I want to give this to you today, dear Brother and Sister, for your comfort. Also I want to give you this that my granddaughter gave me. I think she was only 8 years old, but she felt the Lord had touched her. She said someone touched her and I knew it was the Lord. And this is what was given to her. May the Lord bless you wherever you are because he is the one that hears your prayers and he comforts you. He loves us all and he also takes care of us. I love him. So does my Grandma Elaine and so does my brother Riley. I love him and he loves me. He is awesome because he died on the cross for all of us. Love, Aislyn. That’s my granddaughter. Bless you. You’re in my prayers, Tim and Carissa. I love you and I love you, Brian, for this ministry that we can reach out to others. So have a good day everybody. My prayers are with this program. Thank you. Bye.
Hi DAB family. This is Rob S., worship dude in Nashville, TN. Thanks to all of you who listen and pray. I want to offer up my prayers for Brian. I want to say thank you so much for the piece you did on your mother. Man, that was just so helpful to hear how you processed the various issues of her passing and we mourn with you, Brother. God bless you. Also I want to pray for Mark from Florida who recently got engaged and feeling anxiety about your employment situation. I pray that the Lord would give you great peace and great joy in this new season of your life and provide for all of your needs. Also I want to lift up McKenzie, a first-time caller, 13 years old from California. I pray that the Lord would deliver you from all anxiety attacks and he would give you peaceful and restful sleep and everything that is a cause behind that would be resolved for the glory of Jesus. Finally, I want to lift up Karen, first-time caller from St. Louis, and her nephew Todd who has been dealing with a lot of mental issues and is being recruited by Islamists. Lord, we pray that you would deliver him from all evil, that you would give him a right mind and, Lord, we just pray your blessings to be upon him, in Jesus’ name. Finally, brothers and sisters, if you would please pray for me and my wife. We are in a season of transition. I’m leaving employment at the church where I’ve worked for the last five years or so and really seeking the Lord’s clarity, guidance, and provision. I feel like he is leading me to focus more on my writing and teaching. I have missions invitations to Eastern Europe for later on this year and anyway, just trusting God to make all things work together for good. The Lord bless you guys. Thanks for your prayers.
McKenzie, a 13-year-old girl suffering with anxiety attacks, I am standing with you. When two or three are gathered together and I am on my knees right now and going to lift you to the Lord. Father in Heaven, I thank you, Jesus, for this tender heart of McKenzie, this young teenager. I bring her to you, Lord, with these anxiety attacks. She realizes, Lord, that you can help her with this and I am praying for healing over these attacks that come in the middle of the night and rob her of sleep. Father, I just pray for your mighty hand to reach down from heaven and touch her body and her mind and just bring peace and calmness and relaxation, Lord. Bless her. Encourage her. Uplift her. And I pray for healing for her this morning. Thank you for her sweet spirit, Lord. We ask these things in Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.
Hi, this is Doneen K. I’m in California. I’ve been listening for three years now. I just heard Tim and Carissa, they just lost their baby, and I want to tell them that is so horrible. I know it is so horrible. I had a miscarriage and it was just terrible, but I want you to know you will get through it and call on the Lord and call on your people in your church. Don’t let the devil get you down. You know your baby is alive in heaven. I love that. I love that we have a place to go to, to ask Jesus to help us. So I just want to tell you, Tim and Carissa, I love you from the bottom of my heart. I’m so sorry you’re going through this and I pray Jesus will help you along the way. Bye now.