Daily devotional, 31th of July 2013.
Psalm 108 and 1 Corinthians 10 Still…Be careful with your freedom
Hi everyone. Hope you’re all doing well. It looks like we’re on full swing now so I might be able to keep the normal flow going today.
But let me share a few experiences before we jump tot he daily devotional.
First: I’m very excited with something that happened last night. We invited a friend to come over to our house for dinner. We’ve been talking a lot about the Bible recently, since she has not long ago received Christ. She is literally eating the Bible and today we will discuss some stuff in Romans! you know how that makes me feel right???
Last night, we went to a different level. She is probably reading this and laughing right now! Suffice to say that the popular saying that “you only know someone one for real once you’ve eaten 10kg of salt with them” is true. My wife and I loved doing this, not only because we got to slow down her learning curve and just be the church together, pray over a meal together but also because we ended up getting to know her story in an amazing way. So thanks your name here for being part of our lives.
I would encourage everyone out there to start discipling someone and try to do life with them in a similar way and not only teach what you know. You will see, it’s incredible!
I’m also excited because there is a lot going on in church life. Things are getting more solid and clear to us as per what the church will look like (Capela, you can find us here). God has been soooooo good to us when it comes to revealing this kind of stuff.
Lastly, as part of the whole thing that God is doing, we sort of launched a movement within a movement. It’s called #facethebook. It’s a strategy to get people we know to drop facebook (at least as the first and last thing they do every day) and swap that interaction with the social world for an interaction with the super natural world, namely, God. So instead of jumping on facebook early in the morning we read our Bible, hence #facethebook, and after that, we share what we learned on twitter or facebook using the hashtag. In less than 12 hours we had almost 50 people joining the movement and it forced me to create something a bit more organized, even though, it’s still open source and free and organic. you can find the movement page right here.
Ok, so to the text now.
I was supposed to read Psalm 105 on the first part but I’ll be honest with you. I went to bed 2am last night and woke up almost being late to work, so I skimmed through it and read Psalm 108 instead… Much shorter. But hey, still counts right? What did I learn from that? That it doesn’t matter if life gets busy, you can still make time and it always pays off.
The amazing lesson I learned form Psalm 108,m and I actually needed to hear that is that “only God can makes us strong, only God can defeat our enemies”. I really needed to hear that. So relaxing to know that God is always in control and He is actually ready to fight for me… Theological disagreements aside, I will choose to believe this is true and will be comforted by this word today.
Then I jumped to 1 Corinthians 10. I didn’t want to write about chapter 9 because to a certain degree, it would sound weird for a pastor to be talking about a pastor’s compensation. So I thought I should skip that. There are other channels to talk about this kind of stuff. And chapter 10, even though a bit different from chapter 8 in context, still holds the same idea: Be careful with your freedom. I will spend some time and words on this one, even so because it is MY devotional too and I like to keep a clean record of things I’m learning. If you want the short version everyday you can follow the #facethebook movement right here and get the “around twitter size” of the lessons I and lots of other people are learning.
To start with, I found very interesting, how in my ERV (Easy reading version)Bible, the words say “The were baptized into Moses”. (1 Cor 10:2). What do they mean they were baptized into Moses? Remember this is not an exegesis course and I’m not intending to write a commentary. Although I believe this is probably in accordance with the majority of the school of thoughts I’ve found.
Baptism is a symbol, a ritual, that saves no one, just like circumcision saves no one. Some people will refer to passages like Mark 16:16 to affirm that baptism for salvation, but in my opinion, these people are just blinded. It is obviously something that we as Christians value a lot and we certainly cherish the event, but it’s not a requirement for salvation. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone… However, when in this case Paul uses this term, I believe he refers to something we normally express baptism to be too. An outward expression of an inward decision. If that’s anywhere close to a fair statement, to say they were baptized into Moses is to say that the believed Moses was in fact the leader God had sent and they outwardly confessed to put their trust in Moses for He was sent by God. I like that idea. So moving forward…
Right after this part, it says that they were baptized in the cloud and in the sea. For those of you who are familiar with the Exodus story, that will be easy to identify. If you’re not familiar with that, read Exodus in your Bible. Great book. What I found interesting was how God put in my heart the co-relation between cloud and sea and good and bad times.
Think about that: The cloud was with them at all times, during the day as a cloud and during the night as a fire ball. In a sense, it was God represented there, leading the people. Even though they were in the desert, God made sure to make provision for them at all stages, even dropping meat from heaven! What an experience. So the cloud was constantly with them, so is God with us. When we are baptized into Jesus, meaning, when we are saved, by the conviction of our soul by the Holy Spirit and are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus, we can be absolutely sure that He will never leave us. He is always there. Always.
But they were also baptized in the sea. Aha! That was the AHA moment I was waiting for! Think about it and if it’s hard for you to get this idea, go back to Exodus and read the story, you will be amazed!
They were running away from Egyptian soldiers, a whole army instructed to kill them, they were afraid, but to a certain degree, confident that God was there with them because of the cloud. At a certain point of the travelling in the desert, they come to a point where there is no way to move forward. There is a sea in front of them! They must have thought: “What do we do now?” “Where is this God Moses?”… WOW, I can only imagine the desperate look on their faces… But God, again, provided a way out and opened the sea and they crossed it dry feet! Only to see the Egyptians behind them dying when the waters came down on them! WOW, what a picture! Remember Psalm 108? Only God can defeat our enemies? Oh well, here it is…
But not only that, I found amazing the part about baptism. They were baptized in the cloud and in the sea. We got the cloud part but what about the sea part? What does that mean?
I believe he was saying: They found a way to express their trust in God by believing in Moses, by being baptized in Moses, in the cloud, while everything was sort of alright, but now it was their chance to profess their faith in God when everything looks like it’s going to go really bad! They had no way to go, but when God provided a way out, they went it. They had to give the first step into the water to see the miracle happen. And even then, imagine what it would be like to walk across the sea with water left and right looking like it’s going to swallow you at any time! That’s scary! That’s worth of all trust! And that’s what I think he is emphasizing when he says they were baptized in the sea. They were marked, that generation saw something incredibly amazing!
They had that opportunity, and so do we. We must be baptized in Jesus, when everything is looking great, and yes, go through the Baptism ritual, be baptized. I love seeing those! I love even more being part of them! I had the privilege of baptizing a few great friends! Nothing compares to that feeling!
But also be baptized in the “sea”, meaning, in the toughest times of your lives. Reaffirm your baptism throughout your life. Your faith must cause a problem to your problems. I heard Carl Lentz saying this and I thought it was cool.
Well, I’m already on more than 1600 words, so I’ll save the second part of this devotional for tomorrow ok?
God bless and remember: #facethebook