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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Little Instructions, Small Tests

"For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused . . . Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove." (Exodus 23:10-11)

God is not limited by man's logic. His ways often conflict with human logic and require faith on man's part. Will a man trust God? Throughout Scripture God promises to do many things on behalf of those who trust in Him. His instructions come in various stages and in differing degrees:
  • Little instructions and small tests: Take only enough manna that each day requires and on the sixth day take enough for day six and day seven. Left-overs became "wormy" after one day, so it would require faith on the sixth day to collect enough for two days. Would God come through for them?
  • More instructions and greater tests: God commanded the Israelites to commemorate the Passover (which we looked at several days ago). This commemoration would take a week out of their annual schedules. Think about the impact of taking a full week off during the beginning of planting season (it is illogical!). Following this instruction would demand faith in God.
  • Greater instructions and greater tests: God gives an even greater instruction which requires even more faith in Him. The land sabbath. "For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused." This instruction demands great faith in God that He will SO bless the sixth year that the land will produce enough for two years (until the crops come in on the eighth year).
It is no strain to God to provide on the sixth day enough manna for two days. They also have to depend on Him that He will again provide on the eighth day. God is so BIG that He is able to produce an abundance from a shortened planting season. And, it is a huge leap of faith for the Israelites to expect super abundance in the sixth year to get them through to the eighth year. Which is why they never do it. They lack faith in the ability of God, even after they've experienced His great deliverance from Egypt and His provision of water and quail in the desert. God still looks for people who will dare to take Him up on His promises today.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Exodus 22:1-24:18
  • What are some of God's basic values seen in the instructions He gives to the Israelites?
  • Why does God make the restitution greater than the offense?
  • Why does God require the men to appear before the Lord during the three feasts mentioned in chapter 23?
  • What does God promise He will do for those who carefully obey and worship Him?
  • Why does God stagger the Israelite's victory over their enemies?
  • How do the people respond to God's instructions and promises?
Turning truth into prayer:
Thank the Lord that He is able to provide sufficiently for today and in the future. Ask Him to show you where you are trusting in human logic rather than walking by faith in what He has revealed about Himself in Scripture.