Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dichotomy within the gospel

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 14:10-31

TO CHEW ON: "And the Angel of God who went before the camp of Israel moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. … Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night." Exodus 14:19-20

The Egyptians were in hot pursuit of Israel after their exit from Egypt. But when the Egyptian army was about to pounce, God cut them off. His miraculous cloud served double duty, darkening the night for the Egyptians while it illuminated the journey through the sea for Israel.

This cloud reminds me of the way God's plan works double duty in other parts of the Bible.

The prophets (Isaiah 28:16; Zechariah 10:4), Jesus (Mark 12:10), and the apostles (Ephesians 2:20-22) use imagery of a cornerstone to describe Jesus and His work. But not everyone accepts Him as this. Peter describes how to those who don't believe  in Jesus, He is a "stone of stumbling and rock of offence" (1 Peter 2:8).

Paul talks about the knowledge of Christ as a fragrance. To those being saved it's the fragrance of life but to unbelievers it is the "aroma of death" - 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.

"'Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth,'" Jesus says in another instance. "'I did not come to bring peace but a sword.'" He goes on to say how belief in Him may cause a rift between people in the closest relationships (Matthew 10:34-38).

From earliest installments of the story (like our reading in Exodus) we have seeds of the gospel's potential to divide. So let's not be caught off guard when our faith offends, when our beliefs cause arguments, when even our closest relationships are affected by our loyalty to Jesus and the gospel.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be uncompromising in my loyalty to You and the gospel, regardless of the reaction of those around me. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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