Day 37: Hearing God’s Voice (Exodus 39-40; Matthew 24:1-22)

For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. -Exodus 40:38

“I just don’t know how to hear Him!” I’ve heard it from my friends and I’ve said it often myself. Recently, I listened to yet another testimony of how God spoke to someone and guided her in a major decision. By this point, I felt rejected, forgotten and ready to give up. “Why won’t He speak to me? Is there something wrong with me?”

What I wanted to hear was words of comfort, something along the lines of, “Don’t worry” or “We’ll get through this, let’s pray about it” or (insert another common phrase here), but what I got instead was a wake up call.

“You have no excuse for not hearing His voice, you already know how to hear Him!”

Then my friend proceeded to quote the Word:

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. – 2 Peter 1:3

She asked: “If God has given you everything you need, then why are you not experiencing Him? He has done His part and the rest is up to you!”

As painful as it was to hear, this truth pointed me to where I was going wrong. How can I expect to hear God’s voice, when I haven’t been faithful in the small day-to-day commands that seem to mean nothing? I essentially hadn’t prepared a “dwelling place” for Him in my life.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about how God gave the Israelites exact instructions of how they were to build his dwelling place. The instructions were so precise, down to the last nail!

The result of this obedience to God’s commands is seen in Exodus 40: 34-38. The glory of the Lord filled the temple, the cloud guided them by day and the fire by night. It was by these two symbols that Israelites were able to tell whether they were to move or stay put. The cloud also provided shade from the desert sun during the day, and the fire gave light and kept them warm during the night.

The Bible states very clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If our body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, then we need to make it suitable for Him to live in. If we prepare a place for Him, expect for Him to come into our lives. Expectancy is the perfect atmosphere for miracles!

What stops you from hearing God’s voice?

How can you live a life of expectancy?

Day 36: Exodus 37-38; Matthew 23:23-39

“Don’t judge a book by the cover.”

As a designer, I’m majorly at fault of this. I judge books by their covers. My philosophy is this: if it has a good title and a pretty cover, then it has to be good.

This is such flawed thinking though. I recently received a devotional and I was so excited because it’s popular among the people I follow on Social Media (and it. is. so. pretty!!!). But when I began reading it, I was disappointed because what was on the inside did not fully support what I anticipated from the outside. The messages were more shallow than I expected.

In the Old Testament, the beginning of the relational journey with God, the time and effort put into following God’s detailed instructions must have been exhausting. Everything was hammered, intricately detailed and exact to God’s perfect standards.

When we get further into time and look at the New Testament though, we begin to see a loss of reverence for thorough care. We went from intricate details to a false front: dirty on the inside with a shiny outside. The Pharisees and Sadducees were extremely legalistic and concerned about appearances, but Jesus often called them out on their hypocritical behavior because their hearts were actually far from God (Mat. 23:25, Luke 11:39). Similarly, today you can find a lot of Christians – in fact, most people would classify themselves as believers – but very few people actually live set apart, holy lives as instructed by the Bible.

How are you living? Is your faith genuine or a front for a soul far from God?

Day 35: Exodus 34-36, Matthew 23:1-22- Conversations with the Lord

Day 35

I often wonder what it must have been like for the Israelites to experience first-hand the miracle of God’s provision for His people after their deliverance from Egypt. Exodus is one of the richest and most beautiful books in the Bible, and every time I read it something else jumps out at me that teaches me so much about our great God.

I love this short section of Scripture particularly, because it is such a great reminder of our call as God’s chosen people — the redeemed children of the Lord. Scripture says that Moses’ face glowed with the glory of the Lord (vs. 29) because he spoke with God. Conversations with the Lord during that time were few and only certain people had the privilege of hearing and speaking with God. I often forget that because of the beautiful access we have to the Lord through the Holy Spirit. But we DO have access. Isn’t that amazing!?

We can talk with the Lord whenever we please, but do we take full advantage of this gift? Do the people around me recognize that I spend time with the Lord, the way the Israelites could visibly see it on Moses’ face?

My prayer is that we would be women that reflect the glory of the Lord because we continually spend time in His presence. We can’t lose sight of what a miracle it is to dialogue with God – that He speaks and listens. Let it be said of us that His glory radiates within us because of the time we spend with Him.

Think about someone you know who reflects God’s glory – what makes their relationship with the Lord different?

What is one way you can tap into the access you have to the Lord this week to deepen your relationship with Him?

Day 34: Creating Space to Rest (Exodus 31-33, Matthew 22:23-46)

Is rest difficult for you? How about slowing down? Maybe you feel like if you stop, you will end up falling behind or that the world will crumble around you. I’ve been there, and it’s exhausting. When someone first stopped and introduced me to the reality that not only is resting (or taking a Sabbath) a command from the Lord (check out Exodus 20:8-11) but it’s truly for our good, my entire walk with Christ changed—for the better!

Work can be an idol that steals our affections from the Lord subtly and quickly. When we go without rest, we begin worshiping the things that we put our efforts and energies into, instead of the One who created us. Work is a good thing, but the Lord so clearly calls His people to make rest a part of our lives.

Have you ever thought about the fact that God Himself modeled this for us when He created the earth? On the seventh day He rested. He stopped. He reflected. He didn’t have to—He’s GOD! He didn’t get tired or overwhelmed, but He wanted His people to see the importance of slowing down.

Day 34

Resting is hard, especially if you struggle with slowing down. It’s WORK. The beauty and the gift that comes from intentionally creating space for rest is the beautiful gift of deeper love and admiration for the Lord. Those things you need to get done will still be there and those people you worry you might let down don’t need you to be superwoman.

Be intentional about building rest into your week by carving out a specific day that you will stop and just be. Choose a day where you can get away to reflect, recharge, and abide with your Savior. You will quickly discover, as I did, that when you rest, you are able to tackle your task lists better and that you truly become the woman God called you to be.

What is the greatest struggle you have with resting?

What practical steps can you take this week to build rest into your schedule?

Day 32: God of Details (Exodus 27-28; Matthew 21:23-27)

I have always loved details. I love antique furniture because of the character little carved flowers bring to a comfy armchair. I adore Sherlock Holmes because of his ability to solve a case based on the smallest of clues. I love it when people put thought into making gifts for other people. Having an eye for detail does not mean that one loses sight of the whole picture. In fact, people with an eye for detail are able to see how many small details come together to make the big picture.

Exodus 27 and 28 may seem boring at first; just a DIY list for those working on the tabernacle. But what amazes me is the thoroughness of the designs. Each piece of material, all the colors, and every stone was chosen for a purpose. The directions were given, not to tell the Israelites they had no say in the matter or that they were not creative enough to handle such a task, but to remind them of God’s glory.

For example: consider the priests’ uniforms. Every time the priests put on their  garments, they would remember God’s provision and the job they were called to do. Every detail was chosen intentionally and for a set apart, holy purpose.

Day 32

That temple was the place where He dwelt among the people. Today, the Lord dwells in us (1 Cor. 6:19), and as such, He has instructions for how we should live – the way we dress, speak, and live.

God sees all your dreams, goals, hopes, and fears. He also provides for every detail of your life. The Lord sees the big picture of your life – from beginning to end – and He is with you through all of it.

What details of your life do you have trouble giving over to God?

How have you seen God working in your life this week?

Day 30: Exodus 22-24; Matthew 20:17-34

“You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside many to pervert justice.” -Exodus 23:2

Long before psychologists came up with the term, “groupthink,”God was already warning His people of the dangers of following the crowd into doing evil or deviating justice.

It’s not easy to be the only one of your friends NOT gossiping or participating in cyber-bullying. In a society still permeated with discrimination, racial tensions, and disdain for those living in poverty, it’s tempting to just sit by in silence as the public screams to isolate, deport, and even kill certain people.

Following the crowd is not always a good idea

All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. Sitting silently and watching someone put someone else down – in words or actions, can make you an accomplice, and just as much responsible as the person doing the bullying.

Consider your life today – are there areas where you see evil and are sitting by passively? What can you do about it?

Day 27: Exodus 13-15; Matthew 19:1-15

In Exodus 13:17-22, we get a glimpse of how God thinks. He avoided leading His people through the land of the Philistines (the faster way), because He didn’t want the people to see war and use that as an excuse to turn around and go back to Egypt.

God plans your life just as strategically. He sees the future, and when He knows that something may cause you to stumble and fall, He will do everything He can to re-route you through a safer way. Even if it means that something takes longer in your life to come to fruition. Granted, as humans with free will, we can sometimes take the faster way that causes us to stumble, but that is our choice.

Pillar of fire

Like the fearless leader that He is, God also guided the people of Israel without wavering daily – in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. For the people, it was simple: just follow the light.

For us today, that pillar of light is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Through these, God leads us through every moment of every day. But again, it’s up to us to see the light and then follow it. If we’re distracted by this World, or following other sources of wisdom, then we’re sure to get lost and go off God’s path quite quickly! There is always a way back though, even when it takes awhile for us to maneuver through the darkness around us to find the source of light again.

Can you see the light and are you following it? If not, what can you do today to get back on track?