Watching Daily At My Gates

January 5 Read Exodus 10:1-6

The fearful plague of thunderings and hail had ceased, and once again we read that Pharaoh hardened his heart. This was sovereignly ordained by God, for he instructed Moses to go again to Pharaoh in order to reveal to him and all people the power of God. Moses then describes the impending plague of locusts. God further commands Moses to tell his children and his children’s children the mighty works of God that they might know that he is the Lord. This is our holy calling as well. Do our children realize how great a God we serve? In the measure that we as parents, or teachers, or any other capacity, respect and hold the name of God in reverential fear, so will our children and pupils. What a great blessing for us that our God is a covenant God and what a privilege as well as a solemn responsibility it is to bring forth children and instruct them in the way of the Lord. Psalter 213:1-3.

January 6 Read Exodus 10:7-11

The servants of Pharaoh who were well aware of all that was transpiring in the land, finally advised their king in carefully chosen words to let the men go and serve the Lord their God. They realized that their country was almost in ruins. Pharaoh asked Moses who would go, and Moses, aware of Pharaoh’s deceptions, replied that every soul plus their flocks and herds would go. That answer was not acceptable to Pharaoh and in anger he drove Moses and Aaron from his presence. Even as Moses insisted that every member of every family must be included in the worship of Jehovah, so must we with our families, from the youngest to the oldest attend divine worship. As soon as little children can sit reasonably still, they must be under the official preaching of the Word. The Spirit can and does speak also to their little hearts. We must have none of “children’s church” in place of the preaching of the gospel. As we worship today, thank God that there are no Pharaohs to prevent us from worshiping him as he commands us, and count it a privilege to live in a land that yet allows us the freedom of worship. Psalter 349:1-3.

January 7 Read Exodus 10:12-20

Moses left the courts of Pharaoh and in obedience to God’s command, stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt to bring about the eighth plague, namely hordes of locusts. It was such an incredible host, that one could look out and see nothing but locusts devouring every bit of grass, leaves and vegetation. Under this mighty demonstration of God’s power, Pharaoh hastily calls for Moses and Aaron to exclaim that he has sinned and prays that his sin be forgiven this once. We see here another instance of the wicked calling upon God, not in repentance for all his sins, but for immediate relief from the awful locusts. In Proverbs 28:9 we read, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” How about your prayers, dear reader? Young people, do you make time for personal prayers? Not a hasty, almost memorized prayer, but sincere confession of all sins, and especially specific sins to which you are prone. There is forgiveness at the foot of the cross, for God beholds his people in Christ and imputes to them his righteousness. Pray, people of God, with a sincere heart for “the prayer of the upright is his delight.” Proverbs 15:8(b), Psalter 31:1-3.

January 8 Read Exodus 10:21-23

The Lord isn’t finished with Pharaoh and his host as yet. He will show his awesome power and judgment against this proud ruler by sovereignly hardening his heart even though Pharaoh willfully and deliberately shakes his fist, as it were, in the face of the Almighty. The ninth plague is inflicted upon the land of Egypt. A darkness settled on the land, so black, so thick, and so dense that it could be felt. No light could pierce it, and it brought to a standstill all movement for three days. It had to speak powerfully to the Egyptians who considered the sun to be a god. This darkness pictured to Pharaoh that his cup of iniquity was full and spoke of the judgment to come in that place of outer darkness. These three days of darkness and the three hours of darkness at Christ’s crucifixion spoke of God’s holy wrath against the wicked. What about you and I dear reader? Can we boast that we are not like these people? We deserve no less than they for we read in Eph. 2:3, “(we) were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” How humbling, but listen further in that same passage: “But God who is rich in mercy…hath quickened us together in Christ.” That’s the gospel, that’s our only hope and comfort. “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” Pray that God will strengthen our faith that we may walk as children of the light. Psalter 71:1, 2, 5.

January 9 Read Exodus 10:24-29

The darkness was lifted from Egypt and Pharaoh summons Moses into his presence once more. The terror of that sea of blackness had subsided and so he makes one more attempt to bargain with the Almighty. He agreed to let the people go, including their little ones, but insisted that the flocks and herds be left behind. In his stubborn rebellion he seeks to retain their herds as hostages to insure the peoples’ return. When Moses adamantly maintains that not even a hoof be left behind, Pharaoh in great fury tells him to leave and threatens to slay him if he returns. This should not surprise us, for from the beginning of time, the church has faced persecution and death from the world. Moses was not frightened by the king’s threat, and neither should we be if facing a similar threat, for God is on our side. Most of us live in an environment in which our lives are not threatened because of our faith, but beware lest we become complacent. Satan works diligently in many subtle ways to destroy the church. Our comfort and assurance is that the God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart to deliver his people, and to show his almighty power, is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and he will be our Guide even unto death. Psalter 203:1, 2, 5.

January 10 Read Exodus 11:1-10

The first three verses of this chapter must be considered parenthetical and could better read, “Now the Lord had said to Moses….” Pharaoh is told that the final plague to descend upon Egypt would be the death of every firstborn in the land and describes the great outcry of sorrow coming from every home. In contrast to this, he states that not even a dog would dare to make a sound against the Israelites. He further predicts that Pharaoh and his servants will not only permit the people to go, but will actually bow down to Moses and thrust the Israelites out of Egypt. He then leaves Pharaoh’s presence in great anger. None of this has any effect on the king. He is determined to go in his wicked way and refuses to obey God. But God is on the throne and controls every step of this process in order to show his power and judgment upon the wicked and his mercy to Israel, his firstborn son. What a privilege is ours to serve him. Let us resolve to honor him today by walking in thankful obedience. Psalter 207:1-4.

January 11 Read Exodus 12:1-10

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron to give specific instructions for their impending departure from Egypt after the last manifestation of his power and wrath would be poured out upon that land. This departure was an event of such importance that even the month in which they were to leave would be the beginning of months on their religious calendar. A lamb with no defects must be selected on the tenth day, kept apart until the fourteenth day, and then be killed with its blood sprinkled on the lintel and side posts of their doors. The lamb must be roasted with fire and eaten in haste with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. All this had significance for the children of Israel as we shall see later in the chapter. These instructions were divinely given by a holy and sovereign God, who rightly demands that we obey him and worship him as he commands. As churches, we are committed to the “regulative principle” of worship. Only those elements of worship are permitted that are prescribed by Scripture. Nothing else may be introduced as part of the worship. Young people and children who will be taking your place in the church, hold fast to this principle, cherish it with all your heart, for only then will God be pleased to bless us. Psalter 222:1, 2, 7.

January 12 Read Exodus 12:11-20

Here we have the institution of the Passover. It was first of all a sacrifice, pointing to the fact that the people of Israel were in themselves no better than the Egyptians. They must be covered by the blood of the lamb to satisfy God’s justice. The Passover lamb in itself could not do this, but only as it pointed to Christ the true Lamb of God. The Passover was also a meal. They had to have sustenance for the journey that would be undertaken, but it was more than that. As his covenant people, they partook of Christ and had fellowship with him. The bitter herbs reminded them of their bondage, while the unleavened bread signified the purging out of the old leaven of sin and their becoming a holy people unto the Lord. This was all typical, of course. The reality is the church redeemed through the sacrifice of the true Lamb of God on Calvary’s cross. Read the description of the church in L.D. 21, Q.A. 21 of the Heidelberg Catechism and thankfully say from the heart “that I am and forever shall remain a living member thereof.” Psalter 374:1, 3, 5.

January 13 Read Exodus 12:21-28

In obedience to God’s command, Moses called the elders of Israel together and related to them all that God spoke to him regarding the Passover preparations and their coming deliverance. They in turn must inform the congregation. He spelled out exactly what they must do and surely explained the great significance of all these instructions. Each thing had its typical and deeper meaning, with the lamb as the central theme. It had to be perfect; its blood must be shed and sprinkled on the lintel and side posts of the door; not a bone could be broken; the people must eat it, and none must remain to be defiled. Space will not suffice to reveal all that this momentous occasion signified, but God in his great mercy showed that the only way that an unworthy people could possibly be redeemed was through the covering of the blood. When the destroyer saw the blood he would pass over that house. What was the people’s reaction when they heard this? We read that they “bowed the head and worshipped”. Today we will hear that same gospel of the Lamb who was slain for his beloved church. Shall we not also bow our heads and worship with unspeakable gratitude for so great a salvation? Psalter 269:1-4.

January 14 Read Exodus 12:29-36

It was midnight on the Lord’s clock and the tenth and last plague was visited upon the Egyptians. Every firstborn in the land from the palace to the prison was struck with death, with no family excluded, plus the firstborn of their cattle. Gone was the wicked pride and rebellion of King Pharaoh. His spirit for the first time is broken, and although his mind is as dark as ever, he is forced to acknowledge that Jehovah is God. He calls for Moses and Aaron yet that night and tells them to leave the country along with the Israelites, their children and their herds. The Egyptians likewise urged the people to depart, and true to the word of the Lord to Moses at the burning bush, they willingly gave jewelry and clothing to the Israelites plus anything else for which they asked. There are many references throughout Scripture of Israel being called out of Egypt and is rich with typology. Even as the nation of Israel, whom God called his firstborn Son (Ex. 4:22) is called out of bondage and sin, so God’s firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, is also called out of Egypt (Matt. 2:15) and must die to satisfy the justice of God and redeem his church. Is that firstborn Son your Savior and Lord, dear reader? Then pray for grace to leave the Egypt of this world and consecrate your life to his service. Psalter 289:1, 14, 15.

January 15 Read Exodus 12:37-42

What a memorable night that was when this huge multitude of people began their exodus from the land of Egypt. No more lashes from the overseer’s whips and no more servitude in bondage. It is estimated that some two million souls laden with spoil from the Egyptians, plus much cattle began this journey. We read that the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. Now they leave in haste which meant that they could only take unleavened bread for their journey. Much significance is given to this exodus as a wonderwork of the Lord and the people are instructed to observe this great deliverance throughout their generations. Every step of the way the Lord reminded the Israelites of his glorious redemption by signs and wonders. He also reminds the church today of that same redemption through the finished work of Christ Jesus. We are reminded of it through partaking of the Lord’s Supper and through the preaching of the Word. Treasure it, people of God, young and old and instruct your children accordingly. Psalter 191:5, 6, 7.

January 16 Read Exodus 12:43-51

This passage relates the Lord’s instructions to Moses regarding the ordinance of the Passover prior to their departure from Egypt. Only those who bore the sign of the covenant could partake of the paschal lamb. The Lord was very meticulous in describing who was allowed to participate in this solemn occasion. To desecrate the eating of the Passover lamb was a profaning of the ordinance. To partake in faith was a most blessed privilege. We read that the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded. Young people, we realize that parents, pastors and elders encourage you to publicly profess your faith in Christ. When this occurs, it is a cause for them and the entire church to rejoice. But do you realize that Christ himself said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). What an incentive! May you by God’s grace be led to fully participate in the communion of the saints. Psalter 112:1-3.

January 17 Read Exodus 13:1-10

God is determined, and rightly so, that his work of redemption be remembered, not only by the people that actually left the bondage of Egypt, but by their generations as well. How the Lord stressed that this deliverance was brought about by him alone! Twice he states that with a strong hand he brought them out of Egypt. His claim on Israel is absolute for they are his people whom he actually called his firstborn son (Ex. 4:22). He established the ordinance of the feast of unleavened bread, a seven day event culminating in a feast to the Lord. It would be a sign upon their hand, a memorial between their eyes, and a law in their mouth. Tell this to thy son, the Lord says, that they may see in picture form, the deliverance from sin, the earthly pilgrimage through the desert to the heavenly Canaan, and how it all points to Christ. Without his perfect sacrifice, there could be no pardon for sins, no redemption and no hope of eternal glory. But he satisfied God’s justice and he “ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Rom. 7:25). Remember this, people of God, and be sure to tell your children. Psalter 215:1-3.

January 18 Read Exodus 13:11-16

One more ordinance God established to be observed, when he brought Israel into the land of Canaan, was the consecration of the firstborn. All the firstborn sons of the nation and every firstborn male animal were to be consecrated to the Lord. The firstlings of all clean beasts were to be sacrificed, but the firstborn of unclean animals such as donkeys were to be redeemed, or bought back by sacrificing a lamb in its place. And once again the Lord stresses the point that when their sons asked the meaning of this ordinance, the parents must instruct them of the great deliverance from the house of bondage by the strength of the Lord. Also that the Lord slew all the firstborn of Egypt but in his mercy spared Israel’s firstborn. Therefore every firstborn male shall be called holy to the Lord. The parents are required to redeem them with a sacrifice. We too, as God’s people, are redeemed; not with sacrifices, of silver and gold, “but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Having that knowledge then, shall we not walk each day, whether we are young or old, in a manner consistent with that confession? Psalter 111:1, 3, 4.

January 19 Read Exodus 13:17-22

One might think that the Lord would lead this tremendous host by the shortest possible route to the promised land of Canaan. But the Lord in his wisdom had many reasons not to do so. The shortest route meant military encounters with the Philistines and although the people acquired some weapons, they were not ready for battle. They must first undergo a long period of training and learn many spiritual lessons in the wilderness. Many other reasons will unfold as we delve into their long desert journey. God never forsakes his people, but leads them each step of the way. The Israelites had their pillar of cloud and fire. We have God’s Word which is a lamp to our feet and a light upon our path. Sometimes God leads us in a way of pain, sorrow or trials, and although it is difficult for our flesh to bear, yet we know it is for our good and we must with patience wait on him, praying, “thy will be done.” Psalter 210:1, 4, 5.

January 20 Read Exodus 14:1-12

We may ask, Why did the Lord lead the children of Israel into a situation in which Pharaoh would believe they were hopelessly trapped? One answer is given that the Lord purposed to harden Pharaoh’s heart which will lead him to his final destruction. Another is that he will be “honoured upon Pharaoh” thereby glorifying his own name. We also read of the first instance of Israel murmuring against the Lord when they see the Egyptians coming after them with an army. The Lord deliberately leads them into an impossible situation so that they may realize that they cannot rely on their own strength to deliver them. Trapped between the mountains and the Red Sea, there was no avenue of escape except by divine deliverance. We too are encompassed by a mountain of sin and a sea of guilt and there is no hope for deliverance, except for the regenerating grace of God in our hearts giving us new life and the desire to serve him. Pray for grace each day to walk in thankful obedience. Psalter 352:1-4.

January 21 Read Exodus 14:13-18

Moses reacted to the people’s rebellion by saying, “Fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” He answers them that this will be the last they will see of the Egyptians. At the same time he must have cried to the Lord, for the Lord said, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.” Then he instructs Moses to lift up his rod and divide the sea. The Lord twice states that he will have the honor upon Pharaoh and that the Egyptians must acknowledge that he is the Lord. We see multitudes today feverishly pursuing the fame, riches and pleasures that the world has to offer, but it all leads to destruction. Are we listening to the words of Moses, “Fear not, and see the salvation of the Lord”? Then follows the Lord’s command: “Go forward.” Let us also follow this command by faith with him as our guide, and strive to bring glory to his name. Psalter 375: 1, 3, 4.

January 22 Read Exodus 14:19-22

What a marvelous occurrence took place in this passage of Scripture. First of all the leading pillar of fire which was the manifestation of Christ’s presence moved behind the children of Israel and was a shining light to them, but darkness to the Egyptians. The effect of this separation by the Lord was that the enemy could not come near his people. When Moses stretched out his rod the waters divided, making walls on both sides forming a dry path in the midst of the Red Sea. Unbelievers in their folly try to find natural causes for this phenomena, but this was a wonder, a marvelous sign of the power of God, who leads his people by his grace. This was also an act of faith on the part of Israel, for we read in Hebrews 11:29, “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land.” It is also typical of baptism as we read in the prayer of the baptism form: “(thou) has led thy people Israel through the midst of the Sea upon dry ground, by which baptism was signified.” Read this beautiful form, children and young people. Cherish your covenant sign and do not bring shame to it by sinful actions. Thank God for his mercy in choosing you and walk as one of his professing children. Psalter 143:1, 3.

January 23 Read Exodus 14:23-31

We read of the final destruction and judgment of Pharaoh and his army. Although the last plague had broken his resistance, yet he was not humbled in true repentance. When he heard that Israel was encamped by the Red Sea, he was determined by wicked hatred to pursue and return them to slavery. This was God’s doing, as he hardened Pharaoh’s heart because he will show his power over this evil tyrant. It was a disaster for the Egyptians as they in their folly pursued Israel in the sea. When the Israelites were safely across the water, Moses is instructed to stretch out his hand that the waters might engulf and drown the Egyptians. God is glorified in the salvation of his people and the destruction of the enemy. The reaction of Israel was that they feared the Lord and believed. Oh, not every one possessed faith and believed, but those whom God chose from all eternity did. Can you say, dear reader, as the father of the demon possessed son said to Jesus, “Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief”? Then you have everything! Psalter 342:1-3.

January 24 Read Exodus 15:1-13

When Moses and the people of Israel fully comprehended the amazing deliverance that the Lord accomplished on their behalf, they couldn’t contain themselves and burst into a mighty chorus of praise. They were free, free to live their lives unshackled by cruel taskmasters. Led by Moses, the hills echoed with this inspired psalm of praise that extolled God and him alone. “He is a man of war,” they sang. He destroyed the enemy. His right hand dashed them in pieces; his wrath burned them as straw; by his breath the waters served to both kill the enemy, but save his people. This forerunner of the Psalms gives all the glory to God, extolling his greatness, revealing his wrath, but showing mercy to his redeemed people. We read in James 5:13<, “Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.” Let us do likewise. God gave us songs to sing and reasons to sing them. Moses’ psalm of praise pointed to salvation in Christ. Let us join their chorus too and sing, “The Lord is my strength and song and he is become my salvation.” Psalter 290:1, 2, 8.

January 25 Read Exodus 15:14-21

Sometimes we tend to worry about the future. We see wars and unrest, increasing wickedness in the world, and impending persecution of the church rearing its ugly head. The church is so small. What will our children and grandchildren have to face in their lives? The Lord is well aware of this, even as he knew that the children of Israel would face many formidable enemies on their journey to Canaan. What do we hear the mighty chorus of the Israelites sing? “Fear grips Philistia, Edom is dismayed, Moab trembles, the Canaanites melt with fear.” The Israelites were given this assurance as they began their pilgrimage to the earthly Canaan. We too have this assurance on our way to the heavenly Canaan, and although our journey may be difficult at times for the flesh, we can confidently say with the apostle Paul in Rom. 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” That alone is our hope and comfort. Psalter 137:1, 2, 6.

January 26 Read Exodus 15:22-27

The Israelites began their journey into the desert. In these first three days, the scenery began to change from one of fertile plains of Egypt to barren expanses of wilderness. They began their journey with confidence and probably expected that ahead of them lay only a smooth road into Canaan. But now come the trials. Their supply of water is exhausted, they are tired and thirsty, and when they came to Marah they found water but it was so bitter they could not drink it. So they murmur against Moses, but in actuality they murmured against Christ who was the antetype of Moses and who leads his people out of sin and death. The Lord instructs Moses to cast a tree into the waters and miraculously they were made sweet. We too tend to murmur when we encounter disappointments and trials in our lives. This is sinful, for when we are led through the wilderness of trouble and bitterness, it is to prove and test us that our faith may be made stronger. Pray for grace to patiently endure afflictions knowing that all things work together for our good. Psalter 329:1, 2, 4.

January 27 Read Exodus 16:1-8

After a restful stay at Elim for about a month, the children of Israel resumed their journey into the wilderness. Their supply of food soon ran out and again they murmured, this time very sinfully, exclaiming that they would rather had died in Egypt with their stomachs full than to die from hunger in this wilderness. How soon they forgot the wonder works of God and his promise that he would lead them to the promised land. We must not believe that every one, head for head, murmured. While the majority complained, the remnant prayed. The Lord tells Moses that he will rain bread from heaven in the morning and provide flesh in the evening for their daily sustenance. That bread from heaven was a material substance that gave physical nourishment. It was a picture of the true bread from heaven of which you may partake today in faith as you attend divine worship and hear the preaching of the Word. Christ is that living bread. Hear him today. May we truly hunger for that bread and be filled with thanksgiving and praise to God for such a great salvation. Psalter 311:1, 2, 5.

January 28 Read Exodus 16:9-21

Before the people could actually see and eat the manna that the Lord would provide, they must assemble and behold the glory of God in the cloud. This indicated that the manna was a very evident sign of the presence of the Lord as the God of their salvation. The giving of the manna not only would sustain them physically, but was also meant to be a trial of their faith. Every day they must gather it, an omer per person, which amounted to about five pints each. None of it might be left until the morning since it would then decay and become rancid as many found out. This meant that each day anew they were completely dependent on God for their existence. Many received it as only physical food, but to those who believed, the manna served as a means to strengthen their faith and to confess “that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). May that be our confession as well, trusting him not only to supply our daily bread, but above all, grace to walk in thankfulness and obedience unto him. Psalter 292:1, 3, 4, 5.

January 29 Read Exodus 16:22-31

In this passage we read about a special provision made for the Sabbath. God instituted the Sabbath in Paradise and we read no more of it until now, but we should not assume that the people were unfamiliar with it. However, now the Lord gives a precept that called for its strict observance in the cessation of all manual labor. To that end, no manna would fall on the Sabbath and the people were to gather a double portion on the previous day, which would be miraculously preserved. The Lord instituted this day as a day of rest from all weekly toil, a holy day, consecrated to him and his service. How do you celebrate the Sabbath, dear reader? Let us remind ourselves what the Lord says in Isaiah 58:13, 14: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Psalter 320:1-5.

January 30 Read Exodus 16:32-36

This chapter has dealt with the wondrous provision of manna for the children of Israel. It now concludes with instructions from the Lord to fill a container with an omer of manna to be preserved in a sacred place, namely the ark of the testimony. We know that the ark was not yet constructed, so although these verses deal with the issue of manna, this command was probably given to Moses after the tabernacle was built. It was important for the generations following to learn about this manna and all that it signified. It was truly a physical, life sustaining bread, but most importantly it pointed to Christ who is the bread of life. There is life only in Christ. He took away the guilt of our sins and merited eternal life for all his own. Through faith we are ingrafted into him. Therefore the people must teach their generations the wonderful works of God. Young people, feast on that hidden manna, the Word of God. Parents, teach your children how privileged they are as his covenant seed, and never cease to instill in them the greatness and goodness of our God. Psalter 81:1, 2, 4.

January 31 Read Exodus 17:1-7

The Lord led the people of Israel in a southerly direction through rugged mountainous terrain, devoid of vegetation, to a place called Rephidim. They found no water for themselves, their children and their cattle. They were hot, tired, dusty and thirsty. Instead of prayerfully looking to the Lord for help, who had wondrously sustained them thus far, the majority of the people demanded that Moses give them water. And to compound their sinful murmuring, they say in effect, “you have brought us out of Egypt to kill us with thirst” and were ready to stone him. When Moses cried to the Lord, he is told to take the elders and his rod and go to the rock at Horeb. There he must strike the rock to obtain water. Jehovah’s presence in the cloud and the elders beside Moses confirmed the importance of the occasion. The rock was smitten and water gushed out. This was a picture of Christ, the rock who was smitten of God for our sins and from whom proceedeth living waters. What is your reaction, people of God, when your faith is tried? Do you rebel and murmur, or prayerfully and patiently pray for grace to be submissive and wait upon him? May God grant us that patience that endures to the end. Psalter 60:1, 3, 4.

February 1 Read Exodus 17:8-16

The Amalekites, who were descendants of Esau, attacked the Israelites while they were at Rephidim. We read in Deuteronomy 25:17 and 18 that they struck down all who lagged behind when they were faint and weary, and significantly, the reason is given that the Amalekites feared not God. A band of men was chosen and proceeded to fight Amalek. Moses took the rod of God in his hand and stood on a hill. When the rod was stretched out, Israel prevailed; when the rod was let down, Amalek prevailed. This rod was the symbol of the power of God. The lifting up and letting down of the rod testified that they were fighting the battle of the Lord against Amalek who opposed him. It also showed that they could not win in their own strength, and it proved that the victory was not theirs but Jehovah’s. This is true for us, too, as God’s people. We are called upon daily to fight the battle of faith. If we attempt to do so in our own power, we will fail. Only through faith, which is a gift of God, can we prevail. Significantly the Lord commands a memorial to be written for the church of all ages that Amalek is a prototype of the powers of darkness which war against it. An altar is erected and called: “Jehovah, my Banner.” Hold that banner before you, people of God, as you march to that heavenly Canaan. Psalter 353:1-3.

February 2 Read Exodus 18:1-6

We have an account here of the meeting of Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro. Jethro, also called Reuel, was the priest of Midian and is believed to be a descendant of Abraham through Keturah. He brings with him Moses’ wife and two sons. We are informed in these verses that Moses had sent Zipporah with her children back to Jethro, most likely after the occurrence at the inn in chapter 4:25. Jethro is a God-fearing priest and, although the historic line of the covenant is continued with Jacob, we see that it does not immediately die out in other generations. Moses had lived with Jethro for forty years while God prepared him for the arduous task of leading Israel out of bondage and up to Canaan. The names of his two sons are given, and it is interesting to note the meaning of them. Gershom means “stranger” which Moses experienced in the land of Median, away from his own people. Eliezer means “The Lord is my help and will deliver me from the sword of Pharaoh.” Most of us don’t follow this custom, but there’s much to be said for both parents and children when a name is chosen with a godly connotation. Psalter 360:1, 4, 5.

February 3 Read Exodus 18:7-12

Even in Midian the news had come to Jethro’s ears about the mighty deliverance wrought by God for his people Israel. Now as he sat in Moses’ tent, Moses carefully recounted in detail all what had transpired in the land of Egypt up to the present time. Upon hearing all of this, Jethro breaks forth with a joyful exclamation: “Blessed be the Lord who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians.” Then, as a priest in his own right, he offered a sacrifice of burnt offerings to the Lord. Aaron and all the elders of Israel were summoned to this sacred service after which they ate bread before the Lord. What a beautiful and solemn occasion! Today being the Lord’s day, we have the same privilege. We bring the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17), which is acceptable to God. We also feast on the bread of life, which is the Word of God, and break forth with a doxology of praise, “Blest be the Lord our father’s God.” That is a great blessing, people of God, a reason for joyful thanksgiving and it is a solemn responsibility to faithfully use these means. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation” (Heb. 2:3). Psalter 266:1-3.

February 4 Read Exodus 18:13-27

The very next morning after the sacrificial feast offered by Jethro, Moses resumed his duties as lawgiver and judge of the people. Jethro observed how dedicated Moses was to this task and how much work it involved from morning to evening. Being a man of wisdom, Jethro soon realized that this burden was too heavy for Moses. He proposed that if God approved, able men should be selected from the people to judge small matters between persons, and any great matters or necessary spiritual guidance be handled by Moses. Moses wisely went with this matter to the Lord as Jethro proposed. The result was that a workable system was put into practice thereby lifting an almost impossible burden of work from Moses. God saw to it that Jethro appeared in that moment of history to make a necessary change. God is aware of all our problems and heartaches that burden us. He may not send a Jethro into our lives to solve our difficulties, but he does say, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” I Peter 5:6, 7. Psalter 398:1-3.