March 30, 2023
Daily Lectionary: Ex 4:19-31, Mark 15:16-32
Exodus 4:21–23: “And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’””
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This is somehow more uncomfortable than the next verses where Moses’ wife throws a child’s foreskin on his feet. God told Moses he was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart and kill firstborn kids. It leaves us struggling to find goodness in God. It seems to lend the attacks of internet atheists that much more credibility. God kills people.
A lot of the problem is that we start the same way Pharaoh does. With ourselves. We see ourselves in this world in terms of what’s ours. We see the world in terms of our rights. Rights are a government word rooted in the Law. God doesn’t give rights. He gives gifts. He promises to Moses, a sinner, not only forgiveness of sins, but freedom. It’s not that He chooses some and condemns others. It’s that He chooses and refuses to let anyone lay claim to His redeemed. The LORD takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but He will not let the life of the wicked rob you of His promises.
Right and wrong seem to have different flavors depending on what side of the argument you’re on. Not just here. Always. So instead, look to the nature of God. He simply IS good. The gifts that He gives are good too, because they’re of Him. Even in the midst of terrible and painful realities, God does not turn back, but bears it Himself for us. He gave His own Son to fulfill even this demand. God gives good gifts to sinners. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but everything He does is a gift. Even when these gifts are abused. Even when they eventually break. But even your life is a gift from God. And when He takes you in death, that’s a gift too, because He gave His Son upon the cross to grant you resurrection. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
What God ordains is always good: He never will deceive me; He leads me in His righteous way, And never will He leave me. I take content What He has sent; His hand that sends me sadness Will turn my tears to gladness. (What God Ordains Is Always Good, LSB 760:2)
– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.