Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 04-04-23

Intro: During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth.

If we do not welcome and receive the God-Life to inhabit and sustain us, we will die spiritually, because the absence of God’s presence who is Life is death.

“The miracle is an acted parable, a symbol of God’s sentence on all that is fruitless’ and specially, no doubt, on the official Judaism of that age.” (CS Lewis; Miracles)

Adversity can truly cause God’s people to doubt his faithfulness; but, through all the pain and struggle, we can find God’s presence and protection still abounding. Faith must refocus our attention on the goodness of God that goes before us to take that which is wicked and cause it to serve God’s purpose of producing the fruit of righteousness in his people. The spiritual fruit God’s people were to produce would allow them to be a blessing to the nations.

In our passage from the Psalter, today, David highlights the mighty deeds of God to bring Israel to the Promised Land; a promise God made to Abraham. Therefore, God used every challenge as a way to reveal his great love for them as the chosen. God was sharing a miraculous realm that existed beyond Israel’s ability to see and understand. The miraculous blessing from heaven would continue if God’s people would follow and obey the Lord.

Psalm 105:23-45 NLT
23 Then Israel arrived in Egypt;    Jacob lived as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
And the Lord multiplied the people of Israel    until they became too mighty for their enemies.
Then he turned the Egyptians against the Israelites,    and they plotted against the Lord’s servants.
But the Lord sent his servant Moses,    along with Aaron, whom he had chosen.
They performed miraculous signs among the Egyptians,    and wonders in the land of Ham.
The Lord blanketed Egypt in darkness,    for they had defied his commands to let his people go.
He turned their water into blood,    poisoning all the fish.
Then frogs overran the land    and even invaded the king’s bedrooms.
When the Lord spoke, flies descended on the Egyptians,    and gnats swarmed across Egypt.
He sent them hail instead of rain,    and lightning flashed over the land.
He ruined their grapevines and fig trees    and shattered all the trees.
He spoke, and hordes of locusts came—    young locusts beyond number.
They ate up everything green in the land,    destroying all the crops in their fields.
Then he killed the oldest son in each Egyptian home,    the pride and joy of each family.
The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold;    and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they were gone,    for they feared them greatly.
The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering    and gave them a great fire to light the darkness.
They asked for meat, and he sent them quail;    he satisfied their hunger with manna—bread from heaven.
He split open a rock, and water gushed out    to form a river through the dry wasteland.
For he remembered his sacred promise    to his servant Abraham.
So he brought his people out of Egypt with joy,    his chosen ones with rejoicing.
He gave his people the lands of pagan nations,    and they harvested crops that others had planted.
All this happened so they would follow his decrees    and obey his instructions.
Praise the Lord!

In our passage from the gospel of Matthew, Jesus responds to the unbelief of the religious leaders by using the praise of children as an example from Scripture. The Pharisees did not connect the Old Testament passage from Psalm 8:2 with the praise of the children before them. Israel’s leadership was barren and fruitless; therefore, the people did not have knowledgeable spiritual guides. When Jesus curses the fig tree, it is an example of God’s judgment on Israel for rejecting the Messiah. They had religious leaves, but were fruitless; a form of godliness but their hearts were far from accepting Messiah. Jesus reminds his disciples they must pray and trust God to produce the miraculous fruit of eternal life.

Matthew 21:16-22 NLT Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
16 They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” 17 Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.

18 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.

20 The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?”

21 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

Prayer: Lord, please continue to produce righteous fruit within the lives of your people, so we can be a blessing and spiritually feed those around us. We want to be vibrant with your life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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