Attending God’s Lessons

Scripture Focus: Exodus 13.8-10, 19
8 On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. 10 You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year. 

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

Reflection: Attending God’s Lessons
By John Tillman

Pharaoh was not the only one learning about God through the Exodus. The Israelites learned about him as well.

At this point, God had not revealed much about himself. The only thing Israel knew about God was that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There was no prophecy or communication from God recorded in scripture other than Joseph telling his brothers on his deathbed that “God would surely come” to help them.

Through their liberation from Egypt and their time in the desert, God became Israel’s teacher. His curriculum taught the people about himself and about who they were meant to be. God described his liberation in relational terms, calling Israel, “my firstborn son.” When he liberated them, part of his purpose was deepening and expanding this relationship. 

God is a creative instructor. Taste, sight, smell, repetition, touch, hearing—the God who designed senses engaged all of them in multisensory learning experiences. The elaborate festivals, feasts, and ceremonies of worship set the Israelites apart from other cultures and simultaneously taught them about the nature of God, their relationship to him, and their unique identity and mission. 

Israel in the desert was attending the most creative spiritual education program designed. Attending holds two meanings. One is physical presence. One is mental attention. In every sense of the word, may we attend the lessons of our sojourn.

In our desert sojourns and everyday life, God desires to teach us about his identity and ours. If we attend to his lessons, the Holy Spirit can engage every sense, every moment, every touch, to turn us more into the likeness of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Many things can help us learn and pass the lessons to the next generation. The season of Lent, which we are in now, and other elements of the church calendar aid us in orienting our lives to the story of the gospel through the year. Weekly gatherings are an important part of our connection to our faith community and fellow believers. Daily practices of Bible reading, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines make our relationship to God personal rather than distant.

Through daily practices, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is both living water and flame of fire within us. He sustains our life and fuels our passion for God and care for others.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. — Psalm 92.12

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Exodus 13  (Listen – 3:30)
Luke 16 (Listen – 4:27)

Read more about Cultivation Must Be Learned
Spiritual wisdom and knowledge, like agricultural knowledge, must be passed on, with its seeds, from one generation to the next.

Read more about Fasting and Feasting
As we engage in feasting or fasting, during the season of Lent and beyond, may we not grow secure in legalistic, moralistic rules, but stay insecure, relying on God.

Prayer for Older Brothers :: Guided Prayer

Luke 15.31-32
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Reflection: Prayer for Older Brothers :: Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Mature believers must recognize the dual message in Christ’s parable of the prodigal son. In many ways it could be considered the parable of the prodigal sons. 

One son refused to stay in the home due to sinful rebellion.
One son refused to enter the home due to sinful unforgiveness.
One son squandered his father’s wealth.
One son coveted his father’s wealth.
One son was humiliated by his own scandalous behavior.
One son was humiliated by his father’s scandalous grace.

Beginning our faith journey, we struggle to understand how God could love us and adopt us into his family despite our sinfulness. But after living comfortably as a member of God’s family, we soon struggle to understand how God could adopt anyone else.

There are limits to what is restored to the son who returns. His inheritance is spent and will not be restored. He will be financially dependant on his older brother. But in every other aspect, he is restored. He is restored to full fellowship, full honor, and full trust. These things are indicated by the sandals, robe, and ring. His identity is restored. His authority is restored. He is not a second-class family member.

Pray this prayer for an older brother this weekend. God the Father will come out to you, and beg you to rejoice at the scandalous sinners he has adopted as his children.

Prayer for Older Brothers

God, your mercy is a mystery to me.
I see the sins of others and I am scandalized.
How could such a one be accepted?
How could such a one be loved?
How could such a one be forgiven?
How could such a one be trusted?

You come out and embrace me, Father.
You invite me to celebrate
The sinful repentant,
The wanderer returned,
The prideful humbled,
The scandalous purified.

Over your shoulder I see the celebration.
And I remember…
The day you celebrated me, repentant.
The day you celebrated me, returned.
The day you lifted me up when I was humbled.
The day you purified me from my scandalous sin.

The party is not for my prodigal sibling but for me.
The celebration is not for his sins but for your mercy.
Put your arm around my shoulder, Father.
Lead me in, to celebrate mercy shared.
Lead me in, to rejoice for sinners changed.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. — Psalm 85:10

Today’s Readings
Exodus 12:22-51 (Listen – 7:31)
Luke 15 (Listen – 4:19)

This Weekend’s Readings
Exodus 13 (Listen – 3:30), Luke 16 (Listen – 4:27)
Exodus 14 (Listen – 4:46), Luke 17 (Listen – 4:22)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about In the Face of the Impossible
In a very real sense, not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory.

Read more about The Focus of Christ’s Anger
Seek today for what in your life causes Christ to grieve, to be angry. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart and cleanse you.