June 12 – Wait, who? – Balaam

Read Numbers 22:1-41

King Balak and Balaam, the prophet, had it backwards. They thought they could get God to serve them.

But that’s not how it works.

Balak was afraid of God’s people so he sent for Balaam, thinking Balaam’s words could protect the Moabites from Israel. But when the prophet-for-hire didn’t get the answer he wanted, he tried again, and then again, until he got the answer he thought he was looking for. Then God sent him on his way. That’s when God gave words to a donkey so Balaam could understand what he refused to believe.

And Balaam came face-to-face with the truth that God does not serve man. He is the Almighty Creator, Lord of all. Man. Beast. Balaam. Balaam’s donkey.

Balaam tried three times to get God to change His mind and let him say what he wanted to say. Three tries before he would find the fear of God inside the truth that he was 100% incapable of speaking his own words rather than God’s. Balaam had let Balak convince him that he was the power behind his own words, whether blessings or curses. But God set him straight and finally Balaam saw clearly the truth that only He is the one to be feared, revered.

As you read this story, which character do you most relate to? Are you like King Balak, believing a certain person holds the power to make or break your life with their words? Are you looking to other people for salvation and safety? 

Maybe you relate more to Balaam, convinced that you can tell God how to run things. Trusting yourself, seeking your own thing, thinking you have the power to resist God’s plan and go your own way, do your own thing.

Or is it the donkey you relate most to? Sadly, the donkey in the story is the only one who actually obeyed God from the first. He spoke His words, delivered His message, let God be the Lord.

If only Balaam had let God be his personal Lord rather than seeking his own way, running after the money King Balak had promised, chasing the favor of the Moabites. But he did not. And that is what leads us to conclude right here that, sometimes, we should be like the donkey.

Bria Wasson

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June 11 – Wait, who? – Elishama

Read Jeremiah 36:12

One of the greatest opportunities I have ever had was traveling to Israel and “walking where Jesus walked”. This once in a lifetime opportunity came at the culmination of a 10-month period of studying the Bible at the Great Commission Bible Institute out of Sebring, Florida. God used that time in my life to pull me close to Him. God was doing such a work in my life and it was highlighted by seeing the Bible come alive right before my eyes in the landscape of the Middle East.

There were so many “wow” moments that I don’t have the space to describe. Standing on the very rock where Jesus told Peter that He would build His Church and the gates of Hell, which many thought were below our feet, would not overcome. Standing in the ruins of a house at Caesarea by the Sea where we were told that we were likely standing within 50 feet of where Paul appealed to Caesar in Acts 25.

What?!

What does this have to do with our reading today? What even is our reading about?

We are focusing on Elishama who actually isn’t that interesting. He wasn’t a prophet, king or long-lost disciple of Jesus…he was a secretary.

Why is this so important?

What makes this obscure Bible character interesting is the extra-biblical evidence that we have for him – which in turn speaks to the historical reliability of Scripture.

In 1986, outside of Jerusalem, a clay seal was found that says, “Elishama, servant of the king,” proving that he was indeed a scribe in the exact time setting and situation that Scripture describes. This right here is evidence that all of Scripture is God-breathed, even down to the tiniest detail and seemingly insignificant person!

How do we know the Bible is true? Because it is proven to be accurate over and over again.

Second Timothy 3 tells us that all Scripture is God breathed and Galatians 3 proves to us that even every pen stroke is inspired by God and important to His message.

The fact that Elishama is mentioned in the Bible and we have hard evidence that he not only existed but served as a secretary, proves that the Bible is accurate!

What does this mean to you today?

My encouragement to you is to get plugged into God’s Word continually. If you’re reading this, I hope that you are subscribed to Every Day with God in order to receive daily content that is written with the goal of making you a more devoted follower of Christ!

As you read, allow the Spirit of God to touch your heart. How can you change? In what ways can you grow in your faith?

You can trust the Bible because it is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), inspired by God and has the power to change the very landscape of your life and eternity.

How can you soften your heart even more to God’s Word?

Jake Lawson

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June 10 – Wait, who? – Jethro

Read Exodus 18:1-27

The modern stereotype of in-laws is not a particularly favorable one. They are often portrayed as annoying, controlling, and invasive. According to the stereotype, the son or daughter-in-law tolerates the in-laws at best or disregards them at worst. Not so in the relationship between Jethro and Moses.

But the takeaway principles from today’s reading extend far beyond that of in-law relationships. There is so much more than that in this chapter. In fact, if you feel overworked or as if you don’t have enough time in the day, there is something here for you. If you are wondering how to multiply yourself, your influence, or your ministry, this chapter offers great insights.

As Moses and the Israelites approached Mt. Sinai, father-in-law Jethro joined them. He heard the stories of God’s faithful delivery of His people as they faced impossible opposition, and he rejoiced. But the next day, he watched Moses, his son-in-law, in action. He watched as people stood around waiting their turn to present their grievance. He saw how Moses delivered verdicts over interpersonal disputes…and that from morning till evening.

“What you are doing is not good” (v. 17). That was Jethro’s assessment of the approach Moses was using. Operating under the existing plan, Moses was going to exhaust himself and frustrate God’s people. Instead, according to Jethro, Moses should have been teaching people God’s ways. He should select others to settle the disputes.

Correction requires humility, doesn’t it? Moses possessed that. He was able and willing to take his father-in-law’s advice that there was a better way. As a result, he was able to give himself more completely to the specifics of his primary calling.

In what facets of your life could you apply this “Jethro principle”? Are you a bottle neck to progress for your work or in your family? Is the fruitfulness of your ministry minimized because of your desire to have your hand in everything?

Don’t miss out on the blessing of inviting, equipping, and releasing others who can do the work. This often has the added benefits of offering you additional time and energy to invest elsewhere. And, you may see others flourish as they find a renewed sense of purpose.

Steve Kern

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June 9 – Wait, who? – Korah

Read Numbers 16:1-50

I can almost hear Moses talking to Korah and his rebel friends:

You think I put myself in this role?!”

You think I chose this job?!

Why in the world would I choose to lead you ungrateful, pride-filled people who constantly complain against me and whine?

Korah and the Levites had been set apart from the rest of the people. Separated for God’s work to keep charge of the tabernacle. An awesome job, indeed. But Korah wanted more. He seems to have liked the idea of being in charge. So, he got some other Levites and leaders from around the camp and planned a coup.

They figured the job God had given them wasn’t enough.

If we are completely honest, most of us would admit having felt that way too.

You’re a mom who stays home with her small children, serving God by changing diapers, wiping noses, playing Go Fish thirty times a day. But there’s another mom serving in a more prominent way. Maybe she leads a Bible study or writes bestselling books and goes on worldwide speaking tours.

You are recently retired, called to mentor young men in a Grace Group. But you’ve seen other retirees who are “changing the world” in one fell swoop.

You work an hourly job where you spread the love of Jesus Christ with your words and your prayers and your friendship and your work ethic. But your neighbor is the president of a company and he has a much bigger platform from which to spread that love.

It’s easy to forget that we were called by God, not ourselves. We lose sight of the truth that God alone is who we serve. Not ourselves. He is the one who calls each of us according to His purpose and for His glory alone.

If Moses had appointed himself the leader, if Aaron had made himself the priest of Israel, then Korah’s plan would have totally worked. He and his band of rebels could have grabbed the big role of leading all those people and run with it.

But God was the one doling out the roles — from head honcho to manna-collector. 

It was up to them to serve faithfully, to walk humbly with God, in whatever role He’d given them. It’s up to us to serve Him faithfully still, walking humbly with Him, in whatever role He’s given us.

Bria Wasson

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June 8 – Wait, who? – Ehud

Read Judges 3:12-27

If you have ever read the book of Judges, Kings or Chronicles, there is one phrase you became familiar with: “The Sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord”…over and over and over again. 

Here we are in Judges 3 where we are introduced to Ehud but, before we get to Ehud, in chapter 3 alone, we see that phrase twice.

Time and time again the people of Israel turned against the Lord and what was best and chose their own paths, wants and desires, ending up in slavery. Yet, the Lord repeatedly delivered them and in this particular chapter we meet Ehud.

We don’t learn much about who Ehud is, but, if the Lord “raised him up”, we have to conclude that He was a God-fearing, God-listening man. He followed God’s instructions in a time of need for His people and, through Ehud, the Lord delivered His people from underneath Moab. 

As I read this chapter, the biggest reminder that sticks out is how God brings forth deliverance. Throughout history and the Word of God, we see deliverance occur. The choices we make cause separation from God or His best and then we cry out to Him. And because of His love for us, He delivers us.

Over and over and over again. 

How many times in our own lives has God delivered us? For me, I can say countless occasions. I specifically think back to the time in my life when I did evil in the sight of the Lord, saw zero hope and chose to take my own life. During the attempt, God intervened and I was delivered out of the darkness of my mind and heart. Everything that I suffered with was Eglon, king of Moab, and Ehud was Jesus. And just like Ehud came and quite literally destroyed Eglon, Jesus destroyed my way of thinking and feeling and caused a new light to appear, a new hope and a new peace.

I was delivered. 

If you get anything from reading Judges 3, other than a graphic death scene, get this;

Jesus will fight for you, He cares for you and He will and has crushed the head of evil. 

This deliverance offered is free for us, but the only way to get there is through Jesus.

Just like the only hope for the sons of Israel was Ehud. 

I don’t know what you may be going through, I don’t know what decisions or choices you are faced with, what heartache may haunt you or what emotions fill your mind, but what I do know is that, because Jesus will fight for you, because of His love for you, He will deliver you and has delivered you; all you have to do is choose to go before Him, cry out and turn the other way with Him by your side. 

Kelly Lawson

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June 7 – Wait, who? – Thief on the Cross

Read Luke 23:32-43

“The Thief on the Cross” is only known to us by the sin he committed.  We don’t know why he stole, what or even when it all happened.  We don’t know if it was a matter of desperation or peer pressure.  We don’t know if he stole from the rich, the poor, his neighbor or a stranger.  We do know; however, his punishment had been justified because he told us so. (vs 41). We also don’t know what he had heard about this Messiah who had been preaching around the area.

But none of that mattered to Jesus.  When the man came face to face with Jesus, he acknowledged Him to be the one true Son of God, able to forgive sins, confessed that what he had done was wrong. Then he asked to be saved and it was granted. For that reason, I prefer to call him the “Forgiven Man on the Cross”.

Jesus forgave him, so why shouldn’t we? Why do we hold grudges against people who have done wrong things and have asked for forgiveness?  Why do we hold in our memories the things people have done in the past, maybe even have gone to jail for, yet have turned their lives around? Do you only know these people, not by their names but the wrongs they have done?  Do you forget all the great things they may have done before they yielded to temptation? We have ALL sinned and, if you say you don’t, you just did!

Judging people is not our job. That is God’s job. Our job is to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you don’t want to be a person who is nameless to everyone else and only known by the bad things you do, make sure you know the names of those you meet not by what they might have done.  Get to know their “story” – what makes them tick.  Let them know you care and introduce them to your friend and Savior Jesus. There was a sign that was posted long ago that said, “People don’t care what you know until they know you care!” They aren’t going to listen to you until you listen to them. That includes your own kids!

We know what happened to the forgiven man on the cross; however, what about the others?  The really sad part of this story is the fact that the other thief who was in the same circumstances joined the blinded jeering crowd, soldiers and even rulers in mocking Jesus as He hung there for THEIR sins!  We don’t know what happened to them after they died. We can only hope that what happened 3 days later drew them to repent of their sins and they joined the forgiven man in paradise!

Pat Arnold

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June 6 – Wait, who? – Mordecai

Read Esther 4:1-17

If you haven’t stopped to read the story of Mordecai in the book of Esther, stop right now and read. It is an intriguing story with plot twists you just can’t make up. 

Mordecai was humble, and let others raise him up. He didn’t try to rub shoulders with those who would make him look good. He was honest despite the risk involved when he revealed a plot to kill the king. And when he was not publicly thanked, he did not seek the spotlight. Years later, when God brought about Xerxes’ sleepless night and his desire to honor Mordecai for his part in saving the king’s life, some may have been scratching their heads thinking, wait, who?

Mordecai became a leader behind the scenes. He led queen Esther as a father-figure. When he instructed Esther to take a risk and approach the king, he didn’t just leave her to face the fight on her own. He joined with her in fasting and praying and bringing others into the battle to encourage her. He trusted her to do her part and then followed through by doing his part.

God used Mordecai’s selfless leadership style to gain many followers. Mordecai was promoted in the king’s palace and found favor among the Jews throughout the kingdom. He didn’t earn those positions through self-promotion, but instead through humility and unwavering faith in God. In contrast, everyone knew Haman’s name. He was feared, not revered. He demanded respect instead of earning it. What is the difference between these two characters and how did their stories end?

What kind of leader are you? Do you want or “need” to be noticed and praised for the good choices you make in the course of your day? Do you seek the approval of co-workers and demand their respect? Or are you learning to be more like Mordecai who lets others elevate you and works to earn the respect of others by your actions rather than words?

Ask God to show you one way you can improve as a leader today and how you can continually fight the battle against pride in your life.

Tammy Finney

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June 5 – Wait, who? – Josiah

Read 2 Kings 22:1-23:30

If you are able to name more than three or four of the roughly forty kings of Israel and Judah, you are probably better than the average Jesus follower. Meanwhile, to know many of the specific details about Josiah, king of Judah from 640 to 609 B.C., is even more impressive. Of course, we must keep in mind that Jesus does not call us to just expand our knowledge so as to win at games of Bible trivia. Instead, He calls us to love God and love people (Matt. 22:34-40). So, what are the facts we learn about Josiah and what does he model that we can mimic?

Josiah was faithful in his youth – He became king at the age of 8 (2 Kings 22:1). By the time he was 16, he was seeking the Lord. By the age of 20, he was leading the nation to address the rampant idol worship present at the time (2 Chronicles 34:3).

If you are young, don’t allow your age to limit your faithfulness. Instead, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Tim. 4:12).”

Josiah valued the Word of God – Up to the age of 26, Josiah had been following the Lord as likely defined by oral tradition. He knew of the ways of his forefather David and didn’t deter from the right path (2 Kings 22:1, 2). He didn’t have his own copy of the Old Testament Law on a shelf in the palace. But, at 26, a copy of the Law was found. Josiah was immediately humble and responsive to what he discovered in the Scriptures.

You and I enjoy the privilege of having unlimited access to multiple copies and diverse translations of the completed canon of biblical truth. Do we value that? Do we orient our lives accordingly? After all, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).”

Josiah, then, serves as a great example of faithfulness to God and His word. Will you follow in his footsteps?

Steve Kern

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June 4 – Wait, who? – Jabez

Read 1 Chronicles 4:10

“The Blessing” a song that is sung in many churches in the USA and throughout the world. It is an uplifting song and prayer asking God for peace to bless your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and their children and their children. The song is full of scripture verses and is one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard. It is inspirational and encourages me to live a life that loves other people and to be a good example! It makes me want to honor God with all my heart in everything that I do!

Recently, I watched on You-Tube 100 churches sing it together in New York City to bring a blessing to their city after it became the epicenter of The Covid-19 virus killing over 25,000 people and then their streets were filled with rage, fear and frustration in 2020. In my view, this song brings the house down. It stops me in my tracks.

You can read in 1 Chronicles about a person in the Old Testament named Jabez and how he wanted to go the extra mile with his faith. He wanted to make the most of every opportunity with his faith. He prayed to God and asked that that would happen.

Jabez’s name, according to the footnotes in the NKJV version, literally meant “he will cause pain.” Every time Jabez was called, it was as if he was being labeled as a man who would bring nothing but pain upon the people around him.

He didn’t live that way, however. Jabez became honorable. He rose above the label that was given him since childbirth. This teaches us that no matter what the labels are that are given to us, we can rise above them.

Jabez rose above the label by calling on God for help.

In his prayer, Jabez asked God to undo and nullify the label that was given to him. And God, being merciful and gracious, “granted him what he requested.”

This should bring us hope. Regardless of what the people around us say or how the world labels us, God is able use us for His purpose and bless us. If we pray like the prayer of Jabez, God can lift us up and cause us to be a blessing to all who come in contact with us.

What labels in your life would you like to rise above? In what way can God help in that? Have you asked God to show you how you can be a blessing to others?

Jabez’s short appearance in the Bible gives us hope, that no matter how much the world, even the people we love, try to bring us down, we can ask God for direction and protection from

evil.

Tom Weckesser

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June 3 – Wait, who? – Naaman

Read 2 Kings 5:1-27

Well, that was intense.

In this chapter, there are two different sections highlighted by two separate characters on two different journeys.

First of all, we read about Naaman who is a commander of the king of Aram who has leprosy. Through one of their raids, they captured an Israeli girl who eventually asked why Naaman hadn’t gone to a prophet of God to cure his leprosy.

Initially, Naaman went to Israel with the intent of personally meeting Elisha and having him pray immediately over his disease. Instead, he is caught off guard when Elisa sends word through a messenger to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times to be cured of his leprosy.

You can almost feel Naaman’s frustration, “I traveled all this way to do something that I could have done back home? How does this make sense? Our rivers are in way better condition than these Israeli rivers!” In the midst of his frustration, he turns and walks away from the promise of healing.

How often do you allow something like a small annoyance or set back to turn you away from what’s best? “Ah! This isn’t how I wanted things to go! I deserve better! This is humiliating!” and with that, we turn away from God’s promise for us. All throughout the Bible, God promises to care for us and never forsake us. What are you allowing to hold you back from experiencing that promise?

Naaman is eventually healed by following the command of Elisha and, after Elisha refuses to accept payment for his help, Naaman is back on his way home.

This is where we meet the second character of the story. Naaman just experienced life change through God and commits his life and worship to him. However, the servant of Elisha saw this as an opportunity to extort monetary compensation from Naaman. He, Gehazi, tracks Naaman down and makes up a story of why he needs to take money back, of which Naaman is quick to provide.

However, Gehazi’s sin is quickly found out and, after lying about his whereabouts, Elisha says that the leprosy that Naaman was just cured from would cling to Gehazi and his family forever.

Well, dang…

There is such power in greed. If your perspective is not heavenly and you are shortsighted in your faith, there is the possibility to make huge mistakes.

My encouragement to you all is simple and comes from lessons that we learned from Naaman and Gehazi: have complete trust in God’s plan for your life and be ultra-sensitive to greed in your life.

As you finish this reading, I urge you to pray and open yourself up to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to reveal any distrust or greed in your life and take it upon yourself to live in a way that honors God.

Jake Lawson

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