Exodus 2 … Consider Him Who Took Notice

“Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them,” (2:23-24).

The Hebrew word translated in the New American Standard Bible as “took notice” is translated “knew” in several other translations. We learn more about this Hebrew word, יָדַע yāḏa, from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

יָדַע yāḏa: “A verb meaning to know, to learn, to perceive, to discern, to experience, to confess, to consider, to know people relationally, to know how, to be skillful, to be made known, to make oneself known, to make to know… One of its most important uses is depicting God’s knowledge of people: The Lord knows their hearts entirely (Ex. 33:12; 2 Sam. 7:20; Ps. 139:4; Jer. 17:9; Hos. 5:3); God knows the suffering of His people (Ex. 2:25), and He cares.”

This word translated “took notice” carries the idea of complete, relational and intimate knowledge, with compassion and care. His compassion and care are not mere feelings, but actions proceeding from His Character and Covenant. When He Took Notice, He was prepared to act!

Consider Him Who Took Notice

  • He Took Notice while baby boys are being ripped from their mothers’ arms and all seems completely hopeless,
  • He Took Notice while a young mother hides her baby boy for three long months that pass all too quickly.
  • He Took Notice as she constructs a miniature ark to protect her baby boy.
  • He Took Notice when Pharaoh’s daughter comes to bathe, coincidentally, at the exact place and time to find the baby floating in a basket.
  • He Took Notice as the king’s daughter takes pity on a baby belonging to the enemy of her people.
  • He Took Notice as the princess allows the Hebrew baby to be nurtured by his very own mother.
  • He Took Notice when it is time for a mother to give up her son, not to a grave, but to a palace.
  • He Took Notice when the grown son murders and flees.
  • He Took Notice as the Hebrew Prince of Egypt becomes a sojourner in a foreign land,
  • And when His people cry and groan, oh how He took notice!
    • He Took Notice of their cries: And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God,” (2:23),].
    • He Took Notice of their groanings: So God heard their groaning;” (2:24).
    • He Took Notice of His covenant: and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (2:24).
    • He Took Notice of His children: God saw the sons of Israel…” (2:25).
    • He Took Notice, prepared to act: and God took notice of them,” (2:25).

How do we respond to Him Who Took Notice?

  • We can be convinced of His care in our troubles and tears.
    • “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
      And saved him out of all his troubles,”
      (Psalm 34:6).
  • We can be certain He hears our groaning.
    • “Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur,
      And He will hear my voice,”
      (Psalm 55:17).
  • We can be confident He is faithful to keep His covenant.
    • Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; (Deuteronomy 7:9).
  • We can be courageous in our relationship with our Father.
    • “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).
  • We must be careful to recall His lovingkindness, to fuel our hope and faith as we wait patiently for Him Who Took Notice to act on our behalf.
    • “This I recall to my mind,
      Therefore I have hope.
      22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
      For His compassions never fail.
      23 They are new every morning;
      Great is Your faithfulness.
      24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
      “Therefore I have hope in Him.”
      25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
      To the person who seeks Him.
      26 It is good that he waits silently
      For the salvation of the Lord,”
      (Lamentations 3:21-26).

Let’s Grow Together!

Exodus 1 … Consider Him Who Was Good

Today we begin the great adventure of a nation called out and set apart for Him Who Was Good.

As our story opens, what began with a promise received by faith, now appears to have taken a different direction. God’s promise, to make Abraham a great nation and to bless all nations through him, does not seem to be heading towards fulfillment.

“And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed,” (Genesis 12:2-3).

And as the book of Exodus begins, we find the descendants of Abraham being held back from their promised greatness under the tyrannical rule of a Pharaoh, completely unaware of the history of the Israelites and their God. Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph,” (1:8).

Amidst this drama of the bad guys winning, of ignorance and evil claiming the upper hand, the true star of our story emerges, revealing Him Who Was Good.

 Consider Him Who Was Good

But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live… So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. 21 Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them, (1:17, 20-21).

Even with the aggressive affliction of the enemy, God was Good bringing about His good purpose through two midwives who feared Him rather than man; the people multiplied and became mighty and the midwives experienced personal blessing.

And behind the evil injustice of a pagan nation inflicting unreasonable and grim enslavement upon God’s people, and then instigating the unthinkable and ruthless tyranny of infanticide, God was Good; He is forever good and His purposes prevail.

“Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, “My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure;”
(Isaiah 46:10).

“Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come… “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty,” (Revelation 1:4, 8).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8).

God was Good yesterday; He is Good today; He is Good forever.

How do we respond to Him Who Was Good?

  • When we find ourselves in difficulties or being mistreated, we often turn to the hope of Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
    • Today, let us consider this hope in light of the account in Exodus 1. The midwives feared God, having more regard for God and the good of others than themselves. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves… (Philippians 2:3).
      • The midwives trusted God with the outcome of their obedience, even their very lives. As we walk in faith, trusting Him for the good He is working, He calls us to obedience, not just for our good, but also for the good of others. Let us surrender our hearts to the Lord as He works in us to work His Good “to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • When the enemy seems too powerful, let us fear Him Who Was Good in obedience and faith; He alone is omnipotent.
    • “But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live,: (1:17) .
    • “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Matthew 10:28).
  • Let us pray that His Spirit strengthen us to trust His purpose and outcome, rather than succumb to pressure from man.
    • “So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. 21 Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them,” (1:20-21) .
    • “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men,'” (Acts 5:29).

There is coming a day when God’s perfect purpose will culminate and every nation will come and bow before Him. What a privilege we have now, to worship Him with lives of reverent obedience. Oh that we would be as the midwives and fear Him Who Was Good!

“Great and marvelous are Your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the nations!
“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy;
For all the nations will come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts have been revealed,”
(Revelation 15:3-4).

God was Good yesterday; He is Good today; He is Good forever!

Let’s Grow Together!

Matthew 9 … Consider Him Who Sees the Unseen

Matthew invites us to see the continued confirmation of the Deity of Christ; for He Sees what no man can see, the Unseen.

Consider Him Who Sees the Unseen.

  • “Seeing their faith…” (9:2).
    • Who but the Lord can see one’s faith? As humans, we see demonstrations of faith in others, but we cannot actually see faith. Jesus Sees the Unseen.
      • “…a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live,” (9:18).
      • “…for she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well.’ 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her…” (9:21-22).
      • “‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘It shall be done to you according to your faith,'” (9:28-29).
  • “‘And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?'”(9:4).
    • Who but the Lord can look into a person’s heart and know the thoughts within? Jesus Sees the Unseen.
      • And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do,” (Hebrews 4:13).
  • “But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,” for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners,'”(9:12-13).
    • Who but the Lord sees the absence of spiritual understanding? Jesus Sees the Unseen.
      • All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
        But the Lord weighs the motives,” 
        (Proverbs 16:2).
  • “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!'” (9:9).
    • Who but the Lord sees the plans He has for us? Surely Matthew could not see what following Jesus would mean. Jesus Sees the Unseen.
      • Many plans are in a man’s heart,
        But the counsel of the Lord will stand,” 
        (Proverbs 19:21).
  • “When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, 24 He said, ‘Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep,'” (9:23-24).
    • Who but the Lord sees life in the very face of death? Jesus Sees the Unseen.
      • But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (Ephesians 2:4-5).
  • “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd,” (9:36).
    • Who but the Lord sees our distressed and desperate state, as sheep without a shepherd? And it moved Him, so much so that He laid down His life to gather us back to Himself. Jesus Sees the Unseen.
      • I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep,” (John 10:11).

Jesus Sees the Unseen and the unseen moves Him: He acts; He forgives; He heals; He corrects; He explains; He expels doubt; He calls into life that which was dead; He opens eyes; He casts out demons; opens the mouth of the mute; and lays His life down for the sheep. Who but the Lord can do such great and mighty works? Who but Him Who Sees the Unseen!

How are we to respond to Him Who Sees the Unseen?

Two responses are clearly portrayed:

The crowd saw, and they were amazed and glorified God.

But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men… and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel,” (9:8, 33).

The Pharisees saw, and they refused to believe, going so far as to attribute His miracles to the work of demons.

But the Pharisees were saying, ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons,'” (9:34).

All saw, and all had a choice. Jesus invites mankind to see with Him, to See the Unseen; and the choice is ours. Today let us not be as the Pharisees; let us put away all disbelief, skepticism and cynicism. Let us choose, by faith, to See the Unseen and live amazed to glorify Him. What a glorious privilege to see with Him Who Sees the Unseen!

  • “…God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist,” (Romans 4:17).
  • “…but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him,'” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Let’s Grow Together!

Matthew 8 … Consider Him Who Is Willing

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed,” (8:2-3).

Oh, can you hear His voice today? To any, and all, He beckons to come to His very Words of Life, “I am willing.” Oh that His Words would resonate above all other competing voices; “I am willing”!

Consider Him Who Is Willing

He is Willing to heal a leper: He is accessible, (8:1-5).

He is Willing to heal a centurions’ servant: He marvels at great faith, (8:6-13).

He is Willing to heal Peter’s mother in law: He has regard for our needs and afflictions, (8:14-17).

He is Willing to explain the cost of following Him: He exposes man’s intentions, (8:18-22).

He is Willing to calm the raging sea: He intervenes, even for those of little faith, (8:23-27).

He is Willing to cast out demons: He has all authority over the supernatural, (8:28-32).

He is Willing to leave when asked: He does not force Himself on any, but responds to free will.

And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region,” (8:34).

How do we respond to Him Who Is Willing?

  • Boldly come, just as we are, for He is accessible.
    • “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).
  • Trust His authority to intervene on our behalf, that we too might give Him cause to marvel.
    • “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth,'” (Matthew 28:18).
  • Find courage and comfort in His care, for He has regard for our needs and afflictions.
    • for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him,” (Matthew 6:8).
  • Rely on His strength as we daily count the cost and sacrificially follow Him, that He would expose our intentions.
    • “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me,'” (Luke 9:23).
    • I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13).
  • Expect His peace in the midst of the storms, for He will intervene, even when we have but little faith.
    • Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful,” (John 14:27).
  • Understand the battle is not flesh and blood; we conquer through Him and His love, for He has all authority over the supernatural.
    • For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God… (Ephesians 6:12-13).
    • But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us,” (Romans 8:37).
  • Invite Him to stay, for He does not force Himself on any, but responds to free will!
    • We have a choice to cooperate with His work in our lives; or resist Him, in effect, asking Him to leave. When it’s tough, when He penetrates the areas of our life that have gotten comfortable, and it hurts, embrace His work. He is Willing to change us…let Him!
      • Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word…71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes,” (Psalm 119:67, 71).

Oh Lord, Jesus, how we desire You to work in our lives. Cleanse us, heal us, reveal our intentions. Teach us to trust Your leading and provision as we face the onslaught of storms and the enemy. Please, Lord, have Your way in us, for we know You are Willing. Grow us, that You might see and hear our faith, oh Lord, that we too might give You cause to marvel.

“But the centurion said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ …10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled…” (8:8,10).

Let’s Grow Together!

Matthew 7 … Consider His Good Gifts

Jesus is winding down His great and marvelous discourse, His call to the impossible standard only He Himself can attain. And amid His culmination of the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps there were disheartened listeners in the crowd; contemplating their complete inability to measure up to all they had heard. Perhaps, His teaching left you feeling a bit the same way, disheartened and hopeless of ever measuring up to His message.

And it is at this point Jesus turns our attention to the answer: the relationship that endows and empowers both our desire and ability to pursue this call, our Heavenly Father and His Good Gifts. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (7:11).

Consider His Good Gifts

The Gift of Humility. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you,” (7:1-2).

The Gift of Repentance.  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye,” (7:5).

The Gift of Confidence in Prayer. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened,” (7:7-8).

The Gift of Unconditional Love. “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” (7:12).

The Gift of Salvation.  “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (7:13-14).

The Gift of Discernment. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces… 15 Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits,” (7:6, 15-16).

The Gift of His Word.  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock,” (7:24).

The Gift of Wisdom.  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock,” (7:24).

The Gift of His Sure Foundation. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock,” (7:25).

The Gift of His Authority. “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes,” (7:26).

How do we respond to His Good Gifts?

His Good Gifts provide all we need to adhere to His Perfect Principles. We can trust Him because He is our Father. Think about the ramifications of this; the Creator, Sovereign Lord of all the universe, is our Father! He has all authority over every created and living thing, and He has chosen to be in relationship with us! The Father’s gifts are good because He is our Father; it is because of our relationship with Him that He imparts His Good Gifts.

My children are grown now, but when they were younger they often asked for gifts less than good. Their daddy and I had the same response for such times, “What is your last name?” They understood; because they bore our name, certain behaviors were acceptable and encouraged; others simply were not. Their relationship, as our children, was to define their activities and pursuits.

As a former high school teacher, I cannot even begin to count the number of students I met with to counsel, advise or discipline. However, in addressing a student, never once in attempting to encourage them to think about their choices, did I ask their last name. It would not have applied; for although I loved them, they weren’t mine. I could not call them into account with our last name; theirs was different.

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are,” (1 John 3:1).

Does your heart soar with assurance that you are indeed His child and that you have been given His Good Gifts? If you are not sure, you can be.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3:16-17).

Acknowledge your need of salvation and believe in Jesus as the only way, “the narrow gate” (7:13). It is an absolute lie that there are many ways to the Father. There is only One. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,'” (John 14:6).

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16). If you still feel uncertain, please email the Planting Place at: plantingplace@gmail.com. It is so vitally important that we have the certainty that we are His children; the assurance of our relationship with Him will define our activities and pursuits.

Let us pursue that which honors and praises Him and live as His children, assured He is our Father and thankful He gives His Good Gifts! Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow,” (James 1:17).

“So David blessed the Lord in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name,” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13).

Let’s Grow Together!

Matthew 6 … Consider His Secret Place

Jesus continues His sermon with an adamant warning against living life to earn the praise of men. He urges His listeners to live from a place not meant to be public. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven,” (6:1), a warning against hypocrisy; for how easily we tend to perform for others.

But not so with Jesus; He spoke what He lived. For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart,” (Matthew 12:34). Jesus spoke what was in keeping with His character, the overflow of His very nature.

UCLA basketball Coach and committed Christian, John Wooden said, the true test of character is what he does when nobody is watching.” In other words, our authentic self is expressed in our secret place. The Secret Place reveals truth.

Consider His Secret Place

  •  (6:1) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them;”
    • His Secret Place, a Place of Authenticity:
      • I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was,” (John 17:4-5).
  •  (6:2) So when you give to the poor…”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Generosity:
      • And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor…21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,’” (Luke 4:17-18, 21).
  •  (6:6) But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret…
    • His Secret Place, a place of Communion:
      • “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray,” (Luke 5:16).
  •  (6:14) For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Mercy:
      • Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34).
  •  (6:17) But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret…”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Overcoming:
      • These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33).
  •  [6:19]  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Wealth:
      • “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:8).
  •  (6:22)  “The eye is the lamp of the body…”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Clarity:
      • “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (John 1:9).
  • (6:33) “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Resolve:
      • In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there,” (Mark 1:35).
  •  (6:34) “So do not worry about tomorrow…”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Confidence:
      • Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life,'” (John 17:1-2).
  •  (6:1) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
    • His Secret Place, a place of Approval:
      • Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed His seal of approval,” (John 6:27 NIV).

 How can we respond to His Secret Place?

Once while traveling and in a hotel room with my dear friend, I put on my headphones and said, “I’m getting ready to go into La La Land, He’s waiting for me.” Later I wondered if referring this way to my date time with the Lord was irreverent or disrespectful, for I certainly did not intend it to be. A search on urban-dictionary.com led me to the following: “You know when you see someone and think, ‘wow, they’re in their own world.’ Well that world is la la land.” Most dictionaries refer to “la la land” as “a state of being out of touch with reality.”

To the world, this Secret Place is out of touch, “our own world;” but we are not called to answer to, or please, the world. What a joy and privilege to meet with Him, the Creator and Authority of all reality, in His World, His Secret Place!

So what shall we do?

John Wooden also said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

We need only be concerned about the approval of One. And there is no pretense to cloak our character before Him. Let us commit to daily meet Him in the Secret Place, in authenticity, without hypocrisy. It will be in our daily, authentic, secret times that He will do the work only He can, to fashion us into the image of His Son. And as we grow in Him, we too will thrive in the Secret Place of Authenticity, Generosity, Communion, Mercy, Overcoming, Wealth, Clarity, Resolve, Confidence and Approval.

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you,” (6:6).

 Let’s Grow Together!

Matthew 5 … Consider Him, Life’s Perfect Object Lesson

Object Lesson: “a practical or concrete illustration of a principle.”

As a former teacher, I know the value of a strong object lesson to bring unmistakable clarity and comprehension; the aha moments students so desperately need.

Matthew 5 begins the most comprehensive and demanding sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount; a call to behavior that is utterly impossible to reach, except for One, the Teacher, the fulfillment. In Jesus Christ Himself is found the perfect illustration of every word He spoke.

Beginning with the Beatitudes, each call exceeds mankind’s ability to the utmost. Did He mean to produce despair? No, for through His Sermon on the Mount He provided what we all need; the aha moment, the realization that none but Jesus, alone, can live the call.

Consider Him, Life’s Perfect Object Lesson.

Blessed are those who…

  • are poor in spirit; “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich,” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
  • mourn;When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,” (Luke 19:41).
  • are gentle; “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” (Matthew 11:29).
  • are filled with righteousness; He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • are merciful;Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life,” (1 Timothy 1:16).
  • are pure in heart; And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure,” (1 John 3:3).
  • are peacemakers; For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,” (Ephesians 2:14).
  • rejoice in persecution; fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Hebrews 12:2).

He continues by calling us to…

  • be the salt of the earth; .”..with all your offerings you shall offer salt,” (Leviticus 2:13); For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin,” “Romans 8:3).
  • be the light of the world; In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men,” (John 1:4).
  • keep and teach the law;  And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him,” (John 8:29); He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?'” (Matthew 13:54).
  • have a righteousness that surpasses the scribes and Pharisees; But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
  • refrain from anger; His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth,” (Isaiah 53:9).
  • bring our offerings with a clear conscience; …but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,” (Hebrews 10:12).
  • have purity in thought and deed; Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;” (1 Peter 2:22).
  • let our yes be yes and our no, no; …in which it is impossible for God to lie,” (Hebrews 6:18). …if it were not so, I would have told you;” (John 14:2).
  • turn the other cheek; “Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him,” (Matthew 26:67).
  • to give, and give more; …the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age,” (Galatians 1:3-4).
  • love our enemies; For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly,” (Romans 5:6).
  • pray for those who persecute us; But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves,” (Luke 23:34).
  • be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect; “I and the Father are one,”( John 10:30).

How do we respond to Him, Life’s Perfect Object Lesson?

Do you sometimes wonder why? Why did He preach such a completely unattainable way of life, including not only conduct and character, but even our very thought life? We can never meet the demands or fulfill the requirements. We were never intended to; He was. He has already attained it all on our behalf, and He imparts to us His righteousness by faith.

  •  “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, (Romans 8:3-4).
  • “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, … For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law…Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith,” (Galatians 3:19, 21, 24).
  • “…for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly,” (Galatians 2:21).
  • “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill,” (Matthew 5:17).

Today, may we trust Him alone, looking to Him, the only Perfect Object Lesson for all of Life; for none but Jesus could fulfill all the Law and live according to all its requirements.  Oh, that by faith we would walk according to His Spirit, to become all He has called us to be, being conformed to His Image; that we would even begin to resemble Him, so as to become a type of object lesson for others who have yet to meet Him, Life’s Perfect Object Lesson.

Let’s Grow Together!