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D.Caudery Today we have 3 more chapters that stir our thinking and – in some parts – challenge our understanding. In Exodus we read more of the words of God that were given to inspire his emerging chosen nation to travel safely through the wilderness to his promised land.  For us, the whole of God’s word is readily available today – so that we can travel safely through the godless wilderness of our world.

In Exodus 23 (from v.20) God tells them (through Moses) “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.  Pay careful attention to him and obey ….”  Then comes God’s promise, “if you carefully obey, then I will be an enemy to your enemies ….” 

We can take this as a challenge to us to “carefully obey” God’s word – as this world confronts us with “enemies” of many different kinds that entice us to get lost in the wilderness that surrounds us on every side.

The Psalmist declares, “In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord …” [77 v.2] and the foundation on which this seeking is built is to “remember the deeds of the LORD … your wonders of old,” and to “… ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” [v.11,12]  We can also ponder the wonders of God’s incredible creation; we have learnt so many of its’ “wonders” in these days.

`           Let us read and absorb into our hearts more of God’s word – every day – and all the more as we see “people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” [Luke 21 v.26] – although there is a danger that such is the state of life that has developed around us, it will be too late to do this and some of us could be like the foolish virgins with too little of the oil (of faith) in our lamps (hearts)!

In Mark’s gospel (ch. 9) we read of how Jesus told his disciples; “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” [v.31]  This was totally against all they were expecting and their minds “did not understand the saying.” 

In the apparently parallel account in Luke’s gospel Jesus said to them, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” [9 v.44]              Do we let God’s words sink genuinely into our ears – and therefore our hearts? There is surely a parallel between ‘the time of trouble’ the disciples went through and “the time of trouble” unfolding before our world today.  More than ever we must “pay careful attention … and obey”  or we will find ourselves among the “foolish virgins.”