Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

Be Obedient 

Twelve Spies | Devotion 1: Be Obedient
Noble Baird  

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved spies. The concept of hiding in plain sight or behind enemy lines in order to gain information has always fascinated me. As a kid, I loved watching G.I. Joe; seeing the secret missions that went on and watching the spies carry out whatever task was put before them, I was hooked! That being said, in Numbers chapter 13, we have one of my favorite stories in the Bible. You probably guessed by now; it involves spies; twelve of them to be exact. At this point in Moses’ life, he has successfully led the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and they are in the wilderness, approaching the Promised Land that God said was theirs. So, as any good leader would do before entering the unknown and possibly hostile territory, Moses selected twelve men to scout the new land out, however, this was all done at the advisement of the Lord.

In Numbers 13:1-2, it reads, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.’” Here, we see two things: obedience and a guarantee. First, we see Moses’ obedience to God as he followed out what the Lord ordered him to do; send out twelve. In Numbers 13:3 we see Moses’ reaction to God, “So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the people of Israel.” Obedience is one of the absolute crucial attributes in which a true leader carries with them. Yet, in the second half of verse two, we see a guarantee from the Lord. God told Moses to send the men to spy on the land of Canaan, “which I am giving to the people of Israel.” Here, we have the Lord’s guarantee to Moses – the land is yours; you will have it!

Being a leader is not always easy. It is a position and a role, which Moses was truly called to do and be. Yet, he was not left alone. We see throughout all his life that the Lord continually guided and encouraged him in the ways he needed to go. In this passage, Moses again shows his strong leadership character as he obediently listens to the Lord’s guidance in his life. As you continue on in your week, I want to challenge you to listen. However, as you listen, be obedient. Be obedient and remember the promise of victory we have in Christ, just as the Israelites were guaranteed the Promised Land.

Paid the Price

Ten Commandments | Devotion 5: Paid the Price
Noble Baird

In Exodus 20:13, we are given the account of one of the Ten Commandments. The commandment is, “You shall not murder.” There are many times throughout God’s Word, where I wish I could see a snapshot of people’s reactions to things that happened. For instance: David killing Goliath with a slingshot, Daniel just chilling with the lions in a pit, seeing the Red Sea part, or Samson’s skill with a jawbone; and all of those are just in the Old Testament! Yet, I cannot help but wonder what Moses’ reaction was as God was writing out this commandment, knowing that he had already broken it.

Back when I was in fourth grade, my school bought new desks for all the fourth and fifth-grade classes. One day, not long after purchasing them, some classmates and I realized that with a metal ruler, you were able to cut into the rubber side that was all around the top of the desk. You can see where this is headed. Whenever we were bored, we simply took out the ruler and began cutting the edge of the desk. However, it did not take long before my teacher noticed the cuts alongside the edge of the desks, my desk in particular. That afternoon, I was surprised to see my parents arrive at the school to pick me up and they took me to my classroom. As we walked in, my teacher was sitting down, thanked my parents for coming on short notice, and I began to piece everything together, realizing the jig was about to be done. Needless to say, I owned up to my mistake, and my parents paid for a new desk. I am pretty sure I was not allowed to watch TV or stay up late for quite some time.

I am sure if we are all honest, we know exactly how Moses felt in that moment of failure. We have all messed up, whether on purpose or not, and we have all been caught for that act we did. Yet, it is pretty cool how just like my parents eventually forgave me for my mistake and paid the price, Christ did the same for Moses and us! Over the span of Moses’ life, there is no doubt that this was not the only time he broke God’s commandments. Fast forward a couple of thousand years later, here we are just as guilty with the same sinking feeling Moses probably experienced that day up on the mountain with God. Yet, we are reminded of God’s grace and mercy to us all as we see in Romans 5:8, Paul writes, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Exhaustion

Passover | Devotion 3: Exhaustion
Noble Baird

Exhaustion, by definition, is to be completely or almost completely depleted of resources or contents. I can remember several years ago; I received a phone call from Pastor Caleb. He informed me that the church had just been given an incredible children’s play place for free! However, as with any deal, there was a catch; we had to have the play place taken apart and out of the building by the morning. So, a handful of staff and volunteers grabbed our tools and headed down to take apart this mammoth play place, that would eventually go up in our children’s building in Holly. As time passed by, we finally had the whole structure disassembled and began loading it into trailers and truck beds to transport back to the warehouse. The funny thing was, the next day, we were doing our annual gathering at the Oakland County Fair Grounds. This meant, we had to unload all the trailers filled with equipment for the fair, so that we could drive them down and load them up with all the play places pieces. By the time everything was all set and done, it was about three in the morning, which meant we had about two hours until we had to begin set-up at the fairgrounds for our gathering!

In Exodus 12:29-32, we have the account of the final plague which devastated the people of Egypt. Beginning in verse 29 it reads, “At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, ‘Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as you have said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!’” When I read this passage, the first word that comes to mind is exhaustion. At this point, Moses has been going back and forth, pleading with Pharaoh to let God’s people go; yet to no avail. It is only after experiencing the hurt of death and loss, that Pharaoh finally gives up and understands the need to obey the commands of the Father.

Although my story of exhaustion pales in comparison, the experience Moses went through with Pharaoh had to have taken a toll on him. He was given a calling from God, yet it seemed at every turn he was faced with adversity and setbacks. However, he never gave up. Moses continued to revisit Pharaoh, continued to plead with him, and never stopped following after the call that God had placed on his life. I know that exhaustion is a real thing. Life can get crazy, busy, chaotic, and the days can seem never to end. However, I want to encourage you with this little passage about Moses’ journey. This is the end, which leads to the next chapter as he then led God’s people out of Egypt.

Today, I hope you will reflect on this journey that Moses experienced. See how he continued to push through the exhaustion because he knew that was the calling God had placed on his life. Likewise, I pray that as you go throughout your day at work, home, traveling, and whatever it may be; that you would continue to push forward. Push through as Moses did and remember the words that David wrote in Psalm 115:1, which reminds us of why we do what we do and why Moses pushed through the exhaustion, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!”

Obedience

Moses Challenges Pharaoh | Devotion 6:  Obedience
Noble Baird

Obedience. By definition, it means, “an act or instance of obeying.” Naturally, after reading this definition, it then led me to the definition of obey: “to follow the commands or guidance of.” Growing up as an only child, obedience was not exactly my strong suit at times. Whenever the grass was not mowed, dishes were still dirty, or there was a nice pile of dirty clothes all thrown about, I never had anyone to blame! Yet, as I grew older and understood the importance of obeying what was asked of me, I realized that they were only preparing me for being on my own and leading my own household some day.

As we continue our study on the life of Moses, obedience was the word that continually popped into my mind as I reread all that he did. In Exodus 7:8-9 God gives Moses and Aaron their next task, “Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” This is the first miracle which Moses and Aaron were to perform in front of Pharaoh, in order to show that they were true messengers of God. This would then, in turn, give them credit for the request they were bringing to Pharaoh, which was to set the people of Israel free. The passage continues in verses 10-13, “So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Still, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.” Even after hearing the words of the Lord and seeing a true miracle performed right before his eyes, Pharaoh still disbelieved. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he tried to discredit God.

At times, we can tend to push back and ignore the things that God is placing in our lives. For me, I decided to be disobedient and ignore the direction of my parents, which ended with me being sent to my room and having privileges taken away. For Pharaoh, he was disobedient to the words of the Lord, which eventually led to the ruin of his people and the death of his firstborn. However, if he had simply been obedient to the words of God and His guidance in his life, none of this would have happened to Pharaoh or the people of Egypt. As we continue on this week, we have a choice. We can either be obedient to the things that God is calling us to and speaking into our lives, or we can decide to do our own thing and disobediently ignore Him and His instructions. What will you choose: the obedience of Moses or disobedience of Pharaoh?

Hide and Seek 

Murder | Devotion 1: Hide and Seek
Noble Baird

One of my favorite games to play while growing up was hide-and-seek. It did not matter if I was at my grandparents, cousins, or church; I was always looking around to find the best hiding spot! I would not say I was the best, but I was never the first to be found. Although hide-and-seek is a fun, harmless child’s game, as we read God’s Word there are plenty of times where His people tried to play hide-and-seek. For example, Adam and Eve thought they would actually be able to hide their disobedience from God; there is David who believed he was on an episode of “How to Get Away with Murder,” and Ananias and Sapphira and that was just an epic fail.

Today, I want to take a look at another man who tried to play hide-and-seek and failed. In Exodus 2:11-15, we have the story of Moses killing an Egyptian officer. Starting in verse eleven, “One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, ‘Why do you strike your companion?’ He answered, ‘Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid, and thought, ‘Surely the thing is known.’ When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.” Here, Moses is distraught at the sight of how his people, the Israelites, are being treated by the Egyptians who have enslaved them. However, he is quickly overcome by his rage and ends up murdering the Egyptian officer. Overwhelmed with his sin, he tries to cover it up, but to no avail as it was witnessed by two other Israelites.

Moses tried playing hide-and-seek. He was overcome with rage and let it control his actions, leading to a man’s death. So, he did what he thought was the quickest solution, cover up the sin and walk away. Often times as followers of Christ, we think that we are able to play hide-and-seek with our sin. Our gut reaction is to simply try to cover it up in the “sand” around us and hope no one finds out. However, just as Moses was found out by the two men, so will we. Now, I am not saying God is out to say “Gotcha!” and shame us in our sin. Instead, our sin is brought to light so that we become aware of the need to change.

Just like the game of hide-and-seek, we cannot hide our sin forever. Eventually, the sand will blow away, and the pile left underneath will be exposed. It is up to us to deal with our sin, humbly come before God, seek His forgiveness and even the forgiveness of those around us that we have hurt. Why? In 1 John 1:9, we find our answer, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We must stop playing hide-and-seek with God. Trust me; I have been guilty of this in my own life. However, I want not simply to challenge, but encourage you this week; stop hiding your sin in the sand and simply seek Him instead.



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