Friday, April 11, 2014

Morning Psalms: 22 | Evening Psalms: 141, 143
Exodus 9:13-35 | 2 Corinthians 4:1-12 | Mark 10:32-45
It’s been said that there’s no formula to raising children. We can teach them, love them, and discipline them in all the same ways and, despite all care, each one will turn out differently. While I’m not yet a parent, I’ve seen this worked out in the lives of my friends and family. Children respond to the same kinds of care differently. Sometimes effective discipline for one child will exacerbate misbehavior in another. 
Though they stand centuries apart and live in completely different cultures, Paul and Pharaoh are both confronted with the crushing realities of life in the world. Everyone—whether in Egypt or Ephesus—has experienced this crushing. In the midst of this heaviness, they’ve encountered a mighty and holy God. Pharaoh says “I have sinned; the Lord is in the right” (Exod 9:27). And he hardens his heart when life gets easier. But Paul—who isn’t faced with these things because of his own sin—is able to look at these difficulties, and these evil, broken realities that threaten his confidence and trust, knowing that we “are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor 4:11).
The difference, in effect, is not between the children themselves (since both Pharaoh and Paul have résumés filled with attacking God’s people). The difference is whose children they are. Because of Jesus’ being crushed on the Cross, Paul knows that his punishment has already been taken. Any crushing he faces now is only an echo of the Cross. Because Jesus, the one who could truly cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” also calls out through the ages, “It is finished!” And now, as children of God, “we do not lose heart” (2 Cor 4:16).
O God, who has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; in our weakness, show Your strength, and in our repentance, give us grace. When we are being crushed by the sufferings of this life, help us to place our trust in You, as you have delivered us once for all so that we will rejoice at Your return, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
David Ketter
MDiv Student
Pittsburgh, PA

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