February 6: Student or Scholar?
Exodus 14:1–15:27; John 3:1–21; Song of Solomon 2:4–7
Sometimes we approach God with curiosity, but not with a spirit of humility. We enjoy participating in religious discussions, but forging the link between interpretation and application is difficult for us. We have certain expectations of who He should be for us, but we don’t think about how we should align our lives with Him.
Nicodemus—a Pharisee, a leader of his fellow Jews, and a teacher of Israel—wanted answers from Jesus. He told Him, “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one is able to perform these signs that you are performing unless God were with him” (John 3:2). Was Jesus a Messiah, like Moses or David, who would restore Israel?
The scholar quickly became a student. Through His answers, Jesus showed Nicodemus that he wasn’t in a place to hold Jesus accountable. Rather, it was the other way around: Nicodemus needed to be challenged and transformed. He was a teacher of Israel, but he didn’t really understand Jesus’ teaching; his questions showed that he was hesitant to even believe Him, despite all the signs.
We might be like Nicodemus, approaching God with off-par expectations. Jesus showed Nicodemus that he had to receive the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. In order to see the kingdom of God and enter into it, we need to do the same.
Are you teachable? Do you approach God ready to learn and apply His words?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Then the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, that they return and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the Sea, over against Baal Zephon: about it shall ye camp by the Sea. For Pharaoh wil say of the children of Israel, They are tangeled in the land: the wilderness both shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that he shall follow after you: so I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: the Egyptians also shall know that I am the Lord: and they did so. Then it was told the king of Egypt, that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against tthe people and they said, Why have we this done, and have let Israel go out of our service? And he made ready his chariots, and took his people with him. And took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over eery one of them. (For the Lord had hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he followed after the children of Israel: but the children of Israel went out with an high hand.) And the Egyptians pursued after them, and all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen and his host overtook them camping by the Sea, beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon. And when Pharaoh dew nigh, the children of Israel lift up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them, and they were sore afraid: wherefore the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Hast thou brought us to die in th wilderness, because there were no graves in Egypt? wherefore hast thou served us thus, to carry us out of Egypt? Did not we tell thee this thing in Egypt, saying, Let us be in rest, that we may serve the Egyptians? for it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. Then Moses said to the people, Fear ye not, stand stilll, and behold the salvation of the Lord which he will show to you this day. For the Egyptians whom ye have seen this day, ye shall never see them again. The Lor shall fight for you: therefore hold you your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore cryest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the Sea and divide it, and let the children of Israel go on dry ground through the midst of the Sea. And I, behold, I will harden the heart of the Egyptians, that they may follow them, and I will get me honor upon Paraoh, and upon all his host, upon this chariots, and upon his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. (And the Angel of God, which went before the host of Israel, removed, and went behind them: also the pillar of the cloud went from before them, and stood behind them, And came between the camp of teh Egyptians and the camp of Israel: it was toth a cloud and darkness, yet gave it light by night, so that all the night long the one came not at the other.) And Moses stretched forth his hand upon the Sea, and the Lord caused the Sea to run back by a strong East ind all the night, and made the Sea dry land: for the waters were dividided. Then the childreno fIsrael went through the midst of the Sea upon the dry ground, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left hand. And the Egyptians pursued and went after them to the midst of the Sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsement. Now, in the morning watch, when the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians, out of the fiery and cludy pillar, he struck the host of the Egyptians with fear. For he took off their chariot wheels, and they drove them with much ado: so that the Egyptians every one said, I will flee from teh face of Isarel: for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. Then the Lord said to Moses, Stretch thine hand upon teh Sea, that the waters may return upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and upon their horsemen. Then Moses stretched forth his hand upon the Sea, and the Sea returned to his force early in the morning , and the Egyptians fled agaisnt it: but the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the Sea. So the water returned and covered the chariots, and the horsement, even all the host of Pharaoh that came into the Sea after them: there remained not one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry lan through the midst of the Sea, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on thier left Thus the Lord saved Israel the same day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the Sea bank. And Israel saw the mighty power, which the Lord showed upon the Egptians: so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and siad in this manner, I will sing unto the Lord: for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and he that rode upon him hath he overthrown in the Sea.The Lord is my strength, and praise, and he is become my salvation, He is my God and I will prepare him a tabernacle: he is m father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war, his Name is Jehovah. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also were drowned in the red Sea. The depths have covered them, they sank in the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath bruised the enemy. And in thy great glory thou hast overthrown them that rose against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as the stubble. And by the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered, the floods stood still as an heap, the depths congealed together in the heart of the Sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake them, I will divide the spoil, my lust shall be satisified upon them, I will draw my sword, mine hand shall destroy them. Thou blewest with thy wind, the sea covered them, I will draw my sword, mine hand shall destroy them. Thou blewest with thy wind, the sea covered them, they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods! Who is like thee so glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders! Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou wilt by thy mercy carry this people, which thou deliveredst, thou wilt bring them in thy strength unto thine holy habitation. The people shall hear and be afraid: sorrow shall come upon the inhabitants of the Philistia. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed, and trembling shall come upon the great men of Moab: all the inhabitants of Canaan shall wax faint hearted. Fear and dread shall fall upon them: because of the greatness of thine arm, they shall be still as a stone, till thy people pass, O Lord: till this people pass, which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, which is the place that thou hast prepared, O Lord, for to dwell in, even the sanctuary, O Lord, which thine hands shall establish. The Lord shall reign forever and ever. For Pharaoh’s horses went with his chariots and horsement into the sea, and the Lord brought the waters of the sea upon them: but the children of Israel went on dry land int he middle of the sea. And Miriam the Prophetess, sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and dances. And Miriam answerd the men, Sing ye unto the Lord: for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he overthrown in the sea. Then Moses brought Israel from the red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur: and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no waters. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of the place was called Marah. Then the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord, and the Lord sahowed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were sweet: there he made them an ordinance and a law, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken, O Israel, unto the voice of the Lord thy God and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear unto his commandments, and keep all his ordinances, then will I put none of these diseases upon thee, which I brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelves fountains of water, and seventy palm trees, and they camped there by the waters. Exodus 14:1–15:27
- There was now a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man could do these miracles that thou doest, except God were with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born which is old? can he enter into his mother’s womb again, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except that a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh: and that that is born of the Spirit, is spirit. Marvel not that I said to thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every man that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered, and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answerd, and said unto him, Art thou a teacher of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily I say unto thee, We speak that we know, and testify that we have seen: but ye receive not our witness. If when I tell you earthly things, ye believe not, how should ye believe, If I shall tell you of heavenly things? For no man ascendeth up to heaven, but he that had descended from heaven, that Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must that Son of man be lifted up, That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loveth the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world, that he should condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth in him, is not condemned: but he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of that only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that that light came into the world, and men loved darkness rather than that light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth, cometh to the light that his deeds might be made manifest, that they are wrought according to God. John 3:1–21
- He brought me into the wine cellar, and love was his banner over me. Stay me with flagons, and comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. His left hand is under mine head, and his right hand doth embrace me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor waken my love, until she please. Song of Solomon 2:4–7