February 14: When Things Don’t Go as Planned
Exodus 33–34; John 6:1–14; Song of Solomon 4:9–13
I live in the world of projects. There are a few things I know for certain about them, aside from all requiring a budget and a schedule to have any hope of success. They will all take more time than I expect (at least 25 percent more), and they will all have problems. It seems that nothing ever goes according to plan. No one will complain, though, if the result, budget, and end date remain the same. There’s a biblical lesson here—Moses’ story is one of the best analogies for this.
Moses had likely planned for the Israelites to enter the Holy Land shortly after leaving Egypt, but mistake after mistake (on his part and the part of others) kept this from happening. In return, he spent years (about a half a lifetime) wandering in the wilderness.
In Exodus 33:1, we read one of God’s direct instructions, “Go, go up from here” (Exod 33:1), but Moses proceeds to argue with God, interceding for the people (Exod 33:12–23). Things aren’t going according to plan—for Moses or God. Finally, God gives Moses new instructions to solve the predicament the people have gotten themselves into: “Look, I am about to make a covenant. In front of all your people I will do wonders that have not been created on all the earth and among all the nations” (Exod 34:10).
Here, in the middle of the debacle, God takes care of the problem with a promise. Over and over again, God makes promises; and unlike people, He keeps them. God performs marvels.
We see this in the events in Jesus’ life as well. Jesus doesn’t just feed the people, He overturns their notions about where food comes from (John 6:1–12). Jesus creates marvels like nothing anywhere in creation—other than where God Himself has worked. Of course, this shows that Jesus is indeed God. We’re often waiting for a marvel, and we will truly see them when following the Spirit. But how much more often is God waiting for us to pay attention and see how He can take plan B and make it plan A—like nothing we’ve seen before.
What is not going as planned in your life right now? How do you think God might use the thing that feels out of control to show how marvelous He is?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Afterward the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, go up from hence, thou, and the people (which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt) unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it. And I will send an Angel before thee, and will cast out the Canaanites, the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, To a land, I say, that floweth with milk and honey: for I wll not go up with thee, because thou art a stiff-necked people, lest I consume thee in the way. And when the people heard this evil tidings, they sorrowed, and no man put on his best raiment. (For the Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiff-necked people, I will come suddenly upon thee and consume thee: therefore put now thy costly raiment from tee, that I may know what to do unto thee. So the childrn of Israel laid their good raiment from them, after Moses came down from t eh mount of Horeb.Then Moses took his tabernacle, and pitched it wihout the host far off from the host, and called it Ohel-moed. And when any did seek tohte Lord, he went out unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, which was without the host. And when Moses went out unto the Tabernacle, all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the Tabernacle. And as soon as Moses was entered into hte Tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the Tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. Now when all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the Tabernacle door, all the people rose up and worshipped every man in his tent door. And the Lord spake unto Moses, face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. After he turned again into the host, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. Then Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Lead this people forth, and thou hast not showed me whom thou wilt send with me: thou hast said moreover, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, and that I may find grace in thy sight: consider also that this nationis thy people. And he answered, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. Then he said unto him, if thy presence go not with us, carry us not hence. And wherein now shall it be known, that I and thy people have found favor in thy sight? shall it not be when thou oest with us? so I, and thy people shall have preeminence before all the people that are upon the earth. And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this also that thou hast said: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. Again he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he answerd, I will make all my good go before thee, and I will proclaim the Name of the Lord before thee: for I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. Furthermore he said, Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me, and live. Also the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock: And while my glory passeth by, I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with mine hand while I pass by. After I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two Tables of stone, like unto hte first, and I will write upon the Tables the words that were in the first Tables, which thou brakest in pieces. And be ready in the morning, that thou mayest come up early unto the mount of Sinai, and wait there for me inthe top of the mount. But let no man come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout alll the mount; neither let the sheep nor cattle feed before this mount. Then Moses hewed two Tables of stone like unto the first, and rose up early in the morning, and went up unto the mount of Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two Tables of stone. And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, adn proclaimed the name of the Lord. So the Lord passed before his face, adn cried, The Lord, the Lord, strong, merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in goodness and truth. Reserving mercy for thousands, forgiving inquity, and transgression and sin, and not making the wicked innocent, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upn the children, and upon children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation. Then Moses made haste and bowed himself to the earth, and worshipped, And said, O Lord, I pray the, If I have found grace in thy sight, that the Lord would now go with us (for it is a stiff-necked people) and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance. And he answered, Behold, I will make a covenant before all thy people, and will do marvels, such as have not been done in the world, neither in all nations: and all the people among whom thou art, shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. Keep diligently that which I commanf thee this day: Behold, I will cast out before thee the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, adn the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Take heed to thyself, that thou make no compact with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest they be the cause of ruin among you: But ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their images in pieces, and cut down their groves. (For thou shalt bow down to none other god, because the Lord, whose Name is Jealous, is a jealous God.) Lest thou make a compact with the inhabitants of the land, and when they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, some man call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice. And lest thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no gods of metal. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep: seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month of Abib: for in the month of Abib thou camest out of Egypt. Every male that first openeth the womb shall be mine: also all the firstborn of thy flock shall be reckoned mine, both of beeves and sheep. But the first of the ass thou shalt buy out with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then thou shalt break his neck: all the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou redeem, and none shall appear before me empty. Six days shalt thou work, and in the seventh day thou shalt rest: both in earing time, and in the harvest thou shalt rest. Thou shalt also observe the feast of weeks in the time of the firstfruits, of wheat harvest, and the feast of gathering fruits in the end of hte year. Thrice in a year shall all your men children appear before the Lord Jehovah God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before thee and enlarge thy coasts, so that no man shall desire thy land, when thou shalt come up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year. Thou shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, neither shall ought of the sacrifice of the feast of Passover be left unto the morning. The first ripe fruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God: yet shalt thou not seeth a kid in his mothers milk. And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights, and did neither eat bread nor drink water, and he wrote in the Tables the words of the covenant, even the Ten commandments. So when Moses came down from mount Sinai, the two Tables of the Tesimony were in Moses’ hand, as he descended from the mount: (now Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone bright, after that God had talked with him). And Aaron and all the children of Israel looked upon Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone bright, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called them: and Aaron and all the chief of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he charged them with all that the Lord had said unto him in mount Sinai. So Moses made end of communing with them, and had put a covering upon his face. But, when Moses came before the Lord to speak with him, he took off the covering until he came out: then he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, how the skin of Moses’ face shone bright: therefore Moses put the covering upon his face, until he went to speak with God. Exodus 33–34
- After these things, Jesus went his way over the sea of Galilee, which is Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles, which he did on them that were diseased. Then Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the Passover a feast of the Jews was near. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude came unto him, he said unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these might eat? (And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.) Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may take a little. Then said unto him one of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, There is a little boy here, which hath five barley loaves, and two fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the people sit down. (Now there was much grass in that place.) Then the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the bread, and gave thanks, and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down: and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. And when they were satisfied, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the broken meat which remaineth, that nothing be lost. Then they gathered it together, and filled twelve baskets with the broken meat of the five barley loaves, which remained unto them that had eaten. Then the men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world. John 6:1–14
- My sister, my spouse, thou hast wounded mine heart: thou hast wounded mine heart with one of thine eyes, and with a chain of thy neck. My sister, my Spouse, how fair is thy love? how much better is thy love than wine? and the savor of thine eyes, and with a chain of thy neck. My sister, my Spouse, how fair is thy love? how much better is thy love than wine? and the savor of thine ointments than all spices? Thy lips, my Spouse, drop as honeycombs: honey and milk are under thy tongue, and the savor of thy garment is as the savor of Lebanon. My sister, my spouse is as a garden enclosed, as a spring shut up, and a fountain sealed up. Thy plants are as an orchard of pomegranates with sweet fruits, as camphire, spikenard, Song of Solomon 4:9–13