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Lenten Devotional – Day 30 – Sharpen Your Focus

Scripture Readings:  Exodus 5:1- 6:1;   1 Corinthians 14:20-33a, 39-40;   Mark 9:42-50

Reflections about Lent bring temptation, sin, and consequences into sharper focus. Sometimes the temptation is to just ignore a situation you recognize as wrong but at the moment it might appear to be the easier choice to make. Such was not the case when “Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘Thus, says the Lord, the God of Israel: Let my people go, that they may celebrate a feast to me in the desert’” (Exodus 5:1).

Their intention was honorable, but Pharaoh’s wrath over a challenge to his authority brought devastating consequences to the Israelites, to the point that Moses regretted his action —“Lord, why do you treat this people so badly. And why did you send me on such a mission? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people of yours and you have done nothing to rescue them” (Exodus 5:22-23). But the Lord did respond positively to Moses and brought about the exodus.

That questioning by Moses reminds me of my own impatience when things don’t go the way I want them to go, or I am not treated like I felt I should have been. That temptation to blame someone or something else for a disappointment is again an easier thing to do. Given time for self-reflection, I realize I have just been given another opportunity to practice patience, as we are reminded: “Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another” (Mark 9:50)…and peace with yourself, I would add.

Just as Moses’ intent was to lead the Israelites on a 3-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifice, (Exodus 5:3) so too are we reminded to sacrifice at Lent, to grow spiritually —“In respect to evil be like infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20) —and as believers, to prophesy to make believers of nonbelievers. (1 Corinthians 14:22-25)



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