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Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days— these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ! Let no one who delights in false humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. He has not held fast to the head from whom the whole body, supported and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.
Christ must remain the center of our faith and our primary focus as we seek first the Kingdom of God. In seeking God, there is temptation toward preaching false gospels, practicing false humility, and speaking to others as if we know what is best for their relationship with the Lord. Pride devises an elaborate masquerade to work behind the scenes in our hearts for as long as possible. At times, even with the best of intentions, we can get carried away and find ourselves following pretenders instead of The Master. Lord, may Your light shine in every corner of our hearts! Leave no stone unturned! Let everything in me surrender and point to Christ as King.
Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom. For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment.
Throughout scripture we experience God’s love story. We learn that He is both perfectly just, and rich in mercy. This justice and mercy collide in the person of Jesus Christ, and we are introduced to our Savior and Messiah at the appointed time in His Story. Love abounds and reveals to us that forgiveness has come and is bound up in a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of Man uniquely qualified to atone for our sins. In Christ, we find that “Mercy triumphs over judgment”. (NKJV) All people are met with an invitation of love, compassion, and awesome mercy to approach this throne of grace. Just as a decision was required for us to fall into sin, a decision is required for us to enter into His promise and be saved. Live reflecting the love and mercy of Christ, and stand firm in your faith in Him. He is worthy, and He has won!
Therefore, tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out from your enslavement to the Egyptians, I will rescue you from the hard labor they impose, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you to myself for a people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from your enslavement to the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob—and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord!’”
Today as we look back to the Lord’s promise to Israel, it strikes me that the Lord God says “I will” seven times in these three verses alone. Israel’s deliverance from Egypt has very little to do with their own effort, and everything to do with the Lord’s effort. They will know freedom from the oppression of Egypt because of the Lord’s might. In the same way, we have been delivered from sin through Christ Jesus. He dealt with sin, the yoke we were trapped under. Here again we see the story of the Old Testament foreshadow and reflect God’s redemptive plan for us in Christ. Then the result was Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt and into a promised land, flowing with milk and honey. In Christ Jesus we are sealed via the Holy Spirit who makes His home with us, and assured the promise of eternal life with our Father in Heaven.
And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets—that his Christ would suffer—he has fulfilled in this way. Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you—that is, Jesus. This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must obey him in everything he tells you.'
Here in Acts we see a reference to scripture found in the Old Testament. It is the word of the Lord spoken to Moses regarding a prophet to come, namely Jesus Christ. That truth is affirmed in today’s passage, as we look at one of many connection points where scripture displays continuity and is found fulfilled. We find this reference in the midst of a call to repentance. The author’s hopes is to make the case that sins can truly be wiped out, and this is so because God has fulfilled what He promised long ago in Christ Jesus. Indeed, we are able to receive forgiveness of sins by grace through faith in Jesus who paid our ransom in full! Thank you Lord Jesus!
The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.
The Lord God is speaking to Moses about raising up a prophet for Israel. The prophet referenced here is Jesus. Moses and Jesus are similar in that God calls them both to work deliverance for Israel from oppression, and they both go through a wilderness experience. Through Moses, God delivers Israel from Egypt, and promises to take them into a promised land. In Christ, those who believe on Him are promised eternal life with God in Heaven, and there is no sweeter place to make home than that. While Moses and the Israelites experience the wilderness because of disobedience, Jesus prevails in the wilderness to conquer sin and confirm His place as our rightful High Priest who stands Holy and blameless before the Lord. Here in the Old Testament, as Moses receives instruction from the Lord, the promise of Christ is sure, and hope abounds.