Exodus 15, Luke 18, Job 33, 2 Corinthians 3

Exodus 15:13-16

In the song the people of Israel sing to the LORD, they refer to themselves as the people the LORD redeemed and purchased.  Redeemed in the OT primarily refers to a kinsman redeemer like Boaz in Ruth 2:19-20 who buys back Naomi's property and acquires Ruth in the purchase. 

In the New Testament the word redeem implies bought at a price or ransomed, which combines both descriptions the people of Israel use to describe themselves in Exodus 15:13-18.  Luke 24:21 is the first time this word is used in the NT, whenthe men on the road to Emmaus describe their hope that Jesus was the "one to redeem Israel".  Titus 2:13-14 tells us our Savior Jesus Christ gave himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession.  1 Peter 1:18-19 says believers are ransomed from the futile ways of our forefathers by the precious blood of Christ. 

Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus, my perfect elder brother, thank You for coming to get me from the pig pen.  Thank You for ransoming me at such a great cost.  I know I am not worthy of such a gift, but I desire to be a man of whom You would not be ashamed to be called my God.

Luke 18:1

Luke 11:2-10 is Jesus' response to "Lord, teach us to pray".  In His reply, Jesus gave the disciples what has become known as the Lord's Prayer, followed by a parable about persistence in prayer and the commands to ask, seek and knock. 

This parable in Luke 18 is also about being persistent in prayer.  Luke adds a new thought when he says the purpose of Jesus’ parable was to always pray and not to lose heart.  After Jesus' discourse in Luke 17:22-37, its easy to see why He felt the need to remind them to not lose heart.  The Greek word enkakeo which is translated loose heart means "to cease" with the implication of "to cease wrongly".  It is as if Jesus is saying to always pray because it would be wrong to stop.

Jesus does know His bride well, doesn't He?  He knows how easy it is for us to become discouraged.  So why is prayer the counterbalance to discouragement and anxiety?  Remember the acronym for prayer ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).  When our prayer begins with glorifying God, inevitably our eyes are turned from the source of our discouragement to the source of our strength and perseverance.  It is then and only then we should ask for our heart's desire. 

LORD God Almighty, forgive me for not keeping my eyes on You alone.  I confess I tend to look at the problem and begin to lose heart.  Thank You for consistently refocusing my eyes to You.  I want to be persistent in pursuing You.

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

What an incredible statement, "You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all".  Paul does not need a letter of recommendation from anyone, because the church at Corinth is his recommendation.  These people's lives are inscribed by Paul, but Paul quickly adds they are a message from Christ written by the Spirit.  He is just the deliverer. 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 reinforces the significance of this statement.  "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God".  "Such were some of you" but not any longer.  Now they are a letter, from Christ Jesus, written by the Holy Spirit on their hearts.

I had never thought of myself as a letter of recommendation for someone else, much less that people I influence would be a letter of recommendation for me.

Holy Spirit, as You used Paul to minister to these people would You use me?  Thank You for the people You have used to write on my heart.  May the lives of those I influence be letters from Christ to be known and read by all.