Where is Your Focus?

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Exodus 12:1-3 (NIV)
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.

Exodus 12:1-3 (MSG)
God said to Moses and Aaron while still in Egypt, “This month is to be the first month of the year for you. Address the whole community of Israel; tell them that on the tenth of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one lamb to a house.
“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months to you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Tell all the congregation of Israel, ‘On the tenth [day] of this month they are to take a lamb or young goat for themselves, according to [the size of] the household of which he is the father, a lamb or young goat for each household.” -AMPLIFIED

Moses had left Pharaoh’s presence and we find Exodus 11 ending with these words; “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders (miracles) may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron did all these wonders (miracles) before Pharaoh; yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the Israelites go out of his land.” -Exodus 11:9-10 (AMP)

We find God giving instructions to Moses and Aaron on the changes that the Israelites would be making in their lifestyles. First, there was to be a major change in their calendar and there was a reason for that; the Egyptian calendar focused and revolved around not just the seasons, but the worship of their deities. There was to be no more worshiping of false gods among the Israelites. God was giving them a new way of doing and thinking about things.

Since all of Israel was about to start fresh and new with Jehovah, God instituted that this new beginning would be their new year. (Originally known as Abib (March/April), among the Canaanites. After the Babylonian captivity the name was changed to Nisan.) This change in calendar would take the focus off of the false gods and refocus it on the One, True God. This was to be a yearly cycle that would remind the people that their very lives were established and dependent on God and His redemptive act and saving grace in their lives.

Later, we will find God reminding the Israelites time and time again that He was a jealous God; unwilling for His followers to share their love and attention with another. ” For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; He is a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His].” -Deuteronomy 4:24 (AMP)

Even in the New Testament we are reminded that God will not share what rightfully belongs to Him. “Do you see the difference? Sacrifices offered to idols are offered to nothing, for what’s the idol but a nothing? Or worse than nothing, a minus, a demon! I don’t want you to become part of something that reduces you to less than yourself. And you can’t have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next. Besides, the Master won’t put up with it. He wants us—all or nothing. Do you think you can get off with anything less?” -1 Corinthians 10:19-22 (MSG)

The Apostle Paul reminded the Colossians of where their focus needed to be; “Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value].” -Colossians 3:1-2 (AMP)

Where has your focus been? Remember, God will not share your love and attention with anyone or anything. “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” -Proverbs 4:25-26 (NIV)

My Prayer:
Lord, help me be vigilant in keeping my heart and mind focused on you. To be close to you and to know you more is my deepest desire. Sadly, I know there are times that my attention is drawn away and fixed on other things. Forgive me, please. Help me to keep my priorities straight; keeping you in the number one position of my life. Let my eyes be focused ahead and my gaze fixed directly on you, dear Lord.


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