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Devotional by Ray Stedman for April 27-The Pattern of Man

Topic:The Pattern of Man

Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite.
Leviticus 24:10

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Here is a story of a young man who was half Egyptian and half Israelite. There must have been hundreds of young men and women in the camp of Israel who had that background. This doesn’t mean there is anything inherently wrong with that. But this person is picked out and highlighted for us because his life typifies a spiritual conflict.

In the Scriptures, Israel is a picture of the Spirit at work within us, of the new life, the redeemed life, while Egypt is always a picture of the world, of the old life. Here is someone who, in type, is trying to mix the two — trying to live halfway between. He pictures someone who is still trying to conduct his business affairs, perhaps, by the laws of Egypt, by the ways of the world, and is also trying to mix in the world view and outlook of God. This always gets you into trouble.

This young man had gotten into a quarrel with somebody in the camp and, in the heat of anger and passion he blurted out what was deep down within his thoughts but which he had hidden before. Someone stirred him up — we don’t know what the quarrel was about — and he got mad. He didn’t merely get angry at the man he was quarreling with; he cursed the Name of God. That represented the settled conviction of his heart that it was all God’s fault and he didn’t want anything to do with God.

There is the judgment of God in this case. This not because he has been offended by this man, not because he is vindictive and retaliates. God is not that kind of person. He is a patient, loving God who could have borne this affront for centuries, as he has our cursing and bitterness. But he prescribes immediate death because this sentence is designed to teach a truth that a man who curses God, who rejects God, has denied himself the very basis of life.

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Thus we know that this is what happens to us, spiritually. We don’t need to point the finger at this young man, do we? How often do we do this very thing! We get angry with God and we shake our fists at him. We say, It’s your fault! Get lost, God, I don’t need you anymore. And when we take that attitude, God says, our life has come to an end. Our spiritual life is stopped right there. We are not lost. This doesn’t mean that we have lost our salvation; it means that his supply of life to us, to live day by day is ended — until we see what is wrong — and his grace restores us. Then we can begin again.

Teach me, Father, how to live by the power of your Spirit within me. Help me to be single minded in my dependence on you rather than the flesh.

Life Application
When we compromise godly principles with worldly concepts the consequence is a form or a degree of spiritual death. Do we then blame God? Is it rather time to launch out into His grace of forgiveness?

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