Thursday, December 07, 2006
Chapter 20 contains a list of commands from God to the children of Israel. It also contains a warning and a blessing v5-6.
v3 No other gods before me
v4 No graven image
v7 Do not take the Lords name in vain
v8 Remember sabbath day
v12 Honor thy father and mother
The promise: that thy days may be long v12
v13 Thou shalt not kill.
v14 Not commit adultery
v15 Shalt not steal
v16 Shalt not bear false witness
v17 Shalt not covet thy neighbors stuff
v18 "And all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet and the moutain smoking and when the people saw it they removed and stood afar off. v19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear but let not God speak with us lest we die."
It was an awesome day for Israel when God came down to tell them the laws they would live by for generations to come. They were afraid but Moses soothed their fears. He told them that God had come down so they would indeed fear him to the point that they not sin.
God was to be their one and only God which was made very clear. Then the list of laws which would keep order in their nation.
I've often thought of the thick darkness where God was as life sometimes cast a darkness over me. It is difficult when you cannot see the path ahead and cannot tell what is in the darkness. It is good to know that God is no stranger to the darkness. When I cannot see and my faith is weak, I rely on Galatians 2:20.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."
Note that the verse says his faith. His faith never grows weak.
And then there is these verses in Isiah 45 2-3 "I will go before thee and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass and cut in sundre the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places that thou mayest know that I the Lord which call thee by name am the God of Israel."
I prefer the light but it is good to know that if I stumble in the darkness, God is there.
Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
On a Franklin Mint plate over our kitchen sink sits a beautiful scene of mountains with a soaring eagle and a water fall by Ted Blaylock. It is a wonderful depiction with part of the verse above quoted.
I think of the rough terrain it took to make up such a scene and then I think of life. I am getting old so I can look back over some high mountains and some rough valleys. In the midst though, there is beauty to see if one looks.
In our chapter today, the children have come to Sinai. It is a wilderness but something special is about to happen. God will come to mount Sinai. The Sinai is a peninsula which means it is surrounded on three sides by water. In this case, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Akabah and the Gulf of Suez. It contains 11,500 square miles.
Mount Siani is also called Mount Horeb. An exact location is not sure but scholars belief it is one of the peaks of Jebel Musa which is gigantic mass of two miles long and one mile broad. There was about 400 acres of standing room in a near valley.
The scene is magnificent.
v16 "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightenings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. v17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. v18 And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly."
We see a contrast here between the Lord in the cloud and fire that guided the children of Israel and God on the mountain. The people were not to venture into the cloud that covered the mountain to gaze . It is difficult to put in a few words here but God cannot look upon sin and man is a sinful being since the fall in the garden of Eden. There is a plan in place to redeem them but Christ has not yet died. We approach God the Father through Jesus Christ the son because Christ stands in our place. God does not see our sin because he looks at us through the shed blood of Christ which wipes away the sin.
In Mount Sinai we hear the thunder and lightening and the trunpet. The smoke ascends. By contrast look in another place in a garden when Christ is risen.
John 20:14-18 "And when she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith nto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him and I will take him away. Jesus saith nto her Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him. Rabboni which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God."
Jesus had to bridge the gap left by sin. God has certain characters that can not be altered. Jesus as God and man could pay the price of sin and fill the gap and so make our approach to the Father like that of Mary in the garden instead of like the approach at Mount Sinai where only Moses and Aaron were allowed to go up the mountain.
Imagine a court of law where the judge is honest and upright. He has a law he cannot deviate from. A guilty party is before him and sentence must be passed. It would be dishonest to not pass the just penalty for the crime and the judge cannot be dishonest. Someone steps forward and says he has paid the penalty for the crime. It gives the judge an out. The penalty required by law is paid and so he can set the prisoner free.
And so in this chapter God sends Moses down to warn the people to stay where they are and not approach the mountain. The plan is in play but not in place yet. Israel carries the promise but it will be generations before the promise is fulfilled in the New Testament so a specific protocol must be followed until then.
A person before the Father without Christ stands there sinful by nature. A person who has accepted Christ as redeemer stands before the Father with Christ as the sacrifice for their sin.
Psalm 53:1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good."
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
If you had started with me in Genesis, we would have covered one and almost a half books of the Bible since August. Who knows? We may get through all 66 books. It takes only a few minutes to read a chapter. Join in.
As one who has had to be away from his family, I can tell you it was difficult for Moses to do his duty with his family far away. He has dealt with Pharaoh and the murmurring of Israel for some time now, so seeing his family must have been a joyous time for him. The next day after the reunion, Moses was sitting and judging the people. He was holding court.
Exodus 18:12 "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening."
Moses had a big job with so many people. I expect with that many people there were always disputes over who owned which cow or there was a fight or someone lusted after another's wife. It would have been a variety of issues to settle. When they left Egypt there were six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children (Exodus 12:37). There is no mention that anyone else was helping Moses in this task and Jethro did wisely to counsel Moses on it.
v18 "Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou are not able to perform it thyself alone."
Jethro went on to tell Moses that he should appoint able men of truth to judge thousands and hundreds and fifties and rulers of tens v21. It was much like a military unit is set up.
v26 "And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard cases they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves."
And so a system was set up to rule and judge the concerns of the people.
Psalm 33:11 "The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations."
Monday, December 04, 2006
The Israelites have murmured and now they chide Moses with the question Is the Lord among us, or not? . They have come to a place where there was no visible sign of water and they feared that they would die of thrist along with their cattle. Naturally, they attacked their leader wondering if he had brought them out of Egypt to kill them.
God instructed Moses to take the elders and go to Horeb where the Lord would stand before him and he was to strike the rock. I believe this to be a reference to the death of Jesus later in the New Testament(Luke 23:33). We know that he was struck down and that he is the rock of our salvation (I Corinthians 10:4). Then at the well he offered the woman the water that she might never thrist again(John 4:5-30).
I Corinthians 10:4 "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
Note that in our passage Moses was told to strike the rock and water came forth. In the next book of the Bible in Numbers 20:8-13 Moses is told to speak to the rock. He is apparently angry at the children of Israel and struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it as he was told. For this transgression Moses and Aaron were not allowed to enter into Canaan.
Numbers 20:8 "...speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water..." The whole passage tells the story. My point here is that Christ died once for sin (was struck). Once was all that was necessary. There is no need to put him on the cross again.
Romans 6:10 "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God."
You will notice that there are many depictions of Christ on the cross. I prefer the empty cross because Christ is no longer there. You will notice there are many tombs of people who are dead that people reference. Christ's tomb is empty. We worship a living Savior. The empty cross and the empty tomb are His victory and ours.
At first Moses was told to strike the rock which represents The Lord Jesus. From then on, it was only necessary to speak to him and obey him. Moses was wrong to strike the rock the second time and disobey the command to speak only.
Exodus 17:8 "Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim."
Joshua now comes into the picture as the leader of the fighting men of Israel. The balance of the chapter deals with Israel's fight with Amalek. Moses stood on the top of the hill to watch the battle. He was accompanied by Aaron and Hur. Moses held up his hands and when he did so, Israel prevailed. When Moses' arms became tired and he let them down, Israel began to loose the battle. Aaron and Hur held up Moses' arms and Israel prevailed in the fight.
It is good to note that even a great man like Moses needed someone to hold up his arms. Everyone needs help at times.
We have seen Israel go from a family to a nation on the move. Now they have been tested in battle. It is a training ground for later when they go into Canaan.
Psalm 20:7 "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God."
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Manna means 'what is this?'
Psalm 78:24-31 "And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels food: he sent them meat to the full. He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: and He let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel."
It is sad that the miracles are so soon forgotten. Israel murmurs again. It has been a little over a month and they are wishing they had stayed in Egypt. The slavery with all its pain is forgotten and they remember only the flesh pots and bread to the full, as they remember it. Moses reminded them that they murmured against God and not him. God gave them bread from heaven and indeed it is called angels food in Psalm but they apparently were not satisfied with enough. In verse 31 of Psalm 78 we see that some were fat, so there was not a starvation going on. It was lust.
The manna was to be gathered fresh each day except for the sixth day when enough was to be gathered for the seventh. If they tried to gather a supply it ruined. They were commanded to rest on the seventh.
Since they were lusting for meat God sent it by the wind and it fell in their midst but they were judged for their lust.
The children of Israel ate manna for 40 years v35 until they came to Canaan.
Disbelief and complaining was why Israel had to wonder in the wilderness instead of going directly into Canaan.
Psalm 147:6 "The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground."
Monday, November 27, 2006
Israel has heard through all the years of slavery in Egypt of the miracles rendered to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now, they have become receiver of the same miracle, that of salvation. We can notice that Israel sang a song which said he is my God as well as the God of their father's. They have personally received the miracle they have heard so much about.
Israel believes the promise as shown in this verse. They have become believers.
Exodus 5:17 "Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established."
Salvation on this day was much like the salvation experience of a Christian. It brings a different focus within. Israel left Egypt physically but they also left spiritually. They spoke with faith that they would be in a better land and looked toward Canaan. As Christians, we use Canaan as a reference to heaven and New Jerusalem. It is our hope and belief that there is a better place than this war torn world and we long for that day when our faith becomes the reality of a new home.
The people doubted when they came to a water they could not drink but the Lord showed them a tree v25 they could cast into the water to make it sweet. Later they came to Elim where there was 12 wells and 70 palm trees and camped there v27. (For future reference notice 12 wells for 12 tribes and 70 trees for 70 weeks which is important in prophecy.)
A promise is added to the many promises already made by the Lord.
Exodus 15:26 "And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes,
I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee."
Murmur is a word we will see more of. It was a fault of the children of Israel to complain when things got rough. They often seemed to forget the Red Sea and the dry ground they walked on in the midst of the sea but so do we on many occassions.
Psalm 18:46 "The Lord liveth, and blessed by my rock: and let the God of my salvation be exalted."
Friday, November 24, 2006
*v1 God instructeth the Israelites in their journey
*v5 Pharaoh pursueth after them
*v10 The Israelis murmur
*v13 Moses comforteth them
*v15 God instructeth Moses
*V19 The cloud removeth behind the camp
*v21 The Israelites pass through the Red sea
*v23 which drowneth the Egyptians
*outline courtesy Topical Reference Bible
Pharaoh rushed the children of Israel out of Egypt after the plague of the firstborn but got to thinking about it and decided to pursue the Israelites and bring them back. The route they took brought them to the Red Sea. The Lord in the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night led the Israelites out of Egypt. Now, with the Egyptians pursuing them the Israelites became nervous and the Lord moved the cloud between the Israelites and the Egyptians.
Exodus 14:20 "And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all night."
Moses has told the Israelites to v13 Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord... Note the three steps 1)fear not 2) stand still 3) see . We can see the application in Ephesians 6:12-14a "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore...."
We are not told a lot about the spiritual warfare that took place during Israel's escape from Egypt. We, as Israel, saw the physical miracles that took place. Egypt and the Pharaohs worshipped strange gods as shown in history. Satan, even then, must have strove to end the nation Israel before it got out of Egypt. In Ephesians, however, we have the door opened to our minds and hearts and can see that the physical things of this world are often a manifestation of a much broader spiritual struggle. The evil spiritual powers of this world have an interest in how things turn out. We as Christians must remember that we are not of this world and so are the object of evil intent. If Pharaoh could stop Israel, then the promise God made to Abraham would be stopped. That was not going to happen.
Exodus 14:27 "And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea."
v31 "And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses."
Wonderful story and lesson that when things look their worst, often, God does the most amazing things in our lives.
Psalm 28:5 "Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up."
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Exodus 13:3 "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day..."
We have taken a long journey from when Abraham left Ur and journeyed in the land of Canaan. We have seen the family grow and become a nation now 600,000 men not counting the children. With a strong hand the Lord delivered them from slavery and the hand of Pharaoh.
Now, we embark on another long journey...that of a new nation. Laws are to be established.
The passover and feast of unleavened bread are laid out for the people to follow throughout the generations to come.
Exodus 13:8 "And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
Also as a reminder of the last plague which finally caused Pharaoh to rush them out of the land. The dedication of the firstborn is established.
Exodus 13:11-12 "And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, That thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the Lord's."
It should be noted that those leaving Egypt were all born there. They have been slaves and so have not traveled much if at all. They must be shown the way out of Egypt. We notice in v17 that God did not lead them through the land of Philistines because he said they might change their mind and return to Egypt when they faced war. So he took them to Succoth by way of the wilderness and the Red Sea. v17 Moses took the bones of Joseph with them.
Succoth is where Jacob (Israel) went when he fled from Esau back in our earlier studies.
It is wonderful to note, as the chapter closes, that the Lord journeyed with them.
Exodus 13:21-22 "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud day, nor the pilar of fire by night, from before the people."
Psalm 33:20 "Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield."
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Leaven: a substance (as yeast) used to produce fermentation (as in dough) something that modifies or lightens. Websters dictionary.
Leaven is sour dough used to raise the new dough with which it is mixed. The Jews were forbidden to use leaven or have it in their houses during the seven days of the Passover. For this reason this festival was sometimes called the "feast of unleavened bread." The word leaven is often used figuratively. According to Comprehensive Bible Helps.
Leaven had always been a mystery to me until I tried my hand at making some homemade bread. Using yeast properly and letting the dough set for a correct period of time will make a nice fluffy loaf. Using no leaven will turn out a flat bread which may be sort of like the old western hardtack or maybe the flapjacks.
I am still struggling with leaven as it is used figuratively and spiritually and have been thinking about it for several days. CI Scofield points out that it was the blood on the doorpost that saved the Israelites since they did not have time to eat the unleavened bread but took it with them when they left. v39
Thinking about leaven and unleavened, I thought of the way people try to take faith in Christ and mix it up with some other belief or thing and depend on the mixture for redemption. It seems obvious to me that we must put complete faith in Christ without any additives, i.e. Christ is the bread of life. Mt 26: 26-28. The word repentance is a turning away, so in turning to Christ one turns lose of past beliefs and trust in Christ fully without hanging onto the past.
In a Christians role as the light of the world we become the leaven that affects the world for faith in Christ as in Matthew 13:33 "Another parable spake he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
I read once about Aristole, I think it was, who professed faith in one God but on his death bed he had his servants to strangle a chicken just in case. That is adding leaven to his faith and I expect the whole lump was useless. He did not trust in God fully and God will not share his kingdom.
Faith will grow within us with proper nurturing and make us a better person. Sin, on the other hand, will also grow given room and destroy us.
I believe that the ordinance of the passover was the first law given to the Israelites. I think they already understood that they were to have no other gods than the true God Jehovah which was later engraved in the tablets.
Exodus 12:49 "One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you." v51 "And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies."
He said he would and He did.
Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Monday, November 20, 2006
A token according to webster is a small part representing the whole. An outward sign.
He goes on with other words which we could follow through on to find perhaps a deeper meaning of the word.
We have, however, reached an unavoidable truth. The blood of the passover and the passover lamb is a token of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. You will notice the blood on the sidepost representing his hands. Also the blood on the upper post representing the blood caused by the crown of thorns. I can visualize some dropping to the ground representing his feet as they were pierced. Christ was the lamb without blemish.
Israel is God's chosen people and hold a high position in his plan's. As I've said, they were the mother nation carrying the child Jesus Christ until the time was right for him to be delivered as a sacrifice for the world. Since the garden, however, humanity has had a blood disease of sorts. Humanity has a sin nature. Israel had that disease and as we will find out were prone to sin by nature. So, the blood was applied as a token of a sacrifice for their sins. Had the blood not been applied, the firstborn of their households would have been caught in the judgment which covered the entire land of Egypt.
The writer of Hebrews goes into great detail explaining how the blood of animals could not do away with sin but were a token of what was to come. The lamb of God was to complete the task that the blood of animals could only represent. Hebrews 9:13 "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
Remember the story of Abraham when he went up to offer Isaac on the altar? Abraham said by faith that God would provide himself a sacrifice. Genesis 22:8 "And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together." Then in verse 13 " And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns..." God did provide HIMSELF a lamb.
So, this blood which delivered the firstborn of the children of Israel is a token of the blood that is shed for the whole world.
Psalm 3:5 "I laid me down and slept; i awaked; for the Lord sustained me."
We should remember at this point the situation. Moses has returned from the desert to tell the Pharaoh of Egypt to let about v37 v38 about six hundred thousand that were men beside children go out of the land. To begin with it must have seemed humerous to Pharaoh that one such as Moses would demand of him such a thing. Pharaoh did not recognize the God of the Hebrew and so at the beginning he must have thought he was only dealing with just a man of low position. Over time and through plagues the king came to realize that more than just a mere man was at work but still he hardened his neck against God.
Now, on this day, the thing God said would happen is happening. Pharaoh and Egypt have paid a great price for forgetting that over 400 years before, it was Joseph's wisdom (given by God) that had saved Egypt from destruction. Pharaoh attempted to do what many people of our day try to do. He tried to ignore God and his commands. It turned out to be a dangerous path to take. God has many attributes including love, grace and compassion. He is also the God of all that exist. Ignoring Him does not make Him go away or stop his plan.
Proverbs 28:14 "Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief."
The lamb was to be killed and the blood applied to the doorpost. They were to strike the sidepost and the upper door post of the house. The lamb was special. It was to be taken on the 10th and kept up until the 14th of the first month. It had to be a male, without blemish. There was a special way to eat the lamb on the night of the passover. It was to be roasted with fire and taken with unleavened bread. It could not be eaten raw or sodden. Nothing was to remain until morning and if it did, it was to be burned with fire.
Why apply the blood? v13 "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."
Judgment started with Pharaoh and Egypt in a comparatively smaller way. There were flies, frogs, lice, locust and others. Now, as a final plague, the firstborn are to be slain so that Pharaoh will believe God and let the people go. It has been a steady progression of events with a pause to allow Pharaoh time to let them go but he did not. We are now at 430 years since the great famine and the move of Israel to Egypt.
The Lord gave instructions in the first 20 verses which have carried on in Israel down through the generations. From verse 21 through 28 Moses tells the children of Israel what the Lord said and in v28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they."
Psalm 22:28 "For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations."
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The child nation Israel is delivered out of the land of Egypt. By blood first, then they break forth from the waters of the Red Sea.
*v1The beginning of the year is changed.
*v3 The passover is instituted.
*v11 The rite of the passover
*v15 Unleavened Bread.
*v29 The firstborn are slain.
*v31 The Israelites are driven out of the land.
*v37 They come to Succoth.
*v43 The ordinance of the passover.
Proverbs 8:30 "Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;"
Outline courtesy of Topical Reference Bible.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Exodus 11:4-7 "And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill, and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry thoughout all the land of Egypt such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it anymore. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."
The chapter begins with the children of Israel borrowing from the Egyptians. God had given them favor so that the Egyptians loaned to them freely. We must remember that the children of Israel have been slaves for 400 years and had to work for free. Now they will receive their payment for their labor.
Next is the pronouncement of the last plague upon Egypt so that they recognize that God is God and so that they let the people go which was God's command. We have seen a progression of plagues in the last chapters. None of the plagues persuaded Pharaoh to honor God and let the people go.
Here we mark the beginning of a primary basis for the worship procedures by Israel of God and much of the traditionalism. The passover is about to begin. However, this is not just important to Israel but of utmost importance to the Christian faith. We will see how the sacrifice of the lamb without spot or blemish saved the firstborn of Israel on the first passover. It is a vivid picture of the sacrifice of the lamb of God on Calvary to provide salvation for all who would accept him.
Hebrews 10:9-10 "Then said he, Lo I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Exodus 10:1-2 "And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord."
Pharaoh refused and the next plague came upon Egypt. Locust infested the land and all that was left from the hail was devoured by the locust. I can attest to the power of locust, they can strip a tree of its leaves in a very short time. The locust were in Egypt to the point of not being able to see the ground. v5.
Finally in v7 Pharaoh's serants begged him to let the Hebrews go for they said "...knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?"
Then the plague of darkness came upon the land. v22 "...a thick darkness...v23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days..." But israel had light.
As the plagues come to an end with only one terrible plague left Pharaoh told Moses if he saw him again he would die.
Moses reply: v29 "And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more."
Chapter 11 follows and is a summary and a preparation to depart Egypt. Then the final plague.
Speaking of Moses:
Hebrews 11:27 "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible."
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The plagues continue in this chapter as Pharaoh refused time after time to let the people go even after he said he would.
Exodus 9:16-17 "And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be delcared through out all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?"
Pharaoh has a very strong will. There is a three-fold purpose going on. One is to get Pharaoh to let the people go. Two, is to get the people out of Egypt. Three is to let the people know, for sure, that it is the Lord God who delivered them.
V6 "And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one."
Murrain: an infectious and fatal disease
Next there was a plague of boils. Moses and Aaron took handfuls of ashes v8 and sprinkled them toward heaven as a token to Pharaoh of what was going to happen. At this point the Magicians were at a loss as to what to do. v11 "...the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils..."
One command rings down through history as it must have rang in the ears of Pharaoh every night as he tried to sleep: "Let my people go."
Hail upon the land was the next demonstration of God's might in the earth. The hail mingled with fire fell on Egypt except the land of Goshen where Israel was. The hail was so strong that it broke down the trees.
v34 "And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants."
Psalm 38:20 "They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is."
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Chapter 8 tells of three rounds of plagues: frogs, lice, and flies. Pharaoh asked Moses to entreat the Lord for him that they be removed and Moses did but Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let them go.
One thing I noticed in this chapter is that Pharaoh has begun to acknowledge the Lord. v28 "And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away; entreat for me."
The command from Moses was for a three day journey, nevertheless, Moses entreated the Lord to removed the flies. Pharaoh did not let them go.
Proverbs 3:19-20 "The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew."
Monday, November 13, 2006
Exodus 7:5 "And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them."
And so the contest begins:
v10 Aaron cast down his rod and it became a serpent
v11 Magicians did in like manner
v12 Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods
v16 "And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear."
At this point, the waters are about to be turned to blood. "Let my people go." has become the resounding command from God to Pharaoh. So Aaron stretched out the rod and the great Nile became blood. This went on for seven days.
v24 "And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river."
Further down the page there is an animated dramatization of the even at the river.
Psalm 105:26-27 "He sent Moses his servant and Aaron whom he had chosen. They showed his signs among them and wonders in the land of Ham.
This verse in Psalm is very interesting. I did not know that Egypt was the land of Ham or does it mean Canaan when it speaks of 'wonders in the land of Ham', who was one of Noah's sons from Genesis 9:18 "And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem and Ham and Japheth and Ham is the father of Canaan." Well I am not sure but Psalm 105 does give a good summary of Israel.
Next time we have frogs, lice and flies.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Exodus 6:3 "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (Gen38:3) , but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them."
JEHOVAH : he will be . The God of revelation and redemption. Translated (generally) in the English Bible as Lord using small letters.
It is a progression of names revealed by God, as we progress through the Bible, telling more and more about his attributes. Additions are made to the name to reveal more i.e. JEHOVAH-jireh meaning The Lord will see or provide. As used by Abraham when a ram was provided in Isaac's place. Genesis 22:14.
Exodus 6:1 "Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land."
Moses has just finished telling the Lord what a miserable failure the plan to deliver Israel had been. The Lord is not finished yet though. Not only is Pharaoh going to let them go but he will become so anxious to see them leave that he will drive them out.
God made several promises in the next verses:
*v5 I have also heard...I have remembered my covenant.
Moses was agitated but the Lord reminds Moses that he too knows of their groaning and that he has already promised to deliver them.
*v6 I will bring you out...
Telling Moses to tell the people that the promise is still good and it will happen.
*v7 ...I will take you to me for a people...
God said I have come to get you and you are mine and I will take what is mine.
*v8 I will bring you in unto the land....I will give it you for an heritage...
Not only will he bring them out but also into a better place. I like to think he is saying: I'm here to rescue you and I've got a present for you.
The people did not believe this when Moses told them but the Bible says it was because of their anguish and the cruel bondage. They were having a hard time. So God sent them to Pharaoh to tell him again let my people go.
The balance of the chapter is a list of the children of Israel and then a recap of the Lord's command and Moses' objection.
v30 "And Moses said before the Lrod, Behold, I am of uncircumsed lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?"
Not only is God delivering Israel but he is showing Pharaoh (who said he did not know him) who he is.
The amazing miracles start in the next chapter.
Proverbs 29:1 "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
Thursday, November 09, 2006
v1 "And afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness."
v23 "For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.
Wow! That is pretty bold talk from Moses. We do not know the tone of voice so he may have been contrite in his manner.
Pharaoh told Moses that they were just causing the people to leave off their work. He makes what he must have thought to be a very dramatic statement but to me it is very sad. v2 "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go."
Pharaoh is a hard case and will need much convincing but he will change his tune about letting Israel leave Egypt. He may not have known the Lord after it was all over but he certainly knew about him and his awesome power.
So Pharaoh increased the workload and made it more difficult to perform by forcing the people to find their own straw instead of providing it as before. In verse 21 the people express their displeasure with Moses and Aaron. "And they said unto them, The Lord look upon you and judge; because ye have made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us."
In the next chapter God continues to explain to Moses what he is doing and how.
Proverbs 8:15 "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice."
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Two verses stand out in Chapter 4 and I will show both. Moses is continuing his defense that he is not the man for the job for several reasons. He is proven wrong. Look.
Exodus 4:1 "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee."
That's his opinion but look at this verse.
Exodus 4:31 "And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped."
This is a good lesson in how God uses what is available. He asked Moses what it was in his hand to which Moses replied 'a rod'. He was told by God to cast it to the ground and it became a serpent and Moses ran from it. Then God told Moses to pick it up. Notice how Moses is coming around now. He picked up the serpent and it became a rod again. v4.
For a second sign God told Moses to put his hand into his bosom which he did and it came out leprous as snow. v6. Then he was instructed to put it into his bosom again and it came out normal. v7. I believe that settled the part about the people not believing Moses had talked with the Lord. But he has another excuse.
Exodus 4:10 "And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloguent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."
I believe Moses was telling the truth. He was Hebrew but raised in the house of Pharaoh. I've heard people talk in languages other than their native tongue and they do sometimes have to speak slowly and sometimes haltingly. I once new a man who spoke very well in English but his original tongue was Spanish. I ask him if he thought in English or Spanish and he said Spanish his original tongue. It was necessary for him to translate his thoughts into English as he spoke.
God does provide a solution for Moses by sending his brother Aaron who I know that he can speak well v14. Remember back when the Lord told Jacob that he would go with him down to Egypt. God knew that Aaron could speak well and so obviously he was around there.
God's anger is kindled in verse 14. He has patiently gone over every reason Moses presented and given a solution to the problem. He tells Moses in no uncertain terms that Aaron was coming to meet him and for Moses to put words in his mouth and let him speak for him. The command is finalized in verse 19. "And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life."
Now Moses appears to be preparing for his trip. He gathers up his family and has them loaded on a donkey. Now it is no longer a matter of if Moses will go, yet he still seems to be doing busy work to delay it. It sounds like it to me. God in verse 21 makes it 'when' not if. "And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt..." Notice the 'when' . Again and again Moses is reminded of how to present things to Pharaoh. As the chapter closes Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. Next it will be time to tell the king.
Verse 24-26 is a portion of scripture that I have pondered, off and on, for years. It deals with circumcision. I welcome any insight on these verses. CI Scofield explains that Moses was forgetful concerning the covenant sign of circumcision between God and Israel while he was on his very journey to deliver them. In the book of Joshua chapter 5 verses 3-5 tells of a later instance when Israel stopped and circumcised those born in the wilderness which had not yet fulfilled the command. Those coming out of Egypt had, but those born later had been neglected. So, even with the clarity of Moses mission it was still essential to honor the covenant. I suppose it would have hampered Moses argument if he had not even followed God's command with his own son.
We should take away the lesson of the original verses of this chapter. Moses did not think the people would believe him but it turns out they were hungry for a word from the Lord and did believe.
Psalm 119:89 "Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Exodus 3:10 "Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt."
At this point Moses came up with, what must have seemed to him, several good reasons why he should not be the one to lead Israel out of Egypt.
v11 Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh
The answer: v12 I will be with thee and as a token Moses would worship upon this mountain. Perhaps Moses was thinking that he was a refugee from his own people and a criminal from the house of Pharaoh and just not the right man for the job.
v13 Who shall I tell them you are or they will wonder who sent me.
The answer: v14 "And God said unto Moses I AM THAT I AM..." Just tell them I AM sent you.
For the next few verses God instructs Moses on the plan. He is to gather the elders and explain that he has come, under God's instruction, to bring them out of Egypt. Then God explain's that Pharaoh will not at first listen. He also tells them to borrow from the Egyptians. This use to seem strange to me but the people have worked for several hundred years as slaves and so they get their wages at last. v21 "And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty.
The next chapter is a continuation of the conversation between God and Moses and it grows more intense as Moses makes more excuses.
Psalm 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."
Monday, November 06, 2006
Why has God come down? He has promised long ago that Israel would be delivered. He keeps his promises. In this verse, we can notice that the Lord has seen the affliction of his people. He has also heard their cry. The 400 years that was told by God is drawing to a close and the time of redemption is drawing near. Isn't it like the birth of a child but here it is the birth of a nation? They are uncomfortable and ready to be delivered and so they express the discomfort with their cries and a longing for it to be over.
I find this verse very touching. v8 "And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of the land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. He said "I am come down".
Moses has never seen Canaan. He was born in Egypt. Here, the Lord is telling Moses of a wonderful place. It's like he was saying to Moses "Oh, it's a good place. I'll get them out of Egypt and they will be in a place of plenty and it's big enough for everyone." He has told Moses why they must be delivered "because of their affliction" and that they were going to a better place that "flows with milk and honey".
v9 "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them."
The Lord has made his case to Moses. Moses tried 40 years earlier to deal with the problem. He had killed an Egyptain only to find his brethren doing the same thing. It had forced him to run for his life. He has made a life for himself with Jethro and has a family. Then the bombshell is dropped on the 80 year old man.
v10 "Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt."
Perhaps Moses listened intently as the condition of his people was told him. Perhaps he was all for the Lord hearing their cry and had no doubt that God would do has he said in v8. Then, God involved him. We know from other reading that Moses was the friend of God and talked to him face to face. In this moment of time, it may be the first conversation they have had, especially on such a personal level. It will be different after the next 40 years but now Moses is taken back by the 'suggestion' that he is to be part of the deliverance process.
It is as if Moses said "That's a good idea, but leave me out of it."
Psalm 9:9 "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."
*Moses keepeth Jethro's flock
*God appeareth to him in a burning bush
*He sendeth him to deliver Israel
*The name of God
*His message to Israel
Moses has now been tending Jethro's flocks for 40 years. Remember, he spent 40 years in the house of Pharaoh. I've read, but can't recall where, that it was common for a bush to catch fire in the desert and burn up. If that is the case, it would have been a common site for Moses in his 40 years out there. Something unusual happened this day.
v2 "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked and behold the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed."
God now had the attention of Moses. Isn't that true even today? God must first have our attention before he can get a message across to us. v3 "And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."
Here we see that Moses is paying attention to the strange happening of the bush. Why would it not burn up? Next, God calls Moses by name. It is clear that the encounter was not just for anyone passing by but for Moses in particular.
Then the Lord identifies himself to Moses but first there is the necessity to recognize God's holiness. Moses must know who he is talking to. To draw nigh to God we must understand and respect that He is a holy and righteous God. We cannot approach him on a casual basis.
v5 "And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
Many, in our day, might take offense at this statement. People tend to want to approach God as if he was the buddy down the street. No so. He is the God of the universe and must be respected as such.
v6 "Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God."
Humanity has come a long way since the garden where the Lord walked in the cool of the day. Until Adam's sin, there was no seperation between him and the Lord. As time passes, we see the Lord talking to Abraham, Isaac and and Jacob. Now, man has slipped away and God has come in the flame of a burning bush. It has been 400 years with no word. No doubt, the people still cling to the promise of God and the prohecy of Joseph that his bones would be carried out. Four hundred years is a long time. Now, Moses, a seeming reject from Israel and the house of Pharaoh is hearing the Lord speak.
We will listen to the conversation next time.
Psalm 86:1 "Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me: for I am poor and needy."
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Exodus 2:10 "And the child grew and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
Moses means drawn out.
Moses was of the house of Levi. He had a brother Aaron and a sister Miriam who was the oldest.
He was the great leader and lawgiver of the children of Israel.
Moses life falls into three forty year periods. (See Acts 7:23,30,36) 1) His life in Pharaoh's house 2) Tending flocks in Midian 3) Delivering Israel from bondage.
Deuteronomy 34:10 "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face."
We begin with the birth of Moses in a time when Pharaoh has ordered the death of all male children born to the children of Israel. His mother hid him for three months and then made the famous ark of bulrushes for him and placed him in the river near its brink.
Next, she had Miriam to watch him to see what would happen to him. Little did they know that in that ark was their deliverance as God had promised.
I find it so wonderful that during this time of death, that God would arrange it so that Pharaoh's daughter would love the child and get his own mother to nurse him until he was older. Then, when Pharaoh was so afraid that he would loose the free labor of the Israelites, God placed their very deliverer in the house of Pharaoh to grow up. Where else would he have been more safe?
The chapter moves quickly to the time when Moses is 40 years old and has grown up in a position to learn all the workings of Pharaoh and his rule. I expect, as in the movie, he became friends with many of them. His heart was with his people though and when he saw one being hit by an Egyptian, he killed the Egyptian and buried his body. The second day he went out and saw two of his brethern striving together and he reprimanded the guilty party. He also found out that his killing of the Egyptian was known. Indeed, Pharaoh sought to slay him so he fled to Midian.
Exodus 2:15 "Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well."
Midian was a son of Abraham by Keturah. The Midianites lived in the area from the Sinaitic penisula to the banks of the Euphrates. They were traders with Egypt.
We find Moses sitting beside a well which seems to be a good place for the men of the Israelites. If you remember, it was by a well that the servant met Rebekah, Isaac's wife and where Jacob met Rachel. These shepherds seem to have a mean streak in them for when the daughters of the priest of Midian came to water their father's flocks, the shepherds drove them away until Moses intervened.
Exodus 2:17 "And the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock."
The priest was pleased with Moses and gave him Zipporah to wed. After this, Moses is content and tended his father-in-law's sheep. The king of Egypt died. We now go to the point I mentioned in Exodus 1. When the trouble mounts up on Israel, they turn to God with their crys and prayers and God heard them.
Exodus 2:24-25 "And God heard their groaning and God remembered his covenant with Abraham with Isaac and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel and God had respect unto them."
We have, very quickly, covered the first 80 years of the life of Moses. These 80 years have been in preparation for the last 40 years of his life and his purpose in life which was to deliver the children of Israel from slavery and guide them on their journey to becoming a nation and a fighting force to be reckoned with so they were able to claim the promise land Canaan.
Psalm 3:1-2 "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah."
As previously promised by God, the children of Israel are growing into a great multitude and the Egyptians are getting nervous about it. In fact, the king goes on to say that they have outnumbered them. His solution is to kill the males to slow down the population explosion. It is a growth he cannot stop. There are two midwives who attend the women giving birth. Perhaps there are more but two are named: Shiphrah and Puah.
Genesis 1:17 "But the midwives feared God and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive."
The king of Egypt also increased the pressure on the children to work under extreme conditions. They in fact built treasure cities for Pharaoh called: Pithom and Raamses. Neither did this slow the population growth. v12a "But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew."...
Perhaps in desperation, Pharaoh gave another order. I noticed a little selfishness on the part of Pharaoh. He did not want the children of Israel to leave. Their labor was too important. He gave away his fear that they would leave in v10 "Come on, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land."
"...get them up out of the land." He was afraid he would loose his free labor.
Genesis 1:22 "And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive."
After 400 years, it seems that pressure is mounting on the children of Israel. So what do we do when it becomes to much to bear for us? We usually pray.
Psalm 7:1-2 "O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver."
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Exodus may be divided into three sections:
*Israel in Egypt (1-15)
*From the Red Sea to Sinai (16-18)
*Israel at Sinai (19-40)
Exodus means: a going forth or going out. The main characters are Moses, Aaron and Joshua.
It is not just a story of a trip across the wilderness. All the original heads of family have died. Their history is largely made up of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is Israel. When, Jacob died there was no one leader to guide the people. It was left up to the family heads. As we will find, they went through a long period of slavery to the Egyptians. By referring back to Genesis, we know that it was about 400 years. So, in going from Genesis to Exodus we have spanned that 400 years and know only that they fell out of favor in Egypt because of a new king who did not know Joseph and that they were forced to serve the Egyptians with rigor.
So, not only is this a journey to the promise land, it is a time of preparation. A time when the people are organized from former slaves into a nation and fighting force. It also teaches us about redemption. It shows us our defilement and the need for constant cleansing in order to have a relationship with the Holy God. As in Genesis, Exodus ever points to Christ.
Remember the promise to Abraham and know that God does know how to take care of us.
Genesis 15:13-14 "And he said unto Abram (Abraham), Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance."
Psalm 30:5 "For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Sent by his father:
Genesis 37:13 "And Israel said unto Joseph Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I."
It is interesting to note that the brethren were not where they were suppose to be but had decided to go someplace else.
John 3:17 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
Thirty Years Old
Genesis 41:46 "And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went throughout all the land of Egypt."
Luke 3:22-23 "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself bean to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph ...."
Genesis 37:18 "And when they saw him (Joseph) afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him."
Luke 5:18 "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
Genesis 37:23 "And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him."
John 19:23-24 "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.
Genesis 37:26 "And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content."
Genesis 37:28 "...and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty piees of silver..."
Matthew 26:14-15 "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver."
(Judah and Judas both mean praise)
Purpose to Save
Genesis 50:20 "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."
Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment and cast lots."
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
If they had known what we know now, they might have seen the life of Joseph as a prophecy of things to come. Many events in Joseph's life were similiar to that of Jesus but there are of course differences. A picture is just that a likeness of the real thing. Joseph was a savior in the sense that he saved his people from famine. Joseph's salvation was of a temporary nature and saved only the body alive for a season. Jesus' salvation is eternal and deals with both soul and body.
I venture to say that it is impossible to understand the Bible without understanding that Christ is the theme. If you look, He is everywhere throughout the scripture.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
A people on the verge of starving have gone down to Egypt, but they carry the promise of the Lord.
I picture Israel as like a bubble in humanity. God has not forsaken the world but he has a plan for its salvation and so Israel, as the vessel of that promise, is protected down through the years. I will say it once more: Israel is like a pregnant lady. As we conclude this chapter, Israel carries the promise of God to the world. It seems to almost lie dormant as the nation itself is going through its formation and is soon to be born.
From the garden of perfection, to sin, destruction and the struggle of humanity to rebuild, we can see the seperation between God and humanity, yet he has not forsaken. It is a long journey for man to realize that he is hopelessly sinful and helpless without redemption by God. We have seen that those who had faith in God were those who pleased God. We have seen the need and the practice of a blood substitute to God for our sin. But what if there could be one blood sacrifice that would satisfy the righteous judgment of God for sin? What if there could be found one person who was pure enough to stand in the place of all humanity and be judged for sin and allow humanity to come back into communion with God? Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son but even Isaac was not pure enough. His blood was that of Adam. There was only one place to find that purity of sinlessness. It was in the very throne of God. What if it could be like before Adam sinned in the Garden? It is almost Christmas. That is the meaning.
Joseph was about 30 years old when Israel came to Egypt. Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt then died. Joseph was 110 when he died, so the people lived under the protection of Joseph for about 63 years after Jacob died.
It should be no surprise that things change rapidly after Joseph's death. We have only to look back to a conversation between Abraham and the Lord in Genesis 15:13 "And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years."
We know from this passage that things were bound to change. In fact, we knew long before Joseph was sold into slavery. There is a promise with this prediction though in Genesis 28:15 we read "And behold I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land, for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."
Then as Israel prepares to make his journey to Egypt and stopped off to pray. The Lord quiets Jacob's fears with a passage in Genesis 46:2-4. Here let me point out a couple of points:
*God tells Jacob not to fear
*God reminds Jacob of who he is
*Israel will become a great nation while in Egypt
*God will go down with Jacob
Let's read the verses: "And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night and said, Jacob, Jacob, And he said Here am I. And he said I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes."
Joseph was not there for that conversation but he served the same God and had a direct line of communication himself. In the chapter we are looking at, we can see Joseph is confident that his people would leave Egypt in the future for he told them to carry his bones out. Look at verse 25 again ..."God will surely visit you and ye shall carry up my bones from hence."
In the mean time, Jacob has been carried back to the burial place of his fathers for burial. There was a great company from Pharaoh's people and Israel's. v9 "And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company."
The Bible makes a point of mentioned the 'floor of Atad' which we should keep in mind to see if it turns up again later in our study. The place was renamed Abelmizraim which is beyond Jordan by the Canaanites.
In summary, we have reached a point in the history of Israel where there is no 'one' leader. There are the 12 tribes but soon they will be without the father's of those tribes. They are a people in a foreign land. I wonder do they remember that it will be a total of 400 years before they get to leave. I wonder if they know they are growing into a 'great' nation. I believe the words of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob echoed throughout the tribes for 400 years.
Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Saturday, October 28, 2006
The journey has ended for Jacob. He ends his journey as Israel. His is a struggle against the old man (his earthly nature) and the new man (his promise as Israel). We saw him often going from one identity to the other and back again. We as Christians are no different. We often struggle with wrong even when we know what the right thing is. It was Israel talking in verse 2.
v2 "Gather yourselves together and hear ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father."
Reuben is the firstborn and learns his future first. We must go back to chapter 35 verse 22 to understand Israel's comments to him "And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father's concubine: and Israel heard it."..."
Now we can take a look at the pronouncement of Reuben's future. First Reuben is complimented as the firstborn and Israel calls him the beginning of his strength v3 , excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. But the mistake in the verse above has not been forgotten and now comes to bear. v4 "Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel, because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it; he went up to my couch."
Simeon and Levi are next in line and one of their past actions is not forgotten. It is true they were avenging their sister's bad treatment by Shechem but it appears that killing all of them was a bit extreme. Go back to chapter 34 verse 25 "And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethern took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males."
Verse 7 (of chapter 49) tells of their destiny. "Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel."
Judah is blessed with a brighter future. In his line is mentioned Shiloh(Messiah). v10 "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. v11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine and his clothes in the blood of grapes: v12 His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk."
Zebulun v13 ...haven of ships
Issachar v15 ...a servant unto tribute
Dan v16...shall judge his people
Gad v19 ...shall overcome at the last
Asher v20...royal dainties
Naphtali v21...giveth goodly words
Joseph receives a long blessing found in verses 22-26. It tells of attempts to kill Joseph but God made him strong. A notable part of v24 is (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) . Joseph is given the blessings from heaven above and of the deep and tells of a crown for him.
Benjamin v27...shall ravin as a wolf ...and divide the spoil.
Jacob then describes the burial place of his father's and demands to be buried there.
V33 "And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost and was gathered unto his people."
CI Scofield divides Jacob's (Israel's) spiritual progress into 6 modules (1) the first exercise of faith, as shown in the purchase of the birthright Gen 25,28-34 and 27,10-22 (2) the vision at Bethel Gen 28 10-19 (3) walking in the flesh Gen 29 1-31 55 (4)the transforming experience Gen 32 24-31 (5) the return to Bethel: idols put away Gen 35 1-7 (6) the walk of faith Gen 37 1-49-33 .
Psalm 31:14 "But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou are my God."