01 Moses

01.5 Moses 1, Day 5

Denial of Pharaoh’s plan by his daughter in the Nile (da’ Nile)

Sometimes it seems like God is just showing off.  This is one of those times.

  1. A prophet born in a time where all boy births were illegal.
  2. The one through which God would write the laws and the first 5 books of the bible, was afloat in a basket of papyrus, the material used to make the scrolls on which Pharaohs laws had been written.
  3. Nursed through infancy with payment to his mother from Pharaoh’s own treasury
  4. Raised in Pharaoh’s own house, trained by his trainers, protected by his guards, fed his food
  5. Raised by Pharaoh’s own daughter in collusion with her servants, who were on his payroll in his house.
  6. And, I may be dense, but if you are an evil dad and you’ve decreed that all Hebrew baby boys are thrown in the river and one day your daughter who hasn’t been pregnant shows up with a baby boy whose name translates into “I drew him out of the water”… You shouldn’t need to buy a vowel to solve that puzzle.

 

But with all of these outlandish events, it is also important to notice the small and almost mundane ways that God moved.  Jochebed “saw” that Moses “was a fine child” (Ex 2:2).  His sister stood at a distance to keep watch (Ex 2:4).  Pharaoh’s daughter “saw the basket”, “saw the baby”, she “heard him cry” and she “felt sorry for him.” (Ex 2:5-6)

As we await the promise of God of the second coming of Jesus Christ we continue to see God’s hand.  Sometimes we see Him in grandiose ways, but more often in small and almost mundane ways in our daily lives.   We see little things.  We stand at a distance and keep watch.  We hear. And, probably most frequently, we feel God moving in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Yes, you should test those things in your life against the word of scripture, but don’t live in denial of the fact that, if you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart (and even if you haven’t), He is in control and moving in your life.

p.s., (I couldn’t resist getting that one last “da nile” of the fact in there)

My Answers:

11.
a.
Kept him hidden for 3 months, safe in Nile (no animals, no drowning), spotted by Pharaoh’s daughter first, he cried she felt sorry, knew what he was , Miriam asked for the sale, raised by his family, adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter

b.
Circumcision.  Also, what other boy baby would be alone in the Nile river?

c.
vigilance, boldness, faithfulness, trust, ability to ask for the sale

12.
a.
Nursed, nurtured, bonded

b.
wealth, education, privilege, power, confidence, health, food, nurturing, strength, speech, action

c.
wealth, education, privilege, power, confidence, health, food, nurturing, strength, speech, action, love, training in God and how to live as a Christian, examples of how to serve

d.
Through the worst of hardships, God’s hand is present and guiding all into place.  Even in a hopeless situation (placing your baby in the river), God is faithful and true

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01 Moses

01.4 Moses 1, Day 4

Blessings: given by God, not earned by man

One of the questions today opens the door to a very difficult and troubling subject.  It is one that is a stumbling block to many causing a separation between them and God.  God blessed Jochebed’s courageous faith.  Moses was saved.  Miriam wasn’t struck down for approaching an Egyptian princess.  Jochebe was even given the privilege of getting paid to nurse her own child.  But what about the other mothers of Hebrew boys?

Were those mothers and fathers less courageous?  What of the ones who refused to throw their own child into the Nile and paid the price at the hands of Pharaoh’s guards?  What of the mothers and fathers living in the tents or huts around Amram and Jochebed?  What would they have felt knowing a boy was living for 3 months as their neighbor while their own child had drowned? And what about the infants themselves?

There is a small voice we can hear that wants us to hold God culpable for the wickedness of mankind.  Why did he not stop this?  Why would He allow innocent babies then and today to be murdered?  What did Jochebed do that other mothers did not to “earn” the blessing?

But we must look at it in another light.  Is a parent a bad parent if they live in an area where gang violence takes the life of their child?  Is a leader of a nation a bad leader if they send soldiers into battle against tyrannical and terrorist forces?  Is a local mayor bad for allowing police and fire-fighters to put their life on the line each day?  When bad things happen we don’t lash out at leaders.  We acknowledge the bad for what it is and the righteous fighting against it as heroes.

God, in his love for us, mankind, has given us freedom.  He gave us the gift of being able to choose:  Do we want to follow Him and live in a perfect relationship with Him? Or do we want to follow ourselves and our own wants and desires and to be our own god?  Since Adam and Eve we have had the choice and have made the wrong choice again and again.  That is called sin.  God is not bad for giving us that choice – He is good and loving and gracious.  A parent is not bad for allowing her children to choose to love her and obey her – they are her children not slaves.  Unfortunately, choice can and does take us down the wrong path.  Through sin, evil flourishes in this world.  Through sin bad, horrible, unthinkable things happen.

For the mothers and fathers of Hebrew boys other than Amram and Jochebe it would have been very difficult to see.  But, in their day, in their neighborhood, in their midst, God was answering their prayers.  This is not the path God chose.  We chose it.  But that also does not mean our action in any way reduced God’s power and plan.  The fact that we have chosen (and continue to choose) the wrong path makes it harder on us, but God is God and His promises are always faithful and true.  While the atrocities of man are horrific and there is no comfort found in the loss of innocent lives, God’s plan and promise to bring His people home to Him for all eternity is unchanging.  The blessing is not one that we earn. Jochebe did not earn the blessing of Moses being saved.  She opened her arms of faith and received the gift of the blessing of God.

We should do the same.  The blessing, the one bestowed on all the Isrealites in Egypt through Moses, was a blessing of being set free of bondage and returned to the promised land.  In the same way we are are offered the blessing that by the grace of God, His son paid the price of our sin so we could return to a perfect and eternal relationship with Him.

 

My Answers:

9. Amram, Jochebe, Aaron, Miriam

10.
a. Faith, God’s provision to keep him hidden and they were not afraid of the king’s edict because faith
b. Promised land: Gen 12:1, Gen 15:7; Increase number Gen 17:6, He would be their God, Gen 17:7;
c. Trusted God but put in papyrus basket coated in tar and pitch, placed in reeds at bath time, Miriam on guard duty
d. Moses survived, not eaten, not killed, not drowned, Pharaoh’s daughter disobeyed, paid to have him raised, took as her son
e. Financially with business changes

 

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01 Moses

01.3 Moses 1, Day 3

Annihilation (a-NILE-ation)

When pharaoh’s plans were unsuccessful he didn’t turn back and change; he made things worse.  He forced the Israelite parents to kill their own children by throwing them into the Nile.

The people cried out to God.  They cried out to the torment and pain they felt.  They cried out for the innocent lives.  But they did not cry out in despair, they cried out to God in hope.

That is what separates the people of God from all others.  That is the special blessing of the prayers of Christians today.  As in those days, wicked people today do wicked things and force others to perform unthinkable cruelties.  We are right to recognize that wickedness for what it is.  We should not turn a blind eye to it or leave it to others to deal with just because it isn’t immediately affecting our daily lives.  But our focus must not be only on the problems, we must seek to look beyond to God’s ultimate promises.  We should cry out to God, the one in charge, the only one truly with the power to make lasting peace, eternal peace with Him.

But we must cry out in hope and confidence, not in despair.  Faith is in the difference in that approach.  Faith is knowing that God will keep all His promises and, while it may not be in the timing we would want, His plans to bring His people to Him will prevail.

I love the way Paul stated it in his letter to the church of Corinth as they were suffering in persecution: we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

My Answers:

6.
a. Order that all born Hebrew boys must be thrown in the Nile
b. Wife’s stomach problems have not been resolved and continue to hurt her

7.
Gen: Prophecy, 400 yrs enslaved, nation they serve will be punished and they come out great possessns
Is: God is Israel’s savior, they will pass through waters, rivers, fir, but enemies will pay, because love you
John: Have peace.  In the world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world
2Cor: He comforts us so we can comfort others, rcv death sentence but taught to rely only on God

8.
a. There was an end, a positive outcome.  They cried out to God in hope not just despair.  God was, is and will be in control.
b. 2 Cor 4:18 – look not at the problems all around you – they are temporary but the good things to come are eternal

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01 Moses

01.2 Moses 1, Day 2

King’s plans, God’s plans

The Israelites arrived in Egypt when Joseph was in the midst of saving that world from a devastating famine.  Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had a plan.  His plan was to reward Joseph by honoring his family.  He gave them land and work.  He allowed them to continue to live as a separate people and worship God.

But that Pharaoh died.  Joseph died.  Time passed and the plans of Pharaoh changed.  I love the way it is worded in the NIV in Exodus 1:10, “come we must deal shrewdly”.  What an interesting choice.

Shrews are animals that live throughout the world.  Very small, the size of a mouse, a shrew is closely related to a mole.  They have very poor vision.  They are extremely territorial driving away all rivals.  They live their lives mostly in hiding in leaf litter and deep vegetation.  They have voracious appetites consuming 80-90% of their body weight each day.

The contrast between the plans of earthly men of power, the earthly pharaohs and kings, and God, the King of Kings, is drastic.  God doesn’t die.  God’s plans do not change. God is large, bigger than the universe.  God is all seeing and all knowing.  God is welcoming and inviting, desiring to bring all into His house.  God not only lives in the light, He is the light.  God provides for us all that we need.

Nothing against shrews, but, I think, as we continue to study the bible, we are called to live our lives becoming more holy each day rather than more shrewdly.

My Answers:

3. They had been welcomed guests during the great famine because of the way God, through Joseph, had saved Egypt

4.
a. They were numerous, if war breaks out they will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country
b. Oppress them with forced labor
c. (1) The more oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread (2) The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly
d. Birth control: Hebrew midwives commanded to kill all boy babies born, letting only the girls live

5.
a. Death and the wrath of the king of Egypt, punishment for themselves and family.  They feared God
b. Protected them from Pharaoh and  was kind to them, the people increased and He gave the midwives families of their own

 

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Hebrews Homiletics

13 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 13

AIM: Live each day as a follower of Jesus Christ

I. Exhortation and guidance to live as a Christ follower

1. Keep on loving as brothers and sisters
2. Remember to show hospitality to strangers, some are angels
3. Remember prisoners & mistreated as if yourself
4. Faithful and true in marriage – God will judge
5. Trust in God, be content, don’t covet
6. Do not fear; Lord is Helper – “what can mortals do?”
7. Remember leaders and see them as models
8. Jesus Christ: same yesterday, today, forever (always)
9-10. Do not pursue strange teaching: Grace over Food
11-12. Sacrifice outside of camp – blood @ altar, old and new
13. Go to Jesus outside the “religious”
14. Not a promise of a city, promise of eternity
15-16. Seek to praise and do good and share “For God”
17. Follow leaders – they will give an account
18-19. Pray for each other

Truths:

  1. Relationships matter to God: love, hospitality, caring, honoring.
  2. If trust is in God, then contentment is the outcome
  3. If trust is not in God, then never content (always coveting)
  4. Jesus is eternal and eternally the same
  5. Don’t get sidetracked – Hold grace over acts/food/works/anything else
  6. Don’t wait for the church/synagogue/religious – just go to Jesus!
  7. When doing praise/good deeds/sharing: do it FOR GOD
  8. Follow leaders / they will have to give an account to God
  9. Pray for each other

Applications:

  1. I will write these exhortations down and review them daily.  I will pick one each day and pray that God give me an opportunity to “live it out” that day in a meaningful way.
  2. When I see a stranger, someone asking for help along the side of the road, am I able to picture them as being an angel?
  3. Do I recognize Jesus as eternal, unchanging, the constant when everything else seems to change?
  4. Am I pursuing strange teachings or do I hold fast to the grace of God?
  5. What am I waiting for to run to Jesus?  Am I waiting on someone else to give their permission or to lead the way?  What is holding me back?
  6. Do I follow my God appointed leaders?  In the roles where I am a leader, do I lead as one being held accountable to God?
  7.  Who am I supposed to be praying for today?  Did I do it yet?

 

II. Blessings, heartfelt fellowship and greetings for each other all stem from and lead back to the grace of God

20-21. May God equip and work through you
22. Bear with this word
23. I hope to come with my brothers to you
24. Greet all the Lord’s people & Leaders, We greet you
25. Grace with all

Truths:

  1. Equipping is from God and is a blessing through which He works through me
  2. Bear with the word
  3. Carry hope in fellowship
  4. Greet each other
  5. Seek and accept God’s grace

Applications:

  1. How am I receiving my equipping from God?  Am I trusting in and waiting on the Lord, or trying to do it with my own strength?  Do I try to “do the work” or ask God to “work through me”?
  2. How am I bearing in the word?
  3. How am I carrying hope to others?  Who do I long to partner with to carry forth God’s work?  (throughout the bible, followers were partnered together)
  4. Did I seek and accept God’s grace yet today?

 

Summary: Live each day as a follower of Jesus Christ by accepting God’s grace and His equipping.

Additional comments:

Sometimes these bible studies have so many points in them that cross things happening in my life that I feel like God is stitching them together right before my eyes.  I’ll try to give a glimpse from Hebrews 13 into just a few.

1. verse 2.  We stopped for dinner after a road trip the other night at a burger place in a college town on our way back home.  Sitting on the bench outside of the restaurant was a disheveled young man on a bench.  He was dirty, ill dressed and holding a sign asking for money.  I looked at him and the thoughts that crossed my mind were all negative.  Why is this healthy young man not working?  With so many businesses and so many people in this city, how is there not something productive to do?  What self-focused addictions is he chasing instead of being a good citizen?  What I did not see was the fact that he was a stranger.  What I did not see was an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and hospitality.  What I did not see was any glimmer that the “young man” my eyes saw may have been an “angel”.  As I read Hebrews 13:2 these thoughts weighed heavily on my heart.  How would my heart and actions been more like Christs if my eyes simply saw things differently?

2. I just finished reading an amazing book, Captive in Iran. This is a story of 2 Iranian Christian women who were held in the worst prisons in Iran in horrific conditions for 250 days simply for being followers of Jesus Christ.  If anything thinks there is no longer any christian persecution, they need to read this book.  The captors and interrogators of these young women would tell them, “your religion says you must submit to the authority of your leaders.”  As I read Hebrews 13:17 I marveled at the fact that to this day Satan and those who serve his ways misquote scripture.  How convenient that they left out the second half of that sentence: “because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”

3. Hebrews 13:13 never made sense to me until this week.  “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.”  What was “the camp”, wasn’t it the church?  Why was Jesus then outside of the camp?  Why did I have to go to him outside instead of him coming inside?  His disgrace was turned to triumph, why is he still bearing it?  But, this week I realized I had always looked at that verse out of context.  It isn’t Jesus that is in the wrong place, it is the camp that is in the wrong place.  It isn’t Jesus who is holding onto disgrace, it is the camp who continues to view him as an outsider.  This book, Hebrews, was written to the Hebrews.  At the time of its writing, their camp was completely in the wrong place.  But anytime the camp is not in the same place that Jesus is, it is in the wrong place.  When the camp/the church puts up stakes based around anything other than the grace of God, the Word, Jesus, it is in the wrong place.  When the camp/the church sets up camp to yield to progressive social norms, instead of the facts of the gospel, it is in the wrong place.  The question is, am I in the camp or am I running to Jesus?  Am I willing to run to Jesus even if there isn’t a camp there?

4. Grace is enough.  I’ve sung the words at church.  I’ve sought the gift, especially when I’ve been confronted by my sin and inadequacy.  But do I live each day with those 3 words being a reality.  Do I chase “strange teachings”?  Do I seek the promise of an enduring city?  Am I waiting for God’s equipping and asking Him to work or am I trying to “show off” to God for how much I can do myself?  If so, where is the grace in that?

 

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Hebrews Homiletics

12 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 12

AIM: Believers in Christ will be strengthened through discipline to help others realize God’s glory and grace

I. (1-5, 12-14) So that others may see God, pursue peace & holiness, strengthen self, walk straight path, be healed

1. Others are watching – shed weight of sin & endure
2. Fix eyes on Jesus: pioneer & perfector, cross to glory
3-4. Focus on Jesus’ suffering/endurance: yours =/= bloodshed
5. Don’t scorn God’s discipline or give up
12-13. Strengthen self + walk straight path, be healed
14. Pursue peace + holiness so that others see God

Truths:

  1. Others are watching
  2. Fix eyes on Jesus – how he ran the race
  3. Goal = finish the race = holiness
  4. Train, endure, pursue peace, be healed

 

Applications:

  1. Am I running the race (living out my faith) with the reality that others are watching?
  2. Who do I follow as my life coach?
  3. Am I training as if preparing for a race/marathon or resting?

 

II. (6-11) God disciplines His children to holiness as a father disciplines his loved ones

6. Lord disciplines those He loves and accepts
7. All fathers discipline their sons – God treating you as a son
8. If no discipline => not a son of God
9. We submit to discipline of earthly fathers => same w/ God
10. Earthly fathers disciple to make better, God disciplines to make holy
11. Disciplines is painful @ times but leads to fruit, peace, righteousness

Truths:

  1. Disciplines is done in love for growth
  2. Earthly discipline is for improvement
  3. Holy disciplines is for holiness
  4. There is pain in discipline but the reward is fruit of peace and righteousness

 

Applications:

  1. Is my view of discipline one of love or one of anguish?
  2. In discipline, do I learn and grow or just gripe?  Do look forward through the discipline to see the fruits of peace or righteousness or is my focus only on the discipline itself?
  3. Am I able to distinguish discipline from punishment or am I viewing discipline as punishment?

 

III. (15-29) Help other to not underestimate God’s full glory & grace – He shakes away heaven and earth’s “created things” as a devouring fire, only the unshaken remain.

15. See to it that others don’t become weeds
16-17. See to it that others don’t underestimate God’s blessing
18-19. Faith in God is not small or trite, it is large and powerful
20-21. Israelites could not approach God on Mt. Zion, even Moses trembled
22-24. But you can come directly to God through Christ
25. Take care: Do not refuse, if Israelites did not survive earthly warning, why think survive heavenly
26. His voice shook the earth, now shakes heaven and earth
27. Shaking = purification, but only once more
28a. We will receive an unshakable kingdom
28b. Give thanks, worship, devotion and awe to God
29. Our God is indeed a devouring fire

Truths:

  1. Believers have responsibility for others
  2. Our access to God is unprecedented in history
  3. Take care to not refuse or ignore the warning signs
  4. Heaven & earth will be shaken “once more” to remove that which is shakable
  5. The heaven we inherit is unshakable
  6. Give thanks, worship, devotion and AWE to God

 

Applications:

  1. Do I accept my responsibility as part of other Christians’ faith walk?
  2. Am I “taking care” daily?
  3. Am I unshakable?  Jesus is!

 

Summary: So that others may abide with God, the faithful must endure, be strong and not shaken

 

Additional thoughts:

There are a lot of metaphors in Hebrews 12: running, endurance, training, pioneer, discipline of fathers, bitter roots, shaking and unshakable and comparisons between our relationship with God and that of Abel, Moses and the Israelite nation at Mt. Zion.  But each is woven together in an attempt to adjust the thinking of the Hebrew audience (and ours today).

This life is not the competition to be won.  We don’t come out of it as the winner if we “do better” thank others.  We don’t achieve what God has in store for us by sitting back and taking it easy, taking life “as the sands through the hour glass.”

Life is training camp.  Life is where we accept the jersey to play on the team and train along side others.  Unbelievers are not our opponents, they are those standing on the sideline who have not yet accepted the call to be part of the team.

And like training camp, others are watching.  Other players.  Others on the sidelines.  Our coach and owner.  Training is hard.  And we aren’t training to just be “better”.  Our coach and our owner is training us to become perfect, to become holy.  We are part of a team.  It is not our own performance alone, but our example and leadership and compassion to others on the training field as well.

Our access to our coach, Jesus, is unprecedented in the history of the world.  The chosen people of God and even Moses trembled at the base of the mountain, but Jesus has walked among us and talked with us.  Our ability to see and know and follow His example is an amazing gift, but also one to not be taken lightly.

A time of shaking is coming.  Once more God will shake the heaven and the earth.  That which is shakable/impure, will be cast out, but that which stands strong will inherit the unshakable kingdom.

Train hard.  Train knowing that others are watching, constantly.  Train not as if it were a job, but as if it were your life on the line, and not just this life, but life for all eternity.  The harder you train, the harder the training, but the harder the training, the stronger the ability to stand with arms high.

 

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Hebrews Homiletics

11 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 11

AIM: God’s plan is for something better for all the faithful of all time

I. Faith is the confidence in hope and assurance in the unseen

1. Faith: confidence in hope, assurance in unseen

Truths:

  1. Faith is confidence in hope
  2. Faith is assurance in the unseen

Applications:

  1. Do I have confidence in the hope of Christ?
  2. Do I live as one with assurance in the unseen or do I want “to be shown to believe”?

II. Bible is filled with many who lived by faith without receiving the promise

2. Forefather commended for faith
3. Believe in creation by faith
4. Abel’s faith in sacrifice, commendation, still speaks
5. Enoch’s faith: Pleased God, taken to heaven
6. W/o faith =/= please God b/c w/o faith would not approach God
7. Noah’s faith: built ark, heir to righteousness
8-9a. Abraham’s faith: Went to land, made home
9b-10. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob: Tent dwellers looking forward to City
11. Sarah’s faith: old, bore child
12. From this one old man came many descendants/nations
13a. These were living by faith @ death – did not receive Jesus
13b-16. Foreigners looking to eternal home: God prepared City
17-19. Abraham trusted God enough to obey: Isaac as sacrifice
20. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob & Esau
21. By faith Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons
22. By faith Jacob instructed his bones home @ exodus
23. By faith infant Moses was hid
24-26. By faith Moses chose life of Israelite over son of Pharaoh
27. By faith Moses left Egypt
28. By faith Moses kept the passover
29. By faith Israelites crossed Red Sea, Egyptians drowned
30. By faith walls of Jericho fell
31. By faith Rahab saved
32-38. By faith many many many more acts

Truths:

  1. Throughout the ages there have been the faithful
  2. All faithful were commended for their faith
  3. None received what was promised (before Jesus)

Applications:

  1. Is my faith like that of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham?
  2. They lived by faith without Jesus, how is the gift of Christ making me stronger in my faith?
  3. By faith, would I leave my home?  By faith would I shelter others?  By faith, am I giving and receiving blessings?

 

III. God’s plan is for something better so together all faithful “be made perfect”

39-40.Commended for faith – Together w/ us be made perfect

Truths:

  1. God planned something better
  2. Faithful – all together – would be made perfect

Applications:

  1. Am I gratefully accepting God’s “better plan” or am I trying to make my own plans?
  2. Am I yielding daily to God’s transformation of my life to “be made perfect”

 

Additional Comments:

How many times have we heard things like, “If I could only see Jesus, then I would believe.”  or “I just need some proof to have faith.”

But, Hebrews 11 explains that would not be faith.  Faith includes an element of trust.  Faith includes an element of choice.  We know that when Christ returns He will be recognized by everyone still living.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom 14).  Even the demons that there is one God (James 2:19).  But that does not mean these groups of people are living by faith – in fact we know from the scriptures that they are not.

But for the faithful, God has planned something better:  To take those who have been made holy (sanctified, set apart for a special purpose in the service of the Lord), and to make them perfect.

I don’t feel perfect.  I don’t live a perfect life.  But I recognize that God is transforming me.  Not just to make me a little bit better than what I am today, but for the ultimate goal of giving me a new life and a new body so that I can live with Him in his holy presence in the eternal city that He has build, forever.

 

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