12 Moses

12.5 Moses 12, Day 5

God’s Jealousy

We often confuse jealousy and coveting and treat them as the same thing.  They are not.  Both have to do with being in possession of something.  Coveting is wanting to take possession of something that belongs to someone else.  Jealousy is wanting to retain possession of things that rightly belong to you but are at threat of being taken away.

Coveting is a sin.  It violates the 10 commandments.  Righteous jealousy is not a sin.

I use the term righteous jealousy because it assumes the item for which you are jealous rightly belongs to you.  If you are in possession of something that rightly belongs to someone else, then desiring to retain possession of it isn’t jealousy, it is coveting and theft.

All of this is based on the item being held as valuable.  No one, in their right mind, would covet or be jealous of a rock.  It is immaterial, without value.  But if the rock is a gemstone, then that changes.

And there in lies the precious gift of God’s jealousy for us.  Everything belongs to God.  He created the entire universe.  All matter, anti-matter, time and space belong to God.  But God looks at you and me, a collection of molecules and synapses, carbon and water, and He sees a precious gemstone.  Every soul born as a human belonged to God before life entered their cells, even the free will that enables us to choose to turn away from God is from God, and He is jealous for us.

What an amazing blessing.  You are a thing of beauty, of great wealth, precious, desired, something that God, who has everything, wants to possess because you rightly belong to Him.  God is jealous for you!  That should make your face shine with some radiance!

Write that fact on your mirror and look at it in the morning!

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
They had been forgiven for their wickedness and for breaking their covenant and commitment to do everything God had commanded

b.
I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.

c.
Through the children I have helped teach.  Through their ministry.

11.
a.
“A strong feeling of possessiveness, often caused by the possibility that something which belongs, or ought to belong, to one is about to be taken away.”  Everything belongs to God, help comes from Him alone

b.
All of this is a prophecy and foreshadowing of the sins they would be tempted to commit in the future.

12.
a.
He was with God

b.
Because he had spoken with the Lord

c.
my face, heart and hands, my voice. my writing and actions all reflect God’s glory – (still a work in progress)

About these ads
Standard
12 Moses

12.4 Moses 12, Day 4

God’s grace

God is eternal and knows everything.  That doesn’t mean He just knows everything in the past, but He knows everything in the past, present and future.  Not only that, but He is control of all of those events.

When we think of God’s grace, we think of it from a human view of time and events.  The Israelite people messed up big time and Moses threw the tablets that God had written with His finger to the ground.  We see the grace in the fact that God gives them a second chance and that he has Moses participate in the construction of the 2nd set of tablets.

But, here is the deal: God knew they were going to mess up and Moses was going to break the tablets and, yet, He gave Moses the first set of tablets anyway!  That is true grace.

When you look at your life and the ways you have sinned and you wonder can God make anything out of me, remember, He knew before you were born you were going to commit all of those sins, but He gave you life anyway.  He gave you life because of what He knows you can become and the way you can serve and honor Him and walk in a relationship with Him.  His grace doesn’t start at the point of forgiveness, His grace in your life started before you were ever born.

 

My Answers:

8.
The law was to bind the people with God on a path to holiness – even as it was given, it was broken.  God gave them another chance in grace

9.
a.
The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.

Remind me of God’s depth and power.  His willingness to forgive, but His preservation of justice

b.
bowed to the ground at once and worshiped, asked for forgiveness for the people

c.
God is a person – not an idea or impersonal force, He has a mind and a will.  He is willing to meet with me face to face and I should talk with Him every day and long for His presence

 

Standard
12 Moses

12.3 Moses 12, Day 3

God’s Glory

Have you ever traveled away from home for an extended period of time?  Whether being separated by work, school or service, your heart tugs to connect with your loved ones.  You can write letters, talk to them on the phone, even video conference with them, but it isn’t the same.  You want to be physically in their presence.  That isn’t a logic thing, but it is a heart thing.

Today we see Moses speaking to God from his heart.  He isn’t asking for special honor, his heart is longing to be with God.  He is homesick for a heavenly home that he doesn’t even know about, yet.

And, God does not turn him away or say no.  Instead, God cautions him, but finds a way to provide the connection Moses seeks.

Moses can’t see God in all His glory.  “God’s glory” is the sum total of all of His attributes.  It is simply too much for a human to experience fully.  Too much power. Too much presence.  Too much eternity. Too much.  But God doesn’t hide his glory from those who seek it, He reveals it Himself in measured ways – not to hide Himself back from us, but to give us the ability to experience Him.

Think of it this way.  You are sitting in a totally dark room for several minutes, when all of a sudden someone flips on extremely powerful flood lights.  What do you do?  You squeeze your eyes shut and cover them with your hand.  Did you long for the light?  Do you want the light? Yes to both.  Can you handle that much light?  Not at that moment.

But each day we walk with God, we move farther out of the darkness and farther into the light.  Each day God reveals more of His light to you if you continue to seek Him.

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
Teach me so that I may continue to know you and walk in the path you have divined for me

b.
earlier this year I asked God to show me how and to whom I should minister and in 2 weeks time he brought the leader of house churches in a communist country and dozens of foreign nationals to my house for a 5 hour lunch and prayer and praise meeting

c.
Remember that this nation is your people

d.
I pray for the children in our school program – their willing acceptance of God helps teach me how complicated I make things that are actually very simple

6.
Honors God’s servants, Honors God, Approaches God, Tries to reflect His glory, Tries not to be an enabler of others sin

7.
a.
A glimpse into Heaven

b.
I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you and proclaim my name, have mercy and compassion

c.
No one may see me and live

 

Standard
12 Moses

12.2 Moses 12, Day 2

Face to face, as one speaks to a friend

As Moses’ faith and understanding of God increased, he entered into a deeper personal relationship with God.

When Moses first encountered God, God was a voice in a burning bush.  While that reveals parts of God’s character (especially in the way the bush burned but was not consumed). It is hard to have a relationship with a burning bush.  God repeatedly talked with Moses during the plagues on Egypt.  God was present in a cloud and pillar of fire leading them out of Egypt.  He was present in the cloud descending on the mountain top.

But, in the tent of meeting God meets with Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.  This may be a figurative description explaining the relationship they had formed or it may be a literal description.  God has the ability to take on human form (Jesus Christ), and there are instances of the preincarnate Lord appearing to people.

But, here is the key thing to keep in mind.  God didn’t change.  Moses changed.

Moses has grown and matured from obedience, respect, honor, fear to love and longing and friendship and joy.  He didn’t set those other things aside, they are still appropriate responses, but he has grown and matured.

Where are you in your relationship with God?  Is He a distant being? Words in a book? Or is He real and substantial and someone he long to talk with every day as your best friend (BFF!)?  If you aren’t there, yet, do you recognize that you are the one who needs to change?  God is there already – He is waiting with open arms.  He doesn’t just consider you to be a friend, you are family.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
The people of Israel had chose to remove themselves from God’s presence when they worshiped the golden calf

b.
They inquired of the Lord, they honored Moses (rose and stood at their tent entrance), when saw cloud, stood and worshiped each at the entrance to their tent

4.
a.
God presented Himself to Moses in human form, not in His full heavenly glory

b.
Through Jesus He did and still does

 

Standard
11 Moses

11.5 Moses 11, Day 5

Take off the ornaments

We have been blessed to have had the opportunity to support and serve an organization in our town that helps bring homeless women and men in off the streets.  Many of these men and women have exhausted every other support option.  They have been to jail.  They have drug addictions.  They are prostitutes.  They have lost hope.

The Christian woman who founded and runs the organization came out of that same environment.  She knows and her ministry is built on the fact that these individuals do not have the strength to get out of their situations on their own.  It is only with the strength of Jesus Christ that their lives can be turned around.  She will take them in, feed them, shelter them, care for them, teach them, help them find work, make them birthday cakes, share life and love and the good news with them.  In return they simply need to accept this gift and submit to follow a few house rules.

One day we were talking with the founder and discussing what rule was the hardest for people to follow.  I was surprised to learn it was the rule about cell phones.  She has a requirement that someone new to the house must give up their cell phone for 60 days and must agree to allow them to erase all the contacts on the phone.  This is the single biggest hurdle.  The reason they require this is her time proven belief that you cannot continue to play in the same playground with the same playmates and think you are going to play a different game of life.  She said that, despite the fact that it breaks her heart each time it happens, they have learned to not bend on this rule.  If someone who needs their help refuses to cut ties with their old life, they fully intend to go back to that old life.

The Israelites didn’t have cell phones, but they had jewelry and ornamentation.  Is jewelry and ornamentation bad?  Are we restricted from wearing earrings?  I don’t think that is what this is trying to say.  Instead, the message was to remove the temptations.  If wearing earrings causes your mind to return to the golden calf, get rid of the earrings.

You may not have a drug dealer on speed dial or a penchant for golden calves, but you may have ongoing repetitive sin in your life.  Are you so foolish to believe that you can expose yourself to the same playground and playmates and not keep doing the same things?  Clear out the ornamentation in your life that pulls you back into the same old things that you regret.  It is OK to let it go, Jesus has way better things in store for you, but He needs you to grab ahold of Him with both hands – not one while you refuse to let go of your old way of life with the other.

 

My Answers

10.
a.
They sought to seek God’s forgiveness for others by offering themselves as an atonement for their sins

b.
Jesus

c.
His was innocent blood, He was God, He gave Himself as a ransom

11.
Self responsibility.  (also that there is punishment for sin and a book of life to be blotted out of)

12.
a.
Before He said the angel would protect them along the way, they angel would wipe out the inhabitants, God’s blessings on their food and water, no sickness, no miscarriage, a full life span,

b.
stiff-necked people

c.
they mourned and took off their ornaments

d.
be humbled in my sin, repent and seek God’s forgiveness.  Make restitution where possible. – Leave the old temptations behind.

Standard
11 Moses

11.4 Moses 11, Day 4

3000 die, one doesn’t

Today’s lesson is hard.

Aaron, who had been left in charge, made the golden calf.  Despite what he later tried to claim, it did not just come out of the fire.  Melting gold is not easy, you don’t just do it over an open campfire, it requires a bellows or some type of furnace, but first you have to construct the mold, and even then you have to have a way to get the molten gold into the mold without it solidifying.  So, there was intent and effort and time put into making this idol.  But Aaron appears to suffer no punishment for this sin.

At the same time, Moses calls out to the entire camp “whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And, at God’s command, the Levites strap on their swords and go back and forth through the camp killing those who are still running wild.  3000 die.

In our judgement this may not seem just.

First, we are not the judge.  God is. It is not our place to judge God and we know that He is always just.  We could stop there and accept in faith that God is right.  But, let’s go farther, while keeping the fact that God is just in mind.

Everyone is going to die.  You, me, Moses, Aaron, the Israelites, each of us has a day that this life will end.  God is in charge.  God knows and ordains the day we are born and the day we will die.  To believe otherwise is to believe that God either doesn’t know or doesn’t have control.  It isn’t that God wants us to die.  He wants us to live with him forever, that was His original plan with Adam and Eve, but we chose and continue to choose sin.  This life we have in this body will come to an end.  So, with that understanding, would it make us feel any better if some of the 3000 had died the day before in an oxen accident or died the next week in a battle or simply died of old age in the dessert?  Why do we bristle from the dying on this day as opposed to any other day?

So why this day, then?  They had chosen the golden calf, but they didn’t die that day.  They had seen Moses anger when he burned up the calf and ground it up and forced them to drink it, but they didn’t die that day.  But in spite of all of that, the tablets being broken, the calf being burned, the ashes being ground up, the forced consumption of the burnt up idol, they still ran wild.  Despite all they had seen, and felt, and heard and learned – despite all that they still chose to be wild animals.

The term “stiff-necked” comes from oxen.  When an ox is yoked, the person in control steers and controls the direction of the animal by turning its head, either through the use of a bridle and bit or through the use of an ox-goad (a stick with a pointed end).  A stiff-necked oxen is one who continuously fights the person in control.  It refuses to turn its neck.  It goes where it wants to go and does what it wants to do.  It is a dangerous creature and it can inflict great damage, injury and death on others if it goes wild.  If such a creature, despite the continued efforts and training of its master, continues to disobey, it is put down.

The Levites did not go through the camp maliciously murdering innocent friends and family.  They obediently killed those who insisted on being wild animals in the street.  They killed those who made the choice to become and live as enemies of God and enemies of the Jewish people.  This camp was a battle field and they killed those who elected to terrorize their neighbors, family and friends.

Should we strap on a sword and start killing people in our neighborhoods?  Absolutely not.  That is not what we are commanded to do.  But we, through our military, police and judicial systems, do fight and kill those who have chosen to be enemies both at home and abroad.

But why not Aaron?  Why not any of the other thousands of jews who did not die on this day?  It was not what God ordained.  Our leaders are not perfect.  Many of our leaders, including pastors and religious leaders, have committed great sin in their lives and have led others into sin.  That does not mean that God is restricted from using them as leaders.  God chose Aaron and despite the fact that sacrifices will be made for Aaron’s sin and to ordain him as a priest, he would carry the knowledge of his sin every day.  This had to influence the work he would perform in the tabernacle.  This had to make a difference in his thinking as he made sacrifice after sacrifice for the sins of the people.  When faced with that job, day-in, day-out, it would have been easy for a high priest to think of himself as better than the people.  Could Aaron ever do that again?

This is hard and uncomfortable, but so is life.  Who do you stand with?  Do you yield to the authority of the master, the farmer who cares for you and protects you and wants you to participate in good work, or do you fight and run wild?  In Matthew 11, Jesus asks us to take his yoke, his yoke is easy and the burden is light.

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
They did not receive the 10 commandments crafted by God, they were out of control, laughingstock to their enemies, they were forced to drink the ground up powder of the golden calf

b.
Aaron and the people

c.
I am to be a solid witness not bending at the first temptation

9.
a.
he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “whoever is for the Lord, come to me”, Levites rallied, strap sword go back and forth from one end of camp to the other, killing brother, friend and neighbor – 3000 died

b.
They broke the first 4 commandments, they broke their covenant with God, even after Moses returned, they continued to be wild

c.
set apart, blessed, disciple of God

Standard
11 Moses

11.3 Moses 11, Day 3

Gears

When the people of Israel looked at each other they did not see perfect people.  When the looked at themselves, honestly, they knew something was missing.  They could feel it.  A hollowness in their center, a roughness around their edges.

They didn’t like it.  They didn’t like it in themselves and they didn’t like it in others.  They wanted to fill it up and they didn’t particularly care what it was filled with.  Anger, pride, joy, self-justification, food, drink, idols, it didn’t matter.  They wanted smooth edges and an internal feeling of fullness.  Fulfillment.

Are people today any different?  Look around – don’t you see the exact same situation today.  If anything our dedication to our own selfworth and our criticism of others may be at an all time high.

But, what if we have it all wrong?  What if that emptiness we feel was there for a specific purpose?  What if we were created to be gears?  What if we are supposed to fit into something bigger?  What if that roughness of around our edges was there not for ourselves, but to connect with others who also have rough edges.  What if we are not a problem to be fixed, but a part of an amazing grand design?  What if instead of focusing on ourselves, we turned our focus to the source of power that can turn our world around and around?

When Moses came down and saw the sin, he took the golden calf, burned it ground it up and made all the people of Israel drink it.  Did it bring them fulfillment?  Did it fill up that hole in the center of their soul? No, it made them sick.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
16. the work of God, the writing of God

b.
They had broken the law (literally), they were not deserving of the gift of the law

7.
a.
He was left in charge, he had been appointed, he knew better – history before Egypt and eye witness to every miracle and plague

b.
blamed the people (prone to evil), they told him, they didn’t know where Moses was, he stuck the gold in the fire and out popped the calf

c.
same – blaming circumstances and others rather than owning my sin

Standard