06 Moses

06 Moses 6, Day 2

Holy days start with obedience

In this night everything changed.  In this night the angel of Lord would go through the entire country of Egypt, not just a single city, but the entire country, and kill the first born of man or animal of rich or poor of highest station to lowest station.

But, when the Israelite people celebrated that first passover, none of that had yet happened.  They were not yet free from Egypt.  They had witnessed 9 plagues but through each Pharaoh’s heart was increasingly hardened.  They still were slaves.  They still had no possessions.  Pharaoh’s army was still one of the strongest in the world and they were among the lowest of the low.  What was there to celebrate?

The answer to that question is truly at the heart of why passover was such an important holiday.  What was being celebrated in heaven and earth was the fact that at twilight on that night the Hebrew people, the adopted people of the Lord God, had made the choice to be obedient and submit to protection under the blood of the lamb.

That is the day God chose to make a holy day (holiday), to be celebrated year after year.  Not the day they left Egypt.  Not the day they crossed the Red Sea.  But, this night.  This night when these people heard His promise of salvation and, although they did not fully understand it yet, they obeyed and accepted His promise.

I believe the same is true today.  I believe each time someone accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and makes the decision to be obedient and paints the doorway to their heart with the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world a party breaks out in Heaven and a Holy Day is celebrated!

My Answers:

3.
a.
I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely

b.
This is what the LORD says… he then laid out the entire plague of the death of the first born, when, who, how, what will happen afterward

c.
His heart was hardened.  As Moses began telling Pharaoh all that would happen Pharaoh said “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.” Ex 10:28

4.
a.
Started new, 10th day, take lamb for family, share w/neighbor, year old males without defect (sheep or goats), care for from 10th through 14th, slaughter @ twilight, take blood and put on sides and top of doorframes (where eat lambs), roast over fire with bitter herbs, bread w/no yeast, roast it whole (not boiled), no left overs, dressed ready to go, eat in haste

b.
This was the night in which the angel of death of the lord passed over the obedient households where the blood was a sign

c.
JTB announced Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”, Christ our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

d.
Yes

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05 Moses

05.5 Moses 5, Day 5

Repent and submit vs. Recognize and negotiate

 Now we get to the really interesting part.  Pharaoh, even with his thousands of gods and magicians and hardened heart is finally beginning to see the power of God’s mighty hand.  The gnats were only God’s finger, but now, God’s might is right in Pharaoh’s face.  What is Pharaoh’s response?

Pharaoh responds in a very similar way that we see men respond each time they come in the presence of God.  One of the things they recognize, in the light of God’s glory, is the sin in their own lives.

But that is not God’s point.  He knows we have the sin.  His interest is not in us recognizing the sin and then continuing to do it.  His interest is in us recognizing the sin and turning to Him to bring change in our lives.

Let me use an illustration.  Pharaoh recognized that God is God and that he and his people have sinned by not obeying God and then tried to negotiate who can and cannot go worship God.  This is the same as an adulterous spouse being caught in the act and then trying to negotiate that they will only cheat on even days of the month or only when it is raining.  It is absurd.  Pharaoh’s appropriate response to Moses should have been, can I am my people come and worship God with you!  The appropriate response is to turn from the sin and back into the one and only true relationship.

But we have all done it.  Any time our thoughts and prayers to God start with “If you will”, we are falling into the same trap.  The question is not “If God will”, the question is “If I truly repent” and the answer is, “then I will turn my heart to God.”

God has already made his covenant – He gave His only son to die for our sins.  If that is not sufficient for you or me to turn to Him, then I can’t imagine Him being interested in making some other deal to redeem us from our sins.

 

My Answers:

10.
Pharaoh and the Egyptians began to recognize their sin
7. God gave opportunity for Egyptians to not be affected, Pharaoh admitted he had sinned
8. Egyptians begin to turn from Pharaoh (we are ruined), Pharaoh attempts to “cut a deal”, Pharaoh admitted he had sinned
9. 3 days darkness in Egypt, light in Goshen – Pharaoh summons Moses, go but leave flocks – do not return again

11.
a.
Letting some people go but not others.  Letting people go but leaving flocks.  He was slowly giving in.

b.
If you will…. then I will or I won’t….

c.
Sure.  When I was immature in my faith and didn’t trust in God fully I tried to use Him as a vending machine.  Send prayers and promises and hope for blessings.

12.
He did not falter – he did not negotiate or give in to Pharaoh.  He stood toe-to-toe with the mightiest earthly king and did not give up any of the LORD’s ground.

 

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05 Moses

05.4 Moses 5, Day 4

 Is all human illness caused by sin in the person’s life?

Is all human illness caused by sin in the person’s life?  At first we may look at that question and find it absurd.  Of course not.  Who would believe that?

Yet, our own sin does cause illness in our lives.  The decisions we make.  The choices of how we act and behave.  The friends we choose.  All of these affect our lives and our health.

Plus there are many who believe in the concept of karma or people “getting what they deserved”  or that through the “laws of attraction” we bring on positive or negative things into our lives.  There are even some (Christian Science) who believe that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, and that the sick should be treated, not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health.

But if we have learned nothing else from Bible Study Fellowship, we hopefully have learned that the answer to challenging questions is not found in what others think, it is found in the bible.  So what does the bible says.

In John 9:1-3, we see this played out with Jesus and His followers:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

We also see it in Jesus’ words in Luke 13:1-5:

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

In not so many words, Jesus makes it clear, “I TELL YOU, NO!”

1. No, this is not “karma” or people just getting what they deserve.  If that was the case, we would all get eternal death as the just payment for our sins.  The thought that we deserve something divine because we try to not do bad significantly over inflates our ability not to sin.

2. If we look at others and think they must have done something to deserve what has happened to them, we need to recognize the problem is not with them it is with us.  Instead of falling into a trap of thinking we must be better because we haven’t been struck with illness or death, we should fall on our knees and repent.  They may be sick, but with that attitude, we will surely perish.

God allows illness.  We seldom understand why and often cannot see how it brings Him glory, but because we don’t grasp it does not mean it is not real.

 

My Answers:

7.
They were not affected.  No swarms of flies will be there (where they lived)

8.
a.
Each time he is giving Pharaoh, as the representative of all non-jews, an opportunity to repent and turn to Him

b.
He is patient, full of grace, and has a desire to bring all of creation back as His children

c.
His heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go

9.
a.
People got sick, affected people directly, including the magicians in Pharaoh’s court

b.
Not in that person but sin is the cause of illness in the world.  John 9:1-3, Jesus heals bilnd man, “who sinned, man or parents”,  Jesus, “Neither, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

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05 Moses

05.3 Moses 5, Day 3

 God doesn’t need us, He wants us

God didn’t need Moses.  God could have talked to pharaoh directly, in a dream, through an angel, through an animal, through another person.

God didn’t need Pharaoh or his permission.  God could have taken his people out of Egypt in a moment, He could have destroyed all the Egyptians, sent other armies to wipe them out, sent a plague and just opened the earth and swallowed them up.

God definitely didn’t need the magicians, except maybe for some comic relief.

What God wanted was to reveal Himself to us, all of us, the Hebrews, the Egyptians, all the nations then and all the people now including you and me.  God wanted us to know that He was more powerful than any Egyptian god.  If they want to worship 8700 different gods, He would go head to head with their top 10.  Here is a great diagram of the 10 Egyptian gods that God defeats in the 10 plagues.  God didn’t want to just tell us that He was greater.  He wasn’t out to brag or boast.  He simply is greater and gave us the real life proof of His mighty hand.

But, I do have to admit, the magicians are my favorite part of the story.  They remind me so much of people today who try to disclaim God.  God turns the rivers of the Nile river (not a bucket of water, but the entire Nile river) to blood.  There is a horrible stench.  There is no water to drink.  So what do the magicians do?  They turn more water to blood.  Just what they need – more water turned into blood.  Next come the frogs.  Frogs are everywhere, in their clothes, in their food, on them.  So they turn to the magicians and what do they conjure up?  More frogs.  Just what they need!!!  How thankful do you think the Egyptians must have been when the Magicians failed to produce yet more gnats?

But God shows that He is totally in control.  Not only does he deliver the frogs, but he takes them away.  This is true of every plague and every sign.  Moses’ hand turns leprous and then is healed.  The rod turns into a snake and then back into a staff.  God actively controls all.  He allowed the magicians to add to his punishment of Egypt and to be a part of hardening Pharaoh’s heart, but He did not allow them to take away anything that He ordained.

God is all powerful.  It is by His love and grace that He blesses us by allowing us to be a part of revealing His glory to others.

 

My Answers:

5.

The LORD Moses/Aaron Magicians Pharaoh
You will know that I am the LORD, strike water/changed to blood, fish die, river stink, Egyptians won’t drink Did just as the LORD had commanded, in the presence of Pharaoh and officials, blood, dead fish, stink can’t drink Did the same things by their secret art Heart became hard, would not listen to Moses/Aaron, turned and went into his palace, did not take this to heart.   Egyptians suffered.
Let people go, if refuse: Plague of frogs, everywhere.Made frogs die when Moses prayed Obeyed, stretched out hand over water, frogs came up and covered the land.Kept promise to Pharaoh of when to pray. Did the same by their secret art, also made frogs come up on the land Summoned M/A, pray to take away and I will let people go.But when he saw there was relief his heart hardened and he would not listen.
Told: Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground and through Egypt the dust will become gnats Obeyed – there were gnats Tried, but could not produce gnats Said, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen (as the LORD had said)

 

6.
a.
This is what the LORD says

b.
Because it was God talking, not Moses

c.
God’s word is the word of God, not the men who wrote it down.

 

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05 Moses

05.2 Moses 5, Day 2

A Hard Heart

 I know a thing or two about having a hard heart, both physically and spiritually.  I have coronary artery disease and am alive today only because of God’s hand in working through surgeons, medications and a persistent, dedicated and faithful wife.  So I understand how plaque forms and hardens on the linings of the heart and the damage, pain and death that it can cause.  I also lived for a number of years professing to be a Christian while not facing the reality that for that to be true I didn’t just need to know about Christ but I need to walk with Him every day.

So, here is my perspective on how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

The Egyptians, under Pharaoh, worshiped over 8700 gods.  That is literally one god for every hour of the day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Each of those gods was like a little bit of dirt, a little bit of impurity in the fluid going in and out of Pharaoh’s heart every day.  Now the bible tells us that faith in God is like pure living water.  In John 7:37-38 Jesus says, ““If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 

When I describe it to the kids I ask if they have ever taken a drink through a straw.  You know what it feels and tastes like to take a drink of nice cold, pure, clear water.  Now, imagine that someone had put a whole lot of dirt into your water – what would happen when you tried to drink it?  It would clog up the straw and make it so nothing would flow through it.

In my opinion God didn’t harden Pharaoh’s heart by adding hardness.  God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by removing His grace.  Because we are all God’s creation, God is a part of each of our lives.  Yes, we are born in sin in a sin filled world, but God is with us and working in and through us even before we acknowledge and accept him.  While we are still sinners, He has saved us from our sin.  That is the clear flowing water of life that flows through our spiritual heart.  That is the water of life that keeps us moving forward even when we fill our lives with things other than the one true God.

It is a question for all of us – what impurities are we muddying the waters of our hearts with?  Are we calling on God to leave us to our sins or to wash them out of our system through the power of His spirit.

My Answers:

3.
a.
The interaction with the Israelite foremen had negatively impacted his confidence. (iIspeak with faltering lips).  He was again feeling inadequate, insecure and afraid

b.
See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh and your bother Aaron will be your prophet

c.
God is patient and in control.  It is not our own strength but God’s strength that will pervail.

4.
a.
The heart is a pump, it has ins and outs that are like big straws.  Pharaoh decided that instead of the Living Water of God flowing through him, he would add a bunch of other gods.  The Egyptians worshiped over 8700 different gods.  Each of those was like dirt.  When God hardened pharaoh’s heart it wasn’t because he added hardness; he withdrew His grace

b.
horrible suffering through 10 plagues plus the destruction of their army (11th plague)

c.
The people suffer, the nation deteriorates and goes to ruin while other nations rise and eventually conquer it.

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04 Moses

04.5 Moses 4, Day 5

Part I: Pass the Burden and Part II: Outlaw to Obedience

In life we have burdens.  Some burdens are physical.  Some are injuries from situations or other people.  Some are products of our own fears, inadequacies and insecurities.  We know they are there.  They interfere with our health, our sleep and our relationships with others.  And, like those in our reading today, we often try to pass them to others.

When Moses told Pharaoh God’s command to “Let my people go”, Pharaoh became burdened.  Who is the Lord that Pharaoh should obey?  Is Pharaoh’s authority being questioned?  Is he at risk of losing power or prestige?  Do people think him weak?  Is he making the right decision?

Pharaoh attempts to shift his burden to the Hebrews.  He feels burdened so he increases their burden.  He tells the slave masters and overseers.  They tell the slaves.  When results wain, the burden on the slave masters increases and they increase the burden on the overseers by beating them.  When the overseers are beaten they go to Pharaoh and attempt to shift the burden to “your people”.

When that is not successful, the foremen pile the burden onto Moses and Aaron as a curse.  Moses feels burdened and passes it to God.  Why? Why?

But there it stops.  God doesn’t pass the burden, He simply says “I am the Lord.”

The interesting thing about this progression is that up until the last step burden wasn’t off-loaded, it simply multiplied.  When Pharaoh increased the burden on the Hebrews it in no way decreased the burden he felt – there was just more burden.  When the overseers blamed Moses, their burden didn’t decrease, but Moses’ increased.  But when Moses passed it to God everything changed.  Not only did God take on the burden, but he actually removed it from Moses.  How things would have been different if Pharaoh had stopped and taken his burden to The Lord instead of denying Him.  How things would have been different if the overseers turned directly to God instead of blaming Pharaoh or cursing Moses.

We face these same challenges daily.  We are tempted to try to pass our burden to others: to be mad a co-worker, short with our spouse, harsh with our children.  But none of those “pass the burden” tactics make anything better – taking it to the Lord is the only source of relief.  Matt 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

———————

Bonus:  Moses’ Outlaw Roots

When we think of Levites we think of priests.  But, as we read these verses starting at Exodus 6:13 we need to keep in mind that was not yet the case.  Jacob’s first three sons were the outlaws of the family.  In Genesis 49, Jacob brings his sons together for a final blessing before he dies and, in essence if not in direct words, curses the linage of his first three sons: Reuben, Simeon and Levi.

How interesting that these three sons are the ones Moses includes in this strangely placed lineage.  But all of us have lineage.  We are a product of our parents and our grandparents and great grandparents and the choices they made.  Like Moses, we can continue down the same path or we can face the road in front of us and go a different direction.

God was shifting into a higher gear and Moses was choosing a new direction.  His heritage was anger and fury.  His ancestry was killing others in anger.  His curse was to be scattered.

But his choice now was to change from outlaw to obedient servant of God.  From fury to faith.  From being scattered to being used by God to gather His people to Him.

We have the same choice.  Are we defined by the actions of others or are we defined by our obedience to God?

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
He talked about His mighty hand and that He is The LORD.

b.
I am The LORD

c.
His commitment to them.  His singular might (not relying on anyone else and no doubt present)

9.
a.
I will bring you out. I will free you. I will redeem you. I will take you as my own people. I will be your God. I will bring you to the land. I will give it to you. I am the LORD

b.
Ezek 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.

10.
Discouragement over our circumstances can prevent us from receiving the comfort we desire.  It can also stand in the way of us accepting God and His will for us.

11.
a.
Amram – Kohath – Levi

b.
Elisheba.  Ndab, Abihu, Eleazar, ithamar.  Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel, had Phinehas

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04 Moses

04.4 Moses 4 Day 4

Shifting Gears

Have you ever ridden in a vehicle with a stick shift?  Here is my illustration:

You are sitting in the passenger seat next to a race car driver, a professional.  You’re excited.  You’re ready to go.  He’s at the line ready to go and he steps on the gas and… you’re off.  That sudden burst of acceleration sets you back in your seat.  The thrill, the power of the engine, the feel of the vehicle.  When, all of a sudden he steps on the clutch and the acceleration slows.  You slip forward in your seat and you panic.  Did the ride stop?  Is that the end?  I thought we were going. I thought we would just keep going faster and faster, racing forward.  What went wrong?

This is what Moses’ experience must have been like.  But God wasn’t hitting the brakes, he was tapping the clutch, he was simply shifting gears.

Why did this happen?  Why didn’t God just have Moses do the miracles and have the people set free?  We see similar things in our journey as Christians.  We’ll work with a new believer only to see them stumble in their faith.  We’ll pray for those in our groups, but see them still struggle.  We’ll have a spirit filled event that gives us clarity of direction only to face obstacles that cause us to question our understanding or ability.

But the point of a Christian life is not simply to get from point A to point B – to get from this life into heaven.  The reason to sit next to a race car driver is for the journey not just the destination.  Seeing them in command of the vehicle, feeling the way they handle this instrument and any obstacle, that is where the joy is.

Don’t panic when God pops the clutch to shift you out of first gear – the journey isn’t ending, it is just about to get more exciting.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
Why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me?

b.
That he had failed or misunderstood.  That something had gone wrong or that God had changed His plan.

7.
a.
Only temporarily.  We have stepped away from deals in business because, while lucrative, they did not fit our values and obedience to honor God.  We lost in the short run, but it always has turned out for the better.

b.
Remember God does not change, that He and His plans are perfect.  While I am short sighted, He sees eternity.  He knows what is best and what needs to be done – a bump is not a cliff.

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