06 Moses

06 Moses 6, Day 4

The Biggest Gun

There is a famous scene of the Cairo Swordsman in the first Indiana Jones movie.  After a chase scene in a crowded market, Dr. Jones is faced with a trained assassin, a skilled swordsman prepared to meet this outsider.  In the scene, Indiana Jones watches the moves of the assassin for a few seconds then takes out his gun and shoots him.

The Israelite people left Egypt fully armed for battle (13:18) or at least battle as they knew it from their time in Egypt.  But God had something bigger and more powerful than they could even imagine, if they would put their trust in Him.

He couldn’t just tell them about it.  It was a power they would not have been able to fathom and believe.  Let’s face it, thousands of years later many still have a hard time understanding and believing it. No, the only way was to show them – and what better way to demonstrate it than against the most powerful army of the most powerful nation they could imagine: Egypt.

He placed them into a position that was contrary to any military logic.  He had them wander about to feign a message to the Egyptian army that they lacked direction and leadership and a mission.  Then he positions them in an indefensible camp with their backs to an impassible body of water.  At which point He demonstrates that not only is His power greater than all the gods of Egypt, but it is even more powerful than something the Egyptians put even more trust into than their 8700 gods.  God is more powerful than the entire Egyptian army, chariots and all.

He parts the water and the Israelite people cross over walking on dry land with walls of water on each side of them.  When they have all safely passed, he allows the Egyptians to pursue, but then confuses them so they run in circles and get stuck and break down in the midst of the parted sea, then He simply closes the sea around them, destroying and defeating everything about the army.

Now, that is a bigger gun!

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
God recognized the weakness of their faith and did not lead them through Philistine country.  They went up out of Egypt ready for battle.  He led them by day and night and was teaching them to trust fully in Him.

b.
He put them into a position, by wandering around and then camping with no avenue of retreat, that their own power and strength was futile, but through His mighty hand He provided a safe passage and defeat of their enemies.

c.
Pharaoh and all his army and all the Egyptians know that “I am the LORD.” when he freed the Israelites and destroyed the entire army

d.
I am totally unequipped to minister to those in foreign lands, I am not equipped, I do not speak any other languages, I do not know the culture – I am a man with faltering lips in this area.  But less than a week ago, with 3 days notice, God placed the main leaders of the house church movement in a closed communist nation in my house along with 40 people from that country who are here on student and work visas and God allowed me to be a small part of demonstrating His compassion and hospitality so that He could do His work through the connections of these people.  Buses were showing up full of noted Christian authors, pastors and house church leaders along with non-believers and seekers.  If this occurred in their home country they would have been persecuted and imprisoned for even being in the same room.  Many of the leaders in our home had spent years in prison and suffered brutality and torture in the name of Jesus.  But on this day, dozens of people were on their knees being prayed over in their native tongue and hearing the word of God spoken.  The hardest thing I had to do was the dishes!

9.
a.
the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant

b.
He is truly mighty and wonderful.  He does not need me, but has allowed me to have a part and to see how He is moving in the lives of others, especially the children.

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04 Moses

04.2 Moses 4, Day 2

Reasonable Request Reflects Reality

One of our questions today asked if the request of Pharaoh made by Moses and Aaron was reasonable?  That is a very interesting question on a lot of levels.  If the goal was to free the Israelite people from bondage, is it deception to ask for a 3-day pass?

But I believe, like everything else in the bible, this is here for a purpose.  Let’s look deeper.

1. There was no law against worship.  Egypt didn’t have a state religion, in fact the Egyptians worshiped many different gods and had feasts and feast days for many of them.  Everything from the sun god to the god of the Nile, the frog god and the god of flies.  They lacked not for gods and temples to worship them.  So it was not unprecedented for people to worship.

2. Pharaoh had the authority to grant the request.  As is evident later in Exodus 5, the slave drivers took their orders from Pharaoh.  He gave the quotas and provided the raw materials for their work.  He was the one in charge and the only one in Egypt with authority to grant this request.

3. It was not an ongoing or outlandish request.  They were not asking for a stop to labor or a 50% reduction in work.  They weren’t asking to go to work for Egypt’s competitors. They weren’t asking for major, ongoing concessions, just a respite for worship.

I think this is here so we can truly see Pharaoh’s heart and his view of the Israelite workers.  If this request and response weren’t here, then we wouldn’t know.  We may have thought that, while slavery is never good, but maybe things weren’t so bad.  Maybe if they had just worked with Pharaoh he would have been supportive.  Maybe if presented with the option, Pharaoh would have chosen God.

But, here we see the truth.  Pharaoh didn’t know the Lord nor did he want to.  Pharaoh did not care about the Hebrews. To Pharaoh, they were a resource.  They were machines in the production or buildings.  They were slaves.  They weren’t people.

But to God, they were people.  They would be His people and He would be their God.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
The sacrifices they would offer to the Lord would be detestable to the Egyptians and they would stone the Israelites

b.
Yes, they did not ask for Pharaoh to free the Egyptians, just to give them the opportunity to worship God by holding a festival in the wilderness a 3 day journey

c.
I do not know the Lord – why are you taking them from their labor, get back to work, they are numerous (i.e., it would be a major impact to productivity to shut down for 3 days)

4.
a.
Slave drivers were Egyptians, Forement (overseers) were Hebrews

b.
They were taking the brunt of the punishment and blame, they were being beaten, they were in a position of authority and honor (better to be foreman than making the bricks).  They are “part of management”

 

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03 Moses

03.4 Moses 3, Day 4

Insecurity, Inadequacy and Fear

Insecurity, Inadequacy and Fear are three of the top 10 barriers that those of us called to serve the Lord allow to stand in the way of serving Him fully and whole heartedly.  Some will read the verses in our study today and see an impertinent or obstinate Moses.  But I think this is far deeper and more meaningful.

When we stand in the presence of God we will speak the truth.  Scripture tells us that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

I think what we see is Moses revealing his heart and soul layer by layer in the presence of a loving and patient God.  Yesterday we discussed the first 2 barriers.  I don’t know who I am and I don’t know who you are, God.  God addressed those.  Now we move deeper past the surface.

1. I am insecure.  What if they don’t believe me?  What if I lay myself out in front of them and they reject me?  God answers this by making Moses more secure and teaching him about God’s plan.  God shows him how to perform miraculous signs.  He doesn’t just tell him these signs, He allows Moses to practice the signs and to experience there impact first hand.  He teaches Moses what he is to do and enlightens him that they may not believe the first sign or the second sign and they may not listen to Moses, but they will believe the third.

2. I am inadequate.  I am not eloquent.  I am slow of speech.  What if I don’t have the words to convince them?  What if I don’t know what to say or how to say it?  God patiently reminds him not of Moses power but of Gods.  Who made it so men can speak?  This is not a barrier, because it is not a barrier to God.  God tells him again, “now, go” and reminds him that God will not only help him speak but actually teach him the very words to say.

3. I am afraid.  No one likes to admit we are afraid, but we all experience fear and it can paralyze us.  I believe Moses’ final request, that God send someone else, is an expression of his fear.  And how does God address this?  In two ways.  First, if you are going to have fear in your life, let it be a reasonable fear of the Lord.  God’s anger burned against Moses.  The shift from petty fears to righteous fear that Moses must have experienced at that moment must have been palpable.  But God did not use fear to be the motivation for Moses to obey.  This is very important.  God revealed Moses’ fear for what it was in comparison to the fear of God, but He didn’t leave Moses with something to move away from, He gave Moses something to look forward to.  The conversation between God and Moses reveals that Moses and Aaron knew each other as brothers.  Moses knew that Aaron could speak well.  Moses had been away for 40 years, away from home and family, and God overcomes his fear with a promise of hope and love and reuniting.  He tells Moses that Aaron is already on his way to meet him.  (Don’t miss that.  God didn’t yield to Moses’ fear, he had sent Aaron on his way before this conversation happened.)

God helps and is patient of us in exactly the same way.  He overcomes our feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.  He overcomes our fear with hope and love and reuniting.  He has given us the promise of a promised land that makes the land of Canaan look like a wasteland.  He has given us a promise of his presence that makes the pillar of fire look like a flashlight with weak batteries.

Like Moses, He has given us a sign and a promise: when our mission here on earth is done we shall return to a holy place to worship Him.

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
1. What if they don’t believe me or listen to me?
2. Pardon, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and tongue.
3. Pardon, Please send someone else

b.
v2-9 foresight into miraculous signs
v11-12. who gave human beings their mouths?… Now, go; I will help you speak and teach you what to say
14-17. The Lord’s anger burned against Moses – gave him helper, Aaron

c.
I don’t know what to say.  I don’t want to offend.  I’m not the right person.  I’m too sinful to be believed.  I’m not holy enough.  God has been patient with me, taught me, and has taken up residence in my heart.

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25 BSF Matthew Week 25

25 BSF Matthew Week 25, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

A call to action.  It is used in advertising and sales.  It is used in motivation and investing.  It is a big part of being a responsible, successful result.  If you want something, if you believe something, then take action – do something.  An idea is nothing.  An idea put into action can change the world.

Faith is no different.  If your faith is alive it is on fire in you.  It cannot be contained or constrained.  It is producing heat and steam and it needs to vent out in service to others and praise to God.  But these works are not done as a tally or score.  They don’t earn points.  They aren’t done out of guilt or obligation.  Truly glorious, honorable works are done out of love for God.

And Christ’s expectation of us is so reasonable.  Note what he says of the goats.  They did NONE of these things.  It isn’t a list of all the things they needed to do.  They did nothing.  They sought only themselves.  They knew of the gift of Jesus, laying down His life, but couldn’t be bothered to offer a drink to someone they considered below themselves.

Might they have fed and given drinks to others?  It is possible, but for what purpose?  Was it to win favor with a higher up, a potential client?  Was it to be seen as a “good person”?  Did they need the tax deduction? Then they had already received their reward.  But the acts done for the love of Christ, those are the acts of one who follows the lamb.

My Answers:

10.
a.
On His glorious throne above all nations

b.
All nations, all people of all time – everyone

11.
a.
gave food when hungry, drink when thirsty, invited in stranger, clothed, cared for when sick, visited in prison

b.
Did no do any of these things

12.
a.
When did we see you…?

b.
Romans: seek glory, honor and immortality (seek God) and will have eternal life – do good
James: faith by itself, not accompanied by action, is dead – don’t earn salvation but true faith demands actions
1John: Jesus laid down life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for others – not love with words but with action

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22 BSF Matthew Week 22

22 BSF Matthew Week 22, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

People often misunderstand the term “Fear of God.”  I don’t think this means a fear of punishment, viewing God as someone to cower from or to avoid so as not to anger him.  Instead, I think it means fear of disappointing.

I grew up in my father’s home town.  When I went someone, anywhere, the odds were very high that someone there knew my dad and knew I was his son.  My actions, and my mis-deeds, reflected not only on me but on him.  I did not fear so much his anger or punishment, but that I would dishonor or disappoint him by my callous behavior.

I think having that same type of fear of God is important and that it reflect love and honor and respect for our Heavenly Father.  But that is not whom the spiritual leaders in the temple feared.  When Jesus challenged them about John the Baptist, there was nothing in their thought process about God or truth.  It was all about fear of men.

Whom you fear reflects whom you honor and respect.

 

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
show us your qualifications, license, certification, authority – Union card, who died and made you the messiah?

b.
Every day Jesus taught in the temple – teachers of the law and the leaders were trying to kill him

6.
a.
They decided to not believe John the Baptist, the prophets, the prophecies of scriptures

b.
seeing don’t see, hearing don’t hear, hear don’t understand, see, not perceive, calloused heart, blind

7.
a.
Gentiles, tax collectors, prostitutes – others that were considered blatant sinners

b.
The jews, particularly the teachers of the law and pharisees

8.
a.
Said no, but did: Same, drugs, prostitution, open sin.  Said yes, but no: Church going hypocrites

b.
I was the later, but now am the says yes and does

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21 BSF Matthew Week 21

21 BSF Matthew Week 21, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

It is often helpful to put ourselves into the biblical story.  By immersing ourselves into character, we not only get a deeper sense of the message but we are better able to see how we should apply the truth and change our daily walk.

In the story of the land owner and workers found in Matthew 20, our first inclination is to put ourselves in the position of the worker and Jesus as the land owner.

But, let’s take a different view point.  What if you take on the character of the landowner.  This isn’t a stretch.  Romans 8 says we are heirs with Christ.  Jesus himself refers to his followers as stewards.  What if we are the stewards of this land?  What is the message to us?

I see several:

1. Be relentless in calling others into the harvest.  Jesus said the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  How much of that is because we aren’t repeatedly showing up to find people waiting to be called?

2. Give each worker a full measure of God’s word and grace.  Some of the workers were doing a lot of different things with their life before they were convicted to show up at the street corner.  How often do we tend to hold that against them?  The landowner gave the first workers a full measure.  He did not give the later workers any less.

3. Don’t negotiate.  The bible says what the bible says.  How often are we tempted to water it down to fit the views and opinions of others.  We fall into a trap of the world’s view of “fair”.  God is just and He doesn’t hold back His grace.

4. Expect persecution but watch for the joy.  What did the landowner hear about when he passed out the wages?  Did he hear the joy of those called late in the day?  Maybe a little, but it was mostly drowned out by the grumbles of those called early.  It is easy to focus on the grumbling, the persecutions in life, so much so that we sometimes miss the joy.

My Answers:

7.
a.
Eternal life is the denarius – but it isn’t earned nor is more earned by longer work or greater deeds

b.
He calls the workers.  He has the work and the pay.  He provides grace and love and complete reward

c.
They have an entitlement attitude.  They judge themselves based on other men (not a sign of humility) and find themselves more deserving then are upset at rewards given to those who have worked less

d.
At any point I am called to work it is a blessing – Thankful for the reward I am given, not jealous or self-righteous, but be humble

e.
That He would work so hard to call us to work – He doesn’t need us, we need Him, but He pursues us over and over again.

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08 BSF Matthew Week 8

08.4 BSF Matthew Week 8, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Hero Worship:  It amazes me how people follow and worship other people.  They have a NASCAR driver they follow.  They can tell the stats of each player on their favorite team.  They invest time watching and discussing singers and actors, turning them into American Idols.

But if these “heroes” do not stand for God, then they are tricks and lies.  If they lead others into temptation, then they are counterfeit heroes.  They are not the real deal.  They are counterfeit.  They are also not just misguided.  If they oppose the one true God, seeking praise for themselves over God, then they are to be avoided.  Deliver us from evil.

My Answers:

9.
a.
13-14: Narrow vs wide gate/broad road.  Narrow to life, wide to destruction
15 False prophets (sheep/wolves) 16 (fruit: grape from thornbush, fig from thistles) 17-18 (tree bearing fruit)

b.
good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

10.
a.
Do not trust outward appearances, particularly in regard to teachers of faith.  They may “look the part”, but they are a shell containing viciousness

b.
They are not “misguided” they are wicked.  False teaching of the gospel and thus, opposing God, is ranked among worse offenses.  They may have Reverend as a title but that does not mean they are to be revered.  Christ had no issue calling the highest church leaders a brood of vipers.

c.
1. Beware – trickery abounds and what looks good and easy is seldom right
2. Make sure my life and ministry is bearing good fruit from the Spirit within me.  Trust it and the Word of God alone, not my desire for what I want it to say instead.  Guard my heart from evil and watch my words, they cannot be taken back.

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