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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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.

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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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03 Moses

03.3 Moses 3, Day 3

Who am I? Who are you?

Moses first 2 objections speak volumes to where he was at this stage of his life.  He is about 80 years old.  He has lived 2 very different lives, in Egypt and in Midian.  He has been adopted into a new family twice.  But, truly he has no idea who he is and he also doesn’t know God.

But neither of those matter for God to call Moses to this assignment to go and bring out.  Even though Moses doesn’t know who Moses is, God does.  God knows not only the man he is today, but the prophet he will become.  God knows his strengths and weaknesses and that none of those matter.  We particularly see this in the way God answers Moses’ first question about himself.  He answers it by not answering it.  Who Moses is makes absolutely no difference.  It is irrelevant.  All that matters is that God is with him.

God knows that over time Moses will grow to rely on God’s strength which has no weakness.  And even though Moses does not yet know God, God knows that he will.  As Moses stands and teaches others about God and tells them the word of God and as he walks with God every day, that knowledge will come.

The name that God gives Moses in this introduction is deep and profound.  Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh in Hebrew.  Translators struggle to write this in English.  English is a language with 3 primary tenses, past, present and future.  Everything we say and write falls into one of those tenses.  I did.  I am doing.  I will do.  But Hebrew isn’t constrained by the same tenses.  In Hebrew the 2 primary tenses are perfect and imperfect.  Basically these translate into finished or completed and in progress or ongoing.  I use the analogy of the book is open and the story continues or it is closed and the story is ended to explain imperfect and perfect.  This statement, this name of God, is in the imperfect.  In this case it simultaneously says I was, I am, I will be, I have been and I continue to be.  In other words, God, in this name, introduces himself as I have existed, I do exist and I will exist all at the same time.

Isn’t this what all people who first are introduced to God question and want answered?  Is God real?  Does God really exist?  We inherently recognize that most of the gods people spend their times worshiping by their actions and hearts are not real, they don’t exist.  But when we encounter God, we recognize something is different.

God answers this question by Moses with simple but profound clarity – I exist, I am real.

 

Additional Note:

In Hebrew the names of God do not contain vowels, e.g., YHWH.  So this name of God is Ehyeh, or HYH, which is also pronounced Hi-Yah.  It made me chuckle to think of what a major Hiyah kick Moses received on this day in this encounter with God!

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
1. Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?
2. Suppose I go to the Israelites and… they ask me, “what is his name?”  Then what shall I thell them?

b.
v12. I will be with you, this will be a sign – return and worship God on this mountain
v. 14-22 I am who I am, I am has sent me to you, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob sent me, then assemble the elders and lay out the entire plan

c.
The second is powerful because it demonstrate God’s omniscience, but the more encouraging to me is the fact that God is with me and that the best and greatest sign is that through any mission or trial I will return to a place to worship Him.

6.
a.
One in Hebrew the other in Greek.  One is voice of God in spirit in a burning bush saying Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, the other is Jesus saying of himself, ego eimi.  Both translate into the same name of God: I Am.

b.
Jesus is and always has been God.  John 1:3 – Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

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02 Moses

02.3 Moses 2, Day 3

Bold Compassion

When things went south at home, Moses went east.  Moses ran and hid.  But the person he was running and hiding from was no ordinary person.  This was Pharaoh and the reach of Pharaohs power was great.  From the research I did on maps, when Moses left his home on the Nile river and fled to Midian he would have traveled over 600 KM or 375 miles if he went a straight route.  Given that he was on the run and that a straight path would take him directly across vast deserts, it is unlikely he took anything resembling a straight path.  A direct path walking would have taken 2-3 weeks and a more circuitous route could have stretched to more than a month.

When he sits at the well in Midian he would have been tired, hungry, weary, lonely, weak and emotionally spent.  But when he saw injustice, he could not sit by and do nothing.  Fortunately, his weeks of travel had taught him some constraint and he didn’t seek to avenge the 7 girls, he only stepped in to the extent to remove them from imminent harm.  No one was killed.  More so, he had now taken on a spirit of not simply trying to “fix” the situation, but to serve those in need.  He didn’t stop with running off the shepherds, he drew the water, the cared for the women and their animals and he sought nothing in return (not even dinner).

There were so many excuses Moses could have given for avoiding the conflict.  He was tired, this was not his fight.  But despite all the possible excuses Moses burned with a fire of compassion for the oppressed and persecuted and that fire burning in him was creating a spirit of serving.

Do I burn with that same passion and spirit the way Moses did?  Am I bold in protecting others from immediate danger or do I hide behind my excuses?  When I am bold and step in to help, do I expect recognition and to be served as compensations or do I go the distance and share the water of life to those who are thirsty?

 

My Answers:

6.
Not Egypt, Outside of Pharaoh’s daily purview,  Desert, had wells with water (not totally barren), flocks lived there

7.
a.
Compassion, strength, hard work, bravery, boldness

b.
He still stepped in when he saw grievous wrongs of persecution and oppression, but he didn’t kill anyone

c.
To be bold.  To have the spirit of serving others burn in me.

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02 Moses

02.2 Moses 2, Day 2

Tourist

Acts 7:23 says, “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites.”

I think one of the key words in that verse is the word “visit”.  He didn’t go to live.  He didn’t go to support or to serve.  He went to visit.  This may be one of the first recorded instances of what we often call “mission tourism”.

How often do we, as modern day Christians, fall into the same traps Moses did?  We go on a visit, either to the inner city or another country.  We go to be with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We go because we have been blessed with so much. We go to feel better about ourselves and what we possess.

Just like Moses.

And when we see the persecution and oppression, we, in our superior wisdom, take it upon ourselves to do something, to take action.  We decide we must fix things.  And, like Moses, we simply make things worse.

God does call us to reach out to our brothers and sisters wherever they are.  The examples set by the early church to go and make disciples are still relevant. The fellowship of support between churches in different areas and situations is documented throughout the epistles. But we must do it with respect and understanding.  If we swoop in, with an attitude of superiority and an expectation of gratitude, we too will be asked, “who are you?”

But if we come along side our “own people”, fellow believers in Christ, and we share in their burdens and support them and give them aid and encouragement and build long term lasting relationships and teach others and build influence for them, then, we won’t be asked “who are you?” because they will see Christ in us.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
“He looked this way and that and seeing no one”

b.
40 years old.  Decided to visit his own people the Israelites.  Killed to avenge.  Thought his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not

c.
Prophecy, teaching by his parents – clearly Moses had education outside of what was taught in the Egyptian schools about God, His promises and covenants

4.
a.
Choice to identify with them.  He decided to visit his own people

b.
He grew to know that he was not Egyptian, that he was adopted, that his birth parents were Hebrew

c.
Choice to visit did not cost him, choice to act on his own and murder cost him his home, eduction, adopted family, power

d.
Would you rather have 1 marshmallow now or 2 marshmallows in 3 minutes?  how about 1 now and 20 in 3 minutes?  what if the one now was plain, but the ones to come were coated in chocolate and everything yummy?  That was moses choice.

5.
a.
Wanted to help, wanted to rescue, He was strong, brave, bold, not afraid to act, identified with an oppressed people

b.
lack of patience, eagerness to rely on his own strength, can’t go around killing people

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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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