07 Moses 7

07.5 Moses 7, Day 5

God, Family, Ministry

If you are a Christian you are called to be in Ministry Work.  But where does that calling and obligation fit with the other callings and obligations God may have given you in your life?  Obviously, ministry work is important, very important.  But what if you also have a family and children?  Are these things in conflict?

I think that is one of the very interesting topics in our scripture and our discussions today.  We don’t know when Moses’ wife and children were sent back to Midian.  The bible doesn’t say exactly.  In specific terms, the only time reference it gives to this event is in Exodus 18:2: After she was sent, she was received by Jethro.

We know that Moses wasn’t an advocate of leaving women and children behind.  In Ex 10:11 Pharaoh told Moses that he and the men could leave to worship God, but they had to leave the wives and children behind.  This was not acceptable.

We also see that Moses’ sister, Miriam, was a prophetess and had a leadership role in the worship service, leading all the women of the community in praise of God.  There is clearly a role for both men and women (and children) in ministry work.

The Apostle Paul advocates for those who devote their lives fully to ministry work to stay single as a way to avoid the conflict that both obligations present.  But that does not mean and he does not indicate that those who are married cannot participate in ministry work or that they must leave their families behind to do so.

In fact, this conflict can often lead to bigger problems.  A passion and dedication to ministry can bring some to ignore or fail to fulfill their role in their own household.  This, in turn, can weaken that relationship and cause other problems, marital issues and separation and a weakening of the family structure.  That approach is not supported in the scriptures.  The opposite is true.  We see the strength of the joint ministry work of Priscilla and Aquila.  We see the dedication to family members, even ones that are not blood relatives, such as Ruth and Naomi.  We know that God could have brought Jesus into this world in any number of miraculous ways, but He chose for Jesus to be born to Mary and Joseph.

Moses’ wife and children could have been sent away for safety reasons, if they were in mortal danger either during plagues or even when the Hebrews were rising up to stone Moses over food and drink.  But I believe a more supported reason would have been to spread the good news of God’s glory to people who could not be otherwise reached, and then, only for a short time.

Who else could have brought the news of God’s miraculous redemption of the Hebrews to Jethro than his own daughter and grandsons (who would likely have been full grown adults)?  Would he have believed or accompanied a stranger?  I think this is supported in the fact that Jethro returns with his daughter and grandsons to Moses.  There is no indication of disapproval or the action or that Moses was not fulfilling his role from any words of Jethro.  In fact, he celebrates God with Moses and the elders of the community.  Furthermore, he goes on to coach Moses and give him wisdom in how to raise up leaders.  This structure and hierarchy of the people was a part of God’s design and training to turn this group of former slaves into His nation.

In the same way it is wise for us, in our churches, to look for capable servants of the Lord to raise up as leaders, prayerfully and each according to their current talents.  I was visiting with a co-worker who was searching for a new church for her family.  The church they attended was fine, bible-based and God centered, but the long-term members of the church had each carved out their roles and areas of service which they had lead for years.  After 3 years, neither she nor her husband had been able to find a way to serve inside the church in any meaningful way that wasn’t received as trespassing on someone else’s turf.

Are we getting into a situation like Moses where others can’t grow because we have refused to let go of our own turf?  Not only is that detrimental to the church and community, but it is unhealthy for us and others.  Have we fallen in love with serving the Lord or is our love in the Lord?  We cannot even imagine what God has in store for us next if we don’t trust Him enough to cling to Him instead of to a position of service or authority.  That does not mean to abandon the role you are in – it simply means that we shouldn’t be doing it alone, but instead looking to bring others alongside.  Run your leg of the race, but understand clearly who you are handing the baton to for the next leg.

 

 

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
Scripture doesn’t say.  When they had passed through the red sea and Egypt’s army was destroyed to  send word to family., Ex 10:11

b.
When God calls them (spouse and children) for His ministry – when they are going into safety and they have provision

11.
a.
He was delighted, praised God and brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, ate with the elder in God’s presence

b.
How God has rescued us and blessed us with His grace

12.
a.
He was not raising up other leaders by delegating work.  He was trying to do it all Himself.

b.
Can’t be all things – Moses role was to be the people’s representative before God, select capable men to also serve

c.
capable men from among the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain

d.
the people of the tribes of Israel

e.
To be a capable man from among His followers and for Him to continue to show me how He would have me serve

 

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07 Moses 7

07.3 Moses 7, Day 3

Being Blind

There was a verse in today’s reading that both shocked me and humbled me.  Exodus 17:7, “Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD here with us or not?” (NLT)

Here is why this was so shocking to me.  In Exodus 13:21-22 we read, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”  These people were living day and night in the physical, visible presence of God in His shekinah glory in the pillar, 24x7x365 and they are blind.  “Is the LORD here with us or not?”

They see themselves.  They see their thirst and their physical needs.  They see Moses and Aaron.  But they don’t see God.  How is that even possible?

When they have physical needs, they don’t turn to the source of all power who has saved them and brought them out of Egypt.  They turn first to Moses.

But then my eyes were opened to how I act the same way.  When I am sick or hurting, I turn first to doctors and medicine.  When they are not able to help me, then I turn to God in prayer.  I’m walking with God every day and reading His word, but my approach is completely backward.  I’m not saying God wouldn’t use a doctor or medicine to help and heal me, He works in both ordinary and miraculous ways, but where am I turning first and where as a last resort?

We foster this blindness even in church. “If anyone is in need of prayer…”  Aren’t we all in need of prayer?  We need to continue to lift the blindness and see that God is present with us just as He was with the Hebrew people in the wilderness.  We should turn to Him first and then allow Him to work in and through whomever He chooses for His glory.

My Answers:

6.
a.
quarreled – accused him of not giving them water to drink

b.
Because he did not now have nor had he ever had power to provide water to drink, only God had that power

c.
Told Moses to go in front of people, take the elders, take the staff, I will stand before you by rock of Horeb, strike the rock adn water will come out of it for the people to drink

d.
Jesus is the provider and source of the living water.  He is the rock from which that water flows

7.
a.
3 and none.  15:24 drink, 16:2-3 food, 17:3 drink

b.
Who I turn to first – Israel turned to Moses – I turn to doctors & other people of authority

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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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