18 Moses

18.5 Moses 18, Day 5

Multi-Sensory Experience

I was struck in our lesson today about how God connects with us not only on every level but through all of our senses.  The sight of the cloud by day and fire by night.  The smell of the burnt offerings and incense.  The feel of hands upon the scape goat.  The sound of the trumpet.  The taste of the unleaven bread and roasted lamb of passover.

It reminded me of a Sunday school lesson on Daniel in the Lion’s den from Daniel 6.  After the angel closes the mouths of the lions and Daniel survives his night locked in their den, King Darius issues a decree recorded in Daniel 6:26, “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.””

Our God is alive.  He is not some talisman or good luck charm.  He is not a rock we rub for good luck or a piece of wood we wave about.  He is not your lucky pair of gym shorts (although those may be alive in a different, gross way).  God is living.  He hears, He smells, He gives, He looks, He wept, He is jealous, He created, He has a mighty hand, He breathes, He speaks and He loves.  (some related verses from the bible)

God’s wants to connect with us in every way, not only in every sense (literally), but even ultra-sensory.  He wants to dwell within us, to wash us clean of our sin and to tend to and grow the garden of our heart.  He wants to continue doing this.  With special days of celebration.  With sabbath days and years of peace and rest. But also in every moment.  Accepting God isn’t an event that is done and complete.  It is more like a wedding or even more so, a birth.  It is the start of a whole new life in every way, shape and form.

What dead charms do you put trust in instead of God?  How are you approaching the living God?  Are you doing it with a repentant and humble heart or with pride in the good works you’ve accomplished?  Do you seek a real relationship with Him?

My Answers:

11.
a.
1 year (it was the beginning of the second year, passover occurs on the 14th day of the new year, or at least it did at that time until the Jewish new year was changed after the time of Jesus when the temple was destroyed).

b.
It was a commandment of God.  It was a commemoration of a critical event.  It only happened once a year.  It was defining.

c.
Sometimes get distracted but ask God to continue to show that He is present in the worship

12.
a.
the cloud covered it when the tabernacle was set up and looked like fire at night, whenever it lifted they set out til stopped

b.
2 trumpets, all called to order, 1 only heads of clans, when blast east tribes set out, when 2nd blast south side, sons of A blow

c.
with sight and sound, by what I see and hear

Standard
18 Moses

18.4 Moses 18, Day 4

Missed Blessings

My mom relayed a conversation she had with the pastor at her church.  She was talking with him about attendance at church service.  She wanted him to know that there were some days that she just didn’t feel up to making it to church.  It wasn’t because she didn’t like the music or the liturgy of the service.  It wasn’t anything against his sermons.  It wasn’t because she was behind on tithing. To use her term, “some days I’m just old.”  I thought his words back to her were very wise and thoughtful.  He told her that if she could make it at all, come for the last 2 minutes of the service and if she couldn’t make that to call him.  The final part of the service is a benediction.  Most of the time, it is the exact same words that God told Moses to tell Aaron to say.  The pastor explained to her that this was a special blessing for her.  While it was said to everyone in attendance, it was an individual blessing, something special and specific for each individual.  If she wasn’t there to receive the blessing, she would miss out on it.  If she simply couldn’t physically be there, then she should call him and he could give her her blessing.

When we recite the blessing in Number 6:24-26 we forget verse 27. “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

These weren’t just words or good wishes.  While it is a “good word” or benediction, it is more than that.  God told Moses to tell Aaron to “put my name on the people”.  God didn’t say and I might bless them, He said “and I will bless them.”

Aaron didn’t originate the blessing.  Moses didn’t originate the blessing.  God originated the blessing.  But, like in many other things, He allowed the priests, who were brothers to the community, to participate.

When we think about church attendance we tend to focus on the sermon or prayers or communion or songs.  All of those are great and help us pour our heart out to God.  But the blessing – that is something special, a gift from God given through the minister, specifically for you.

What blessings are you missing out on because you aren’t showing up?  When you receive a blessing are you grabbing on to it and pasting it into your heart?  Do you accept the gift? Do you bow your head or raise your hand and receive His name being written on to you? Do you desire His radiance, His grace, His peace, His blessing?

My Answers:

8.
When parting friends, blessing to children

9.
It is for God’s glory not my own.  Give the required tithe plus more. – Tribe of Judah gave first 4th in line, Reuben, Simeon, Levi… But also the lineage of Jesus.

10.
a.
Given wholly to God who took them in place of the firstborn Israelites.  Given as a gift to Aaron and his sons to do the work

b.
1. God can do what He wants (He is God), 2. From the passover every firstborn belongs to God, set apart.  The Levites were taken in their place

c.
25-50

 

Standard
17 Moses

17.5 Moses 17, Day 5

Holy Heart not Holey Heart

God has tremendous blessings in store for all of His children.  Bounties of harvest so great that farmers would need to move the old crops out to make room for the new ones coming in.  They would not need to build larger store houses, because there was so much security in God’s promise they didn’t need to worry about storing up more.  God promised them peace and safety, from war, from wild animals, from enemies.  God promised might and victory.  Unprecedented might and victory, where 5 people could defeat 100.

Even more so God offered to dwell among His people.

But, that isn’t where this chapter starts.  This chapter starts with specific commands.  No idols, no graven images, observe the sabbaths, have reverence for the sanctuary.  How do these things go together?

This isn’t quite equivalent, but try this as an explanation:  You have been invited to the top artisan ice cream shop in the world.  You are given free access to every flavor, every topping ever accompaniment you can imagine.  But it is BYOB – Bring Your Own Bowl.  How would you feel if you showed up and your bowl was dirty, broken, cracked, with holes.

In this case, though, the bowl is your heart.

God wants you to enjoy the bounty He has in mind.  God has carefully prepared for you the things your heart craves.  He really doesn’t want you to show up with a bowl that is broken and full of holes.  If you don’t get the message from the promise of the blessing, then He will provide other forms of discipline.  If the carrot doesn’t work, then maybe the whip will.  God does not want to punish you, no more than a loving parent wants to punish a child, but if that is what it takes to get you to show up with a clean and ready bowl – that is up to you.

Leviticus 26:40-45 confirms this.  Repent.  Get your heart back in line, and God freely hands you the golden ticket to His ice cream shop.

What is the state of your bowl (your heart)?  Have you asked God to “create in me a clean heart”?  Have you asked God to help mend your broken heart?  Have you repented and showed the chips and holes to the one who can fix them. ?  Do you have a Holy Heart, or are you showing up with a Heart full of Holes?

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
1. do not make idols or bow down to carved stone, 2.observe the sabbaths and have reverence for sanctuary

b.
3-5: send rain in its season, ground will yield crops, trees fruit,… you’ll eat all the food you want and live in safety
6-8 peace and safety, remove wild animals, no wars at home, defeat military enemies (5 chase 100) 11-13 God dwell with them, safety and freedom – He would be their king

c.
14-17: Illness, famine and defeat
18-20: Drought and bad harvest
21-22: Multiplied afflictions and destructive wild animals
23-26: Diseases and destruction by enemies

11.
a.
If repent and approach with a humble heart, God will remember His covenant

b.
That the holy of holies is open, Jesus is my high priest and He is redeeming me daily, despite my sin

12.
a.
2. a person (child or otherwise), 9. an animal, 14.a house, 16. family land, 22. purchased land/fields

Standard
10 Moses

10.3 Moses 10, Day 3

It’s a map not an art project

My daughters are very talented artists.  One, in particular, can lose herself in the act of creativity.  There have been many a time that she had a school project for a class such as science or history that called for a visual representation of something.  Several hours into the project, which for most children probably took less than 1 hour, we would remind her, it is history homework, not an art project.

In today’s scripture we look at the clarity of God’s instructions, learn what it points to and remember that he repeatedly said, “make it exactly as patterned.” This reminded me, the tabernacle is a map, not an art project.  A map is exact and clear.  It provides direction.  It records and reveals the nature of things (such as nature).  It plots a specific course and/or points to a specific destination.  All of this is true of the tabernacle.

Each dimension, each object, each article used in its construction was part of a map.  It was a map that pointed to worship of God and it was a map pointing to the redemption provided through Jesus Christ.

 

My Answers:

5.
Bread Table:
The table was covered in gold, the plates and dishes, pitchers, bowls all gold.  The bread of the presence was before God at all times – Jesus at the last supper took the bread, broke it and said, this is my body given for you

Golden Lampstand:
Jesus is the light of the world,  In heaven, God is the light (no sun or moon)

Inner Curtain:
The curtain was separation from God.  When Jesus died on the cross the curtain was torn from top to bottom – the curtain represents his body

Altar:
redemption is through the precious blood of Jesus

6.
a.
make it exactly as planned/patterned

b.
It was a revelation of the temple in heaven, it also was a foreshadowing of Jesus.  Everything about God is connected.

Standard
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

 

Standard
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.

 

Standard
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

Standard