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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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

03.5 Moses 3, Day 5

If you are relying on God, leave your baggage at home

One of our questions was how Moses prepared for the trip back to Egypt.  On the surface, this looks like a very simple question.  But, it actually is much deeper.  At first blush we think, Moses packed up and left.  But that isn’t the case.

First, let’s compare to Moses and Jacob and their return from running away from home in fear of their lives.  Jacob was away from home for 20 years and he returns with wives and children and donkeys and servants and flocks and gifts.  Moses is gone for 40 years and returns with a donkey, a wife, 2 sons and a stick.

But their purpose in returning was very different.  Jacob was returning to make a home.  Moses was returning to lead the people out.  Moses didn’t pack up.  He just left.  He took himself and his family and submitted to God and put his future in God’s hands.

But as important as what Moses didn’t take, let’s look at what he did drag along on the trip.  Moses had a burning bush moment.  He was called by God, by name, and given a specific commandment, “Go.”  He went, but he brought along un-repented and un-corrected sin.  Moses knew the commandment that all male son’s of Abraham were to be circumcised as a covenant to God.  Moses’ sons were clearly sons of Abraham, both their father and mother descended from Abraham.  Evidently one of Moses’ sons had been circumcised, so ignorance or lack of ability could not be argued either.  Simply, Moses had decided not to give one of his sons to God.  He had held him away from God, not giving God what was His.

Some commentators will lay the blame on Moses’ wife.  And the fact of the matter is that there is simply not enough information in these verses to draw firm conclusions.  But I don’t think this was Zipporah’s issue.  It doesn’t same God set out to kill Zipporah.  God’s anger was at Moses.

Moses received a calling and gave all the outward signs that he was putting his full faith and obedience in God, but he wasn’t.  He was still carrying with him this un-corrected sin, this act of rebellion against God.

Zipporah, Moses’ wife, saw what was happening and took the initiative to remove the uninvited guest on the journey, this un-corrected sin.  She took the physical embodiment of this rebellion and placed it under Moses’ heel.  Through the blood of her son she renewed her marriage vow to Moses and saved him from God’s wrath.

If you are a christian you have been called.  When God invited you to accept Jesus in your heart, you, too, had a burning bush moment, an encounter with God.  If you have accepted that gift and you accept to walk with God and trust in Him and obey Him then you, too, need to dump the baggage of un-repented and un-corrected sin.  God does not expect us to be perfect (yet), but he does expect us to cut ties with our old ways.

What do you need to remove from your journey with God? Sinful pictures, inappropriate media, connections with sinful friends, bad language?  What do you need to throw out, erase, crush, or burn?  What are you dragging along that should have been left behind?

If you don’t know what those things might be, then ask someone who loves you.  The baggage that we carry and try to hide is normally very evident to those who love us and love God.  Will it be pleasant or easy?  Maybe not.  But if you continue to walk with God there will be a time that God demands it go or you go.  God is not in the business of caring for your un-repented and un-corrected sin.  He is in the business of caring for you.

And when you do let it go, look at what happens.  We find the amazing answer in 3 words in Exodus 4:31.  Moses and Aaron told and showed all that they were commanded to do to the elders of Israel.  Moses and Aaron obeyed God by showing these things to the elders, “AND THEY BELIEVED.”  Don’t miss that.  When do you think the last time was that the elders of Israel believed?  “They bowed down and worshiped God.”  These are men who may not have fully believed their entire lives.  Moses was 80.  When he was born they were already in horrible bondage.  But in one day, in one conveyance of the word of God and the hope it brings, “they believed.”

 

My Answers:

8.
Sought approval of Jethro.  Took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey took the staff of God in his hand and started back to Egypt

9.
‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

10.
a.
Failed to circumcise his son

b.
Zipporah, his wife

c.
What un-corrected sin do I still carry even after all these years of being called to follow Christ?

11.
He was obedient and brave.  This was a man who was a slave and left Egypt to meet with Moses.  Slaves don’t just up and leave.

12.
Moses told Aaron EVERYTHING.  They together brought the elders together and told them EVERYTHING the Lord had said and performed the signs. “AND THEY BELIEVED”

 

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02 Moses

02.5 Moses 2, Day 5

God has already laid the foundation

I have a good friend and brother in Christ who is a builder.  Throughout the summer we met once a week for a bible study at a local coffee shop.  One morning we were having coffee and discussing the roadwork going on outside the restaurant.  I was commenting, in frustration, about how long it seemed to be taking.  He explained to me the need for concrete to cure.  He said that when his crews pour a driveway it takes about a week for the concrete to dry and cure all the way through.  The concrete the road crew was using was about 18″ thick and he explained it would take 4 full weeks for it to cure properly.  Like baking bread, the outside will harden first, but it takes time for the center to be finished as well.  Allowing traffic on it too soon, especially heavy trucks, could ruin it and they would have to tear it out and start over.

I was reminded of this as we read about the Hebrews calling out to God in their slavery.  Like my ability to see the road, they saw God and knew his promises, but their patience was thin.  But 80 years prior, God had poured the foundation of salvation for the hebrews in Egypt.  At the marriage of Amram and Jochebed, God had dug the footings and began to lay in the reinforcement iron.  At the birth of Moses, the path was poured.  80 years would be required for Moses to grow solid throughout and become the prophet God had designed him to be.

In the same way, when Jesus was born into this world, the foundation of salvation for us was poured.  Jesus is our “highway to heaven”.  We will and should groan out to God in our bondage to sin, but Jesus’ payment has set us free.  One day the waiting will be over and Jesus will come again.  One day, the hazard cones and detours will all be removed and we, either still living or asleep in the grave, will rise up and go out to meet his triumphant return.  One glad morning…

In the mean time, God does not forget.  When it says God remembered, it doesn’t mean He had forgotten and needed the Hebrews to remind Him.  It means, they called on Him to remember and He did, He had and He always would.  God does not forget His people.  God does not forget His promises.  God remembered then and He remembers now!

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
king of Egypt died, Israelites continued to be oppressed in slavery

b.
groaned in their slavery and cried out to God

11.
a.
Heard, Remembered, Looked on, was Concerned about

b.
Loving, engaged, true, consistent

c.
Yes, absolutely – IF I pray and wait for God, I have that assurance.  If I take it on my own and then run and hide, God waits for me.

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27 BSF Matthew Week 27

27.3 BSF Matthew Week 27, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

There is an old saying about not being able to see the forest because all of these trees are in the way.  That was the challenge for the high priests.  Their day-to-day reality was that of a nation living in the presence of a more powerful occupying army.  They were the religious leaders, but also the leaders of real, flesh and blood people and families all of a shared ancestry and nationality.  They lead, but they did not have power or authority.  That, in their view, belonged to Rome.

To set the stage for our study today, we really need to step back in time to John 11.  This is the story about Jesus coming at the call or Mary and Martha and then calling Lazarus out from the tomb.  He raised him from the dead in the presence of lots and lots of witnesses right outside of Jerusalem.  Picking this up in John 11 starting in verse 45: “

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

 

See, this is the story within the story – the trees within the forest.  Never does the high priest, whether the puppet master (Annas) or the current high priest (Caiaphas), ever contradict Jesus.  Their words and actions do not once deny that He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.  They do not say that this man, Jesus, is not the messiah.  Jesus points out that their words and actions actually do the opposite.  Matt 26:63-64, “Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Maybe they had doubts.  Maybe they didn’t want to believe.  Maybe their hearts were hardened.  Maybe they could not picture this man standing in front of them being the same one who would come on a cloud.  But I think as much as anything, in their little world, it simply didn’t matter if Jesus was the Messiah.  He wasn’t going to set them free from Rome.  If He kept going, Rome was simply going to come in and take away their temple and their nation and where would they be then?  In their world, it was better that one innocent man die than risk that happening.

It just so happened that their solution (Jesus’ death) and God’s solution (Jesus’ death) coincided.  But their plans ended in death and Jesus’ plans did not.  He had already shown, with Lazarus, his power over death.  His viewpoint of the forest was one from the vantage point of heaven and eternity.

My Answers:

5.
a.
Annas

b.
the father in law of Caiaphas

6.
a.
(1) false witnesses, “I am able to destroy temple and rebuild”, no answer? (2) oath, are you God? you say so (3) spit, strike

b.
made plans how to have Jesus executed, bound Him, led Him to Pilate

7.
a.
The son of man coming with the clouds of heaven – the one with authority, glory, power, worshiped, dominion

b.
It is a transition from Jesus work on earth to His glory in heaven. Their words and actions have led to prophecy fulfilled.

c.
He was the one, the Messiah, the Son of Man spoken of in prophecy – not blasphemy if true

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27 BSF Matthew Week 27

27.2 BSF Matthew Week 27, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

A large crowd had made its way to Jerusalem for celebration of the passover.  They had begun arriving the week before.  5 days before Jesus had been all the buzz and a large crowd had gone out to find him at the dinner at Lazarus’ house.  This was when Mary had anointed Jesus with the perfume.  4 days before Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd.  Hosanna!  Blessed is the King of Israel.  Tonight they show up as an armed mob with torches and clubs and betrayal and hatred on their lips. Tomorrow they will be screaming for his execution in the most brutal and demeaning manner possible.

What did Jesus do in less than 4 days time that went from triumphant and joyful arrival to rejection and hatred of him?  It isn’t what He did that was the problem.  It is what He didn’t do.  He didn’t change who He was to become who they wanted him to be.

God is immutable.  Unlike the crowd and popular opinion, He doesn’t change; never has, never will, and we humans get frustrated by that.  Why doesn’t God…?  How can God….?  That… may have been true back then but we know….

Our challenge today is the same challenge of that day.  All too often the basis of our perception of God is in what we think or what we have been told rather than what the bible actually says.  According to a 2013 research study by the Barna Group, more Americans had read Twilight, the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey than had read the bible cover to cover.  Of those who do read the bible only 26% read it regularly with 57% touching it less than 4 times per year.  Yet, we have no limit to our opinions about who God is and how He should behave and what He would or should say!

Beware of crowds.  Beware of the “wisdom of our age”.  Beware of popular opinion.  Beware of your own strength and your own opinion.  There is only one place in which to place your trust, one source that will last beyond both earth and heaven because it is true and unchanging: the word of our Lord.

We are quickly approaching the end of our study of Matthew – what will you do this summer to not fall into temptation?

My Answers:

3.
a.
Peter

b.
battle between the large crowd with sword and clubs and the handful of apostles

c.
Jesus had outlined what would happen – He was in control, but Peter was in denial of that control over the situation

d.
mostly in the form of worry and stress. They don’t yield results but submitting to God does

4.
a.
betrayed with a kiss, captured with swords and clubs, deserted by apostles

b.
attackers drew back and fell to the ground

c.
let these men go, I have not lost one of those you gave me, healed the man’s ear

d.
shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?

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