29 Moses

29.3 Moses 29, Day 3

Blessings in The Old, The New and the Bridge

I think blessings are a lot of fun.  They are fun to receive.  They are meaningful to give.  Each day I’m thankful to God for all the blessings He has provided and I ask for His blessing and protection on friends, family, co-workers and those in need.

The question that had us compare the lists of the Tribes of Israel through Genesis and here in Deuteronomy really made me step back and think.

The first list in Genesis 29 is in birth order, from first born to last.  This is chronological and important for inheritance.

The second list in Genesis 49 is sorted by birth mother.  This is structured around the relationship that Jacob had with the women who gave birth to these sons.

The third list in Deuteronomy is roughly sorted by position in the camp.  The western tribes together, the northern tribes, etc.  This is structured around the relationship between the tribes and the temple of God.

So we have chronology and history.  The choices of the parents influence and impact future generations.  God’s promises of blessings to parents can span to their offspring.  We have relationships with each other and we have relationships with God and His presence in our lives.  All of these are important to God.

But there are exceptions in the last list.  Reuben, Judah, Levi and Simeon are not presented in the order of their position around the tabernacle as are the others.  I am not a bible scholar, but I think there may be a message in this.

Reuben was the first born.  He represents the inheritance.  The promise of God to Abraham, repeated to Jacob.  He reflects the continued fulfillment of God’s covenant relationship with Abraham.

Judah is the lineage of Jesus.  He represents the saving grace of Christ who came first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.

Levi is the the priesthood and the law.  He represents justice and sacrifice and teaching; correlations to attributes of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

With this in mind, it is interesting that these three were pulled out separate and first.  First, Reuben.  As God came first Abraham and his descendents.  They were to be his people and He was their God.  Second, Judah.  The New Covenant of salvation through faith by grace.  Not because of who we are but because of what He has done.  Then Levi, the law bridges the old and new.  Christ said He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.

And what of Simeon.  Again, I don’t know, but one consistent biblical message is that each generation, each nation, each tribe, family and person gets choice.  They are loved by God.  They are desired by God, but they choose whether to receive God’s blessing or not.  Simeon was part of the southern tribes.  Members from the southern tribes were involved in most of the rebellions in the wilderness.  Simeon’s portion in the promised land is within the boundaries of Judah.  The tribe becomes somewhat scattered as foretold by Jacob in Genesis 49.

While all these blessings were to the tribes of Israel, I think it is important to note that they reflect God’s power and authority.  He had the ability to provide and fulfill each of these blessings then and He has that same power today in your life and in mine.

 

My Answers:

5.
Gen 29 lists in birth order 12, Gen 49 is blessings from Jacob, listed by mother – 12+2, Deut is blessing from Moses, listed roughly by position around the tabernacle (western tribes together, northern together), Simeon not listed, 11+2

6.
Reub, live not die
Judah, Lord help against foes
Levi, teach God’s law and incense
Ben, rest secure, shielded and loved
Joe, fruitful land
Zeb/Issach, treasures sea and sand
Gad, chose best, carried out Lord’s righteous will
Dan, lion’s cub springing on prey
Napht, blessed by God, SW land by lake
Ash, favored by bros, strong all his life

7.
teach God’s law, carryout His righteous will, be favored by brothers and strong all life, rest secure and be shielded and loved

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19 Moses

19.2 Moses 19, Day 2

Be

Hardships are real.  But in the same way that cataracts can cloud our vision to the point of blindness, hardships can cloud of perspective of God’s purpose for our lives.

I’ve been in situations where people treated hardships as a competition.  This will sound horrible, but I was in a bible study where people were sharing some of their struggles so the group could pray for them.  One man opened up that he had lost his wife to cancer 2 years prior and had just found out that his daughter had leukemia.  The next person started their comments with “well, I can’t beat that.”

There is nothing wrong with facing our hardships and confronting them, but they are situations, not what defines us.  We should name them, not as badges of honor, but as things to be turned over to God for prayer and support.

The challenge is that we, all too often, look to outside influences to make us something.  To make us happy.  To make us content.  To make us fulfilled.  But outside influences whether given (money, food, clothing) or taken away (fear, pain, hardship) do not “make us.”  Case in point, their are incredibly wealthy people, who lack financial security.  There are very well fed individuals, who crave certain foods.

The point is that the only way to “be” something else is from the inside out, not the outside in. Nothing pushing on the outside of a balloon is going to fill it up.  Ful-fill-ment starts on the inside.  That is where God comes in, by, literally coming in to your life.  God is not an influence, He is a “be”ing.  He says, you will “be” my people and I will “be” your God.  He fills us with the Love of Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  He writes His name on us and claims us as His home, a place to fill with Himself.

When your focus turns to struggles, worries and hardships, as the song says, turn your eyes upon Jesus.  In so doing you can “be” delighted in your inheritance, “be” patient and not fret, “be” still, and most rewardingly, you can “be” content.  Content is an interesting word.  The origin of the word is the past participle of the Latin word continere, meaning: to contain.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
grumbling

b.
fire burned among them and consumed the edges of the camp, that is how He chose to reveal His wrath so they could see what they truly deserved.

4.
a.
Cried to Moses

b.
grumble, worry, pray

c.
16:6 – boundary lines, delightful inheritance
37:7 wait patiently, do not fret about others
4:11-12 be content

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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

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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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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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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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01 Moses

01.2 Moses 1, Day 2

King’s plans, God’s plans

The Israelites arrived in Egypt when Joseph was in the midst of saving that world from a devastating famine.  Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had a plan.  His plan was to reward Joseph by honoring his family.  He gave them land and work.  He allowed them to continue to live as a separate people and worship God.

But that Pharaoh died.  Joseph died.  Time passed and the plans of Pharaoh changed.  I love the way it is worded in the NIV in Exodus 1:10, “come we must deal shrewdly”.  What an interesting choice.

Shrews are animals that live throughout the world.  Very small, the size of a mouse, a shrew is closely related to a mole.  They have very poor vision.  They are extremely territorial driving away all rivals.  They live their lives mostly in hiding in leaf litter and deep vegetation.  They have voracious appetites consuming 80-90% of their body weight each day.

The contrast between the plans of earthly men of power, the earthly pharaohs and kings, and God, the King of Kings, is drastic.  God doesn’t die.  God’s plans do not change. God is large, bigger than the universe.  God is all seeing and all knowing.  God is welcoming and inviting, desiring to bring all into His house.  God not only lives in the light, He is the light.  God provides for us all that we need.

Nothing against shrews, but, I think, as we continue to study the bible, we are called to live our lives becoming more holy each day rather than more shrewdly.

My Answers:

3. They had been welcomed guests during the great famine because of the way God, through Joseph, had saved Egypt

4.
a. They were numerous, if war breaks out they will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country
b. Oppress them with forced labor
c. (1) The more oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread (2) The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly
d. Birth control: Hebrew midwives commanded to kill all boy babies born, letting only the girls live

5.
a. Death and the wrath of the king of Egypt, punishment for themselves and family.  They feared God
b. Protected them from Pharaoh and  was kind to them, the people increased and He gave the midwives families of their own

 

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