25.3 Moses 25, Day 3

Whom do you live for?

I love the question in our lesson about what would you do/pray if you found you only had one week to live?  I think the answer to that question, at its heart, reveals for whom we live.

If you live for yourself, with one week to live, the focus of that week will be on yourself.  What will make you feel better?  What is on your bucket list?  Where to go, what to see, what to do.  Sky diving.  Rocky Mountain climbing.  You would want to cram in as much “living” as you could in the time you had left.

If you live for others your focus is going to be on provision.  What can you do to get your accounts in order, line up documents, accounts, people to leave a legacy and take care of those on whom you are focused.

If you live for God your focus is on His will and mission and expanding the kingdom.  What message can you leave?  Whom can you reach out to?  How can you use your circumstance to invite others into God’s family and live as an example of pure faith and trust in your final days?

As human’s we are all on a scale of all three of these.  Thinking of it as a three dimensional graph, we fall somewhere in the X,Y,Z space with few (if any) of us totally along one axis.

The reason I think this is a wonderful question is not because it helps identify where I am (if I answer honestly), but it gives me the ability to assess where I would like to be so I can continue to change my life and my priorities to move more in that direction.

As Christians, most of us would like to live less for ourselves and more for God and less for ourselves and more for others.  That is definitely the example we see in Moses.  When presented with the deadline (no pun intended) of his life, his concern was for the continuation of his mission work for the Lord and the care of a people that he loved.

So where are you now and where do you want to be in regard to the priorities of your life?

How will you live differently if you start “living like you are dying?”

How will you live differently if you start “living like you are going to live forever?”

If you are a Christian (and the rapture doesn’t occur in your lifetime) both of these are true statements.

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
He allowed him to see the promised land.  He honored his request for succession planning

b.
who would God appoint as the leader over the people

c.
provision for my family

6.
God picked him.  God had Moses give him some of his authority (when he did, the Holy Spirit transferred to him).  He did not see the Lord face-to-face.  He did not stand in the tent of meeting with God, Eleazar served as the intermediary.

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23.4 Moses 23, Day 4

Un-Complicated

One of the stumbling blocks of Christianity is that it is too simple – it is not complicated enough.  You would think this would be a good thing, but it really can trip people up.

To live after being bitten by a venomous snake the Jews had to look at the snake on the stick.  That was it.  Period.

But put yourself in their shoes.  Isn’t that too easy?  Wouldn’t you feel better about it is it had more requirements or it was harder?  You know, maybe if at certain times of the day you had to face in a certain direction and say certain words.  Now that would be better, right?  Or if there was certain penance you had to live out to make up for your wrongs of the past?  Or maybe a requirement that you pay a certain price, a real cost, either monetarily or physically – nothing brings feeling better about being healed than a good case of suffering, right?

But that is not God’s plan.  He turns to us and says, I love you, I want you, come to Me, turn to Me, cast your eyes on My son and I will give you life.

How are you making it more complicated so you feel better?  Are you “doing things for God” out of obligation, trying to add to Christ’s saving grace with your good deeds?

God wants your obedience, but only the obedience of a loving and grateful heart.  God wants you to give things over to Him, but only through adoration and praise.  If you are doing it for yourself, then it isn’t for God.  Don’t make it harder than it is, just turn and believe and live.

My Answers:

7.
a.
Make a snake and put it on a pole, anyone who is bitten can look at it and live

b.
Graven image – crafting an image, especially one of a snake/serpent, 2 Kings 18:4 Hezekiah destroys it because people are worshiping it

8.
a.
The Son of Man must be lifted up like the way that Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so that all who believe can have eternal life.  The image of the snake on a pole was a foreshadowing of the sin of the world being laid upon Christ’s body on the cross as He was lifted up to die for us.

b.
Solid and growing – I hope someday to have a faith as un-bending as that I see demonstrated in the children I teach.

14.2 BSF Moses 14, Day 2

A New Normal

The word normal is defined as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

So what happens to normal when God moves in?

That is what we see in our lesson today.  The Hebrews are at the foot of Mount Horeb.  God has given them the 10 commandments (twice) and God has consented to dwell among them and to go with them.  He has given them instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, it has been built and He has filled the tent with His glory.  And, with that, normal is no longer the same.

For 430 years normal was defined by the Egyptians.  For a couple of months now, normal has been in transition.  What are going to be the standards for this new nation?  What is expected?

In love, God spoke.  The new normal isn’t going to be just about how the Hebrews live with each other and neighboring tribes and nations.  Much more importantly it is going to be about how they live with God.  The new normal starts with offerings.  Everything the Hebrews have came from God.  Without Him, they are slaves.  Without Him, they have no food or water.  Without Him, they do not have life or freedom.  In the new normal, they remember this and give an offering back to God, not out of obligation or fear, but out of honor and respect and gratitude for Him.

God doesn’t want to be a god in a box that they pull out when they need something.  God wants to be in a complete relationship with them – He desires and commands that they consecrate themselves and their entire lives to Him.  Dedicated fully, wholly, to be His people and He will be their God.

While the sacrifices have discontinued through the one, everlasting sacrifice that Christ made for us, we must not lose sight of this new normal.  We live in times were sinners strongly desire for their sin to not be seen as sin, but to be seen as normal.  Sinning is normal, right?  Lying, cheating, sexual immorality… all just normal, right?  And sadly, without God, that is exactly what normal is.  But, when God is in the house, when God is in the neighborhood, community, tribe and nation, there are higher standards.  Why?  Because He is the Lord.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
The tabernacle construction was complete, it had been fully constructed for the first time and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

b.
For consecration – God would live among them and they were to dedicate their lives and what they had been given to Him.

4.
a.
Male animal without defect, bull, sheep, goat.  Or, a dove or young pigeon.

b.
Presented whole, alive, laying hands upon it.  Presented to the priest at the tabernacle.  Sacrifices were never left-overs – they were first-overs.

c.
killed, prepared according to specific instructions (internal organs removed and washed, birds defeathered), burned all of it on the altar – a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD

5.
a.
Our body and the church is the dwelling place of God on earth with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone – Christ was sacrifice once to take away the sins of the many

b.
God, as your glory filled the tabernacle, please fill me with your spirit.  Shine your light even in the shadow areas of my heart that I have kept from you, the sins and guilt I have not confessed, and reveal it.  Make me holy in you.

11.5 Moses 11, Day 5

Take off the ornaments

We have been blessed to have had the opportunity to support and serve an organization in our town that helps bring homeless women and men in off the streets.  Many of these men and women have exhausted every other support option.  They have been to jail.  They have drug addictions.  They are prostitutes.  They have lost hope.

The Christian woman who founded and runs the organization came out of that same environment.  She knows and her ministry is built on the fact that these individuals do not have the strength to get out of their situations on their own.  It is only with the strength of Jesus Christ that their lives can be turned around.  She will take them in, feed them, shelter them, care for them, teach them, help them find work, make them birthday cakes, share life and love and the good news with them.  In return they simply need to accept this gift and submit to follow a few house rules.

One day we were talking with the founder and discussing what rule was the hardest for people to follow.  I was surprised to learn it was the rule about cell phones.  She has a requirement that someone new to the house must give up their cell phone for 60 days and must agree to allow them to erase all the contacts on the phone.  This is the single biggest hurdle.  The reason they require this is her time proven belief that you cannot continue to play in the same playground with the same playmates and think you are going to play a different game of life.  She said that, despite the fact that it breaks her heart each time it happens, they have learned to not bend on this rule.  If someone who needs their help refuses to cut ties with their old life, they fully intend to go back to that old life.

The Israelites didn’t have cell phones, but they had jewelry and ornamentation.  Is jewelry and ornamentation bad?  Are we restricted from wearing earrings?  I don’t think that is what this is trying to say.  Instead, the message was to remove the temptations.  If wearing earrings causes your mind to return to the golden calf, get rid of the earrings.

You may not have a drug dealer on speed dial or a penchant for golden calves, but you may have ongoing repetitive sin in your life.  Are you so foolish to believe that you can expose yourself to the same playground and playmates and not keep doing the same things?  Clear out the ornamentation in your life that pulls you back into the same old things that you regret.  It is OK to let it go, Jesus has way better things in store for you, but He needs you to grab ahold of Him with both hands – not one while you refuse to let go of your old way of life with the other.

 

My Answers

10.
a.
They sought to seek God’s forgiveness for others by offering themselves as an atonement for their sins

b.
Jesus

c.
His was innocent blood, He was God, He gave Himself as a ransom

11.
Self responsibility.  (also that there is punishment for sin and a book of life to be blotted out of)

12.
a.
Before He said the angel would protect them along the way, they angel would wipe out the inhabitants, God’s blessings on their food and water, no sickness, no miscarriage, a full life span,

b.
stiff-necked people

c.
they mourned and took off their ornaments

d.
be humbled in my sin, repent and seek God’s forgiveness.  Make restitution where possible. – Leave the old temptations behind.

06 Moses 6, Day 4

The Biggest Gun

There is a famous scene of the Cairo Swordsman in the first Indiana Jones movie.  After a chase scene in a crowded market, Dr. Jones is faced with a trained assassin, a skilled swordsman prepared to meet this outsider.  In the scene, Indiana Jones watches the moves of the assassin for a few seconds then takes out his gun and shoots him.

The Israelite people left Egypt fully armed for battle (13:18) or at least battle as they knew it from their time in Egypt.  But God had something bigger and more powerful than they could even imagine, if they would put their trust in Him.

He couldn’t just tell them about it.  It was a power they would not have been able to fathom and believe.  Let’s face it, thousands of years later many still have a hard time understanding and believing it. No, the only way was to show them – and what better way to demonstrate it than against the most powerful army of the most powerful nation they could imagine: Egypt.

He placed them into a position that was contrary to any military logic.  He had them wander about to feign a message to the Egyptian army that they lacked direction and leadership and a mission.  Then he positions them in an indefensible camp with their backs to an impassible body of water.  At which point He demonstrates that not only is His power greater than all the gods of Egypt, but it is even more powerful than something the Egyptians put even more trust into than their 8700 gods.  God is more powerful than the entire Egyptian army, chariots and all.

He parts the water and the Israelite people cross over walking on dry land with walls of water on each side of them.  When they have all safely passed, he allows the Egyptians to pursue, but then confuses them so they run in circles and get stuck and break down in the midst of the parted sea, then He simply closes the sea around them, destroying and defeating everything about the army.

Now, that is a bigger gun!

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
God recognized the weakness of their faith and did not lead them through Philistine country.  They went up out of Egypt ready for battle.  He led them by day and night and was teaching them to trust fully in Him.

b.
He put them into a position, by wandering around and then camping with no avenue of retreat, that their own power and strength was futile, but through His mighty hand He provided a safe passage and defeat of their enemies.

c.
Pharaoh and all his army and all the Egyptians know that “I am the LORD.” when he freed the Israelites and destroyed the entire army

d.
I am totally unequipped to minister to those in foreign lands, I am not equipped, I do not speak any other languages, I do not know the culture – I am a man with faltering lips in this area.  But less than a week ago, with 3 days notice, God placed the main leaders of the house church movement in a closed communist nation in my house along with 40 people from that country who are here on student and work visas and God allowed me to be a small part of demonstrating His compassion and hospitality so that He could do His work through the connections of these people.  Buses were showing up full of noted Christian authors, pastors and house church leaders along with non-believers and seekers.  If this occurred in their home country they would have been persecuted and imprisoned for even being in the same room.  Many of the leaders in our home had spent years in prison and suffered brutality and torture in the name of Jesus.  But on this day, dozens of people were on their knees being prayed over in their native tongue and hearing the word of God spoken.  The hardest thing I had to do was the dishes!

9.
a.
the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant

b.
He is truly mighty and wonderful.  He does not need me, but has allowed me to have a part and to see how He is moving in the lives of others, especially the children.

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”

 

03.4 Moses 3, Day 4

Insecurity, Inadequacy and Fear

Insecurity, Inadequacy and Fear are three of the top 10 barriers that those of us called to serve the Lord allow to stand in the way of serving Him fully and whole heartedly.  Some will read the verses in our study today and see an impertinent or obstinate Moses.  But I think this is far deeper and more meaningful.

When we stand in the presence of God we will speak the truth.  Scripture tells us that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

I think what we see is Moses revealing his heart and soul layer by layer in the presence of a loving and patient God.  Yesterday we discussed the first 2 barriers.  I don’t know who I am and I don’t know who you are, God.  God addressed those.  Now we move deeper past the surface.

1. I am insecure.  What if they don’t believe me?  What if I lay myself out in front of them and they reject me?  God answers this by making Moses more secure and teaching him about God’s plan.  God shows him how to perform miraculous signs.  He doesn’t just tell him these signs, He allows Moses to practice the signs and to experience there impact first hand.  He teaches Moses what he is to do and enlightens him that they may not believe the first sign or the second sign and they may not listen to Moses, but they will believe the third.

2. I am inadequate.  I am not eloquent.  I am slow of speech.  What if I don’t have the words to convince them?  What if I don’t know what to say or how to say it?  God patiently reminds him not of Moses power but of Gods.  Who made it so men can speak?  This is not a barrier, because it is not a barrier to God.  God tells him again, “now, go” and reminds him that God will not only help him speak but actually teach him the very words to say.

3. I am afraid.  No one likes to admit we are afraid, but we all experience fear and it can paralyze us.  I believe Moses’ final request, that God send someone else, is an expression of his fear.  And how does God address this?  In two ways.  First, if you are going to have fear in your life, let it be a reasonable fear of the Lord.  God’s anger burned against Moses.  The shift from petty fears to righteous fear that Moses must have experienced at that moment must have been palpable.  But God did not use fear to be the motivation for Moses to obey.  This is very important.  God revealed Moses’ fear for what it was in comparison to the fear of God, but He didn’t leave Moses with something to move away from, He gave Moses something to look forward to.  The conversation between God and Moses reveals that Moses and Aaron knew each other as brothers.  Moses knew that Aaron could speak well.  Moses had been away for 40 years, away from home and family, and God overcomes his fear with a promise of hope and love and reuniting.  He tells Moses that Aaron is already on his way to meet him.  (Don’t miss that.  God didn’t yield to Moses’ fear, he had sent Aaron on his way before this conversation happened.)

God helps and is patient of us in exactly the same way.  He overcomes our feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.  He overcomes our fear with hope and love and reuniting.  He has given us the promise of a promised land that makes the land of Canaan look like a wasteland.  He has given us a promise of his presence that makes the pillar of fire look like a flashlight with weak batteries.

Like Moses, He has given us a sign and a promise: when our mission here on earth is done we shall return to a holy place to worship Him.

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
1. What if they don’t believe me or listen to me?
2. Pardon, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and tongue.
3. Pardon, Please send someone else

b.
v2-9 foresight into miraculous signs
v11-12. who gave human beings their mouths?… Now, go; I will help you speak and teach you what to say
14-17. The Lord’s anger burned against Moses – gave him helper, Aaron

c.
I don’t know what to say.  I don’t want to offend.  I’m not the right person.  I’m too sinful to be believed.  I’m not holy enough.  God has been patient with me, taught me, and has taken up residence in my heart.