27.3 Moses 27, Day 3

I do it myself

When our kids were younger we would often here them say, “I do it myself”.  They didn’t want help.  They didn’t want direction.  They wanted to exercise their independence.

God doesn’t restrain or restrict our independence.  He made us and He made that as part of our nature.  He wants us to make choices.  But, like a loving parent, He wants us to make the right choices.

God lines up the events of our life.  Some to encourage us, some to challenge us and make us stronger.  This is in the same way that a parent or teacher or coach would line up controlled events for us to practice and learn and grow.  God is in control.

And, He wants to bless us along the path of life.  He wants us to be blessed.  He wants us to be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  Blessed when we come in and blessed when we go out.  Blessed in our work and in our leisure.  Blessed in our families and against our enemies.

I think of it like a special protective coating that God has for us every single day, like sunscreen or the de-icing solution on airplanes.  God wants to wash a blessing over us every single day that permeates our physical self, our thoughts, our words and our actions.

But how often do we side step the blessing or shove it out of our way like a child wanting to “do it myself”?  How often do we reject not only the blessing but reject God pushing him to be behind us instead of the one who goes before us?  How can you stop right now (seriously, right now) and ask God to pour His blessing over you to change the rest of the way you live out this day?

 

My Answers:

5.
To be blessed, to be blessed when you come in and go out, to enjoy God’s provision of food/shelter/defeat of enemies, To be established as His holy people, to walk in obedience to Him, abundant prosperity, opening the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty

6.
a.
32.  Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.

b.
They disobeyed by not driving out the enemy in the promised land, disobedience led to famine during the time of Elisha, and ate their own children

c.
To have increased obedience.  To enter obedience joyfully.

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.

22.4 Moses 22, Day 4

Separated From / Gathered To

We look at death from the perspective of the living.  We think of the person who died as being departed.  We mourn the separation we feel from the person.

But in the lesson today we seem some very interesting and heart-warming language.  When it came time for Aaron to die, the language God used in vs 26 was “Aaron will be gathered to his people.”

The illustration that comes to mind is that of a container of play-dough.  One way of looking at it is this:  When the play-dough is taken out of the container we can focus on the separation.  What it was is not the same anymore.  The shell of the container is there, but the contents have been removed.  But, our focus shouldn’t be on the play-dough container, it should be on the play-doh itself.  It is removed to transform it into something new.  To join it together with other dough to create something bigger, better, more beautiful.  Is our focus on the separated from or on the joined to?

Because of sin, under the law, Aaron and Moses were not allowed to enter the promised land.  But, through Christ there is grace.  It is not that the law was overturned, instead it was fulfilled.  Christ lived the life of perfection that we (including Moses and Aaron) could not.  When Jesus died it was not for His own sin, but for ours.

Jesus Christ was and is eternal.  He was present at creation in Genesis 1 and He is present in the last verses in Revelation.  While He had not yet taken the form of a baby in the manger, Jesus was part of the Trinity during Moses’ time as much as during ours.

The only way Aaron could be “gathered to his people” is if his people continued somewhere that exists after death.  The only way Aaron, or any other sinner, could be deemed worthy of entrance is by the grace and redemption of Jesus Christ.

By grace we are saved through faith.  Are you a person with a soul or a soul in a person?  Is your focus on the container or the spirit inside?

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
It was land given to Esau.  God did not tell them to fight them, it was not their promised land and none of it would be given to them.  They were weakened in numbers from the plague and weakened in spirit.  It would have been an offensive act, not a defensive response

b.
stayed in Kadesh then skirted the area by travelling through the wilderness

c.
Is it for my honor or for God’s?  Is it for my glory and comfort of for God’s glory.? Am I being offensive or defensive?  Is there another path?  Is God directing me in a certain direction?

10.
He allowed him to see and participate in the legacy of passing the high priesthood to his son.  He was celebrated by the people

11.
a.
There had to be a documented succession to the priesthood and, in particular, the position of the high priest.  It was not open for debate or discussion but selected by God.  The order of the priesthood did not change so the law and statutes and ordinances did not change, either

b.
Jesus claim to the priesthood was His divinity not as a descendant of Aaron

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.

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.

02.3 Moses 2, Day 3

Bold Compassion

When things went south at home, Moses went east.  Moses ran and hid.  But the person he was running and hiding from was no ordinary person.  This was Pharaoh and the reach of Pharaohs power was great.  From the research I did on maps, when Moses left his home on the Nile river and fled to Midian he would have traveled over 600 KM or 375 miles if he went a straight route.  Given that he was on the run and that a straight path would take him directly across vast deserts, it is unlikely he took anything resembling a straight path.  A direct path walking would have taken 2-3 weeks and a more circuitous route could have stretched to more than a month.

When he sits at the well in Midian he would have been tired, hungry, weary, lonely, weak and emotionally spent.  But when he saw injustice, he could not sit by and do nothing.  Fortunately, his weeks of travel had taught him some constraint and he didn’t seek to avenge the 7 girls, he only stepped in to the extent to remove them from imminent harm.  No one was killed.  More so, he had now taken on a spirit of not simply trying to “fix” the situation, but to serve those in need.  He didn’t stop with running off the shepherds, he drew the water, the cared for the women and their animals and he sought nothing in return (not even dinner).

There were so many excuses Moses could have given for avoiding the conflict.  He was tired, this was not his fight.  But despite all the possible excuses Moses burned with a fire of compassion for the oppressed and persecuted and that fire burning in him was creating a spirit of serving.

Do I burn with that same passion and spirit the way Moses did?  Am I bold in protecting others from immediate danger or do I hide behind my excuses?  When I am bold and step in to help, do I expect recognition and to be served as compensations or do I go the distance and share the water of life to those who are thirsty?

 

My Answers:

6.
Not Egypt, Outside of Pharaoh’s daily purview,  Desert, had wells with water (not totally barren), flocks lived there

7.
a.
Compassion, strength, hard work, bravery, boldness

b.
He still stepped in when he saw grievous wrongs of persecution and oppression, but he didn’t kill anyone

c.
To be bold.  To have the spirit of serving others burn in me.

02.2 Moses 2, Day 2

Tourist

Acts 7:23 says, “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites.”

I think one of the key words in that verse is the word “visit”.  He didn’t go to live.  He didn’t go to support or to serve.  He went to visit.  This may be one of the first recorded instances of what we often call “mission tourism”.

How often do we, as modern day Christians, fall into the same traps Moses did?  We go on a visit, either to the inner city or another country.  We go to be with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We go because we have been blessed with so much. We go to feel better about ourselves and what we possess.

Just like Moses.

And when we see the persecution and oppression, we, in our superior wisdom, take it upon ourselves to do something, to take action.  We decide we must fix things.  And, like Moses, we simply make things worse.

God does call us to reach out to our brothers and sisters wherever they are.  The examples set by the early church to go and make disciples are still relevant. The fellowship of support between churches in different areas and situations is documented throughout the epistles. But we must do it with respect and understanding.  If we swoop in, with an attitude of superiority and an expectation of gratitude, we too will be asked, “who are you?”

But if we come along side our “own people”, fellow believers in Christ, and we share in their burdens and support them and give them aid and encouragement and build long term lasting relationships and teach others and build influence for them, then, we won’t be asked “who are you?” because they will see Christ in us.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
“He looked this way and that and seeing no one”

b.
40 years old.  Decided to visit his own people the Israelites.  Killed to avenge.  Thought his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not

c.
Prophecy, teaching by his parents – clearly Moses had education outside of what was taught in the Egyptian schools about God, His promises and covenants

4.
a.
Choice to identify with them.  He decided to visit his own people

b.
He grew to know that he was not Egyptian, that he was adopted, that his birth parents were Hebrew

c.
Choice to visit did not cost him, choice to act on his own and murder cost him his home, eduction, adopted family, power

d.
Would you rather have 1 marshmallow now or 2 marshmallows in 3 minutes?  how about 1 now and 20 in 3 minutes?  what if the one now was plain, but the ones to come were coated in chocolate and everything yummy?  That was moses choice.

5.
a.
Wanted to help, wanted to rescue, He was strong, brave, bold, not afraid to act, identified with an oppressed people

b.
lack of patience, eagerness to rely on his own strength, can’t go around killing people

01.3 Moses 1, Day 3

Annihilation (a-NILE-ation)

When pharaoh’s plans were unsuccessful he didn’t turn back and change; he made things worse.  He forced the Israelite parents to kill their own children by throwing them into the Nile.

The people cried out to God.  They cried out to the torment and pain they felt.  They cried out for the innocent lives.  But they did not cry out in despair, they cried out to God in hope.

That is what separates the people of God from all others.  That is the special blessing of the prayers of Christians today.  As in those days, wicked people today do wicked things and force others to perform unthinkable cruelties.  We are right to recognize that wickedness for what it is.  We should not turn a blind eye to it or leave it to others to deal with just because it isn’t immediately affecting our daily lives.  But our focus must not be only on the problems, we must seek to look beyond to God’s ultimate promises.  We should cry out to God, the one in charge, the only one truly with the power to make lasting peace, eternal peace with Him.

But we must cry out in hope and confidence, not in despair.  Faith is in the difference in that approach.  Faith is knowing that God will keep all His promises and, while it may not be in the timing we would want, His plans to bring His people to Him will prevail.

I love the way Paul stated it in his letter to the church of Corinth as they were suffering in persecution: we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

My Answers:

6.
a. Order that all born Hebrew boys must be thrown in the Nile
b. Wife’s stomach problems have not been resolved and continue to hurt her

7.
Gen: Prophecy, 400 yrs enslaved, nation they serve will be punished and they come out great possessns
Is: God is Israel’s savior, they will pass through waters, rivers, fir, but enemies will pay, because love you
John: Have peace.  In the world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world
2Cor: He comforts us so we can comfort others, rcv death sentence but taught to rely only on God

8.
a. There was an end, a positive outcome.  They cried out to God in hope not just despair.  God was, is and will be in control.
b. 2 Cor 4:18 – look not at the problems all around you – they are temporary but the good things to come are eternal

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