27.2 Moses 27, Day 2

Life Anchoring Experiences

I ran across a posting this past week that referenced a 2010 Cornell University study published by Thomas Gilovich and Travis J. Carter.  The study showed that over the long term experiences are more important and provide more lasting satisfaction than material things.  The study compared things such as buying a TV or a flashy car as opposed to investing the money in a vacation or training lessons.  It showed that the initial thrill of the possession faded rapidly, but the value of the experience started strong and continued growing over time.  It attributed part of this impact to the fact that our experiences are unique to us and personal whereas we tend to compare possessions to others.

I thought this was very fitting in the instructions and the relationship that God wanted to have with the people of Israel as they entered the promised land.  He is leading them into a physical place, through physical battles and difficulties, with physical rewards of food and shelter.  But, He wants their first thing in the new land to be an unique and memorable experience of obedience.  He calls on them to truly experience this event.  They would gather the stones, form the plaster, allow it to dry, write all the words of the law, build the altar, offer the burnt offering and shout the blessings and curses from the mountaintops.  Nothing like this had been done before or since.

This was in stark contrast to the gods of the people currently in the land whom they were to defeat and remove.  These people saw their gods as something to possess.  They formed them out of wood and clay and they carried them around with them.  They were gods of things, the god of the river, the god of the insects, the god of fertility.

Our God is a God of relationships.  He invites His people, then and now, to experience Him.  He doesn’t give us the law and commands as a rod to punish us with.  He gives them to us as loving directions so we know the right path that leads to a fully and deeper relationship with Him instead of getting lost in detours and wrong paths.

How are you experiencing God?  Are you investing your time and money in possessions that don’t last and don’t satisfy, or are you investing in experiences that change and redirect your life?  How are you creating experiences to share with others: such as family meals, spending time with missionaries, praying together, working in your church?  What intentional experiences do you want to plan for yourself and your loved ones in the next 90 days?  The experiences may just last forever!

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
large stones coated in plaster and write on them all the words of this law, also build there an altar with fieldstones

b.
To demonstrate their obedience, to create a lasting remind – to put the law first and foremost in their mind and to associate the Word with the burn offerings

4.
a.
Blessings from Mount Gerizim, Curses from Mount Ebal – shouted out by the tribes, 6 on each side

b.
Surgery reset the priorities of my life

13.2 Moses 13, Day 2

Reconnecting and a Willing Heart

Isn’t it interesting that the first command Moses gave the Israelites, before they began the work of building the tabernacle and beginning the next stage of their journey with God, was the command about the Sabbath.  The 7th day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord.

There are a lot of theological discussions about the sabbath and how it applies to believers today.  I am not going to get into a discussion about dispensationalism.  Instead, here is what I think is important:

If you are a photographer hired by a couple getting married, it is important to remember, the goal is not to take a lot of beautiful photos, the goal is bring those photos back to the bride and groom.  You have to bring the camera back into your home base, upload the photos and recharge the camera.

In our service for God, we sometimes forget that.  We get so focused on the activity, we don’t reconnect with God.  How much stronger and more focused would your service for the Lord be if every 7 days you stopped and plugged back in fully?  What would your life look like if every 7 days you spent the day uploading the prior 6 days activities to God?

The other part of our lesson today that I found interesting was God’s desire for a willing heart.  There are two ways of looking at the gifts the Israelites were giving:

  1. One perspecitive is to recognize that they will never see their gifts in use again.  The gold utensils are for use inside the Holy place, an area that the givers are restricted from going.  Many of us would have a hard time with this.  When we give money to an organization we want to see the results of our gift; a report back; photos; something.
  2. The other perspective is to recognize that the gold bracelets they had carried around for the past year are being crafted into the mercy seat of God.  What an absolutely amazing and honoring thing.  What would you be willing to give for use within the tabernacle of God?

The reality is that both perspectives are true, both then and now, in gifts from a willing heart.  We may never get to see how the donations we make from a willing heart are used to bring glory to God.  That isn’t important.  If it is what is important, then we need a heart check.  The key is that, while we don’t see the product of our giving, God does.  And isn’t the entire universe God’s rightful tabernacle and anything that furthers the church on this earth is a tool in the Holy of Holies.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
7th day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the LORD

b.
To be His people, a holy nation or priests, set apart

c.
I am called to be a part of His holy church and become holy, set apart, a priest in His service

4.
a.
The people of Israel, all who was willing and whose heart moved them, men and women alike

b.
God, the LORD – chose Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, tribe of Judah, filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills, work in gold, silver, bronze, cut/set stones, woodwork, artistic craft, Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others; engravers, designers, embroiderers, weavers

c.
every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary

d.
vs3-5, stopped work and told Moses the people are bringing more than enough

e.
That my gifts be viewed by God – the donations they brought were being used in such a way they would never see them again

5.
The details were important – each had a specific reason and each foreshadow Jesus and heaven

 

10.5 Moses 10, Day 5

A special calling

Over and over again, as I study the bible, I’m struck by how upside down man’s ways are to God’s ways.

First, you are not an accident, some random product of unplanned and unexpected events.  I don’t have a problem with the idea that things evolve and change over time, but who wants to believe they are nothing but a random accident?  I believe I am here for a purpose and that there is a specific purpose and calling for my life.

But even though, as Christians, we believe this, we still can get things turned around.  First, we start with us.  We are born, we have a number of experiences and preferences and training and relationships, we accept Jesus, we look for our mission or calling and then we pray to be equipped for that role.

But look at it in reverse and we get a better view of God’s perspective.  First, God plans a special mission or calling for you.  Then Jesus and the Holy Spirit go to work aligning time and place and experience and training and relationships.  Then you are born.

We saw today how God had a mission for two specific craftsmen in the construction of the tabernacle.  God didn’t look around and review the resumes of the Isrealites to see who would be the best.  He selected these men to be in this place at this time with these gifts and talents before they were ever born.  He has done the same for me and you.

Finally, here is an aside so that you won’t ever forget the names of the craftsmen.  Not only did God bless them with appropriate talents, but He also gave them perfect names.  Bezalel, sounds just like Bedazzle, without the duh. What a perfect name for the interior decorator!  And his helper is name Oholiab, which sounds like Oh-Holy-Ab, and he would need some Holy Abs of Steel for the heavy lifting he would need to do.  I hope this makes you smile and helps you remember their names.

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
the prayers of God’s people

b.
at morning and twilight so that it will burn regularly

c.
There are times I should stop and pray, but also, my prayers should be constantly before the Lord

10.
a.
before entering the tent of meeting

b.
washed daily – daily repent and receive the cleansing

11.
a.
They would die

b.
cut off from the people

c.
These things were holy and sacred (set apart) – using them for self or others would be self worship or, at a minimum, putting self at the same level as God

12.
a.
filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills

b.
All different, all appointed by God to serve God

c.
To serve – to connect – to teach

10.4 Moses 10, Day 4

Priests, Present, Prayer, Patience, Passing the Torch

Are you called to be an active part of the ministry of your church? Yes.

1. Priests: When you become a Christian you are clothed in Christ.  Just as the priests of the tabernacle wore special clothing to designate them as part of a unique group, set apart for special work before God, we wear Christ inside and out.  All Christians are priests, with an expectation of being part of the ministry of the church.  That ministry can take on many forms, such as teaching, counseling, caring, feeding, praying, supporting, etc.  When the priests put on their clothing, it was like a uniform.  In the same way, when we ask for Christ to be the center of our life, we take on the uniform of that faith.  There are no spectators, no one sitting on the sidelines, if you are a Christian you’re place is in the field.

2. Present: The priests were present at the tabernacle every day.  They had days of rest, but a big part of what they did was show up every day.  The incense was lit twice a day, the candle wicks were mended, the bread was placed on the table, the sacrifices were made, the cleansing took place.  In the same way, we are called to show up and do kingdom work every day.  Every day we are called to cleanse our soul.  Every day we are called to break bread with God.  Every day we are tend the light to the world that our candle shines to those to whom we influence.

3. Prayer: When we decide we need to become more active in church, we often start with an assessment of what we are good at or what we are comfortable doing.  But, that is wrong.  Our approach should begin with prayer.  If we trust God and know that He has a plan and calling for our work in His church, we need to also begin by asking Him to reveal that plan to us.

4. Patience: After we pray, we need to wait patiently and continue to pray.  A few years back I read Tony Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength.  He said, “I needed to do my current job well, keep preparing, and wait on God’s timing. I needed to trust His leadership rather than try to force an outcome I wanted.”  He explained that every time he jumped ahead of God in his career, things did not go well.  We need to have the same patience in our work and our job in God’s church.

5. Pass the torch: God did not only appoint Aaron, He also appointed his sons.  I was visiting with a lady recently who asked about the church we attended.  She and her family had attended a church for the past 2 years, but she explained that it was an older, established church and they had not found a place to plug in and serve in the church.  Each time they had attempted, they found themselves trespassing on someone’s established turf.  People serving in roles in the church are often heard to complain that they have to do too much themselves because others aren’t stepping up.  Could it possibly be that we are not actively developing the future leaders to step in?  Could God have something else in mind for you that you can’t step up to because you won’t let go of your current position?

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
God

b.
If try to take an easy, comfortable job, it is blocked or not successful – called to serve in area that would not have been my initial preference, such as working with kids instead of adults.

8.
Titus: We are washed in the saving blood of Jesus and rewed by the Holy Spirit

Galations: those baptized into Christ have clothed themselves with Christ

2Cor: Anointed us, seal of ownership, put spirit in our hearts

Rom: Christ as a sacrifice of atonement – righteousness

1 Peter: the church is a chosen people, Kingdom of priests, holy nation, God’s possession

04.4 Moses 4 Day 4

Shifting Gears

Have you ever ridden in a vehicle with a stick shift?  Here is my illustration:

You are sitting in the passenger seat next to a race car driver, a professional.  You’re excited.  You’re ready to go.  He’s at the line ready to go and he steps on the gas and… you’re off.  That sudden burst of acceleration sets you back in your seat.  The thrill, the power of the engine, the feel of the vehicle.  When, all of a sudden he steps on the clutch and the acceleration slows.  You slip forward in your seat and you panic.  Did the ride stop?  Is that the end?  I thought we were going. I thought we would just keep going faster and faster, racing forward.  What went wrong?

This is what Moses’ experience must have been like.  But God wasn’t hitting the brakes, he was tapping the clutch, he was simply shifting gears.

Why did this happen?  Why didn’t God just have Moses do the miracles and have the people set free?  We see similar things in our journey as Christians.  We’ll work with a new believer only to see them stumble in their faith.  We’ll pray for those in our groups, but see them still struggle.  We’ll have a spirit filled event that gives us clarity of direction only to face obstacles that cause us to question our understanding or ability.

But the point of a Christian life is not simply to get from point A to point B – to get from this life into heaven.  The reason to sit next to a race car driver is for the journey not just the destination.  Seeing them in command of the vehicle, feeling the way they handle this instrument and any obstacle, that is where the joy is.

Don’t panic when God pops the clutch to shift you out of first gear – the journey isn’t ending, it is just about to get more exciting.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
Why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me?

b.
That he had failed or misunderstood.  That something had gone wrong or that God had changed His plan.

7.
a.
Only temporarily.  We have stepped away from deals in business because, while lucrative, they did not fit our values and obedience to honor God.  We lost in the short run, but it always has turned out for the better.

b.
Remember God does not change, that He and His plans are perfect.  While I am short sighted, He sees eternity.  He knows what is best and what needs to be done – a bump is not a cliff.

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.

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

01.5 Moses 1, Day 5

Denial of Pharaoh’s plan by his daughter in the Nile (da’ Nile)

Sometimes it seems like God is just showing off.  This is one of those times.

  1. A prophet born in a time where all boy births were illegal.
  2. The one through which God would write the laws and the first 5 books of the bible, was afloat in a basket of papyrus, the material used to make the scrolls on which Pharaohs laws had been written.
  3. Nursed through infancy with payment to his mother from Pharaoh’s own treasury
  4. Raised in Pharaoh’s own house, trained by his trainers, protected by his guards, fed his food
  5. Raised by Pharaoh’s own daughter in collusion with her servants, who were on his payroll in his house.
  6. And, I may be dense, but if you are an evil dad and you’ve decreed that all Hebrew baby boys are thrown in the river and one day your daughter who hasn’t been pregnant shows up with a baby boy whose name translates into “I drew him out of the water”… You shouldn’t need to buy a vowel to solve that puzzle.

 

But with all of these outlandish events, it is also important to notice the small and almost mundane ways that God moved.  Jochebed “saw” that Moses “was a fine child” (Ex 2:2).  His sister stood at a distance to keep watch (Ex 2:4).  Pharaoh’s daughter “saw the basket”, “saw the baby”, she “heard him cry” and she “felt sorry for him.” (Ex 2:5-6)

As we await the promise of God of the second coming of Jesus Christ we continue to see God’s hand.  Sometimes we see Him in grandiose ways, but more often in small and almost mundane ways in our daily lives.   We see little things.  We stand at a distance and keep watch.  We hear. And, probably most frequently, we feel God moving in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Yes, you should test those things in your life against the word of scripture, but don’t live in denial of the fact that, if you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart (and even if you haven’t), He is in control and moving in your life.

p.s., (I couldn’t resist getting that one last “da nile” of the fact in there)

My Answers:

11.
a.
Kept him hidden for 3 months, safe in Nile (no animals, no drowning), spotted by Pharaoh’s daughter first, he cried she felt sorry, knew what he was , Miriam asked for the sale, raised by his family, adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter

b.
Circumcision.  Also, what other boy baby would be alone in the Nile river?

c.
vigilance, boldness, faithfulness, trust, ability to ask for the sale

12.
a.
Nursed, nurtured, bonded

b.
wealth, education, privilege, power, confidence, health, food, nurturing, strength, speech, action

c.
wealth, education, privilege, power, confidence, health, food, nurturing, strength, speech, action, love, training in God and how to live as a Christian, examples of how to serve

d.
Through the worst of hardships, God’s hand is present and guiding all into place.  Even in a hopeless situation (placing your baby in the river), God is faithful and true

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