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.

13.4 Moses 13, Day 4

Cloud v. Cow

God is always intentional.  Everything He does is done for a reason.

God appearing to the Israelites as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was not random or inconsequential.  God could have taken any form He wanted.  He could have appeared as a man, as a mist, as a dove, as a small voice, as a trumpet blast.  But God chose a cloud.

I don’t understand exactly why God chose a cloud, but I think it is interesting to compare/contrast the image God chose to reveal Himself and the image the Hebrews chose when they crafted a god.

A golden calf if tangible.  It is shiny (if polished).  It can be physically carried from place to place.  It is visible.  It can be located (there it is).  It is an image

A cloud is tangible, but it cannot be contained.  When you walk through a thick fog, you can feel it, see it, but you can’t hold it.  When you inhale while standing in a fog, you can smell and taste it and feel the mist fill your lungs.  You can see it.  It moves.  It is real.

A pillar of fire also is visible and tangible, but also cannot be held or contained.  It emits light and heat and power.  It permeates and it is reflected and absorbed.  It moves. It is real.

I think this helps teach us about the attributes of God.  God is not imaginary or figurative, He is real.  He is visible.  He is tangible, but He cannot be contained or controlled by man.  He is not limited to a specific place or time, but He moves.  He is all around us and inside us as well.  He protects us, shields us, shelters us and lights our path.  God is a God of Wonders that still have never been seen by any nation or people on this earth!

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle

b.
He dwelt among them

c.
Pentecost

d.
1 Cor 3:16 – Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (note: see also 16 Bible Verses about the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit)

10.
a.
Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle

b.
Some days I am to be in a leadership role and some days I am to be a servant in the church, one, like others, bowing down to God

 

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

 

10.3 Moses 10, Day 3

It’s a map not an art project

My daughters are very talented artists.  One, in particular, can lose herself in the act of creativity.  There have been many a time that she had a school project for a class such as science or history that called for a visual representation of something.  Several hours into the project, which for most children probably took less than 1 hour, we would remind her, it is history homework, not an art project.

In today’s scripture we look at the clarity of God’s instructions, learn what it points to and remember that he repeatedly said, “make it exactly as patterned.” This reminded me, the tabernacle is a map, not an art project.  A map is exact and clear.  It provides direction.  It records and reveals the nature of things (such as nature).  It plots a specific course and/or points to a specific destination.  All of this is true of the tabernacle.

Each dimension, each object, each article used in its construction was part of a map.  It was a map that pointed to worship of God and it was a map pointing to the redemption provided through Jesus Christ.

 

My Answers:

5.
Bread Table:
The table was covered in gold, the plates and dishes, pitchers, bowls all gold.  The bread of the presence was before God at all times – Jesus at the last supper took the bread, broke it and said, this is my body given for you

Golden Lampstand:
Jesus is the light of the world,  In heaven, God is the light (no sun or moon)

Inner Curtain:
The curtain was separation from God.  When Jesus died on the cross the curtain was torn from top to bottom – the curtain represents his body

Altar:
redemption is through the precious blood of Jesus

6.
a.
make it exactly as planned/patterned

b.
It was a revelation of the temple in heaven, it also was a foreshadowing of Jesus.  Everything about God is connected.

07.3 Moses 7, Day 3

Being Blind

There was a verse in today’s reading that both shocked me and humbled me.  Exodus 17:7, “Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD here with us or not?” (NLT)

Here is why this was so shocking to me.  In Exodus 13:21-22 we read, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”  These people were living day and night in the physical, visible presence of God in His shekinah glory in the pillar, 24x7x365 and they are blind.  “Is the LORD here with us or not?”

They see themselves.  They see their thirst and their physical needs.  They see Moses and Aaron.  But they don’t see God.  How is that even possible?

When they have physical needs, they don’t turn to the source of all power who has saved them and brought them out of Egypt.  They turn first to Moses.

But then my eyes were opened to how I act the same way.  When I am sick or hurting, I turn first to doctors and medicine.  When they are not able to help me, then I turn to God in prayer.  I’m walking with God every day and reading His word, but my approach is completely backward.  I’m not saying God wouldn’t use a doctor or medicine to help and heal me, He works in both ordinary and miraculous ways, but where am I turning first and where as a last resort?

We foster this blindness even in church. “If anyone is in need of prayer…”  Aren’t we all in need of prayer?  We need to continue to lift the blindness and see that God is present with us just as He was with the Hebrew people in the wilderness.  We should turn to Him first and then allow Him to work in and through whomever He chooses for His glory.

My Answers:

6.
a.
quarreled – accused him of not giving them water to drink

b.
Because he did not now have nor had he ever had power to provide water to drink, only God had that power

c.
Told Moses to go in front of people, take the elders, take the staff, I will stand before you by rock of Horeb, strike the rock adn water will come out of it for the people to drink

d.
Jesus is the provider and source of the living water.  He is the rock from which that water flows

7.
a.
3 and none.  15:24 drink, 16:2-3 food, 17:3 drink

b.
Who I turn to first – Israel turned to Moses – I turn to doctors & other people of authority

04.3 Moses 4, Day 3

Whose side are you on?

The foremen/overseers were in a unique position.  On one hand, they were part of the management team.  They were overseers pushing the Israelite slaves to produce the work. They took their orders directly from Pharaoh (vs 6. “Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers). They went with the slave drivers and gave the orders to the people, speaking on behalf of Pharaoh (v10-11). On the other hand, they were Hebrews themselves, not Egyptians.

Those who have chosen to follow Jesus live in a similarly unique position.  We live in a fallen world with earthly leaders and day-to-day problems.  On the other hand we are foreigners in this land because we are people of God, set apart for His glory and His kingdom.  And, like the overseers, those we live and work with every day can quickly turn on us and we are faced with a decision, do we bend to them or do we stand with our brothers?

When the foremen/overseers face oppression themselves, they chose to stand with the oppressed, their fellow servants.  They stood up to Pharaoh and asked “Why?”.  They drew a line separating themselves from Pharaoh.  “The fault is with your own people,” they told him. Clearly they knew the risk of their action: “put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

We tend to get down on the foremen for their “lack of faith”, but would we have the faith to do the same? How often do we stay silent about of faith to not be seen as “obnoxious” in our workplace?  How often do we yield to world driven forces that take us away from our commitment to God?  It may be a Sunday morning soccer game, a BSF night meeting, a work request that stands in the way.  Each is nothing more than one more straw, not a big thing, just one more brick in the wall.

But isn’t it interesting that straw and bricks were the tools of oppression of the Hebrew people by Pharaoh?

My Answers:

5.
a.
They went and appealed to Pharaoh

b.
They found Moses and Aaron and said, “may the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

c.
Many, many times – most of the time I’m not blaming a specific person, mostly trying to shirk responsibility myself.  Like the foremen I would blame the Egyptians, Moses, other foremen, etc., etc.  Not so much to blame them but to keep from accepting responsibility.

 

03.5 Moses 3, Day 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Answers:

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

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

10.
a.
Failed to circumcise his son

b.
Zipporah, his wife

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

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

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

 

01.4 Moses 1, Day 4

Blessings: given by God, not earned by man

One of the questions today opens the door to a very difficult and troubling subject.  It is one that is a stumbling block to many causing a separation between them and God.  God blessed Jochebed’s courageous faith.  Moses was saved.  Miriam wasn’t struck down for approaching an Egyptian princess.  Jochebe was even given the privilege of getting paid to nurse her own child.  But what about the other mothers of Hebrew boys?

Were those mothers and fathers less courageous?  What of the ones who refused to throw their own child into the Nile and paid the price at the hands of Pharaoh’s guards?  What of the mothers and fathers living in the tents or huts around Amram and Jochebed?  What would they have felt knowing a boy was living for 3 months as their neighbor while their own child had drowned? And what about the infants themselves?

There is a small voice we can hear that wants us to hold God culpable for the wickedness of mankind.  Why did he not stop this?  Why would He allow innocent babies then and today to be murdered?  What did Jochebed do that other mothers did not to “earn” the blessing?

But we must look at it in another light.  Is a parent a bad parent if they live in an area where gang violence takes the life of their child?  Is a leader of a nation a bad leader if they send soldiers into battle against tyrannical and terrorist forces?  Is a local mayor bad for allowing police and fire-fighters to put their life on the line each day?  When bad things happen we don’t lash out at leaders.  We acknowledge the bad for what it is and the righteous fighting against it as heroes.

God, in his love for us, mankind, has given us freedom.  He gave us the gift of being able to choose:  Do we want to follow Him and live in a perfect relationship with Him? Or do we want to follow ourselves and our own wants and desires and to be our own god?  Since Adam and Eve we have had the choice and have made the wrong choice again and again.  That is called sin.  God is not bad for giving us that choice – He is good and loving and gracious.  A parent is not bad for allowing her children to choose to love her and obey her – they are her children not slaves.  Unfortunately, choice can and does take us down the wrong path.  Through sin, evil flourishes in this world.  Through sin bad, horrible, unthinkable things happen.

For the mothers and fathers of Hebrew boys other than Amram and Jochebe it would have been very difficult to see.  But, in their day, in their neighborhood, in their midst, God was answering their prayers.  This is not the path God chose.  We chose it.  But that also does not mean our action in any way reduced God’s power and plan.  The fact that we have chosen (and continue to choose) the wrong path makes it harder on us, but God is God and His promises are always faithful and true.  While the atrocities of man are horrific and there is no comfort found in the loss of innocent lives, God’s plan and promise to bring His people home to Him for all eternity is unchanging.  The blessing is not one that we earn. Jochebe did not earn the blessing of Moses being saved.  She opened her arms of faith and received the gift of the blessing of God.

We should do the same.  The blessing, the one bestowed on all the Isrealites in Egypt through Moses, was a blessing of being set free of bondage and returned to the promised land.  In the same way we are are offered the blessing that by the grace of God, His son paid the price of our sin so we could return to a perfect and eternal relationship with Him.

 

My Answers:

9. Amram, Jochebe, Aaron, Miriam

10.
a. Faith, God’s provision to keep him hidden and they were not afraid of the king’s edict because faith
b. Promised land: Gen 12:1, Gen 15:7; Increase number Gen 17:6, He would be their God, Gen 17:7;
c. Trusted God but put in papyrus basket coated in tar and pitch, placed in reeds at bath time, Miriam on guard duty
d. Moses survived, not eaten, not killed, not drowned, Pharaoh’s daughter disobeyed, paid to have him raised, took as her son
e. Financially with business changes

 

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