Monthly Archives: September 2012
Exo 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Exo 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exo 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exo 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.
Exo 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exo 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
This is probably one of the most familiar passages in the entire Bible. In Exodus chapter 20, God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses. Rather than going in depth into any or all of the commandments, I want to draw your attention to a verse a little while later.
Exo 20:20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
All of this was happening so that the Israelites would not sin. Many people view rules as the type of punishment. However, we find out here that God provides us with rules so that we are able to stay close to Him.
His laws are protective rather than punitive. For example, God knows it is not good to steal from people. If we steal from people, we have sinned, and sin does have consequences if we never straighten it out with God. Therefore, if we follow this rule, we are protected from taking wrong steps that will ultimately lead to problems.
It is kind of a different perspective on rules because we often think that rules are in place simply to punish us for bad behavior. However, when you look at it from a Biblical perspective, you will find that when the rules come from the perfect Law Giver, they’re actually put in place to protect and direct us rather than punish us. God knows that there are eternal consequences for sin, so he wanted to show us how to avoid it as well.
In Exodus chapter 19, the people of Israel receive a pretty awesome promise from God to say the least.
Exo 19:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Exo 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
Basically, if the Israelites followed all of the laws of God, He promised to make them a special nation that was set apart from all others. On top of that, they were going to be a kingdom of priests. In Israel, the priests had the most direct contact with God. To be closely affiliated with the most powerful being in the universe is a very special place to be. It is a privilege to be allowed such a close relationship with God.
However, how many of us take advantage of that relationship today? Because of the work that Jesus did on the cross, the veil was torn to the Holy of Holies, and we are allowed to have a personal relationship with God.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Most of the same imagery that was used to describe the people of Israel is used in the New Testament to describe Christians today. We have this privilege of being able to talk to God, and we know that He will listen to us.
Joh 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
So, if you are a Christian and reading this, remember that you have this incredible privilege. God wants to hear from you, and He says that He will listen to you. What better privilege is there?
It seems as if Moses had a pretty good relationship with his father in law. In Exodus chapter 18, we find that two of them talking about some of the problems that Moses was having as the leader of Israel.
Exo 18:13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
Exo 18:14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
Exo 18:15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
Exo 18:16 When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
Exo 18:17 And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
Exo 18:18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
At first glance, this seems like an excellent system. Moses would help the people understand whether or not what they were doing was the right thing to do. After all, he had a very good relationship with God, and he had a great deal of wisdom.
However, his father in law told him that it wasn’t good for him to take so many burdens upon himself.
This is the advice that God gives to us as well. He knows that we all tend to try to take on much more than we can handle, and He knows that we all get burned out when we try to go it alone.
That is precisely why He offers to help us out whenever we have a difficult time.
1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
I know that this is a little bit short for today, but it is definitely an important concept that I know I need to remember more. I don’t need to handle everything by myself. God is always right there.
I think that as we come to Exodus chapter 17, we don’t have a problem seeing where the Israelites went wrong. I think that most of us realize that we need to trust in God even when the going gets tough. We know that He will come through and provide for all of our needs. We all intellectually understand the facts, but all that doesn’t always stop us from complaining.
I think the Israelites had as much knowledge as we do. After all, one chapter ago they were miraculously fed through the power of God. They had seen with their own eyes. They knew that God would provide because they had the physical proof that He had been providing.
It is one thing to intellectually understand that God will come through, but it is another to believe that it will happen.
Exo 17:2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
Exo 17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
I was reading these verses, and I was thinking about how obvious this entire problem seems. If only the Israelites would have kept the faith, they wouldn’t have needed to complain because they would have known that God would provide for them.
With those thoughts running through my head, I thought about something else. I have the benefit of hindsight. I know that everything will work out for Israel because I have read the rest of the Bible. It is easy for me to tell them not to complain.
When we are living through difficult times, it is much harder to keep everything in the proper perspective. God always has a plan for us and will always take care of us, but we don’t necessarily think like that as much as we should. I know that I have had times where things a little bit difficult, and I tend to wonder what on earth is going on.
Because I am in the situation, it is sometimes hard for me to see things the way that I should just like it was for the Israelites.
So, I think that we all can work to improve in this area. I know that it is easy for me to wonder why the Israelites didn’t have more faith, but it is just as easy to look at my own life and see where I need to continue growing as well.
In Exodus chapter 16, I thought that there is a very interesting parallel between the children of Israel collecting manna and the Feeding of the 5000.
Let me start with the passage from Exodus.
Exo 16:16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
Exo 16:17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
Exo 16:18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
Of course, people are not necessarily identical, so when people gathered in different amounts of manna, nobody was lacking. Everyone was satisfied with the outcome.
Similarly, when Jesus performed His miracle and fed 5000 people, everyone was satisfied.
Mat 14:17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
Mat 14:18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
Mat 14:19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
Mat 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
Mat 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
I think that what we can draw from these two stories is that God provides for people. In fact, when we have taken the time that we should and really realize everything that God has provided us with, we can be satisfied.
If we try to be entirely satisfied with all of this stuff that we can purchase in the store, we’re definitely going to be disappointed. All of our earthly possessions are limited. However, we are given the assurance that the things of God will bring the satisfaction.
Psa 145:16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
Psa 81:10 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
Overall, when we rely on God, we can be satisfied. It is important to remember that satisfaction is one of those things without we cannot provide by ourselves. God is the giver of that gift.
As we enter Exodus chapter 15, the people of Israel were understandably excited. They had seen impending doom, and God delivered them from those problems.
Because of that, Moses decided to write a song to show how much God meant to him. Here is part of it for you to think about.
Exo 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
Exo 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The second verse is really what I care more about for the purposes of this entry.
When you look at those verses, we can see an outline of the many of the different titles that God has.
It is kind of interesting because throughout the entire Bible, every name that God is given adds a different dimension to what we know about Him already.
However, even with all of this information that we are provided, compared to the infinite nature of God, we really don’t know very much at all. People always say that the more you learn, the more you realize that there’s so much more than that you don’t know.
I think that Christianity is somewhat similar. When we’re young children hearing the Bible stories that we all know, it seems incredibly simple. As we progress beyond that most basic level, we can appreciate the fact that there a lot of things that we simply don’t understand yet.
In my mind, the fact that there is always something more to learn about the character of God is appealing. He is not a simple being that we can easily learn some set parameters of and feel like we have an entire understanding.
By nature of being infinite, there are a lot of things that we don’t know, but that is why there are verses like the one I have noted above. We may not know everything, but when we are given images of who God is, that can help us as we develop a relationship with Him.
When this happens, even though we will still not understand everything right away, we will begin to draw closer to Him and learn more about who He is.
When you really think about it, the events in Exodus chapter 14 must have taken a lot of bravery. After all, the people of Israel were being pursued by the people of Egypt, and they must have felt like they had their backs against the wall.
On one side, they had an army of 600 chariots following them and the Red Sea in front of them. The people became pretty upset at Moses for leading them to almost certain doom.
Exo 14:11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
Exo 14:12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
While slavery must have been awful, the people of Israel were willing to say that they would rather go back then be slaughtered in the wilderness.
However, God knew that He had something much better in store for them if they would only keep the faith. He told Moses that if he lifted up his staff, the Red Sea would divide and the people could safely cross on dry land. It must have seemed impossible, but it happened.
I think that happens to all of us at times. We end up in situations where it seems like there are two equally unpleasant yet inevitable alternatives. It is kind of like the old cliché that talks about going out of the frying pan and into the fire. Neither one is pleasant, but one or the other will happen.
When we see all of this uncertainty and perhaps terror, God sees an opportunity. He can do a lot of things that we could never even fathom. Our obstacles are not a problem for God. He can make things happen in our lives to help us when we end up in these situations. Think about Psalm 23.
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Both of those images should be comforting. After all, we can go to the most terrifying place on earth and we do not need to fear because God is with us. Not only that, but even when all of our enemies are around, God will prepare a table before us.
Remember this type of thing when you end up in a less than desirable situation. Even if it seems like there’s no escape, God is always with us, and it is better to have Him with us in the absolute worst of times than to have anyone else with us even in the best of times.
Exodus chapter 13 is obviously significant because the Israelites are now free to leave Egypt and are beginning the journey.
However, they didn’t just wander without a plan. God actually had a plan for this.
Exo 13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
Exo 13:18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
Exo 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
Exo 13:20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
Exo 13:22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
Look at all of these verses as a coherent thought. First, God led them the way He wanted them to go, but He was also present with them. He didn’t just say go this way and I hope you make it all right.
He led them exactly where and how He wanted them to go.
This totally happens in all of our lives as well.
Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Notice that this is a promise. If we trust in God rather than ourselves and acknowledge Him in everything we do, He will direct us where we should go.
What does that mean?
Well, if God is directing us, we will do things that will honor and glorify Him which makes me think of the fruit of the Spirit that Christians will display when we are following God like we should.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
So, if we follow God like we should, He will direct our paths like He did with the Israelites. Then, when we follow Him and begin to display the fruit of the Spirit, that is definitely positive for our spiritual development.
In Exodus chapter 12 we find one of the most obvious references to Jesus in the Old Testament.
In this chapter, the rite of Passover is established. Basically, the people were supposed to kill a lamb without blemish and spread the blood over the doorway. When the final plague came and every family in Egypt was supposed to lose the firstborn, the family would be spared if they had the blood on the doorway.
Honestly, how much more obvious can you get?
Just for completeness sake, let me hit you with some more Bible verses that reinforce some of these main points. First, Jesus is a perfect Lamb without blemish.
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Then, we find that the blood of the Lamb will help us avoid the inevitable death that will follow us if we are not followers of God.
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Obviously, these two verses point to the fact that Jesus was the ultimate Passover sacrifice. We are saved from eternal death because of His blood that was shed as He died on the cross. He was a Lamb without blemish that was suitable for the sacrifice. Only a human without sin could have done that, and that made Jesus the only one who could.
I really don’t have a lot more to say about this one because it is relatively self-evident. When you look all the way back in Exodus, the need for Jesus was already there.
In Exodus chapter 11, God is telling Moses about the final plague that is going to hit Egypt. The firstborn of every living thing, human and animal, would die around midnight except for the Israelites.
Israel would be protected from this plague for a very specific purpose.
Exo 11:6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
Exo 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
The biggest difference between these people was how much they listened to God.
When we listen to God, we are supposed to be different. A relationship with God should help us produce the fruit of the Spirit, and we should demonstrate that in our lives. Just like the Israelites were different than the Egyptians, we have a similar almost parallel passage in the New Testament that describes Christianity.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
We are called to be different because what we need to do is reflect the light of God rather than try to light up the world by our own merit. That is what the Israelites were supposed to as well. Through their faithfulness, God was going to use them to create a great nation and bring glory to His name.
Everything that happened in Egypt came about to let people realize who God really was, and our mission hasn’t changed whatsoever. As Christians, people are supposed to realize that there is something different about us that isn’t because of who we are.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Just like everyone was supposed to recognize that the Israelites were different than the Egyptians because they had God with them, we need to act like that in our lives every day. We have God with us.