Compassionate and gracious God: Exodus 34.6-7

“The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.’”

Exodus 34.6-7

The Lord showed compassion by giving the Ten Commandments a second time to Moses. He is both loving and just. He carries forward his purpose, even in the midst of human rebellion.

In both Testaments, God is the same. He seeks fellowship with us. He desires to show his love. What are you doing to allow him to do that?

#votd #Exodus #love

Forgive my sin: Exodus 10.17

“Please forgive my sin once more and make an appeal to the Lord your God, so that he will just take this death away from me.”

Exodus 10.17

The second time forgiveness of sin is mentioned in the Bible is on the lips of Pharaoh, after the eight plague. Even pagans had an understanding of sin and its consequences.

Our repentance should desire more than avoiding the death brought by sin. It should look toward the holy nature of God and be motived by desire to enter his presence.

#votd #Exodus #forgiveness

Let’s deal wisely: Exodus 1.10

“Come, let’s deal wisely with them. Otherwise they will continue to multiply, and if a war breaks out, they will ally themselves with our enemies and fight against us and leave the country.”

Exodus 1.10

The Egyptians thought they were preserving their nation by oppressing the Israelites. They actually destroyed themselves by their actions.

Worldly wisdom finds itself fighting against God. It fails to recognize where God is moving and in whom he has placed his kingdom.

#votd #wisdom #Exodus

Listen to me: Exodus 19.4-6 VOTD

“‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.”

Exodus 19.4-6

The if-then statement defines the conditions of being God’s special people. Keeping the covenant meant obeying God’s commandments. Since all the earth is God’s, he chose Israel to represent him in the world.

This condition continues to hold true for the church, which is God’s people today representing his kingdom in the world. Recall a New Testament text about obedience and its place in God’s plan today.

#obedience #Exodus #VOTD

Hmmm, Exodus and Moses? Where could I read about that?

Maybe it goes without saying? Maybe not. I don’t know. Then again, maybe I do.

In a recent interview with Christian Bale (who plays Moses in the movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings” which is set to be released in December of 2014), that was conducted after an early viewing of the upcoming holiday film for the media, the actor was asked, to one extent or another, about his knowledge of the person he set out to portray on the big-screen. The answer was surprising, or maybe not. You decide. Here’s the given paragraph from the interview that describes what I’m talking about:

After the footage, Dave Karger of Fandango conducted a Q&A with Bale, who said his knowledge of Moses was minimal, so he read up extensively, studying everything from “Moses: A Life,” by Jonathan Kirsch, to the Koran. He described Moses as “A troubled and tumultuous man, very mercurial,” but said God is also mercurial, with “a God of good and evil,” with no mention of the devil or even the afterlife.

Let’s see. I’m playing in a movie called Exodus. And I’m playing a person called Moses. Now where would I go to read and learn about a situation and a person like that? Hmmm?

I suppose “everything” would include studying the biblical account, but then again there are people every day who go to every other source than the Bible itself to find out about biblical matters. I mean because come on, we wouldn’t want the scriptures to get in the way of the script would we?

I haven’t seen any previews, and I don’t plan on seeing the movie, but I’d say the “new version” of the ole’ Ten Commandments will fall in line with Hollywood’s version of the recent film “Noah” – more emphasis on entertainment and next to zero emphasis on education. Remember, there’s a world of difference between “biblically inspired” and biblically based.

#biblical-movies, #exodus, #movie-review

then you shall know

A phrase that occurs over and over again through the Scriptures is “then you will know that I am the Lord.” There are variations on it, but it can be found throughout the Old Testament, and the concept is present in the New. Sometimes the telltale event is a good thing; sometimes it is bad. What is constant is that God is repeatedly trying to show His people that He is in control, and He will be glorified. The next time you read through Ezekiel, count the times this phrase is used. I am fairly certain it occurs more than fifty times in that one book. It occurred in two of the chapters of my Bible reading today:

Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, and let them be humiliated and perish, that they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, are the most high over all the earth. (Psalm 83:17-18)

I will be among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God. (Exodus 29:46)

Lord, cause us to open our eyes and see all the things You’ve made and all the things You’ve done; and may the way we live reveal this to others: You are the Lord our God.

#bible-phrases, #book-of-ezekiel, #christianity, #exodus, #old-testament, #psalm-83

incessant grumblers

Being a teacher requires a certain resolve. It doesn’t matter how intriguing or boring your lesson topic is for the day, there will be students who just won’t open up to it. Sometimes I say, before giving instructions for an assignment, “Everyone listen closely, because I am only going to explain this once.” By the end of the day, on a good day, I have explained it at least four or five times. This holds true no matter how simple the task–even writing down notes I am speaking verbatim. At times it can be exasperating, leaving you exhausted after a simple activity.

Exodus 16 makes me think of my classroom. It shakes out like this: In verse 2, the people grumble against Moses and Aaron. In verse 4, God says He is going to test them to see whether they will follow His instructions. In verse 14, they see the first manna. In verse 19, Moses tells them not to leave it til morning. In verse 20, they leave it til morning. In verse 25, Moses told them they would not find any manna because it was the sabbath, so don’t go looking for it. In verse 27, the people went looking for it. At this point the Lord seems exasperated, for He exclaims, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions?” Finally in verses 29 and 30 they get it right.

Lord, sometimes it takes us a little while to catch on. Please be patient with us while we learn to walk in Your instructions.

#christianity, #classroom, #exodus, #instructions, #israelites, #manna, #moses, #obedience, #test

(19) GOD’S BLESSINGS ARE OFTEN TESTS.

19. GOD’S BLESSINGS ARE OFTEN TESTS.
Here is a second lesson from Exodus 16:4.
The manna that God provided six days a week was both a blessing and a test. Would the Israelites obey in only gathering what they needed each day (except on Friday), and would they obey in not going out to gather anything on Saturday? Some did not obey; they failed the tests. What about us? Will we use the blessings He bestows in harmony with His will or will we use them disobediently? Money, for example, can be a great blessing, enabling one to give and do good works to God’s glory (cf. Eph. 4:28; I Tim. 6:17-19), but this is only the case if we are its master. If we allow money to possess us, so to speak, the blessing will turn into a curse (cf. I Tim. 6:10).

#exodus, #practical-lessons

(18) GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR THE NEEDS OF HIS CHILDREN.

18. GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR THE NEEDS OF HIS CHILDREN.
Exodus 16:4,35 – “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not’…And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”
How could God feed over two million people in the wilderness for nearly four decades? Miraculously! God provided for them as He promises to do for any today who seek first His kingdom and righteousness (cf. Matt. 6:33). We must trust Him and do our part, and He will take care of us.

#exodus, #practical-lessons

Perception is NOT Reality Sometimes

We have heard it many times that one’s perception is reality. This is not the case, however. At least, it is not the case all the time. The word perceived means to attain awareness or understanding. When people look at an event in life there is an interpretation of that event that brings about a perceived understanding. For instance, I see two people fussing over something; I interpret that which I see, and then gain understanding with regard to the situation. My understanding may be complete or incomplete, but that is what I perceived in what I saw. If there is no correction to what understanding I gained, then that perception (awareness, understanding) becomes, to a degree, reality.

Moses and Aaron went to Egypt’s king, but as they went, they were met by the elders of Israel who were returning from having seen the king. When they met, they heard these words from their brethren, “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us” (Exodus 5:21, ESV). The elders of Israel perceived a situation with which they had direct experience, and they interpreted it as something that needed to be laid at the feet of Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron, having heard these words, also interpreted (perceived) the situation and wondered aloud to the Lord.

This goes to point out that perception is not always reality. In other words, that with which one may come away may not actually be how the situation really is. The elders misperceived the situation. The Lord knew full-well the “whys” and “wherefores.”

It is a difficult thing for us to judge as we ought to; it is not that we can’t judge correctly, only that we are apt to judge or conclude before we actually know the relevant information needed to judge properly. The Lord called upon the people of His day to judge righteously (John 7:24); this means that before a person can rightly interpret he needs all the relevant information, for without it his judgment will be incomplete.

There is another example in Scripture, this time pertaining to the apostles when they were with Jesus (Matthew 16:1-12). Jesus had recently interacted with the religious leaders and called into question the correctness of their interpretation; in fact, He said they were quite capable of judging the atmospheric weather about them, but because of their lack of true understanding in scriptural matters, they could not judge properly those things that surround Him (16:1-4). After this brief interaction, Jesus is with His disciples when He called upon them to understand that leaven can be a dangerous thing. The disciples did not catch on; they were thinking about physical food when the Lord meant for them to understand His remark metaphorically (or spiritually). It was not that long ago that the Lord fed thousands, but the disciples had their minds on one thing, and forgot the other. In other words, they allowed the word leaven to throw them off in their understanding.

This is, often times, why it is that we fail to interpret (perceive) accurately. We have our minds on one thing and the “car that drove within five feet of us” was not even seen! What makes this matter unfortunate for Christians is not only the failure to understand something in the immediate, but also that one might very well fail to understand something the Lord wants His saints to perceive (understand) accurately—and knows that one can if desired and focused. RT

#exodus, #leaven, #matthew, #perception, #reality

(17) MAJORITY RULE IS OFTEN A BAD IDEA.

17. MAJORITY RULE IS OFTEN A BAD IDEA.
Exodus 16:2,3 – “Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, ‘Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
This lesson is underscored in Exodus 23:2 also – “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” We must ascertain what is right based on the teaching of God’s word, not based upon who or how many support a particular action. A man who always checks to see which way “the wind is blowing” before speaking or acting might make for a popular politician but he won’t be a good leader. Majority rule is not inherently wrong, but it is often a bad idea.

#exodus, #practical-lessons

(16) GOD IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE–ESPECIALLY WHEN HE BLESSES US.

16. GOD IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE–ESPECIALLY WHEN HE BLESSES US.
Exodus 15:1,2 – “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.'”
The destruction of the Egyptian army was a great reason to rejoice. In truth, God is always worthy of our praise, even in difficult times. But, humans are naturally more inclined to praise Him when overcoming a challenging situation. At the very least, if we don’t praise Him then, we are selfish, ungrateful creatures indeed. Our aim should be to praise Him always (cf. Eph. 5:20; Phil. 4:4)!

#exodus, #practical-lessons

15 WHEN THE LORD IS ON YOUR SIDE…

15. WHEN THE LORD IS ON YOUR SIDE, THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR.
Exodus 14:10,14 – “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD…’The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.'”
In general, the Israelites had weak faith and were scared; in contrast, Moses had strong faith and was fearless. Lack of faith and fear are always related. God provided them a way of escape to their difficulty, as He still does for us today (cf. I Cor. 10:13). If you allow fear to conquer you, cripple you, or turn you into a complainer, your faith is exposed as weak–trust and obey, friends (cf. Matt. 10:28)!

#exodus, #practical-lessons

(14) MEMORIALS ARE A GREAT WAY TO TEACH CHILDREN.

14. MEMORIALS ARE A GREAT WAY TO TEACH CHILDREN.
Exodus 12:24-27 – “And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD…'”
When children witness a memorial of any type, they are inclined to ask questions out of curiosity. Such is the perfect teaching opportunity to explain the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the matter under consideration.

#exodus, #practical-lessons

13. GOD IS SUPERIOR TO ANY IDOL.

13. GOD IS SUPERIOR TO ANY IDOL.
Exodus 12:12 – “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the LORD.”
There is only one God! It was true then and it is still true today. Jehovah excels our modern man-made “deities” such as money, pleasure, power, recreation, and beauty. The wise will behave accordingly.

#exodus, #practial-lessons