Friday, September 1, 2017

Exodus Lesson 4 Chapters 2 and 3 (Facebook Live & Notes)




To watch Lesson 1, click here.
Exodus Notes – Week 4 – Chapter 2, 3
Review of last week

·         Chapter 2 Vs 16-22 (NASB)Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. 18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, "Why have you come back so soon today?" 19 So they said, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock." 20 He said to his daughters, "Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat." 21 Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. 22 Then she gave birth to a son, and he named * him Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land."

Encounter at Well

·         Vs 16 The inhabitants of his new home, Midian, were the descendants of Abraham’s concubine Keturah…..so Moses and the Midianites were relatives.
·         Vs 17 Moses didn’t say “this is none of my business” but stood up for shepherdesses.
o   Not the last Moses would be called to stand up and help someone
o   We can’t expect to be used in the big areas unless we are faithful in the small
o   In his weakened state, Moses was still fearless…ended up getting a wife and a job out of it!
·         Vs 18, 19 Moses willingness to go above and beyond by drawing water for them opened up the way for his own deliverance.
·         Well was acceptable meeting place between men and women in ancient times. 
o   Can you think of other places in Bible in which there are important encounters at well?  Abraham’s servant meets Rebekah – Gen 24 Jesus and Samaritain woman John 4.  Marriage is associated with all 3 accounts.
·         Tzippora’s father is Reuel (later called Jethro)
·         Reuel = friend of EL (had some knowledge of Yahweh, who is referred to as El Shaddai in Genesis)
o   “The priest” of Midian signifies that he was most important priest.  Similar to “high priest” of Israel in later years.
·         Gershom is born to Moses
·         Ger-shom = a stranger there (Moses felt like a stranger there)


(Vs 23-25 NASB) Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. 24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.

GOD REMEMBERS ISRAEL

      Pharaoh dies, but, the new Pharaoh still enslaves Israel
      Many days = almost 40 years!
      Zakar = remember
      An active term, which means to pay close and attention AND to become involved
      Yehoveh’s reaction revolved around the covenant He gave to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob
      Read 23-25 in Amplified Version
      Vs 25 NLT “He looked down on the people of Israel, and knew it was time to act.
      Prayer (Israel’s cry for help) + God’s covenant promise = deliverance
      So for us, we pray based on God’s promises.  Our prayers would have no effect if not for God’s promises.  Yet, God’s promises mysteriously are often only put into effect when God’s people pray!

Exodus Chapter 3 (CJB)
1 Now Moshe was tending the sheep of Yitro his father-in-law, the priest of Midyan. Leading the flock to the far side of the desert, he came to the mountain of God, to Horev. 
2 The angel of ADONAI appeared to him in a fire blazing from the middle of a bush. He looked and saw that although the bush was flaming with fire, yet the bush was not being burned up. 
3 Moshe said, "I'm going to go over and see this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn't being burned up." 
4 When ADONAI saw that he had gone over to see, God called to him from the middle of the bush, "Moshe! Moshe!" He answered, "Here I am." 
5 He said, "Don't come any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground. 
6 I am the God of your father," he continued, "the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov." Moshe covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God. 
7 ADONAI said, "I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain. 
8 I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that country to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the place of the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi. 
9 Yes, the cry of the people of Isra'el has come to me, and I have seen how terribly the Egyptians oppress them. 
10 Therefore, now, come; and I will send you to Pharaoh; so that you can lead my people, the descendants of Isra'el, out of Egypt." 
11 Moshe said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the people of Isra'el out of Egypt?" 
12 He replied, "I will surely be with you. Your sign that I have sent you will be that when you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." 
13Moshe said to God, "Look, when I appear before the people of Isra'el and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you'; and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?" 
14 God said to Moshe, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be]," and added, "Here is what to say to the people of Isra'el: 'Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.'"
15 God said further to Moshe, "Say this to the people of Isra'el: 'Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [ADONAI], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov, has sent me to you.'This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation. 
16 Go, gather the leaders of Isra'el together, and say to them, 'ADONAI, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov, has appeared to me and said, "I have been paying close attention to you and have seen what is being done to you in Egypt; 
17 and I have said that I will lead you up out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi, to a land flowing with milk and honey."' 
18 They will heed what you say. Then you will come, you and the leaders of Isra'el, before the king of Egypt; and you will tell him, 'ADONAI, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now, please, let us go three days' journey into the desert; so that we can sacrifice to ADONAI our God.' 
19 I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so. 
20 But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do there. After that, he will let you go. 
21 Moreover, I will make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that when you go, you won't go empty-handed.
22 Rather, all the women will ask their neighbors and house guests for silver and gold jewelry and clothing, with which you will dress your own sons and daughters. In this way you will plunder the Egyptians."

Moses at Horeb

Vs 1 (NASB) Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the [a]west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

      Scene opens 40 years later as we find Moses on “the backside of the desert” KJV.  Being faithful in what he knew to do.  Every day was probably like the day before…until this day!
      Moses becomes a shepherd – must have received training from father-in-law and/or his wife.
      Did not own his own animals, they belonged to his father-in-law.  Moses obviously had not been able to accumulate any amount of wealth during his time in Midian
      Moses moved flocks to area of Mt. Horeb (later called Mt. Sinai).  Reason for move was new pasture
      This would be same place that Moses would bring Israelites too after the Exodus.  Where Moses would receive 10 commandments

Vs 2 (NASB) The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of ]a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

      Moses probably saw bush in corner of his eye for some time.  Burning bushi in desert not that unusual.  A burning bush which wasn’t being consumed was though!
      Burning bush
o   Fire plays significant role in OT & NT
o   Symbol of Holy Spirit
o   United Methodist even has flaming fire symbol on all of their churches.
(Would to God they all were truly on fire as Methodists of old were!)
o   God was going to make Moses like a burning bush…could not long ignore him, full of HS, where he stepped would be holy ground.
o   God’s true prophets are full of fire…so much so that it is only God’s grace that keeps them from being consumed
o   Three examples of HS and fire  Jeremiah 20:9, Matt 3:11, Acts 2:3

(Vs 3  NASB) So Moses said, “[c]I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”

      Moses could not ignore bush any more.  Egyptians would not be able to ignore Moses!
      Moses had to turn to find out where God is.  Though God made Himself approachable to Moses, Moses still had to turn and move towards God before would reveal Himself to Moses.
      Think about how much the hinge of history revolved around this one turn.  Yet Moses had no idea.  How may the hinge of history revolve around your turn to God!
      “This particular bush was transfigured by the flame until it became the most famous bush in all of history. It became the most famous bush in all of history, not because there was a great bush, but because there was a great fire!” Tozer
      “God takes people who never amounted to anything and never will, but by living in them transforms them” Tozer
       
Vs 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

      God calls to Moses from out of the fire.  God speaks to us by name!
o   Who else did God speak to by name?  Abraham (Genesis15;1), Jacob (Genesis 32:28), Paul (Acts 9:4), many others
      “Moses was born to be Israel’s deliverer, and yet not a word is said of it to him until he was eighty years of age.” John Wesley
      “Here I am” is only true answer we can give when God calls us.
o   Who else responded to God’s call with “Here I am”?  Isaiah 6:8
o   Yet, as we’ll see, when He found out what God wanted from him, Moses is going to take some convincing!

Vs 5 Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

      Removing of sandals was and is sign of respect in Middle Eastern cultures.  Similar to men taking their hats off during prayer in the west.
      “Holy ground” – Hebrew is qodesh (Kodesh) – means to be set apart as sacred. 
      Only previous  use of the word or it’s root was Genesis 2:3, where God sanctified the 7th day (Sabbath).
      Yet it will be used 52 more times in Exodus as well as several hundred times in OT.
      Concept of God’s holiness – His awesome, fearful presence – is largely missing from the church today.
      We’ve made God like a celestial pal
      “The greatest loss that modern man has suffered is the loss of a sense of sacredness.” A.W. Tozer
      If Moses had not abased himself before this holy God (symbolized by removal of sandals), he might have been consumed right there!

Vs 6  He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

      God had heard a lot about God, but he didn’t know God until this moment.  His reaction was to hide his face. 
      Eventually God would say of Moses, that He spoke to Moses “face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.”  (33:11)
      God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob again appears here.  God speaks because of covenant.  He acts because of covenant.  He remembers (Zakar) because of covenant. 
       
Vs 7 (CJB) ADONAI said, "I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain. 

      God makes it very clear to Moses that He has not been asleep at the switch. He has seen, He has heard, and He has KNOWN of His people’s plight. We should NEVER assume that what we perceive as a long period of God’s silence in our lives means that He has forgotten His promises to us, or isn’t aware of us, or has lost interest in us. For, as daunting as it can be it seems that an extended period of heavenly silence is invariably a major ingredient of God’s preparation process; His preparation of us…..for whatever His divine purposes for us might be…WILL include periods of divine silence”  (Bradford)
      God saw their oppression (affliction), God heard their cry, God knew their pain (sufferings)
      God sees our afflictions, He hears our cry when we are in trouble.  He knows our sufferings.
      Hebrews 2:17, 18 (Amp)
o   Therefore, it was essential that He had to be made like His brothers (mankind) in every respect, so that He might [by experience] become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things related to God, to make atonement (propitiation) for the people’s sins [thereby wiping away the sin, satisfying divine justice, and providing a way of reconciliation between God and mankind]. 18 Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.

Vs 8,9 So I have come down to deliver them from the [e]power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.

      Yet God does not only see our affliction, hears our cry, and knows our sufferings, He will act on our behalf.
      Yet God’s act of deliverance was far more than they were bargaining for.  He wasn’t going to just make things better for them in Egypt, he was going to remove them from Egypt altogether.
      When we ask for God’s help, he will deliver, but not always (seldom!) the way that we think He will. 
      We must be willing to follow Him wherever He leads, even if it’s into a desert for a spell (but I’m getting ahead of myself!)
       
Vs 10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”

      Up until this point, Moses must have been thinking “that’s all great God, but what’s this got to do with me?”
      Must have been quite a shock to Moses (down to his unshod feet!) when God said “I WILL SEND YOU!”
      God could have delivered Israel unilaterally without the help of man.  He could have just transported them Star-trek style from Egypt to Canaan (Scotty, beam me up!). 
      Yet God has always used men and women as means for carrying out his divine promises.
      So it is today.  Are you willing to be that man or that woman to whom God says, “I WILL SEND YOU?”
      As a matter of fact, God is sending us today. He’s sending each of us to our families, our co-workers, our neighbors to be the  light of Jesus in a dark and desolate world.  The call of Moses is my call and your call. 
      Read Acts 2:37-39 together




Friday, August 18, 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Answer To Everything (Facebook Live Post)


The Answer To Everything

Today marks the 241st birthday of the United States of America.  Though we are still a very young country compared to most countries in the world, we have been under the same system of government longer than any other country in the history of Earth.  That is quite an achievement!  It certainly speaks volumes about the men who set up this government so many decades ago.

Yet, it doesn't take great insight to see that our country is in grave trouble today.  There is more discord in America today that at any time since the Civil War was fought over 150 years ago.  Republicans against Democrats, liberal against conservative, urban against rural.  We only have to look at the discord in the last election and in it's aftermath to see that there is little that binds us together today.  Could it be that we have lost our way?  Could it be that we have missed something crucial it what makes America America?

For almost 200 years, this country by and large existed as the most religious nation on earth.  Our founders insisted that only a religious and moral people could enact the republican form of government that they instituted for us in 1787.  In the excellent video "Was America Founded to be Secular?", Joshua Charles quotes one of those founders and our second president, John Adams, in stating, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  Likewise, another founder, James Madison, who would become our fourth president, stated quite succinctly, "The belief in a God All Powerful, wise and good is...essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man..."  For these men and so many others who were instrumental in the founding of the United States, religion, and particularly the Christian religion, was indispensable to the maintenance of the precious liberties with which we were entrusted.

Yet, it is not the Christian religion per se but the byproducts of true Christianity which have served our nation well in the past.  It is not only because we have become much more secular, but because those of us who call ourselves Christian have largely failed to practice true religion and real Christian living that we find ourselves in the mess we are in.  It is because the church of Jesus Christ has failed to be the "city set on a hill" and "the light of the world" (see Matthew 5:14), that we dwell in so much moral darkness today.  Jesus said that we are to be "the salt of the earth", but if the salt has lost it's saltiness, it is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (see Matthew 5:13)  And that is exactly what has happened.  Because we Christians have stopped acting like Jesus, we have lost the ability to be the preserving influence in our society, and, as a result, Christianity has largely been thrown out and trampled under foot by those who see nothing but hypocrisy in us.  The baby has indeed been thrown out with the bathwater, but I'm afraid we Christians are the ones who ruined the bathwater!

So what am I saying?  I am saying that because we Christians have stopped acting like Christ, secular men and women have seen no virtue in our religion, and have understandably rejected all religion.  Because Christianity has largely been rejected in our country, we have lost the moral basis that is one of the most necessary requirements of a free society.  I am saying humbly to my Christian brothers and sisters, IT'S OUR FAULT!

But is there a way out?  Absolutely!  Two-thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul gave us the amazingly simple antidote to all of our problems today:

 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:12-14) 
The answer, put simply, is love!  We as Christian people MUST walk in the self-sacrificial love of Christ if we are to maintain our witness in the society around us.  Yes, we must speak truth without wavering, but in doing so we must have the love in Christ abounding in us as we speak it.  Too often that has not been the case.  The world has seen a quarreling and fighting, bickering and arguing people in churches and have said, "No thank you!"  Can we really blame them?

You see, love is truly the answer to everything.  When we "love our neighbors as ourselves," (see Matthew 22:39), we only want good to come to those around us.  We are happy when they succeed, even when it is at our expense.  We will stop insisting on OUR RIGHTS and start loving all of our neighbors, especially those who don't see things as we do.  Jesus said it this way...

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5: 43-45)
Do you know that when you start loving your enemies and begin to sincerely pray for their eternal and temporal welfare, your enemies stop being your enemies?  Whether they see you as an enemy or not, you start seeing them as a friend.  Now, imagine this one act of mercy multiplied millions of times every day in every corner of our country?  How long do you think that we would still have the problems that we see in front of us today?  I say, not very long at all!

Am I being hopelessly naive?  Perhaps so.  Yet, at other previous junctures in our country's history, God has granted us seasons of spiritual renewal....sometimes called revivals or awakenings.  We are in critical need of one of those times today.  As the psalmist said many centuries ago, "Will You not Yourself revive us again?" (Psalm 85:6)  I believe that not only is spiritual renewal and revival possible in 2017, it is absolutely imperative.  And the same God who gave us the First Great Awakening in the 1740's (which changed the character of our country and prepared us for the times of revolution a few years later), the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century, as well as so many subsequent times of renewal and revival, can yet "revive us again", giving us the ability to truly "love our neighbors as ourselves."  That is my prayer on this Independence Day, 2017.  Will you not join me in this prayer for revival today?





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