Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’

Read Chapter 15

The LORD performed a miracle! The Israelites were allowed to cross the Red Sea on dry land – did you get that? It wasn’t… even… muddy… It was completely dry! And the whole Egyptian army lay at the bottom of the sea!

(By the way – there are those who say the sea wasn’t that deep – that it was easy for the Israelites to cross over… well, if that is so – then there is an even bigger miracle… the whole Egyptian army drowned in ankle-deep water! HA!)

Chapter 15 begins with a song of celebration remembering the event. We remember things in rhyme easer than prose – and in the Hebrew, this was a song that was easy to remember. The whole story was retold in song from verses 2-20, then Moses’ sister Miriam, whom the scripture tells us was a “prophetess”, along with the women sang a reply, “Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea!”

After that, there was no resting and relying on the victory, they moved out and immediately encountered a difficulty – so what did the people do after coming off such a great victory? They cried “Our God is able!!!” Right?

Uh, sorry. They didn’t… “The people grumbled at Moses…” (verse 24). So – the LORD could drown the Egyptian army, but couldn’t handle bitter water? But, aren’t we just like that? God protects us, or handles a problem, or answers a prayer – but the very next thing that comes along, we start panicking again.

Maybe this was just a moment of weakness… maybe they were just learning to trust… maybe they will learn as they mature in the faith… We shall see as we go along… (but I think you know what will happen.)

So Moses cried out to God and the LORD told Moses what to do to purify the water. And again, everything was fine, but God’s word to the people was “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer” (verse 26).

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just heed His voice; do what is right in His sight; listen to His commandments and keep His statutes… That’s all they need to do.

What did Micah 6:8 say that God wanted?  “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Do justly; love mercy; and walk humbly with God…  It does sound easy – but what does each of our lives convey? It is harder than it sounds – because we are a sinful people.

The Israelites will continue to grumble and fail to trust – but then – so do we…

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, forgive us for our fear and unfaithfulness. We are more like the Israelites that we’d care to admit, but You continued to love and care for them, and You love and care for us. May we hold to Your grace in the (many) times that we grumble, too. We love You and praise You. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

Read Full Post »

Read Chapter 10

Chapter 10 continues the familiar story that we’ve come to expect on this journey. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened after the plague of hail ceased in chapter 9; Moses and Aaron return to Pharaoh with another warning; he fails to capitulate; the plague comes (first the locusts and then a darkness so dark you could feel it!) Pharaoh cries for relief; the plague stops and he hardens his heart again. It is a vicious cycle. And, if we’re not careful, by the time we come to plagues 8 and 9, we’re tempted to skim over the chapter and head on to the plague that really matters – the death of the firstborn sons.

But there are some things that we need to take note of – first, we find the LORD preparing Moses for the fact that Pharaoh’s heart would, yet again, be hardened – but He tells Moses the reason, and it is for posterity’s sake. In verses 1-2 we read “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants [so] that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and [so] that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; [and so] that you may know that I am the LORD”. There is a reason that this process is so long and drawn out.

Next, in verse 3, we read a very fearsome statement. God’s word to Pharaoh, through Moses was, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” This is reminiscent of God’s words to Paul in Acts 26:14 “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

I think Paul was afraid to believe in Jesus, and so he doubled his efforts in persecuting His followers. I also think Pharaoh was afraid to submit to God, so he kept listing requirements for the Israelites to follow before they could go to worship the LORD. If they accepted his demands – then he would not lose credibility with his people. However, he was quickly losing that credibility anyway. In verse 7 Pharaoh’s servants say to him, “Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?” They had more sense than Pharaoh did… but then – they weren’t considered the god of Egypt…

But the most chilling words come in verses 28-29. This is after the plague of darkness, “Then Pharaoh said to Moses, ‘Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!’ And Moses said, ‘You are right; I shall never see your face again!’” The time has finally arrived. God’s ultimate plan for the redemption of the Israelites will come about through the tenth plague. The institution of the Passover is about to commence.

Hang on to your hat – this is fixing to get exciting!

 

Prayer:

Father, forgive us when we begin to skim over scripture. We think we know the story – or it is repetitive and we get bored – but there is so much we need to know. Direct us to read slowly and deliberately and listen for Your Word. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Read Chapter 9

Chapter 9 of Exodus starts exactly the same way as chapter 8 – The only difference is that in chapter 9, God says, “Thus says the LORD the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let My people go…’” instead of simply “Thus says the LORD”.

And from that point (as we see Moses doing the talking now) Moses relates God’s very stern warning, “Behold, the hand of the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock…” and once again we find God sparing the livestock of the Israelites (verses 3-4).

After that follows the plague of all the livestock of Egypt dying (verses 5-7) and THEN the plague of boils breaking out on all the men and animals of Egypt (verses 8-12). The boils were even on Pharaoh’s magicians! But again – Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he would not let the Israelites go. After that, God related through Moses that if He had so desired, the Egyptians would have all been killed – and why did He spare them? God gave two reasons “But indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain in order to show you My power AND in order to proclaim My name through the earth” (emphasis added).

Next comes the plague of thunder and hail and fire down to the ground (likely severe lightening). And again the Israelites are spared, but something very interesting takes place during this plague – Moses gave a warning. He said, “Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die” (verse 19).

And guess what – some of Pharaoh’s servants listened! (see verse 20). We will see later that when the Israelites leave Egypt that many of the Egyptians go with them. Jesus would later say, “I have other sheep not of this fold” (John 10:16). God calls those who will believe Him. The Israelites were His chosen people – chosen to spread His word – but as you can see in Revelation 7 (among other places) there will be people of “every nation, and tribe and people and tongue” in heaven. And some of these Egyptians were certainly seeing God’s power – and responding!

Sadly, however, many others did not listen… and guess what – you’re right – Pharaoh’s heart was hardened again! On he said he was sorry (verse 27-28) but just as soon as the storms stopped – all bets were off. And chapter 9 ends the say way that chapter 8 did – with Pharaoh hardening his heart…

Over and over again we see this happening. What can we learn from this? When was the last time you said, or heard someone say, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Perhaps what we should say is, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” Why didn’t God just wipe Pharaoh off the face of the earth and release His people from slavery? As we can see throughout the Bible – God raises up leaders (Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Xerxes among others) and nations (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome in history) to carry forth His will and His word. Just as Esther was in the Persian capital “for such a time as this” – so was Pharaoh and Egypt allowed to be a world power also “for such a time as this” as well. God’s sovereign will – will be done – and Pharaoh’s hardened heart was part of that will…

And you? You, too, are here “for such a time as this”. Ask God how He would have you serve.

 

Prayer:

Almighty God, we are in awe of Your sovereignty and omnipotence. We fear the hand of the Lord – but we know as well – that You are our loving Heavenly Father. We don’t always understand Your will – but we must submit our will to Yours and trust that Your will is perfect, and will always be for Your glory. When we do not understand, fill us, O Lord, with the peace that passes all understanding as we bow before the throne. For it is in Jesus’ name we pray – Amen.

 

Read Full Post »

Read Chapter 8

Although we didn’t discuss it, we saw Moses and Aaron’s first encounter with Pharaoh in chapter 7. It didn’t go well… The thing that God told Moses to tell Aaron to do (cast the staff down to become a serpent) was countered by Pharaoh’s magicians. The difference, however, was that Aaron’s staff/serpent ate the staffs/serpents of the sorcerers. But, as we saw, Pharaoh was not impressed, and his heart was hardened.

After that, the first of 10 plagues was inflicted upon the Egyptians – turning the Nile into blood, but once again, the magicians did the same. Although the plague lasted a whole week, Pharaoh, was unconcerned (7:23; 25).

Coming to chapter 8, we immediately read of the next plague – frogs! God warned that unless Pharaoh let the Israelites go, there would be frogs everywhere! They would be in the house and in the bedrooms and on the beds. They would be in the houses of the servants, and on the people. They would even be in the ovens and in the kneading bowls. And sure enough, when Aaron stretched out the staff, frogs came out of the streams, the rivers, and the pools – but (you guessed it) the magicians did the same thing! (Ha! Like they needed more frogs!) However, Pharaoh seemed to relent and told Moses and Aaron to ask God to make them go away.

Then Moses said to Pharaoh, (notice, Moses is already speaking to Pharaoh himself) “So you’ll know that God is in control, I’ll let you tell me when to make the plague stop.” Pharaoh chose the next day. (I don’t know why in the world he would want to wait one more minute – but he did.) So, the frogs died, and a great stench filled the land.

And immediately, Pharaoh reneged (verse 15). So, now comes the next plague – lice, or some translations say “gnats”. At any rate – they were pests! But, this time the magicians couldn’t replicate the plague (I’m betting the people were thinking, “Thank goodness!”)

The scenario repeats and the next plague (verse 21) ensues – flies! But this time we’re told (verse 22) that this plague will not affect the Israelites out in Goshen. Wait! What? The plagues were affecting the Israelites all along? Yes – and remember this: when you live in a land of sin – the results of sin affect you, too…

Did you ever wonder why God chose these particular plagues? There is a specific reason for each of the plagues. The Egyptians worshiped many gods. Some commentaries list up to fifteen gods – and each one of these plagues denies the power of one or more of these gods. God was saying, “I am Elohiym – the Supreme God of all Creation. No so-called ‘god’ is greater than I AM!”

Why were the Israelites affected by the plagues? Not only were they affected by the sin surrounding them – they were participating in the sins as well. Remember, they had been in Egypt for 400 years. The worship of God had become diluted with the gods of their neighbors. How do we know this? Read Joshua 24, but especially verses 14-15. “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Apparently, when the Israelites left Egypt, they took some of the Egyptian gods with them – so they have a dilemma… serve the gods of their fathers / serve the gods of their new neighbors / or serve God…

Which will you do – hold to the priorities of your ancestors / hold to the priorities of your peers / or cling to the priorities of God? Choose this day whom you will serve…

 

Prayer:

Merciful God, protect us from the consequences of the sin that surrounds us. We cry with Isaiah, we have unclean lips and we dwell in the midst of an unclean people. Our nation’s choices – indeed – our own choices, have not always been what they should be. Forgive us we pray and direct us to stand strong and to cling to Your priorities – even when all others around us are hardening their hearts to Your Word.

Strengthen us we pray – in Jesus’ Name – Amen.

Read Full Post »

Read Exodus 7

Coming to the close of Exodus 6 we find Moses, for the third time, clinging to the defense of his inability to speak well as an excuse for not going to Pharaoh again. But God doesn’t buy it. And chapter 7, verse 1 opens with a statement that may be hard for us to understand. God reminds Moses that He will make him “as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet”. Verse 2 explains it a little by saying, “You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land.”

This only makes sense if you understand that God brings the message, and the prophet speaks for God. I once heard a teacher say that “a priest stands with his back to the people and speaks to God for them – but a prophet stands with his back to God, and speaks to the people for God”. Moses was not to worry about doing the speaking (which, by the way, we’ll see that he gets over his fear later in the book) but all Moses was to do at this point was to bring God’s message to Aaron. I imagine that helped him tremendously.

If we knew everything we were going to need to do as a servant of God, I think we’d be terrified, but God gives us what we need, when we need it, and in the way that we need it. In Deuteronomy 31, when Moses is, essentially, at death’s door, he turns the responsibility of the leadership of the Israelites over to Joshua and encourages him by saying, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” I think Moses had finally learned the lesson.

But regardless of who was to be doing the speaking, God assured Moses that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that “I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt” (verse 3). What? God would harden Pharaoh’s heart? Why would God harden someone’s heart? This doesn’t make sense to us – it doesn’t sound like a loving God. But as Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us, God knows the heart and “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…”

As we will see in the coming days, at times we will read that God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and at times we will see that Pharaoh will harden his own heart, exposing the true condition of his heart. God only allows Pharaoh to do what he would do if left to his own choices.

But – God will use that hardness to His glory and in this we will see the second reason that all these escalating plagues and hardships must take place – and that is found in verse 5, “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.”

First, the Israelites had to know that God was in control (Exodus 6:7) and the Egyptians (and by them, the rest of the known world) would know that God was in control. Even the Canaanites, more than 40 years later would have heard about the Israelites leaving Egypt (see Joshua 2:10). It MUST happen this way – and Pharaoh’s naturally hard heart would be used by God to perpetrate in the miracles.

The rest of chapter 7 brings us to the beginning of the plagues, which directly attack Egypt’s false gods, and we’ll look at them closer as we go along.

 

Prayer:

Father, I know that you know my heart. I lift to You everything I do, and every motive that propels me and every fear that hinders me. May this Exodus Journey bring me closer to You as I watch Your hand direct every single move through this book.

In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Read Chapter 6

We saw yesterday that our calling from God can sometimes make life difficult on other people who may not understand our call. Moses’ and Aaron’s call made life difficult on the Israelites because Pharaoh buckled down on them and made their slavery even tougher. As a result Moses cried out again, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all” (chapter 5:22-23).

God’s reply was essentially, “Just watch what I’m going to do!” But then God returned to the subject of His Name, which has been an important point that He wants to get across. God reminded Moses that “I am the LORD” (verse 2). As we’ve seen, that is the National/Personal name of the God of the Israelites. No other people on earth can claim God with this Name of Yahweh. Then God related to Moses that when He called and revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it was by the Name “God Almighty” – not with the Name “Yahweh”. He never used His “personal” and covenantal Name with them. Why? Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob were not nations. They were individuals.

The Hebrew name “God Almighty” is recognizable to us – it is El-Shaddai. Almighty means just what it sounds like – All – total and complete; mighty – full of might. But it also means all-sufficient. God – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – was everything they needed… but to the Israelites, He was not only all-mighty and all-sufficient – He was more! In verses 6-8 we find God promising seven things that He would do for the Israelites that He had done for no other, “I will bring you out”; “I will deliver you”; “I will redeem you”; “I will take you for My people”; “I will be your God”; “I will bring you into the land” and “I will give it to you for a possession.” Why? “Because I am the LORD.

Moses dutifully related all this to the Israelites (verse 9) – but guess what – they did not listen to him. “Life” was just too hard on them. It had been hard before, but never like this – and it was all Moses’ fault! But, that didn’t change anything. The LORD once again told Moses to go tell Pharaoh to let the sons of Israel go. Moses’ reply is a little comical – “What? If the Israelites – my own people – won’t listen to me, how in the world can I expect Pharaoh to listen??? I tell You – I am just not good at this speaking thing!” And what was God’s reply? “Just do it.”

Why? Clearly Moses could not speak well. Clearly, neither Pharaoh nor the Israelites were going to listen to Moses… Why did God persist? There are two answers to that question. The first one is found in verse 7, “Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; AND YOU SHALL KNOW that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (emphasis added).

If Pharaoh had said, “Oh sure! Go ahead and go out to the desert and worship your God. And take your time – no hurry”, everyone would have said, “What a wonderful Pharaoh we serve!” Or, they may have said, “What a wonderful and persuasive man Moses is…” All the praise would have gone to “the circumstances of life” and not to God.

Sometimes our prayers are not answered immediately because if they were, we’d just chalk it up to “the normal routine of life” and not to God. Bringing the Children of Israel out of slavery was such a huge thing, with eternal implications, that it HAD to be known to this new Israelite Nation that God was in control. But, it went beyond the Israelites – and that’s the second reason that God persisted… and we’ll see that one tomorrow.

 

Prayer:

Gracious and loving God – Creator God of all the universe – our Father… we pray for Your divine patience with us when we continue to question why our prayers are not answered in our timeline. We would pray that You open our eyes to see the big picture – but that may not be Your will, either. And so we pray for a word, here and there, like You gave to Moses, to encourage us and give us peace in the midst of the struggles that persist. And we pray this in Jesus’ Name – Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Read Chapter 5

In chapter 4, when Moses finally submitted to God, he met with his brother Aaron, there at the Mountain of God (Horeb), then chapter 5:1 tells us, And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”

But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD [who is Yahweh, the personal God of Israel] that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD [I don’t know Yahweh, the personal God of Israel] and besides, I will not let Israel go” (verse 2).

Their reply was “The God [Elohiym, the Supreme God] of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God [to Yahweh, our personal God, who is the Supreme God of all of creation], otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword” (verse 3).

But, Pharaoh was not impressed…

Did they think he would be? Well, yeah!” Wouldn’t we expect so, too? Don’t we expect all our unbelieving friends to be impressed when we tell them that God has called us to do such and such? Of course we do! Don’t we also think that because God has directed us to do something that it should be easy? Yes, we do… But, is it always easy… – uh – no… In fact, much like with the Israelites, things just get harder. (Ask me about deciding to teach the Book of Revelation! Yikes!)

From the time that I was a child, I remember hearing the story of the Israelites having to gather their own straw to make bricks, but I never thought about how it related to my life until now. But now I can see – it greatly relates!

The more convinced we are that we must follow God’s call, the harder life becomes – because we can never go back to our old ways. And, not only does it affect us – but it affects everyone around us, as well. And they may not understand…

God’s call to Moses, and subsequently, Aaron, affected their lives from that point on – forever. But not only were they affected, and their families affected, but all of Israel was affected, and the Israelites certainly did not understand.

Again, Moses cried out with another question, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all” (verses 22-23).

And God’s answer… well… that comes tomorrow.

 

Prayer:

Father, an old hymn says, “When I do the best I can, and my friends misunderstand, Thou who knowest all about me – stand by me…” How many times have I sung that song, even through tears? Only You know. When we are convinced, Lord, that we have heard Your call, and we know we must respond, remind us to pray for those who did not hear the call, but whose lives will be nonetheless affected by our call. And help us to be faithful.

In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Day Four: Exodus 4

Read Chapter 4

So, here we are. Moses was an 80 year old man – and yet – God called him to lead the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt… and Moses had questions (wouldn’t you?) I believe his questions began with a sincere and honest heart. His first question is found in chapter 3 with verse 11 when he asked, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” And God assured him that He would be with him, and that Moses and the Children of Israel would even worship God at this very spot!

And even Moses’ second question was reasonable (chapter 3:13) “Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’”  As you may remember, God related that “I AM” – the everlasting present – was His name. Also, He was the Yahweh of Israel’s Elohiym – Israel’s personal God, and the Supreme God of all of creation! That should have settled things, but…

By the time we come to chapter 4, however, we begin to sense Moses’ questions becoming a little nit-picky – more like – “yeah, but – what if…” Question number four is found in today’s reading, in verse 1, and I can imagine Moses saying, “But… but… but… what if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you’?”

And again, God patiently replies. “The LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ And Moses said, ‘A staff.’” God then proceeds to demonstrate to Moses His mighty power in turning the shepherd’s staff into a serpent, and then back again into a staff. And, without Moses’ prompting, God performed another miracle of turning Moses’ hand leprous and restoring it to health. “And”, God said, “If that isn’t enough, pour out some water of the Nile, and it will become blood. That will convince them!”

But, Moses has another objection (verse 10), “I don’t talk so good” he said. (Intentional bad grammar :-)) And with that, we can begin to discern God’s displeasure… It’s a little like God’s reaction to Job’s questions (see Job 38:4). God said, “Who made man’s mouth? I, even I will be with you!” But then Moses comes to the real reason for his reluctance when he says, “Please Lord, now send the message by whomever You will…” (verse 13). In other words, Moses is saying, “God, send someone else. I don’t want to do it” and verse 14 tells us that “Then the anger of the LORD burned against Moses…” and essentially God said, “Oh you’re going to do it, alright!”

Sometimes God calls us to do something that we don’t want to do. We can question, and object, and whine all we want to, but God will not give up, until we give in – until we submit. But in Moses’ case, God still did all the things that He said He would do in supporting Moses’ ministry. And, in addition to that, God gave him something tangible to hold on to – his staff. “And you shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs” (verse 17). In my Bible I have a note at this verse which says, “God gave Moses something tangible to ‘hold on’ to – just like this Bible is to me…”

On down in verse 20 we find Moses returning to Egypt, and the scriptures tell us that “Moses also took the staff of God in his hand…”

What has God called you to do that you don’t want to do – or are afraid to do? Don’t you know that He has said that He would never leave you nor forsake you? Still afraid? My friend – what is in your hand?

 

Prayer:

Gracious and Loving God – we are afraid at times, and sometimes we just plain don’t want to do what You’ve called us to do. Forgive us, and remind us what we have in our hands – it is Your precious Word – a living and breathing – sharper than any two-edged sword – Word… And with Your Word in our hand, and Your Holy Spirit in our heart, and the Word made Flesh interceding for us at Your right hand – what more do we need? Thank You for going before us. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 Exodus 3

Read Chapter 3

Ah! Moses and the Burning Bush – now that’s an interesting story! Did you notice that Moses didn’t seem surprised that a voice spoke to him from the bush? In fact, he wasn’t afraid at all until God told him that He was “The God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face…

What I want us to focus on today is – who is this God? In this chapter we find, actually, four names or descriptions of God. As we saw yesterday, the God who knew and cared for His people was Elohiym. Elohiym is a masculine, plural word which literally means “Supreme God” – He is the Creator God of Genesis 1:1, and Psalm 47:7 reminds us that He is the King of all the earth. It is a plural word, signifying the Trinity, but always has a singular verb, teaching that the Three are One (we always say “God is” not “God are”…)

In chapter 3, we now find another designation for God – and that is LORD. ” The Hebrew word for LORD is Yahweh, which we also know as Jehovah. Jehovah (or Yahweh) is the Jewish National name of God. In other words, it’s His unique or “personal” name (this name is first mentioned in Genesis 2:4 when the “creation story” begins to get “personal”).

In verse 14 we read God saying “I AM WHO I AM”. In this we find another of God’s names – and that is “I AM”. “I AM” (hayah) is a Hebrew verb meaning “to be” or “to exist” but, with an incomplete action – which means it is the “everlasting present” – better known to us as “He who is, and was, and is to come.”

But, here’s the most important thing for us to learn. In relating to Moses how he should introduce God to the Israelites (verses 15-16), God describes Himself as “The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And also in verse 18 God describes Himself as “The LORD, the God of the Hebrews.”

Now think for a moment what that is really saying… It is saying that for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and for the Hebrews – their Yahweh was Elohiym – their LORD was God – their personal God was the Supreme God of all of creation!

What about us? Is our Elohiym, Yahweh? We all have an Elohiym – whether it has a capital “E” or a little “e”. But the question remains, “Is my Elohiym – Yahweh?” Is the thing that drives me, my love and devotion to my Lord? Or is it, as Paul put it in Philippians 3:19, my “belly”; my own appetites, my own desires?

It has been said that you can determine a person’s priorities by looking at their calendar and their checkbook. Where do we spend the most time? And where do we spend the most money? And so we ask, “Is our Elohiym (the thing/person/Person that commands most of our time and attention) Yahweh/Jesus? Or is it something or someone else?

 

Let us pray that the “supreme God” of our hearts and our nation will once again be the Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Where is your Lenten Journey taking you? Mine is taking me through the book of Exodus. For the first two days I began by sharing a short devotional on my Facebook ministry page Prayerlogue, but now I have decided to post them here daily as well. Below will be Day 2, Day 1, and the introduction (keeping them in the sequence they would be if I posted each day). Feel free to share the posts or jump over and “like” my Prayerlogue page on Facebook.

The Exodus Journey

Day Two: Exodus 2

Read Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of Exodus contains, likely, one of the most well-known stories in the Bible – that of Moses in the Bulrushes. This chapter also covers an eighty year span of Moses’ life as well.

Verses 1-10 account for his first three months of life, while forty years pass between verses 10-11. We’re next allowed a brief two-day peek at a pivotal episode occurring between verses 11 and 14, and then another short period – likely less than a year – takes place from verses 15-22. Finally, forty more years pass between verses 22 and 23.

Eighty years in 23 verses… Does it sometimes feel like your life has passed that quickly as well? As we will see in the upcoming weeks, God was preparing Moses for what is yet to come. But, what a difference a day can make! There was the one day he was found by an Egyptian princess; and one day he arrogantly decided to be the savior of his people (there’s a sermon there!) and the one day he had to flee for his life. Tomorrow (unless God leads me another direction) we’ll likely talk about one of the single most important days in Moses’ life, but for now – there’s something else on my heart.

Look at verses 23-25. In the Bible where I was reading this scripture, I had to turn the page for verses 24-25 and the words from these verses practically leaped off the page at me. The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “And God heard their sighing and groaning and [earnestly] remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the Israelites and took knowledge of them and concerned Himself about them [knowing all, understanding, remembering all].”

Look at the verbs. God heard; God [earnestly] remembered; God saw and God took knowledge and concerned Himself… The word for “know”, “yada”, is the same as we saw yesterday, but where Pharaoh did not know (or care about) Joseph – God (Elohiym – this name is important) did know and care about His chosen people. As the song, “I Must Tell Jesus” says, “He ever loves and cares for His own.”

Yes, the Israelites had been in slavery for some 400 years. Yes, there were 400 (so called) “silent years” between the Old and New Testaments. And yes, it has been over 2100 years since Jesus was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven. But remember, 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

There will come a day when Jesus will come again – and what a day that shall be!

Gracious and Loving God give peace and comfort to Your children as we await the day of our Saviour’s call and His return in Glory for we pray in His Holy Name – Amen.

 

The Exodus Journey

Ash Wednesday – First Day of Lent: Exodus 1

Read Exodus 1

The Children of Israel/Jacob came into Egypt to escape a famine. Joseph was already there, placed there by the providence of God (Genesis 50:20 “You meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good”) and they thrived in the land. But then, “A new king arose in Egypt who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8).

The word “know” is the Hebrew word “yada”. According to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, the word can be used in many ways, including “observation, care, and recognition”. In other words – Pharaoh (the king) either knew who Joseph was and just didn’t care or Joseph’s place in history had vanished. Either way – Joseph’s influence and his value system were gone, and the Israelites, who were once welcomed in the land (Genesis 47:6) were now considered a threat. Life became very difficult – even to the point of being “life-threatening” (Exodus 1:16).

What do you do when your circumstances threaten your faith? If you’ve been told by your boss or someone in authority to do something immoral, illegal, or that goes against your belief system – what would you do? Two Israelite midwives were commanded to kill all the boy babies (verse 16) “But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king had commanded them, but let the boys live” (verse 17).

They stood strong and God blessed them – and so must we. Will it be easy? No, it won’t. “Then Pharaoh commanded ALL HIS PEOPLE saying ‘Every [Israelite] son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive” (verse 22, emphasis added).

It won’t be easy. Everyone may turn against you, but who do you fear – God or man? Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 NLT).

Fear only God.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, as we begin this journey toward Lent, we sense that this year is somehow different. We feel the pressure rising against our faith. Strengthen us that we may stand even if “all the people” may be against us for we know, as Paul said, “If Christ is for us, who can be against us”? And so, it is in Jesus’ precious name we pray – Amen.

 

The Exodus Journey

Introduction

Below is a definition of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday. Join in as we take a 40 day journey through the book of Exodus during this Lenten season. There are a couple of reasons for my choosing the book of Exodus – first of all – it has 40 chapters (convenient, huh?) Second, it is in Exodus that we find the instructions for the Passover and the all important “Choosing of the Lamb” Day. (I think you’ll really enjoy that.) So – feel free to share these posts or invite your friends along for this Journey through Exodus for this Lenten season

What is Lent? According to The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, it is: “A forty-day period of penitence and prayer which begins on Ash Wednesday and prepares for the feast of Easter.” (Sundays aren’t counted as they are days of celebration and worship.)

“It is a form of retreat for Christians preparing to celebrate the paschal mystery. It became a forty-day retreat during the seventh century to coincide with the forty day spent by Christ in the desert.” Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13.

Other “40 Day” fastings and testings:
Moses – Exodus 24; 34; Deuteronomy 9
Elijah – 1 Kings 19

“Penitential works are very important during Lent. These include not only abstinence and fasting, but also prayers and charitable works. Ash Wednesday is one of the greatest days of penitence. (However) people should realize that the penitence is in preparation for celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians seek a change of heart during Lent in their relationship to God.”

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: