Thursday, February 28, 2008

Exodus 11 & 12 - The Passover

READING: Exodus 11-12

Here comes the climax of the plagues -- the death of the firstborn of every family. And finally, because of this death, Pharaoh let the Israelites leave Egypt, taking with them ALL of the people from the oldest to the youngest, as well as all the livestock, just like Moses requested in the first place. And to top it off, they also took many riches from Egypt that the Egyptian people gave to them. We will see later that many Egyptians joined them on this journey as well.

God had dramatically demonstrated His power and authority through the plagues and had preserved the lives of the Israelites while destroying the life and property of the Egyptians (not to mention the validity of the Egyptian gods). Imagine the excitement Moses must have felt as about two million people followed him out of Egypt! God was doing just what He had told Moses He would do! They had an appointment to keep with God at Mt. Sinai (aka Horeb), where God had appeared to Moses in the burning bush back in chapter three. And now they were on their way!

11:3 - Moses was greatly esteemed in Egypt. Although Pharaoh's heart was hardened, the hearts of many others were not. They saw that Moses had a more powerful God they theirs. They respected Moses. And the LORD softened the hearts of the Egyptians toward the Hebrew people.

11:7 - a dog shall not even bark - A proverbial saying meaning that no one would offer the least resistance when Israel left Egypt (Ryrie).

12:2 ff - Passover is such a significant event that it will define the beginning of the Hebrew year from now on. It is an event that is to be celebrated every year among the people of Israel.

12:15 ff - The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven day commemoration that begins the evening of Passover and is also to be celebrated annually. Leaven is a symbol of sin and is to be cleared completely from all homes on the first day of this feast and kept out until the feast week is over. Likewise, after we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, we are to walk in holiness. (See 1 Cor 5:7.)

Scarlet Thread of Redemption - Passover is a tremendous celebration for the children of Israel and a beautiful illustration of the redemption Christ accomplished at Calvary.

  • At Passover, Israel celebrates liberation from slavery in Egypt, just as Jesus provided liberation from slavery to sin. Romans 6:6 says, ". . . our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." Jesus said that He came to "give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45), in other words, he came to purchase many from slavery.
  • The lamb had to be without blemish, as Jesus was without sin. John (the baptizer) announced Jesus' arrival in John 1:29 with "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" and Hebrews 9:14 says Christ "offered Himself without blemish to God."
  • The lamb had to be killed, just as Jesus was sacrificed. In John 12, Jesus explained that He had to be "lifted up," that is crucified, in order to draw men to Himself.
  • No bones of the lamb were to be broken, just as Jesus' bones would not be broken on the cross (John 19:31-36).
  • The lamb's blood was applied to the doorway in order to preserve life, just as Jesus' blood is applied for our forgiveness and thus our preservation. Since "all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Heb 9:22).
Reflect today on the spotless Passover Lamb and how His blood was shed so that God's wrath could "pass over" you and preserve you, and so you would be forgiven of your sin and set free from its power over you.

Has the blood of Jesus been applied to your life, cleansing you and allowing God's wrath to pass over you? If so, are you progressing toward holiness? "Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor 5:7-8)

You are worthy, Jesus, for You were slain and did purchase for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (from Rev. 5:9, 10, 12, 13)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 52: Who Me?

READING: Exodus 4-5


In chapter 4, Moses argued with God over his qualifications to go on this mission. His first objection was that nobody would listen to him. So God showed Moses a couple of miracles that will get their attention and let them know that Moses is God's messenger. They will listen. So then Moses pointed out his own lack of eloquence. (There's one I can relate to!) But God told him it doesn't really matter, because God is the one who will be speaking, not Moses. God plans to speak through Moses, not have Moses speak on his own. Moses responded with, "Please, Lord, just send somebody else." (That's what verse 13 means.) At this point, Moses was indicating that he will disobey God's command to go. That's when God got angry with him.

Moses did decide to obey and headed toward Egypt. His sons were circumcised, then his wife and sons returned back to Midian, and Moses went on and met up with Aaron (whom God had sent to meet him). They went to Egypt, gathered the elders of Israel together, and told them the message from God. Moses showed them the miraculous signs, and they believed his message from God.

Chapter 5 -- It is commonly accepted that the Pharaoh at this time was Amenhotep II. Moses and Aaron come before Pharaoh with the message from God, and Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, and why should I listen to him? Get back to work!" He made the work harder for the Israelites, the Israelites complained to Moses, and Moses complained to God. This is going to be a common pattern!


Unfortunately, I think I am an awful lot like Moses. I can come up with many excuses why I'm not the one for the job. As believers, we have a message from God to share with others. But we think, "they won't listen to me," or "they won't believe me." So God gives us the miracle of our own changed hearts as evidence to share. We also have the testimonies of many others and the Bible as witnesses to the truth that we share. So the next common excuse is, "I can't explain it well." God assures us that HE is the one talking; we are simply the mouthpiece through which He speaks. As long as Moses was making excuses, God was patient with him and gave him assurance that He would supply what Moses lacked. He has given us those same assurances.

Over the next forty years, Moses is going to grow a lot! God didn't leave him in his "faithless" condition. As He used Moses to do His work, He was simultaneously working in Moses.


The Lord has been urging me to move conversations with others to a more spiritual level. I have had plenty of excuses, but God has answered them all! Last night I had the opportunity to do what He asked. We have supper at church on Wednesday nights, and I sat with a couple I often sit with. But this time I asked them to share with me the story of their salvation. It was a beautiful testimony of God at work in their lives. It wasn't a big thing, but obedience, even in little things, has its reward.

How about you? Are you willing to say, "Here I am, Lord. Use me as You wish." God does His work through His children. Are you obeying Him, even in the little things? Or are you just making excuses?


You are the great I AM, and You give us -- little as we are -- the opportunity to be in Your service. What an awesome thing it is to have the God of the universe to do His work in us and through us! Lord, give us the answers to our excuses and help us to learn to obey You when You send us on a "mission" for You. It is an amazing privilege to serve You! Thank You for the work You do in our hearts to conform us to Your image and to bring You glory. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Put Genesis on Your Book Shelf! You are 5% Done!



WOOHOO! You have completed 1 of the 66 books in your "Bible Bookcase." When you include our readings in Psalms and Proverbs, we are 5% down the road on our journey.

Speaking of "down the road," if you were to put that 5% on a trip around the world, it would be like the distance between the Garden of Eden in modern day Iraq and Kabul, Afghanistan! (Maybe you can pray for both those countries right now because they certainly need it and so do our troops!)
We will take a break tomorrow in Psalm 11&12 and pick our new book off the book shelf: Exodus!
Also, if you know someone who wants to join us, just have them pick up with Exodus. They are not behind! They are just starting in on a new book with us! They can circle back around and pick up Genesis later.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Day 38 Joseph's Brothers Bow Before Him

READING: Genesis 42


I think the beginning of this chapter is rather humorous. Here these men sit around looking at one another, wondering what they're going to do as the food runs out, when their father pipes up and says, "Quit staring at each other! There's grain in Egypt. Go get some!" Well, they get off their duffs and head down to Egypt to purchase grain there. (Katrina's paraphrase)

Meanwhile, in Egypt . . . . At the end of the seven years of plenty, Joseph was 37 years old and had been in Egypt for 20 years. A little while into the famine, his ten older brothers show up. Jacob was careful not to send Benjamin on the journey, since he has become the main object of his affection in place of Joseph. As soon as the brothers approach Joseph, he knows who they are. But they have no clue they are bowing down before their brother to ask to purchase grain. This is the fulfillment of Joseph's dream of the sheaves bowing down (Gen 37:7-10).

Then Joseph antagonizes them, probably trying to get information from them without revealing who he is. He had to be wondering if his father was still alive and if they had treated Benjamin badly as well. I'm sure he was relieved to hear that his father and Benjamin were both still alive and well. He was probably trying to determine if their hearts were softened as well.

Joseph is outwardly quite harsh with them, but in his heart is very kind and generous toward his brothers. On the one hand he speaks roughly to them, accuses them of being spies, throws them all into prison for three days, binds Simeon, and makes them leave him "hostage" In Egypt while they return home for the youngest brother (a task they know will greatly distress their father). But on the other hand, he gives them sacks of grain for free, by returning their money in their sacks, and also sends them home with provisions for the journey. He does want to preserve his family.

A very significant part of this chapter is verses 22-23. These men have very guilty consciences! They make the connection between the way Joseph is treating them now and the way they treated Joseph 20 years before! Even thought they don't know it's Joseph! They are sure they are now facing the consequences for their sin against their brother. God leaves no doubt in their minds. And when they discover the money in their sacks (verses 28 & 35), they are even more terrified of God.

In the end (of this chapter), Reuben assures his father that he will take full responsibility of Benjamin's safety on the return trip to Egypt. He offers the lives of his two sons as a pledge. Of course, it would not really be a comfort to Jacob to lose two of his grandchildren, either. The bottom line here is that Jacob does not trust his sons. Very sad!


Joseph could have been cruel to his brothers, but instead chose to lavish kindness on them.

He could have charged them right then and there with their crimes against him, but instead allowed God to convict their hearts.

"He (Joseph) clapped them all up in prison for three days, v. 17. Thus God deals with the souls he designs for special comfort and honour; he first humbles them, and terrifies them, and brings them under a spirit of bondage, and then binds up their wounds by the Spirit of adoption." (Matthew Henry Commentary)

He had every "right" to be bitter and angry with his brothers, but had obviously already chosen to forgive them, and he wept when his brothers confessed their sin in front of him.

Joseph also sees the "big picture" here. He knows that if his brothers had not sold him into slavery, he would not have been there to preserve so many people during the famine.


Am I like Joseph? Do I show kindness to those who are mean to me? Do I allow God to work in people's hearts, rather than thinking that I need to point out all their faults to them? Do I put my rights aside for the benefit of others? Do I forgive those who are against me? Do I see the big picture of God's hand at work?


Father, it's your kindness that leads me to repentance. You are the perfect example! Teach me to be kind to others, even those who are not kind to me. Teach me to allow your Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of others, just as you work in my heart. Let me learn to forgive others as you have forgiven me. You are a God who changes hearts. Let me see you at work in my heart, in the hearts of those I love, and in the community and world around me. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Inaugural Bible Book Club!

Inaugural Bible Book Club!, originally uploaded by carolfoasia.

What a great group of ladies (and George) for our first Bible Book Club! We had a great time with rich discussion and wish you all could have all been there. How nice to just talk about the Bible!

From Left to Right: Laura on the North end of town, Me, Jan on the north end, Anna downtown, Cathi from Around the World

Friday, February 1, 2008

Come to the LIVE Living Room Bible Book Club

Yes, you can be in on the INAUGURAL Book Club extravaganza at my house!

When? Monday, February 4th at 7 p.m.
Where? At Carol's House (I won't post the address here, but call or email me for directions)
Why? Because I LIKE you!

It will be a casual and informal time discussing just like we would a book. We will discuss up through the life of Jacob and his boisterous boys!