Sunday, February 20, 2011

Exodus 13 - Are You Set Apart?

LINK: Exodus 13


BACKGROUND


Israel was adopted as God's firstborn:


"Thus says the LORD, 
"Israel is My son, My firstborn."
Exodus 4:22


Consequently, they were to sanctify their own firstborn sons and beasts that were saved from the tenth and final plague. This is the second mention of the word "sanctify" (NIV says "consecrate"), and it is the Hebrew word qadash which means "to set apart as sacred, consecrate, dedicate." The first time it was mentioned was in regard to the Sabbath in which God blessed and sanctified it. This concept of sanctification is a very important concept throughout the Old and New Testaments. So, you might want to mark that while reading.


We will be talking much more about the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread in the future, but I want to emphasize that God really wanted the people of Israel to remember their deliverance out of slavery into the Promised Land (13:3). Immediately following the Passover, they were to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. This was one of the "pilgrimage" feasts where Jews went to Jerusalem when the temple was standing. Traditionally, Jews eat a matzo cracker. The dough for matzo is made when flour is added to water only, which has not been allowed to rise for more than 18–22 minutes prior to baking.


Exodus 13:9 - A literal reading of this verse led to the writing of verses on strips of parchment and putting them in small leather boxes strapped to the forehead. Here is a picture:



Uploaded on March 12, 2007 by quemas™


Genesis 50:24-25 says:
Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place." 
His bones stayed in Egypt for over 300 year, but Exodus 13:12 is a fulfillment of his request. There are also references to this in Joshua 24:32, Genesis 15:12-16, and most importantly, Hebrews 11:22:


By faith Joseph, when his end was near, 
spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt
and gave instructions concerning his bones.

Joseph's request was an act of faith that was rewarded long after he died. He knew that they would return to Canaan some day!


The chapter concludes with God's guidance to the Promised land via the Red Sea in order to avoid the military route. God did this with a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to give them light. These are examples of theophany - God appearing in a physical form. He lighted their path and protected them from enemies


The Scarlet Thread of Redemption


Jesus was Mary's firstborn Son and was presented at the temple (Luke 2). Jesus is also the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1). Jesus is also the Light of the world (John 1).


REFLECTION (Written in 2008)

"Sanctify" is the word that God continued to bring to my heart today. I have been asking myself many questions in relation to this word:
  • In what way am I "set apart" and "dedicated to the LORD"?
  • Can the outside world see this in my attitude and actions?
  • Can they see it in the way I demonstrate love to others?
  • What are the visible marks for all to see?
I read this morning in the comments for Exodus 13 in my Life Application Bible that Christians are marked by loving one another (John 13:34, 35). This immediately made me think of our dear friend, Bruce, who is dying of melanoma. He gave us some final words at an open house held for him on Sunday night. The essence of what he said was that love was all that really mattered. I feel like Bruce has lived a life of love. He is finishing this life well in that department.


I have a video of his last words that I want to post here so you can hear this directly from him. It is so good and well worth the 6 minutes, 43 seconds. I must apologize because it is a very jumpy video, but I believe God had a reason for it being jumpy to teach me some things about love.


You see, my dear husband was the one who filmed Bruce's words. I wanted it to be really nice; but when I first watched it, I was really frustrated with my husband for the way he filmed it. Sadly, I let George know that in a very unloving way. Can you see the irony in me being unloving toward my husband for the way he filmed Bruce talking about being loving? I love it when God does things like this. (I think.)


After my initial frustration, God convicted me of my unloving attitude toward my husband, and I was able to ask for forgiveness and he graciously forgave me. I am thankful for his love for me.

Oh, how I want to live a life of love.


Here is the video: 



APPLICATION


In what way are you "set apart" to where the world can see you as different? Is your life characterized by love for others? Talk to God about it.


PRAYER


Lord, set us apart for You. Teach us to love one another so that the world may know that we are Your disciples because of our love for one another (John 13:34,35). Amen.
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