Category: Exodus-BibleTrekToday

Trek through Exodus

Receiving an offering!

Scripture reading for January 31st: Exodus 35-40

Exodus 25:1 “The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for Me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for Me.””

The Lord told Moses to have the Israelites bring Him an offering.  He wanted those who were willing to give as their heart prompted them.  Moses’ job was to receive the offering from the people and use it for God’s intended purpose, the tabernacle.

Some people feel that when they give, they give to the pastor or to the church.  They feel that money is mundane.  At other times they don’t understand why the church needs money and find ways to justify not giving any themselves.  God’s heart is that we become willing givers.  He is the original Giver and sets an example for us that is hard to beat.  Everything we have has come from His hand!  He sends rain for the earth and crops.   His gracious giving is hard to understand, considering how unfaithful and wasteful we can be.

Jesus taught that our giving was a prerequisite for determining God’s measure back to us.  “Give and it shall be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)  When we are stingy with our giving, we set limits on how much God can give back to us.  We open God’s hand when we open our hand and pocketbook.  These people in Exodus willingly gave a huge amount of gold, silver, bronze, oil and cloth.  They also freely gave of their time and talents to make what was needed for God’s house!  They gave so willingly and freely that Moses had to tell them to stop! (Exodus 36:6)

Has God ever asked you to give resources to Him? What is your heart-attitude towards giving in general? Have you ever heard of a pastor asking the people to stop giving?

Exodus 36:6-8 “So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.”

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God’s stiff-necked people!

Scripture reading for January 30: Exodus 32-34

Exodus 32:9 “And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

The nation of Israel quickly turned away from their commitment to obey God alone.  When Moses was on the mountain in the cloud and fire for 40 days, the people came to Aaron, who was left in charge and asked for gods who would lead them.  Aaron gave in quickly and asked for gold earrings and ornaments.  From them Aaron fashioned a golden calf as the god that led them from Egypt.  They made hasty plans for a festival, built an altar and sacrificed.  They bowed down to the calf-god made by Aaron and God’s anger and jealousy was aroused!

God told Moses about the idolatry and His plans to destroy them.  God’s verdict–“They are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 34:14)  God had just written the tablets on which He emphasized with two commands His order to have no gods before Him and to make no idols.  (Exodus 20:3-6)  Moses smashed the tablets in holy anger indicating the breaking of God’s Word by the very people who had sworn to obey!  (Exodus 32:19; Exodus 24:3) Moses, however did intercede with God, asking Him to spare the people.  He asked on the basis of God’s reputation and promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  These were precious promises that caused these patriarchs to live by faith and walk by faith.  God listened but judgment still fell on those who sinned.

Moses called for those on the Lord’s side and the Levites stepped up.  They were told to strap on swords and execute those who participated in the idolatry, even if it was their brother, friend or neighbor!   (Exodus 33:27-28)  Three thousand were executed that day.  Sin is deadly, particularly idolatry!  God was jealous because Israel was His Bride!  The Messiah, God Son, would be born through her.

What forms does idolatry take in our culture today? Why are God’s people sometimes characterized as stiff-necked?’ What does the Levites using their swords to kill the idolater tell you about our response?

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Dress for success!

Scripture reading for January 29th: Exodus 28-31

Exodus 28:36 “You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, ‘Holy to the Lord,’

A priest’s job is to mediate between men and God.  Men who are dealing with God must be holy and proper.  If those assigned and prepared for this job were not obedient, death could result and did on occasion!  (Leviticus 10:1-6)  Just as God gave great detail in how his Tabernacle would be built, He also gave great detail about the clothing of the men who would serve as priests in His house! 

The turban for Aaron’s head was made of fine linen.  It had a special gold plate with “Holy to the Lord” engraved on it.  Aaron was to wear that plate on the front of his turban whenever he ministered. (Exodus 28:36-39) This turban designated a head and mind dedicated to the holy purposes and Word of the Lord. The priest was to be consecrated to God.

He was given a breastplate to wear as well. On this square breastplate were to be placed twelve precious stones in four rows of three. These precious stones were to be engraved with the twelve names of the tribes of Israel. This signified that the High Priest would bear the names of God’s people before Him. Two other stones, the urim and thummin were  also in the breastplate, right over Aaron’s heart.  (Exodus 28:30) These stones were to enable Aaron to make godly decisions in accordance with God’s will.  They have to do with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden only in God.

So it is that Jesus Christ is our High Priest forever living to make intercession for us!  (Hebrews 7:23-25)  He carries our names on His breastplate like precious stones over His heart.  In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! (Colossians 2:2-3) He stands as the only mediator between God and man. (1st Timothy 2:5-6)  Only Jesus is dressed to meet with God on our behalf! 

What does God see engraved on my forehead?  Do I understand the priesthood of believers and am I dressed to meet with God?  

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Sunday rest and reflection

Dear Friends on the journey,

Greetings!  Are you taking time to rest and reflect on God’s goodness and grace?  Are you attending a service of worship and meeting with others of faith to honor God?  Are you setting an example for your children and grandchildren by living a life of worship with others in a church?  If you are not physically able, God understands, but if you are able, please make every effort to exalt the Lord in community!

God brought His people out of Egypt to worship Him. He brought out men, women, and children to worship together! Worship is all about God!  So many people today make worship about themselves and their personal preferences.  They want a certain style or type of worship.  They don’t want this or that–maybe drums or instruments.  They don’t want to sing too long or too loud.  They want to stay home and sleep in if they are tired.  They want to come when it suits them and they want to feel good when they leave.  They often say that they can worship alone better than with others, but seldom do!  Besides this, they are being disobedient when they fail to gather with others!

Exodus 7:16 “And you shall say to him (pharaoh), ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve (worship) Me in the wilderness.”

God brought His people out for worship.  They were laden down with blessings.  God was visibly with them.  They were provided with clothes that didn’t wear out, manna from heaven, water from the rock, and not one feeble or sick among them!  Don’t neglect gathering together today in God’s house with God’s people to worship! Jesus is coming back for those who are eagerly awaiting Him!

In His Love, Pastor John

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

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Follow the pattern!

Scripture reading for January 28: Exodus 25-27

Men are particularly prone to trying to put something together from trial and error.  We like the adventure and take pride in being able to do complex projects from our memories or experience.  We often feel that instructions are unnecessary.  This attitude usually gets us into trouble and we either get lost or end up with left over parts from the project!

Moses was given a pattern for the Tabernacle.  God gave him specific instructions as to how this “dwelling place” was to be constructed.  He told them numbers, lengths, weights and the type of materials for each part. It was a mobile dwelling because God was moving with the Israelites and leading them as they journeyed.  God reminded Moses four times to make everything after the pattern shown on the mountain!  (Exodus 25:9,40; 26:30; 27:9)

The instructions for this Tabernacle started with the Ark of the Covenant, a special representation of a heavenly reality.  It was a chest of acacia wood about 4 feet long.  It was to be coated with pure gold.  Two gold cherubim were to be beaten out for each end and they were to face the lid of this box.  The box was to have two rings on each side where poles of acacia wood would be used to transport it. Everything was coated with pure gold.  It was to be carried by priests who were consecrated for this job.  The tablets of Testimony, the ten commands, were to be placed inside of this box.  Later a jar of manna was placed there as well as Aaron’s rod that had budded in God’s presence.  (Hebrews 9:1-5)

This ark of the Covenant is a type of Jesus Christ, God dwelling with us.  John 1:14-15 tells us that Jesus came and “pitched his tent” (tabernacled) among us and we beheld His glory!  Jesus kept the law of God, the tablets of Testimony, perfectly.  (Hebrews 4:15-16) He was the living Bread (manna) come down from heaven, that if any man eat of this bread, he would never die!  (John 6:47-50)  He was the One chosen by God to have all authority in heaven and on earth! (Aaron’s rod!) (Matthew 28:18)  He was worshiped by angels at His birth, and now is in the presence of holy angels in heaven. (Revelation 4:12)

Exodus 25:9 “Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.”

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Sin is deadly!

Scripture reading for January27: Exodus 21-24

We sometimes laugh when our young children defiantly disobey.  When our adopted daughters were first released from the orphanage to come with us, they were so cute!  But on one of our first outings, we were holding their hand and waiting to cross a street with cars speeding by.  One of them stuck her foot out towards the street and looked up mischievously to see what we might do!  Mary and I had a good laugh but realized that we had a job ahead of us!

God’s commands aren’t suggestions.  What He says will happen and He has the authority and power to bring it to pass.   We can choose to sin, but consequences will follow that God chooses. The law that God gave Moses on the mountain included Exodus 21-24.  These were practical explanations of the ten commands that helped work out how these laws would play out in the community of Israel. 

Some of the laws in this passage remind us of the “deadliness” of sin!  In Exodus 21:15 and 17, the penalty for attacking father or mother or even cursing them was death.  If a man owned a bull that was known to gore others and he did not restrain him and a person was killed, the bull and the owner would die! (Exodus 21:28-29)  A sorceress must be put to death!  (Exodus 22:18)  Anyone having sexual relations with an animal must die!  (Exodus 22:19)  In Exodus 22:22-23 we read that anyone who takes advantage of an orphan or a widow would die if that orphan or widow cried out to the Lord!  God gets angry when we mess with those who are hurting or hurt others knowingly! 

Our God is compassionate and loves us enough to confront sin.  He knows it’s deadly–it cost Him the life of His Firstborn Son!  Has God ever confronted you or disciplined you for sin? How does our culture make light of sin?

Exodus 24:7-8 “The He took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the Covenant that the Lord made with you in accordance with all these words.”

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Holy fear and clear vision

Scripture reading for January 24: Exodus 19-20

God carried the whole nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt with a display of His power in the plagues.  The Israelites were protected and experienced God’s deliverance as they walked out of Egypt, laden down with silver and gold and other valuables.  God’s presence guided them in the Pillar of Fire and in the Cloud.  God was in their midst and provided miraculously for them again and again in sending the manna and quail and then providing water from the Rock.  They knew God’s mercy, but lacked a healthy fear or respect. This holy fear or respect is a foundation for wisdom and life.  (Proverbs 1:7)

To help His people with holy fear, God led the children of Israel to Mt. Sinai where He gave instructions through Moses to the people.  They were to refrain from sexual relations, wash their clothes, and consecrate themselves to hear God’s voice speaking to them.  (Exodus 19:10-16)  On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud, and a loud trumpet blast.  When the trumpet sounded, everyone in the camp trembled with fear!  (Exodus 20:18-19) God’s voice speaking His law revealed His holiness.

God’s stated purpose was to instill in them the “fear of God to keep them from sinning.” (Exodus 20:20)  You might say He wanted them to have ’20:20 vision’ and understanding that sin brings death.  The ten commandments that Moses received revealed sin in the heart of man.  They are the mirror of our soul showing our need of mercy and forgiveness.  They drive us to God for mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is only by grace that we are saved from the penalty of sin. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

How has God instilled a holy respect in your life? Would you say that your vision of God is more of love and mercy that awe and respect? How does a healthy respect for the Lord keep us from sinning?

“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid.  God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” Exodus 20:20

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Sharing the load!

Scripture reading for January 24:  Exodus 16-18

For some reason, although I felt inadequate, I’ve been placed in leadership positions all my life!  As I’ve worked leading in various secular and church positions, I’ve become acutely aware of my inability to please everyone.  Moses soon learned this same truth!  There are as many opinions as there are people under your leadership and Moses had over a million “followers”!

God had used Moses through a mighty act of power to deliver His people from Pharaoh’s pursuing army!  Led by Miriam, Moses’ sister, they danced in joy and sang a song of deliverance! A few days after the victory celebration, the Israelites faced hunger and thirst and began to grumble.  They blamed Moses for his poor leadership and for bringing them out into the desert to die. (Exodus 16:3)  A little farther into the walk, they ran out of water, again quarreling with Moses and blaming God.  In spite of this, God came to Moses’ rescue!

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came for a visit to bring back Moses’ wife and two sons.  Jethro was thrilled to hear the stories of God’s deliverance through his son-in-law.  He observed Moses sitting in judgment with all the people coming to him with their complaints.  His advice to Moses was to raise up some helpers to share the load of leadership.  Moses handled the ‘hard’ cases and let others do the rest! 

Listen to your leadership and support them by prayer and encouragement!  Please don’t grumble! Don’t test or blame God; He is never at fault! If you are a leader, raise up those who can help you with the work.  Sharing the load makes sense and enables others with giftings to share in the blessing and be a part of the solution!  Leadership is a joy when you and your followers cooperate with God’s plan.  

Have you ever grumbled about the leaders God placed in your life? How might you pray to help your heart stay right with leaders and God? How have you shared the load with others?

Exodus 18:21-23 “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but an small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.”

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Between a rock and a hard place!

Scripture Reading for January 23:  Exodus 13-15

Exodus 14:24-25 “And in the morning watch, the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud, looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them. . .”

Moses had obeyed the Lord and witnessed the 10 plagues that humbled Pharaoh and judged the people of Egypt and their gods.  He and Israel had experienced God’s protection and blessing throughout this difficult time.  The final plague had convinced Pharaoh to send the Israelites away.  The Egyptians had given them many items of silver and gold and they went away rich!  God healed their bodies and there was not one feeble or sick person in Israel!  The lamb that they had eaten and the blood over their doors had brought them amazing deliverance and health!  They left Egypt following the cloud of God’s presence by day and a pillar of fire by night!  But, trouble was lurking not far behind them!

The Egyptians came to their senses and Pharaoh ordered all his army into mobilization and hot pursuit!  The Israelites, under the direction of the Cloud and Fire of God’s Presence, were camped in the desert by the Red Sea.  They looked up and saw the army of Egypt approaching and “cried out to the Lord”.  (Exodus 14:10-13)  They began the “blame game” on Moses and God for bringing them out in the desert to die!  What had started out so good with such joy now looked like approaching death.

But God fought for them!  If God is for you, who can be against you?  (Romans 8:31)  The God of the pillar of cloud and fire can do anything!  When you are following His instructions, the journey may get wild and even scary at times, but you will enjoy the ending!   Moses had the instructions from the Lord and held out his staff over the waters.  The waters were parted and the Israelites walked over on dry ground between two walls of water.  As soon as the Egyptians were between the walls of water, their wheels started to come off.  Moses held out his staff again and the Egyptians were drowned in the surging sea!

Are you currently in a difficult place facing dangerous obstacles? Have you ever used the ‘blame’ game? What encouragement does this story give you?

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The protection of the blood

Scripture reading for January 22nd:  Exodus10-12

My wife and I adopted two girls from Russia in 1999.  They were 8 and 9 years of age and spoke no English when they came to America from near Siberia in August of that year.  We were eager to share our faith in Jesus with them and took them to church each week.  We had to communicate in sign language most of the time.  For Easter of 2000, I did an illustrated sermon with a live lamb, a basin of red paint, and a door frame.  I also had a big knife.  I explained the story of the Passover lamb that was killed for the Israelites from Exodus 12.  That day, one of our girls prayed to receive the Lord as her Savior!  Pictures are powerful tools for presenting truth!

Egyptians worshiped many gods and Pharaoh, himself, was considered like a god.  God sent Moses to confront Pharaoh with ten plagues. Scripture stated that  Pharaoh hardened his heart through the first few plagues. (Exodus 8:15, 32)  After the plague of death on Pharaoh’s animals, it states that “the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.”  (Exodus 9:12)  This hardening of a heart is what happens when truth is denied and a person or nation refuses to hear God’s voice or obey His instructions.  When you pass a certain point, God then turns you over and hardens your heart to your own destruction!

The last plague was the death of all the firstborn.  A lamb was to be brought into the house on the tenth day of the month.  The Israelites were to be sure it was a perfect lamb, without blemish.  They were to keep it until the fourteenth day and slaughter it at twilight.  The elder in the home was to take blood and sprinkle it on the doorpost and over the lentil.  Every family member was to be inside.  The lamb’s body was to be roasted in the fire and eaten.  They were to be ready to travel.  At midnight, the death angel would visit each household.  When he saw the blood on the door post of a house, he would pass over that home.  Every home that failed to be covered with the blood would find the firstborn child suddenly dead!  Those with faith to obey God would be spared!

Exodus 12:13 “The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”

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