Exodus 34

Vs. 6, “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”  The LORD instructs Moses to come back up the mountain.  By His grace, we see the covenant renewed (vs. 10).  Even though the LORD is compassionate and loving, He is also gives out consequences (vs. 7).  Like the punishment of the second commandment (Exodus 20:5), the generation up to the fourth are affected because of sin.  After Moses pleads with God to ensure His renewal of His promise, the LORD goes on to repeat for Moses’ sake some of the highlights of what we’ve been reading over the past couple of weeks (vs. 10-28).  Moses stays up on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights and fasts (vs. 28).  Then a peculiar things transpires, as Moses descends the mountain, his face his glowing the glory of God (vs. 29-35)

Regarding application…God’s Forgiveness.  God gave the Israelites a second chance here at Mount Sinai.  I would suspect that we would be simply shocked by the countless  times God has given us “second” chances.  There will be times when we mess up.  There will be times when we doubt.  There will be times when we are ignorant.  God knows something we don’t…He knows everyone’s heart and mind.  To the Israelites credit, after they sinned, the vast majority did in fact repent.  Our interceder is not Moses today, but Jesus.  Question: Are there a golden calf in your life today?  Anything that you are idolizing?  Take time to ask the Spirit of God to convict your heart and turn to Him in repentance.  God is forgiving and faithful (I John 1:9).

Exodus 33

Vs. 5,  For the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.”  While the LORD would spare the people, His presence to be with them was not guaranteed.  This is quite a revelation and it shocked the people into mourning (vs. 4-6).  Basically, they were totally taking God for granted.  Meanwhile, Moses sets up a temporary tent of meeting with the LORD (for the tabernacle had not yet been built) (vs. 7-11).  Once again, we see Moses’ personal relationship with the Lord and his plea to intercede on behalf of the sinful Israelites (vs. 12-17).  When Moses boldly asks God to show him His glory (vs. 18), part of the reasoning might have been because He wanted to solidify the new promise that God had just given him.  God lovingly obliged, but Moses could not see God and live, so he only was able to see the goodness of God from His back (vs. 19-23).

Regarding application…Pleasing God.  Vs. 17, “And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”  Because God was pleased with Moses, He now promises His presence will go with the Israelites.  Isn’t that amazing?  When we live a life that pleases God, others are blessed because of it!  When we fly in an airplane, the flight attendant always reminds us to put on our oxygen mask first before we can help another nearby.  If we are going to make an impact on this world, the first thing we should do is ensure a healthy and vibrant relationship with the Lord!  Notice how Moses nurtured his relationship with the Lord by meeting with Him (vs. 7-11).  We do the very same thing when we setup our own meeting place with the Lord.  Let us live a life that is pleasing to God!

Exodus 17

Vs. 3, “But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”  Oh Israel…how easy you forget.    The Israelites take their grumbling up a notch by quarreling with Moses (vs. 2).  Like the Red Sea incident, Moses uses the staff to divinely manipulate water (vs. 5-7).  Question: Why the lack of faith?  I recall driving through a desert and I thought that was hard.  Imagine traveling through the desert on foot with over one million others?  But these tough desert times were for their benefit (Exodus 20:20).  In the second half of our chapter, we see Israel’s first military encounter (vs. 8-16).  The Amalekites were probably descendants of Esau (Genesis 36:12, 16).  They would be thorns in Israel’s side as the years progressed (vs. 16).  We are also introduced to Joshua the warrior who would battle the Amalekite as Moses would hold up his staff (vs 11-13)!  Though we are not sure the original significance, we are certainly reminded that it was God who helped them win this battle!

Regarding application…Obedience.  Vs. 10, “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.”  The LORD could have easily just blotted out the Amalekites, but this time He chose to use the Israelites.  There will be battles that we cannot avoid both physically and spiritually.  God called on Joshua to help lead His people in battle.  Joshua was able to round up the right people (vs. 9) to help him fight the enemy.  Joshua was prepared.  We also need to be prepared to obey when God calls us.  Question: Are you ready?

Exodus 6

Vs. 6, “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.”  After Moses came to the Lord in prayer in our previous chapter, our God now responds (vs. 1-12).  Notice how we are reminded that God is mighty and powerful (vs. 1-2).  I think it’s safe to say that we have a tendency to forget out God is greater!  It’s also quite interesting to note the response of the Israelites (vs. 9).  They were still battered and bruised, you almost can’t blame them for their doubt.  Yet, God would come through for them!  In the latter half (vs. 13-27), we are presented another genealogy.  What’s the significance?  It identifies Moses and Aaron as descendants of Levi.  We are also given a glimpse of Moses’ family (father Amram and mother Jochebed) and this family would be the source the priestly tribe through Levi.

Regarding application…Encouraging Words.  Vs. 7, “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”  Don’t worry.  I am here for you.  You are precious to me and I will rescue you.  When we go through trials and struggles, sometimes we just need to hear words of encouragement.  God could have chastened His people and Moses for doubting, but there is a time for everything.  Question: What ways is God encouraging you these days?  Sometimes, it just helps to take time to think about the positive things He is doing in our life to gain proper perspective.  Question: What ways can you encourage others?  I’ve found that when I help others, I am so blessed as well!  Reach out to others this week and take the time to encourage!

Exodus 4

Vs. 1, “Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you?”  Moses continues his worries about being the wrong man for the job.  But God patiently calms Moses fears by giving him the ability to do signs and wonders that would help God’s people believe (vs. 2-9).  Yet, Moses in exasperation pleads that he can’t speak well and to send someone else (vs. 10-13).  While we are told God was angry (vs. 14), there certainly was no coincidence that God would happen to orchestrate Aaron traveling to see Moses.  It wasn’t always an easy partnership with Moses & Aaron, but God would work in them.  Upon getting Jethro’s blessings (vs. 18), Moses and his family begin the journey back to Egypt.  It is a bit shocking to see that the LORD nearly killed Moses along the way (vs. 24).  Question: Why?  Moses had not circumcised one of his sons (vs. 25-26).  When God gives commands, we would be quite foolish to not obey them.  Some scholars believe Moses didn’t circumcise one of his sons to appease his Midianite family.   And the latter section of our chapter, we see the hope of God’s promises come true as Moses reveals to the Israelites their deliverance!

Regarding application…A Hardened Heart.  Vs. 21, “The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”  Question: How’s the condition of your heart today?  Interestingly enough throughout the book of Exodus, ten times we are told God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and ten times we are told Pharaoh hardened his own heart.   It doesn’t make sense, yet we are given both perspectives.  Did one come before the other?  Regardless, Pharaoh was given the choice, but chose to harden his heart.  God obliged and let it happen.  It is serious business when it comes to our heart condition.  Take time to examine your heart and reach out to God!

Matthew 25

Vs. 13, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Jesus continues the theme of reminding us how we should always be ready (vs. 1-13).  As you know, it’s been nearly two thousand years since Jesus would tell us to be ready.  Everday that goes by is reaching us closer to Jesus’ return.  The parable of the talents (vs. 14-30) is a exhortation to us to use wisely the talents (abilities) that God has given to us.  Each of us us have been richly blessed by God, so let’s not selfishly sit and do nothing.  And lastly, we come across the sheep and goats (vs. 31-46).  This is judgement day as Jesus gathers all nations to Him after the Tribulation and the 1000 year reign.  Of course, the sheep are the good and goats are the bad.

 

Regarding application…Reaching Out Your Hand.  Vs. 44, “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”  Scholars believe that Jesus is referring to the Tribulation when those believing in Christ will need extra help because their faith is being persecuted.  Jesus is teaching us something beyond just this event though.  Jesus is reminding us we must be a Rahab to the spies and a Good Samaritan.  When we reacy out our hands to our neighbors we are powerfully showing our love to Jesus.  Especially to those Christians who are in dire need of help and compassion.  Question: Who can you extend God’s gracious love and help to today?