Exodus 20

Vs. 2, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”  Welcome to possibly the most popular passage in the Old Testament.  The Ten Commandments was added to the original covenant of Abraham.  Another important thing to bear in mind is that the Ten Commandments under the Mosaic Law (Law given during Moses’ time) were not given as a way to salvation.  Salvation was still given by faith through grace displayed by Abraham.  The Law was given to guide us in how we should now respond to the amazing grace given to us.  It is a sign of God’s covenant relationship with His people.  Another thing to bear in mind is that we are not under the Law.  Jesus made clear He did not come to abolish the Law (Matthew 5:17), rather, He came to fulfill it.  The Law reveals our sin nature.  Some of the OT laws do not apply any longer to our lives today.  However, the spirit of the Law certainly has its original intended purpose.  I found a wonderful comparison to matching New Testament passages to each of the Ten Commandments.  Notice it is not Moses who delivers the Law, it is the LORD Himself.  In the last section of our chapter (vs. 22-26), the LORD reminds them not to practice the pagan worship of other nations.  They would have been familiar with such things.

Regarding application…God Tests Us.  Vs. 20, “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.”  Part of the intended purpose of God showing His power was to see how His people would respond.  A healthy fear of God will lead us to Godly living.  Certainly, none of us like to take tests, but I would surmise God tests us far more often than we realize.  Question: How will we respond to the person who cuts us off on the freeway?  How will we live our lives on Monday after we worship God so honorably on Sunday?  What will this particular challenge at school or work do to our faith?  Let us do our part of committing to the new nature Christ has given us and live out His grace in our lives!

Genesis 9

Vs. 1, “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.”  Thankfully, the Lord still desired to bless His creation!  It’s interesting that we would see a change in the relationship between humans and animals (vs. 2).  Notice the respect we should have for God’s creation, even in the killing and eating of animals (vs. 4).  Question: What is a covenant?  Holman’s Bible Dictionary defines covenant as an Oath-bound promise.   God made an original covenant with Adam & Eve, but it was conditional.   After the fall in Genesis three, God made a new covenant with us simply through grace demonstrated through the covenant with Noah.  The latter half of our chapter expounds a bit on Noah’s three sons (vs. 18-29).  Question: Why was Ham cursed?  Ham did nothing about seeing his father naked and this was a sign of disrespect (vs. 22).  Noah would curse Ham and his offspring (his son Canaan).  Yes, this is the same land of Canaan, that God would subsequently give to Abraham and His people.  Meanwhile, Shem and Japheth would honor their father and receive blessing (vs. 23, 26-27)

Regarding application…Signs from God.  Vs. 13, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”  To this day, we delight in this beautiful sign in the sky!  Sure, scientists will quickly point out the phenomenon with human logic.  However, this sign was used for us and also as a reminder to God himself.  When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I saw rainbows much more frequently.  Sadly, living in sunny southern California doesn’t allow me to see this wonderful sign from God too often.  Yet, I wonder how many other signs He gives us along the journey of life we take for granted.  Question: What signs in life is God giving you?  If you don’t think there are any, it’s time to pray that the eyes of your heart would be opened (Ephesians 1:18) to seeing His blessings and signs in your life!  Be thankful and praise the Lord!

Genesis 8

Vs. 1, “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.”  God did not go back on His promise with Noah and the receding waters would be a calming reminder.  The ark came to rest on what most scholars believe is in modern day Turkey (Mountains of Ararat).  The dove bringing back the olive leaf (vs. 11), was symbolic of peace and restoring of God’s land.  Finally after a year (a bit later), the waters had receded to their original place (vs. 13).  It’s important to understand that God gave His creation a second chance through Noah and his family.  There are many similarities with Adam and Noah.  God created them, took action, provided for them, blessed them, gave warnings and consequences.

Regarding application…Honoring God.  Vs. 20, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.”  We can only imagine what it must have felt like not getting to touch land and live in a floating boat for over a year.  Noah and his family must have had a huge case of cabin fever.  Having the opportunity to be back on land again and bring a sacrifice must have been a liberating thing to do.  Sure, Noah could have lingered, but he didn’t.  We are told he got off land and made an offering to honor God.  Surely, Noah would now appreciate all the more the grace God had extended to Him.  Question: Do you consider yourself a patient person?  I ask this because we should honor God at all times, not just when things are going well.  Noah waited and honored God.

Hosea 10

Vs. 1, “Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself.  As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones.”  We continue the description of what God’s people were doing.  They were supposed to be a vine that represented the fruit of God, but now they took the fruit of God and gave honor to themselves and other gods.  We see the evidence of spiritual decline as they professed they had no king (vs. 3).  It’s as if they were saying, “God can’t do anything for us anyway.”  Hosea reminds them of their civil war in Gibeah (vs. 9) and how again defeat will come to them (vs. 14-15).

Regarding application…Honoring God.  Vs. 12, “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.”  Question: What was keeping Israel from honoring God?  Deceit (vs. 13).  They thought that all the other things in their lives and their thoughts would not affect how God responded.  Remember, we are to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  It’s not about what we perceive to be good.  For example, the so-called righteous Pharisees looked quite good in their reverence to God.  But, God knew their hearts.  Anytime we have the opportunity to come and worship God, the Lord knows what the intention of our hearts are.  Let’s not make the mistake of putting other things in front of the Lord.  The Lord waits for our hearts and His grace is always abundant.  Seek the Lord with all your heart.