2879.) Exodus 4

April 30, 2020
"Moses and the Burning Bush" watercolor by William Blake, early 19th century (Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

“Moses and the Burning Bush” watercolor by William Blake, early 19th century (Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Exodus 4   (NRSV)

Moses’ Miraculous Power

Then Moses answered, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’“

Bible commentator G. Campbell Morgan has written:  “We are ever prone, when God is calling us to some high service, to say ‘But,’ and this to introduce our statement of the difficulties as we see them.”

2The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

He said, “A staff.”

3And he said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Ex 4 hand

God likes to use what is in our hand.

God used a sharp stick in Shamgar’s hand (Judges 3:31).

God used the stones and slingshot in David’s hand (1 Samuel 17:49).

God used the jawbone of a donkey in Samson’s hand (Judges 15:15).

God used five loaves and two fish in the hand of a little boy (John 6:9).

So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. 4Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail” —so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5“so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

6Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” He put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.

7Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak” —so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— 8“If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. 9If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

10But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

11Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

Psalm 94:9 (NASB)

He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?

12Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”

13But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.”

14Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “What of your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. 15You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do.

Moses should have obeyed the Lord in simple dependence, knowing that His commands are His enablements. God never asks us to do anything without giving us the power to do it. Because Moses was not satisfied with God’s best, he had to take God’s second best—that is, having Aaron be his spokesman. Moses thought that Aaron would be a help, but he later proved to be a hindrance in leading the people to worship the golden calf (chapter 32).

–William MacDonald

16He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. 17Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Speak, O Lord,”   by Keith Getty, 2005, with videoclips from Norway and France. (The music does not begin until 20 seconds into the clip.)

_________________________

Moses Returns to Egypt

18Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.”

And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

19The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt; for all those who were seeking your life are dead.” 20So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey and went back to the land of Egypt; and Moses carried the staff of God in his hand.

Reflection:

a thought from Andy Warhol:

Ex4 andy-warhol-

According to Exodus 7:7, Moses was 80 years old when God called him to do the great work of his life:  lead the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt and guide them 40 years in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land.

Are you impatiently waiting for something — and could you now put that situation in God’s hands for God’s timing?

What good work, what great work might the Lord have for you now, later, and even in your retirement years?

21And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

Who really hardened Pharaoh’s heart?

We might say that it was both God and Pharaoh; but whenever God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, He never did it against Pharaoh’s will. Pharaoh never said, “Oh, I want to do what is good and right and I want to bless these people of Israel” and God answered, “No, for I will harden your heart against them!” When God hardened, He allowed Pharaoh’s heart to do what Pharaoh wanted to do – God gave Pharaoh over to his sin (Romans 1:18-32).

–David GuzIk

22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son. 23I said to you, “Let my son go that he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; now I will kill your firstborn son.’“

24On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him. 25But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet with it, and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26So he let him alone. It was then she said, “A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.”

27The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went; and he met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had charged him.

29Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and performed the signs in the sight of the people.

31The people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had given heed to the Israelites and that he had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Ex4 moses_burning_bush_bysantine_mosaic

Luke 1:54 (NASB)

He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.    http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O192457/moses-and-the-burning-bush-watercolour-blake-william/
hand.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/86bd8-ex44.jpeg
Andy Warhol quote.   https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/after-andy-warhol-the-idea-of-waiting-for-15-c-8a8a1bde1f
Moses and the burning bush Byzantine icon.    https://iconreader.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/moses_burning_bush_bysantine_mosaic.jpg

2878.) Exodus 3

April 29, 2020
"The Burning Bush" by Israeli artist Shraga Weil (1918-2009).

“The Burning Bush” by Israeli artist Shraga Weil (1918-2009).

Exodus 3   (NRSV)

Moses at the Burning Bush

"Burning Bush" by Pat Smith

“Burning Bush” by Pat Marvenko Smith

God, hear me saying . . .
. . . heartbeat . . .
I am dry and brittle and ready to snap.

God, I hear you saying . . .
. . . heartbeat . . .
How else to be kindling for a burning bush?

–Ann Voskamp

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.”

4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”

God’s first words to Moses called him by name. This shows that even though Moses was now an obscure, forgotten shepherd on the backside of the desert, God knew who he was, and Moses was important to God.

 The double call (Moses, Moses!) implied importance and urgency, as when God called Abraham, Abraham! (Genesis 22:11), Samuel, Samuel! (1 Samuel 3:10), Simon, Simon (Luke 22:31), Martha, Martha (Luke 10:41), and Saul, Saul (Acts 9:4).

–David Guzik

And he said, “Here I am.”

5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

Reflection:

When was the last time you took off your shoes (or fell on your knees, or shouted for joy) because God was so near to you?

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a song for Moses and for us:  “We Are Standing on Holy Ground.”

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6He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

3-ratner

7Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

The Divine Name Revealed

13But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”

When God revealed Himself to man in the days of the patriarchs it was often associated with a newly revealed name or title for God.

  • Abraham, in the encounter with Melchizedek, called on God Most High (Genesis 14:22)
  • Abraham later encountered Almighty God (Genesis 17:1)
  • Abraham came to know the Lord as Everlasting God (Genesis 21:33), and The-Lord-Will-Provide (Genesis 22:14)
  • Hagar encountered You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees (Genesis 16:13)
  • Jacob met El Elohe Israel (Genesis 33:20), and El Bethel (Genesis 35:7)

So if Moses were to come to the elders of Israel as a representative of God, it would be logical for them to wonder, “By what name did He reveal Himself to you?”

–David Guzik

14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“

3. I AM

Mark 14:61-62 (Amplified Bible)

Again the high priest asked Him, Are You the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), the Son of the Blessed?

And Jesus said, I AM.

Martin Buber, renowned philosopher and theologian, a person of influence in the revival of the Hassidic movement in the middle of the 20th century, was convinced that the only way for people to know each other and to know God is through intimate relationships.  In his seminal work, I and Thou, he writes:

The word of revelation is: I am there as whoever I am there. That which reveals is that which reveals. That which has being is there, nothing more. The eternal source of strength flows, the eternal touch is waiting, the eternal voice sounds, nothing more.

When Moses stood at the burning presence of the Hebrew God, YHWH, on that mountain, he experienced ever so briefly that very same word of revelation. I Am was there in front of him – and beside him and behind him and surrounding him. And if Moses got the message clearly he began to understand in a new way that this One in whose image he and everybody else has been created was explaining to him what Buber reminds us, “That which has being is there, nothing more.”

–James F. McIntire

15God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.

Resources:

DreamWork’s 1998 animated movie, The Prince of Egypt, tells the story of Moses and the Exodus.  HERE  in this clip, Moses encounters the burning bush.

16Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. 17I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

“a land flowing with milk and honey”

3. land of milk and honey

Exactly what kind of prosperity does the biblical expression refer to? It probably does not refer to the most common forms of agriculture, such as the cultivation of grains. Rather, the “milk” most likely refers to animal husbandry and the use of animal byproducts for food and clothing. Sheep were important for their wool and meat, but goats may have been more important. They provide twice as much milk as sheep, and their hair and hides could be used for tents, clothing, carpets, and even satchels for holding liquids. The “honey” refers to horticulture—the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. “Honey” in Israel is more commonly the syrup from grapes and dates than the substance produced by bees.

–John H. Walton, “Bible Backgrounds”  

18″They will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19I know, however, that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. 20So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go.

21″I will bring this people into such favor with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed; 22each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor’s house for jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Weil.   http://pastorjimmymac.blogspot.com/2015/07/
Smith.   http://duendeufo.blogspot.com/
He knows your name.     https://purposefulfaith.com/he-knows-your-name/
Ratner — Burning Bush.   http://www.ratnermuseum.org/?page=exodus#
Be still plaque.   http://www.catholicfamilygifts.com/images/products/detail/frame-plaque/317.jpg
land of milk and honey.  https://www.artfulhome.com/item_images/P/6501-6600/full/P06598-P00036f.jpg

2877.) Exodus 2

April 28, 2020
"A Miniature Ark" from Clay Illustrations by Georgia Cawley

“A Miniature Ark”   clay by Georgia Cawley

Exodus 2  (NRSV)

Birth and Youth of Moses

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months.

Hebrews 11:23 (CEV)

Because Moses’ parents had faith, they kept him hidden until he was three months old. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s orders.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Beautiful Boy,” one of John Lennon’s last songs, written for his son Sean.

__________________________

3When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river.

Well, she did exactly what Pharaoh had commanded — she put him in the river —-

4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

"Moses in the Bulrushes" by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1921 (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

“Moses in the Bulrushes” by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1921 (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

5The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said.

Reflection:

The first weapon God used against the oppressing nation of Egypt was the cry of a baby.

What seemingly small thing could you do now to help God’s kingdom come?

7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”

8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Acts 7:22 (NIV)

Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

David Guzik says:  Certainly, Moses was raised with both the science and learning of Egypt, one of the most academic and scientific societies among ancient cultures. It is reasonable to think that Moses was instructed in geography, history, grammar, writing, literature, philosophy, and music.

Resources for children:

TheMosesBasket

The Moses Basket. A simple, gentle retelling by Jenny Koralek and illustrated by Pauline Baynes (who also illustrated The Narnia Chronicles), Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2003.

Moses Flees to Midian

11One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. 12He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?”

14He answered, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.”

15When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh.

"Flight to Midian" digital art by Ted Larson

“Flight to Midian” digital art by Ted Larson

He settled in the land of Midian,

In that day Midian described the area which is both Saudi Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula.

and sat down by a well.

16The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17But some shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock.

"Moses Defending the Daughters of Jethro" by Fiorentino Rosso, 1523 (Uffizi, Florence)

“Moses Defending the Daughters of Jethro” by Fiorentino Rosso, 1523 (Uffizi, Florence)

18When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come back so soon today?”

19They said, “An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.”

20He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.” 21Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage. 22She bore a son, and he named him Gershom; for he said, “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.”

23After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. 24God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.

God was not oblivious to the plight of His people. God heard, and remembered, and looked upon the children of Israel, and acknowledged their condition. His response was to bring His servant back to Egypt (ch. 3) to lead His people out of that land in the mightiest display of power since the creation of the world.

–William MacDonald

Psalm 142 (NIV)

I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.

I pour out my complaint before him;
before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who know my way.
In the path where I walk
men have hidden a snare for me.

Look to my right and see;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”

Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.

Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Cawley.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/1152-exodus-2/
Tanner.   https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/moses-bullrushes-23668
Larson.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/2-larsonflight-to-midian.jpg?w=450
Rosso.  http://www.wga.hu/art/r/rosso/2/1moses.jpg

2876.) Exodus 1

April 27, 2020

Exodus: a word cloud.  A word cloud is a visualization of word frequency in a given text. Greater prominence and size are given to words that occur more frequently in the text.

Exodus 1   (NRSV)

The first verses of Exodus reach back some 430 years. The story of the Exodus begins where the story Genesis ends: a large family with a crucial place in God’s plan of the ages and their migration to Egypt.

The Hebrew title for the Book of Exodus is taken from its first words: And These are the Names Of. In the original language, the first word of Exodus is and, marking its continuity from the Genesis account.

–David Guzik

To really enjoy the book of Exodus, we need to look for Christ in it. Moses, the Passover lamb, the rock, and the tabernacle are only a few of the types (symbols) of the Lord Jesus, many of which are referred to elsewhere in Scripture (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews chapters 3-10). May the Lord do for us what He did for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus—interpret to us “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

–William MacDonald

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.

John 10:3  (NIV)

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

5The total number of people born to Jacob was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt.

6Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation. 7But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

Resources:

Bruce Feiler: Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses (Book II, Chapter 2 “And They Made Their Lives Bitter”).

 

1-egypt-pyramids

When the children of Israel were set to slave labor they built many of the great cities and monuments in Egypt — though not the pyramids, which were built much earlier.

The Israelites Are Oppressed

8Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”

11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.

The nation could not grow this way in Canaan, because it was practically impossible to avoid intermarriage with the pagan and wicked inhabitants of Canaan. Egypt was so racially biased and had such an entrenched system of racial separation that Israel could grow there over several centuries without being assimilated.

13The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, 14and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

Genesis 15:12-14 (NIV)

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.  Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.  But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

Pharaoh meant the hard bondage for evil, but God meant it for good. It helped prepare the Jews for their arduous journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.

–William MacDonald

15The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16“When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.”

"Choose You This Day" by Elspeth Young, a painting of Puah considering the order the king has just given her. (I find it ever so interesting that we are know the name of the two midwives, but not of the Pharaoh!)

“Choose You This Day” by Elspeth Young, a painting of the midwife Puah considering the order the king of Egypt has just given her. (I find it ever so interesting that we know the names of the two midwives, but not the name of the Pharaoh!)

17But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live.  18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?”

19The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”

20So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. 21And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.

Ex1 doright

One person respectfully honoring God —  matters.

Proverbs 11:18 (ESV)

One who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.

22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

If the battle were just between Pharaoh and the people of Israel, Pharaoh would have clearly won. But the real battle included God in the equation, and that changed everything.

_________________________

Music:

David Guzik says:  The method Pharaoh commanded for the death of the male children of Israel became the divine provision for training the deliverer of Israel.

HERE  is a ballad — Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” won the Grammy Award in 2001 for Best Rock Song. The song celebrates the good news that a child is on the way.  “With arms wide open, I’ll show you love, I’ll show you everything. . . ”

And God already had in mind the child who was coming to rescue Israel from the Egyptians!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
word cloud.   https://heiressmommy.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/exodus-wordled.gif
pyramids.   http://5-five-5.blogspot.com/2016/04/giza-necropolis-al-haram-egypt.html
Young.  http://alyoung.com/Art_Gallery/Elspeth_Young/Women_in_Scripture/Puah_thumbnail.jpg
Do the right thing.   http://www.appleseeds.org/doright2.gif

2875.) Proverbs 1

April 24, 2020

proverb: (noun) a short, pithy sentence that conveys a general truth, condensing common experience into memorable form

Proverbs 1 (New Living Translation)

The Purpose of Proverbs

1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

King Solomon. Third king of Israel. Son of the great King David. The wisest man who ever lived.

The absolute quiet and prosperity of the reign of Solomon (the man of peace), as described in 1 Kings 4:20, would naturally be conducive to the growth of a sententious philosophy; whereas the constant wars and dangerous life of David had called forth the impassioned eloquence of the Psalms.

–Charles J. Ellicott (1819-1905)

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

–1 Kings 4:29-34

2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.

“It is probably a safe bet to say that most people today are not much interested in wisdom. They are interested in making money and in having a good time. Some are interested in knowing something, in getting an education. Almost everyone wants to be well liked. But wisdom? The pursuit of wisdom is not a popular ideal.”

–James Montgomery Boice

3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.

5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

“But what is the fear of the LORD? It is that affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law.”

–Charles Bridges

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Music:

HERE  is “We Choose the Fear of the Lord”  sung by the Maranatha Singers.

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A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom

A father teaching his son how to kayak.  Photo by Susan Sayour.

8 My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.

Verses 7 – 9 may be regarded as a summary statement of the principle on which the whole book is based, and of the duty which it enjoins. The principle is that true wisdom is based on religion, and the duty is to listen to parental instruction. ‘My son,’ is the address of a teacher to his disciples, rather than of a father to his child.

–Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910, an English non-conformist minister of Scottish origin)

10 My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
Let’s hide and kill someone!
Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave;
let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
we’ll all share the loot.”

15 My child, don’t go along with them!
Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.

from Whispers of His Power, by Amy Carmichael

Proverbs 1:17 — Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

When God is speaking to a soul, the devil always tries to spread a net to entangle him. Have you ever heard a message and found yourself thinking, “Yes, that is just the word for him. It fits him exactly. I hope he takes it to heart.” If you have, then you know one of Satan’s favorite nets. He tries to make us think of somebody else, and pass the message on to him instead of taking it for ourselves.

But surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. If you see the net, pray this prayer:  “Lord, open my ears to hear what Thou wilt say to me. Make me sincere, and give me grace to obey.”

And then, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5).

18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.

Wisdom Shouts in the Streets

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street . . . “

20 Wisdom shouts in the streets.
She cries out in the public square.
21 She calls to the crowds along the main street,
to those gathered in front of the city gate:

This is the first time that Wisdom, personified as a woman  (in Greek, “Sophia”), speaks in the book of Proverbs. We will hear from her again in chapters 8 and 9. This seems to me to be a metaphor only; orthodox Christianity does not condone worship of the goddess Sophia. Scripture teaches that God alone is true and holy Wisdom.

Romans 11:33 (NIV)

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!

1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 “How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23 Come and listen to my counsel.
I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.

24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.
I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.
25 You ignored my advice
and rejected the correction I offered.
26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble!
I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone,
and anguish and distress overwhelm you.

Why do we ignore good advice?!

Here are some examples of good life advice which many of us have received and yet which many of us have had to learn the hard way!

Forgive and let go …
Read (A LOT) …
Don’t ever stop learning and growing as a person …
Save a portion of your earnings and avoid credit card debt …
Change your thinking, change your life …
Find a mentor and do what they’re doing …
Be kind to people …
Never, never, never give in …
Whatever you do, give it 100 % …

28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer.
Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
29 For they hated knowledge
and chose not to fear the Lord.
30 They rejected my advice
and paid no attention when I corrected them.
31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way,
choking on their own schemes.
32 For simpletons turn away from me—to death.
Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
33 But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”

Psalm 112:1, 7, 8 (NIV)

Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.

He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

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New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
proverbs.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1-proverbs-color.jpg?w=450
King Solomon.     https://i1.wp.com/ourhealingmoments.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/1-king_solomon.jpg
Sayour.    https://www.lensburyclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/father-and-son-kayak.jpg
sparrow caught in a net.      https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1-sparrow.jpg?w=450
wisdom calling in the street.    http://www.tlchrist.info/wisdom.jpg
some good advice.   https://www.gcurley.info/news/2016/11/respecting-rebuking-the-saints/some-good-advice/

2874.) Psalm 148

April 23, 2020
Virginia Wieringa: Shore Stations ( Psalm 148) Acrylic and Tissue Paper Collage, 2010.

Virginia Wieringa:
Shore Stations — Psalm 148
Acrylic and Tissue Paper Collage, 2010.

Psalm 148   (NRSV)

Praise for God’s Universal Glory

Psalm 148 calls upon all creation to praise Yahweh. “What a wonderful song this is! Look over it again, and note the fact that there is no reference in it, from first to last, to the mercy, or pity, or compassion of God. But that is because there is no reference to evil in any form.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

This call to all creation to praise Yahweh was not an empty wish. Revelation 5:11-13 tells us specifically that it will be fulfilled.:

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
To receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

“O what a hymn of praise is here! It is a universal chorus! All created nature have a share, and all perform their respective parts.”

–Adam Clarke

Heartfelt praise from the lesser to the greater. The Psalmist leaves no doubt that God is God, above all creation including the world (seen and unseen), plants, creatures, and humankind.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 148 begins and ends with hallelujah, which is both an exclamation of praise to Yahweh and an encouragement to praise Him.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!

Psalm 19 told us that the heavens declare the glory of God by their very nature and being. Here the Psalmist speaks to the heavens that they continue this praise.

2 Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
    he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

We, in this dark and sinful world, know little of the heavenly world of light. But we know that there is above us a world of blessed angels. They are always praising God, therefore the psalmist shows his desire that God may be praised in the best manner; also we show that we have communion with spirits above, who are still praising him. The heavens, with all contained in them, declare the glory of God. They call on us, that both by word and deed, we glorify with them the Creator and Redeemer of the universe.

–Matthew Henry

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,

The first part of Psalm 148 called upon things in the heavens to give praise to Yahweh. Earth should also not fail to give its praise to God, and all the earth should join in this praise.

–David Guzik

    you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
    stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
    creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
old and young together!

 “The young man’s strong bass, the maiden’s clear alto, the old man’s quavering notes, the child’s fresh treble, should blend in the song.”

–Alexander Maclaren

It is certain that all men and women will one day praise the LORD: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his faithful,
    for the people of Israel who are close to him.

Yahweh deserves such praise from all things on earth because He has drawn near to His people. He is with and for His people, which is a blessing and a benefit greater than any other.

–David Guzik

Praise the Lord!

Even in this world, dark and bad as it is, God is praised. The powers of nature, be they ever so strong, so stormy, do what God appoints them, and no more. View the surface of the earth, mountains and all hills; from the barren tops of some, and the fruitful tops of others, we may fetch matter for praise. And assuredly creatures which have the powers of reason, ought to employ themselves in praising God. Let all manner of persons praise God. Those of every rank, high and low. Let us show that we are his saints by praising his name continually. He is not only our Creator, but our Redeemer; who made us a people near unto him. We magnify Christ, whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, who is indeed the defense and the praise of all his saints, and will be so for ever. In redemption, that unspeakable glory is displayed, which forms the source of all our hopes and joys. May the Lord pardon us, and teach our hearts to love him more and praise him better.

–Matthew Henry

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Music:

Recently I read something interesting. Psalm 103 begins with an invitation, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” and then proceeds to list the benefits of praising God, one of which is that he “satisfies your mouth with good things” (Psalm 103:6 NKJV). The suggestion is this — that filling our mouths with praise and thanksgiving is one way God satisfies us. So let us open our mouths to be satisfied by filling our mouths with praise and his word!

HERE  is one of the great praise hymns of the faith:  “When Morning Gilds the Skies.” I pray that every day will find us praising our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Wieringa.    http://www.eyekons.com/art_and_psalms/virginia_wieringa_psalm_148
sun, moon, and stars.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/traqair57/45562667665
turtle.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/ps148-turtle.png
Hallelujah.   https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/what-is-the-meaning-of-the-word-hallelujah.html

2873.) Genesis 50

April 22, 2020

. . . of all the beginnings of the book of Genesis.

Genesis 50   (NRSV)

Then Joseph threw himself on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2Joseph commanded the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel; 3they spent forty days in doing this, for that is the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

Jacob was mourned for 70 days among the whole nation of Egypt. A royal mourning period in Egypt was 72 days. Jacob was obviously a greatly honored man.

–David Guzik

4When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, “If now I have found favor with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows: 5My father made me swear an oath; he said, ‘I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.’ Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return.”

6Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.”

7So Joseph went up to bury his father.

Luther remarks that there is no burial recorded in the Scriptures quite as honorable as this or with such wealth of detail.

With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9Both chariots and charioteers went up with him. It was a very great company.

jacobs-life-map1

10When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed a time of mourning for his father seven days. 11When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning on the part of the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. 12Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them. 13They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.

So Jacob is buried alongside Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Leah. 

14After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

Jacob’s sons burying their father, from the “Psalter of St. Louis,” thirteenth century

Joseph Forgives His Brothers

15Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?”

16So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.”

Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.”

19But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Romans 8:28 (Amplified Bible)

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

_________________________

Music:

Are we able to be so generous with those who have hurt us, so trusting in a God who sometimes takes a long time to make things right? Oh, that I would be able to live my life in God’s grace and peace, and leave the judgment to Him!  HERE  is  “My Life Is in You, Lord.”

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Joseph’s Last Days and Death

22So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years. 23Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees. 24Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Joseph was the human agent most responsible for bringing this family to Egypt. Yet he knew that because of the covenant God had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this would not be their resting place. They were headed — eventually — back to Canaan.

25So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Joseph’s remains were taken to Canaan four hundred year later, and he was buried at Shechem:

Exodus 13:19 (NIV)

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

Joshua 24:32 (NIV)

And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

Reflection:

The book of Genesis begins with Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the origin of nations at the Tower of Babel. Next come the wonderful stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and his family, and Joseph.

What have you learned as you have been “DWELLING in the Word” in Genesis?

Please write a comment below!

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
neon sign.  https://pinkmsg.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/the-end1.jpg
map.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/jacobs-life-map1.jpg?w=434&h=320
Jacob’s burial.  https://www.chronologicalbibleblog.com/2018/01/page/2/
Egyptian coffin.  http://chnm.gmu.edu/worldhistorysources/unpacking/Resources/mumprnt.jpg
cartoon.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/genesis-cartoon.jpg?w=450