2900.) Exodus 23

May 29, 2020

23. Micah 6-8a

Exodus 23   (NRSV)

Justice for All

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.

2You shall not follow a majority in wrongdoing; when you bear witness in a lawsuit, you shall not side with the majority so as to pervert justice; 3nor shall you be partial to the poor in a lawsuit.

4When you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you shall bring it back. 5When you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would hold back from setting it free, you must help to set it free.

6You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in their lawsuits. 7Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and those in the right, for I will not acquit the guilty.

8You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

23. bribe

Proverbs 17:23 (NLT)

The wicked take secret bribes
to pervert the course of justice.

9You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Ex23 Statue of Liberty

Sabbatical Year and Sabbath

10For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; 11but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

12Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have relief, and your homeborn slave and the resident alien may be refreshed.

13Be attentive to all that I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

The Annual Festivals

Israel’s three religious festivals were connected with the nation’s agricultural cycle.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread occurred in March or April in celebration of the early barley harvest.  Seven weeks later came the Feast of Weeks (also known as the Feast of Harvest, or Pentecost), celebrating the harvest of other cereal crops such as wheat.  Finally, the Feast of Tabernacles (also known as the Feast of Ingathering or Booths) celebrated the final harvest and the end of the agricultural season in the autumn (September).  (The Reformation Bible)

14Three times in the year you shall hold a festival for me.

15You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews harvest wheat with a hand sickle in Israel. They then store the wheat for almost a year before grinding it into flour to make unleavened bread for the springtime Passover festival. Photograph taken in 2007.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews harvest wheat with a hand sickle in Israel. They then store the wheat for almost a year before grinding it into flour to make unleavened bread for the springtime Passover festival. Photograph taken in 2007.

No one shall appear before me empty-handed.



Passover star of David

For us as Christians, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread mark the time when Christ was crucified and RESURRECTED!  HERE  is my most favorite Easter hymn — “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Dark Bands,” text put together by Martin Luther and music forever associated with J. S. Bach.

Notes for listening:

1) the chorale prelude, on the organ
2) a short encouragement spoken by Martin Luther!
3) the hymn sung in four parts, with lyrics

Watch and listen for Old Testament allusions — “Here the true Paschal (Passover) Lamb we see” — “See, his blood now marks our door” — “The Word of grace has purged away the old and evil leaven” — “Christ alone our souls will feed; He is our meat and drink indeed.”


16You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field.

The Feast of Harvest, also known as the Feast of Weeks, celebrates both the harvest and the giving of the Law. Often the book of Ruth is read during this celebration. In the New Testament, this feast is called Pentecost.

The Feast of Harvest, also known as the Feast of Weeks, celebrates both the summer harvest and the giving of the Law. Often the book of Ruth is read during this celebration. In the New Testament, this festival is called the feast of Pentecost.

You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor.

The Feast of Ingathering, also called the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrates the harvest, the forty years of wandering in the desert, and the kindly provision of God for His children. Many Jews today build small outdoor booths for the days of the feast, to remind them of God's goodness during their ancestors' years of wandering.

The Feast of Ingathering, also called the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrates the fall harvest, the forty years of wandering in the desert, and the kindly provision of God for His children. Many Jews today build small outdoor booths for the days of the feast, to remind them of God’s goodness during their ancestors’ years of wandering.

17Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God.

18You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of my festival remain until the morning.

19The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.

You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

Ex23 kosher-symbols

This verse is the basis for the Jewish practice of keeping kosher (clean, proper) and for kosher cooking, which requires a strict separation of meat (the goat) and dairy products (the mother’s milk). Check for these symbols indicating kosher foods on items you buy — like McCormick Chili Powder, and Ken’s Steak House Ranch Dressing, and Quaker Yellow Corn Meal, and Minute Tapioca, and Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate, and Folgers Brazilian Blend Coffee, and Kraft Miracle Whip, and Pam No-Stick Cooking Spray, and even Glad Cling Wrap, and  . . .



HERE  is some clear information presented in a fun way:  A modern Jewish woman considers “kosher.”


The Conquest of Canaan Promised

Click  HERE  to see a map showing the traditional route of the exodus and the conquest of Canaan.

20I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21Be attentive to him and listen to his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him. 22But if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. 23When my angel goes in front of you, and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 24you shall not bow down to their gods, or worship them, or follow their practices, but you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars in pieces. 25You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you. 26No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.

27I will send my terror in front of you, and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28And I will send the pestilence in front of you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. 29I will not drive them out from before you in one year, or the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply against you. 30Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.

31I will set your borders from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will hand over to you the inhabitants of the land, and you shall drive them out before you. 32You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33They shall not live in your land, or they will make you sin against me; for if you worship their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.


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:
Micah 6:8.  https://globalworship.tumblr.com/post/110572643535/help-me-walk-with-you-james-ward
bribe.  http://thecriticalarizonan.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/bribe.jpg
Statue of Liberty.    http://mrswildingsenglish.weebly.com/of-mice-and-men-america-themes-purpose.html
gathering wheat for Feast of Unleavened Bread.  http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2007/05/31/snaps1607_orthodox_gallery__470x303.jpg
Feast of Harvest.   http://www.ynetnews.com/PicServer2/20122005/791816/YE0232356_wa.jpg
Feast of Ingathering.  https://buzi.blog/tag/sukkot/
kosher symbols.  https://www.austinchronicle.com/food/2000-09-29/78729/

2899.) Exodus 22

May 28, 2020

22. Great Commandment

Exodus 22   (NRSV)

Laws of Restitution — concerning Theft

When someone steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, the thief shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. The thief shall make restitution, but if unable to do so, shall be sold for the theft. 4When the animal, whether ox or donkey or sheep, is found alive in the thief’s possession, the thief shall pay double.

2If a thief is found breaking in, and is beaten to death, no bloodguilt is incurred; 3but if it happens after sunrise, bloodguilt is incurred.

Laws of Restitution — concerning Damage to Property

5When someone causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets livestock loose to graze in someone else’s field, restitution shall be made from the best in the owner’s field or vineyard.

6When fire breaks out and catches in thorns so that the stacked grain or the standing grain or the field is consumed, the one who started the fire shall make full restitution.

Corn elevator destroyed by fire in Rushmore, MN, 2008.

Corn elevator destroyed by fire in Rushmore, MN, 2008.

Laws of Restitution — concerning Custody

7When someone delivers to a neighbor money or goods for safekeeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, then the thief, if caught, shall pay double. 8If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall be brought before God, to determine whether or not the owner had laid hands on the neighbor’s goods. 9In any case of disputed ownership involving ox, donkey, sheep, clothing, or any other loss, of which one party says, “This is mine,” the case of both parties shall come before God; the one whom God condemns shall pay double to the other.

10When someone delivers to another a donkey, ox, sheep, or any other animal for safekeeping, and it dies or is injured or is carried off, without anyone seeing it, 11an oath before the Lord shall decide between the two of them that the one has not laid hands on the property of the other; the owner shall accept the oath, and no restitution shall be made.

This principle is the foundation of our idea that a man is innocent until proven guilty. In this case, the man’s oath was taken as true unless proof to the contrary could be found.

12But if it was stolen, restitution shall be made to its owner. 13If it was mangled by beasts, let it be brought as evidence; restitution shall not be made for the mangled remains.

14When someone borrows an animal from another and it is injured or dies, the owner not being present, full restitution shall be made. 15If the owner was present, there shall be no restitution; if it was hired, only the hiring fee is due.



“You Don’t Love God (If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor)” — an especially wonderful song for bluegrass fans!   HERE  is Rhonda Vincent, called “the Queen of Bluegrass”  by the Wall Street Journal.


Social and Religious Laws

16When a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married, and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 17But if her father refuses to give her to him, he shall pay an amount equal to the bride-price for virgins.

The seducer must pay the father because the possibility that the daughter would ever marry is now greatly reduced.

18You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live.

22.cartoon fortune teller

19Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death.

20Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction.

21You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.


22You shall not abuse any widow or orphan.  23If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; 24 my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans.

James 1:27 (NIV)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

25If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them. 26If you take your neighbor’s cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; 27for it may be your neighbor’s only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbor cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate.

28You shall not revile God, or curse a leader of your people.

29You shall not delay to make offerings from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses.

Ten percent of red color

Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. 30You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall remain with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

31You shall be people consecrated to me; therefore you shall not eat any meat that is mangled by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.


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:
Mark 12:30-31.    http://www.theiemommy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/mark12_30-31.jpg
burning grain elevator.    https://standeyo.com/NEWS/08_Food_Water/08_Food_Water_pics/080620.MN.grain.elevator.jpg
fortune teller cartoon.    http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/sbu0063l.jpg
immigrant cartoon.     http://masbury.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/illegal-immigrants.jpg
10%.    http://duplexchick.com/files/2009/04/10-percent.jpg

2898.) Exodus 21

May 27, 2020

21. law_books

Exodus 21   (NRSV)

Exodus chapters 21-23 contain many laws on a wide variety of subjects.

“These different regulations are as remarkable for their justice and prudence as for their humanity. Their great tendency is to show the valuableness of human life, and the necessity of having peace and good understanding in every neighbourhood; and they possess that quality which should be the object of all good and wholesome laws—the prevention of crimes.”

–Adam Clarke



“If I Had a Hammer” is a justice and freedom song, sung here by Peter, Paul & Mary.  The performance  HERE  is from the 1963 Newport Folk Festival held at Fort Adams Park, Rhode Island.  They also performed this song at the 1963 March on Washington, where Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.


The Law concerning Slaves

These are the ordinances that you shall set before them:

2When you buy a male Hebrew slave,

It is significant that the first words of this section of law in the Book of Exodus show that God wanted Israel to respect the rights and dignity of servants.  Bishop George Chadwick wrote:  “The first words of God from Sinai had declared that He was Jehovah Who brought them out of slavery. And in this remarkable code, the first person whose rights are dealt with is the slave.”

–David Guzik

he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. 3If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone.

5But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” 6then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

Ex21 ear

Psalm 40:6-8 (NIV)

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.

I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

“That awl represents the nail that affixed Christ to the cross, and we must expect it in every true act of consecration.”
–F. B. Meyer

7When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.

The matter described here seems to describe the selling of a young female as a slave to a family with the intention of marriage, either to the new owner himself or for his son . . . 

8If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. 9If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife. 11And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out without debt, without payment of money.

The Law concerning Personal Injuries


12Whoever strikes a person mortally shall be put to death. 13If it was not premeditated, but came about by an act of God, then I will appoint for you a place to which the killer may flee. 14But if someone willfully attacks and kills another by treachery, you shall take the killer from my altar for execution.

God makes a distinction between unintentional manslaughter and deliberate murder.

15Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death.

16Whoever kidnaps a person, whether that person has been sold or is still held in possession, shall be put to death.

17Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death.

Proverbs 20:20 (CEV)

Children who curse their parents

will go to the land of darkness

long before their time.

18When individuals quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or fist so that the injured party, though not dead, is confined to bed, 19but recovers and walks around outside with the help of a staff, then the assailant shall be free of liability, except to pay for the loss of time, and to arrange for full recovery.

20When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.

In ancient Israel, the master was culpable for the murder of a servant. In many other cultures, the master was held blameless if he murdered a servant, because the servant was not considered a person.

22When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. 23If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Matthew 5:38-42 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

21. blue eyes

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”
–Mahatma Ghandi

26When a slaveowner strikes the eye of a male or female slave, destroying it, the owner shall let the slave go, a free person, to compensate for the eye. 27If the owner knocks out a tooth of a male or female slave, the slave shall be let go, a free person, to compensate for the tooth.

“If this did not teach them humanity, it taught them caution, as one rash blow might have deprived them of all right to the future services of the slave; and this self-interest obliged them to be cautious and circumspect.”

–Adam Clarke

The Law concerning Injuries caused by Animals

Yoked ox with big horns!

Yoked ox with big horns!

28When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. 29If the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not restrained it, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death. 30If a ransom is imposed on the owner, then the owner shall pay whatever is imposed for the redemption of the victim’s life. 31If it gores a boy or a girl, the owner shall be dealt with according to this same rule. 32If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall pay to the slaveowner thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

Thirty silver coins.  The same price Jesus was sold for when Judas betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:15).

33If someone leaves a pit open, or digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34the owner of the pit shall make restitution, giving money to its owner, but keeping the dead animal.

35If someone’s ox hurts the ox of another, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide the price of it; and the dead animal they shall also divide. 36But if it was known that the ox was accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not restrained it, the owner shall restore ox for ox, but keep the dead animal.


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:
law books.    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Law-Books-Gavel.jpg
pierced ear.    http://img.youtube.com/vi/v9s67DeYpes/0.jpg
No Violence sign.   http://www.thebalochhal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/violence.jpg
baby blue eye.  http://www.chrisdellavedova.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/blueeyes.jpg
oxen.   http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v423/Suzanne57/driving-oxen-blog.jpg

2897.) Exodus 20

May 26, 2020
"Moses with the Tablets of Law" a lithograph by Marc Chagall, 1956.

“Moses with the Tablets of Law” a lithograph by Marc Chagall, 1956.

Exodus 20   (NRSV)

The Ten Commandments

Then God spoke all these words:

2I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.

Ex20 Cristo_Redentor_-_Rio

Philippians 2:5-11  (NIV)

Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
and being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

4You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Ex20 money_stack

Acts 19:26 (NRSV)

Gods made with hands are not gods.

7You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

20. name of the Lord

Luke 11:2 (NIV)

“Father, hallowed be your name.”

8Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

20. church steeple

Mark 2:27 (NLT)

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”

12Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Ex20 shrine to parents

Ephesians 6:1-3 (CEV)

Children, you belong to the Lord, and you do the right thing when you obey your parents. The first commandment with a promise says, “Obey your father and your mother, and you will have a long and happy life.” 

13You shall not murder.

Ex20 handgun_

Matthew 5:21-24 (NLT)

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

14You shall not commit adultery.

Ex20 HoHumMotel

Ephesians 5:22-33 (The Message)

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.

15You shall not steal.

20. stole from Walmart

1 Corinthians 10:24 (NLT)

Don’t be concerned for your own good, but for the good of others.

16You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Ex20 LyingFingers

Romans 14:19 (NCV)

So let us try to do what makes peace and helps one another.

17You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

20. green eye

1 Timothy 6:8 (NIV)

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

18When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, 19and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.”

20Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin.”

21Then the people stood at a distance, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

Ex20 tablets

from The Ten Commandments for Today,
by William Barclay

It may be said that this code inculcates two basic things–it demands reverence for God and respect for man. The majesty of God and the rights of human personality are alike conserved. This is intensely significant, for it is of the very essence of Judaism, and of the very essence of Christianity, that both have a two-directional look. They look both to God and man. They recognize a duty to God and to man. They both know that a man must love God with every part and fiber of his being, and that he must also love his neighbor as himself. No man dare say that he loves God, unless he also loves his fellowman; and no man can really and truly love his fellowman, unless he sees that the true value of a man lies in the fact that he is a child of God. Without the manward look religion can become a remote and detached mysticism in which a man is concerned with his own soul and his own vision of God and nothing more. Without the Godward look a society can become a place in which men are looked on as things and not as persons. Reverence for God and respect for man can never be separated from each other.


Good Books on the commandments:

The Joy of Faithful Obedience, the remarkable design of the Ten Commandments, and how each is designed to bring freedom into our lives, rather than bondage — by Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ), 2005.

Smoke on the Mountain:  An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments, by Joy Davidman (she married C. S. Lewis), 1954.

Losing Moses on the Freeway:  the Ten Commandments in America, by Chris Hedges, 2005.

Keeping the Ten Commandments, by J. I. Packer, 2007.

The Ten Commandments:  The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life, by syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, 1998.


What Does God Say of All These Commandments?

He says thus (Exod. 20, 5f ]: I the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments. What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all that transgress these commandments. Therefore we should dread His wrath and not act contrary to these commandments. But He promises grace and every blessing to all that keep these commandments. Therefore we should also love and trust in Him, and gladly do [zealously and diligently order our whole life] according to His commandments.

–from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism



HERE  is “Give Us Clean Hands”  by Chris Tomlin.  According to Christian Copyright Licensing International, Tomlin is the most sung Christian artist in the United States. He was born in Texas in 1972.  His “Give Us Clean Hands”  seems quite a complementary piece to the Ten Commandments.


The Law concerning the Altar

22The Lord said to Moses: Thus you shall say to the Israelites: “You have seen for yourselves that I spoke with you from heaven. 23You shall not make gods of silver alongside me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.

24″You need make for me only an altar of earth and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your offerings of well-being, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. 25But if you make for me an altar of stone, do not build it of hewn stones; for if you use a chisel upon it you profane it. 26You shall not go up by steps to my altar, so that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.”


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:
Chagall.    http://a248.e.akamai.net/origin-cdn.volusion.com/qxeml.tmbzn/v/vspfiles/photos/899-2.jpg?1321181209
Christ the Redeemer in Rio.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Cristo_Redentor_-_Rio.jpg
money stack.   http://www.iphonefaq.org/images/archives/money_stack.jpg
two men praying.  http://www.sundayschoollessons.com/sunfoldery/image55.gif
church steeple in PA.   http://i.usatoday.net/travel/_photos/2007/09/21/pa-topper.jpg
Reverend Fun.   http://www.reverendfun.com/add_toon_info.php?date=19980602&language=en
handgun.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/P14-45_handgun.jpg
motel.    http://www.ronsaari.com/stockImages/motels/HoHumMotel.jpg
I stole from Walmart.    http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/i-am-a-thief-i-stole-from-walmart-shoplifting-sign1.jpg
man with fingers crossed.   http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/LyingFingersCross_I_swear_4721.png
green eye of jealousy.   http://www.lifehack.org/wp-content/files/2007/09/20070907_jealousy.jpg
ten commandments tablets.  http://www.fredcrystal.com/tencom2.gif


2896.) Exodus 19

May 25, 2020
The mountain traditionally assumed to be Mount Sinai, known locally as Jebel Musa.

The mountain traditionally assumed to be Mount Sinai, known locally as Jebel Musa.

Exodus 19   (NRSV)

The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai

On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness;

It took them three months of trusting God to get to this place, but they finally arrived. They saw God’s deliverance from Egypt, received His guidance on the way to go, saw His glorious victory at the Red Sea, received God’s miraculous gifts of food and water, and they saw a prayerful victory won over the Amalekites.

Israel stayed in the Wilderness of Sinai until Numbers 10. More than 57 chapters of Scripture are devoted to what happened to Israel in the year they camped at Mount Sinai.

The word conventionally translated ‘wilderness’ is not a sandy desert, but grazing country, not settled by man.

–David Guzik

Israel camped there in front of the mountain.

I offer this interesting idea for you to consider: 

There is good reason to believe that the traditional site of Mount Sinai –- on the Sinai Peninsula -– is not the correct location of the mountain where all this came to pass.

According to Exodus 2:15, 3:1, and 3:12 this mountain was in the region of Midian, which was on the east side of the Gulf of Aqaba, east of the Sinai Peninsula. The ancient land of Midian is in the modern nation of Saudi Arabia.

In Galatians 4:25, the Apostle Paul clearly described Mount Sinai as being in Arabia. Though some claim that this can also be understood as extending to the Sinai Peninsula, this isn’t the normal understanding of where Arabia is, either in the modern or the ancient understanding.

There is significant evidence – both historic and archaeological -– to associate the Arabian mountain Jebel al-Lawz with the site of Mount Sinai.

–David Guzik

Certain scholars reject that hypothesis, but it is a tantalizing proposition and you are welcome to investigate it for yourself!

3Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.

Bald Eagle soaring, in flight against snow capped mountains of Kachemak Bay State Park, Homer, Alaska. Photo by Carl Donohue.

Bald Eagle soaring, in flight against snow capped mountains of Kachemak Bay State Park, Homer, Alaska. Photo by Carl Donohue.



HERE  is “On Eagle’s Wings”  written in 1979 by Michael Joncas, a Roman Catholic priest.


5Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”

1 Peter 2:5 (NLT)

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.  What’s more, you are his holy priests.Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

7So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8The people all answered as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.

9Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.”

The People Consecrated

When Moses had told the words of the people to the Lord, 10the Lord said to Moses: “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

Meeting with God requires preparation. God is awesome and perfectly holy. When the children of Israel were to meet with Him, God commanded them first to take two full days to prepare. Once the people were ready, however, God spoke to them with thunder and lightning, with smoke and fire and the sound of loud trumpets. It was through this encounter that God revealed such marvelous truths as the Ten Commandments, establishing the standard by which God expected His people to live.

You cannot spend day after day in the world without its affecting your mind and will and heart. It doesn’t take long to become disoriented to the ways of God. The world has a dulling effect on your spiritual sensibilities. God established the Sabbath so His people could take an entire day to refocus on Him and His will for them after spending six days in the world.

How do you prepare for your times of worship? What fills your mind the night before? Often the last thing you put into your mind at night is still on your mind the next morning. Genuine worship requires spiritual preparation. Your experience of worship reflect your spiritual preparation. Prepare yourself now for your next encounter with God.

–Henry T. Blackaby

12You shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. 13No hand shall touch them, but they shall be stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.”

14So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes. 15And he said to the people, “Prepare for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently.

19. smoke on mountain

Psalm 104:31-32 (NIV)

May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works-

he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

19As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder.

Mark 9:7 (NLT)

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”

20When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

View from Mt. Sinai. Photograph by Stephan Edelbroich.

View from Mt. Sinai. Photograph by Stephan Edelbroich.

21Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to the Lord to look; otherwise many of them will perish. 22Even the priests who approach the Lord must consecrate themselves or the Lord will break out against them.”

23Moses said to the Lord, “The people are not permitted to come up to Mount Sinai; for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and keep it holy.’“

24The Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you; but do not let either the priests or the people break through to come up to the Lord; otherwise he will break out against them.”

25So Moses went down to the people and told them.


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:
Mount Sinai.   http://www.st-katherine.net/images/pgsMusa01.jpg
Donohue.   http://www.skolaiimages.com/stock/albums/eagles/baldeagle_a_049.jpg
smoke on mountain.   http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/17076469.jpg
Edelbroich.   http://www.photo-exhibits.com/africa/egypt_photos/images/sinai_mt-sinai_view_col.jpg

2895.) Exodus 18

May 22, 2020
"Jethro Advises Moses" copper engraving by Dutch artist Caspar Luiken, 1712

“Jethro Advises Moses” copper engraving by Dutch artist Caspar Luiken, 1712

Exodus 18  (NRSV)

Jethro’s Advice

Ex18 support-advice

Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.

2After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro took her back, 3along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been an alien in a foreign land”), 4and the name of the other, Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”).

5Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came into the wilderness where Moses was encamped at the mountain of God, bringing Moses’ sons and wife to him. 6He sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, with your wife and her two sons.”

7Moses went out to meet his father-in-law; he bowed down and kissed him; each asked after the other’s welfare, and they went into the tent. 8Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had beset them on the way, and how the Lord had delivered them.

Psalm 105:37-43 (NLT)

The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold;
and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they were gone,
for they feared them greatly.
The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering
and gave them a great fire to light the darkness.
They asked for meat, and he sent them quail;
he satisfied their hunger with manna—bread from heaven.
He split open a rock, and water gushed out
to form a river through the dry wasteland.
For he remembered his sacred promise
to his servant Abraham.
So he brought his people out of Egypt with joy,
his chosen ones with rejoicing.

9Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in delivering them from the Egyptians. 10Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. 11Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because he delivered the people from the Egyptians, when they dealt arrogantly with them.” 12And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

"Jethro and Moses" watercolor by James Tissot, 1900

“Jethro and Moses” watercolor by James Tissot, 1900

13The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening. 14When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?”

15Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16When they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make known to them the statutes and instructions of God.”

17Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases before God; 20teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do.


Jethro told Moses to focus on the two important things that only Moses could do: he should pray (speak to God on behalf of the people) and teach (show them how to live before God).

In the early church, the apostles came to a similar conclusion. They decided not to undertake tasks that others could do, in order to do what only they could do:  “We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word — Acts 6:3-4 (my emphasis).

Are you spending your time on the things that only you can do? Can you delegate some of your responsibilities to others, to free yourself to spend more time in prayer and in the Word of God?

21You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you, but decide every minor case themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23If you do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will go to their home in peace.”

24So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

18. advice post-it

Proverbs 16:20 (NIV)

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

25Moses chose able men from all Israel and appointed them as heads over the people, as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 26And they judged the people at all times; hard cases they brought to Moses, but any minor case they decided themselves.

Ex18 judge

This was good for Moses. He could focus on the most important things and not be overwhelmed and overstressed by many smaller tasks.

This was good for the leaders Moses chose. Capable men were given real responsibility and had the opportunity to serve God’s people in meaningful ways and further God’s work.

This was good for the congregation. Prayed for and taught by Moses, they were able to settle more things themselves. When they did need a dispute settled, they received quicker attention and better attention from the delegated leaders than from Moses himself.

–David Guzik

27Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went off to his own country.



HERE  Jessica Wise sings (so beautifully) “Blest Be the Tie that Binds.”  “We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens share . . . “


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:
Luiken.   http://www.pitts.emory.edu/woodcuts/1712BiblA/00002350.jpg
advice and support.   http://www.gambleaware.co.uk/img/ctas/support-advice.jpg
Tissot.    http://uploads2.wikipaintings.org/images/james-tissot/jethro-and-moses-as-in-exodus-18-1900.jpg
advice note.   http://blog.atrinternational.com/Portals/128828/images/advice.jpg
judge.   http://www.chabad.org/media/images/66/xuar666327.jpg

2894.) Exodus 17

May 21, 2020
Water flowing over the rocks at Cape Breton National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada

Water flowing over the rocks at Cape Breton National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada

Exodus 17   (NRSV)

Water from the Rock

From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.”


Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?”

3But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?”

4So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

5The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (Amplified Bible)

For I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, that our forefathers were all under and protected by the cloud [in which God’s Presence went before them], and every one of them passed safely through the [Red] Sea,

And each one of them [allowed himself also] to be baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea [they were thus brought under obligation to the Law, to Moses, and to the covenant, consecrated and set apart to the service of God];

And all [of them] ate the same spiritual (supernaturally given) food,

And they all drank the same spiritual (supernaturally given) drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them [produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality], and the Rock was Christ.



HERE  is a throwback! — Burl Ives sings “Cool Water.”



“Moses brings forth water out of the rock”  by Filippino Lippi, c. 1500 (National Gallery, London).  Click  HERE .


Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated

8Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men for us and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”

10So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Jewish tradition is that Hur was the husband of Moses and Aaron’s sister, Miriam.

11Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set. 13And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword.


14Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a reminder in a book and recite it in the hearing of Joshua: I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

15And Moses built an altar and called it, The Lord is my banner. 16He said, “A hand upon the banner of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Psalm 20:5 (NIV)

We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.


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:
Rock Falls.   http://www.canada-photos.com/data/media/11/rock-waterfall_387.jpg
water bottle.   http://onwardstate.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/water_bottle-300×300.jpg
Joe McKeever cartoon.  http://www.joemckeever.com/images/toons/exodus/cExodus-17-12.jpg

2893.) Exodus 16

May 20, 2020
"Gathering of Manna" by Nicolas Poussin, 1640's (The Louvre, Paris)

“Gathering of Manna” by Nicolas Poussin, 1640’s (The Louvre, Paris)

Exodus 16   (NRSV)

Bread from Heaven



“Bread of Heaven” — also known as “Guide Me, O, Thou Great Jehovah” — is a great hymn for the church, dating from the 1740’s, from Wales.  HERE  is true encouragement!


The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

4Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.

Well, this is surprising! Bread does not usually rain down from the sky! But this reminds us that God may provide from resources that we never knew existed. Sometimes He provides from familiar resources, and other times from wonderfully unexpected resources.

In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”

6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

We think our complaints are reasonable, certainly harmless. Is that truly so? Let us vow to be more careful with the words of our mouth.

Acts 5:3-4 (NLT)

Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.  The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”

9Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’“

10And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

11The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12“I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“

A Valley quail in California, photograph by Tim Bentz

A Valley quail in California, photographed by Tim Bentz

13In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

Psalm 105:40 (NIV)

They asked, and he brought them quail,
and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’“

17The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. 18But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed.

"The Israelites gathering Manna" by Ercole de' Roberti, 1490's (National Gallery, London)

“The Israelites gathering Manna” by Ercole de’ Roberti, 1490’s (National Gallery, London)

19And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.”

20But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them.

21Morning by morning they gathered it, as much as each needed;

Ex16 daily-bread

Work hard to maintain a sense of your entire dependence upon the Lord’s good will and pleasure for the continuance of your richest enjoyments. Never try to live on the old manna, nor seek to find help in Egypt. All must come from Jesus or you are undone forever. Old anointings will not suffice to impart unction to your spirit; your head must have fresh oil poured upon it from the golden horn of the sanctuary, or it will cease from its glory.

Today you may be upon the summit of the mount of God, but He who has put you there must keep you there or you will sink far more speedily than you imagine. Your mountain only stands firm when He settles it in its place; if He hides His face, you will soon be troubled. If the Savior should see fit, there is not a window through which you see the light of heaven that He could not darken in an instant. Joshua bade the sun stand still, but Jesus can shroud it in total darkness. He can withdraw the joy of your heart, the light of your eyes, and the strength of your life; in His hand your comforts lie, and at His will they can depart from you.

Our Lord is determined that we shall feel and recognize this hourly dependence, for He only permits us to pray for “daily bread,” and only promises that our strength will be equal to our days. Is it not best for us that it should be so, that we may often repair to His throne and constantly be reminded of His love?

Oh, how rich the grace that supplies us so continually and does not refrain itself because of our ingratitude! The golden shower never ceases; the cloud of blessing tarries evermore above our dwelling. O Lord Jesus, we would bow at Your feet, conscious of our utter inability to do anything without You, and in every favor that we are privileged to receive, we would adore Your blessed name and acknowledge Your unexhausted love.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon / Alistair Begg

but when the sun grew hot, it melted. 22On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers apiece. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’“

24So they put it aside until morning, as Moses commanded them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. 25Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. 26Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a sabbath, there will be none.”

The implication is that the weekly Sabbath was normally kept by Israel before Sinai. The Sabbath ordinance in the Ten Commandments was a codification of Sabbath observance, not its inauguration.  (The Reformation Bible)

27On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. 28The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? 29See! The Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day.

31The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

"Manna from Heaven" by Jonathan Kania

“Manna from Heaven” by Jonathan Kania

Psalm 78:23-25 (NIV)

Yet he gave a command to the skies above
and opened the doors of the heavens;

he rained down manna for the people to eat,
he gave them the grain of heaven.

Men ate the bread of angels;
he sent them all the food they could eat.

John 6:47-51 (The Message)

“I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”

32Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, in order that they may see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’“

33And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord, to be kept throughout your generations.”

34As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the covenant, for safekeeping. 35The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36An omer is a tenth of an ephah.


How do you eat the “true bread from heaven”?  Here are some ways to consider:

  • believe in Jesus, who said “I am the bread of life,” and obey Him
  • take  Holy Communion / the Lord’s Supper
  • read and meditate on the Word of God
  • praise God in friendship and conversation with other believers
  • pray for the hunger of the world to be satisfied in God’s will and purposes

Reader Steve added these:

  • read and meditate on the Word of God in Scripture 
  • meditate on the preaching of the Word in worship

Do you have other suggestions?  Share them with us — click on “Leave a Comment” below!


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:
Poussin.   http://www.abcgallery.com/P/poussin/poussin39.html
Bentz.    http://i1.treknature.com/photos/93/quail5-16-04e.jpg
Roberti.   http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/cgi-bin/WebObjects.dll/CollectionPublisher.woa/wa/work?workNumber=NG1217
daily bread.    http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/ecards/scripture-cards/daily-bread-550×320.jpg
Kania.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/57453-manna-from-heaven-jonathan-kania.jpg

2892.) Exodus 15

May 19, 2020
"Praises" by Mike Bennett

“Praises” by Mike Bennett

Exodus 15   (NRSV)

The Song of Moses

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord,
for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider
he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my might,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.
“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
he cast into the sea;
his picked officers
were sunk in the Red Sea.
5The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.

“Notice, the song is all of God; there is not a word about Moses. Read this song through, and neither Moses, nor Aaron, nor Miriam are in it: God is all in all.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon



HERE  is a song from Vacation Bible School! “Pharaoh, Pharaoh” with clips from the Charlton Heston-Yul Brynner movie classic, The Ten Commandments, 1956.


6″Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power—
your right hand, O Lord,
shattered the enemy.

This idea of the right hand is used in the Scriptures more than fifty times, including these passages:

  • Psalm 45:4: God’s right hand teaches us
  • Psalm 48:10: God’s right hand is full of righteousness
  • Psalm 77:10: Remembrance of the years of the right hand of the Most High
  • Psalm 110:1: The Father invites the Son to sit at His right hand
  • Habakkuk 2:16: The cup of God’s judgment is held in His right hand
  • Ephesians 1:20: Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father

–David Guzik

7In the greatness of your majesty
you overthrew your adversaries;
you sent out your fury,
it consumed them like stubble.
At the blast of your nostrils
the waters piled up,
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.

Psalm 78:13 (NIV)

He divided the sea and led them through;
he made the water stand firm like a wall.

9″The enemy said,
‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil,
my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword,
my hand shall destroy them.’
You blew with your wind,
the sea covered them;
they sank like lead
in the mighty waters.

11“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you,
majestic in holiness,
awesome in splendor,
doing wonders?
You stretched out your right hand,
the earth swallowed them.

13“In your steadfast love you led
the people whom you redeemed;
you guided them by your strength
to your holy abode.

Psalm 77:20 (NIV)

You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

14The peoples heard, they trembled;
pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
trembling seized the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.
Terror and dread fell upon them;
by the might of your arm,
they became still as a stone
until your people, O Lord, passed by,
until the people whom you acquired passed by.
You brought them in and planted them
on the mountain of your own possession,
the place, O Lord, that you made your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established. 1
The Lord will reign
forever and ever.”

Revelation 15:2-4 (NIV)

And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.
Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

19When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

The Song of Miriam


20Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord,
for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider
he has thrown into the sea.”



HERE  is “Miriam’s Song” written and performed by Debbie Friedman, who was an alumna of Highland Park High School in St. Paul, MN, and a faculty member at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music in New York.


Bitter Water Made Sweet

22Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah. 24And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

25He cried out to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.


Ex15 the_healing_of_the_water

Even true believers, in seasons of sharp trial, will be tempted to fret, distrust, and murmur. But in every trial we should cast our care upon the Lord, and pour out our hearts before him. We shall then find that a submissive will, a peaceful conscience, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, will render the bitterest trial tolerable, yea, pleasant. Moses did what the people had neglected to do; he cried unto the Lord. And God provided graciously for them. He directed Moses to a tree which he cast into the waters, when, at once, they were made sweet. Some make this tree typical of the cross of Christ, which sweetens the bitter waters of affliction to all the faithful, and enables them to rejoice in tribulation.

–from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible, written in 1706

What bitterness might there be in your life? Could the wood of the cross of Christ help change the bitter to sweet? The promise is this:  “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him” (Romans 8:28, CEV).

There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he put them to the test. 26He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

Exodus 15:26 (The Message)

“I am God your healer.”

Luke 8:47-48 (NLT)

When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

27Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the water.

photograph of Elim, 2005

photograph of Elim, 2005


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:
Bennett.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/15-bennett-praises4.jpg?w=450
tambourine.   http://www.judaica-mall.com/products/19917m.jpg
cross in the water.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/ex15-the_healing_of_the_water.jpg
Elim.  http://www.greatcommission.com/egypt/459.jpg

2891.) Exodus 14

May 18, 2020
"Crossing the Red Sea--Rays of Light" by Yoram Raanan, 2002

“Crossing the Red Sea–Rays of Light” by Yoram Raanan, 2002

Exodus 14   (NRSV)

Crossing the Red Sea

Controversy abounds: the Red Sea or the Sea of Reeds? Where did they cross? Who knows? It is a fact, however, that the Red Sea today has some of the best diving in the world. With around 1000 species of fish and 150 species of coral, the Red Sea is rich in marine life.

Controversy abounds: the Red Sea or the Sea of Reeds? Where did they cross? When did it happen?  Who knows? It is a fact, however, that the Red Sea today has some of the best diving in the world. With around 1000 species of fish and 150 species of coral, the Red Sea is rich in marine life.

Then the Lord said to Moses: 2Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall camp opposite it, by the sea. 3Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.’ 4I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.

5When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed toward the people, and they said, “What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?” 6So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; 7he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. 9The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his chariot drivers and his army; they overtook them camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Pharaoh’s overtaking the apparently helpless Israelites camping by the sea and shut in between the two is probably the origin of the popular idiom for a terrible dilemma:  “Between the devil (Pharaoh) and the deep blue (Red!) sea.”

–William MacDonald

10As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. 11They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Psalm 106:7-12 (NIV)

When our fathers were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.

Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known.

He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
he led them through the depths as through a desert.

He saved them from the hand of the foe;
from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.

The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.

Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.

13But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NASB)

We are persecuted, but not forsaken.

Moses told the people of Israel to stop. This is often the Lord’s direction to the believer in a time of crisis. Despair will cast you down, keeping you from standing. Fear will tell you to retreat. Impatience will tell you to do something now. Presumption will tell you to jump into the Red Sea before it is parted. Yet as God told Israel He often tells us — to simply stand still and hold our peace as He reveals His plan.

–David Guzik

15Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. 16But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. 17Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. 18And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”

19The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea.

Ex14 map

Where, exactly?

Other passages (such as Exodus 13:18 and 15:14) identify this body of water as the Red Sea. The Hebrew phrase for Red Sea is yam suph, which clearly means “Reed Sea.” Scholars and archeologists have attempted for years to positively identify this body of water.

Much recent research has proposed an alternative route for the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, one that sets Mount Sinai in the Arabian Peninsula instead of the Sinai Peninsula. This alternative route puts the crossing at the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba. Crossings have been suggested at the northern tip (at Ezion Geber), in the middle (at Nuweiba Beach), or at the southern end (at the Straits of Tiran).

–David Guzik

from Rebecca:  I myself am no expert in this field, but if you are interested in where the crossing took place, I suggest you research it! There is a lot of information and opinion out there!

The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Psalm 77:16-20 (ESV)

When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.

You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

The Ratner Museum, Bethesda, Maryland

The Ratner Museum, Bethesda, Maryland

23The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

The Pursuers Drowned

26Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained.

The Ratner Museum, Bethesda, maryland

The Ratner Museum, Bethesda, Maryland

29But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Hebrews 11:29 (CEV)

Because of their faith, the people walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But when the Egyptians tried to do it, they were drowned.



HERE  is “O, Mary, Don’t You Weep No More”  sung by Bruce Springsteen.  He’s not called “The Boss” for nothing!  And the band — well, listen for yourself!



Bruce Feiler: Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses (Book II, Chapter 3 “A Wall of Water”).



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:
Raanan.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/14-raanan-crossing.jpg?w=450
Red Sea diving.   http://www.eastcoastdiverllc.com/egypt3.jpg
map of alternate route for Red Sea crossing.    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/images/map2.gif
Ratner – Opening.   http://ratnermuseum.com/?page=exodus#
Ratner – Closes.  http://ratnermuseum.com/?page=exodus#
cartoon.   http://www.reverendfun.com/?date=20001018