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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

11 February 2012

Week 6 in Review Exodus 14-28

Week 6 (this blog post covers Exodus 14-28)
February 5 Exodus 5-9
February 6 Exodus 10-13
February 7 Exodus 14-18
February 8 Exodus 19-21
February 9 Exodus 22-24
February 10 Exodus 25-28

Now that the Israelites have fled Pharaoh, they need somewhere to go. God leads them to the see and tells them that He will receive glory through Pharaoh.

Pharaoh has changed his mind again. He pursues the Israelites, and they are terrified. Moses tells them:

…don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet. (14:13-14)

What “Egyptians” terrify you today? What areas of your life require a firm stand and a closed mouth? Do you believe that God can do for you what He did for Israel?

The Israelites are between the Egyptians and the Red Sea, with God’s cloud pillar standing firm between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Moses stretches out his arm and rod, and God provides a powerful east wind to move the water and dry the land. What an amazing sight that must have been! I wonder how many people trusted that God could keep the waters parted, and how many wanted to just curl up and die? How do you think you would have reacted?

Another three: The Israelites journeyed for three days without finding water. Did they think of praying? Of course not. They chose to complain (isn’t that just human nature?). God miraculously provides water.

After that miracle, the people worshiped and prayed and praised God because they knew He would also provide food … NOT. They whined that they were better off in Egypt where food was abundant. Moses talks to God; God provides quail and manna. The manna looked like coriander (which is also known as cilantro) and the people were told to take only what they needed for each day. Some trusted and did what they were told. Others did not … and their stash rotted overnight! God made provision for the Sabbath – they were to take enough for two days, and on the Sabbath, the remainder didn’t rot! God not only provides – He provides just enough and at the right time. He still does this today!

Are you like the Israelites, whining, complaining, and blaming God for your less than ideal circumstances? Can you see from this story that God can provide, He will provide, and His provision is exactly what you need? Isn’t it time to give up some of the problems you have – you know the ones I mean – the ones that you are holding on to because you are trying to “help” God?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember God’s promises. Stories like this remind me that God has my best interests at heart.  But remember, friend, that God gives us a future, a hope, and reminders that He “has our back”!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jer 29:11 (ESV)

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Prov 16:9 (ESV)

There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. Prov 19:21 (KJV)

May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! Psalms 20:4 (ESV)

What precious promises are in His Word!

There’s another story in that I find fascinating, and it shows that God needs us to work as a team; a family; together. Joshua was told to fight Amalek. He went to battle, and Moses watched over the proceedings. Moses held his hands up in prayer – Joshua was winning. Moses’ companions,  Aaron and Hur, held up Moses’ hands. With the help of his friends, Moses was able to continue holding his hands up until Amalek was defeated.

I want to be a Hur for someone! I want to stand alongside, literally or figuratively holding up their hands, helping them to do battle for God. How can YOU be an Aaron or a Hur today? Can you get medicine for a sick friend? Help someone get to a doctor’s appointment? Clean the church? Write a note of support? Tell someone you’ll pray for them – and do it?

And the next story is for the micromanagers in the world: Moses took on all the judging and law enforcement for the 2,000,000 plus Israelites. His father in law, Jethro, saw what he was doing and wisely counseled him to find trusted people to delegate lesser tasks. Moses listens!

God speaks to Moses. Wow! He physically brought clouds, thunder and the sound of trumpets.  The Ten Commandments are given to the people:

You shall have no other gods.
Make no idols.
Don’t misuse God’s Name.
Keep the Sabbath holy – rest!
Honor your parents.
Don’t murder.
Don’t commit adultery.
Don’t steal.
Don’t testify falsely (lie, slander, libel).
Don’t covet.

I find it interesting that the things society call “little sins” – adultery, theft, lying, disrespect – are on the same list as murder. It proves to me that God doesn’t see any sin as “bigger” or “littler”. A sin is a sin, and all sins need to be acknowledged, repented of, and forgiven. If you are a Christian, please don’t think that God doesn’t pay as much attention to the “little” sins. If you are not yet a follower of Jesus, understand that God finds all that is not perfect and holy to be a sin, and sin separates you from God!

Next we find rules and ordinances detailing the way people needed to treat slaves, how accidental death was to be handled, compensations for injury, and so forth. There are laws banning sex with virgins and animals. Details about not sacrificing to other gods, and not allowing a sorceress to live. Basically, God tells His people (and us) not to follow the crowd – to take the road less traveled.

The people agree, as one, to follow God’s commands.

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and 70 of Israel’s elders see God and sees something that looked like a pavement made of clear sapphire. Wow! I can imagine how that must have brought them to their knees, literally, in praise and worship. Moses and Joshua go up onto the mountain, and God called Moses into the cloud for 40 days and 40 nights.

Finally this week, we have details of the structure of the Tabernacle, together with the detailed plans for the holy items inside. These items were paid for from the offerings of the people – offerings possible because of the gold and jewelry plundered from the Egyptians. Although some details are not as fascinating as others, I am intrigued by the items that are either solid gold or covered in gold. First, they were heavy, so in addition to traipsing over the wilderness with 2 million plus people for 40 years, they had to carry very heavy implements for the tabernacle. They had to be transported with complete reverence, and the Israelites only had man and beast power to do so. When you look at the size of some of the items in the Tabernacle, and take into account the lack of vehicles, it’s amazing how much work was involved in moving God’s home!

If you have the opportunity, go back and read some of the details of the tabernacle and the garments. Think about the way God plans every little detail – how He shows us exactly what He wants, how He wants us to do it, and how He wants us to behave. Not only is our God a holy and just God, He is also loving.

It’s been a long and detailed road this week. I’d like to know what you think about the stories we’ve heard. Have they impacted your daily walk? Have you learned something about God’s nature? Have you learned that you need to make changes in your life?

I look forward to reading next week’s stories with you. We can do this – together!

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