Exodus Part Two

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Exodus part 2

Image result for 10 commandments images public domainToday we’re looking at the second part of our study in the book of Exodus. If you missed last week’s episode, I’ll put a link in the show notes for you. And you’ll find those show notes at samburtonpresents.com. Please follow the instructions right below my photograph and register to get notifications every time a new episode comes out. I guess alternatively, you could go to my FB page, samburtonga, and friend me there, you’ll also get notifications there. Of course you’ll get all my news that way. And that could be scary. By all means, friend me on FB, if you dare.

Anyway last week we quick look at the first 15 chapters of Exodus. There is some incredible drama there, so do look up the episode.

I realize that Genesis – Deuteronomy covers a fairly detailed time period of 40 years, and it’s mostly hilights, or low lights, but it never seems to strike me how the Israelis complained almost constantly.

In chapter 16, after God had delivered them from the Egyptian army, they start fussing about food. Did God bring us out here to die? We should have stayed in Egypt? They’ve already forgotten how bad things were in slavery, and where whining about the shortage of food.

All my life I’ve been mystified by this one. They have all their herds and stuff with them. They never think, Oh, let’s slaughter a sheep and eat. Some of these people would have large herds. A single sheep would have fed a family for a couple days, at least. A cow would have fed them a long time. But they don’t even consider that. Instead they complain because God should provide something for them.

And the amazing thing is, God did. He gave them something they called Manna. Manna means, what is it? I seemed to come down with the dew. It appeared for them 6 days a week for 40 years. They never had too little. They didn’t have to touch their herds and flocks to eat.

I find it astounding that even then it wasn’t enough. In chapter 17, they complain because they are out of water. Just as an aside, if they are getting dew every morning, it would have been fairly easy for them to get at least some of their water. When it rained they knew how to catch more, but they had to complain.

And again, God provides water for them from a stone. It’s a tremendous story. In our for what it’s earth story, in Saudi Arabia, not too far from the place I told you about last week, that’s a possible place of crossing the red sea, there is a rock that stands apart from the others. It’s kind of in a clearing. It looks like it’s been split in two just like a tree that’s been hit by lightening. The surrounding countryside looks very similar to the countryside described in the Bible story. Honestly, when I see pictures of it, it really looks like the rock has been split by God. I can see in my mind, water flowing from the rock into the valley below, filling it up and providing more than enough for the people and their animals.

I get rather impatient with the Israelis. It seems like no matter what God does for them, they have become so entitled, that regardless of what He does, it’s not enough for them. I truly hope that I’m not that way.

The next big event in Exodus, is in many ways, the most famous part. It’s in Chapter 20, when God gives the 10 Commandments. These 10 commandments have been the foundation of the majority of laws in the civilized world. I’m not going to park here, because I might just stay a week, but I would like you to consider this.

Once, Jesus was asked which was the most important commandment. You can read all about it in Matthew 22:36-40. His answer was most interesting. He says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

When you look closely, you’ll see that the first 5 of the 10 commandments are about loving God, and the next 5 are about loving your neighbor. I find that fascinating.

Then the next several chapters, through Chapter 31, are a variety of other specific laws and instructions concerning the tabernacle that God gave to Moses. When you read them, I want you to pay special intentions to the specific requirements. God has selected the Israelis to bring his Messiah into the world, and he has a few special instructions for them.

But you’ll see, that even while God is giving the laws to Moses, the people at the base of the mountain are involved in great sin. They are making an idol. They even get Aaron involved in their blasphemous behavior.

We get to that in Chapter 32. God tells him about the disobedience and says He’s ready to wipe them out, but Moses comes to their defense. When Moses comes down off the mountain, where he’s just spent a few weeks with God, he finds the people are in total chaos. He throws the tablets to the ground in either disgust or anger. God’s commandments are broken.

In my opinion, that is an incredibly illustrative story. God gave the law to point out how bad sin is. In fact it’s so bad, that before the people even hear God’s law, it’s broken, both spiritually and literally.

But God is gracious. He calls Moses back up the mountain to get the law again, but this time Moses carries tablets with him.

The rest of the book is all about the precise building of the Tabernacle. The tent. The representation of God’s presence with men. He even gives precise detailed instructions on the garments the priests are to wear.

I think that’s really interesting. God gives these major instructions on a temporary building. In fact, God always considered the tabernacle to be temporary. It was David who wants to build a permanent structure, which God allows Solomon to build, but He authorized the tabernacle.

Jesus was always God’s permanent plan. The book of Hebrews in the NT explains that. The whole plan was to bring the Messiah into the world.

But the Jews missed it completely. We’re going to see over and over how the OT shows us how humans could not live by the law. We’re going to see rebellion after rebellion. And we’re going to discover multiple thousands of animals sacrificed. And still the people sin.

But we’ll save some of that for next time. In fact, we’ll look at 3 books, leviticus, numbers and, Deuteronomy. It’s a tough slog, but it’s given to us for a very good reason. So, until then, you all take care. That’s all I’ve got right now. See you…I’m out…

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Exodus Part 1

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Show Notes

Image result for Red Sea Discoveries imagesToday, we’re going to look at the Book of Exodus. That’s the second book in the Old Testament. In case a new discoverer, we’ve been looking at each of the Books of the Bible. We started with the New Testament, and now we’re going back to the Old. I’ll leave a link in the show notes, in case you want to go back and listen to some of the earlier shows.

The book of Exodus is really rather exciting. It tells the story of how the Israelis were in Egypt and were eventually made slaves. It talks about how God sent a deliverer names Moses to set them free and lead them through the desert towards the land he had promised them. It’s really quite dramatic in it’s telling. The book was written by Moses himself, somewhere around 1407 BC.

There is some controversy around when these events happened, and we’ll tackle some of them while we

re together. But let me just say that when we think of Ancient Egypt, we tend to think that everything we find buried in the sand, is all related to the slavery of the Jews. That simply isn’t true. For example, I don’t think they built the great pyramid. I think it was built a long time before the Israelis. But I think all the talk about Rameses II and the 1200s BC talk that you often hear from liberal scholars, is also rubbish.

Moses gives us enough detail that we can pretty much pin the dates to the 15th century BC. When the story begins, the midwives of the Jews are asked to kill baby boys, but Moses mother, hides her son in a basket, in the Nile and he was found by a woman callled, Pharoah’s daughter. Interestingly, there was a woman who actually had that as her Title. Her name was Hatshepsut. She was the daughter of Tutmose II and the brother of Tutmose III. Her father loved her very much and she was the first woman to be treated like a pharoah. This woman would have been powerful enough to rescue an Israeli baby and raise him as her own. And she lives right at the time tha’t best fits the Biblical time period. She is hated by her brother, Tutmose III and once he becomes pharoah, he tries to wipe her name out of existence. It’s fascinating to read about it and see the conflict between them. And it follows that Tutmose would be angry with Moses. Because he was raised by Hatshepsut as a prince of Egypt, he would have been seen as such by the people and explains how he had access to Tutmose whenever he liked. Hatshepsut had been loved by many people so Tutmose would have indulged Moses.

One of my favorite visits, was to the Egypt exhibit in the British Museum. In fact, Brittan and I are going there in a couple of weeks. One of the things I love is all the stuff they have related to Tutmose III. His very sarcophagus is there. As I walk through that exhibit, I can imagine, the debates between Him and Moses.

When we look at the ten plagues God cursed the Egyptians with, we must take note that these plagues were directly related to Egyptian worship. They worshiped the Nile, Frogs, their cattle, their gods of the sky and harvests. Ultimately, they worshipped the Sun and Pharoah himself. So each of the plagues was pitting God against those worshiped by the Egyptians. They are not random acts. There is purpose to them. We don’t see that unless we’re told about it, but the Egyptians and Israelis both would have known exactly what this was all about.

The slavery part of Israel’s history ends with the Passover. God tells them to butcher a lamb and eat it quickly, with a few quick vegetables and herbs and unleavened bread. They are to take some of the blood of the lamb and paint the top of their doors with it. When the angel of judgment and death comes by, he will pass over any doors covered by blood.

Death was everywhere in Egypt that night. By morning they were begging the Israeli’s to leave. They were actually paying them to go. And the Jews walked out of Egypt, a free people.

To this very day, Passover is an important part of the Jewish calendar. Even Jews who don’t believe much at all will practice the passover.

But sadly, they don’t see it as a picture of Jesus. Jesus, who, like the lamb, was sacrificed, at Passover. Some day, each one of us will stand before the Judge. We are all guilty and deserve punishment, but we will be passed over by the blood of the lamb who’s blood we claim, just like the Jews did. Oh how I see Jesus in every part of the Passover. I hope you will, too.

There is one more part of the Book of Exodus I want to look at for a moment. And that is, the crossing of the Red Sea. That’s a really awesome story. We read about it in the 14th Chapter. After the Jews had been gone a few days, Pharoah had regrets and sent his army out to bring them back. The Jews found themselves trapped, with the sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. They thought they were done. But God spoke to Moses and told him to stretch his walking staff out over the sea. When Moses did that, the sea parted. Interestingly, the Cloud of God’s presence stood between the Jews and the army almost like a fog, and the Egyptians did not see them crossing on dry ground. When God lifted the cloud, the Egyptians saw the Jews and ran into the sea bed, which God closed in around them, drowning the army of Egypt.

The story is beyond dramatic, it’s miraculous. Many people scoff at it. But why? Interestingly, this coincides with about a 70 year time period, when the Egyptians became monotheists. Now, they weren’t worshiping the God of the Jews, but their pantheon of Gods had just been defeated, along with their army. They had a new pharoah, and he led them in this monotheistic revival.

Also, consider the archaeological evidence. I remember when I was young, thinking divers should find something at the bottom of the red sea, but there was nothing there. That’s until fairly recently. See, the red sea has two fingers that stick up. There is the Gulf of Suez, but there is also the gulf of Aquaba. We have always thought the Jews crossed the gulf of Suez. Liberal scholars have even suggested there was a shallow bit to the north that would have worked. But in the late 60s, an explorer found an interesting set of sites over in the gulf of Aquaba.

Roughly a quarter of the way down the gulf, there is a sandy beach, directly across from it is another beach in Saudi Arabia. On the Saudi side, he found memorial markers and other signs that made him think this might actually be the spot. The problem is, the Saudis wouldn’t allow anyone to come see them.

He did manage to get some divers to do some work in the sea and they found several chariot wheels and other objects that looked like something had happened. But again, the saudis were a hindrance to the research.

Just last week, I read that the Saudis are considering opening these sites up for exploration and possibly even tourism. This could be really interesting. Especially, because if it pans out, a lot of tourist places and old worship sites like monasteries, built since the middle ages, will prove to be false. And we will have to deal with the repercussions of the scandal from the fall out. Stay tuned for this part. There is another site in this region of Saudi that looks pretty interesting, too, but again we’ll have to wait and see. I will get into it a bit next week.

When you read Exodus, I want you to understand the history that was surrounding these events. The events of the bible happened in space and time. Much of the history we can’t find, because history was not well chronicled in those days. But much has been uncovered. And the Bible is being confirmed all the time. You don’t hear about it, because it doesn’t match the agenda people want to feed or be fed. But the simple truth is, the Bible is stunningly accurate is all it proclaims.

So far in the book we’ve seen that God loves his people and delivers them from bondage. And folks, that’s the story of Jesus. God love his creation. He knows that we are held prisoner, not from Egypt, not from any government, but from sin. Jesus died and his blood sets us free. We will still be chased and tested, but God will be there with and for us. Every step of the way. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will trust him. That’s your call.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll finish the book of Exodus next time. I hope you have a great week. Read the book of Exodus, if you can. Write me with questions and thoughts. I’ll talk to you then, but for now…..Yep…I’m out…..

God Promised Milk And Honey, How Come All I See Is Manna?

DesertRemember those “Grandma went to _______ (fill in the blank), and all I got was this stupid T-Shirt” shirts that were all the rage back in the day? The implication was, other people get good stuff and I get ripped off.

If anyone ever actually made a comment like that, he/she would be crushed by the weight of all the voices crying, ‘You spoiled brat,’ but the truth is, most of us have a difficult time when good things happen to other people, while we struggle.

You can multiply those feelings exponentially, when we perceive, that God is the one who let us down. We read all about His promises, and when we don’t seem to experience them, we get disappointed, frustrated, angry, and bitter.

Consider the Israeli nation during their journey from Egypt to Canaan. You can read all about it in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy in the Bible. Their adventure began with God, through Moses and Aaron, promising to take them from slavery to live free in a land that flowed with milk and honey. The offer was just too good to pass up, especially when God backed it up with things like protecting them from the plagues and parting the Red Sea. Those eager people must have felt like they were walking on air.

The euphoria didn’t last, though, as the days, turned into weeks, then months, then years. It took 40 years, in fact, before the Israeli’s were at last able to enter the land they had been promised. Along the way, they experienced rebellions, encountered hostile nations, faced poisonous snakes, endured drought, and much more. Sometimes the going was really tough. Each day, though, well 6 days a week, anyway, when the people rose in the morning, there was a mysterious edible substance awaiting them. They called it, “Manna”, which means, ‘what is it?’

God explained that He provided this manna for their nourishment along the road. They were to collect enough for the day, and no more, except for the day before the Sabbath, when they should pick up enough for two days. The greedy found that if they gathered too much, it rotted overnight. The faithless and selfish discovered that if they didn’t gather on Friday, they went hungry on Saturday.

For 40 years, the manna never failed, though the land of milk and honey continued to elude them.

The people complained, they fumed, they wept, they pouted, they groveled, “Where is this glorious land God promised us? All we see is sand; sand and rocks and heat and, and, and, all this stinking manna. We can’t take another day of this gosh awful stuff. At least give us meat.”

If you know the story, you know that by this time, God had had enough of their faithless belly aching and disobedience. He sent flocks and flocks of quail into the camp. The people grabbed them up and started to wolf them down, without even a hint of gratitude. In His anger and frustration, God killed thousands of them before they could even swallow.

Eventually, as the people gathered on the banks of the Jordan River, preparing to enter the Promised Land, God had a heart to heart to heart with them and pointed out that the trip took forty years because of THEIR lack of faith and their disobedience. It wasn’t His wish or doing. Yet, despite their constant grumbling, he had provided the manna every single day for the forty years. Their animals thrived (for the record, I’ve always wondered why they complained to God about no meat, when they had thousands of head of cattle, sheep and goats they could have eaten, but we’ll save that for another day.), and even their shoes held up. Not a hole in a sole could be found. God had been there all along.

As I write this post, it’s my turn to wander. It is no secret to those who know me, that I am in a financial wilderness, and I can’t see the Promised Land. I’m exhausted and hurting. I shake my fist at heaven in dismay.

I can’t help but see myself in Israel’s story. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve cried out in despair over the seeming absence of the fulfillment of God’s promises. I’ve fallen on my face and wept over the wilderness through which I stumble. Where are your promises, God? Why hast thou forsaken me? You promised me milk and honey and all I see is manna.

If only I had a grateful, faithful heart, I might see that the ‘manna’ in my life is a gift to sustain me, to demonstrate His love, and to give me faith. He gives enough manna for one day, today. I must learn, then, to trust Him for tomorrow.

I should rejoice that my wife and I are debt free, that we planned ahead for times like this and have plenty of food and basic necessities. We have not missed paying a utility bill, or been unable to put gas in the truck, but all I see is the bottom of the emergency fund and a big stack of rejection letters from companies and Churches.

If I could only recognize how many times the delay of realizing God’s promises has been because of my own poor decisions, inaction or lack of faith, rather than what He has or hasn’t done, then I might get through this wilderness in much shorter time.

His provision is with me, on a daily basis, but I’m looking somewhere else. Perhaps my manna is in my garden that grows, or the customers who show up out of the blue to buy eggs or soap. Maybe it’s that big bowl full of a Church who needed a preacher for the weekend, and asked for someone who then got sick and who called me to fill in for him, so I got to meet some amazing people and received check in the exact amount to cover a financial need we didn’t know we were going to have. Perhaps manna is having a neighbor who is a mechanic and is available when our only working vehicle is on the fritz.

The Bible says, “The righteous shall live by faith.” That’s who I want to be. That’s who I WILL be.

I’m guessing there are quite a few, who might come across this little essay and find yourselves in a wilderness of your own. It might be financial, like mine. It might be relational, or physical, or spiritual. I urge you to look for the manna in your own life. Take heart in it. God is there, and He is not silent.