Exodus 28-31 No matter where we are or what we are called to do, we need those extra hands to assist us. Some are gifted to pray, others to do manual work, others to be those silent and humble assistants behind the scenes. God had set aside Aaron in eternity past to be his priest along with his sons. Three times God says that Aaron and his sons are to minister to Him as His priests. [Ex 28:1;29:1;30:30].
As our wise God, He also chose assistants for Aaron and his sons; Bezalel and Oholiab. He anointed them with the Spirit of God in understanding in knowledge, all kinds of craftsmanship. He placed in their hearts and in their minds the instructions for making the holy garments as well as the instructions for making the holy Tabernacle. Together these two would lead in the building of the Tabernacle and making the holy woven garments for Aaron and his sons.
Just as then, so today, God has prepared the Bezalel’s and the Oholiab’s to assist each of us in some way. Will you stop and praise God for them and pray specifically that they are a Joseph, a man of purity, and a Daniel, who resolved not to defile himself? Would you pray a blessing over them?
One of the most-watched series on TV is HGTV. Many designers choose to renovate existing homes and bring them “back to life.” But, God is not like that! He is an architect and a perfect designer and starts from scratch using the materials that the children of Israel had collected as they were departing their slavery. God gave them favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. [Ex. 11:2] It didn’t just happen; God Almighty planned and orchestrated it that they might know God cares and protects His own.
Now, as the perfect architect, God helped Moses visualize and see His design for the Tabernacle. Why does He do that? Because of two principles; (1), He is a God of order, not confusion. [1Cor. 14:33] and (2) His work is based on precept upon precept, line upon line, [Is. 28:11KJV]
Over and over in these chapters, God tells Moses, “you must make it exactly so” [Ex. 25:9] and reminds him, “Now be sure to make them according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain.” [Ex. 25:40].
Where has God shown you what to do and are you doing it just exactly so?
Exodus 24: There is a saying that goes like this: be ready, willing, and able. Joshua was all three. So Moses set out with Joshua, his attendant, and Moses went up the mountain of God. [Ex. 24:13] Just as God prepared a Jethro for Moses to guide him in his leadership responsibilities, so God prepared an assistant or attendant for him for his day-to-day duties. That man was Joshua, meaning “God is salvation.” He was Moses’ attendant or servant and in Hebrew, it is “sharath,” and means just what it says; to minister.
Continuing on in the story we read: Moses added a note to the elders: “Wait for us in this place until we return to you.” [Ex. 24:14] Notice Moses said “we,” not “I.” Moses and Joshua became a team, and Joshua ministered to him as the need arose. The scripture shows us that he was a man later commissioned, ordained, and charged with the responsibilities of Moses’ office. Joshua also was divinely inspired: “The Lord replied to Moses, “Take Joshua, son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.” [Num. 27:18] Like Daniel and Joseph, throughout his life he remained faithful and stood for righteousness in a time when evil was seeking to reign supreme.
Exodus 18 In the course of time after Moses has been guiding the children of the Exodus, his father-in-law arrives. He observed and “rejoiced because of all the good that the Lord had done for Israel” [Ex 18:9] In addition, he said; “now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods.” [Ex 18:11] Would others who come to us recognize and say the same. As Jethro observes Moses’ daily routine, he asks: What are you doing? You will surely wear yourself out by being judge and jury for all these people. After listening, Moses heeds his counsel to choose wise men to assist him. Our judicial system is based on this example that we use even today.
You can glean much from studying, but sometimes it is the older generation that can offer wise counsel that we had not considered and Jethro has experiential wisdom to guide Moses. Scripture tells us, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” [Job 12:12] They are able to give wise counsel from their experiences to help those who are younger make wise decisions and judgments. And again: “But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5:14]
Who is your Jethro? Who are you being a Jethro to?
Ex. 14-17 If there is one story that evokes the villain/victor story it is this one. First, we have the villains, They are the guys in the black hats; a.k.a. the Egyptians standing around looking at each other and saying; “What have we done? For we have released the people of Israel from serving us!” [Ex 14:5] So they hop on their horses (ok, chariots). On the other side are the guys in the white hats, but they don’t know they are the guys in the white hats…yet.
As I read this I am reminded of the hymn: Count your blessings, name them one by one and see what the Lord has done. I wonder if the hymn writer thought of this story when he penned those words? The Israelites had seen ten plagues and defeated enemies, yet they murmur because they are thirsty! Like them, we quickly forget that if God destroyed the firstborn and you were saved, guess what? He can do it again! So, “Moses reminds them to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,” [Ex 14:13] because even victors in the white hats have to learn this principle: The fear of man is a snare but he who trusts in God is exalted. [Prov 29:25]
We have short memories; we quickly forget God’s power and presence. Maybe that is why that hymn is such a good reminder. so we can recall what God has done.
Are we standing still recalling what God has done or running scared?
The weak magicians had said to Pharaoh, “It is the finger of God,” yet Pharaoh continued in his stubbornness so God used plagues to awaken the Egyptian court. “Release the people so they may serve the LORD their God.” Pharaoh thinks he is God but this last plague will challenge his belief system and his words will haunt him later: “Who is the LORD that I should obey him….” God will show Pharaoh that He is the LORD and that He alone is God. Pharaoh sought to kill the male children, and now God will take his firstborn. Pharaoh’s gods cannot save him or his people because they are only idols.
In preparation, the Lord gives the Israelites, the plan for the Passover. The shed blood of the unblemished lamb sprinkled upon the doorposts and top frame pictured the cross to come. It covered and separated the “believers” (Israelites) from the “nonbelievers” (Egyptians). Christ, as our Passover, separates us and sanctifies us that we too may be holy to the Lord. The lamb was slain just as Christ was slain for us. When the Destroyer came, the blood protected. Christ’s shed blood protects each believer, for, “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.” [Heb 9:22] Chapter 12 closes with these words: “So all the Israelites did precisely as the LORD commanded…”
Exodus 8 to 10 What does God mean when he says Pharaoh’s heart became hard? A hardened heart has to see, experience, and test God before believing. Yet even with that many an unbeliever says I can’t believe or need to see more and more. I can’t is really I won’t. Pharaoh is the ultimate picture because he sees the evidence, but it is not enough; he is stubborn. [Ex 8:19] Pharaoh hardens his heart because God isn’t doing it his way. He wants God to take away the test, and even when God does, his heart becomes harder and harder or more and more stubborn. He adds more and more excuses as to why he cannot or will not believe. Up until his herds were impacted, the grace of God was evident but after that God stepped in to harden his heart. Pharaoh’s pride kept him from believing.
God’s grace is ready, but if you refuse, then this truth is before you: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn to me, and I would heal them.” [John 12:40]
Like Pharaoh, many will not believe because of the hardness or stubbornness of heart. Nevertheless, God is ready to receive and forgive. Will you believe?
Exodus 5-7 Today, as in the time of Pharaoh, we meet people that have the same questions or reasons why they don’t need to believe in a God they cannot see. They ask; (1) Who is the Lord; (2) Why should I obey Him, and; (3) I don’t know Him. These are true words from an unbeliever, yet God has revealed Himself as Creator of heaven and earth.
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” [Rom 1:20]
For centuries people have responded just as unbelievers do today. They ask these same questions, yet when God reveals Himself, they have to choose; bow the knee or do as Pharaoh, harden their hearts.
If you are asking these questions, read along with us. God is a promise keeper who will answer all of your questions so you may know He is God. You will yearn to obey Him. And you will come to know Him as your Creator and Savior.
You may have questions but God has the answers because HE is the Answer Man.
Exodus 1-4 A new king is on the scene, one that does not remember Joseph and all that he did to preserve Egypt and its citizens. Instead, this new king lives by the tool of the adversary; fear. He feared losing his kingdom to a group of shepherds who had multiplied exceedingly. So with the adversary’s lie in his mind, he crafts an evil plan to destroy the male babies. But, God in His way has His hand and His tools of courage to preserve his next leader, Moses. Our adversary is still at work but today it is called abortion. Do we believe God can and will use a child born from what many call an “unplanned pregnancy” or do we believe like the Pharaoh of old who was fearful of men overtaking his position and kingdom? This is no different than today’s lie; you will lose your job and your position so take the life of that child so you can rise in your profession.
God has His way of preserving His children just as He cleverly saved Moses and many other male babies. The courage of two midwives received the blessing of God; “because they feared God” more than man. [Ex. 1:21] God gave Moses’ mother Jochebed the courage to preserve her son and refuse Pharaoh’s law to kill male babies.
Who do you fear? Man or God?
Here is the truth: “We must obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29]
Gen 47-50 Jacob reviews his life with Joseph and tells Joseph that his mother has died and is buried in Bethlehem, not the cave of his grandfather Isaac. Even though he is reunited with his father, he is bereft of his mother. Yet, having that closure helped him to end the many questions he might have had regarding Rachel.
As Jacob nears the end of his life, Joseph brings his two sons Ephraim (God had made him fruitful in the land of his affliction) and Manasseh (Certainly God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house) to Jacob for his blessing. Their names reveal the depth of Joseph’s emotional pain.
Jacob extracts a promise from Joseph. Please do not bury me in Egypt but return me to Canaan and bury me with Isaac, Leah, and Rebekah. Joseph later would ask that his own bones not be buried in Egypt but in Canaan which was later fulfilled. “Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, [Josh 24:32]
When we name our children do we stop to think how that name will reveal our hearts?