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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Jesse Tree day 8

Then God gave the people all these instructions:

“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.

“You must not have any other god but me.

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You must not murder.

“You must not commit adultery.

“You must not steal.

“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”

When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.

And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!”

“Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”

As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was. -Exodus 20:1-21

With the death of Joseph, the book of beginnings comes to a close. The next 4 books record the account of Moses and the freedom of the Israelites to the promised land. Some of the accounts are heroic, others heart breaking, and some quite long and not so interesting (unless you like to know all the detailed laws that were given). Moses’ life can basically be broken down into three groups of 40 years.

The first 40 years he was raised as a prince of Egypt. The Hebrew people had grown into such a large mass in the land of Egypt. 400 years had passed from the time that they first arrived under Joseph’s provision. A new Dynasty of Pharaohs had come to pass. They didn’t care what Joseph had done; they now feared that the Hebrew people had grown to such great numbers that they may revolt and take over. To protect the land, all Hebrew boys are ordered to be killed. Moses mother refuses to comply. They hide the infant in their home as long as they can. Then they create a basket to float in the river. His older sister is charged with watching over the basket. I believe they purposely placed the basket into the river near the bathing place. The Pharaohs daughter finds the baby and raises him as her own. It is clear that she knows he is a Hebrew, and most likely is raised with that knowledge, despite what modern movies suggest.

After 40 years, the Hebrew people are continually mistreated. They are slaves, forced into harsh labor, oppressed. Their cries for prayer to be rescued don’t go unnoticed. One day, Moses sees an Egyptian guard beating a fellow Hebrew. He takes matters into his own hands, kills the Egyptian, and hopes no one noticed. The next day he sees two of his own Hebrew people in a physical fight. When he tries to break it up, they suggest that maybe he will kill one of them as well, indicating that word had gotten out. Moses, afraid for his life runs far far away, forgetting all that he had in Egypt.

The next 40 years of his life are spent in the desert as a humble shepherd. He finds a wife, is adopted into a family. Everything is good and well. No doubt he felt secure. I’m sure the thoughts of his family have never left his mind. Despite how far we run, we can never completely escape what we are running from. One day, while out in the desert in happens to come upon a peculiar sight. There in front of him is a bush on fire. As he gets closer he realizes that the bush is on fire, yet nothing on it is burning. Suddenly there is a voice.

“Moses, Moses. Stop where you are. You are now in the presence of God.”

God introduces himself and the plan to free the Hebrew people. Moses tries to refuse. He comes up with every excuse in the book. I am nobody. I can’t speak clearly. I don’t know you.

No matter the reason that Moses gives, God is able to assure him that it’s not Moses that will do it. God will perform the miracles. God will close Pharaoh’s heart. God will set the people free. No longer will he be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He will begin a relationship with a people. He will be known as the I Am. (You can read previous posts I’ve made about the I AM here and here.)

Armed with a staff, a word from the Lord, and Aaron at his side, Moses returns to Egypt with a simple message. “Let my people go.” Nine plagues later, Pharaoh has refused. At the suffering of his own people and nation, Pharaoh  has not budged one iota. The final plague would seal the deal. Not only would this be the one that changes the heart of the very stubborn Pharaoh, it would also mark the beginning of a new tradition for this chosen people of God’s. They would celebrate their deliverance every year by remembering the cost of the Egyptians. Every first-born male would pay the ultimate price. I wish I had time to share with you all the pictures of the coming Messiah found in the Passover. From the killing of the lamb, to the blood on the door post, the meal that they shared, and the tradition that it would bring, a feast of important significance was made.

I will mention this one thing that recently I discovered. When the Hebrew first-born males were spared because of the blood on the door, their lives were bought with a price. They now belonged to God, set apart for him. Later, in Numbers 3, all the firstborn males are counted, 22,273. Then God exchanges them for the Levites to belong to him, who are committed to a life of service in the religious ceremonies. So what does this mean for you and I? You also were bought with the blood of the Lamb. You are not your own. Paul says it this way, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20Finally they are allowed to go free.

IMG_6663After a narrow escape at the Red Sea, Moses takes this people to Mount Sinai. There they are given the full law. All the regulations and rules. God is establishing with them a new covenant. He will be their God. He will be responsible to care for them, to provide the rain they need, to protect them from enemies, and to guide them as they go. They in return are to only worship Him. They are to put away other things that they believe and in exchange will gain Him as their reward. This begins the final 40 years of Moses life and perhaps the most difficult.

Their stubborn ways are familiar. From idolatry, to complaining, to stubborn way, not trusting, taking matters into their own hands they are a people of great difficulty. Still despite it all, God stays true. He is unbending to them, but also very loving and patient. There are times that Moses is pleading on their behalf for mercy and other times that he is ready to give it all up.

In the end, Moses never enters the promised land. He is shown a vision, a look from far away. Seems unfair to us. After all, the reason he was banned was an over reaction on his part for the people grumbling. AGAIN You can find the account in Numbers 20. Instead of telling water to come out, he raises his staff and strikes it instead. What we don’t see is the symbolism of Christ. Once before, Moses was told to strike a rock and water came out, but the second time was told to only speak to it. This was an imagery of the Messiah to come. He would be struck for our sin, but that would be enough.

Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. -Galatians 3:19-20

Family Devotion:

Gather winter gear, like gloves, hat, scarves, coat, etc., ornament and Bible

Read the Passage above about the 10 Commandments. These are not all the laws that God gave the people, but 10 of the most important ones. When Jesus was alive, he was asked what the most important law was. Read Matthew 22:37-40. These verses are the summary of all of God’s laws. Love Him first; love everyone around you. God didn’t give us laws and rules because he is mean and wants to make us not have fun. He gave us rules to protect us. Much like all this winter stuff we put on, we don’t wear it to feel awkward or because we want to be mean. We wear it to protect our bodies from the cold. Gave gave us his laws to protect us from sin. Knowing that we will have sent, he sent his Son Jesus to pay the price for our sin by dying on the cross. Pray together thanking God for his protection and for Jesus.

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