2020-09-06 - Exodus Study Continued: A Review 2
Exodus Study, Review, Part 2
The reason the Hebrews had to spend so much time in the wilderness school, is they had to be trained in the things of the Lord. This is not to say they knew nothing of God’s standards prior to this time. The problem was that they were acclimated to a way of life that was unacceptable to God and would not meet His demands of them, when they finally went into the Promised Land of Canaan. The Lord was taking time out to work with them on the values necessary for their growth. How often are we stuck sitting in the wilderness, because we have lessons we must learn to serve the Lord as He would have us and we are simply too stubborn to accept them. So there we sit.
Has there been a time when it seemed you were just sitting in the desert? You know now that the Lord was working and preparing you for His service, but then you were unaware of it.
Before God sent the people into the wilderness He chose to raise up a “saviour,” one who would lead them out of Egypt and into Canaan. The one He appointed was Moses, who with his mouthpiece Aaron, was called to stand before the Pharaoh and demand the freedom for the nation.
“The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt … So I have come down to rescue them … and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land … So now go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt’” (Exodus 3:7-8, 10 ESV).
The Plagues showed God’s power over the so-called gods of Egypt. He showed the people of the day that He was the one true God, over all.
“The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them” (Exodus 7:5 ESV).
As God later told Israel He did not intend to share honors with anyone/thing else.
“ … I the LORD your God am a jealous God … ” (Exodus 20:5 ESV).
As we see throughout scripture, the polytheists had no objection to accepting the God of Israel as being real, after all, didn’t all nations have their own gods? God had no intention of accepting this premise. As God, He had no intention of being equated with the invention of fallen minds.
And in a world which wants to believe all religions are of equal value, when we reinforce the truth, there is no other way to Him other than Christ, we also find a high level of hostility.
This same problem would occur at a much later time, when Rome allowed Christians to believe as they wished as long as they also sprinkled some incense to Caesar. Even today, some of the cults hold a similar position. They say they aren’t incompatible with Christianity. Among some that hold this view are Unitarian Universalism, Bahá'í Faith, and groups such as Masons, etc. What does God say? The same as always - He must be followed as Scripture requires, or He isn’t being followed at all.
“Whoever is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30 ESV)
As we’ve seen, you are either for God or against Him. There is no middle ground. Moses stood before Pharaoh, warning him that the people had to be let go to worship their God. And so God’s program would be carried out, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and the Plagues fell on Egypt. The result of this was, of course, freedom for the Hebrews.
Additionally, we saw the establishment of the Passover celebration. This is the practice that pictures the mercy of God in His freeing of the nation. And more importantly and amazingly, hundreds of years before the events, it pictures His plan for a Saviour, for Christ, for His death as the sacrifice for humanity’s sins, and His resurrection.
Another thing the Hebrew people should have been learning at this time was total dependency on God. God was the one Who led them from the Land of Egypt. He fed them in the wilderness and provided the water they needed to survive. They had to be totally dependent on Him. But often, their attitude had been one of angst and kvetching
“Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wil- derness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3 ESV).
The people missed the food and the security of Egypt, even if that meant they would have had to continue as slaves. The known bad can often seem preferable to the unknown good. They didn’t have the necessary confidence in the Lord. But using circumstances, God gave them the opportunity to grow in their trust of Him. The fact they often didn’t succeed was a statement about them - not God.
Do we depend on the Lord to the extent that we should? Why do you think this is a problem for us? Are there any ways you think that we can grow in the area of God-sufficiency versus self-sufficiency?
God demonstrated His sufficiency to Israel by the use or the signs and wonders involved with His freeing them from bondage. With us, the sign of His presence is our Salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Do you think if we had observed the kinds of miracles in our lives that these people did, we would be better at recognizing the presence of the Lord in our lives? If you look at the Hebrews, it is right after their release from Egypt, the crossing of the sea, and the slaughter of the army following them that they complain to Moses about wanting to be back in Egypt. The issue for people isn’t what God did, as much as their willingness to trust Him.
So God brought the people to the foot of Mt. Sinai. It is here he gave them the Moral Law, that is the Decalogue. Here He will also provide the social order. As with the issue of idolatry, God had to establish a system under which they would live, a system to separate them even further from the practices of Egypt those in the land.
Clearly our situation is similar. We have to separate ourselves from the idols of this society. We have to remove ourselves from the practices of our pre-salvation lives. Our lives are not dependent of the perceptions of others, but on pleasing God.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 ESV).
We are not to be of the world, but of the Kingdom. Unfortunately, as you will see if you read further in the Old Testament, when these people finally get into the land, they soon were involved with the pagan practices of the locals. How often do we find ourselves living the same way as those in the world around us?
As we focus of the next sections of Exodus, we will look at the way God provided direction for the Hebrews, preparing them to be able to walk in His ways as they enter into Canna. In addition, we will see God provides the way of grace, a way in which they can see His future provision for their failure to meet His standards.
As we look at these passages, we will continue to apply them so we can develop a greater understanding of God’s will for our lives, and grow in our desire to please Him.
“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:11-13 ESV).
“When the Lord had uttered these ten words, Moses climbed down the mountain and took a stand before the whole congregation of Israel and told them what God had said.
The people said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do,. We will be obedient.”
So Moses built an altar for God at the foot of the holy mountain. He also raised twelve pillars there, one for each of the sons of Jacob, the father of the tribes of Israel.” 2
… But wait, that’s for next time!
Exodus Study to be continued..