Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Jan 19, Ex 4-6

Today's readings are Ex 4-6.

In Ex 4, Moses continues to argue with God! The constant excuses and gripes really are Moses trying to make sure God knows all the details. Moses mistakenly believes that he knows more than God! So, he tries to convince God He’s made a bad decision.

God will not be denied! He gives Moses a staff through which He will work signs and wonders. The staff is a mark of God, showing those people Moses encounters that he is a messenger of God. Regardless of his protestations, Moses decides to trust God when he picks up the snake by the tail (Ex 4:4) which is the most dangerous way to catch a snake! 

The other sign Moses is given is that of turning water into blood, a faint echo of what will one day occur at the final judgment (Rev 11:6; 16:4)

Moses has been chosen, signs have been given. He has been told in great detail how Pharaoh will resist. But, even though He is God’s chosen servant, Moses has to obey God’s commandments. There are no exceptions.

The need for Moses's obedience is exhibited in Ex 4:24-26. God seeks to kill Moses. Why? Moses has not yet circumcised his son, according to the covenant God established with Abraham in Gen 17:13. Moses is about to go to Pharaoh as God's messenger and he is blatantly disregarding the one distinguishing physical mark that sets God's people apart from all other peoples. Zipporah steps in and does the circumcision. God makes it clear, though this sobering little scenario, He will not be misrepresented nor taken casually. Those who do not conform to God’s directives cannot be His representatives.

Pharaoh's stubbornness shows up in Ex 5, as God told Moses it would. One reality of the Scriptures some folks struggle with occurs when we see that God will harden Pharaoh's heart. God will use Pharaoh’s stubbornness to teach the Hebrews a valuable lesson. The Jews will find out there is a worldly price to pay for their relationship with God. God will bless His people but the world will reject them and Him. Pharaoh will be used as an example of how the world will treat God's people. But he will also become a startling example of the consequences of rejecting God.

God reiterates His promise of redemption in Ex 6. He sent His chosen people to Egypt, ostensibly for food but the overarching theme was to get them away from the evil influence of the culture in Canaan where they had begun to intermarry (Ex 6:14-25). Now He is going to take them back to Canaan, having struggled under the weight of oppression but stronger and more numerous than ever before. God is good on His promises but the deeper, richer lessons are not easy to come by!

BTW, Mount Horeb, where God calls Aaron to meet Moses (Ex 4:27), is the place where Moses encountered the burning bush and was told, by God, that His people would return and worship Him there (Ex 3:3, 12). Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai seem to be interchangeable. It is thought that Horeb may represent the mountainous area in which Sinai is located. Watch how events on this "Mountain of God" play out. God is always drawing His people there. You'll never see an instance in which someone goes "searching" for God and finds Him on Horeb. People arrive at Horeb because God brings them there. God’s calling and choosing those who follow Him is another attribute that will be more fully revealed when Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him..." (John 6:44)

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