Tag Archives: exodus

All That He Began

Have you ever had a lyric with a catchy lilt stick in your brain and play over and over? You just can’t get it out of your head? Sometimes that happens to me with phrases in the Bible. The most recent one is: ‘all that Jesus began both to do and teach’. Actually that phrase has a rather melodious ring to it. I’ve read right over it many times when reading the book of Acts.  Last night however, the phrase popped into my head and stuck. After looking it up and checking the context of those beginning verses of Acts, it really struck me that these are very pregnant words. The word ‘began’ stands out in big letters.

Acts 1:1- 2 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus BEGAN both to do and teach until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Jesus Christ was a beginning! The book of Acts is a continuing. On the day of Pentecost those people who, by their own free-will choice decided to believe all that God was doing, became a part of that continuing.

It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ had given his parting words through the holy spirit to the apostles. Holy spirit is a communication life-line. God is spirit and they that love him must love him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). In order to do that people need to receive the gift of holy spirit. Jesus Christ had the spirit. The apostles received the spirit in their hearts on the day of Pentecost. You and I can obtain holy spirit by accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ and believing that God brought him back from death to life. Then we become part of the continuation.

Moses made 6 trips up and down the mountain of God to receive instructions during the Exodus stopover at the foot of Mt Sinai. Moses could talk and listen to God because he had spirit upon him. The Israelites couldn’t. Things had to be written in stone for them and sometimes they still forgot. Today God doesn’t need stone tablets when God can impress the fleshy table of our heart.

2 Corinthians 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

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Murmuring Is A Waste of Time

In the section of the Old Testament I am reading now (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), there are several major sections of murmuring records. The people involved murmured against Moses.  They were on a roll in Exodus 15:24, 16:2 and 17:2-3. Moses was acting for God, so it was really God whom they were complaining about. Moses explained to them that they were murmuring against God in Exodus 16:7:

And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord; for that he heareth your murmurings against the Lord: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?

What a waste of time! Laying blame at God’s throne is ultimately an act of unbelief. Moses said to the Israelites in Exodus 14:13:

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

The blame game has been alive since the beginning long before anything was written down in God’s word. It is still around today. God is not to be blamed. Moses told the people not to fear and to stand still and see God go into action.

What does it mean to stand still? I looked it up and it is the Hebrew word ‘yatsab’. It means to set, station oneself, take one’s stand. With any circumstance, the act of believing is to do just that. It means to stop being afraid and take one’s stand with God. Sure there are Red Seas, enemies, no food, no water and what ever else comes at us. Regardless we can just plant our feet in God’s light and face whatever head on. We lay claim to God not circumstances.

What does it mean to stand still? I looked it up and it is the Hebrew word ‘yatsab’. It means to set, station oneself, take one’s stand. With any circumstance, the act of believing is to do just that. It means to stop being afraid and take one’s stand with God. Sure there are Red Seas, enemies, no food, no water and what ever else comes at us. Regardless we can just plant our feet in God’s light and face whatever head on. We lay claim to God not circumstances. 

In our day and time, Jesus Christ has been resurrected, the Bible is printed and the pouring out of the gift of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost has happened. We have a lot of resources individually that they didn’t have in the Old Testament so we shouldn’t be too judgmental Smiley on those ‘murmuring’ travelers. ‘Standing still’ involves a huge dose of thankfulness!

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Did God Harden Pharaoh’s Heart?

The same sun that melts wax, hardens clay (Origen On First Principles 3.1.11)

Have you ever dealt with a difficult person and have had to finally come to the realization that no matter what you did or said to them, they would always be difficult? Some hearts are like big boulders, impossible to move. They would sooner roll over you than listen to something contrary to their way of thinking.

This morning I got up and read some posts from some of my blogging friends. I am so thankful to have met some wonderful people who ask God questions when they read the Word. It seems that Moses was always asking God questions. This could not be said about Pharaoh, even after he saw miracle after miracle in his interactions with Moses when Israel needed to leave Egypt.bible_plagues

In front of Pharaoh, Moses threw down his rod and it became a serpent. What was Pharaoh’s response? He called the magicians and they threw down their rods and they became serpents. Then Moses’ rod gobbled up their rods! Moses then turned their precious Nile into blood and the magicians did their enchantments in response. Several days later Moses multiplied frogs and so did the magicians. The next day Moses removed the frogs:

Exodus 8:9 And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God.

Pharaoh got quite an education, was he thankful for it? Several times in Exodus, the text reads that it was God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart against letting the children of Israel go back to the country that God had promised them. In other places, it reads that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. It seems to me that God was giving Pharaoh and all who looked on an opportunity to see God, but Pharaoh was having none of it. Instead he decided for himself how he reacted. That is his problem, not God’s.

In the next episode, when lice poured in all over the land of Israel, even the magicians threw up their hands:

Exodus 8:19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

The magicians recognized that God was involved. God is love. God doesn’t cause men to reject Him. People reject Him. Pharaoh was responsible for his own heart. There are three Hebrew words used for ‘to harden’ in this record. Putting them together it can be seen that he allowed his heart to tighten up and become severe and heavy (Link).

By our own choice, the sinews of our heart can remain tender to God because we are strengthened by the work of Jesus Christ and the presence of the holy spirit and the knowledge of His Word that has been provided.  With thankfulness, we can ask God questions and expect answers knowing that with all that we have today he loves us and certainly does not cause hardening of the heart. In today’s world, this is a great aerobic-like lesson of grace when we allow the fresh air of God to bless our lives.

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