Exodus 14-16

Exodus 14-16…The Lord parts the Red Sea, the song of Moses and Miriam is sung, and the Lord sends manna and quail for the Israelites in the desert.

Three observations about these chapters:

1) God’s judgement is certain for those who disobey.

The Lord delivers the Israelites by parting the Red Sea and destroying the Egyptians. Just like the Egyptians, we have a certain, pending doom if we don’t repent and believe. This should motivate us to share the gospel with friends and family who do not believe. They will face an eternal judgement far worse being drown by the Red Sea. If we love them, we need to not only tell them with our words, but also show them with our actions, that there is great power in the gospel to redeem.

2) A right response to understanding His judgement involves being laid low before Him.

Notice the end of Exodus 14 (verses 30-31), which leads into a prayer of praise to God.

“That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”

If we’re to truly place our faith in the Lord, we must understand His power and wrath against our sin. The Israelites did, and in Chapter 15, Moses and Miriam lead the people in a song about how great and powerful He is. This is what turning to the Lord in authentic faith looks like. Being laid low, rightly grasping our nothingness, then proclaiming our desperate need for Him.

3) Like the Israelites, we grumble and complain because of our unbelief, yet God continues to extend us mercy.

Despite this initial burst of faith, the Israelites become lukewarm. They distrust the Lord’s goodness, and quickly forget His mercy and grace. Yet, He is faithful, slow to anger and abounding in love. He blesses them because of an intercessor; Moses communicates with the Lord on their behalf, which is a picture of what Christ does for us. Moses was interceding on a micro level in Exodus 16, whereas Christ intercedes in the most important way possible. His perfect life is what the Lord sees when He looks upon us.

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Genesis 36-38

Genesis 36-38..The genealogy of Esau, Joseph’s dream, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery, and the sin of Judah and Tamar.

The genealogy in chapter 36 shows the faithfulness of God to his promise to Abraham. Esau continued the lineage of a people who would be opposed to heavenly things. His family had many possessions, and were influential to all those around. Chiefs and kings from Esau’s line ruled. In outward prosperity and popularity, the children of the God are often behind, and those that are attractive to the world are loved. This is a trial that all of God’s people will face if they are faithful. Jesus told us this:

John 15:18-20

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

In Genesis 37, Joseph dreams that his family will bow down to him, and then out of jealousy, his brothers sell him into slavery. The Genesis narrative consistently teaches us that sin against others is never isolated. When we commit one sin, we try to conceal it with another. In order to hide actions which are opposed to God, humans throughout history have turned to lying. For the Christian, this is insanity, because God knows everything. There is great freedom when we repent and place our faith in Christ, but hiding sins will only result in shame and more sin. Therefore, we should confess our sins to one another, as we’re told in scripture (James 5:16). If we’re keeping our sins hidden, it reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel. We aren’t saved by our own righteousness, and a recognition of our desperate need for Christ is a fundamental first step in a right understanding of God’s rescue plan for us.

Genesis 38 is a beautiful chapter, despite Judah’s sin. On the surface, one could read this chapter, and pridefully boast that our conduct is better. But, if we’ve been saved, this is exactly what we’ve been rescued from. While the behavior of Judah and his family is disgusting, the story demonstrates God’s grace to sinners. It is truly amazing, that of all Jacob’s sons, our Lord should spring out of Judah (Hebrews 7:14). But, this is just like God, to redeem and restore the most unlikely, in order to make His glory known. This is what we see in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’”

Isaiah 40:3

Isaiah 40:3…”A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'”

The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of Christ into the world (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; John 1:23). When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and barriers removed. May the Lord prepare our hearts by teaching us His word and the convictions of His Spirit, that proud thoughts may be humbled, good desires planted, hardened tempers softened, and every barrier removed, so we would be ready to do His will on earth, and prepared for His heavenly kingdom.

Acts 9:35

Acts 9:35…”All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” Christ chose patients whose diseases were incurable in the course of nature, to show the desperation of fallen mankind. Aeneas had been paralyzed for eight years. Similarly, when we were without strength, as this poor man, he sent his word to heal us. Peter does not pretend to heal by any power of his own, but directs Aeneas to look up to Christ for help. The power and mercy God demonstrated through restoring His fallen creation (Aeneas) was used to turn hearts toward Him as we read in verse 35. This was only a temporary restoration though, as Aeneas, like all those the Lord heals, eventually died a physical death. However, when Christ returns, there will be an eternally permanent restoration of all creation, where there is no longer any disease or death.

Acts 8:1

Acts 8:1…”And Saul approved of their killing him.” Stephen was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin. The Apostle Paul (at the time known as Saul) was there, and supported this horrific act. How does someone go from wanting Christians to be killed, to actually being physically persecuted for believing those very same things? Only the gospel has the power to make this kind of dramatic change. Once God puts His Holy Spirit in someone, they will inevitably change. This is encouraging for us in our evangelism, because clearly God can save the worst of all sinners. If we’re saved, we know that we’re included in that category as well (or we wouldn’t have placed our hope in Christ for salvation instead of ourselves). So, since we have no control over who He has elected as His children, our responsibility is to share the gospel graciously, live out the gospel faithfully, and trust the Lord as He knew His elect before the creation of the world.

Ephesians 1:4-6For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Acts 7:39

Acts 7:39…”But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” In Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin, he clearly lays out the gospel. Any true presentation of God’s plan of salvation (i.e. the gospel), must include a description of the great chasm which exists between God and man. This is far more massive than we can understand in our finite human minds. God is perfectly holy, and we are not, which has been the case since the fall of man. In fact, it’s much worse than we realize according to Romans 3:10-18:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless, there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

This is important for us to grasp, because if we don’t get this piece, then we won’t rightly esteem Jesus. We are in desperate need of a perfectly holy Savior. Without His perfect righteousness imputed to us, we’re spiritually dead, and not just in this life. This is the best news in the world, if we believe (and produce fruit in keeping with repentance – Luke 3:8). However, if we don’t believe, eternal spiritual death does not end, and God’s wrath is not passive. According to Jesus, Hell is real (Matthew 8:12):

“But the subjects of the kingdom (of darkness) will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Today is the day to repent and believe in Christ, because we don’t know that we’ll have tomorrow.

Acts 5:5

Acts 5:5…”When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.” The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was that they were ambitious of being thought eminent disciples, when they were not true disciples. They were covetous of the wealth of the world, and distrustful of God and his providence. They thought they might serve both God and money, and sought to deceive the apostles. The Spirit of God in Peter discerned the principle of unbelief reigning in the heart of Ananias, and the Lord struck him down to demonstrate His hatred for false converts. For those who call themselves believers, but whose lives look no different than that of non-believers; the One who is Sovereign knows everything about you, and you will stand before Him and give an account one day. Therefore, in light of 2:Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”

Acts 4:32

Acts 4:32…”All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Prosperity gospel preachers either don’t know this verse exists, or have removed it from their bibles. Either way, the biblical model for Christ’s church is not compatible with the idea that the “King’s Kids” are guaranteed to receive special financial blessings which they deserve. If we happen to receive undeserved financial blessings from the Lord, we are to share them with our fellow church members, particularly those in need. If we believe that anything we have been given is far more than we deserve, then we’ll be more likely to hold on lightly, and give abundantly.

Acts 4:12

Acts 4:12…”Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” The exclusivity of the gospel is offensive, because it takes authority and control away from the individual. We want to control our own destiny and define reality. However, objective reality exists regardless of our opinion of it. We can choose to believe something is not true, but be greatly deceived. All of us have experienced this, and yet some choose to deny the objective reality that they will one day stand before God and give an account for their lives. According to this verse, the only way to be saved from His wrath (which includes eternal punishment and separation from Him) is through His Son, Jesus. This is great news, because we are in desperate need of a Savior. There is a massive chasm between God and mankind because of His holiness and our sinfulness. Christ’s perfectly holy life was laid down as a sacrifice, and through His resurrection from the dead He conquered the power of sin and death. While we all will die because of sin, the sting of death is gone for the one who has been born again. Live once, die twice; live twice, die once.

Acts 3:22

Acts 3:22…”For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.” Here is a powerful address to warn the “Religious” of the dreadful consequences of their unbelief. Christ came into the world to bring a blessing with him. And he sent his Spirit to be the great blessing. Christ came to bless us, by turning us from our iniquities, and saving us from our sins. We, by nature cleave to sin; the design of Divine grace is to turn us from it, that we may not only forsake, but hate it. Let none think that they can be happy by continuing in sin, when God declares that the blessing is in being turned from all iniquity. Let none think that they understand or believe the gospel, who only seek deliverance from the punishment of sin, but do not expect happiness in being delivered from sin itself. And let none expect to be turned from their sin, except by believing in, and receiving Christ the Son of God, as their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.