Saturday, January 31, 2009

Exodus 36-38

Day 31  One month down......11 to go!!!  :)

Well...this will be the shortest entry so far.  Really.  These 3 chapters are a complete--all most exact--repeat of what the Lord told to Moses in the previous chapters.  Like yesterday, what we have here is Moses doing the talking now.  He is telling the Israelites what their instructions are from the Lord.   There are many "cubits" of measurement involved.  But we do know that the ark of the covenant is made  by Bezalel and and it is 3 3/4 feet long and  2 1/2 feet wide and high.  A cubit is equal to 18 inches.  The cherubim on the top face each other and is the "atonement cover"...the place where God dwells.  The high priest sprinkles sacrificial blood here once a year for the atonement of sins for all the people.

In chapter 38 it tells how many people were in the census that they counted.  They only counted people (men only) over the age of 20.   There was a total of 603,550!  That didn't include anyone under the age of 20, nor women and children.  They counted only the men of "military" age.

Only two more chapters to go in Exodus but the journey has only begun.  We've barely gotten the tabernacle built!  We've barely been out of Egypt for very long!  Hold on for the ride and tune in tomorrow when we repeat another chapter about the ephod and the breastplate.    And the inspector comes too!!  And we'll see what phrase is repeated and repeated and repeated in chapter 40.

Have a blessed day!!! 

Friday, January 30, 2009

Exodus 33-35

Day 30

I just might get this posted before kids and dog are up and before 9:00am!  Let's see! :)  

There is a new picture today....of the 12 stones of Israel (with the tribes names on them--remember--they are the sons of Jacob) and of the ephod on the breastplate that the high priest wore.

Chapter 33 Well....where we left off yesterday left the Israelites were in a rather contrary position and in a crisis.  They had just worshiped the golden calf and the Lord was not happy.  In fact, he struck them with a plague!  They were under assault....from the Lord!!  Uh-oh!   They stakes are very high here...for they used to not be "a people" -- and now they are the covenantal people of the Lord!!!  Verse 3 is pretty harsh......the Lord is telling them to go on to the land of milk and honey, but He might not go with them!  In fact, He might even destroy them along the way!!!  Then He says, "you are  stiff necked people....and I haven't decided what to do with you yet!!"Did you get that?   GOD has to DECIDE?!!   He doesn't know what He is going to do next.   He still is deciding!!   Like a kid asking a parent if they can go to the movies....maybe...maybe not.  I don't know yet!  Never a good answer! After all...they are being a stubborn and resistant people.    

Moses goes into the tent of meeting to have a conversation with the Lord.  The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a friend would.  Moses is starting to intervene and plead to the Lord on behalf of the people.  He says to the Lord, "You have been telling to lead these people, but you have not let me know whom you will send with me."   Moses even tells the Lord "remember that this nation is your people!"   Did God forget?   Did He really need reminding?  So God says that His presence will go with them.  That He won't send them on their exodus journey alone.   And Moses asks the Lord to show him His glory and the Lord says, "my goodness will pass in front of you."  Moses was able to "see" the Lord's compassion, presence, and mercy but not his face, or else he wouldn't live!  And so life goes on....even after the calf episode! :)

Chapter 34   New Stone Tablets.   Moses broke the first set of stone tablets when he came down the mountain the first time.  Dropping them in shock and awe at the people worshipping the golden calf.    Moses had to carve out new stone tablets again and go back up the mountain again!  We've had the broken covenant (chapter 32), the intercession and crisis of presence and God "deciding" what to do (chapter 33) and now a renewal and restoration of the covenant.   There is drama and sternness yet God's mercy, grace, patience, love, faithfulness, more love, and forgiveness abounds.  God makes this renewal of the covenant and it is a repeat of the previous covenant.  God is a jealous God...make no mistake about that.  Why so?  He expects love and loyalty and in return he blesses them as they could never bless themselves!    Moses' whole being changes when He has met with the Lord. "His face was radiant" (v. 30).  Moses was so full of the Lord's glory that he had to put on a veil.  Moses was then prepared with the commands of the Lord and was to give the commands to the people.  

Chapter 35  Moses assembled the whole community of the Israelites said to them:  "These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do...."  And the entire chapter is a complete adherence to God's will....just as He commanded.   Chapter 25-31 included "The Lord saying...."  Now, we have "Moses said to the community...."  Moses is being obedient to the Lord.  This is his work to tell the people about the details of the construction of the tabernacle and all of its materials.    Moses and the Israelites prove their obedience again after their sinning.  Isn't that how God works anyway?  Aren't we glad He "decided" to forgive them?  And moreso, aren't we glad we have Jesus??!  Oh thank you Jesus for dying on the cross and saving us from our sins!  Jesus, come quickly!! :)   Reading this chapter might make you think the publishers of the Bible made a mistake and put the pages in the wrong place.  They didn't.  :)  The next 4 chapters will be that exactly, too!  It will be Moses obediently telling the people exactly what the Lord told him.   BUT!!! If it's repeated, it must be important!  

Lessons learned:  spend time in the presence of the Lord and let His light shine through you!  Be radiant with His glory!   Be loyal to the Lord.....some days, He's all you've got and you don't want to go through your journey without Him.  Do what the Lord commands. Moses was so faithful and obedient..... with such great responsibility!  We can surely do the same!

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!!!    

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Exodus 30-32

Day 29

I was soooo tired last night...I fell asleep rocking JJ in the chair at 8:45!  Dusty had to wake me up and tell me to go to bed, but yet...I hadn't done my Bible reading yet! But I woke up just enough to read the chapters with Dusty.  But them I was back fast asleep. So, bear with me on this one! :)  

(I started this 30 minutes ago....this is as far as I've gotten so far.  Note to self:  get up earlier!)

Chapter 30  Now the Lord is commanding that Moses and the Israelites build an altar of incense.  It's to be "this high, this long and this wide."  All in "cubits" of course.  We do know that it is to be square. It's to have horns and gold....rings for the altar moldings, and poles to carry it. Aaron is to burn the fragrance on it every morning as he is tending to the gi-normous lampstand they built back in chapter 27.  He has to burn incense again at twilight when we lights the lamps and once a year he is to make an offering on the horns with blood....for the sin offering of the generations to come.

Everyone is to make a money offering to the Lord....whether you are rich or whether you are poor, you are to give the same amount....half a shekel....this was a tax to support the upkeep of the sanctuary.  They also had to take a census every year and collected this money at the same time.  The wash basin was simply used for ritual cleansing.  The anointing oil is made up of some fancy-shmancy stuff, I'd say!   Myrrh, cinnamon, cane, cassia (??), and olive oil.  All of these are to be made into a perfume to be used to anointing.  This formula is a holy oil, and even a secret!  It is a recipe to be used ONLY for this purpose...not for pleasure or else you'll "be cut off from your people!" (v. 38)  This is a holy practice...being holy must smell good?  But it does symbolize that the prayers of the people are going up to God.   

(It is now 8:40am...must set my alarm to get this done I guess!)
Chapter 31 Here we have to people appointed to the details! Shew!  It wasn't me called to that!  Bezalel and Oholiab (Oh holy Abe?!)  :)   These two men have been the craftsmen appointed to make off the kinds of crafts need:  the Tent of Meeting (to be called the tabernacle later I think), the ark of the Testimony, and all of the furnishings -- the tables, the lampstand, the accessories, the altar of incense the basin, the utensils, the woven garments--everything!!! NOW that was a biblical Wal-mart!!!  Those two men right there.  They are to make them.....just as the Lord commanded.  It's not about the details I finally realized last night.  It's about following the commands of the Lord.   Get it?! Ah-ha!   It's' about the commands, about the Lord's will, about us obeying....not so much about getting caught up in the details, but about following God!  Ahhhh.....that'll  teach! :)  

The Sabbath -- keep it holy.  This is God's 7th speech to Moses from the mountain.  Really! It is!  And a nice holy number at that!!!  The whole conversation began in Exodus 25:1 and is now finally complete.  And what does Moses come down the mountain with??  Two stone tablets.  That's it...only two tablets to be place in the ark.  All of the other "stuff" is important, about the tabernacle, but of upmost concern are the commandments.  That is what Moses comes down with in actual writing.  Interesting huh?  

Chapter 32   Moses was taking so long up there that the people were getting concerned!He was gone more or less 40 days and 40 nights.    So in their desperation, they already broke the covenant.   During Moses' absence the rebellious people took it upon themselves to chose Aaron as their leader and they worshiped a golden bull!!!  They threw some golden earrings into the fire and out came a calf, a symbol of fertility. Glad I don't have gold earrings! :)   Two children have filled our quiver! :)  So, the Lord finally sends Moses back down the mountain and  was mad!!!  HE was out to get this own people but  Moses begged him to still find favor in them.   In verse 14 God actually changed his mind!  God is not bound to being inflexible because of our actions.  He is free to keep His will on course and still make His divine plan happen!!!   

Moses gets back home, sees the partying and dancing to the false gods and throws down the tablets!!!  Just like that and they are broken into pieces at the foot of the mountain!! Hum....way to Moses!  :)  Aaron got in trouble for leading the people astray but he doesn't take responsibility for the partying.  Moses was even willing to take the blame for the people and be  blotted out from God's "book of life" if you will!  But God said now.  Aaron said the golden calf just emerged from the fire by itself!!!    In the end, God sends a plague "because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made" (v. 35).

Lessons learned:  don't get too caught up in the details....just do what God commands!    

Thy will be done......

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Exodus 28-29

Day 28...I have to keep looking to see what day I'm on! :)

Dusty went to school today......we had fun being home and being lazy yesterday.  I think I finally put on real clothes at 4:00 to go around the corner to get JJ at Papa's!  We stayed til 7:00!  

Exodus 28   MORE DETAILS!!!! It's bad enough that there are such small details for construction...but today the details are about sewing! Oh my...I hate even having to put buttons on.  In fact, I give a stack to Dusty's aunt Leonna and she does them for me! Thank goodness or I'd have to pull out the hot glue gun to do my sewing!  I know, I know......I've done it before though! Really!  Not since I've been married, but in my single days, I've been known to glue buttons on! :)  

All of these priestly garments!  We've seen them before...somewhat.  I think they must look like what a Catholic priest must wear...or even an some extent.  Not a Baptist though.  They're good in a suit and tie! :)  The skilled artisans are to make them and Aaron (and his sons)are  to wear them.  So here we go.  An ephod?   What in the world?  My Bible commentary even says "nobody knows what an ephod is."  Well, good. I feel better about that.   They don't know what it is and I'm not even sure how to pronounce it?  EEEE fawd?   eh fod?   Hum.   But it is to be at least decorated with gold and precious stones and rich in color!  It is even to have stones with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on them.   

The breastplate:  Hum...I'm picturing a knight in shining armor and all of that garb.  But I think it says "fashion" and that doesn't quite  go together....metal and fashion.  But it is to coordinate and match the ephod...purple, blue, scarlet......all of royal colors and of the best materials.  This piece is to show off the beauty of the power of the priesthood.  It is to "enhance" the authority and visibility of them to God.  Do you think mom's should wear breastplates?  This is my authority!   Listen to me! I"m wearing my breastplate!  To time out you go!   Hum....I'd rather just wearing my simple cross necklace to remind me of who I am and whose I am....much lighter to carry around! :)  

The Robe:  now I have one of these!   The priestly kind and the motherly kind.  The priestly kind is cream color.....with some beautiful lace on it.  The motherly kind is a leopard print that HannaLee loves to look at!  The priest is to be dressed in a way that is worthy of entering the Lord's presence.  It is to have gold bells and pomegranates hanging off it.  Bells I get.  Pomegranates?  Not so much. Wahooo....look at verse 35...the priest wears this so that "when he comes out, that he will not die!"  Die?!  As a priest.  Guess so....if the congregation doesn't kill you first.  But this must surely suggest that the work is dangerous and this is life and death business.  He'd better get it right with the bells on the bottom!!!!!  They are to have a tunic, rosette and linen undergarments.  You can't even go before the Lord without clean underwear we know where our mothers get that from!  I guess it is true...the clothes make the man! It's true here!  :)

Chapter 29   Okay....this is about Aaron and his sons getting consecrated.  They've gone to painstaking labors to sew and create all of the beautiful and exquisite priestly they are going to sprinkle blood all over them to consecrate them!  Oh my!   They are to take bulls and rams, cut them apart, offer them up, separate the fat from them, "slaughter it and take the blood and sprinkle it against the altar on all side."  Gross!    Then, after they "purify" the place and the altar, (purify and clean with blood...such a beautiful irony!!)  the y will take some of the blood from the altar, as well as some anointing oil and they will sprinkle it on Aaron and his sons and their garments.  They are to specifically put the blood of the ram on their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the big toes of their right feet! WHAT?  One a summer day here I think I'll have that on me.......JJ too from knee scrapes!  They must remember that they are to guard ALL PARTS of their lives...they must submit to hearing God's will and listen to Him (the ear lob) and offer their hands in service to Him and guard their choices and actions (the thumb) and to walk with the Lord all of the days of their life (the big toe!)   I'm willing to do all of that....just without the blood.  Makes me ready to want to take a shower! 

All of this so that God will come and dwell at the entrance....of our lives.  God will dwell with His people and and be their God.  They will know that it is Him who brought them out of the land of Egypt....because He is Lord!

Lessons learned:  Making our human actions that of holiness for the Lord.....special and set apart.  Making holy our daily life:  our thoughts, our deeds, our actions....even our meals...dedicated in gratitude to the Lord.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Exodus 25-27

Day 26

No school today.  I wasn't going anywhere anyway! :)   Heard sleet hitting the door early, early this morning....after I let the dog out I saw that it is snowing too, now.  That's MUCH MORE fun to try and play in than ice!  

Chapter 25-27  Details, details, details!   I am sooooo NOT a detail person!  I don't like to measure things, I don't like to do the little fine details. I'm the "big picture" kind of person. I'll have the idea and the vision but to do the little details and thinking through and working it all out...that's Dusty! :)   I'm glad, for more reasons than one, that I wasn't Moses at the top of that mountain taking notes as the Lord spoke! I asked Dusty, "what....was Moses just sitting there writing as fast as he could....getting all of this down?  Now wait Lord....what color did you say?  How big?  Tell that to me again.  Could you repeat that, please? My stars! I took good notes in seminary and can type fairly fast (sorry for the daily typos) but this list the Lord gave to Moses was long and waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too detailed for me! God told Moses that the Israelites were to bring Him an, silver, bronze, linens, goat hair, sea cow hide, acacia wood, olive oil, spices and stones!  Then God told the Israelites to make a sanctuary for the Lord.  Why did God need a sanctuary? So that He could "dwell among them" (v. 8).  My notes that I wrote in the margin from a Beth Moore Bible study state, "what's the Bible all about?"  "God coming to dwell with us so we can come to Him!"  That's it.   We were created to be dwelt with...not just dealt with!!!   

These 3 chapters are the "floor plans" and blueprints if you will as to how the talented Israelites are to build the Ark, the Table, the Lampstand, the Tabernacle, the Altar, and the Courtyard.  See the pictures below that have been added today! My mother always puts these in for us!   Thanks mom! you like the music too?  If you can't read the blog and listen to music at the same on the player to make it pause.  There should be a green circle with two whites lines on the top left of the player.  Or the volume is on the right of player....pull it down to turn down the music.  To find the music player, scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN to the bottom of the page ....just above the pictures!  

These holy items are all to be made with gold. As Dusty and I read this I said, "where are they going to get all of this gold?"  They are to make all of this as an offering to the Lord but where can they come up with all of this gold?  They've been slaves for so long?!  But...I remembered reading back in Exodus 12 that the Israelites plundered the Egyptians as they were leaving town.  So...they had plenty to offer up.  My footnotes says that over 2,000 pounds of gold went into the construction...just of gold!  

From my New Interpreter's Bible Commentary:

The purpose of the ark is to provide a place for the "testimonies" that give Israel its membership into a community with God.  The ark offers signs, assurances and reminders of belonging to community in a mass of displaced persons.  Quite important to a people who have been slaves!   

The mercy seat has its purpose of receiving commandments and "covers" up the sins while offering reconciliation and forgiveness.  It goes hand in hand with obedience and communion!

The table has on it the Bread of Presence.  It is the symbolic life, an enduring sign and promise of nourishment.  It needs to be seen, held up (blessed and broken) in order to remind the community that it is always enough...and even some left over!

The lampstand provides light for the priests, but even moreso proves that God pushes back the darkness and chaos...for the Israelites are no strangers to that, but God will keep them from it.  It will be God's light giving presence and the light of the world!

The altar is essential to the liberated, covenanted community.  They needed a place to regularly submit offerings in gratitude to the sovereignty of God!

I asked Dusty....why were there so many details?  What's up?? is the LORD!  It's for Him!  It's not just some Super Walmart they are constructing!  It's the place where the Lord will dwell amongst the people!  The place where He will make His presence known!  A place where He will come and meet with the people!  He will "tabernacle" with them...He will dwell among them!    Just like Jesus does today!  He is the Word made flesh....He makes His dwelling with us.....among us.  He "tabernacles" among us!  The details had to be there for there was a lot at stake!  Let the Lord tabernacle with you today!  Be in His presence.  Let His light shine in you...and dwell with you. Amen?  Amen! 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Exodus 22-24

Day 26 we are...waiting on "the storm!" I don't think it will amount to much out here in western Oklahoma....but we need the moisture even if it comes in the form of ice? At least the ice will melt! :)
Chapter 22 We continue God's conversation with Moses up on the mountain. As Dusty and I were reading this and we got to chapter 24, I said, "wait! Who's talking?! Is this God still giving the law to Moses or is this Moses already telling the people?" I just lost in such a long conversation. But after looking back to chapter 20, I remember it was still God talking. Do we do that? Is God talking to you and trying to get your attention so much that you've tuned Him out? OH!? Is that you God? Are you talking to ME? :) So, here we are...up on Mount Sinai where Moses spends 40 days! 40 days!!! The Lord is giving more laws to Moses. This is the "just in case this happens" handbook.....kinda like what we had in previous chapters with what to do with your out of control bull. This is what to do if a thief breaks into your house; what to do if an animal is stolen from your pasture; what to do if a firebreaks out; what to do if your silver and gold are stolen from your neighbors house if they are "watching" it for you; what do to if a neighbor is keeping your donkey or ox for safekeeping and it dies; what to do if you borrow and animal and it dies....all of these are laws given to provide protection for your property. The rest of the chapter gives laws concerning your social responsibility. I think we need to post all of these on the evening news! My, far we have strayed from anything biblical....we don't even keep the sabbath holy any more. Even I remember when stores were closed on Sunday's!!! In my head I really am just 29 still!!! :) Where did that decade go?! In case you were wondering...don't seduce a virgin or else you have to pay the bride price for her!! Don't let a sorceress live. Don't (EW!!!!!) have sex with animals...that one caught us off guard! That we even have to tell people that...then and now! Mercy! But it's there....verse 19....and if you do, you'll be put to death! So just don't! ew! Don't take advantage of a widow or orphan; don't charge interest to those you lend money to; don't hold back offerings from your granaries or your bats; and ...finally, be holy. Be God's people and be holy!
Chapter 23 Laws of justice and mercy: don't spread false reports (what? No gossip?! That's gossip..."I heard that so and so just did such and such.."--nope...can't do it! :) If your neighbors donkey wanders off, take him back to him; don't deny just to the poor; don't accept a bribe; and for 6 years plant your crops, but on the 7th year give your crops to the poor and need so they and the wild animals may eat from the vine. They are to keep the 3 annual festivals: 1) the festival of unleavened bread -- to remember when the Lord brought the Israelites out of slavery; 2) Feast of Harvest -- celebrate your first fruits of the crops; 3) Feast of Ingathering-- celebrate when you gather in the crops at the end of the year. Oh...and by the way...don't cook a goat in its mothers milk!
Finally, God will send an angel to prepare the way ahead of you....He tells the Israelites this to assure them that He will be with them along the journey to guide them and to pay attention. They are to follow the angel and not rebel against him. God will keep His hands over them and protect them.
Chapter 24 Moses finally gets to tell all of this to the Israelites. Their response? What do you think? They've grumbled. They've whined. They've doubted. What do you think they say? Well, they responded, "We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey." Finally! They are getting it right! God is confirming the covenant...He will do what He promised and the people will obey! May we learn that lesson too....every day...over and over again! To let Him be our God!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Exodus 19-21

Day 25

Today's entry will probably be short.  This house is already awake and its church morning! That means..a race against the clock! :)  Be sure to see the new Mount Sinai pictures posted at the bottom of this page!  Also...I wrote an entry about how to leave a comment.  Look on the right side of the page and click on the link about comments.  I wrote do not need a password! :)  

Chapter 19  Seems like we are getting ready for a long list of "thou shall nots!"  :)   This chapter is about preparing to meet the Lord at the top of Mount Sinai.  The Israelites  all have 3 days to prepare themselves.  They have been reminded that God loves them and will care for them. That is the context in which all of this comes out of.  God  tells the Israelites that he has carried them out of Egypt "on eagles wings."  (v. 4) The footnotes state that "a mother eagle flies beneath her babies with her wings outstretched so she can rescue them if they begin to falter--a powerful image of our God!"   Can't you just hear the song in your heart now... "and I will raise you up on Eagle's wings....."  So all of the commandments that God is getting ready to give them is out of love....its not a long list of "don't do this....don't do that....because I'm mean and out to get you..."   It's a list expectations and timeless standards!  So, the Israelites know they are going to meet with the Lord.  The are to wash their clothes, not have sex, be consecrated by Moses, and focus solely on the Lord.  It's a big day when the Lord comes down the mountain.  If we spend time getting ready for a big wedding, we'd better  spend time getting ready to meet the Lord.  The Lord even told Moses to  tell the people not to go up the mountain.....he was to put limits around the mountain.  If you touched even the mountain, you would die!  God was serious!!!!! 

Chapter 20  The Ten Commandments!  Here we finally are!  Have you ever noticed that the commandments are divided into 2 "categories" ....or even better.....2 ways for living?   The first 4 commandments are solely about our relationship with God:  1) Do not worship other gods before me; 2) make no idols; 3) Do not take the Lord's name in vain; 4) you shall not break the Sabbath.  These are all about how we are to live with the Lord....they're about our relationship with him.  Then...the rest of the commandments (6 of them) are about our relationship with others: 5) honor your father and mother; 6) do not murder; 7) do not commit adultery; 8) do not steal; 9) do not give false testimony about your neighbor; 10) do not covet.  

All of this in the context of God's unfailing love for his people!  Not a "no-no" list but as a Father, how one would expect his children to live!  Simple as that! ;)

Chapter 21 Seems as they are setting up a whole new society....and they are really.  The Israelites are out of slavery in Egypt and haven't had freedom on their own. Here we have more laws that are set before the Israelites.  If you've ever wondered what do if your bull hurts another bull-read this chapter.  If you've ever wondered what to do if you dig a pit, and someone falls in it, the directions are here.  If you've ever wondered about what to do when your gores a this chapter.  What it seems this is doing is setting up a justice system for themselves from God. They haven't traveled very far you know in this 40 year journey.  but God knows the human heart...He knows that there must be laws protect human beings.  This laws are to protect them against vengeance and retaliation.  This is the chapter where it talks about "eye for an eye"   "tooth for a tooth"  "hand for a hand"   "bull for a bull" !  This is to restrict inflicting more pain than what initially happened.  We usually want to inflict more pain than we suffer, but these laws laid out here can put an end to violence.  These were to be a safeguard against themselves.  

Lessons learned:  God loves you and  cares for you and guides you along the way...just like a mother eagle does her babies.  God wants you to prepare yourself to meet with Him...daily!  Not just on Sundays!  :)   Remember the commandments: 1-4 relationship with God; 5-10 relationship with others! Give others the mercy and forgiveness you have been given.  Don't go get their goat when they just owe you a bale of hay.   Extend mercy to all!

Thy will be done.........


Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to leave a comment

Hi there!  Okay....I've had several questions about leaving comments. I love hearing from you and you can email, but if you want to leave a comment on the blog its real easy. You don't have to have a user/blogger name or a password.  Here's how:  

1) click on comments
2) type me a note & sign your name.
3) then...scroll down to the bottom of the screen to "word verification" and type in the letters that you see...that why the computer won't think you are a "spammer"sending junk.
4) Then....scroll down some more and click to fill in that you are using the name "anonymous"
5) then click on "publish this comment."

That should send me a comment from you without the hassle!  So...go try it now!  Let me hear from you! It makes getting up early worth it! :)  Love you all!  


Day 24

Good morning! The dog, the baby, and the 3 year old all decided they needed to get up at 5:45....this SATURDAY morning! I made them all stay in bed...except the dog...he got in ours! We slept then until just after 7:30. A more acceptable time to rise on a Saturday morning, if I do say so myself! Mercy! :)

Exodus chapter 16 The poor Israelites....they are surely doubting God's presence with them. They used to eat meat and now they are starving "to death" (v. 3). But just as quickly as they are grumbling against the Lord, He will rain down manna from heaven. Now mind you, this isn't going to be a hot meal from the local IHop, but my stars....something is better than nothing. This has got to be better than meat eaten slavery. But I have been known to do my own grumbling and I would have been right there with them....send me back! Send me back! But, my oh quickly we forget God's blessings! We whine and grumble and complain and God is patient. The Israelites seem to have a pattern of fear, grumbling and unbelief. It just is a pattern that repeats itself. But we do that too.....fear of the unknown when change comes our way, grumbling about how things are without change, and not believing that God will get us through it all. My oh my!

But manna does rain down from heaven. Is it much better to receive bread from God's heavenly house than to trust and depend on the Egyptians for a hot pot of stew? I think so! They were to gather the manna for each day.....lesson here... ONE DAY AT A TIME! They could only gather what they needed for their family for that day......if they took too much and tried to save it for the next turned into maggots. They had to get out and gather it up! They had to go and get rained down, God gave it to them, but they still had to gather it up!!! They had to do a little work to accept the changes they were facing. Then, when it came Saturday morning, they had to gather up enough for the next day they wouldn't have to work on the Sabbath. Interestingly enough...this did NOT turn into maggots. It was just a fresh as the day it rained down! But it was good for a second day if that second day was the sabbath. God will provide! Have faith! Moses even put some in a jar, at the command of the Lord, to save it for the generations to come. That manna lasted too. It last as the Lord commanded each serving...for one day, extra for a sabbath, or some for a generation to come. The Israelites ate the manna (a thin wafer like honey) for 40 years! 40 years!

Chapter 17 As the Israelites set out on their continued road trip, they got thirsty. They quarreled with Moses and put the Lord to the test and whined for water. My stars! We just don't ever learn do we? So Moses walked to the banks of the Nile river, took his staff, struck a rock and out poured water from the rock for the people. This place was called Massah and Meribah....because the people quarreled and tested the Lord by questioning, "Is the Lord among us or not?" (v. 7) Then while they were quarreling among themselves they get attacked by the Amalekites. The Israelites defeated them as Moses stood on a hill day and night, holding his arms up with his staff in the air. If his hands went down, they Amelekites were winning. When his arms went back up the Isrealites were winning. Moses even sat down on a rock but still kept his arms held up. The Lord promises to blot out the memory of Amalek (meaning, they just won't be known as a 'renown' or 'famous' people.) So by the Lord's help, the Amalekites are defeated, and the Lord will be at war with them from generation to generation (v. 16).

Chapter 18 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, comes to visit and sees how hard Moses is working at being a judge between the people. Jethro was thrilled to hear about how God saved them all and what good the Lord had done for them. Jethro saw that Moses was growing weary of serving the people as their judge and offered Moses some advice. He told Moses to gather up well respected men to serve as officials over the the "thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens." Moses was to teach these men the laws and decrees so that they could handle the simple disputes amongst themselves. They could bring the more difficult cases to Moses when they needed help, but for the most part, the judges for the people would handle the simple cases and decide for themselves what was to be done. Moses did this as Jethro suggested and then simply went on his way.

Lessons learned: gather what we need ONLY for one day at a time...don't fear change...embrace it...for God is with us! Don't forget your blessing too quickly when you are ready to grumble and complain. God is here! Amen? Amen!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Exodus 13-15

Day 22

Good morning!

Chapter 13 The land of milk and honey!!  They have finally made it!! I have a feeling though that they aren't going to be happy here for long! :)   The Israelites are to consecrate their firstborn to the Lord.  And they are to remember the day that the Lord brought them up out of Egypt by eating unleavened bread.  The Lord gives them the land He has promised for generations to their is the land flowing with milk and honey.  The observance of unleavened bread is to remind the Israelites that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips for the Lord brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  They are to keep this ordinance year after year.  

As Pharaoh let the people go God did not lead them down the dusty road or the highway or even a trail.  He took them by the way of the desert road toward the sea.  The Red Sea.  As they traveled, God provided them with guidance...a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.....and neither "left its place in front of the people" (v. 21-22).

Chapter 14 The Israelites were camped out but here comes the Egyptian army!   God hardened Pharaoh's heart....again and Pharaoh and his men pursued them Israelites...but only to let God show off His glory...again! :)  So the Israelites are stuck between a rock and a hard place and are crying out to God.  They are stuck between the Red Sea on one side and the impending doom of the Egyptian army on the other. I'd cry out to God too.  They are crying out to God, were terried, and begged for the Lord to "leave us alone!  Let us serve Egypt!   We were better off as slaves!" But Moses told them to quit their whining and belly achin', to stand firm and trust in the Lord to bring them out of this.  Moses tells them that they won't see those Egyptians any more.   God will gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.  Then the angel of the Lord that had been traveling with them -- ahead of them--leading the way--withdrew from them and went behind the Israelites.  So now they are in the front, the pillar and the Lord's presence is in the middle, and the Egyptian army in hot on the heals of them all.  But notice where the Lord's presence is....its moves from leading the way to being behind them.  Why?! This is a wonderful point not to be missed....because God comes between us and our enemies.  

Then Moses reached out his hand and lifted his staff out over the sea and the Lord drew back the sea "with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land and the waters were divided." (v. 21).  Of course the Egyptians took off in hot pursuit of them.  They follow the Israelites into the the dry sea bed....but as we know...the Israelites all get out safe and sound while the waters and wind are put back down......swallowing up Pharaoh, all of his chariots and horsemen...his army was no more.  God had promised and God did it.  Lesson here:  the Israelites themselves had just learned to fear the Lord. They put their trust in him and in Moses!

Chapter 15  They sing!  They dance!  They have realized they are truly free from Pharaoh and never have to fear him again!  I'd sing and dance too! This is a song of Moses and Miriam (Moses' sister!). They all worship  the Lord!  They are exuberant and relieved!  What joy!  What glory!  Miriam's job and ministry was to lead these people in worship and praise.  Guess she was the first music director of the Bible!

"Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted!"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Exodus 10-12

Day 22

Technology!  We just bought a TiVo this week!  Waahooooo!!  That thing is awesome!   Oh my!  I even typed in for it to record any Bible study that Beth Moore does and it will automatically record it when she's on!  How cool!  I did the same thing for Dusty....but for Dolly Parton! :)  If you're reading this with your coffee this morning your coffee probably got cold waiting on me!  Sorry!!! :)  

Exodus 10 The Locust arrive today!  Yuck! I can just hear the summer "bug fryer" when it zaps a bug in the light!   And the smell......imagine that but 100x's many locust that it is DARK outside!!!!  God continues to harden Pharoah's remember is GOD doing the hardening...I don't think I've pointed that out enough.  God is purposefully hardening Pharaoh's heart so that God can continue this power struggle and continue to show Pharaoh who is REALLY in charge.  (Seems here that the kids and puppy are in charge.....I swear I sat down an hour ago to write this!)    My commentary says that God has to let Pharaoh continue to resist because otherwise, Pharaoh would have cried "uncle" already, the story would end, and there would be no fight for the triumph!!!! God must continue to be able to show off for us!  To show off his power, his signs, his miracles.....where will you see God show off today?  Expect it!!  He does it!!! He does show off for us!  Just watch the sunset!!  :)   So the locust create the most devastating destruction of all time.  The eat the leaves off the trees, all the fruit, the fields are bare and the ground is black from their presence.  Nothing green remained in all the land of Egypt! (v. 15).  Pharaoh starts to say he's sinned against God, calls for Moses and asks for forgiveness....AGAIN.   God  cleared out the locust with a great wind from the west (sound familiar you okies??!)  but his heart was still hardened and the people weren't freed.    This chapter ends with the plague of darkness.....a darkness that can be felt!  Now that's dark!!! The Egyptians had complete darkness for 3 days, but the Israelites had light everywhere they went! Pharaoh tells Moses  to go and worship his Lord, but to leave the flocks behind.  But Moses said they needed the flocks so they could make sacrifices and burnt offerings to God (v. 25).  But Pharaoh's heart go it...hardened.  Say it with me....hardened. Pharaoh even told Moses to get out of his face and that he never wanted to see him again!  And Moses never did.  (Can't blame him!)

Chapter 11  The plague on the firstborn. The plagues go from having an economic impact on the Egyptians now to death.  This chapter is a short one where Moses tells of how the plague will take place: about midnight, the Lord goes through the land and every firstborn son will die...from children to the livestock!  Wailing will be heard throughout the land. Why does God do this?  Why does God take the firstborn???  God is for  the vulnerable child.....we know  that, but this seems an irrational reversal of sorts.....taking one to save another?  But isn't that what Jesus was and did?  He was sacrificed to save us??  The Egyptians who have mocked God and His power and sovereignty are now being sacrificed to save God's chosen people!!  Seems odd, but in understanding Jesus and the Cross....makes some sense??!

Chapter 12  The Passover      This is a meal that the Israelites prepared in obedience and faith to God.  It will protect them from "the destroyer" (v. 23).  Sounds like a movie coming out this summer! :)   When I was a minister in Muskogee, we had a seder meal....just like this at Easter time.  We ate lamb.....(ew!), horseradish....raw (bitter herbs) and we ate flatbread.....we skipped the part about putting the blood over the doorposts.  See the picture below about the Passover blood on the door.  They were to worship and celebrate in their houses where they have eaten the lamb and placed the blood on the door. Then the Lord would pass through the land and "strike down every firstborn--men and livestock--but the blood on the houses will be a sign for the Lord to pass them over.  No destructive plague will touch them when He strikes  Egpyt. There was loud wailing throughout the land and there was not one house without someone dead in Egypt.

Then Moses summoned all of the elders of Israel, told them to pack up their things for they are leaving!  They were to take no yeast, and unleavened bread for the journey. Pharaoh summoned Moses .....again, even after telling him to get out and stay out.....he told Moses to leave, go worship your Lord and take the people. Pharaoh even said, "and bless me!" The Israelites took off, asked for help from the Egyptians for gold and silver, and left.  There were about 600,000 of them!  Jacob's family of 70 has turned into these 600,000 over the past 430 years!!!!!  This number didn't even include counting women! Could have been 2million.  Such dust stirring up in the land.  Such confusion of packing and leaving!  Mass chaos!!    "The Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and  Aaron. And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions: (v. 50-51).

Lessons learned:  What seems like a small sin.....can sometimes lead to a widespread impact in our lives.  Look at Pharaoh.  Look for God to "show off" for you today!  He'll do it!  Just you wait and see!!  

  Thy will be done................

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Exodus 7-9

Day 21

shew!  bet you thought I wasn't going to make it today, huh?! :)  It won't always be posted  at 5:00am!!!  Let's hope! :)

Exodus chapter 7-8  The plagues are coming! The plagues are coming! The plagues are coming!!! But today......only blood in the Nile River, frogs on their faces, and flies everywhere, death of the livestock, boils and hail! How Pharaoh hears of the plagues coming is like a game of "Telephone" or "Gossip."  You know...where you whisper something in your neighbors ear and they pass it to the next and to the next....this is like that....but the original story does not get mixed up here.  

God tells Moses, Moses tells Aaron, Aaron tells Pharoah of the impending and coming destruction of God's power.  This entire story is a struggle between Pharaoh and God-- over power, control and sovereignty.   The plagues are promised, they arrive, Pharaoh hardens his heart.....every single time....even after he says, "fine....okay....go pray to your God and I'll let the people go."  And every single time, he changes his mind.  He does NOT let them go....he hardens his heart.  He CHOOSES to harden his heart.  Can you imagine the nerve that Moses and Aaron must have to stand up to Pharaoh each time?   They must have faith the size of the plagues to know that God is with them and that they aren't crazy.  Their human courage is supported only by the power of God Almighty!   And so it is with us too, is it not?  Draw upon God to have courage to do what God's will is for us.  Draw upon God to take action where needed.  Draw upon God.  Period.  

By the middle of chapter 8, after the blood and the frogs, Pharaoh calls in his own magicians to help out.  They try to turn the dust into gnats, but fail.  Pharaoh starts to realize that Moses is empowered by a God....not an Egyptian god.  Oh! And I love the part where God starts to set His own people apart......the blood was everywhere, the frogs were everywhere, but now, the plagues are NOT in Goshen on the Israelites....God has set them apart to prove: 1)  that He is God 2) that those are His people and 3) that is God's land!  Not the empire's.  God seperated the Iraelites livestock from that of the Egyptians.....all of the Egyptian's livestock died. Not one Israelite cow, donkey, or camel was even sick!  God was not so much out to devastate Pharaoh, but rather to show off His power!  Like us, God gives Pharaoh chances to repent...and God even saves Pharaoh through the first 6 plagues...but he misses every opportunity to repent.  I don't think he's wanting to save his own slaves at this point....Pharaoh is just wanting to show off his power....and with each devastating plague he is losing his authority little by little in his own mind.  

Chapter 9....the livestock of the Israelites are saved, then comes the boils and hail.  The hail storm was the worst ever.  Don't tell State Farm that!   It says that God warned the Egyptians  to put the livestock in the barns....I though they were all dead?  I'm confused on that one?!  But it does show God's kindness and compassion in the midst of plagues.  Ironic?!  I have sermon notes that I've written in the margin of my Bible.   It says,  What happened to Pharaoh because he refused God:   This will all last how long:  1) until there is devastation; 2) until there is darkness; 3) and until there is death.  Those are the plagues and threats to come.   

Lessons learned:  repeated, stubborn disobedience to God is never a good is irreversible even! Don't let God use that against you in His judgment.  God sets His people apart to live a lifestyle different than the rest of society....He blesses and protects us.  We will bow our knees and hearts to God in endless worship....and to no one else...ever.  We are called to salvation with God through Jesus....keep your relationship with Him holy and righteous...and above! 

Come, Holy Spirit, Come! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Exodus 4-6

Day 20

If I get up any earlier it will have been yesterday!!!! Yawn! I won at Bunco last night!!  I got the "most wins".....$20 to the Country Dove Tea Room! Yummers!   :)  We always have a good time!  

Chapter 4  "Signs for Moses."  Poor Moses.  He was called by God  to speak to the King on behalf of his entire people & nation....and he had a speech problem and stuttered.   This part of the story seems to make you think that God was a magician....but after all....He is God!  He can do anything.  Moses was wondering how he was going to get the Israelites to believe him or to listen to him.  So....God gave him the little stick/staff that could be turned into a snake and then back again.   Harry Potter isn't in the Bible, but the magic was a popular thing of the times.  So, Moses was given this power to be a "mockery" of sorts to the superstitions. He  could put his hand in his pocket, pull it out and he had leprosy.  Put it back in, and he was healed.  God then said if the people didn't believe the first two signs he was then to take some water from the Nile River and pour it on the dry ground and it would  turn into blood.  So Moses can handle all of that but he keeps insisting that his mouth is not his best asset.  Therefore, Aaron is appointed to be "the mouth" of God.  Moses was to tell Aaron what to say he would speak to the people for God through Moses.  He was a divine spokesperson. (Did that make him a ventriloquist then??!)  

So, Moses returns to his people and tries to rally the troops of his people!  He wants them to remain faithful and give them hope that God hears their groaning from slavery!  God promises to harden Pharaoh's heart so that he will not let the people go.  Then Moses meets up with Aaron in the desert, the Israelites learn that God has not forgotten them in their misery, and they bow down and worshiped.

Chapter 5     Talk about a job that goes from bad to worse...the Israelite slaves have to make bricks with straw.  They had been given the straw at first to make all of the bricks.  But now, because Pharaoh's heart is hardened toward the Israelites, they have to keep make bricks, the same amount everyday, but they now have to go find their own straw to use. My footnotes say that there is one Egyptian site (of ruins...not of "web") that has three types of bricks....the first layer is with straw; the second layer is only stubble of straw and the third layer has no straw or stubble at all.....hum....just as the Bible says!  Imagine that!   :)  Pharaoh is horrible and terrible to the Israelite people....they get yelled at, called lazy, and cry out to God.  Moses and Aaron see Pharaoh and say, in the name of God, you will be judged (v.21).  Moses goes back to talk to the Lord and Moses asks him, "why have you brought trouble upon this people?"  Don't we feel like that sometimes....why God, why?!  It seems as if the more Moses talked to Pharaoh, the harder his heart became.  And Moses questions God....why haven't you saved them?  Why haven't you rescued them??   I think we are told that it isn't okay to question God......but realize that if Moses questioned Him....we can too! I really think its okay.....just don't give Him your own answers to YOUR least wait for God's answers!! 

Chapter 6  OH! I love the first verse here!  "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh!"  Uh-oh!!!!  Better watch out!!!!!!!!  :)   God says that because of His might hand, Pharaoh will let the people go.  And because of God's mighty hand, Pharaoh will drive the people out of the country!!!  Now sing with me...."Pharaoh, Pharaoh.....oh, Pharaoh, let my people go!  Uh! ya, ya ya ya!" 

Moses goes and tells the Israelites that God is coming for them!  That God will bring them out to the land he promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.   Tell them that I will be their God and I will take them as my own.  Tell them that I will free them from being slaves! What hope! What joy!  But....the poor Israelites....they were so downtrodden and so discouraged by their bondage...all they did was not listen.  How often does that happen to us.  So caught up in our own "misery" that we can't see, hear, find, or seek God?  And He's right there all along!!  He's right there!!  He's ready to free you, to save you, to love you...and you keep missing Him!!  Quit making bricks and find God!  Then God even tells Moses to go tell Pharaoh to let the people go.  Moses says, "If my own people won't listen to me, why would Pharaoh? For I have faltering lips?"   Nothing like ending the story with a question.  Well, there is a whole page of ancestry know...."the sons of such and such were so and so..."  Moses then says again, why would Pharaoh listen to my faltering lips?  Because God will use you Moses....if you just let Him.   If you just let God use you, guide you, and fulfill His will for your will be blessed.   Amen? Amen!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Exodus 1-3

Exodus 1-3

Day 19

Chapter 1     we pretty much pick up where we left off in Genesis.  The Israelites had been traded into slavery for food due to the famine.  We are reminded that of all Israel's sons that when to Egypt with Jacob.  Joseph and all of that generation has died now but the Israelites as a whole have multiplied and are great in number.  There was a  new king that didn't know about Joseph and was threatened by the Israelites and thought they were becoming "too numerous." The Egyptian leaders are fearful of how strong God's people were growing.  The Egyptians saw this is a threat to take over and they thought that their national security was at risk. So, the Egyptians made the Israelite slaves work even harder....they demand greater productivity from them.  They also tell the midwives who help out with childbirth, to kill the boys that are born.  By God's providence, they are fearful of God and do not follow this order of  the Egyptians.   Just as a says that the women used "delivery stools" during childbirth (v. 16). Silly me...I thought that sounded a little helpful.....picturing an actual stool that might hold you up while you squatted down.  Noooooooooo.  This doesn't sound too helpful after reading my footnotes.....nooooope my lady was simply two rocks!  Yep!  Two rocks or stones that they SAT ON as a support that was placed between them!!  OUCH!  No thanks!  Are you kiding me??!  Two rocks??!  But the midwives, alyways just seemed to "arrive a little late" to the birth of the Israelite boys.  The Egyptian king couldn't understand why there  were boys being born and living.  The midwives said, "oh Pharaoh...they Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women....they are vigorous and give birth before we can even arrive!"   (v. 19)  God blesses the midwives faith as they have the greatest honor a woman can have.....families of their own...stones and all! :)   

Chapter 2  Moses is born to Joched (mother) and his father, Amram).  They are determined to protect him, put him in the baby basket, and float him down the Nile River.  Further downstream is where Pharaoh's daughter went to bathe and "draws" the baby out of the water--thus his be drawn out of the water (v.10).  Moses was saved, grew up to be an an older child, was adopted as a son by Pharaoh but knew that his heart was that of a Hebrew Israelite and still identified himself as such.

One day, after Moses grew up, he fleed to Midian and saw his people hard at work and how terrible they were being treated. He saw an Egpytian beating a Hebrew, and with no one around to be a witness, Moses killed the man.  Then he saw two fellow Hebrews fighting each other and made a snide  comment to Moses...."are you going to kill us like you did  the other guy??!"  Oooooo...Moses didn't think anyone saw him.  Be careful what you do...for you never know who is watching!  Live your life as if someone is always watching!   At least God always is.  Makes me think of that show on TV tonight..."True Beauty."  There are about 10 contestants.  They all think it is a "beauty pagent" show and that the most beautiful person will win.  And for the most part they are all sooooooo conceited that they can hardly be nice!!!  So there are judges behind the scenes with hidden cameras to see just how pretty and beautiful they act when they think no one is watching!  Then, at the end of each show, whoever was "the ugliest" acting and didn't have "true beauty" gets kicked off!   Sorry....back to Moses!   :)  Pharaoh tries to kill Moses for stepping up and trying to fight against the Egyptians and he takes off for Midian.  He gets some help along the way from a shepherds family.  Moses stayed there for awhile, married one of the daughters, Zipporah, and they had a son, Gershom.  The Israelites have been a along time in slavery, the king dies, and the Israelites cry out to God. T hey cry out and groaned in their slavery and God heard them!  God remembered His covenant with them and looked down on them and was concerned!

Chapter 3 Moses and the burning bush......the biblical movie equivalent to "Fireproof?"  noooo.  God calls to Moses from within the bush, Moses says, "here I am!"   He was standing on holy ground (sing with me...."you are standing.....on holy ground...and I know that there are angels all around...."  )   The Lord says he he has seen the suffering and heard the crying of the His people.  The Lord is concerned with  their suffering.  Things are starting to look up for the Israelites. Their suffering and pain is starting to turn into a miraculous deliverance!  If you think God has ever forgotten you...don't.  He will always do what He says he will do.  He is going to make them a great nation, give them land of their own and bless them!!!! 

Lessons learned:  God sees everything...He will not forget you, leave you behind or break His promises.   God loves you and wants a relationship with you.  He created YOU for that sole love and love and love.  So go get on God and get loved on by Him today!

Thy will be done...........

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Genesis 48-50

Genesis 48-50

Day 18

Taaaaaadaaaaaaa!  We've finished one whole book of the Bible!!!!!!!!!!!!!  65 more to go!!!  Wahoo!

Chapter 48 here we have Jacob/Israel "adopting" two sons of Joseph and giving them blessings as if they were his own sons.  This is done because it was a divine promise given to him at Luz (35:9).  By adopting his own grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob gives them equal status to his other sons, the oldest ones (Rueben and Simeon).  The story accounts for the house of Jacob to have been divided into two tribes (Manasseh and Ephraim)  and each of them would even be as fully a tribe as the other tribes.  An adoption ceremony takes place here with Jacob placing a blessing on both Manasseh and Ephraim.  But Jacob places his right hand on the younger brother Ephraim.....which gave him "seniority" over Manasseh.  

Chapter 49  This chapter is Jacob's blessing on his twelve sons....which is where we get the 12  tribes of Israel. This could have been part of Jacob's deathbed blessings where he calls out each brother/son and tells what will happen to them.  This is especially easy to see and read when Jacob is talking about Judah....the language of "future tense" is apparent of what will come to be (v. 8-12) "what shall happen to you in days to come."   This chapter ends of the final days of Joseph and giving the sons his blessings and giving Joseph instructions for his resting place.  Joseph is supposed to take Jacob back to the cave and bury him with his ancestors. (see pictures at the very bottom of this page--thanks mom! :)  Jacob draws his feet up into his bed, breathed his last breath, and was gathered to his people!  

Chapter 50  Joseph wept over his loss and then the next 70 days mourning his loss.  Jacob was going to be carried back to the land of Canaan and had to be embalmed.  (Talk about a long dreadful trip if not embalmbed!  Ewwwww!)  Out of respect for Joseph, the Egyptians  gave Jacob a royal funeral!   The chapter reiterates what has happened in the story previously....Joseph is assured that only God can forgive and help overcome guilt of the human heart.  Joseph's story testifies to God's overruling providence that evil can be turned into good!  Then Joseph dies and is gathered to his people and is left to be buried in a coffin in Egypt.  He was 110 years old!

Thy will be done!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Genesis 46-47

Genesis 46-47

Day 17!

It's Saturday morning. I MUST be dedicated to this....for it's 6:50am!!!!! And NO ONE in my house is up but me and the puppy!!!  Humph! :)

Chapter 46 Jacob goes to Egypt.  This is a rather short chapter if you take out all of the names you can't pronounce! Verses 1-8 describe Jacob's journey back to Egypt where he will live out his days.  He's excited to see his long lost son, Joseph. 

(nine minutes of peace and quiet are firstborn is awake already!)  

As Jacob was traveling, its as if it were by divine providence again.  God spoke to Israel "in a vision at night" (v. 2) and renewed AGAIN the promise to go to a foreign land where God will "make him a great nation (v.3)." Jacob/Israel and all of his sons, children and wives and grandkids took on their journey.  My mother helped us out and added a map at the VERY BOTTOM of this page.  Its a map of Goshen in Egypt where they are going.   

Verses 8-27 the list of Jacob descendants who traveled with them.

Verse 28:  Jacob sends Judah ahead of the pack to go find out directions from Joseph on how to get to Goshen.  As he does this, Joseph tells Judah and his brothers that they are to tell Pharaoh that they are shepherds and then they would be given land outside of the interior part of Egypt.  Being a shepherd was detestable, for it was an unclean job.  They were also Hebrew people and weren't to live close by the Egyptians.  Jacob was happy too now that he has found and seen his long lost son.  He said, "Now I am ready to die since I have seen for myself that (Joseph) is alive" (v. 30).  I can't imagine the agony of thinking a son is gone, but then finding out after years and years and years that he is alive.  Only God gets you through that and only God makes that turn our right!  Amen?  Amen!!!

Chapter 47 Jacob gets a blessing from Pharaoh after already living many long and hard years. He has received the blessing of welfare and long life.   The rest of this chapter continues the depressing story of the famine that has severely hit the land.   There was no water, no food and the land was wasting away.  Things go from bad to worse and to terrible.  At first the people spent their money on grain.  But then they became more desperate and traded their cattle for food.  THEN they traded their own land for food.  By the time the chapter ends, the people have become tenants of Pharaoh. They are farming his land and still paying him one-fifth of all of their produce.  This law is still on force today (v. 26-27).  In verse 27, this is the first place where Joseph and his family are called the "Israelites."  This family who has been destitute and divided are now a family of great hope.  God is behind all of the sorrow and heartache this family has been through...the moving and famine and relocation.  God is preserving this family and rescuing them from the corrupt influence of Canaan.  Joseph has brought them all together again...a family reunited! Can you imagine if Joseph hadn't forgiven his brothers....if had held onto the past and been bitter and resentful??  Joseph didn't allow that to happen....GOD didn't allow that to happen.  This family will fulfill God's promise to Abraham.  This "remnant" has been saved and will build a nation!    Understanding this from the Bible sure makes a difference when listening to the evening world news huh?!!!!

Lessons learned:  never take family for granted!  You never know how long you have with them! Treasure them!   Love them!  Forgive them!  And above all, thank God for them! I know I do!!! I love you family!!!!!

Thy will be done.............. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Genesis 43-45

Genesis 43-45

Day 16!

Chapter 43 "They're baaaaaaaaaaack!" His brothers that is. They journey back to Egypt a 2nd time to buy more food. And in the process Joseph's brothers were paranoid and guilty. But as they prepared to make their 2nd journey to buy more food, Israel/Jacob (their father), had them take double the silver to shop with (part of it was to repay back the money that had been returned to them in their lunch bags on the first trip). They also took some pistachios, walnuts, honey, spices, and myrrh. (Doesn't add up to be much of a crockpot recipe if you ask me!) They are taking Benjamin this time too. It's been 2 years since they were there the first time!! Two years!! They've left poor Simeon as a prisoner there. They were in no hurry to go back and get him. They are only going back because they need more food. They aren't simply going back to rescue Simeon. They seem to have forgotten him and are only returning when they needed more grain! When they arrive, they speak to Joseph, presented their gifts and younger brother, Benjamin, to him. When Joseph saw them, he told his stewards to take them all to his own house. They were paranoid now. They were afraid that they were going to be punished. They did learn then that Joseph was the one that put the money back in their lunch bags on the first trip. And poor, sweet, kind Joseph. When he learned that his father was still alive and that Benjamin was there "he was deeply moved at the sight of his brother" (v.30). He even had to excuse himself and go outside to weep! They all then ate such a feast, but not together. Hebrews were foreigners and by law were considered unclean and detestable. But they did feast and Benjamin's portion was 5 times as much as anyone's....for he was Joseph's only FULL brother through Rachel.

Chapter 44 A silver cup is part of the final test that Joseph puts his brothers through. So a silver cup was was put in lunch bag of Benjamin. Then, after they all left, Joseph sent a steward to go and question the brothers about the "missing" silver cup. This is the cup that Joseph drinks from and is used for divination (v. 5). The stewards catches up with them, accuses them of stealing the cup, they deny it (because it had been placed there as a test), and then agree that whoever has it will become a slave to Joseph. So the steward looks for it and finds it in Benjamin's lunch bag. My footnotes say this: this test of the brothers is to see whether they will let Benjamin go into slavery while they return to their father to justify the loss of another of his sons. The rest of this chapter is a speech from Judah which simply summarizes the whole sequence of events.

Chapter 45 This has been like watching a soap. Just waiting for Joseph to reveal his identity to the brothers. The cliff hangers always seem to happen on Friday's...guess what today is?! Friday!!! Here we go.......Joseph makes everyone leave his presence.....everyone except his brothers. He then says, "I am Joseph!" I am the one you sold into slavery to Egypt....but don't be worried.....I was sent here for a reason! God has sent me here ahead of you to protect our family in the famine! There have already been 2 years of famine....there are 5 to still come. I will be able to protect you, feed you and our family and provide you all with the best of things that Egypt has to offer! He believes that God is who sent him there...not his brothers. Joseph is full of grace, forgiveness, and faith!!! It was all a part of God's divine plan all along. It was God that graciously brought the good out of bad. The story ends with the brothers returning to Canaan to tell their father that Joseph is alive! They get the moving van, load the uhaul with some donkeys.......they are to leave everything else behind because Joseph and Egypt will provide EVERYTHING for them! On their way home Joseph does warn them to be good, to be honest, and to do not fight with each other! The chapter ends with Jacob full of joy to learn about Joseph and prepares to go and see him before he dies!!!

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Genesis 41-42

Genesis 41-42

Day 15! 

I see new "followers" this morning!  That's fun!  Welcome!!!! :) 

Chapter 41  "Pharaoh, Pharaoh......oh, Pharaoh, let my people go!" far all he has to let go is Joseph!   Joseph is still in the thanks to his brothers!  But he is having good luck in the dungeon....if that seems right! Pharaoh is having dreams...about cows....7 fat cow and 7 skinny cows....not the ice cream kind but the kind that are ugly and  gaunt and the others are sleek and fat!   He is also dreaming about wheat and 7 heads of grain that are healthy and growing abundantly but also those that are thin and scorched by the east wind.  The magicians and wise men of Egypt are called into the help.  Among them are the cupbearer (like a butler to Pharaoh) that was previously release from the same dungeon as Joseph.  That cupbearer was supposed to have told Pharaoh about Joseph and his gift to interpret dreams.....TWO years ago!!! And while Pharaoh is wondering about his dreams the cupbearer says, "oh...silly me!  I seemed to have forgotten something I was supposed to tell you....two years ago when I was released from the dungeon!  I can't believe I am so absent-minded! "  So Pharaoh learns of Joseph, sends from him and greets him saying, "I have heard it said that you can hear about a dream and interpret it (v. 15)".  Joseph says...."I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires!"  Not once, ever, has Joseph taken credit for being able to do this.  He has always given the glory, credit and honor to God. It was never about Joseph.  It can only come from God. Perhaps that is why God always looked upon Joseph with favor.   The dream is interpreted and Pharaoh learns that Egypt (where he is king of)is getting ready to have 7 years of great wealth and abundance...but to be prepared...that 7 years of famine will follow!   Pharaoh thought he was having 2 different dreams (cows and grains) but it was all the same was just God telling him FOR SURE that it is going to happen.  If it's repeated, it must be important! :)  

Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of all the land!  He gets out of the dungeon, gets to wear the kings signet ring, gets a new robe (remember what happened to the one he was wearing when his brothers sold him off......they put blood on it and showed it to their dad to convince him that Joseph was dead!)  So, here is Joseph, out of the dungeon and 2nd in command in all of the country of has more power than Joseph except King Pharaoh.  Joseph gets married too.  He has a family and all is going his way.  His names his sons according to his life experiences.  One is named Manasseh to reflect the idea that "God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household" (v. 51).  And the second son is named Ephraim because "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering" (v. 52).  Joseph was so faithful....just like Abraham was.  Joseph has risen to great power in spite of his past, he has been freed after being a prisoner, and he has moved beyond his past and seems to live with forgiveness.  What great lessons to learn!   And God was/is in the midst of it the whole time.  Never leaving Joseph...never making Joseph to doubt God.  He saw God's hand in it all.

Chapter 42  Here come his  brothers....straight down the road from Canaan. It's been about 20 years since Joseph has seen his family.  Joseph had his own dream (v. 9) about his brothers.  He thought they were coming as spies...but they swear that they aren't.   Joseph recognized them, but they didn't notice him.  Joseph even spoke to them with an interpreter.  He's bound to look better as 2nd in command for the king than when he was sold into slavery!  Talk about a make over and the big reveal!!  I'm telling you....TV has NOTHING on the Bible in terms of suspense, drama, twists and turns...and "filth!"  :)   Not that we need to be watching that stuff on TV.....  :)

So, I'd say this is a chance for Joseph to get back at his brothers.  They have come from Cannan to Egypt buy grain because of the famine.   They even call themselves servants to Joseph because of his power and authority.  He'd probably like to take the signet ring and pop them upside the head with it, leaving the mark of the king imprinted into their foreheads.  But, he doesn't.  He does test them see what their true motives are.  They are guilty already for how they treated him.  They get thrown in prison, one of them has to go get the younger brother before the rest of them can get back out of prison. Joseph is testing their words but hoping to "purge evil from their hearts" (a footnote in my reference Bible).  So, there are all of his brothers in prison, feeling guilty and thinking that their distress is being brought on to them by God.  Joseph even "weeps" over his brothers.....he's surely forgiven them by now and is not out for vengeance.  He wants them to learn a lesson.  They have learned from their guilt.  So Joseph does send them on their way back home.  He fills their grain bags, gives them a snack for the road, and even gives them a refund on their purchases of grain.  But they don't know that until they are gone and stop to eat.  When they see that their silver has been returned, they are paranoid.......actually frightened (v. 35).  The brothers tell their father of the story that happened and he refused to loose another son!  So, remember....they've left one brother in prison, in Egypt until they return with the younger one to verify their words.  Reuben, a big brother,  offers for his own sons to be put to death if they aren't able to bring back the brother they left behind in Egypt.  Jacob refused to let the younger son go down..."it will put my gray head in the grave!"  

To be continued tomorrow............Chapter 43, 44, 45!

Come, Holy Spirit, Come! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Genesis 38-40

Day 14

Well, I beat the kids up!  Finally!! didn't hurt them...I got UP before they did! Usually, just as I've decided to try and get up and hour before they do....they've decided to get up with me!  Argh!  But this morning, HannaLee woke up and I gave her a bottle and put her back in bed. So far, so good...I'm up before the kids.

 Chapter 38  We interrupt this story of Joseph to bring you an announcement from Judah and Tamar. It seems this is the first chapter so far that shows God as...hum, what's the word...deathly?....vengeful?! Judah  married Shua (they married because their names rhymed! :) - not really! :)  )They had several children but Er was their firstborn.  But he was "wicked in the Lord's sight and put him to death" (v.7).  It doesn't even say why he was wicked...he just was for some reason unknown to us. So, in compliance with tradition the brother in law was the lie with the widow to ensure the dead brother's line would continue with descendants.  Onan, a brother to Er, "pretended" to lie with her.  He did something that was wicked in the Lord's sight, so he was put to death also.  We do know what "wicked" he did....go read! :)  Verse 9 tells. Don't think I'll post it here!  Ew......So, Tamar, who had married Er and was "supposed" to get pregnant by Onan, was to go lived in her father's house as a widow until ANOTHER brother showed up. She must have had to wait for a very long time for this brother, because she gave up.  She took off her widow clothes and went out to act/look like a prostitute while he father-in-law was passing by.  She tricked him into sleeping with her, she got pregnant, he made a promise to come back and waited for her payment from Judah....a young goat.   He gave her his signet ring (kinda like a promise ring today! ha!) until he could send the goat her way.  She was out for justice!  Judah didn't know that she was pregnant until someone told her that had acted like a prostitute and was pregnant.  He was appalled at the fact and wanted her burned to death.  But then....she said, "i'm pregnant by the man who owns this..." and she should him the ring that he had given her!  ah-ha!         He said she was off the hook, wasn't going to get burned and he even called her "more righteous than I" (v. 26).  Righteous!?  Not sure trickery and prostitution   equal being righteous...but hey!  It's the Bible! :)   

Chapter 39 Joseph and Potiphar -- This seems to be a chapter of "that's good.....oh...that's bad!"  Remember, Joseph has been sold by his brothers (that's bad).  Potiphar, an Egyptian that was one of Pharoah's officials, took Joseph with him and the Lord was with him and he prospered (that's good!).  The Lord gave him success in everything he did.  He found favor in the Lord's eyes and in Potiphar's eyes and was made an attendant to Potiphar.  He was in chage of his household and all that he owned and was blessed by the Lord because of Joseph.  That's good!  Joseph was well built and handsome and Potiphar's wife wanted Joseph to sleep with her.  That's bad.  He said, master trusts me and gives me everything he owns.  I could not do such a wicked thing and sin against God.  That's good!  But Potiphar's wife kept insisting that Joseph sleep with her....she even grabbed him by his cloak and pulled it off of him (that's bad) while he was running out the door away from her (that's good!).  But...she kept the cloak beside her, mad because he didn't sleep with her, and showed to her husband, Joseph's master, when he came home.  She told her husband that Joseph "tried to make sport of me" (v. 17) and I screamed for help, but no one came...he even left his cloak here.  So, poor Joseph, was put in prison.  That's bad.  But even in there, the Lord was with him and showed him kindness and favor.   The warden even  Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners.  That's good!  "The Lord was with Joseph and gave Joseph success in whatever he did!" ( v. 23)  That's good!  

Chapter 40     The cupbearer and the baker (and the candlestick maker?! :)  )So these 2 guys are in prison, too, with Joseph.  They offended Pharaoh, the Egyptian king, so he put these two yahoo's in prison.  They each had dreams and had mentioned this to Joseph but they said there was no one to interpret them.  Joseph said that "interpretations belong to the Lord.  Tell me your dreams."  (v. 8).  The cupbearer tells of his dream...something about cups and grapes and branches and 3 days.  Joseph told him that in three days he would be released and Joseph would appreciate it if the cupbearer would tell Pharaoh that Joseph was a good dream interpreter.  He didn't.   Then the baker dreamed that 3 he had three baskets of bread on his head. This meant that the baker would be hanged in three days.  And he was.  

Lessons today:  God is with you in whatever circumstances you might find yourself in.   God was continuously with matter what happened to him.  Joseph found favor with God perhaps because he was faithful.  He kept his morals and was always honorable...against his master, and ultimately towards God!  May you find favor today with the Lord and look for ways to honor Him!                                        

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Genesis 35-37

Day 13       352 to go! :)     Hang in there with me!  We've only just begun!!!

Chapter 35  Jacob returns to Bethel today.....he went because God told him to. He was to go and build an altar there because that is where God appeared to him when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau.  But before he could go he had to clean know, pick up the toys, run the vacuum cleaner, put the dishes away, feed the dog, take out the dirty diapers, get the laundry started....oh wait!  That's MY cleaning list!  :)  

Jacob was supposed to clean out all of the "foreign gods"....they are to purify themselves and even change their clothes (because you aren't supposed to travel in dirty underwear, right?! ) What they are really getting ready for is a pilgrimage of sorts.  A pilgrimage to a place where 20 years ago God appeared to them.  This purification process will ensure that every household member will be acceptable to God....both physically and spiritually.  Preparing to meet God must always come from within your soul!  A little housekeeping is good for all!   Every time God appeared to Jacob, God blessed him.  When God appeared this time, he told him AGAIN (first time in 32:28) that he would no longer be called Jacob...but was now to be called Israel.    This is such a pivotal point that my mother pointed out to me in chapter 32 and here it is again.  If its repeated, it must be important!  So, Jacob is told by God that his name is Israel and that a great nation will come from him. There you have it, the nation of Israel from Jacob.  WOW!  Pretty cool!!!!  God was renewing the promise he had to Abraham and to Isaac.  

Then by the end of chapter 35 Rachel dies and so does Isaac.  As Rachel takes her last breath, she has just given birth to her son, Ben-Oni....."son of my trouble."  She never saw him.  What sorrow she died in!  What heartache for Isaac, but he named the son Benjamin....which I think I read somewhere that means "son of my right hand."  Don't be confused when reading chapter 35....Jacob IS Israel!  They use both names.....why its never switched there completely...dunnoo....who's he hiding from ?  God?  Nope..THAT doesn't work! Can't hide from God...especially when He is the one who changes your name!  Isaac lived 180 years, died, was gathered to his people and was full of years!  Then Esau and Jacob/Israel buried him.

Chapter 36  Well....YOU go read this chapter....OUTLOUD!!  See how much you stumble over your tongue!!! Dusty and I take  turns reading.  I had to read this crazy chapter! It was as hard as having read 10 of them outloud.  I was worn out! Its simply a list of Esau's that means only one thing.......WEIRD BIBLICAL NAMES TO PRONOUNCE!   But what we do need to know from this chapter is that Esau and Jacob had such a great vast of possessions, that they had to move away from each other in order to have room for all of their livestock to feed and thrive.  They must have moved somewhere as open and desolate as out there in Northern New Mexico...somewhere between Clayton and Raton! Nothing there!!!!! Plenty of room for Esau and Jacob's herds to roam!!!

Chapter 37 Joseph had a dream.....this is a familiar story........Joseph being the favored son of Jacob and his brothers were jealous.  God even favors him over the other brothers.  Joseph dreamed that people and things would bow down before him...his brothers thought he was crazy to think they would do that.  His father though, when told about the dream, would "keep it in mind" (v. 11).   Joseph was sold by his brothers and he ended up in Egypt but they let their dad believe that he was dead. Such deception and such hatred.  Even  THAT isn't on TV! :) Jacob mourned and mourned and could not be comforted.  The trials in Egypt that Joseph will face only teaches him to okey God.  Isn't that true!  God will preserve Jacob's family and nation......a must for this IS the nation that will eventually produce a Savior for the world!  (Which should be sometime in October!!!)  :)

Lessons learned today:   always have a ready and willing heart to meet the Lord in your day.  You just never know where and how He will bless you!