Old Testament: Exodus 13:17-15:18
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Exodus 13:17-15:18 The Great Hurl
The Israelites fled.
The Egyptians are dead.
The Israelites harangued.
In Exodus 13:17 -22, God thought to bring the Israelites through the land of the Philistines but was afraid the Israelites might get spooked and turn back for Egypt (v. 17). So He took them the longer way through the Red Sea (v. 18). They brought Joseph’s bones with them because Joe had made them promise (v. 19, cf. Gen. 50:2; Josh. 24:32).
God led the Israelites by pillar of cloud during the day and by a pillar of fire at night to give them light so they could travel 24/7 (vv. 21-22).
In Exodus 14, when it dawned on Pharaoh that he had lost a lot of his working force and that the Israelites were headed to the desert, he figured he could trap them (vv. 5, 3, 8). But God knew all of this ahead of time (vv. 3-4, 15-18). Nevertheless, the Israelites defaulted to their whiney selves, saying it would have been better to die in Egypt as slaves than in the desert (vv. 11-12).
The Israelites could see the best of Pharoah’s chariots and cavalry gaining on them (v. 10). God told Moses they were all going to see something really special (v. 4, 13-14, 18). So the angel of the Lord Who had been at the front of the Israelites moved to the rear and with Him the pillar of cloud changed to a pillar of light (v. (19-20). Wondering how the Lord did the Red Sea miracle? He sent a strong east wind all night that dried up the middle of the sea with a wall of water on both sides of the absconders (v. 21b).
The Lord looked down on the ‘Gyptians while they were following the Good Guys (v. 24). The ‘Gyptians came to their senses and started to flee but God let the water walls go (vv. 25b, 26). Not one of the ‘Gyptians got out alive (v. 28c). Not one of the Israelites were hurt (v. 29). The morale: Don’t mess with God!
In Exodus 15:1-18, Moses and all the Absconders sang a song. Wouldn’t you?
The main theme of this song is the exaltation of God because of the victory over the Egyptians at the Red Sea.
This is what worship music should be about, to teach. Hey, don’t get me started on music. But this is a good example. The story of the redemption of Israel from the nasty Egyptians is told through music and passed down through the generations. Later generations seem to easily forget their history (ever seen an edition of “Watters’ World” where he asks people the name of the first president of the US?).
This song also points out the meaning of baptism (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1–2). Paul says that all Israel was “baptized” into Moses at the Red Sea. It means they were “identified” with Moses by passing through the water. We are identified with Christ as we pass through the waters of immersion. The Holy Spirit is the One who identifies us with Christ and the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13). The water of immersion is just a symbol of what happens actually and spiritually. Identification is the key word.
Here are some other great songs in the Bible, the Song of Deborah (Jud. 5), the song of Elizabeth (Luke 1: 42-45), the song of Mary (Luke 1:46-55), and several in the book Revelation (cf. Rev. 5:9-10; 14:3-4; 15:3).
Perhaps the best expression of God’s power is found in the last line, “The LORD shall reign forever and ever” (v. 20). His power was expressed in the Red Sea episode and His power ensures that He will reign forever and ever.
Perhaps the best title for the song is found in verse 2c, “The horse and his rider He has hurled into the Sea.”
God led the Israelites through the Red Sea and then by a cloud in the daytime and a pillar of fire at nighttime.
Pharaoh had second thoughts about letting the Israelites go. Shocked aren’t you? So he sent his men after them thinking they’d get trapped by the Sea.
The Israelites whined about how they were all going to die in the wilderness.
However, the entire Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea while the Israelites crossed over on dry land.
Moses wrote a song about it all and the Israelites sang it.
New Testament: Matthew 21:23-46
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Who gave Jesus the right?
Two sons who could possibly fight.
Jesus taught about murderous crooks, who do you guess?
God will find a new group to bless.
Matthew 21:23-46 Dumb Smart Guys
Jesus was teaching in the Temple (v. 23a). The religious leaders were offended and said, “Who died and left you Boss?” (v. 23b). Jesus had a conundrum for them: where did John get his authority to baptize (v. 25a)? This tied their little legalistic minds in a knot (v. 26). They knew if they said John’s baptism was from God Jesus would say, “then why weren’t YOU baptized?” (v. 25b) That was no good. The other alternative was to say John wasn’t a prophet. That would really rile the “rabble” (v. 26). So the religious leaders said, “I dunno” (v. 27a). Jesus said, “OK, I’m not going to answer YOU then” (v. 27b).
Jesus proceeded to tell the religious leaders about two sons (v. 28). The first said he wouldn’t work for his father in the vineyard but then changed his mind and worked (v. 29). The second said, “sure, I’ll go,” but he didn’t go (v. 30). Jesus asked which of the two did the will of his father (v. 31a). “The first” they said (v. 31b). Jesus said in the same way IRS agents and women of the evening would get in to heaven before they would (v. 31c – 32).
Jesus told them another story about a man who owned a vineyard with a wall around it and wine press (v. 33a). He rented it out to tenant farmers (v. 33b). The owner then sent some of his slaves to collect his share of the produce (v. 34). The tenants abused the slaves even to the point of killing two (v. 35). So he sent more of his slaves and the tenants did the same thing (v. 36). Finally, the vineyard owner sent his own son (v. 37). The tenants thought they could really make out by just killing the son and seizing the whole operation (v. 38). So they did (v. 39).
The religious leaders thought, “ut oh . . . He’s talking about us!” (v. 45). So then they really wanted to kill Jesus just like the son in the parable (v. 46). But Jesus had already told them by quoting the Old Testament (Ps. 118:22-23) that the “chief cornerstone” would be rejected but “would fall on them” (vv. 42-44) He was saying that since they were rejecting Him that the kingdom was going to go to “people, producing the fruit of it,” i.e., to all the non-Jews (v. 43b).
The Jews wanted to know what right Jesus had to teach. He gave them a conundrum to solve. They couldn’t solve it so He didn’t answer them.
Jesus taught about two sons, one who said he’d do his father’s will and one said he wouldn’t. But then they did a “vice versa” so the one who said he wouldn’t do his father’s will did and . . . well, vice versa.
Jesus told a parable about crooks who were employees of a certain vineyard who killed the owner’s reps to gain control of the business.
Since the religious leaders rejected God’s will, God would find a new group to bless like maybe . . . Gentiles?
Psalm 26:1-12 A Lament Psalm by David
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Psalm 26:1-12 Hooked On Church
You can’t get anywhere in the Christian life without integrity or humility. David had both, most of the time (there was that little Bathsheba incident . . .). That is why he was the “apple” of God’s eye (cf. Ps. 17:8). David mentions his integrity seven times in Psalms and three times between Psalm 25-26.
Multiple times David mentions his trust in the Lord. Psalms 4, 11, 16, 23, 27, 40, 62, and 131 are all psalms of trust or confidence in the Lord. it is good to remind ourselves that our confidence is in Him (v. 1b). We can trust God because He is good (cf. James 1:16-17). Don’t forget the goodness of God! When we forget God’s goodness, we begin a downward spiral in our spiritual lives.
God forgives sins (cf. 1 John 1:9) Because He does, we can trust Him to “examine” us (cf. Ps. 19:14; 139:23-24). Of course, we have to have integrity if we’re going to make such a bold request. We also need to trust Him to make us righteous in Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”).
David continually reminded himself of God’s binding, covenantal love for him (v. 3, 120 other times in Psalms). “Lovingkindness” in the NASB is the translation of hesed in Hebrew. It is similar to the word agape in the Greek New Testament but it seems to have more a element of covenant in the OT. In the New Testament the emphasis of agape is on God’s selfless sacrifices for us. It’s good to know that God loves us in a self-sacrificial binding way, don’t you think? When you see the word “lovingkindness” in Psalms you can think of how God is attached to you.
If you are bound to God, you don’t want to fellowship with fakes and crooks, right? David didn’t (v. 4-5). He hated hanging with those kinds of lowlife. They are the type of people who reject Christ. Of course, it’s one thing to avoid them as friends (cf. 1 Cor. 15:33) and another to witness to them of Christ’s love for them (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9). Some of them come to Christ!
David didn’t buy the devil’s line that the only way to have fun is to sin. He enjoyed being like God and the innocence that came from a relationship with Him (v. 6). In fact, he loved partying with the truly righteous, not fakes (v. 4). He loved giving thanks to God in His sanctuary, where God’s glory dwelt (v. 8). Do you like going to church? Not just to sell products or find a mate or have your kids taught Sunday School stories but to praise the Lord (vv. 7-8)? There is not much more joy in life than to go to a good church that is praising the Lord!
David asked God to keep him away from murderers and guttersnipes (vv. 9-10). David knew the feeling of cleanliness that came with being a person of honesty (cf. v. 6, 1, 11). He knew he needed God’s redemption power and grace to walk in honesty (cf. Ps. 23:3; Matt. 6:13; Zech. 4:6). He needed to be “redeemed” by God (v. 11b).
This guy really likes going to church (v. 12, taking “congregation” as temple in the OT, church in the NT). I don’t know if he would’ve liked our little, gorgeous church in the country, though. The floor was tilted toward the front. It was really cool. But I think he means “level place” as a metaphor for having your life straight. If you want to have your life straight, you need to have integrity, humility, and keep away from congregations of lowlife!
Find a church of honest people! Then get hooked on God’s love there!
Proverbs 6:16-19 Church Bound
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I hate hearing, “How could a loving God . . . blah, blah, blah?” It’s just an excuse for unbelief that makes them seem more righteous that God. Pitooey. I spit that thought out of my mouth. Or I spit it out of my head, or something. I hate hearing that kind of stuff.
Here’s how a loving God can hate things. He’s God and He’s all-holy. Deal with it. I want Him to be all-holy. I want to see bullies get it in the end. By the way, that’s how Charles Bronson made a living. Clint Eastwood, too, for that matter. We don’t want evil to prevail. Well, most of us don’t. So quit belly-aching about God being all-loving but so mean. His loving nature demands that He get rid of evil in the world! And He will (see The GWT).
Anyway, there are at least six things that God hates. In fact, there are seven. Solomon put his thought this way so we wouldn’t miss the seventh thing: a bad person spreading strife in a church. Churches can be ruined by that kind of person (v. 19). In fact, I’ve seen it firsthand. And more than once. Don’t believe everything you hear in church even if it comes from some one with some authority or who’s been in the church for ages. Satan has people like that running amuck doing his bidding. Watch out for them.
We have less trouble spotting arrogant people (v. 17a) who lie a lot (v. 17b). Watch out for people who like to take advantage of the innocent (v. 17c).
Look out for those who sit around all day trying to figure out how to paint graffiti on the walls of others’ lives (v. 18a) and have un-happy feet looking to stomp on good, innocent people (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8).
Of course, sin number six may be the same as sin number seven: someone trying to ruin someone else’s character through lies. Look out especially when the person being lied about is the pastor. Any pastor worth his value will probably have his integrity attacked (2 Corinthians is basically a book about the Apostle Paul defending himself against attacks). Satan knows that once a pastor’s integrity is annulled, he has no power to help people. No one will believe him. That is usually done by someone who is “spreading strife among the brothers” (v. 19).
Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 21:29-30 NASB “Mind A Change?”
“And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go.” Matthew 21:29-30
I remember when I did my first funeral. My hair stylist (aka barber back in the day) was having trouble with the minister chosen to do her grandmother’s funeral. So she asked if I would take over. I thought, oh, no, if an experienced pastor was having trouble with this family, what chance would I have to make them happy? So, I prayed.
I remember from my psychology internship that sometimes it takes people time to assimilate information. The family was bitter that God had taken their relative away from them. So I told them they understood that God was a good God and wouldn’t do anything to hurt them. They knew that in their minds but it hadn’t had time to filter into their emotions and souls yet. That did it. It worked and they loved me. In fact, I got a thank you note afterward from my stylist. She said I was the “berries” (a compliment, I think). Once again, prayer conquers!
Jesus is telling a parable about two sons in Matthew 21. One says he was not willing to do what his father wanted but then changed his mind and did it. The other said he would do what his father wanted but then changed his mind and wouldn’t do it.
God realizes that sometimes we need time to think and get used to His way of doing things. He doesn’t mind. The important thing is that we end up doing what He wants.
The word “repent” in the Bible is literally “a change of mind” (metanoia, meta – change, noia – mind). Is there something God wants you to do and you need some time to change your mind?
Give yourself some time and then change your mind.
And if you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Is there something you think God wants you to do but you are struggling with it? James said, ” . . . to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). You pretty much know what God wants you to do but you’re having trouble doing it. What should you do?
Give yourself some time. In the meantime, ask God for power through His Spirit to help you change and to do the right thing. Tell Him how weak you feel and how you just flat out disagree with Him. Then wait for Him to work.
Give it a try.
What do you have to lose?
You could be blessed if you do the right thing.
And you’ll thank Him in the morning.
The purpose of the Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: The Great Hurl