Spiritual Rants: January 27, “A Real Zippo” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Exodus 4:1-5:21 Matthew 18:1-20 Psalm 22:19-31 Proverbs 5:15-21

Old Testament:   Exodus 4:1-5:21

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Exodus 4:1-5:21   A Real Zippo

Summary:  Moses was given the ability to change a staff into a snake, give himself leprosy, and change water into blood.  This was to impress Pharaoh that he needed to let the Israelites worship in the desert.

Pharaoh wasn’t impressed.  He made things even harder on the Israelites.  The Israelites got even more ticked and griped to Moses and Aaron.  Moses, in turn, griped to Yahweh.

In Exodus 4, God gave three powers to Moses to be able to impress Pharaoh. One was he could change his shepherd’s rod into a snake (vv. 1-5). Another was that he could put his hand inside his robe and pull it out and have leprosy (vv. 6-8). Finally, he could pour out water from the Nile river and have it turn into blood (v. 9). He also could reverse the three miracles (vv. 4, 7). We’ll see later that Pharaoh was unimpressed.

Moses asked Yahweh if there wasn’t someone maybe that could do the job. Moses was not confident in his ability to speak. God said, no, but his brother Aaron could do the speaking if that’s what Moses wanted (vv. 10-17).

Somehow it slipped Moses’ mind that he was supposed to circumcise his sons. God promised to kill him if he didn’t get the job done (v. 24). Zipporah took things into her own hands and cut the kids herself and threw the results at Moses’ feet (v. 25). She apparently didn’t favor the rite. But it saved Moses’ life.  Moses and Zipporah may have known the Lord was unhappy with him and that he may have already been getting sick (see the Bible Knowledge Commentary, vv. 24-26).

Moses told Aaron to meet him up on the mountain (v. 27). They met and showed off the powers God had given to Moses to do before Pharaoh (v. 30). All the people were definitely impressed, feeling like God really cared about them (v. 31a). So they worshipped him there at the mountain (v. 31b).

In Exodus 5, Moses and Aaron met with Pharaoh (v. 1). Pharaoh said he didn’t know Yahweh (v. 2). He made the Israelites make as many bricks as before but they had to find their own straw to put in them (vv. 7-8). To make matters worse, they were beaten for not making their quotas (v. 14). They asked Pharaoh for a break but he wouldn’t relent, even accusing the Jews of being lazy (vv. 15-18). So guess who they took it out on then?  Moses and Aaron (vv. 20-21) .  They basically told Moses and Aaron, “You morons are going to get us killed!” (v. 21, “you have made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight” NASB).

The Jews complained to Pharaoh, then to Moses, then Moses complained to Yahweh (v. 22).  Moses said to God, in essence, “You were supposed to help but now everything is even worse than it was!” (vv. 22 – 23).

New Testament:    Matthew 18:1-20

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Jesus told the disciples that if they wanted to be great in the kingdom, they’d have to become as humble as children.

If anyone sins, they should lop off the part of the body that was causing the trouble.

God loves children.

Steps to take if a believing brother starts goofing up.

Matthew 18:1-20

Baby Steps

The disciples wanted to know who would be the greatest in the kingdom (v. 1).  Jesus said they’d have to be as humble as children to qualify meaning they were all pretty much disqualified (vv. 2-3).  Children had no standing in the culture so Jesus was telling them to be more concerned about others than themselves (v. 4).  Anyone who harms the faith of a little child should be made to swim with the fishes, gangsta-style (v. 6).

If anyone has a hand, foot or even an eye that causes them to sin, they should get rid of the offending part (v. 8).  That would be better than going to Hell with all your parts intact (v. 9).  Again, Jesus warned the disciples not to look down on children, they all have guardian angels that are looking right at God (v. 10).

God looks at children the same as a shepherd with 100 sheep (vv. 12-14).  If one goes astray, he goes out to find it (v. 12).  God does the same thing with children.  He doesn’t want to lose any children (v. 14).

Steps to take with a straying brother:

1) If your brother goes astray, you should go and get him and try to help him (v. 15).

2) If that doesn’t work, take one or two friends with you (v. 16).

3)  If that doesn’t work, let the church know about the problem (v. 17a).

4)  If the person doesn’t listen to the church, treat him like an IRS agent or an insurance salesman even (v. 17b).  You will have God’s approval (vv. 19-20).

Don’t forget that the purpose of all this is to win your brother back to the Lord.  So if he changes, you have to let him back in the fellowship (read the account of such a man in 1 Cor. 5 and how a similar case was resolved in 2 Cor. 2:5-8).

A lot of people take v. 20 as a promise that God will do whatever two or three people agree to ask Him for.  It is, but in context, it’s actually an endorsement of forgiveness when two or three agree that forgiveness is warranted (vv. 19-20).

Psalm 22:19-31   Why Have You Forsaken Me?  Part 2   A Lament Psalm Of David

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Psalm 22:19-31 Why Have You Forsaken Me?  Part 2

Now we tackle the second part of Psalm 22.  It is a Messianic Psalm and a lament, David crying out in pain.  David supernaturally was able to describe Jesus’ suffering on the cross about a thousand years in advance of the event.

For a third time, David asks for God’s deliverance from “the dog,” lion, and “horns of the wild oxen” (vv. 19-21).  In exchange, he will praise God before the assembly in the Temple (v. 22).  Jesus would witness through His resurrection to saints throughout all time.  We should always be witnessing to Christ’s greatness to the church and by our lives to the world (v. 23).

God will never forsake His faithful ones who call on Him (v. 24, cf. Heb. 13:5).  In Old Testament times, believers may have made promises to God they had to fulfill (cf. Lev. 22:21, e.g.).  Today we give financially to the work of the church.  We can express thanks to God through those gifts (v. 25).

God has promised to give us what we need to eat.  He doesn’t promise big mansions or cars, or any luxuries, though He may grant them.  But He does promise what we need (v. 26a, cf. Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:19).  As a result, believers should praise Him (vv. 26-27).

The Lord owns everything on the earth (v. 28, cf. Ps. 50:10).  Saved and unsaved will end up worshipping God (vv. 29-31, cf. Phil. 2:9-11).

Christ took the penalty we deserved, a painful death.  Isn’t it amazing how accurately David was able to portray Jesus’ suffering?

It is left to us to praise Him for the glorious God that He is!

Proverbs 5:15-21   Slightly Awk

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All of Proverbs 5 is a warning to avoid the loose woman.  Dern, some of them are really good-looking, though.  Avoid them.  They can turn into hags really quickly (cf. A Real Hag).

When God gives you a cistern aka a spouse, you, uh, use that cistern (cf. 15).  You shouldn’t give yourself away to just anyone (v. 16).  Capiche?  In other words, you need to be faithful to the one you marry (v. 17).

You should enjoy the wife you married when you were younger (vv. 18-19, cf. Mal. 2:14-15).  The purpose is to have believing kids who go off and serve the Lord.

OK, most of the rest is too embarrassing to comment on (v. 19-20).  Sorry.  I’m not going to remark on brussels.

Charles Stanley once told us in the congregation that he told his kids that even when they were out of his sight, God was watching them (v. 21).  I usually just say something like “Don’t do anything your mother wouldn’t do.”  I yell that as they go through the door.

Choose Life: Scripture:  Matthew 18:4   NASB    “How’s Your Roof?”

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”   Matthew 18:4

Who is your biggest hero in the Bible?  David?  Moses?  Paul?  Daniel?  James?  Jesus?

Do you know what they all had in common?  They were all humble (cf. Ps. 51:17; Nu. 12:3, Dan. 10:12; Eph. 3:8; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 Pet. 5:6, James 4:10; Matt. 11:29).

You can’t get anywhere as a Christian without humility.  That’s what Jesus was trying to get across to the disciples.  Children know that everyone else in the world is bigger than they are.  Children were not respected in the culture of that time.  So Jesus was saying if you can humble yourself and trust Me the way little children must trust their parents, you will be able to be used greatly by God.

How are you doing today?  Is the roof falling down on you?  Those are the kinds of circumstances God uses to humble us so that He can use us greatly.

Do you want to be used greatly by God?  How humble are you?

Can you humble yourself beneath God’s protective hand today?

And if you can, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:

There is currently a political candidate who has labeled himself humble.  I kinda have my doubts.  Why?  People who are humble usually don’t think of themselves are being humble (cf. 1 Cor. 4:3).  They are usually thinking of how they can serve others so they don’t have the time to evaluate themselves.  If they could evaluate themselves, how would they know they are humble?  So I usually think people who think they are humble are usually really arrogant.

In fact, if you really are humble you will be standing up for God, not yourself.  Some people will misconstrue that as arrogance.  They figure that if they were standing that strong for something, they’d be arrogant.  So they think you are, too.  Don’t let them fool you.

I’m sure a lot of people thought Moses was arrogant in his day because he stood for God.  Yet Scripture tells us, ” . . . the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3).   So don’t be tricked or feel guilty when you are standing up for right or the Scriptures or God if someone calls you arrogant.  Check yourself before God and God alone.

Are you putting others before yourself today (cf. Phil. 2:3)?

If you are, you’ll be blessed!

The purpose of 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:  Baby Steps

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