Old Testament: Exodus 8:1-9:35
Exodus 8:1-9:35 Plagued By Pharaoh
Chapter 8 contains the second through fourth plagues of frogs, gnats and flies.
Chapter 9 is the delightful story of how the death of livestock, boils, and hail could not persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go into the wilderness to worship Yahweh.
In Exodus 8, we find the second through fourth plagues.
Phase Two: Frogs (vv. 1-15).
Since Pharaoh wouldn’t let the Israelites go and worship, the Lord sent him a plague of frogs (v. 2). They were up on the stoves and everywhere (v. 3). The Lord worked through Aaron pointing his staff (v. 5). Not to be outdone, the Egyptian magicians certainly did what I would have done (v. 7). They used their “secret arts” to produce even more frogs. (Real smart.) Pharaoh asked to see Moses and Aaron to ask them to get rid of all the frogs (v. 8). M and A told Pharaoh to say “when” so he told them next day (vv. 9 – 10). Why rush a good thing (sarcasm)? So the next day all the frogs croaked except for the ones in the river (v. 13, not wanting to upset the ecological balance) but Pharaoh changed his mind and wouldn’t let the people go (v. 15). The frogs were not in leaps and bounds but heaps and foul (v. 14).
Phase Three: Gnats (vv. 16-19).
Wouldn’t it be lice? Not a Beach Boys song. But after Moses stretched his staff over the earth, the dust became gnats or lice (vv. 16 -17). The ‘Gyptian magicians tried to replicate the trick but they couldn’t (v. 18, Ha!). So they told Pharaoh it must’ve been God’s finger that did it (v. 19a). He cared but then again, he didn’t (v. 19b).
Phase Four: Flies (vv. 20-24).
God told Moses to tell Pharaoh He was going to bring a plague of flies on the ‘Gyptians if he didn’t let the Israelites go and worship (vv. 20 – 21). So they met Pharaoh while he was going out for water the next day (v. 20a). (I’ll bet Pharaoh was glad to see those two again!) M and A gave him the new deal regarding the flies. The deal included the Jews going to Goshen so they wouldn’t be part of the fly over (v. 22). This where the phrase originated, “no flies on you!” The flies swarmed the ‘Gyptians everywhere (v. 24). Pharaoh called for M and A again (v. 25a). He told them the Israelites could go and worship but only in country (v. 25b). M and A said the Egyptians would be offended by what the Jews were going to do (v. 26) so Pharaoh said they could leave the country but not to go too far (v. 28). Moses said OK but Pharaoh really had to go through with it this time and quit lying (v. 29). So God removed the flies (v. 31) and guess what? Pharaoh changed his mind again (v. 32) !
Plagues five through seven are found in Exodus 9.
Phase Five: Death of Livestock Flies (vv. 1-7).
God set a definite time, the next day, to snuff all the livestock, that is, all the horses, donkeys, camels, herds, and the flocks of the ‘Egyptians but not touching any of the Israelite livestock (vv. 3-4). The result? Same song, different chorus. Or maybe it was same chorus, different song. Anyway, the result was the same. Pharaoh would not relent (v. 7).
Phase Six: Boils (vv. 8-17).
Moses and Aaron show themselves to be hard-boiled. God told them to go to a kiln (an oven, not Scottish menswear) and throw some of the dust from it up in the air (vv. 9 – 11a). They threw the ashes up in the air making an ash out of Pharaoh and his people. The ashes caused the ‘Gyptians to break out in boils (v. 10). Even the magicians couldn’t stand before M and A because they, too, had been boiled (v. 11b). Pharaoh still wouldn’t give in (v. 12). God told the great P. that He could’ve had all the ‘Gyptians vaporized by now, obviously (v. 15). But He was choosing to show His power to the world (v. 16).
Phase Seven: Hail (vv. 18-35).
Hail, no! God sent hail this time on the ‘Gyptians (v. 18, 22). He again gave them a day’s notice (v. 18). Hail and thunder came (v. 23). All of the men and livestock out in the fields were destroyed (v. 25). However, all the men who were in Goshen, were not harmed (v. 26).
Once again, Pharaoh said he’d relent . . . again (v. 27, I know I’m being redundant once more). But his heart was again calcified as Moses guessed it might be (v. 35, 30). Once more, he would not let the people go (v. 36).
New Testament: Matthew 19:13-30
Jesus blessed some more children.
A rich kid came to Jesus and asked Him what kind of good did he have to do to get to heaven. He went away moping when Jesus told him he would have to sell everything he owned.
Jesus told Peter and the boys that there was a whole new world coming and they’d all make out like bandits for all they had given up for Him.
Matthew 19:13-30 You Must Be Kid-ding
Jesus blessed some more children (v. 13). Jesus likes children (v. 14). In fact, He likes all the children of the world. Even if they’re yellow or black or green . . .
The disciples tried to keep the children from Jesus (v. 13b). Jesus rebuked them for it and prayed for the kids (vv. 14-15).
A rich kid came to Jesus and asked Him what kind of good did he have to do to get to heaven (v. 16). Jesus said that since he was mentioning good maybe he should consider that the truest form of good is God Himself (v. 17c). And maybe he should happen to notice Who was standing in front of him (v. 17b). Anyway, Jesus told him to obey all the commandments that had to do with relations with other people (v. 17d-19).
Jesus summed up all those commandments with “‘love your neighbor as yourself” so the young man wouldn’t miss the point that he was supposed to care about others (cf. Lev. 19:18).
The young guy said, “No prob. I’m down with all that” (v. 20).
Jesus didn’t think he was really getting it so he came with a right cross: he told him he should sell everything he had and give it to the poor (v. 21).
The young man was totally bummed because that was like the last thing he wanted to do (v. 22). Jesus told his disciples it was harder for a dromedary to go through the largest landmark in Seattle* (v. 24). The boys were incredulous (v. 25a). After hearing that, the 12 boys got the impression that it was impossible for anyone to get to heaven (v. 25b). “Yeah, you’re staring to catch on,” Jesus told the boys, “you can only get there because of God” (v. 26).
Peter said, “Hey, we’re not like the snobby young ruler. We’ve given up everything. What about us” (v. 27)? Jesus said there was a new world coming and he and the disciples would really make out as would anyone else who gave up all the stuff they did (v. 29). Every day would be “reverse day” up there (in the New Jerusalem, v. 30, cf. Rev. 3:12; 21:2 and commentary in Bible Knowledge Commentary).
(*Oh, c’mon. It’s the Space Needle!)
Psalm 24:1-10 A Worship Psalm Of Yahweh by David
Psalm 24:1-10 The Return Of The King
This psalm can be viewed as the third of a Shepherd trilogy. It may well have been used as a liturgy as the ark was brought into the new capital of Israel, Jerusalem, by David.
It appears to have been used as a liturgy, that is, a rote reading used in worship. The ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, says that Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that seven choirs of singers and musicians marched before the ark as it was brought to the tabernacle.
It may have been sung in Herod’s temple and has also been associated with Palm Sunday celebrations, commemorating the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem just before the Passion week. It was also used for worship on Ascension Day, the fortieth day after Easter.
When we worry about our provision, do we stop to think that Yahweh owns the earth and everything in it (v. 1)? God created everything and He owns it all, including all the people (v. 2, 1b).
A choir sang the opening statement of praise in vv. 1-2, then a leader would have asked the questions in vv. 3, 8a, and 10a. “Who may ascend into the fill of the Lord and who may stand in His holy place?” The answer is “he who has clean hands and a pure heart” (v. 4a). It must be a person of integrity (v. 4b, c). When we sin, we break fellowship with the Lord (cf. Isa. 59:2). God will not hear our prayer in that state (cf. Ps. 66:18-19). The way to repair the breach is to confess our sins to God (cf. 1 John 1:9). Then He will forgive us and also forgive all of the rest of our sins as well (“and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9b).
Is it possible to minister while maintaining our sin? The answer is in vv. 4-6. The worst preachers I have ever heard were the ones I knew were committing blatant sins. The best were the ones that had confessed all their sins and were trying to live a righteous life. One of my mentors, a seminary professor, told our class one time that he had gotten into a fight with wife then had to fly off to preach. He said God blessed the occasion in a wonderful way. His point is that God acts in grace. More than that, I knew that seminary professor. I knew he was going to clear things up with his wife. God knew that, too. He was growing and wrestling with his sin. God can bless that. I doubt he blesses those who are persistent in their sin.
The one who keeps “short accounts” with God is the one whom God blesses (v. 5). Jeremiah 29:13 promises that we shall find God when we seek Him with all our heart. Those are the ones God blesses. Are your prayers being answered? If not, it could be that the timing is not God’s timing but it could also be because there is unconfessed sin. Or the answer may be on its way (cf. 1 John 5:14-15).
I love Handel’s Messiah. I think of it as “Jesus’ Song.” Every chorus is magnificent. Handel chose the last four verses of this psalm to be included in his work. OK, the guy responsible for the words, Charles Jennens, chose them to represent Christ’s ascension into Heaven.
Verse 7 is a command to open the doors for Christ’s entrance to Heaven in relation to the Ascension or Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem. In David’s day, it would be a reference to the presence of God in the ark coming to town.
Verses 8a and 10a ask, Who is the King of glory. The answer is in 8b, the almighty Lord. The Lord of the host of Heaven is all glorious is the answer in 10b.
To “lift up [one’s] head” is to be alert. Here comes the King! Also, it would be a call to worship Him and welcome Him.
Check out the Messiah yourself and listen to the portion, “Lift Up Your Heads.” It will give you a sense of the call and response nature of the psalm.
Are you looking every day for the Return of the King? Someone said that we should live every day as if Christ died yesterday, was risen today, and coming back tomorrow. Are you?
Proverbs 6:1-5 Signing and Co-Signing
When I was working at the Atlanta Hilton parking cars, trying to get to Dallas to seminary, one of my co-workers approached me to co-sign a loan. He said he knew that Scripture prohibited co-signing but wondered if I could secure his loan anyway. I asked him where the Bible said that loans shouldn’t be co-signed. He showed me. I told him no.
I hardly knew him and, OK, I didn’t have any money to loan him anyway or I wouldn’t have been working at the Atlanta Hilton parking cars. A true “neighbor” (v. 1) probably wouldn’t ask you to c0-sign. McGee points out that it is usually someone who wants to act like a “big shot” that would consider co-signing. I felt like my “friend” was trying to trap me anyway. That’s exactly how the Bible portrays that kind of transaction. You are getting trapped.
Actually, the Bible does allow us to give loans. We just shouldn’t expect to get the money back. Luke 6:35 says, “ . . . lend, expecting nothing in return.” I have to remember that when I loan out my books. I kiss them goodbye, usually.
And it is certainly OK to co-sign a loan for one of your children, especially, if you don’t mind paying back the loan if they default. Proverbs is wisdom which means it is generally true. Generally, you shouldn’t co-sign a loan because there will be a good chance you’ll get stuck with it! So if you don’t have to money to pay, don’t do it! Find the guy you co-signed for and beg him to let you out of the deal. “Importune” him like the plague (v. 3c). Otherwise, you’ll probably be like a gazelle that has just been caught by a hunter. You don’t want to be like a gazelle, do you (v. 5a)? By the way, a fowler is a bird-killer. You don’t want to be like a bird in the hands of a bird-killer, do you (v. 5b)?
Don’t co-sign on loans! That was Solomon’s financial advice to youngsters.
Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 19:21-22 NASB “Let’s Make A Deal”
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.” Matthew 19:21-22
I already wrote a great blog called Hold On that would cover this passage. Great. Now I have to come up with something else.
Well, notice this poor guy had a lot of stuff. He wanted to worship his stuff and get into Heaven, too. Jesus didn’t tell him he had to sell his stuff to get into Heaven. He told him he had to sell his stuff to become “complete” or mature (cf. Matt. 5:48).
Does everyone have to sell all their stuff to be complete? No. Jesus knew what keeping this young man from having the best relationship with him. After all, the young guy couldn’t carry everything he had around with him while he was following Jesus.
There is not a price to be paid for salvation. It is free (cf. Rom. 6:23; Is. 55: 1-2; Rev. 21:6). However, there is a price for discipleship. It is our life (cf. Gal. 2:20). But if we pay it, there is “treasure in Heaven” (v. 21, cf. Luke 14:27-28).
OK. So now, who wants to sell their iPhone and have a deeper life here on earth and better place in Heaven?
I already said Jesus didn’t say you had to sell your stuff. Maybe you don’t. But, ask yourself, is there anything that is getting between you and the Lord? If so, it’s best to deal with that. It’s not worth losing your best life now or your best life up there.
Deal with it.
And if you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
How do you know if there is something that you need to get rid of in your life? Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us . . . .” So here’s the rule: if you own something that is holding you back from having a better relationship with the Lord, then get rid of it. It could be something that you prioritize above God or it could be someone. If you are worshipping your phonograph, you may have to go digital. If you are worshipping your boyfriend or girlfriend, you have to re-think your relationship. (Hey, if you are worshipping your wife or husband, you are stuck. You will have to change your mindset not your spouse! Stay married!)
If the Holy Spirit has brought something to mind that you need to deal with, deal with it.
If you do, you will be blessed!
Do it now . . . today!
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: You Must Be Kid-ding