Old Testament: Exodus 10:1-12:13
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The eighth and ninth plagues of locusts and darkness are recounted in chapter 10. The story of the final plague, the death of the Egyptian firstborns, is recounted in chapter eleven. Chapter twelve is the command to commemorate their exodus from Egypt in a new holiday called Passover.
Exodus 10: The eighth and ninth plagues.
Phase Eight: Locusts (vv. 1-20).
Moses approached Pharaoh again (v. 3). Pharaoh said that the men could go and worship but not the women and children (v. 11). God would not allow just the men to go (v. 12). So Moses stretched out his hand and there was a plague of locusts like the world had never seen (v. 13). The locusts were very heavy eaters and devoured all the crops not annihilated by the hail (vv. 14-15). Pharaoh said, “I give,” so God caused the wind to shift to the west, having the net effect of moving every single one of the locusts into the sea (v. 19). But then guess what happened? You’re right (v. 20).
Phase Nine: Darkness (vv. 21-28).
God told Moses to turn out the lights on the ‘Gyptians (v. 21). So he raised his arms and everything in Egypt went dark except where the Israelites were hanging (v. 23b). The ‘Gyptians could not see their own hands in front of their faces (not that they would get much enjoyment out of that anyway, v. 23a). Pharaoh tried to negotiate with M and A but to no avail (vv. 24-25). Pharaoh said they could take the women and children (v. 24b). But M and A said they needed the livestock to go with them so they could sacrifice them (vv. 25-26). Pharaoh said that would be a “no-go” (v. 27). Fine, said M and A, “we’re outta here. And they were (v. 29). Pharaoh called to them, “if I see you again, I’ll kill you” (v. 28). Moses replied, “not if we see you first” (v. 29b). And it was so.
Exodus 11: The final plague.
Phases Ten: Death of the Egyptian children (vv. 1-10).
The Lord told Moses He would be doing only one more huge miracle (v. 1). He told M and A to tell the “‘Gyptians” to hand over all their silver and gold to the Israelites (v. 2) The Lord was going to destroy the firstborn of all the ‘Gyptians but leave all the Jewish firstborn intact (vv. 4 – 7). Of course, Pharaoh would not budge again.
In Exodus 12:1-13, the Lord told M and A about a new holiday He was going to establish (vv. 1-13). The Jews were supposed to take a male lamb or goat, one year-old, with no defects and prepare them for dinner (v. 8). They were supposed to repeat the process every year as a commemoration (vv. 3, 11). They were supposed to put on their traveling clothes and be ready to scoot right after they ate (v. 11). They were supposed to take the blood from the slain animals and put it on all their doorposts (v. 7). When God saw the blood He would “pass over” that dwelling and not take their firstborn (vv. 12-13). They thought long and hard for a name for this holiday and here’s what they came up with . . . see if you’ve ever heard of it . . . “Passover.” (This is sarcasm. They really didn’t have to think long and hard.)
Note: There is a cool chart in The Bible Knowledge Commentary on p. 120 that describes and compares all the plagues along with which pagan Egyptian god that Yahweh was insulting and why.
New Testament: Matthew 20:1-28
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Jesus tells a parable about an employer who paid some workers less on average than some who had just started working.
He told the disciples, for the fourth time, that He’d have to die.
James’ and John’s Mom asked Jesus if her sons could get VIP seating in Heaven. The other ten guys, then, got ticked but Jesus taught them all a lesson on being a servant.
Matthew 20:1-28 Less Than Average
Jesus said the kingdom is like a landowner who went out early in the morning, then again again 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.(vv. 1, 5, 6). He paid everyone the same wage for the day ticking off the guys who had been working all day (vv. 8-15). Jesus said that it was up to God who got what rewards in the kingdom . The way things look to the world and the way they look to God could be two different things: so shut up.
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus told the 12 disciples that He’d be turned over to Jewish religious leaders to be condemned and then to the Roman government to be tortured to death (vv. 17-19a). But then He would come back to life again after three days (v. 19b). This was the fourth time He tried to get it through to them (cf. 12:40; 16:21; 17:22-23).
The Mom of James and John thought this would be a good time to ask for preferential treatment for her sons (vv. 20 -21). Jesus said, “did you just hear what I said about the torturing and stuff? Do you think your kids could go through that?” (vv. 22a). The sons answered Him, “Sure” (v. 22b). Jesus said, ” you’re right but it’s up to God who sits where in the kingdom but we’ll work something out” (v. 23b).
The other 10 disciples were ripped but Jesus said they weren’t getting the point: be a servant and don’t worry how things end up (v. 26)! Theirs was not a worldly gig (v. 25). Personally speaking, Jesus said He wasn’t on earth for personal glory but to help others even to the point of trading His life for all the everyone on earth (v. 28). (This is aka Salvation!)
Choose Life Scripture: Matthew 20:26-27 NASB “A Foot Up”
“It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave” Matthew 20:26-27
Have you ever taken those tests that help you determine which spiritual gift you have? If you haven’t, you probably should some time.
When I take them, I usually end up with quite a few gifts: teaching, exhortation, administration, et. al. The ones I never get are “helps” or “service.” My wife gets those.
The problem with the gift surveys is that sometimes people use them as an excuse not to do something. “Oh, I have the gift of . . . , so I can’t teach kids’ Sunday School.” “I have the gift of teacher so I can’t help mow the lawn.” You get the idea. That’s not the way it works.
Sometimes God just wants to stretch us. We may have a spiritual gift in one area but we can always serve in another area. God won’t count it against us at the bema judgment if we serve outside the area of our gifting (cf. Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10).
Remember Jesus washed the feet of his disciples (cf. John 13:3-5). He was God and He stooped to wash the greasy, grimy, dusty feet of his boys. And He was the greatest of us all!
If you really want to feel good about yourself, bend down and help someone today.
And if you can, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Think of one thing you could do to help someone else today.
Now do it.
You’ll be blessed if you do!
Do it 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: I’ll Pass