A Fawning Farewell

August 8, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Q&A | 2 Comments
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Question: I don’t understand why the Egyptians would give the Israelites their gold and silver and jewels when they were leaving.

Answer: There are a couple of possible reasons found in Exodus 12:33-36. One, it could be that the Egyptians were anxious to get rid of them, since the plagues were obviously because of their presence in Egypt. They had come to recognize the truth: God was going to keep sending plagues until the Egyptians let them go, and they already thought of themselves as “dead men” because of all they had suffered. That is indicated by Verse 33.

And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.

Exodus 12:33

Giving them gifts was a way to encourage them to hurry up and leave.

Second, Verse 36 indicates that this was a supernatural phenomenon where the Lord simply made it so that the Egyptians “favored” the Israelites with gifts without fully understanding why they themselves were doing it.

And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:36

It says that they “spoiled” the Egyptians, which is language used when a victorious army takes away the property of a defeated army after a battle. The Irsaelites had won a war without lifting a finger (which means that God actually fought and won it for them).

There is another possibility which I stumbled upon while researching something else. Apparently all ancient cultures practiced some form of “exorcism” (casting out demons). In most cultures this was done by berating or commanding demons, trying to force them to come out of their hosts and leave. However, the form of exorcism practiced in ancient Egypt was quite different. Egyptians priests believed that the way to get rid of demons was to be extremely polite to them. This is pure speculation, but it is fun to imagine the Egyptians (wrongly believing that the children of Israel were under the influence of agents of Yahweh, whom they considered “demons”) trying to coax them to leave the land. “Would you mind taking my coat, sir? I shan’t need it anymore. Oh! and here you are mi’lady, please take this gold necklace and these silver earrings. We fixed you a canteen and a picnic basket for your trip into the wilderness. So sorry to see you go!”

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Know Your Limits

July 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Posted in I Corinthians | 3 Comments
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Having used the example of foregoing the right to be paid for ministry in I Corinthians Chapter 9, the Apostle Paul then returned to the question concerning eating meat offered to idols and attending feasts or services in idolatrous temples.

There is an emphasis on the word “all” in I Corinthians 10.

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

I Corinthians 10:1

The statement, “I would not that ye should be ignorant” is similar to the the expression, “Know ye not..?” that is so common throughout I Corinthians, and here it expresses the same idea. The Holy Spirit through Paul was referencing the narrative account of Exodus, where God’s people had passed through the parted Red Sea, and were guided by the cloud-by-day/pillar-of-fire-by-night. These were very obvious reminders of the presence of God with them.

And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

I Corinthians 10:2

They not only had immediate reminders of God’s presence, but they had his mediated reminder in the person of the mediator Moses.

And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

I Corinthians 10:3

For the Israelites in the wilderness, their “spiritual meat” was manna. It was spiritual in the sense that it came supernaturally, but also in that it was a spiritual reminder of God and His Spirit.

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

I Corinthians 10:4

There is much confusion among the commentators about this verse, with some thinking that an actual rock followed the Israelites around, but I think the better view is that the verse is teaching that the pre-incarnate Christ was with them spiritually, and that He was their provider of living water as well as physical water.

But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

I Corinthians 10:5

This verse deviates from the pattern by saying “many” instead of “all,” but we know that all but two (Joshua and Caleb) of that generation that left Egypt were overthrown in the wilderness. Being a “Know” is really about being a believer, but belief is something that is unsafe to take for granted. We need to demonstrate our knowledge and belief with action.

The Old Testament stories are true historical events, but they were also designed by God as types and learning tools. There are a number of things that we need to learn from the wilderness wandering of our spiritual forbears:

1. Be careful about lusting.

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

I Corinthians 10:6

We were made by God to have strong desires, but our tendency is to forget that God gave us those desires to yearn for Him and to glorify Him. Instead, we usurp them and aim them at that which is evil.

2. Remember that you must not become involved again with idolatry.

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

I Corinthians 10:7

This is a reference to Exodus 32. All the Know-Nots are idolators in some sense, and our own hearts, apart from Christ, are idol factories.

Nor does idolatry tend to remain dormant in hearts. Just as true worship of God expresses itself in outward actions, so false worship of anything other than God tends to express itself in manifestations of sinful behavior.

3. Do not fornicate.

Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

I Corinthians 10:8

This is a reference to Numbers 25. The people joined themselves to Baal, the worship of which involved the prostitution of virgins. The temple of Venus in Corinth was also a place where fornication was deemed a method of worship.

4. Do not tempt Christ.

Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

I Corinthians 10:9

This is a reference to Numbers 21. The idea of tempting Christ, in the context, only makes sense if He is truly God (which He is), and it is something that we are prone to do when we hear His Word but fail to obey it. I hope that you find reading the Bible and listening to sound Biblical preaching and teaching enjoyable, but you also need to know that it is dangerous.

5. Do not get involved in murmuring (grumbling and complaining).

Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

I Corinthians 10:10

This is a reference to the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 14. Murmuring is a danger for overconfident Knows. We must not be overconfident in our “Know-Ness.”

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

I Corinthians 10:11-12

These things weren’t just recorded for our knowledge. They were recorded to keep us from being overconfident. Temptation will always be present, but there is always a way to escape.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I Corinthians 10:13

Fellowship with the Lord is safe and it keeps us safe.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

I Corinthians 10:16-17

The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is an important time of memorializing our fellowship with Him. If you are married, you still have fellowship with your spouse when you are doing other things, and even when you are physically apart from each other, but the relationship will suffer if you do not spend concentrated periods of time and attentiveness together.

What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

I Corinthians 10:19

Meat sold in the market was okay for the Corinthian Christians to purchase and eat, even knowing the possibility that it had originally been used in some type of pagan ceremony. Likewise, they were not required to give their pagan hosts the third degree about where the food had come from if they were invited over for a meal.

However, it was still very important that they flee from any actual idolatry, because the worship of some idols is demonic.

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

I Corinthians 10:20-21

Idolatry is still idolatry, even when it is more particularly classified as syncretism, as was illustrated by the case of the golden calf.

Paul had taken great care to answer the Corinthians’ question about how they should deal with their dietary choices as they related to their consciences. He came to the conclusion that they were under no obligation to inquire too closely concerning the questionable source of hospitality offered by others, but when the thing offered is important to others, it must become important to us. So, if the host considers the meal idolatrous worship, then the Christians must not partake, or, if others perceive that you are participating in idolatry, it would be better not to participate.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:

I Corinthians 10:23-28

Exodus: Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

July 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Exodus | Leave a comment
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Key Themes in the Book of Exodus:

1. The Lord sets His people free. (Exodus 5:1)
SIGN: The actual “exiting” from Egypt (Exodus 12:51)
SEAL: The plagues – especially the death of the firstborn (Exodus 12:29)
DELIVERANCE: The destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:27) [If you are a Christian, the Lord has set you free and He has destroyed the power of your enemies.]

2. The freedom which the Lord grants comes with the responsibility of obedience. (Exodus 15:26)
SIGN: The Decalogue and the Covenant Code (Exodus 20:1)
SEAL: The splashing of blood (Exodus 24:6-8)
DELIVERANCE: A true system of worship (Exodus 20:23-24)

3. The Lord allows trials and tests to strengthen faith. (Exodus 14:3-4)
SIGNS: Trapped at the Red Sea; Amalekite attack; lack of water and food (Exodus 14:10, 17:8-9, 16:2-4, 17:1-3)
SEALS: Red Sea parted (Exodus 14:21-22); water and manna provided (Exodus 15:25, 16:13-15)
DELIVERANCE: Promise of a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8)

4. The Lord wants intimate worship. (Exodus 6:7)
SIGN: The appointment of Moses as mediator and intercessor (Exodus 19:3, 32:11-14)
SEAL: The instruction to build a tabernacle in the midst of the people (Exodus 25:8)
DELIVERANCE: The continuing office of priests (Exodus 40:15)

5. The Lord wants sacrificial worship from His people. (Exodus 3:18)
SIGN: Offerings would be integral to worship (Exodus 13:15)
SEAL: The acceptance of shed blood for the remission of sins (Exodus 29:10-22)
DELIVERANCE: The provision by God of the things to be sacrificed, as opposed to Pharaoh’s cruel order that they find their own straw (Exodus 12:22-23, 5:10-12)

6. The Lord wants to abide permanently with His people. (Exodus 19:5-6)
SIGN: The promise of the Lord to be their national and personal God (Exodus 33:12-17)
SEAL: A detailed, intricate, specific, yet mobile, tabernacle, as opposed to pilgrimages to a holy place (Exodus 25:9)
DELIVERANCE: The glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34)

Links to lessons in the Exodus category:

1. God’s People in the World (Exodus 1)
2. Moses as a Type of Christ (Exodus 1-2)
3. How God Prepares Leaders (Exodus 2-3)
4. When It’s Time to Cut Loose (Exodus 2, 4:21-26)
5. What Is God Like? (Exodus 3, 15:11)
6. Don’t Beat around the Bush (Exodus 3-4)
7. Spiritual Arteriosclerosis (Exodus 4, 7-11, 14)
8. This Is Not a Negotiation (Exodus 5, 7, 8, 10, 14)
9. Beware False Finger-Pointing (Exodus 5)
10. The Manager Who Thought He Was an Owner (Exodus 7:5; Luke 20:9-16)
11. Knowing that He Is the Lord (Exodus 7, 8, 14)
12. Smiting the Gods (Exodus 7-8)
13. Outer Darkness and Inner Darkness (Exodus 10)
14. Evil Angels (Exodus 11-12)
15. The Passover: Killing, Purging, and Eating (Exodus 12)
16. The Lambs that Were Silenced but Still Speak Today (Exodus 12)
17. A Fawning Farewell (Exodus 12)
18. Remembering the Garlic (Exodus 12-13; Numbers 11:4-10)
19. The Why behind the What and the How (Exodus 13)
20. A Three-Item To-Do List before Leaving Egypt Behind (Exodus 13)
21. Two Miracles: A Parted Sea and a Hardened Heart (Exodus 14)
22. Delaying Dutifully During Deliverance (Exodus 14)
23. Poetry, Dancing, and the Wondrous Fear of God (Exodus 15)
24. When the Lord Becomes Your Song (Exodus 15)
25. Omniscience, Obstacles, Opportunities, and Overruling Oversight (Exodus 15-16)
26. The Statute and the Ordinance at Marah (Exodus 15:25-26)
27. The Bookends of Faith (Part 1) (Exodus 3:13-14; 16; John 6:26-51)
28. How to Raise Your Hand During a Test (Exodus 17)
29. A Busy Time-Out (Exodus 18-19)
30. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Revelatory) (Exodus 20)
31. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Restrictive) (Exodus 20)
32. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Reflective) (Exodus 20)
33. Three Words about God: His Supremacy, His Image, and His Name (Exodus 20:1-7)
34. A Fourth Word about God: His Rest (Exodus 20:3-11)
35. Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments to Children (Exodus 20:7-8) *
36. Catechism Question 2 (Exodus 20:11)
37. The Horizontal Words (Exodus 20:12-17)
38. Frightening Words (Exodus 20:18-20)
39. Reverence as a Warning Against Idolatry (Exodus 20:18-26)
40. A Justice Sandwich (Exodus 21)
41. Properly Promoting the Principle of Personal Property (Exodus 22)
42. A Revelation of a Violation against Revilation (Exodus 22:28)
43. Peer Pressure and Robin Hood Theology Exposed (Exodus 23:2-3)
44. The Forbidden Recipe and the Special Angel (Exodus 23:19-21, 20:22-23)
45. A Bloody Confirmation and Covenant (Exodus 23-24)
46. Restriction and Freedom in Worship (Exodus 24-25)
47. Worship Is about Sacrifice (Exodus 26-28)
48. Oh, be Careful, Little Ears, Thumbs, and Toes (Exodus 29)
49. The True Consecration (Exodus 29-31)
50. Why We Can, and Cannot, Have Nice Things (Exodus 31-32)
51. Syncretism and Sexual Sin (Exodus 32:5-6)
52. Corrupt Curving off Course (Exodus 32:7-9)
53. The Intercessory Prayer of Moses (Exodus 32:10-13)
54. The Personality of God (Exodus 32, 14:12)
55. When the Word of God Crashes the Party (Exodus 32:15-20)
56. The Consequences of Partying Naked (Exodus 32:21-25)
57. The Great Peradventure (Exodus 32:26-30)
58. God’s Unassisted Bookkeeping (Exodus 32:31-35)
59. What Moses Really Wanted from God (Exodus 33)
60. Catechism Question 13 (Exodus 33:20)
61. The Relief and Terror of God’s Presence (Exodus 34)
62. Unveiled Glory and Unguarded Giving (Exodus 34-35; II Corinthians 3:7-18)
63. Up to Spec (Exodus 35-38)
64. Command-Fulfillment Pattern (Exodus 35-40)
65. The Tabernacle Completed, Inspected, and Turned over to the Owner (Exodus 40)

* most-viewed post in category

From Garbage to Glory

October 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

Psalm 68:13

There was a time when God’s people were in bondage in Egypt. Like pots that had been thrown away, they were the least of the least of the least. They had been that way for a long time before God called Moses to deliver the news of their deliverance. Why did God allow their bondage to go on so long?

One reason may have been because freedom is more greatly appreciated when the pain of bondage is known. I seldom walk around during the day thinking about how “good” my head feels. However, after enduring a long sinus headache, when the relief finally comes, I really appreciate the feeling that comes with having a non-aching head! I thank the Lord for it, I smile, I tell my wife and children how wonderful it feels just to feel “normal.” Freedom is something we are prone to take for granted until God allows us to experience the reality, or at least the threat, of losing it.

Another reason is that we tend to appreciate gifts more when they are novel – when they are things to which we are unaccustomed. I’m thankful to receive a tie for Father’s Day, but – because I have a rack full of them already – I would be hard pressed to describe myself as “delighted” over another one. However, when I received four free tickets and a parking pass to Cowboys Stadium, it was a whole different story! I was thrilled because this would be a whole new experience. The Lord has a way of surprising us with His graciousness so that we remember that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

Note that Psalm 68:13 describes a covering of gold and silver over things that had been cast aside as broken and useless. These precious metals were not intrinsic to the doves’ wings themselves. They came from another source, and were applied with skill and care. This is an illustration of the “alien” righteousness that Christians receive from Christ at the moment of salvation. It benefits us, but it comes solely from Him. It is our only basis for claiming usefulness and worth.

We don’t like it when this world’s system treats us the way that Egypt treated the Israelites, but we will find ourselves more anxious to leave the bondage of it behind when we recognize its cruelty. We may be thankful to God, in a sense, even for God’s allowance of our sins – for they pursued us to the Savior.

When We Are Tempted to Slam on the Brakes at the Fuller Revelation of God’s Mercy

May 17, 2013 at 11:40 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 6 Comments
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All 26 verses in Psalm 136 end the same way: “his [God’s] mercy endureth for ever.” When we see the great and wonderful and awe-inspiring things that God has done for His people in creation, in blessings, in salvation, and in deliverance, we become enthusiastic worshipers, and joyfully repeat the mantra, “His mercy endureth for ever,” over and over again.

He is the God of gods and Lord of lords! (vv. 2-3)
Yes! His mercy endureth for ever!

He made the earth and the whole universe! (vv. 5-6)
Hallelujah! His mercy endureth for ever!

He made all the lights in the sky and the heavenly bodies! (vv. 7-9)
Amen! His mercy endureth for ever!

He killed all the firstborn sons of all the Egyptian moms and dads! (v. 10)
Praise His name! His mercy endur… Wait… Hold on a minute… Suddenly, we’re not so enthusiastic, are we?

To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

Psalm 136:10

And what about verse 15? “But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.” How many families lost their loved ones in the watery grave of the Red Sea when the Egyptian army followed the Israelites into the parted waters? How many 15 and 16 and 17 year old Egyptian little brothers lost their lives, adding to the grief of their mothers and grandparents who had already lost their sons and grandsons and husbands by the hand of the Lord? This doesn’t sound like forever-enduring mercy to us.

See, in Christian ministry, our primary goal is to teach and to learn God’s Word so that we can apply it to our lives. But doing this often means doing the difficult task of staring straight into God’s revealed truth without dressing it up or watering it down. When we get happy about the truth of God’s mercy, we need to remember that God’s mercy toward some can at the same time be His judgment and vengeance toward others. God does not offer a smorgasbord of His attributes for us to sample. We don’t get to pick and choose what we happen to like about Him, or what is easy to understand about Him, and leave the rest.

Here is a Bible truth about God’s mercy: No one deserves it. It wouldn’t be mercy if it was deserved.

Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

Psalm 136:23

And God’s mercy never needs to be reconciled with His righteousness, holiness, justice, or wrath, because, in God, His attributes are never at odds with each other. They simply flow from His divine nature in perfect sovereign harmony.

Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation. I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Psalm 85:7-10

We did not cause God’s mercy; we were not the source of God’s mercy; and we do not get to dictate the terms of God’s mercy. It endures forever, because God endures forever. He is immutable, and all His attributes are likewise. He is the Redeemer. We are the redeemed. This makes us sing and shout, not dispute and doubt.


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