Personal stuff – question, more studies on Exodus 12

Friday, December 22, 2006

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We had a great Bible study today on prophesy, but I want to be more alert when I type the notes, so will start doing them tomorrow. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to get them properly typed up with Bible passages, etc. My oldest son has a college interview tomorrow, fortunately local, and I still have a gazillion things to do before Christmas. My middle son wants to try and do an Italian tradition of having 12 kinds of fish for Christmas. Has anyone done that? If so, what do you suggest to make it easiest. My husband is behind this idea 100% and I am sadly realizing that turkey, my favorite will not be on the menu, sigh. I may get my turkey though once they go on sale after Christmas.

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, and will try to get to your sites asap. Praying peace and joy in your households. For me, I am looking forward to Christmas Day and what it means. We still have to put up our tree, it is outside getting rained on, and we want it a bit drier before we bring it in. I can’t wait to smell the pine. We keep our tree up until the needles almost all fall off.

A friend of ours gave my husband a huge sprig of bamboo for a picture he wanted to take. We put it up in the Christmas tree spot (kind of looked like the Peanut’s Christmas Tree). My middle son did a double take, not noticing it even though he was sitting 3 inches away, so we told him it was our tree, that the needles had fallen. We had a good laugh. I live for those moments of laughter.

Anyway, I am putting myself at your mercy. Feel free to ask any question you like – as long as it stays within the bounds of propriety. I will try to answer it. It can be personal or Biblical.

Have a Merry Christmas,

Heather

Exodus 12:37-51

Now the journey begins, and trust me Moses and the Israelites are going to have quite the adventure. I used to marvel that the Israelites, the moment Moses’s back was turned for those 40 days in the mountain, made idols. After all the signs and wonders they saw God do they still built idols. I am now realizing that those who depend solely on signs and wonders will wander once the signs and wonders pass. Without a relationship with God, it is far too easy to fall back to old ways, to old idols. Only walking forward with God protects us. Moses exemplifies a good example of a shepherd for his people. He had human traits, got angry with the people, frustrated with their complaining, and tried to take on too much, but he also had a love for this wayward tribe – interceded for them, and kept a love and focus on God that is enviable. And in his last days, Moses will prophesy the birth of the savior. What a life!

The Egyptians are grieving the loss of their first born sons. Once when I read this story to my oldest son he gulped when he realized that he was the first born son. If you didn’t know the heart of God, some of these historical stories could seem rather harsh. It is easy to forget, because so many years are compressed in so few pages, that the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. They came to Egypt through Joseph who actually saved the lives of all Egyptians and Israelites from a severe famine. The ruling powers ultimately forgot the good that Joseph (an Israelite) did for the Egyptians and enslaved the Israelites. God could have acted instantly, but instead waited 400 years, and I am certain He hoped that the Egyptians would mend their ways. They didn’t, but during this time God prospered the Israelites and helped them to grow in numbers. It was this population growth that upset Pharaoh so much that he, instead of destroying firstborn sons, decided that all male babies had to be killed. And God preserved one male child, Moses, in the palace of Pharaoh. Moses interceded for the release of the Israelites, but Pharaoh chose to harden his heart and not listen to Moses. God gave ample warning of what would happen, but Pharaoh decided to ignore those warnings and plagues – and that mistake on his part cost him not only the life of his firstborn son, but the lives of all the firstborn of the Egyptians and animals. What a cost Pharaoh’s pride had. And to top it off, Pharaoh is still going to act stupid.

Reading through the Bible I once asked Pastor Don why the Israelites kept turning to idols, kept doing stupid things when God had shown Himself so strongly in their lives. Pastor Don pointed out that God put the individual historical stories in the Bible to show us about ourselves. He picked and chose what went in so that we could learn from the mistakes of others instead of through experience. That these people made thousands and thousands of good choices, but God focused on the not so good ones because He wanted to prevent us from making the same wrong choices. He also pointed out that often many years pass between one chapter and the next. Between Genesis and Exodus 400 years had passed.

Exodus 12:37 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.

During this journey we are going to be looking at the meanings of the place names for they tell a story about the journey that is kind of surprising. If there are 600,000 men, and then women and children, that means that there is going to be an incredible tent town of 2 1/2 to 3 million people. My middle son loves military history, and we got to thinking about how much would need to be provided so that many people would have all that they needed in the form of food, water, and provisions. It is mind-boggling. And we need to remember that God abundantly provided for these people for 40 years! God truly is an awesome God, and a wonderful provider. We will also see God reveal Himself to the people through various new names of God that help us to see more of His qualities. This is going to be a great adventure for us too. Slip on your sandals – don’t forget that for 40 years the sandals and clothes never wore out.

Rameses means – Child of the sun. Rameses was an Egyptian city, so God liberated them from that Egypt which is a symbol of the world, the flesh, and sinful, idolatrous ways..

Succoth means tent town. Succoth is now a festival celebrated in September/October (harvest time) which commemorates the time when the Israelites lived in the wilderness during the Exodus. As a reminder of the shelters used in the wilderness, huts (sukkah) are built and used for eating and sleeping during the seven-day celebration. Succoth begins five days after the day of fasting and penitence, Yom Kippur. It commemorates a time of hardship, but also has rejoicing. The building of the Sukkah symbolizes trusting in God’s protection. It has to have at least three sides, but is flimsy. The roof is made of cut branches through which the sky can be seen. It is lavishly decorated with garlands and fruit. Even today these shelters are built and the Jews live in them for a week. During the time they spend in the succoths they talk to their children about the Exodus, and share the history of what God has done for their people.

Exodus 12:38-39 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds–a great deal of livestock. And they baked unleavened cakes of dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.

What is cool is that some of the Egyptians and others went with the Israelites. Perhaps they left because of the plagues, curiosity, and others might have learned to respect God. But in all of Israel’s history there were those among them who were not Israelites. It was a fast exit from Egypt – the best way to exit from sinful ways, no looking back, not waiting to grab up souvenirs, and moving forward into the new life, trusting that God would provide.

Exodus 12:40-42 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years–on that very same day–it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is the night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

And this solemn observance continues throughout today.

Exodus 12:43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it.

This is not a observance for pagans.

Exodus 12:44-45 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it.

Circumcision is a sign of covenant with God, so if the servant is under covenant protection, he may eat the Passover meal, if not, he cannot eat it.

Exodus 12:46 In one house it shall be eaten: you shall not carry any flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.

This is another picture of Jesus, for the Lamb was unblemished, and was sacrificed to provide a covering for the house, and no bone is broken. Usually during crucifixion when they wanted to hasten death, the leg bones of the criminal were broken so they could not push themselves up on the cross to catch a breath and they would suffocate. When they came to Jesus they saw that He was already dead, so they pierced His side, but did not break his leg bones.

Exodus 12:47-48 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it, and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.

Circumcision was a sign of the covenant with God. It involved the removal of a small fleshly part. We all have those areas of flesh that need removing in our lives, and now God is concerned with the circumcision of our hearts.

Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly , nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter whose praise is not from men but from God.

Just like the Jews in Jesus’ day, we get so caught up in the outward symbols and signs of our faith, but what really matters is the heart. You can look externally like a Christian, but still be seething inside, and not very Christian in your heart. But in those days, it was an outward sign of an inward process. Think of what it would mean, the men who were circumcised were daily reminded of the covenant. It involved something that was very dear to them. And if you were close to others, you would be able to see if they were really circumcised as the covenant required.

Exodus 12:49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.

Everyone who is circumcised, both Jew and Gentile function under the same law. There is no difference, not one law for Jew and one law for Gentile. It is the same today, there is one law, one way to salvation. We play by God’s rules, not our own inventions.

Exodus 12:50-51 Thus all the children of Israel did, as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.

I am not aware of any commentary about the Israelite armies, I am wondering if they are according to the tribes and how polished they were. I cannot imagine the Egyptians encouraging people that they considered a threat to carry arms. I know later God will assign the tribes certain places in the march, but this army reference puzzles me. Any ideas?

I took a break before spell checking this post to watch the Andy Williams show. And God delighted me with an answer to my question. The Israelites were NOT a mighty army at the time God spoke those words, but He was speaking a mighty army into existence. Sort of like He did with Gideon.

God has brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Now God has to get Egypt out of the Israelites. That is a mammoth job only God can do.

Have a blessed day!

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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