EXODUS 1-13 & ACTS 10
There is so much that I could discuss throughout the first few chapters of Exodus. I love this book because its all about FREEDOM and COVENANT! Two things that I find to be pillars of the Kingdom. The story of the Israelites liberation is OUR STORY. The story of God calling a people to be set apart is OUR STORY. I love reading this alongside Acts because we get a fuller picture of THE NEW COVENANT we walk in. In Exodus God calls a people and writes the covenant on STONE, in Acts God writes the covenant on our HEARTS. Such a beautiful parallel and I get overwhelmed with the thought that God desires to be as close as possible to His TREASURED POSSESSIONS. Enjoy this month it is packed with amazing stories and power beyond our ordinary lives that make everything EXTRAORDINARY!
I find it interesting that Exodus starts off with the children of Israel in slavery. I mean we just finished Genesis with God's supernatural deliverance of Israel from famine by bringing them to Egypt. Now the very thing that brought them SALVATION has them in BONDAGE. I believe a key can be found in the last words of Joseph in Genesis, when you GO BACK to the promise land promise me you will take my bones. See Joseph understood that Egypt was temporary it WAS NOT the promise of God for His people. Originally Jacob brought his family to Egypt to escape a famine. God provided through Joseph for Israel in a time of need BUT NEVER said stay. He had already made a covenant with His people and gave them a PROMISE LAND. The provision of Egypt was a temporary fix for a very present problem yet it turned into a permanent place of residence. In Egypt the children of God were happy and well-fed. The comforts of Egypt had seduced them into forgetting their SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE. Over in Canaan we have nothing, we just have the word of God the promise of God, but here we have EVERYTHING WE COULD EVER DESIRE. How quickly success and physical prosperity can turn into bondage. How quickly can bright lights and comfort turn into spiritual enslavement and eventually physical enslavement. While in Egypt, the people of God were enticed by the life of Egyptian culture and quickly forgot the things that set them apart from the world around them and wound up in SLAVERY! You see persecution binds the people of God together and our convictions are strengthened because the truth that we belong to a DIFFERENT KINGDOM is evident. However, when we blend into society and except the social norms, in direct conflict with covenant, we may be accepted by our peers but we lose our IDENTITY as God’s people. Slowly we are shackled to our own Egypts with slave drivers cracking the whip on our backs in NEED of a GREAT DELIVERANCE. When the allure of materialism gets it's hook in you, it is in direct conflict with your spiritual inheritance and you will find yourself in spiritual bondage way before physical bondage. It is a slippery slope and the children of God found themselves in this exact place. At first it could seem that God had forgotten His people. Beloved, God ALWAYS remembers His promises. ALWAYS! God is compassionate and just, and he will LIBERATE HIS PEOPLE. The Exodus is a story of great oppression and of a GREAT RESCUE. Believe it or not God already knew that His people would make mistakes and already spoke a promise to redeem in Genesis. (read genesis 15:13-14, genesis 46:3-4) In the same way God KNOWS US and has already spoken promises over our lives, HE WILL REDEEM, HE WILL RESTORE! DARE TO BELIEVE that regardless of the situations we find ourselves in, God has already provided for our deliverance. WILL YOU RECOGNIZE IT AND MOVE ACCORDINGLY?
Moses was already being positioned to bring about a great rescue. The little baby that was under a death threat and had to be given up by his mother was GOD’S ANSWER for the salvation of His people. How would you have liked to been that mother? You know sometimes in life we have to be willing to let go of the people and things we really love believing, IN FAITH, that God is doing a greater work and we will receive them back again. So when it seems God is asking for something dear to you, when you feel as though your dreams are dead, when you feel helpless in the life of someone you love, don’t lose heart or be overcome with dread. It could just be that God is wanting us to do things HIS WAY and not our own. After all, His ways are much better. By the time Moses shows up on the scene God’s people are living very bitter lives and it made it very difficult for them to believe that God was sending a DELIVERER. Sometimes the harsh realities of life can drown out the promises of God and we NEED someone in our life willing to SHOUT the deliverance of God until we can hear again. God chose MOSES.
I think it is interesting in Moses story that in his justice, he murdered and was running for his life yet God chose him. God looks at our lives and really SEES us. He has the ability to see beyond our failures and right into DIVINE DESTINY. Don’t you just LOVE THE LORD. We are never washed up has beens. We are NEVER beyond HIS REACH. When God reveals Himself to Moses he says, I am the God of who? Your FATHER, Abraham, Isaac, and JACOB! Yep… JACOB not Israel. Remember He had already changed Jacob the deceivers name to Israel. Why would he identify as the God of Jacob then? Because God is the God of our failures and weaknesses as well as the God of our promise. Remember THAT when you or anyone else tries to use your past or your weaknesses as a stumbling block toward your future. Why your FATHER? When God works in the lives of our children he will use the God of their mother and father as an example to them. This is why it is so important as parents to be in a vibrant relationship with the Lord. Our children will develop a view of God according to how we interact with God. We have the potential to draw their hearts TOWARD a loving, redeeming, faithful, promise keeping God or the potential to REPEL them from God.
I also think it is interesting that it was not until Moses turned aside to investigate the burning bush that He ENCOUNTERED God. It was when Moses TURNED ASIDE that God called to him. Sometimes we miss God in so many things because we don’t stop and investigate. We don’t slow down and ask. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW? We tend to draw a lot of our own conclusions or explain away things and miss the supernatural thing God is doing in the moment. We have to be people who REALLY SEE God in the ordinary in order to fully grasp the EXTRAORDINARY. If we desire to encounter God, we have to be willing to lay aside our plans and look DEEPER. Even after all that Moses was STILL scared to go! Even in the midst of Moses’s fear God was STILL calling him to go. God will always call us out of our fears into His plans we just have to be willing to STAY in the conversation. God was getting ready to show HIs people that HE is the God who KEEPS ALL HIS PROMISES. He is FAITHFUL! God wants us to live from a place of incurable HOPE. No matter what the situation looks like… EXPECT HIM TO COME THROUGH!
On the way to start what God called him to do, Moses encounters God and finds himself in the limbo of life and death. WHAT? God wants to kill him? NO! God is preparing him to accomplish his task with integrity and holiness. Moses was not fulfilling the covenant of God’s people. He had not circumsized his son and according to law this meant death. God in His great mercy was bringing wholeness to Moses. He met with Moses and revealed the error of his ways and told Moses what the law required. Moses had the CHOICE to obey. His wife beat him to it but nevertheless it was done. Even though Moses was chosen by God to deliver His people he was NOT EXEMPT from obeying the covenant. How could Moses call a people into covenant if he himself WAS NOT living it out? God cares about COVENANT and He cares about how we live it out. God was preparing Moses for the extreme spiritual SHOWDOWN that was about to take place. You cannot defeat that which is in you. If the enemy can find legal ground in you then you lose your power to defeat him. Moses was about to face the greatest enemy of God’s people and he NEEDED the power of God to do so. God was preparing Moses for success. When God meets with us and exposes our sin remember that He is preparing us for success NOT destruction.
Moses shows up on the scene, things get harder for the Israelites and they turn against him. Now isn’t that just GREAT. Im here to bring deliverance because GOD SENT ME and all I get is HATE! UM.… Nope I’m out let these people die in Egypt in their beloved slavery. That’s what a lot of us would want to say BUT that is not the heart of God. He keeps coming, He keeps chasing, He is determined to set us free even in the midst of our own doubts. Sometimes we have gotten our hopes up so many times to only find disappointment and God understands that hope deferred makes a heart sick. HE CAN HANDLE IT. He NEVER stops coming after us. YESSSSSSSSSSS…. I’m shouting right now. God came 10 times for their deliverance. Every time confronting a God of Egypt and proving that He is THE GREAT I AM! That there is no god besides Him and He will deliver His people with or without your help Pharaoh. I love the heart of God even in the midst of judgement because ANYBODY who believed in Him was spared. Anybody, that was His people and Egyptians that believed. God is merciful and relentless in trying to obtain our love. He gave Pharaoh 10 different opportunities to turn his heart yet he remained stubborn and prideful. You know one of the reasons God says we must become like a child to enter the Kingdom is because children are TEACHABLE they are LEARNERS. Pharaoh was stubborn and hard hearted in his pride and refused to learn a different way. Even when Pharaoh would relent and give in he did not want to do ALL that God ask. He was willing to let the adults go but not the children. He was willing to do what HE FELT comfortable with and just say he was obeying. God was not ok with that! Just a side note that the Pharaohs of our day are constantly attacking our children. The enemy understands that in order to indoctrinate a culture you need only to sway the children because the parents will die out. This is the whole reason of Passover or Easter as some of you might know it. Passover is the story of Exodus that is to be told every year to our children to constantly remind them that GOD DELIVERS US OUT OF CULTURAL BONDAGE and CALLS US UNTO HIMSELF TO BE SET APART! The children of Israel had the blood of a spotless lamb. We have the blood of THE SPOTLESS LAMB, JESUS! They had to remove all leaven from their homes in preparation of the Passover. Why? Because leaven left over from the old batch was used to make the new batch. God was saying to them get rid of the OLD because I’m about to do something NEW! YESSSSSSSSS..... I'm shoutin again. In the same way the Lord ask us to get rid of our OLD NATURE because He desires to do something NEW. Make a clean break from your past so that you can enter into your future. When God brought the Israelites out He wanted them to leave behind their old culture, all the ways they were tainted by a corrupt society. The Passover is a celebration of God’s deliverance THEN and NOW. The Lord actually commands us to celebrate it until Christ return. I love the truth woven in to this story that from the very beginning God was making a way for His people AND ANYONE who desired to sojourn with them. At the core of His being GOD IS MERCIFUL and KIND and desires for every man and woman to KNOW HIM INTIMATELY!
Acts is a powerful book because it is constantly calling us out of a spectator position into a participator in the Gospel. It reveals the truth that God desires to work in and through His followers. It is not ENOUGH to just read about what Jesus did and the life he lived. Acts pulls us into the story and challenges us to be an ongoing character in the story that God IS STILL writing. As we read about the lives of the apostles we see God in them, acting through them which means He is in us as well and can do more than we could ever think or imagine. You see before the gospel reaches into a region and brings salvation it reaches into the individual and brings salvation. Then He moves from the private life of individuals into their public lives and CHANGES EVERYTHING. You see what started out in Genesis with the Abrahamic blessing, through Abraham God will bless many nations, begins to find its fulfillment in Acts. The blessing was never just intended for the Israelites it was a promise for the nations. God’s heart has always been to BLESS THE ENTIRE WORLD with HIs love. God’s heart is to get EVERYONE. YESSSSSSSSSSS....There I go again SHOUTIN! This is the power of Acts. God is breaking in to every sphere of life through the Holy Spirit and there is a FIRE being released that cannot be stopped. Chapter 10 and the story of Cornelius and his household receiving the Spirit of God is a declaration to the world that whoever WANTS GOD can HAVE HIM. The gates are open wide and all who are hungry can come and partake of the BREAD OF LIFE. The thing I love is that God poured out His Spirit on His disciples, set their tongues on fire to boldly declare His goodness and salvation, and then asked Peter to go to the gentiles. You see He first met Peter and engaged in his life on a PERSONAL LEVEL and then He called Peter to go and engage with people on a PERSONAL LEVEL. God is concerned with us on a very personal level but He is just as concerned with the WORLD. He invites us through the Spirit to be apart of that plan and have our eyes focused on a GREATER STORY! Every heart, every soul, every person MATTERS to God, even the HEATHEN. YESSSSSSSSSSSS...I MATTERED to God before I even knew Him. I mattered to God way back in Genesis when He first made the promise to send a deliverer that would CRUSH satan's head. May we always be people who beat with a heart for the sojourner among us and remember from the very beginning, an all throughout scripture, the sojourner is not just welcomed but INVITED by a loving God.