Friday, September 05, 2014

Exodus, Chapter 3

1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
Jethro means “His Abundance.”
Most of us in America have at least three names which are given to us at birth, so it shouldn’t be difficult to believe Moses’ Dad-in-law having two (or three) names. It is also common in the Bible for a person’s name to be changed after some significant event. In fact, this is true in most non-“western” societies.
2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
The bush was burning but not burning up.
The Bible says this was “the angel of the Lord,” yet in other places it says God Himself appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Since the meaning of the word “Angel” is “ministering spirit” it is possible that either God’s Spirit sent to minister is being called an angel, or that speaking to the messenger is the same as speaking to the Sender.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses.” And he said, “Here am I.”
Now Moses is talking to a plant.
Sometimes God has us do things that might appear to warrant being put in the Looney Bin. However, if a plant begins talking to me, if I don’t run away in fear, I would answer it back, too.
5 And He said, “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
No shoes! This is my kind of God!  
It is still the custom in eastern lands today to remove your shoes before entering a synagog or mosque. This is a sign of humility.
Shoes are for the protection of our feet. They make us invulnerable to the elements and nature itself (rocks, stickers, etc). Removing our shoes causes us to rely on something for protection other than our own ingenuity. It is a sign of yielding authority in our own lives; a sign of submission.
All nerves in the body end in the feet. Many believe that stimulating certain parts of the foot can stimulate certain parts of the body because the nerve in the foot travels through the relavent part of the body. Removing your shoes would make your entire body sensitive to the surrounding environment. God wanted Moses (and all of His people) to be a sensitive man; to be aware of all that was going on around him and to feel what his people felt. Removing the shoes symbolized this.
It was not the physical dirt that was holy. God’s presence makes any place holy, whether it’s a church, house, car or campsite.
6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
Hiding the face is a sign of humbleness. None of us is worthy to look in the face of the Lord God Almighty.
7 And the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
God is paying attention. Nothing, including evil and oppression, has escaped His notice. He doesn’t always act when we think He should, but He always does act. He always rights the wrongs in the end.
8 “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
God has a great place to take Israel to.
It is interesting that He equates milk with a blessing. There is nowhere in the Bible that says anything bad about milk or milk products. Since God knows everything and “God is Love” (1 John 4:8), We can assume He would not call something “good” and “a blessing” that was bad for us. So milk (at least in its raw form), must be good for us.
And raw honey, by the way, has trace minerals that are absolutely necessary for building strong bones, as well as being the only widely available sweetener in the region at the time. It was a special and rare treat during most of history and a land flowing in it would symbolize great wealth.
9 “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto Me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
10 “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.”
Moses has been especially groomed for this job. He spent the first forty years of his life learning administration and leadership in Pharaoh’s palace, and the second forty learning humility, people skills, and more leadership by herding stupid sheep on the backside of the desert. He is now, at eighty years of age, just beginning the last third of his life, ready to do what God has prepared him for his whole life.
11And Moses said unto God, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
He was well aware that he no longer had any clout with the court.
12 And He said, “Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.”
A promise that they will return to this place.
13 And Moses said unto God, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, ‘The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you;’ and they shall say to me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say unto them?”
Egypt was a pagan country and Israel would be used to many gods. They would want to know if it was the sun god, river god, cat god or just who that had sent Moses.
14 And God said unto Moses, “I AM THAT I AM:” and He said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘I AM hath sent me unto you.’ “
I AM is what He called Himself to Abraham, so Israel would know that this was the same God that spoke to their ancestors. He is the only God, in fact, that there is.
This has been rendered over the centuries as “He is that is,” “The Self Existant,” and “I will be what I will be.” Revelation 1:8’s “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” has grammaticly the same meaning, as does Revelation 4:8 “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Archeology tells us the priests of Egypt most likely knew there was only one God, but kept the people believing in many gods in order to better control them.
It is significant that Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. He was making the claim to be This “I AM,” the deliverer of Israel. This is why the Pharisees got so mad at Him.
15 And God said moreover unto Moses, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you.’ This is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.
God’s miraculous rescue of Israel will be the sign to all people throughout history that He really is THE God.
16 “Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, “I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
17 “‘“And I have said, ‘I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.’“‘
18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, ‘The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’
19 “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
Nothing that happened surprised God. In fact, none of it surprised Moses because God had already told him what would happen.
I have noticed in scripture that God always tells His servants what will happen when they obey Him. They just have to have faith.
20 “And I will stretch out My hand, and smite Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
God will punish Egypt for their cruelty to Israel and for their idolatry.
21 “And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty.
22 “But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.”
God will not only punish Egypt for the many murders and beatings, but He will make sure Israel gets all the back wages they were due because of their two-hundred year service. He is a righteous God indeed.

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