A Kingdom of Priests–Exodus 19 Part 1

No one could ever grasp how treasured the Israelites were to the Lord. Egypt was literally destroyed because they would or could not grasp the depth of love God had for his people. But it is equally critical to realize that God did not free his people to be a kingdom of warriors; neither did he free them to be a kingdom of merchants—No, he freed them to be a Kingdom of Priests.

It is critical to realize that God calls all of his own to seek first his kingdom and righteousness—THEN all these things will be added to you. (Matt 6:33) Just as God called Israel to be a kingdom of priests, he calls us to be his ambassadors–holy and separate. We are to be in the world but not a part of it.  2 Corinthians 5:20; John 15:19, John 17:15. We have to do life. Jobs, families, friends and community all capture our time and energy. But, as with Israel, we are to aspire to be different and excited about it. Starting today—lets become a Kingdom of Priests holy and pleasing to God.

God Bless You

On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.

Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

The Gift f Delegation–Exodus 18 Part 2

God has never commanded that people live a life overwhelmed by doing what is right. Throughout Bible history, God’s leaders have struggled with the fear of delegating control to others—because it indicates a failure to trust God and allow him to work through them. Truth is, some tasks God assigns personally to those he has gifted for such a time as this—Daniel, Esther, Gideon and Samson are just a few examples of folks specifically gifted for the tasks set before them. But, Gideon led troops that fought the Midianite, Daniel was the top administrator in both Babylon and Persia. They did what they were gifted to do and delegated the rest.

Jethro told Moses to do what God has gifted him to do—and delegate the rest. God calls us to do the same. We should never avoid taking on the challenges and ministries we know we have been prepared to embrace. We should also be free to delegate those tasks that overwhelm us and draw us away from what is singularly our calling. Satan uses the urgent to keep us from the important. We are the only ones that can say no, delegate and walk in freedom. The Irony is that we simply cannot delegate the decision to delegate. In short, allow others to be the ministers in your life–that you are in others!

God Bless You

The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves

God’s Glory, My Gain–Exodus 18 Part 1

When we are seeking God’s leadership, his name is glorified first and foremost. We are blessed, we are protected, but, God’s name is the name rolling off the lips of people far and wide. Jethro was pleased to see the liberation and protection of Israel. He saw God’s hand on his son-in-law. 

Jethro made a sacrifice to God and honored God for the victories of Moses and his people. It was not the case that he was ignoring Moses, it was simply obvious who deserved the credit. 

In our lives, when we follow God’s plan, His name–not ours becomes the focus. As that happens, we can enjoy the benefits of being a free people without having the pressure to prove our freedom comes from our actions or achievement. 

It is simply that we become identified with him and allow him to lead, guide and bless our journey. It is a great deal. We get all his best and he takes all the pressure and responsibility. What a great trade…what a great God. 

God Bless You

Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.

After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro received her and her two sons. One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land”;

and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.” Jethro had sent word to him, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”

He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians.

Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

 

Lean On Me–Exodus 17 final

There was a great song in the 70’s called Lean on me. In the song, it becomes clear that we all need to humble ourselves and lean on others to survive. That truth was evident in this the first battle the Israelites fought as a free people. As the Amalekites attacked Israel, God told Moses to raise his staff and God would empower the people to win.

 As the battle raged, God kept his promise. While Moses lifted the staff, the Israelites were winning the battle, however, as Moses grew tired, his arms lowered and the troops began to lose ground in the battle. Joshua and Aaron took Moses up to a high point and planted themselves on each side. They then held his arms up and together they led Israel to their first victory. While God waged the war, he trained his people to fight their own battle and to look to their leader for direction and strength. He taught Moses that he would lead through him, but Moses had to look to others for help to carry on.

In our lives, We look to God for direction and he offers it. But, as in Moses’ day, God seeks to teach us to have folks around us to lift us up and support us through the wearying battles we face. It is not that he has abandoned us as a people, it is simply that we are a family, a community that must support each other in this most perilous spiritual war. Seek God and find folks who you can support and that will support you!

 God Bless You

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEXQkrllGbA

 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.

Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”

Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.

He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

Slaves Walking in a Desert–Exodus 17 Part 1

The downside of leading the people out of Israel, was as the Israelites watched God do great things, they grew to expect him to continue to wow them each day. Rather than simply living gratefully as a free people, they wanted to be pampered. So each time things went a little sideways, off to Moses they ran to complain and to ask why did God not simply leave them to die.

God was very patient. He met their needs and led them safely through the land without any regrets. Moses, well, he was already growing a bit weary. While he had been a shepherd for 40 years, he never heard the sheep complain. These people did nothing more than complain. Like babies, in a sense, they ate, walked and cried—nothing more. As a new leader, it had to weigh heavily on Moses.

The question remains, what kind of free people are we? Do we walk, eat and complain like the Israelites; or are we grateful, hopeful and peaceful as we are called to be? If we can live out our freedom with a grateful heart, hopeful mind and a peaceful spirit—then we will continue to see the wonder in our journey. If we, on the other hand, spend each day picking out what was wrong with God’s plan; then we–like the Israelites, will just be slaves walking in a desert. Join me—today, in a grateful walk of freedom.

God Bless You

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah[b] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Stop Fussing–Exodus 16 Final

 As a parent, we learn at an early age that the children cry when they have a need. We also learn that they learn to cry when they want attention. The important balance is to meet their needs without rewarding the fussing they do for attention. Israel grumbled about the lack of food, the type of food, the lack of water and the type of water. Despite the grumbling, God continued to listen and meet their needs in a fantastic way.

God provided Manna, which means “What is it” in the morning and quail for the evening meal. He taught them to only take what they need for a day, and he taught them to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. In the beginning, God was patient and specific in each lesson to show Israel he heard them and would meet their needs.

In current day, God still works to meet our needs. He listens and responds. While his timing is not always consistent with our timing, as with Israel, God balances the meeting of our needs with our desire to be the center of attention. We as mature Christians, know that while God encourages us to pray about everything—HE DOES NOT encourage us to “whine” about everything. If you have kids, like him, you know the difference!

God Bless You

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”

Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’”

10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.

11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

Feed Me-Exodus 16 Part 1

The old saying goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…The children of Israel had been on the road for about 6 weeks. By this point in the Exodus, The Israeli’s were given front row seats to some of the most amazing miracles one could imagine. Still, despite the show of power and amazing protection and provision, the chosen people are now wishing they were dead because they were hungry.

Suffice it to say, the Lord needed to start lesson two—God is faithful to supply all your needs, according to his glorious riches…So, as they were trudging to the goal behind a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night; these people were provided water for two million. If that was not enough, God began raining perfectly healthy hypo-allergenic daily wafers that was perfectly being distributed among the families.

What a striking visible picture for the people to realize God’s provision and protection. They were no longer victims, they were no longer expected to remain SELF-sufficient. God called them to be free and trusting. They simply were being required to follow and learn.

The same requirement remains. God may no longer rain wafers, walk before us as a pillar of fire and smoke; but, he still protects, provides and prepares us for entrance into the new promised land—Heaven. We need to walk as a free people—holding on loosely to the trappings of this world culture.

We should start each day evaluating what is truly important and what is simply representations of a world gone mad. No possession, no relationship, no profession and no picture of the ideal life is worth trading for your eternal life. What’s more, Jesus said it quite clearly, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you!” Matt 6:33

Is there anything more to say?

God Bless You

The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”