Prayer Requests for Week of September 7th & 14th, 2014

Hey all,

I thought I’d try doing prayer requests starting on a Sunday instead of a Monday this year.  One, it just makes more sense to pray on Sunday.  Two, I have more time on Sundays to post and catch up on this blog.  Three, you all may have more time to post.

So please post prayer requests below or praises over the summer or email them to me at atozmom.wordpress@gmail.com.  I’d love to hear them.

Mine:  Prayers over our forthcoming vacation.  We haven’t had one for over two years now and we’d like it to be relaxing and joyful.

Blessings to all!

P. S.  Since I’ll be on vacation next week, you will see the answers to lesson 3 early so I apologize in advance for the bombardment of emails you will receive from me!  Also, I won’t be on the Internet so please be patient with answers to emails and postings comments, etc.  AND this is why the prayer requests are for both weeks as well so please use this posting for prayer requests for both weeks.

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 3: Exodus 3:11-22

Summary of passage:  After God calls Moses to go to Egypt and rescue His people, Moses asks “Why me?”  God assures Moses He will be with him and he will return to this mountain again in worship.  Moses, still questioning, asks what should he tell the Israelites about who sent him.  God replies “I am has sent you and the Lord, God of your fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”.

God says to assemble the elders of Israel and tell them of his commission to bring them up and out of Egypt.  Then take the elders and go to Pharaoh and tell him.  Pharaoh will not let you go but I will strike the Egyptians with all the wonders until they do.  God will turn the Egyptians’ hearts so that they will leave with silver and gold and clothing and plunder.

Questions:

5a)  Moses asks “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  He asks God what should he say once he tells the Israelites he has been sent by God and they ask who is God?  What is his name?

b)  Verse 12 reassures Moses that God will be with him and a sign will be that Moses will worship God on this same mountain afterwards.  Verse 14 & 15 says that Moses should tell the Israelites that “I am has sent him” and that he is the God of their fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is with Moses on his journey because I know God is with me on mine.

6a)  Both Jesus and God call themselves “I am” and both existed before Abraham was born.

b)  Jesus says that he existed like God has existed and they are one and the same “I am”.

Conclusions:  It’s not hard to understand Moses doubt here.  After all, he tried once before 40 years ago to rescue the Israelites and they rejected him so Moses is confused.  He doesn’t quite understand yet that Moses needed God and God’s timing and that he couldn’t rescue the Israelites without God so he asks God “Are you sure you want me?”  God says yes.  He also wants to know what to tell the Israelites once he gets there so he’s not rejected again.

Again, I thought not a lot of meat to these questions.

End Notes:  The Israelites probably number around 3 million people now.  Can you imagine leading 3 million people out of slavery, across desert, to a Promised Land?

I read pages and pages of commentary on the revelation of God’s name here to Moses.  Fascinating.  But for me it came down to one point:  God says “I am” and then you fill in the blank with your need.  “I am the light” when it is dark.  “I am the bread of life” when we are hungry.  “I am your comforter” when you mourn.  God is everything to us and that is what He is saying here when He says “I am.”

Jesus calls himself “I am” as well (John 8:28; 8:24; 8:58; 13:19).

I found it fascinating that God tells Moses first to go to his people (the elders) and then go to Pharaoh.  God often starts with His people first and then the rest of the world.  Like Jesus who revealed the Good News first to the Jews and then the Gentiles.

God promises the people will listen this time around.  This must have been huge encouragement for Moses.  Note too the Israelites probably didn’t desire to leave Egypt.  After 400 years, they probably just wanted to improve their lives but not leave everything they’ve ever known.  All around, Moses did not have an easy task before him and he knew it; hence, his doubts.

Not only will the Israelites follow Moses, they won’t go empty-handed–the Egyptians will shower them with gifts.  This is fitting pay after 400 years of hard labor.  Deuteronomy 15:12-14 says to give slaves gifts when they leave your service.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 2: Exodus 3:1-10

Summary of passage:  Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock when he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  In the bush, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire but the bush did not burn.  When God saw that Moses had investigated, God called out to Moses and told him to remove his sandals for he was standing on holy ground.  When God spoke, Moses his is face because he was afraid to look at God.

God told Moses how he has seen and heard his people cry out to Him and seen their suffering.  So He is going to rescue them from Egypt and send them to a land flowing with milk and honey.  He sends Moses to  Pharaoh to bring his people out of Egypt.

Questions:

3a)  To get Moses to investigate the bush closer so God could speak to him.  Otherwise, I’m wondering if Moses would have ignored the bush (how you could with an angel in the bush I’m not for sure.  I would think it would be the angel that attracted Moses but the Bible says it’s the bush).  Hence, we must assume a burning bush in the desert is no big deal.  It’s the fact the bush was not consumed that was the big deal.

b)  God.

c)  “For the place where you [Moses] are standing is holy ground”  Moses was now in the presence of God.  Taking off one’s shoes shows humility as servants often went barefoot in ancient times.  It was a symbol of taking off your sins to be close to God.  Note only close:  we can never be equal with God as God is holy and man is sinful.

d)  God in the person of Jesus.

4a)  Go to Egypt and bring my people out.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God cares about His people’s suffering and oppression and wants to rescue them.

Conclusions:  Right away, here’s God in week 3!  Funny how it’s known as the “Burning Bush” but it never burned.  I wonder why man is instinctively afraid to look upon God.  I know I’d love to see God but I’m wondering if God’s greatness is such that we are afraid of it since man himself is so evil.  I’m wondering if all of our sins flash before us in God’s presence and out of shame we hide.

Interesting how time is nothing to God and it is a lot to us.  Here’s Moses at the age of 40 where his life suddenly changes and he has to flee his old life.  Next thing we know, 40 years have passed and Moses is an old man who is now called to do God’s work.  Nothing is recorded about those 40 years except for God’s concern for His people.  This should encourage us:  nothing will be recorded about my life but God is watching me with concern!  Awesome!

For such a meaty passage, I expected much more meatier questions.

End Notes:  Note how Midian here is described as desert (BSF Lesson 2, Day 3 Question 6).  I picture this as Moses leading a completely obscure life in the middle of nowhere–as far from Egypt and his calling as could be.  In 40 years, he doesn’t even have his own flock of sheep (it’s his father-in-law’s) so Moses is as far from riches and nobility as anyone could be as well.

The mountain of Horeb is later called Mount Sinai where Moses receives the Ten Commandments.  So same place; different points in time.

Some say the burning bush represents Israel:  afflicted but not destroyed.  Some also say it represents the cross as well.

God does not speak to Moses until he has Moses’ attention.  How often do we miss God cause we aren’t paying attention?

God’s first words to Moses:  Moses’ name.  God knows Moses.  He knows his name.  He is important in God’s world even though he’s a nobody in our world.

Note also how God doesn’t just say Moses’ name once.  He calls him twice.  This shows the urgency of God’s plans.  God calls Abraham (Genesis 22:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10), Simon (Luke 22:31), Martha (Luke 10:41), and Saul (Acts 9:4) all in the same manner.

God then said he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He is the One, True God, the God of the covenant.  He has not forgotten His promise to His people.  He was reminding Moses of this.

God chooses Moses as His instrument to rescue His people.  God could do all of it himself.  But instead He chooses people.  (2 Corinthians 6:1:  we work with God).  I think God does this to increase our faith in Him and in other people.

Other places Jesus appears in Old Testament:  Genesis 16:7-13, Judges 2:1-5, Judges 6:11-24, Judges 13:3-22

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 5: Exodus 2:23-25

Summary of passage:  The Pharaoh died and the Israelites continued to suffer under oppression.  God heard their cries and was concerned.

Questions:

10a)  By preparing Moses and by bringing the Israelites to a point of total dependence on God–to the point of hardship beyond bearing because in the desert they will have to have total faith in God to survive.

b)  Cried out to God

11a)  Heard, remembered, looked, concerned

b)  They tell us just what the verbs mean:  That God heard his people, remembered them, looked on the, and was concerned.  His people are important to Him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes

Conclusions:  Again, thought the last three days should have been combined into one.  I’m not a fan of “yes” or “no” personal questions.  I just don’t get a lot out of those.  Thought Question 9d and 10a should have been together as both have the same answer of relying totally on God.

End Notes:  We must remember God remembered his people and turned his attention to His people because of the covenant with Abraham and not because of any other reason (like suffering or the people deserved it).  If it not for Abraham, God would probably have let the people suffer in Egypt.  But because of God’s goodness and love and because he chose Israel, He rescued them.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 4: Exodus 2:15-22

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh tried to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian but Moses fled to Midian instead.  He rested by a well where a Midian priest had come with his seven daughters to water his flock.  Some shepherds came and hogged in but Moses drove them away so the girls could water their flock.

The girls returned to their father, Reuel and told him what happened.  He told them to invite this Egyptian to dinner.  Reuel gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses as a wife.  She had a son whom Moses named Gershom, meaning “alien”.

Questions:

8 )  Presumably because he met a woman and got married.

9a)  He didn’t feel at home.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we moved to North Dakota.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I learned to be happy there but never content.  I fit in (kind of).  I endured.

d)  Letting him grow older and wiser.  Living as an Israelite also gives Moses credibility with the people and proves to them he is willing to give up all his advantages in life to help them.

Conclusions:  Like yesterday, not very meaty questions and not sure why this needed to be two days worth.

End Notes:  I’m sure Moses felt defeated and deflated, sure he was doing God’s work only to be rejected.  Little did he know he just needed more preparation.

Why did Moses go to Midian in the first place?  Moses was now a fugitive on the run and if indeed the Pharaoh during this time was Rameses II (whom scholars say was the most likely candidate), then during this time Egypt had an agreement with the Hittites in the north to return any fugitives caught (like our extradition treaties we have with some nations).  Hence, Moses fled to Midian where he would be safe from extradition.

Did Moses marry an infidel?  Odds are highly unlikely.  Since Reuel was a priest, he was most likely a descendent of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 25:1-2) and worshipped the One, True God.  Hence, God brought Moses to this family specifically.

The Day I Realized I Was Ordinary…

…I was pretty depressed.

I had all these dreams of doing something great with my life.  Something noteworthy.  Something extraordinary.  Something big and exciting and unusual.

Then I realized my little life will always be little.

A mom of three kids and some dogs and cats and little else.

I pretend I do other things:  write novels or work a job or play guitar or exercise or be a “Mom who has it all”.

In reality, I don’t want to do any of these things.

It’s all work and I don’t want to work.

Trying to figure out your calling is a challenge.  One I don’t want to do anymore.

I pulled a muscle yesterday.  I realized I’m getting older and my body won’t last forever.

I pissed off some people on my daughter’s soccer team because of another fee I didn’t realize I had to pay and I had the nerve to question it.  I had to apologize for my lack of understanding and secretly vow the end of soccer which is all political bull####.

I woke up this morning.  Made my husband’s lunch.  Did the dishes.  Blogged a bit.  Kissed my husband good-bye and thanked him for earning a living because I am obviously a dysfunctional member of society and would be incapable of surviving in the working world.

This is when it hit me:  yep, I’m ordinary.  Nothing about my life stands out or is even worthy to be remembered.

Don’t tell me I can live an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner.  I’ve heard this enough in my lifetime.

I do realize I am blessed because I know God and Jesus.  Yes, I get that…

But beyond all of that, when it comes down to it, I’m just one person of 7 billion on the planet. Eking out a living and living out an eking…

It’s not a happy day to say the least.  Maybe it will take off some of the pressure I feel to be extraordinary although knowing myself I believe I will always be striving for extraordinary despite my new-found knowledge.

In my kids’ eyes and pets’ eyes, I am extraordinary.  I don’t deserve to be…

Well, I must end this rumination as my ordinary life calls.  It’s trash day, and I must get my trash can out and ready for pick-up.  The dogs need fed.  The kids will be getting up shortly.  And I’m out of coffee…

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 3: Exodus 2:15-22

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh tried to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian but Moses fled to Midian instead.  He rested by a well where a Midian priest had come with his seven daughters to water his flock.  Some shepherds came and hogged in but Moses drove them away so the girls could water their flock.

The girls returned to their father, Reuel and told him what happened.  He told them to invite this Egyptian to dinner.  Reuel gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses as a wife.  She had a son whom Moses named Gershom, meaning “alien”.

Questions:

6)  From these verses, I can’t describe the country of Midian.  All we get is there was a well where some girls watered their father’s livestock.  That’s it.  Let me know if you can infer from these verses the geography of the land.

However, as most of us know, the Sinai Peninsulas is a desert just like all of this area of the world.  On a google search, I found that it has two principle regions: high mountains and a sloping plateau.  There is a narrow coastal plain where some farming occurs.  Mostly Bedouins live here still, migrating with their flocks with the seasons.  It is arid and hot with rain in the winter.  The vegetation is sparse and it is an area that is sparsely populated due to the arid climate.

7a)  Coming to the defense of the helpless, doing what was right.

b)  No

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Patience.  Less apathy, more sympathy.

Conclusions:  Not much here to go on.  Question 6 annoyed me because it was impossible to answer just using the verses.  Most of us use our background knowledge of the area to picture these scenes.  I saw no change in Moses (Question 7b).  He characteristically helped the girls like he did the Hebrew being beaten by injecting himself in the thick of things.  No one died this time is the only difference.  I still see him as driving the bullies away.  I think this is one of Moses’ greatest character strengths:  his desire to help others no matter the cost.  I wish I had that sometimes.

This lesson should be combined with fourth day.  Would have made a stronger impact.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 2: Exodus 2:11-14

Summary of passage:  Moses as a young man went out one day to watch his people at their labor.  He witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew so he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.  The next day he saw two Hebrews fighting and asked why.  The man said he knew he killed the Egyptian so Moses was afraid.

Questions:

3a)  Yes.  The Bible tells us “Glancing this way and that and seeing no one” so Moses thought first before murdering the man.  If someone had been around, Moses would not have killed the man.  Thus, he didn’t act out of uncontrolled anger but out of premeditation.

[Note: Some scholars say Moses killed the man to help the Israelites recognize him as their deliverer.]

b)  We learn Moses was forty years old.  Moses thought he would be recognized as a rescuer of his people, but he wasn’t.  He killed the man because he was defending the Hebrew and avenging him.  He tried to reconcile the two who were fighting the next day.  He fled to Midian and had 2 sons.

c)  It seemed he thought God would make them see and they would recognize he was from God.

4a)  I think Moses chose to identify with them first.  He chose to be a Hebrew rather than an Egyptian.  God lets all of us choose our path.  Therefore, I think Moses had to choose his people first (and thus chose God himself) before God would reveal His plan to him.  Also, if Moses had chosen to be an Egyptian, he wouldn’t have visited the Hebrew slaves.  He wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them for he was better than them and they were unworthy of him.

b)  Faith in the One, True God.

c)  Everything.  Power, riches, maybe the throne of Egypt, an easy life, his friends, his family, his life for now he was a wanted man.

d)  Moses chose the hard life of following Christ over the easy life of an Egyptian prince because he knew his eternal reward was in heaven and not on earth.

5a)  He was determined, strong, confident yet quick to take a life to prove himself.  He underestimated how much he needed God with him.  He underestimated the work involved in being a deliverer of a people who see him as a foreigner and not as a Hebrew.

b)  His methods (sinning just to prove himself).  His closeness to God.  Listening to God first before acting.  Patience.

Conclusions:  It seems to me that Moses had some word from God that he was to rescue and deliver the Israelites; hence, setting this scene in motion.  We are not told but Moses has this idea and it had to come from somewhere.  I think God did tell Moses this but didn’t tell him the time so Moses jumped the gun here and paid the price for not waiting on God.

I like how Moses had to choose God first before God would act.  I like how Moses took the path less taken to become one of the greatest men in history.  If he had chosen to be an Egyptian prince, he would be just as nameless as this Pharaoh.  Instead, he followed God and God’s purpose.

Map of Midian:  http://www.jesuswalk.com/moses/images/map-egypt-midian-900x709x300.jpg

End Notes:  Notice how Moses is rejected by his own people.  Remind you of anyone?  Yep, Jesus.  Moses’ life will closely mirror Jesus’.  Moses is correct in his role as redeemer; he just had to wait on God.