Prayer Requests for Week of October 19th, 2014

Hey all,

Please post your requests for prayer below or email me at atozmom.wordpress@gmail.com

Please pray for all those afflicted with the Ebola virus and for the containment of its spread all over the world.

Mine:  Pray for husband as he’s been away for a while.  He needs strength to sustain him.

God bless!

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 5: Exodus 20:18-26

Summary of passage:  The Israelites were afraid upon hearing God speak and asked Moses to speak to them now on for God because they were sure they would die if God continued to speak to them.  Moses told them to not be afraid and that God was testing them so that they would have the fear of God in them and they wouldn’t sin.

God told Moses to tell the people to not make any gods of silver or gold alongside of him.  Instead, make altars and sacrifice to Him and He will bless them.

Questions:

10a)  One is fear to the point of death or tormenting fear out of guilt; the other is a healthy fear which makes you do things you normally wouldn’t do because you are afraid of the consequences.  This leads to honor and reverence.  One is irrational; the other rational.

b)  The irrational fear can lead to sin in an effort to protect yourself.  You are so afraid that you’d do anything. This fear can drive you crazy.  The rational fear allows you to think through your actions first because of the consequences of your actions. This can lead to a better life if you think for example of how your words would hurt others before speaking them.  One leads to despair; the other leads to obedience and love.

Think of it like a parent:  we discipline out of love.  Our kids feel that love because we are teaching them how to be a human in this world.  God is our parent.  We should revere and fear Him.  For His love is beyond anything imaginable.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To be honest, neither.  I don’t have a trembling fear for my life nor am I guilt-ridden.  Nor do I think I fear God enough for the consequences of my actions.  I am too selfish sometimes and thus should work more on this.  I fear I fail more than I would if I did fear Him more.  I think fear resides just sometimes it’s so repressed I don’t know it’s there when I should know it’s there.

11a)  That they have seen for themselves God speaking from heaven.  He is a spirit and not an image.  So we must worship Him as well with our spirit.

b)  To make any gods of silver or gold to go alongside Him.

c)  We worship God with our hearts.  We worship Him as the Holy Trinity.  We worship Him as the unseen Holy Spirit who dwells inside of us.  We worship His mightiness and His presence.  We do not worship the church or altar or any graven image of Him.

12)  Our God is not a God of adornment.  He does not need fancy or expensive gold and silver.  He is seeking our hearts and whatever you bring with the right heart is sufficient.  He would probably accept no altar but just the sacrifice if it was made from the heart.  Furthermore, an altar of dressed stone would draw attention more to the carver and “what a beautiful altar” it is.  This is all about God as it should be. Simple suffices.

13)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Wherever God is honored, He will come and bless you.  It gives me the hope that as long as God is honored, I will be blessed.  And even in my failings, God will bless me as I atone for my sins–ask forgiveness, receive His grace, and accept Jesus as my Savior.  All this He blesses.

Conclusions:  Good questions on healthy fear of God and the fleshing out of how God desires our hearts and our atonements for our sins, not meaningless presents covering in gold.  And as I honor God, He will bless me.  Honor His name and receive.  Simple!

Reminds me of those plaques with Joshua 24:15:  “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

End Notes:  Most encounters with God in the Bible inspire fear instead of awe.  I hope I would be awed and honored and desire more and more like Moses did, but it’s hard to say.

The Hebrew word here for lightning is the same as found in Genesis 15 when Abraham makes his covenant with God.

Note how Moses stands in the place where Jesus will stand in the future–between us and God.

1 John 4:18-19:  “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us.”

Interesting to Note:  God knew we would sin; hence, His provision of atonement with the offerings and the sacrifices.  How wonderful is our God!

God did not want human flesh to be seen on His altar because it was impure.

Personal Commentary:  To be honest, this passage stumped me.  I didn’t get much out of it.  Thus, I did resort to commentary to tell me what I was missing.  As a result, you see my answers.  Before, there were blanks.  Now, I feel like I got it somewhat.  I feel like I understand God and what He desires from me a bit more.  I feel closer to Him ever so slightly.  And this was all due to commentary from someone else who told me what God was trying to get at here.

So to those of you who struggle with the meaning of God’s word:  you are not alone.  Thousands of years and language barriers and translations is just one obstacle we must overcome. Not to mention how God’s ways are not ours.  So my encouragement:  keep at it.  Keep striving and learning and reading and re-reading the passages.  Yes, God will speak to you.  But He also speaks through others who have taken the time to write down analysis.  Take heart!  He is here.  Next to you.  And He will meet you so that you may know Him and be closer to Him.  Even if it’s just a millimeter.  And I’ll take every millimeter I can get!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 4: Exodus 20:12-17

Summary of passage:  The last six Ten Commandments given to Moses by God that apply to people’s relationships with one another.

Honor your father and mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Questions:

9)  Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16:  Honor your father and mother.  God promised if you do you may live long in the land the Lord gave you and Deuteronomy adds so that it may go well with you in the land.  Ask God to have a good relationship with my parents.

Exodus 20:13:  You shall not murder.  Ask God to tame my anger.

Exodus 20:14:  You shall not commit adultery.  Ask God to tame my emotions and capture my thoughts.

Exodus 20:15:  You shall not steal.  Ask God to tame my selfishness.

Exodus 20:16:  You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.  Ask God to quiet my tongue and follow Jesus’ Golden Rule and not engage in gossip.

Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21:  You shall not covet or set your desire on anything that belongs to your neighbor including his house, wife, servant, ox, donkey, etc.  Ask God to have peace with what I have and to focus on Him and His purpose for my life; the rest will take care of itself.

Conclusions:  Short but sweet.  These commandments are very straightforward so us dumb humans can comprehend them. Sometimes I think relationships with people are harder than a relationship with God because God is perfect and people are not.  Most of us will never murder one another but we could with our words and our spite.  Adultery can be committed in the mind as well.  Stealing is as simple as not paying for a forgotten item in a grocery cart.  Gossip for us women is hard to avoid but we can choose to not engage in it.  Coveting (desiring something that doesn’t belong to you) is especially hard for us in the Western World who are bombarded by advertisement and celebrities that fuel this desire and our lax culture who say it’s okay to want what others have.  If we have God, we have enough and I believe this is God’s point here.  You should desire Him more than anything else in this world.  Nothing else matters.

End Notes:  Fifth Commandment:  Care for your parents throughout their days.  Not all that long ago, it was customary for your parents to live with you until they died.  Now we shove them in homes and pay others to care for them.  Care for your parents as they have cared for you.

Sixth Commandment:  The two words in Hebrew here means “unjustified killing”.  This does not prohibit justified killing i.e. self-defense, etc.  Jesus expanded this to mean killing in the heart as well (Matthew 5:21-26) and wishing they were dead.

Seventh Commandment:  The Old Testament clearly outlaws adultery and the punishment is death (Deuteronomy 22:22).  The Old Testament also addresses sleeping with a virgin and the punishment for that (usually marriage–Exodus 22:16), which is pre-marital sex.  Again, Jesus expanded this in Matthew 5:27-30 to mean even just looking at someone in a desireous way can be committing adultery if it is committed in the heart.

Eighth Commandment:  We can also steal from God what is rightfully His by not fulfilling His commands such as tithing or serving Him or anything else that involves giving of ourselves up to Him. (Malachi 3).

Ninth Commandment:  This is also slander and gossip and lying.  This was the sin that sent Jesus to the cross when false witness after false witness testified against him.  Satan is behind it all and instead of “speaking our minds”, we should prayerfully control our tongues first–something I’m bad at.

Tenth Commandment:  This one is aimed at our hearts.  There is nothing wrong with desiring things except when it is something possessed by another.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 3: Exodus 20:1-11

Summary of passage:  God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  Here, we study the First Four, which address the people’s relationship with God.

1)  You shall have no other gods before me.

2)  You shall have no idols of any form for I am a jealous God.

3)  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

4)  Keep the Sabbath holy.

Questions:

7a)  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a tough one.  In every way.  God’s grace, love, mercy, understanding, light.

8 )  Exodus 20:3:  You shall have no other gods before me.  Ask God to always have Him at my center.

Exodus 20:4-6:  You shall have no idols of any form.  God warns that he will punish the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hat him but show love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and Keep His commandments.  Ask God to have Him at my center and to listen to Him and not to the world.

Exodus 20:7:  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.  God warns He will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.  Ask God to temper my anger and keep a clean mouth.

Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15:  Keep the Sabbath holy.  God blessed the Sabbath.  Ask God to allow me to rest in Him always and forever.

Conclusions:  I like how the Ten Commandments are broken up, especially after yesterday which I thought was a lot to take in.

End Notes:  We cannot underestimate the weight of the Ten Commandments here and what it meant.  Finally, for the first time in the history of the world, mankind (specifically the Israelites) have a binding treaty with their God.  For millenia, people worshipped fickle gods who may or may not be pleased with offerings or with their behavior.  Here, God has told His people exactly what He expects from them and what will please Him and how to live their lives.  This is a momentous occasion and the people know it.

This concept is very hard for those of us who have known God our entire lives to go back 4000 years. Can you imagine the hope?  God is promising if you obey Him, He will take away diseases, struggles, and war and usher in a secure, wealthy society.  It’s almost as if God is offering us a second chance after the Fall.  Can you know imagine and take in the heartbreak of God when His people failed Him again?

We must remember the people THEMSELVES heard God speak these words.  They were so afraid that they asked Moses to be the one to deliver God’s words from now on (Exodus 20:18-19).  Can you imagine?  I want to hear God’s voice!!

Are the Ten Commandments new?  No.  These are laws that have been in the heart of man since Adam.  They are deep in our consciouses, rooted in nature, rooted in our souls.  God just put these into words.

This is God’s Laws, NOT Moses’ laws despite the fact they are commonly known as the Mosaic Law.  God spoke these, NOT Moses.  This is ALL God.  NO man is above God. He is the highest law of the land.

The Code of Hammurabi, the closest analogy to God’s laws at this time, focuses on the ruler, Hammurabi. It is laws about his supremacy, not any god, much like rules from our government today.

God is the ultimate authority, not man’s fickleness or idea of what is right or wrong.  We need God’s moral code to teach us, to guide us, to set expectations and consequences if we fail, to serve as an impetuous.  Otherwise, it would be all about “me” and not about Him or others.

The Commandments and all of God’s decrees are a gift from Him to His people.  Without them, we’d be lost.  We need the moral guidance, instruction, and impetuous.  Otherwise, life would have no meaning.

First Commandment:  The Commandments are listed in order of importance.  We must remember polytheism is the norm.  Monotheism is a new idea.  Here God takes great pains to say He is the only one out there.

Note how first God delivers the Egyptians.  First He provides for them.  First He meets their needs.  Then He issues His laws.  He blesses first, then asks for obedience.  Amazing!

Second Commandment:  Again, this time period has people worshipping thousands of man-made objects. God spoke with words, not images.  God is a Spirit, not an object.

God must be supreme for our own good, not God’s.  With Him at the center, we flourish.  With other things at the center, we sin.

As long as you love God, you will not be punished.

Third Commandment:  Self explanatory.  Revere God and His name.

Fourth Commandment:  Remember the Rest.  Remember that we rest in Him through Jesus. Every day should be a rest as we remember the finished work of God.  We remember and celebrate God every day, not just on Sundays.

But as God rested physically, so should we.  From work.  We are not to be idle.  We are to work, THEN rest.

Under the New Covenant, no one is under obligation to observe a Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11). Galatians 4:10 says Christians are not bound to observe any day or week in particular. “The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week – the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but our salvation is accomplished in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9-10).”  Credit to Enduring Word commentaries.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 8, Day 2: Exodus 19

Summary of passage:  Three months after leaving Egypt (Number 3 again), the Israelites enter the Desert of Sinai. Here, Moses goes up to God on Mount Sinai to receive God’s Word and Laws for His people.  God tells His people if you obey Him and keep His covenant, you will be a treasured possession and a holy nation.  Moses tells the people this and they agree.  Moses returns to God who tells Moses He will speak to him in a dense cloud so that all the people will hear Him and put their trust in Moses.

God told Moses to prepare the people for His coming by washing and consecrating themselves. The people are not to touch the mountain until the ram’s horn sounds or else they will die.

On the third day (3), God descended Mount Sinai as He promised in fire.  Trumpets blasted and Moses and God spoke.  Then God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai and told him again not to allow the people to come up to Him but to bring Aaron with him.  Moses obeyed.

Questions:

3)  His amazing love and care for us.  An eagle is considered the top of the food chain in the bird world.  It is also a symbol of power and majesty.  God is carrying us to Him, caring, shielding, guarding, catching and hovering over us the entire time.  See commentary below for more.

4a)  “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant.”

b)  “You will be my treasured possession”, “You will be for me a kingdom of priests”, and “a holy nation”  The people responded “We will do everything the Lord has said.”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  With gratitude and honor.  By praising Him.  By extending mercy to others as God has for me.  By doing all in my power to be the holy nation He has called me to be.

5)  God appeared to the people in a dense cloud and allowed the people to hear Him speak with Moses so that they will always put their trust in Moses.

6a)  That they are unworthy to stand on the same ground God does for they are unholy.  Thus, the people need to be holy to be with God and thus need to purify themselves (or nowadays to accept Jesus as their Savior) in order to be with God.  Still, there is a separation of sin from God.  But if God is holy, then the people must strive to be holy as well by following His decrees.

b)  Jesus Christ.  Through faith in Jesus we are justified and thus able to stand with God in His presence through His grace and mercy.  Praise Him!

Conclusions:  Anyone else while reading this wished to be back with Moses to see God in the cloud and hear Him speak?  How awesome!  I’m always jealous that Moses is the one who gets to speak to God.  I imagine myself to be him.

End Notes:  Awesome commentary by Matthew Henry HERE about eagle’s wings.  Amazing our God!

Definition of pinion according to Webster’s:  “the terminal section of a bird’s wing including the carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges.”  Our carpus and metacarpus is our hand and phalanges are our fingers.

So here God is carrying us in His hands.  These feathers are also the feathers that are clipped to prevent a bird from flying.  These are the primary feathers so to speak, the most important ones.  Reports exist of mother eagles carrying their young on their wings. Here God is telling us He is protecting us with all of His strength and carrying us and supporting us every step of the way, beginning from our youth.  He catches us when we fall and carries us till we can fly again.  He is protecting us because an arrow would have to pass through His body before it would hit the babies on His back.

We are going to hang out for 57 chapters until Numbers 10 here in the Wilderness of Sinai, an approximate one year period with the Israelites.  Shows you how important the events there are.  Here is where Moses met God at the burning bush.

IMPORTANT!  No one is sure exactly where Mt Sinai lies today.

God calls His people here “the house of Jacob” because they are acting more like Jacob than Abraham or Isaac right now.

God delivers Israel so that they can be with Him.

Israel is a special treasure to God.  They have the unique purpose of keeping God’s Word and spreading it to the world. We non-Jews should constantly remember Israel in our prayers as they struggle constantly for survival in today’s world. They (and we) are set apart, a holy nation, for His purposes.  We are His; thus, we are special.

At the trumpet sound, the people could come to God.  Revelation, anyone?

Notice it’s the third day God comes.  Number 3 again.

It’s important to note the differences here between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Where Moses stands in OT, Jesus stands in NT.  Jesus interceded for us so ALL can come to God.  Here, only Moses can.  Jesus brought grace, forgiveness, and justification. Here, the people are afraid and excluded.  With Jesus, we are loved and included.  One more thing we should be on our knees for–His Son, Jesus Christ.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 7, Day 5: Exodus 18

Summary of passage:  Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, visits Moses, bringing him his wife and two sons with him.  Moses meets him and Moses explains all that the Lord has been doing for the Israelites.  Jethro acknowledges God above all other gods and offers a burnt sacrifice.

The next day Moses sits in judgement of his people.  Immediately, Jethro sees how Moses spent his whole day listening to disputes and suggests that Moses appoint others to listen to the easy disputes so as not to wear himself out.  Then Moses can settle only the difficult disputes, and have time to rest and attend to other matters.  Moses followed his father-in-law’s advice and then Jethro returned to his country.

Questions:

10a)  Probably right after the crossing of the Red Sea because it would be difficult terrain.  Maybe during the plagues as well so they wouldn’t suffer while they were still in Egypt.  The fact is that the Bible does not say so no one knows.  Why this is a challenge question is beyond me.  Nothing in the Bible tells us.

b)  To protect them from something or someone (diseases, plagues, a dictator, hardships, etc).  Or even to better focus on his job (in this case leading the people out of Israel) without distractions.

11a)  Jethro was “delighted”.  He praised the Lord, acknowledged his greatness above all other gods and offered up a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God in praise.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I tend to think my life is not that noteworthy and I haven’t had any great God event occur–certainly not like parting the Red Sea.  So that leaves me with little things:  how God provided during hard times, God protected me when I was young and stupid, God protected us all from things we don’t even know, and God’s faithfulness day-in and day-out.

12a)  Moses was wearing himself out with the heavy workload.  People were standing around all day, waiting for their turn, becoming impatient and angry.  His time was better spent concentrating on leading the people to the Promised Land, not on disputes.

b)  He told Moses to delegate the simple tasks so he would have more time to hear from God.  To train up Godly men to help him.  To teach God’s laws and decrees to the people so that they are better able to govern themselves.

c)  Capable men–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain.

d)  God

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Help me to be a better teacher of his decrees and laws to my kids and others around me.  Help me to ask for help when I need it.  Recently, we started a chore chart with the kids so they could help me keep up with the housecleaning duties.  This was something I desperately needed.  Help me to focus on God’s work and delegate the rest.  Help me to pray more and pray before decisions.

Conclusions:  Leaders must delegate if they are to lead properly.  Here we see the first Biblical example of doing so.  We also see God using others to promote His will and ease some of our burdens.  We see concern and compassion for others and the will to speak Godly advice into others’ lives.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  We assume Jethro worshipped the One, True God as scholars say a priest of Midian may be descended from Abraham (Genesis 25:1-2).

This is the only time Moses’ second son is mentioned.  Eliezer means “God is my helper.”  What a consrast with his first son’s name, meaning “alien there.”

Scholars believe this event is out of order, using Numbers and Deuteronomy as evidence.  They believe this scene happened much later, closer to coming near the Promised Land.

Moses took the advice; a great character trait in leaders.  Moses also prayed about advice from Jethro to make sure it was God’s will as well.

Note the importance of praying and teaching. Pray for others and teach them God’s laws so that they may settle disputes as well.  You are better when you develop those around you as well.  This also blessed those chosen, giving them the opportunity to serve God as well.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 7, Day 4: Exodus 17:8-16

Summary of passage:  The Amalekites attack the Israelites. Moses sent Joshua out to fight while he, Aaron, and Hur went to a hill. Moses held up his hands and the Israelites would win. Aaron and Hur helped Moses to hold up his hands the entire day for if he didn’t, the Amalekites would win. Joshua overcame in the end and Moses built an alter to God and recorded the event and God’s promise to wipe the Amalekites from history.

Questions:

8a)  Moses calls it the “staff of God” in verse 9.  I think it represented God and God’s blessings

b)  The fact that Moses held up the staff because when Moses held up the staff, the Israelites were winning. When he lowered it, the Israelites were losing.  Presumably, if Moses didn’t hold up the staff, the Israelites would lose the war.  Plus, the staff represents God’s favor so God’s power is in the staff.  Furthermore, we are not told here what God said to do.  All that is recorded is Moses’ orders.  So God could have told Moses to hold up the staff and Moses could have told Joshua to go and fight.  We are not sure.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure what the pronoun “this” is referring to in this question.  “This” could be the whole passage.  “This” could be the previous question.  BSF is unclear here.  I’m gonna go with the previous question here.  Moses had to pray to win the battle.  So must I.  I must pray to win my battles and lately I’ve been remiss of this as I’ve felt a bit far from God.  Prayer is a weapon that I must wield much more often.

9a)  The account of this battle and that God will completely blot out the memory of the Amalekites.

b)  Two-fold:  So this battle can be remembered by future generations as a testament to God’s greatness and glory and mercy. So that His people would know that their enemies, the Amalekites, are insignificant and God will keep His promise to blot them from history.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s more oral tales than written records.  Give God the credit to all in my life.  Hopefully, my life will be a testament itself.

Conclusions:  Too many pronouns “this” in this passage.  I had to go immediately to commentary to answer some of these.  Other Bible translations proved helpful as well.

My take away:  Pray.

End Notes:  Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12).  The Amalekites were a group of wandering nomads in the Sinai at this time.  In Deuteronomy 25:17-18 we learn that the Amelekites attacked the end of the line where the women, children, old, and the baggage lay.  This was a cowardly act of war, intent to just steal from the Israelites.

This was the first battle for the Israelites in 400 years.  They had to rely on God for this one.

Moses calls the rod “the rod of God”.  God calls the rod “the rod of Moses”.  Love the honor here!

This is the first time in the Bible we meet Joshua, who always is faithful to Moses and God.

Scholars believe Hur was Miriam’s husband.

Moses holding up his hands was the traditional way for the Israelites to pray much like we bow our heads.  Here, Moses is praying.  When he stops praying, God stops acting.  Great lesson for us to learn–the power of prayer.

Praying was the hard work here, not the battle.  Note Moses needed others to support him–just like we do in our Christian walks.

Today many of God’s peoples are defeated because they do not pray.  Fighting is important and with prayer it’s indestructible.

Moses is commanded five times to write down something by God (Exodus 17:14, Exodus 24:4-7, Exodus 34:27, Numbers 33:1-2, and Deuteronomy 31:9, 24).

More battles will give the Amalekites time to repent.  God is good.

Favorite Map showing Rephidim where the Amalekites attacked Israel:  http://headwatersresources.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ExodusColorNotesFramedCC.jpg

Fun Fact:  Jesus is the Greek pronunciation of Joshua.  They are the same name.  You can see why in the lives of both men.