Prayer Requests for Week of September 21st, 2014

Hey all,

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

I so enjoy praying for you all and hearing about your lives!

Mine this week:  I am struggling with a soccer coach of my daughter’s.  Guidance in my words which become very passionate when it involves my children.

Overall, guidance in my life.  I am at a turning point here.  I feel like I’m being pulled in numerous directions and I need to focus on what God wants me to do with my life.  Prayer to eliminate unnecessary activities that are draining me and to concentrate all of my efforts on God’s will for my life.

God bless and have an amazing week!

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 4, Day 2: Exodus 5:1-14

Summary of passage:  With the support of the elders of Israel, Moses and Aaron continue with God’s orders.  They approach Pharaoh and tell him God demands him to release the Israelites for a festival in the desert.  Pharaoh, of course, balks, and says I don’t know God so why should I obey him?  Moses and Aaron say that the people need to offer sacrifices to God or God may strike them with a plague.  Again, Pharaoh being Pharaoh, won’t let them take the Israelites away from their work.

After Moses and Aaron leave, Pharaoh issues the order for the Israelites to collect their own straw for making bricks instead of being supplied with it but they still must produce the same quota as before.  This will make them work harder and have no time to listen to Moses and Aaron.  So, the Israelites now collect their own straw and strain under the work.

Questions:

3a)  They were afraid the Egyptians would stone them since their sacrifices would offend the Egyptians.

b)  Yes.  Moses explains that they must offer sacrifices to the Lord or He may strike them with plagues or the sword.  Does Pharaoh want to lose his slave work force cause God killed them all?  No.  Plus, it’s a desert.  Where are they gonna go?

c)  First, Pharaoh doesn’t want to give up control of his slave labor force.  Second, he says he doesn’t know the Lord so why should he obey him?  After all, he’s Pharaoh, the most powerful man in all of Egypt and arguably in that part of the world at that time.  Third, work will stop while they are gone.  He needs them to work!

4a)  The slave drivers are Egyptians in charge of the Israelites.  The foreman are Israelites appointed by the slave drivers who were in charge of the work projects.  They were beaten if they didn’t produce enough work out of the people to the slave drivers’ satisfaction.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Would you want to face daily beatings?  No.  Not me.  I can’t stand a paper cut, let alone a beating.

Conclusions:  Here we see into the mindset of absolute dictators and ancient way of life.  Once a slave, always a slave with no privileges no matter who asked.  Pharaoh had absolute power and he wasn’t going to relinquish any of it.  He held your life in his hands and could end it if he had wanted.  Moses and Aaron would need the power of Almighty God to defeat this despot!

End Notes:  Pharaoh considered himself a god and the God of Israel was not one of those gods he knew.  Therefore, he refused the simple worship request.

Straw bound the bricks together so it was an essential component in building material.

Because of Moses’ request, things got worse for the Israelites.  Isn’t this true for us often?  Things get worse before they get better?  This would be a test of Pharaoh and of the Israelites.  They would endure more hardships before the freedom God promised would come.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 5: Exodus 4:18-31

Summary of passage:  Moses returned home and told his father-in-law he was going to return to Egypt to check on his people.  He left with his wife and sons with the assurance from God that those who wanted him dead are now dead themselves.  He took the staff of God with him.

God told Moses to go before Pharaoh and perform all the wonders God gave him the ability to perform but Pharaoh will have a hard heart.  Therefore, Moses must tell Pharaoh God will kill his first-born son since he won’t let Israel go free.

On the journey, God was about to kill Moses’ son but his mother, Zipporah, circumcised him so the Lord let him alone.  God told Aaron to meet Moses in the desert.  Together they gathered the elders of the Israelites and revealed God’s words to them and the signs from God.  They believed and bowed and worshiped the Lord.

Questions:

8 )  He asked permission from his father-in-law first.  He put his wife and sons on a donkey and started back to Egypt.

9)  “Israel is my firstborn son and I told you, ‘Let my son go, so he may worship me.’  But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.”

10a)  He didn’t circumcise son.

b)  His wife, Zipporah

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  Nothing that I know of.

11)  Aaron is a Levite who can speak well.  He will be glad to see Moses.  He will speak to the people for Moses.  He is obedient to God.  He helps Moses by bringing together  the elders and speaking to them.

12)  They followed all of God’s instructions.  They called together the elders, performed the signs, and spoke with them about what the Lord had told them.  The Israelites believed in the Lord again and that He had seen their misery and they bowed down and worshiped God.

Conclusions:  My favorite part was how Moses didn’t circumcise his son.  It makes sense cause his son was born in a foreign land so Moses probably thought “I don’t need to do this”.  Yet following God’s laws was so important that Moses’ indifference almost cost him his son’s life or his own.  Great example for us.  Just because we think it’s not important God may think otherwise.  I also like how his wife took up Moses’ slack.  Perfect picture of marriage!

End Notes:  Moses asked his employer as well for permission to leave.  He just didn’t shout out “I saw God!  Gotta go!!”  He followed the custom of the land as well as God.

Pharaoh could have had a soft heart if he had so desired.  But Pharaoh was given over to sin.  God withheld his mercy.

God exchanged the life of his firstborn (the nation of Israel) for the life of Pharaoh’s firstborn.

God is threatening to kill Moses (or some translations say his son) because he didn’t circumcise him.  Before Moses can return to the land of God’s people, all must be right with all members of the family.  Some scholars suggest his son was not circumcised because Zipporah was not a Hebrew and objected to the custom.  Perhaps this is why she herself had to perform the circumcision and not Moses.  Of course, this is all speculation since we are not told.  What is clear is that Zipporah is not happy afterwards, calling Moses a “bridegroom of blood”.  Whoever was at fault, it had to be put right before Moses could continue with his calling.  This shows the importance of following God’s laws–even ones that we may consider trite.

Everything happens as God promised Moses–Aaron helping him and the elders accepting him. God keeps his promises.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 4: Exodus 4:1-17

Summary of passage:  Moses, still doubting God and asking what happens if the people don’t believe him, is given three signs by God to use to show the people that God indeed appeared to him.  These signs are:  Moses’ staff turning into a snake when he throws it on the ground, his hand becoming leprous and then healing in his cloak, and Nile River water turning into blood.

Moses still says he is not eloquent enough to lead.  God says He will help him speak and teach.  Moses asks God finally to choose someone else as a rescuer of his people.  God got angry with Moses for his lack of faith and doubting him.  God tells Moses his brother Aaron will come and help him and God will help both to speak and lead but Moses will be the one in charge.

Questions:

7a)  The people would not believe or listen to him when he told them God appeared to him and that he isn’t eloquent enough to lead and that he doesn’t want to do it.

b)  God gave Moses miraculous signs to show the people (staff turning to a snake–verse 3, his hand turning leprous and then miraculously healing–verses6-7, Nile River water turning to blood–verse 9).  When Moses said he wasn’t eloquent enough, God said He would help Moses speak and teach–verse 12.  When Moses said he doesn’t want to go, God told him his brother, Aaron, would help Moses and God would help both of them to speak and teach–verses 14-16.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He closes the door when I veer off the path.  Sometimes when I insist on doing it anyways, the door slams harder!  God lets me do it, but then it closes anyways and I learn it wasn’t for me.

Conclusions:  I can almost hear the Lord’s frustration at Moses.  It’s ok to question God but I think when He answers you should believe and not keep doubting as Moses does.  We finally learn Moses doesn’t really want to go and God punishes him for it.  How many times have we said “not me” to God and we end up paying the price?  Nice short lesson.

End Notes:  Moses doubts God and “buts” Him.  Severe lack of faith.

God uses what you have (a staff in your hand).

The tail of the snake is the most dangerous place to pick a snake up.  Here, Moses has faith in what God is saying.

The first two signs (staff and leprosy) has to do with transformation from good to bad and back to good.  The third sign is the sign of judgment–the water turns to blood and stays that way.  Either you turn to God and are transformed or you are judged.

Still, Moses protests.  He doesn’t believe in himself anymore that he can do the job.

Finally, Moses just says he doesn’t want to go.  “Send someone else,” Moses says.  He is unwilling to answer God’s call.  The other reasons were merely excuses.  Truly, Moses doesn’t want to go.

God brings Aaron as a punishment rather than help.  He will cause trouble for Moses the entire trip to the Promised Land.  This is God’s judgement for Moses’ unwillingness to go.

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.