Scripture Read: Exodus 12
Title: The Final The Passover
(H) Highlight verse: "The LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts"" Ex. 12:50
(E) Explain: Chapter 12 is a detailed account of God's liberation of Israel from Egypt. This exodus will be instituted and commemorated by the Passover. This Passover will be a continual reminder that God passed over the Israelites when he executed the tenth and final plague on Egypt.
God gives specific instructions as to what the Israeltites are to do in preparation of this mass departure from Egypt. Each home (according to their father's house) is to take a lamb without blemish and kill the lamb on the 14th day of Abib, which would be April. They are to drain the blood and take some of the blood to to put on the door posts of the house. The lamb is to be roasted over a fire and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The meal is to be eaten with their belts fastened, sandals on and staff in hand, because it will be eaten in haste. The blood on the doorposts will be a sign to God to pass over the home and no plague shall befall the household.
This Passover meal shall be instituted as a yearly celebration to commemorate what the LORD did in setting the people of Israel free from slavery. the institution of this observance is show God's love for His people, Israel and they are to remember this until the end of time. The people of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years and during this final plague, God was setting Israel free from captivity.
The people did as they were told and God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt.
(A) Application: Passover is not just an event, and it is not just a one night or one-time occurrence. This is a annual celebration and commemoration of what God has done for His beloved people. It is intended to be passed on to children from generation to generation. However, it is not just to remember what he HAS done, but also a reminder of what God continues to do.
The Passover is highly significant not only to the Jewish nation, but to Christians as well. With Passover we are reminded that Jesus was the perfect Lamb, without blemish, who was sacrificed in our place. His shed blood has the power of cleansing and protecting us from the judgment of God. Through Jesus we are set free from the captivity of sin. Because of Jesus we are no longer slaves to sin, but now slaves to righteousness.
(R) Respond: Thank you for Jesus. He is the perfect Passover Lamb who shed blood saves and rescues His people. Thank you for Jesus s he brings redemption from sin and sets us free from the captivity and bondage of sin.
Scripture Read: Exodus 10 - 11
Title: The Final Three Plagues
(H) Highlight verse: "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.'"" Ex. 11:9
(E) Explain: Moses continues to meet with God and with Pharaoh. Three more times Moses approaches Pharaoh and three times he denies him the opportunity to take the Israelites out to celebrate and worship the LORD. Two times, we are given a glimpse of hope as Pharaoh initially agrees to let them go, but eventually hardens his heart and changes his mind. The final plague, as we will see, is the straw that breaks the camel;s back and we read that it is a horrendous plague where the firstborn males of all Egyptians, slaves and cattle die.
At first glance, the final judgment or plague seems a bit harsh, but I think it is important to note that can be seen as an attack on Pharaoh's power. If you remember, back in the beginning of Exodus Pharaoh demands that all male children be murdered. Moses escaped this genocide and ended up living in the house of Pharaoh's daughter. This can be seen as retribution for Pharaoh's attempt to kill all the male children. God took this personally, this was not just an attack on the people of Israel, this was an attack on God's chosen children, This horrific plague is a sign of God's power over Pharaoh (who is considered godlike) and it is a display of his authority over life and death. Pharaoh is being used by God so His plan and eventual freeing of Israel will be accomplished.
(A) Application: Again, these are hard passages to apply personally and today. There is a lot of death, darkness and destruction going on and it is hard to pull anything positive in this passage. However, we must look past the plague accounts of these chapters. We must ask ourselves, what is going on here and what is the author (and ultimately God) trying to show us in this plague narrative?
What I see in all of this a sign of God's power and plan. We have seen this multiple times in Genesis where there is a situation that looks bleak and hopeless, but God and his chosen people emerge victorious. Like Joseph who lived a life of slavery and betrayal, he comes out fine in the end. We see that God never left him, and He certainly did not leave his people in Egypt. God, has a plan and this plan will be crafted and executed all according to his purpose.
This should give us all hope today. No matter what obstacles or hardships you are facing this morning, afternoon or evening God is with you. Your experiences and hardships may give you a bleak outlook for today, and maybe even tomorrow, but know God is with you, He has a purpose and it may not feel like it now (or even way down the road), eventually God will rescue you and give you freedom from that which is holding you captive today. Stay strong my friends, God IS for YOU.
(R) Respond: God, help me to stay focused on you and not on my current circumstances. Sometimes I feel that I am being held captive by my fears, situations and hardships, but I know you have a plan of redemption and a plan of victory. May I take comfort in your plan? May I take my eyes off of that which is holding me captive and put my focus on you.
Scripture Read: Exodus 8 - 9
Title: God's Continued Warnings To Pharaoh
(H) Highlight verse: "The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said."" Ex. 8:18,19
(E) Explain: The warnings, and the plagues of God continue in these chapters. God speaks to Moses and tells him the words and actions he is supposed to say and do. Time and again God warns, through Moses, and Pharaoh responds with a hardened heart. God displays his power over and over again, yet Pharaoh refuses to relent. These plagues, namely the first two have a pointed theological intent, Yahweh is bigger than the gods of Egypt. The second plague is also the last plague the magicians can reproduce.
(A) Application: One difficulty I find in reading about these plagues is how all of this can apply to me and you today? I think sometimes we get caught up in the actual plagues and determining what it all meant at this time in history. I like what one theologian says, "In the final analysis, the story of the plagues is not about what God does to save you, or perhaps even so much a story of how he save Israel. It is about God, period; for when all is said and done, we all need to be reminded of him now and then."
He continues, "The plague narrative - indeed, the book of Exodus and the entire Bible - is a call to worship the true God, and it calls us to that goal by telling us who He is."
Personally, I find these answers comforting and helpful; for whenever we read a passage that may not sit well, or confuses us we can always come back to the truth that it is intentionally written to bring glory to God and cause us to respond in worship. Yes, many of the plagues may paint a picture of God being a mean heartless god, but in reality we see his attributes of mercy, sovereignty, patience and grace amidst the harshness of the plague narratives.
(R) Respond: God, I see that you had a big picture plan for the nation of Israel in Exodus, but more importantly you wanted to show us just how great, mighty and awesome you are. I praise you for your patience, kindness, grace and sovereignty and I worship you because you are worthy of all honor, glory and praise.
Scripture Read: Exodus 6 - 7
Title: God's Deliverance Begins:
(H) Highlight verse: "Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."" Ex. 6:6-7
(E) Explain: In these passages the process and promise of God's deliverance is made to Moses. God gives Moses the words to say to the Israelites and to Pharaoh, just as He promised, but unfortunately neither listened or believed. One would expect Pharaoh to be hardhearted because he did not acknowledge or worship God. However, the response of the Israelites is another story. The story of unbelief is one we will hear over and over. Exodus 6:9 says, "Moses spoke to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery." The people of Israel were basically mad at Moses and still blamed him for their added work load.
In chapter 7 Aaron and Moses go to Pharaoh and did what the LORD commanded them, but Pharaoh's heart was hardened. They performed miracles to show that God was with them, but this did not convince Pharaoh. They warned him of coming judgments and even started the first plague, turning water into blood, but we are told Pharaoh hardened his heart. His actions were not just unbelief, they were outward rebellion and heartlessness. He didn't care what God said, He was not going to change his mind at all.
(A) Application: In these passages we see two types of sins against God. The first is unbelief and the second is hardening of heart. I find it interesting that the people of Israel heard the words of Moses, but chose not to listen. This unbelief was a willful choice of not believing. The Israelites didn't believe because they were mad a Moses and they were being stubborn. Pharaoh, on the other hand didn't even acknowledge God at all. His response was coldness, callousness and heartlessness towards God and the Israelites.
Humanity still struggles with unbelief and hardheartedness. Sometimes, I choose to not believe God. I guess it is not a conscious decision I make, but I do anyway. There are times when I struggle with believing God will do something and I don't think, "Hmm, God's not going to pull this one off." No, I just sit back and worry and wonder if it's actually going to come to pass. I do know that in my late teens and early twenties there were times I was a hardhearted jerk to God. I was living in open rebellion and sin, and I knew it, but I refused to change my way of living for God. I remember praying, even in my rebellious state, that God would not judge me for my sinful life choices (that I wasn't giving up by the way). I knew God was real., I knew the consequences of my sins, but I harden my heart to Him, so I could live the way I wanted.
(R) Respond: Lord, may I be obedient to you today. I pray that my heart will not be hardened against you. Help my unbelief when I struggle. Keep reminding me of your promises, and may my faith be strengthened everyday because of your faithfulness.
Scripture Read: Exodus 4- 5
Title: Moses Goes Back to Egypt
(H) Highlight verse: "Who has made a man's mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you should say." Ex. 4:11, 12
(E) Explain: God commissions Moses to go back to Egypt and confront Pharaoh and ask him to let the Hebrew people go to the desert for three days and worship God. Moses was overwhelmed with God's commissioning and gives excuse after excuse as to why he couldn't do what God was telling him to do. He tells God, the people will never listen to him and he was not a gifted speaker. God assured Moses that he would be with him and give him the words to say. God would empower Moses to perform miraculous signs and miracles as a sign to prove to all that God was with him. Moses did as he was told. When he talked to the king of Egypt, he was displeased, so he doubled the workload of the Hebrews and in response the Hebrews got angry with him as well.
(A) Application: When God calls or commissions us to do something, He will give us the ability to accomplish it. The task was overwhelming and next to impossible for Moses to accomplish, but God was with him.God and give him the ability to do it. Sometimes we, like Moses, are called or commissioned by God to do some outlandish tasks and we feel overwhelmed. So we argue with God or give Him excuses as to why we can't do what He is telling us to do. The truth is God doesn't need to hear our excuses, he knows our limits, He just needs us to be obedient and open to Him. Even when we think we can't accomplish what he is calling us to do, He already has it figured out and He will give us the power to accomplish the task.
(R) Respond: Lord, help me to be obedient and respond to you in obedience and openness when you call me.
Scripture Read: Exodus 2 - 3
Title: God Calls Moses
(H) Highlight verse: "But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?'" Ex. 3:11
(E) Explain: The story of Moses is fascinating. The second and third chapters of Exodus cover a large span of time. Chapter 2 recounts the birth of Moses to his adult life where he grows up in Egypt, eventually flees for his life from the country and ends up at Jethro, the Medianite Priest's home and marries his daughter Zipporah. Chapter 3 looks more closely at God's calling of Moses to set the Israelites free from slavery. In this account we see that Moses is a humble man whom God calls. He is uncertain of his leadership skills, but comes to the realization that the one true God is with him and promises to be with him as Israel is set free. Moses realized his leadership was not dependent on his skills but on God's faithfulness.
(A) Application: In these passages we see that Moses is called by God to do a task that he could never do on his own. I see two great qualities of leadership of Moses (there are more we will look at in prior chapters) that I/we can learn and apply to our lives.
(R) Respond: Lord, may I listen when you speak to me? May I respond in humility, when you call me to go? May I be completely and utterly dependent on you as you call me to lead.
Scripture Read: Genesis 50 - Exodus 1
Title: The End of the Beginning
(H) Highlight verse: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Gen. 50:20
(E) Explain: When Jacob dies Joseph weeps and kisses him. He tells the servants to embalm his father so his body can be preserved for the long journey ahead. There is a time of great mourning for their father as the brothers return him to the land of promise.
Joseph’s brothers fear for their lives again. They fear Joseph was still harboring bitterness and revenge in his heart. Now that their dad wasn’t around Joseph could easily take his vengeance. However Joseph assures his brothers all is well and that God’s plan is perfect. At the conclusion of this chapter the death of Joseph is detailed. His body was not returned to the Promised Land until the Exodus of Moses,
(A) Application: As we conclude Genesis, we should understand that it is the story of God. In the story we see the multiple blessings God has bestowed on his people. One constant factor from the beginning to the end is God’s faithfulness. Never once does God go back on his Word. Never once does He fail to fulfill a promise. Certainly there were times where individuals grew impatient in waiting for his promises to be fulfilled (and disaster usually followed) but God continually fulfills his promises, even today. Genesis shows that God is a promise maker and a promise keeper. His faithfulness displayed means that we, his children are blessed as well. Why? Because his promise of forgiveness, grace, and redemption will be fulfilled in our lives. We are truly blessed because God has given to us promises and they will be fulfilled.
(R) Respond: Lord, you are faithful. You have proven this time and again throughout Genesis. Remind me daily to hold this truth close to my heart. Help me realize that no matter what I may be facing today is intended to make me stronger tomorrow. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for Jesus.
Scripture Read: Genesis 48 - 49
Title: Jacob Blesses His Sons
(H) Highlight verse: "And Israel said to Joseph, 'I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.'"." Gen. 48:11
(E) Explain: In Chapter 48 Jacob blesses his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh. In this emotional chapter Jacob adopts them as his own sons. A beautiful moment happens in verse 11 where Jacob says to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” God’s grace is evident in this reunion because not only does Jacob live to see his son whom he thought dead alive but he also sees and blesses his own grandchildren.
Jacob blesses his grandsons and in the vain of what goes around comes around he blesses the younger over the older. Joseph tries to correct his father but his father continues to bless the younger. He declares that Ephraim will become a greater nation than his brother. Incidentally Ephraim does become a great tribe and they are one of the leading tribes with Joshua in bringing the people to the Promised Land.
In Chapter 49 Jacob gathers all 12 of his sons so he may speak final words to them.
He speaks blessings to 9 of his sons (Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin). Most notable he speaks a prophecy concerning the future human king of Israel and the eternal King (Jesus the Lion of the Tribe of Judah) was given to Judah. He chastises three sons… Reuben who’s lust burned so hot that he committed the sinful act of having sex with his dad’s wife. Simeon and Levi were chastised for their violent reaction to the men of Shechem. They would still prosper but their tribes would be scattered among the other tribes.
At the conclusion of Chapter 49 Jacob dies and his sons return him to Canaan where he is buried in a cave with his wives.
(A) Application: God has blessed me/us. It is God’s nature to drench us with his blessing. God wants to bless you and you are a blessing to Him. Author Bruce Wilkinson writes in his book THE PRAYER OF JABEZ, “Why not make it a lifelong commitment to ask everyday to bless you – and while He is at it, bless you a lot?”
You are God's child, you are his son or daughter. Just like any father who loves his children He wants to bless you abundantly, more than you know what do with. Most of all He wants you to say, “Father, I am yours and whatever you have purposed for me and my life is what I want. I want more of you in my life. I want all of you and you can have all of me.” There is no limit to God’s goodness and blessing and He wants to pour out these blessings on us. When we ask God to bless us, we are giving Him our complete submission and we throw ourselves at His mercy to do as He pleases in our lives for his glory and our benefit. We are blessed by God.
(R) Respond: Lord, you have blessed me all of my life. You often give me more than I ask for and more than I deserve. Thank you for your blessings, especially those that I never expected or deserved. Your grace is truly amazing.
Scripture Read: Genesis 46-47
Title: Joseph Reunites with His Family
(H) Highlight verse: "Then He said, 'I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation. I myself will go with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.'"." Gen. 46:3,4
(E) Explain: Interestingly and ironically Egypt is the final destination for Jacob and his sons. Egypt is where Israel finds salvation but it is also place where the people will be held in captivity as slaves. At the onset one may think that this journey to Egypt was a mistake because of the impending slavery. Egypt represents the pagan world at the time. Why would Jacob (AKA Israel) want to leave the Promised Land and go to a Pagan country? Remember, Egypt has never been a place where Jacob and his family have had good experiences.
Nevertheless, the Lord meets with Jacob in a vision at night and He assures him that he should go. God tells him not to be afraid to go, because this journey is part of God’s greater plan to make him a great nation. Then He tells Jacob that He will be with him on this journey. The stay would be temporary. The journey would initially be the Salvation of Israel. The famine was getting worse and it would continue so if Jacob does not go to Egypt chances are he and his family would die. Death was not an option and not part of God’s plan. God had a plan and yes this plan did include eventually slavery, a mass exodus (God’s glory), a lot of death, years of wandering in the wilderness, the giving of the Law and all this would force Israel into have complete dependence and obedience to God.
Eventually Jacob, his family, their livestock, their goods and all they acquired in the land of Canaan left for Egypt with the Lord’s blessings.
(A) Application: This story has so much for us to apply. Joseph’s life is a picture of what the Christian life can look like. In this account I see three things that can be brought to our attention.
Scripture Read: Genesis 44 - 45
Title: Joseph Forgives
(H) Highlight verse: "And now do not be dismayed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before to preserve life." Gen. 45:5
(E) Explain: After all that has happened to Joseph in his life, one would think that he would be a bitter and angry person. One would definitely think that he would hold a deep grudge against his brothers for what they did to him. His brothers betrayed him, beat him and sold him into slavery. This is no small crime against Joseph. When he finally sees his brothers I think his little game that he played with them was a little bit of payback and he could have easily been justified in punishing them harshly. But Joseph chooses to take the high road and forgive. Joseph had matured over the years and he finally realizes that everything he went through, no matter how painful, that God was preparing him to do great things. He was commissioned to preserve life. He realized he could not be angry with his brothers because it was God who was orchestrating this. Since he saw God's hand in all of this, forgiveness was a little easier to extend.
(A) Application: Forgiveness begins with you. I believe it is a choice we make, and often not very easily..
(R) Respond: Lord, I have seen your hand at work in my life, especially during the hard times when I have been wronged or betrayed by someone. Forgiveness has not been easy, but through your power I see that you are/were at work and thus I am able to forgive more freely.
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