Today I invited members of my Sunday School class to join me in this year-long journey through the bible.
Old Testament text
1. Three miraculous signs will confirm that Moses is indeed sent from God.
- The rod becoming a snake, and then returning to it's original state. Moses needed no spells or incantations. This power is from God.
- The hand itself. Placed into his bosom healthy, pulling it out diseased. The diseased hand has the appearance of leprosy. To the Israelites this is a sign of impurity. The greater meaning is that the people have become leprous (unclean), polluted by sin, but by being taken into the bosom of Moses they would be cleansed and purified. This was also a sign to Moses that he did not work these miracles alone.
-Turning the water of the Nile to blood. The blood is a sign to the Israelites. In contrast to the plagues for the Egyptians.
2. Moses continues to make excuses. God continues to to answer his concerns. Finally, God becomes angry with him. To balance Moses' weaknesses He reminds him of His own power. He encourages him that He will be with him. And God "modifies" the plan, and now Aaron is to be his spokesman.
3. Moses finally gathers up his family and heads for Egypt.
4. He in instructed to show the Pharaoh the miraculous signs. He is warned that this will not be easy. "I...will stiffen his heart.
5. Then he is to say to Pharaoh..."Thus sayeth the Lord..."
6. His reference to Israel as His first-born is a reflection of God's special attachment to Israel. He states that He will destroy the first-born of the Egyptians. This has to do with an ancient view of family as a unit. Children received reward and punishment based on their parent's behavior.
7. Then we have this strange little story about the Lord wanting to kill Moses. The motive for God's attack is unclear. Is it that he hadn't taken care of his family responsibilities? He had not circumcised his son. This was an old tradition. Zipporah takes an active role in saving her husband's life.
8. The first encounter with Pharaoh. The plagues and defeats of the Egyptians may be viewed as God's answer to Pharaoh's contemptuous question, "Who is the Lord?"
9. Moses and Aaron ask for e few days off to go to worship God...lest He strike us. This is an argument that the Pharaoh can understand. He would also believe that failure to worship a deity would lead to punishment.
10. This doesn't go well. The Pharaoh uses a counter-argument. If we let the Israelites go for several days, who's going to do the work. Everything will grind to a halt. That's why we have slaves! In fact, the Pharaoh calls them lazy. So, punishment the Israelites won't be given straw for their brickmaking. Now in addition to making the bricks, they'll have to go out and get the supplies they need. And...the brick-making quota will remain the same!
New Testament text
11. The disciples are having and unbecoming discussion about which of them will be greater in the kingdom. Jesus gives them and unexpected lesson in humility, and faith.
12. He calls little children to him.
- Seeking greatness, the disciples must humble themselves, as one of the little ones who "believe in Me."
- When He called the people of Israel, they stood off in the distance reserving judgment. When Jesus called the child to Him, the child responded immediately. The child accepted Jesus' invitation at once. Greatness comes only when we humble ourselves to trustingly respond to God's call.
13. He expresses concern for "little ones". I don't think Jesus is talking only about children. I think He's talking about all who respond to His invitation and put their trust in Him
14. Parable of the sheep...
- In our fallen state, we stray like lost sheep.
- The Great Shepherd, Christ, looks for us tirelessly. When He finds us, He is joyful.
- Though the flock (of believers) is great, our Shepard misses any one that is lost.
- "It is not the will of the Father, that one of these little ones should perish." This care extends to all members of the flock, even the mean ones.
15. Jesus changes the focus, a little...
- Little ones are sheep- but little ones are also brothers.
- Jesus talks about how to approach each other for correction. Amazingly, it doesn't say anything about discussing it behind their back.
- Temptations to sin come to all of us. The intrusion of sin into our life causes us to want to break fellowship. Jesus is saying, I think , that our sin, failing and shortcoming should not destroy our family unity.
- If two or three are gathered...who come together in the name of Christ.
15. I will praise You in great assemblies
16. Solomon, having shown the great evil in adultery and fornication, now offers remedies against them.
17. Enjoy the comforts of lawful marriage
18. The Lord sees everything...let the fear of God rule your heart