Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reading in Exodus This Week #2 (7-18)

T51ChsiH46qL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_his week continues my discussion on Exodus, reading through the commentary, Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory, by Philip Graham Ryken. I have been posting quotes from the book on my Facebook page on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (NT is Mon-Wed-Fri) and we can discuss comments and questions about the passage there. As usual, quotes from the commentary are in blue below…

Exodus 7-18 describe God’s founding of the nation of Israel. As king he defeats their Egyptian oppressors, providing justice for the Egyptian sins against Israel, frees his people and begins the process of preparing them for life in the land he has promised to them. This is done as an entirely gracious act of God choosing and freeing the nation. These acts (deliverance from Egypt, baptism in the sea and proving in the desert) will be recapitulated by Jesus, but where Israel failed to act in trust Jesus will succeed in every way.

The plagues are a "war" between the gods of Egypt and YHWH. Each one strikes at a member of the Egyptian pantheon of deities. The Egyptians and the Israelites needed to learn that YHWH is the only reliable basis of trust and the only true God. God got this message across by a means that would be understood by both groups. As king of Israel God leads them into battle, actually fights the battle for them, and frees them from the oppressor. In doing so he shows his qualifications to be their king and God.

If it teaches us nothing else, the book of Exodus teaches us not to trust in other gods because they will not save us. Exodus 7.14-24, 224.

The Bible teaches that what brings true order and cohesion to the universe is the person and work of Jesus Christ: “For by him all things were created … and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16, 17). Jesus Christ is the one who holds everything together...This is true not only cosmically but also personally. When your world seems to be out of control, the only stable foundation is faith in Jesus Christ. Exodus 8.16-19, 241–242

Since this is God’s mission, then our commission—the Great Commission that we have received from Christ himself (Matt. 28:18–20)—is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. We proclaim the good news that the sinners of Egypt can enter the Goshen of redemption, if only they will trust in Jesus Christ as their crucified and risen Lord. Exodus 8.20-32, 254

Grant me grace, O Lord, to join Thy consolations to my sufferings, that I may suffer like a Christian. I pray not to be exempted from pain … but I pray that I may not be abandoned to the pains of nature without the comforts of Thy Spirit. Grant, O Lord, that … I may conform myself to Thy will; and that being sick as I now am, I may glorify Thee in my sufferings. Exodus 9.8-12 (quoting Pascal) 278

In chapters 9-11 the plagues reach their climax. God shows the Egyptians that He is God above all the so-called gods of Egypt and especially pharaoh. With the hail storm God gives the Egyptians a chance to repent, acknowledge him and save their livestock which pharaoh refuses. The locusts then take out the base of the economy of Egypt and the darkness strikes a blow at the chief Egyptian god, the sun. The announcement of judgment on the firstborn of Egypt takes out the sun-god's son and provides justice for the Egyptian's infanticide against Israel. The love of the God of justice motivates him to remove the oppressor and save His people.

There is no repentance without the fear of God. We must recognize that more than anything else, sin is an offense against the holiness of God. A confession that acknowledges sin without fearing God is a false confession that falls short of true repentance. Exodus 9.13-35, 287

The practical lesson is that we must take God on his terms, not ours. Discipleship is not open to discussion. When we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, we do not make a few concessions here and there; we surrender our whole lives to the lordship of his will. Exodus 10.1-20, 298

The third-century theologian Origen wrote, “What each one honors before all else, what before all things he admires and loves, this for him is God.” By Origen’s definition, we too are idol-worshipers, because there are many things that we honor, admire, and love instead of God. The question is, what do we love most of all? Who is our supreme deity? Exodus 10.21-29, 305–306

The God who sent the plagues against Egypt still rules over Heaven and earth. Since he is almighty, he has the power to help us in every situation. Since he is jealous, we must not rob him of his glory by serving other gods. Since he is just, we can wait for him to judge his enemies. Since he is merciful, he will save us when we cry for help. Since he is sovereign, he is to be feared and worshiped. Exodus 11, 317

Chapter 12 and the first part of chapter 13 tell the story of the First Passover. This commemorates the redemption of God's people from slavery in Egypt and from the sin of idolatry in Egypt; and to their new status as a nation led by God himself as their king. Not only does God provide their just liberation from the Egyptians, but the Passover lamb also points forward to the ultimate "firstborn," Jesus, who pays the price for the sin of all and takes our destruction on to himself. The feast of unleavened bread points to this new start of a new nation protected and provided for by God and the need to leave behind Egypt and its idolatry. The sacrifice included even the Egyptians who were willing to identify with God and His people in covenant. The Passover celebration would be a remembrance and participation in this liberation for each succeeding generation.

The Israelites were as guilty as the Egyptians, and in the final plague God taught them about their sin and his salvation...Alec Motyer writes that “when the wrath of God is applied in its essential reality, no one is safe. There were two nations in the land of Egypt, but they were both resistant to the word of God; and if God comes in judgment none will escape.” Ryken Exodus 12.1-13, 326

God wanted to do something more than get his people out of Egypt; he wanted to get Egypt out of his people. He was saving them with a view to their sanctification; so he told them to make a clean sweep. He commanded them to get rid of every last bit of yeast, the old yeast of Egyptian idolatry. Exodus 12.14-28, 341

The exodus was a victory for God’s people...The Israelites did not leave empty-handed. Though they had lived in Egypt as slaves, they left as conquerors, carrying the spoils of God’s victory. Exodus 12.29-42, 351

By ingesting the whole offering, they were making a total identification with the sacrifice that God had provided for their salvation. It was more than a symbol; it was a spiritual reality. In the same way, the sacrament of Communion makes a total identification between Christ and the Christian, sealing the covenant of grace. What Christ did on the cross is really ours. It is as much a part of us as what we eat and drink. Exodus 12.43-51, 365

We were not made for our own pleasure—or our parents’ pleasure, for that matter. We were made for God’s pleasure, and we will not find joy until we commit our lives to him. Exodus 13, 375

Chapters 14 and 15 of Exodus record the "independence day" for the nation of Israel. God leads them as king into battle and defeats the Egyptian army single-handed. In a way, He baptizes them in the Sea and begins the process that will lead them into the promised land. All this is done by God as a gracious act. Israel's salvation is entirely by God's grace.

It is hard to be still and wait for God. Our temptation is to run away, cry out in fear, or try to fix things on our own. Instead, God orders us to stand our ground. He is our defender, our champion. When we are caught between the desert and the sea, all we need to do is be still and look for his salvation. Exodus 14.1-14, 388

Jesus is the perfect and ultimate Israel. One of the ways God showed this was by having Jesus recapitulate Israel’s escape from Egypt. Later, as the crucifixion drew near, Jesus described his death as an “exodus” (Luke 9:31, literal translation). He was making another connection. Jesus is the new Moses—“worthy of greater honor” (Heb. 3:3)—who leads God’s people out of their bondage to sin and into the promised land of eternal life. Exodus 14.15-31, 398

The Old Testament is the story of God bringing his people to their home in the house of the Lord. This is still God’s plan for his people. The temple at Mount Zion was an earthly symbol of God’s heavenly temple in the New Jerusalem. Every day God is bringing more and more children into his holy dwelling. Soon all God’s people will be there to sing the song that will never end. Exodus 15.1-21, 410

In chapters 16-18 God begins the process of preparing his people to live in the promised land. He tests them through deprivation and suffering in the desert. Just like we are, they are tested by suffering to see if they are willing to trust God in the midst of it. Israel, mostly fails in this test. They refuse to trust God when suffering and refuse to trust God even when he provides for them. However, God's plan will go forward and he will bring his people into the promised land although they will need to wander 40 years in the wilderness until they learn to trust God's promises.

This is an important insight about the sin of complaining. All our dissatisfaction and discontent ultimately is directed against God. Usually we take out our frustrations on someone else, especially people who are close to us... A complaining spirit always indicates a problem in our relationship with God. Exodus 16, 425

If we do not receive the gift of God’s rest, then we are really still working for Pharaoh. Rushing around from one activity to the next, trying to get ahead in life, always working and never waiting (even on Sunday)—this lifestyle comes from the sinful nature. Exodus 16.21-36, 442

In Christ God is for us what he was for Israel—our provider, protector, and ever-present Lord. This is what Paul meant when he said “that rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). In the same way that God was with Israel at Horeb, he is with the church in Christ. Our Lord is our Rock, and we trust in his provision, his protection, and his presence. Exodus 17.1-7, 456

Prayer—especially corporate prayer—is our best defense against the evil one. Exodus 17.8-16, 465

Every Christian has a responsibility to promote good church government. Spiritual leaders do this by leading. Yet sadly, pastors and elders tend to commit one of two errors. Either they are too timid to exercise their true spiritual authority or they try to claim more authority for themselves than they have been given by Christ. Exodus 18, 488–489

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