Tuesday, August 12, 2008

coming out of Exodus

After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor. So God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the Israelites, and He took notice.
Exodus 2:23-25, CSB

"You are to make a plate of pure gold and engrave it, like the engraving of a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD

Fasten it to a cord of blue yarn so it can be placed on the turban; the plate is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron's forehead so that Aaron may bear the guilt connected with the holy offerings that the Israelites consecrate as all their holy gifts. It is always to be on his forehead, so that they may find acceptance with the LORD.
Exodus 28:36-38, CSB


This past Sunday, I visited Trinity Presbyterian Church. During their education hour, they were discussing a Bible study method that seemed pretty good to me. The basic premise of the method is to follow these steps:
1. Preparation -- Think and pray about the fact that these are God's words
2. Focus -- Think and pray about the fact that God reveals his glory to me in these words
3. Wonder -- Think and pray about how wonderful is his glory
4. Opposition -- Think and pray about why my representation of his glory is so dim.
5. Opportunity -- Think and pray about what would be good for me to change.
6. Commitment -- Think and pray about what I am committed to changing.
There are many specific questions for each of the above steps, as well. For example, during preparation, I should also consider the author of the text and the condition of my soul as I prepare to read. During the focus step, I should consider the central idea or truth being taught in the text using terms such as "God is...," "God desires...," "God does...," etc.

Since I was reading through Exodus, in my Bible reading plan, I was thinking about this method in terms of Exodus. Although the teacher at the church used a short passage (Ps 146:5) for his example, I think this method can work for much longer passages, even entire books, as well.

So, when I think about Exodus, I think that the central truth is this: "The LORD is our salvation and he demands pure worship."

God is the only person in whom we can place our absolute trust. He is all powerful, omnipotent. Not even Pharaoh and his entire army could hinder God. And God is perfect and demands to be worshiped by his standards. Holy is the LORD. And we can see Christians, throughout history, living their lives by trusting God's salvation. William Tyndale and many other martyrs lived their lives trusting in the LORD, even to the point of death. And they sought to worship God is Spirit and in truth. Of course, it is only in heaven that we fully worship in Spirit and in truth. Then, in heaven, we will be like Moses who God spoke with face to face (Ex 33:11).

And why is my reflection of God's salvation and worth so dim? Because I am a sinner, by nature. I want to trust in my own salvation. I want to show myself worthy. But, I cannot save myself and I am only what God has made me. My self-reliance and self-aggrandizement is a terrible rejection of God's power, love, and authority. As I make myself out to be a god, I make God out to be less than he is. Thankfully, by the grace of God, he is working in me and making me more like his Son. He is transforming me. With God's help, I will continue to trust more in him and less in myself.


Father, you are so great. Your works among the Hebrew people are still encouraging today. Your great acts to free your people from Egypt and keep your promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, have been told for thousands of years. You heard your people's cry and you took notice of your people. May you be praised forever.

You led your people out of Egypt and you guided them through the desert. You gave them your word and taught them how to worship you. But, they could not and would not follow your instruction. So, in time, you made a new covenant. You sent your Son Jesus to call your people. You gave us your Spirit to replace our dead hearts with hearts alive in you. May we live by your Spirit.

Father, help me to put away my old sinful ways. Help me to trust in you for my salvation. You are my hope and my help. Give me a faithful heart.

In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

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