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  • Pastor John

Week 10 June 3, 2020

What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, June 3, 2020):

• Exodus 14-20

• Isaiah 64-66

• Jeremiah 1-4

• Luke 20-24

• John 1.2

• Psalms 64-70

We are finishing off Isaiah (my favorite) this week, and now have completely two of the four longest books in the Bible (Genesis and Isaiah).

Hope you are keeping up! Please feel free to post your own comments, thoughts, and questions.

Notes on Exodus

The Exodus!

In chapter 14, we find that Pharaoh was chasing the Hebrews, not to kill them as the people feared (verse 11), but simply to retrieve all of this free labor (verse 5). The pillar was the “angel of God”, i.e. Jesus (19). The pillar remained between the Egyptians and the Hebrews all night long. The chase was totally interrupted this way, and along with some other strange happenings, it eventually became obvious to the Egyptians that they were fighting God himself, and would lose (see 25).

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A song to mark the occasion opens chapter 15. The new-found freedom is then immediately marked with the first case of grumbling against God and Moses in 15.24.

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Second case of grumbling in 16.2-3. Manna is introduced, and will be their primary staple throughout their four decades in the wilderness (16.35). The people could not keep the simple rules God gave them even in how to deal with this (19-20, 25-27).

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Moses struck the rock with his staff to produce water in 17.6. Later, God would tell him to speak to a rock to produce water, but for whatever reason, Moses would strike it again. This would be his one sin that would keep him from entering the Promised Land.

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Their first battle is against the Amalakites. Joshua is introduced at the beginning of the battle (17.9).

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Moses’ wise father-in-law Jethro comes into the picture in chapter 18. Moses will turn out to be one of the most outstanding leaders in the history of the world, but here learns a critical lesson on delegating from Jethro.

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We come to Mount Sinai in chapter 19. Here, God will reveal his law to Moses at the top of the mountain. I still contend that God wanted everyone to go up, but they somehow freaked out and refused to go up. Since they did not have the one-on-one, face-to-face encounter with God like Moses did, everything they heard from God was second-hand. And they therefore failed to maintain a dynamic faith.

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On the mountain, God will give Moses the entire law (some 613 commands), including all of the instructions on the construction of the articles of worship. Moses will even see into heaven itself during this time (see Hebrews 8.5).

The very first of the law would be the Ten Commandments.

Notes on Isaiah

Great verse for this week: “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!” (64.1).

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This entire chapter (64) is a powerful prayer that we all can identify with. I would encourage you to not hurry through it.

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The contrast of the rebuke at the opening of chapter 65 and the picture of the Millennium at its end is stark. Why would we follow our own paths at the expense of missing out on the glorious future that awaits the children of God?

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That contrast continues into the final chapter, 66. The choice is ours: joy, rejoicing, and peace; or worms and fire. It doesn’t seem to me to be that difficult of a decision.

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Notes on Jeremiah

Jeremiah is prophesying during the time of Josiah (the last godly king) through Zedekiah. God has already determined to drop the hammer, and their exile to Babylon would happen imminently.

Actually, it will take place during Jeremiah’s tenure. We will go with him through the transition. However, the book it anachronistic: we will jump over the line and back timewise several times.

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One of the critical pro-life/anti-abortion verses often cited is 1.5. God knows us before we are born.

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Jeremiah is a young, single man (1.6, 16.2).

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God sets his case against his people in chapter 2, summarized in verse 5: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me?”

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The marriage analogy between God and his people is given in 3.1, with an important teaching here: if a couple divorces, and one of them remarries, the original pair are forbidden to remarry again.

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Judah is rebuked for being even more faithless than Israel, the northern kingdom (which had already been dispersed). Idolatry and adultery are spiritually connected. See 3.4-6, 11-12.

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Beginning in verse 14, and continuing to the end of the chapter, God pleads with his people to return to him, with an open invitation of his love and blessing.

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God continues to plead with his people in 4.1-4; but he knows how they will respond. The remainder of the chapter is the picture of the horrible things to come, as Babylon is on the way, and it will not be pretty.

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Notes on Luke

In Jesus’ last days, he fluctuates between his teaching to the people (parables that have grown increasingly more intense), and explicit rebuke and warning to the spiritual elites.

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Jesus prophecies the destruction of the Temple in 21.6. This would occur forty years later in 70 AD. But he had also prophesied that if you destroy the Temple, he would rebuild it in three days. He was talking about his body, but conspiring to destroying the Temple would be one of the charges that would be leveled against him in his trial. See Matthew 26.61 and John 2.19-22.

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The prophecies of end times that Jesus gives through the latter parts of chapter 21 are worth revisiting these days.

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Chapter 22: Judas, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, arrest, Peter’s betrayal, trial.

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Chapter 23: the trial concludes, crucifixion, death, and burial

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Chapter 24: Resurrection!

We also find the “Road to Emmaus” account. This is the only gospel that includes this.

As this gospel closes, Jesus ascends. As the writer of Acts, you can go from here directly to the Book of Acts, as it is the sequel.

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Notes on John

John 1 is perhaps the most important chapter in the Bible. It ties into Genesis (1.1-5), the Incarnation (14), Israel (1.11), grace, Messiahship (1.29), the Holy Spirit (1.33); and other important aspects of salvation.

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The calling of these first disciples pre-dates what we find in the other gospels about the beginning of Jesus’ interaction with the disciples by about a year.

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Jesus’ changing the water into wine in chapter two was during this first year. The disciples with him (2.2) were probably only the few we met in chapter one.

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Clearing the Temple in 2.13-25 seems to contradict the accounts we read in the other gospels. However, it becomes apparent that Jesus actually did this twice; here at the beginning of his ministry, and then a second time during week of this crucifixion.

Notes on Psalms

David takes up the pen again, and is the author of five of the seven psalms this week. each of them is great to reflect on, and worthy of singing our own song of praise as we contemplate them.

Psalms 69 and 70 are written in distress, but a Messianic theme emerges. See 69.19-21.

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