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  • Pastor John

Week 9 May 27, 2020

What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, May 27, 2020):

• Exodus 7-13

• Isaiah 57-63

• Luke 13-19

• Psalms 57-63

Notes on Exodus

Things have heated up tremendously between Moses and Pharaoh. Now Moses gets to roll out the ten plagues. All of these plagues are connected in some way to the false worship of the gods of Egypt.

Moses becomes frustrated and even sarcastic as Pharaoh continues to stubbornly hold out against plague after plague: (“I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you… that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs…” 8.9).

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The first two plagues (blood and frogs) the Egyptian magicians could duplicate (to some extent). But by number three (gnats) they had run out of tricks (8.18). Even at this early point, Pharaoh’s own guys declared, “This is the finger of God” (v 19).

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It’s hard to know how Pharaoh could remain so steadfastly stubborn. You can imagine the despondency at least in his attendents every time Moses and Aaron showed up. “What is next? How bad will this one be? Just how bad will things get?”

In 9.11, “The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them.” This was getting serious!

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Pharaoh’s officials began to respond to Moses’ words: “Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and livestock inside” (9.20).

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Moses’ official request throughout was only to go into the wilderness temporarily to offer sacrifices (e.g. 10.9).

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The last plague is so terrible, it’s hard again to understand why Pharaoh could not accept the fact that it would indeed happen, and that the result would not be worth his resistance. See chapter 11.

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This act of God is so awesome (literally) in its scope, the resulting celebration/remembrance that resulted (the Passover) is the most important event on the Jewish calendar to this day. Details of the day and of the celebration are given in chapter 12.

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The Passover is a one-day (actually one-evening) affair, and then is followed immediately by the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which runs for the following seven days (see 12.17-18).

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Even with all of the plagues (perhaps because of them) the Israelites had gained favor with their Egyptian neighbors. (12.36).

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The Lord began appearing before them in a pillar of cloud/pillar of fire in 13.21. They could travel by day or night!

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Notes on Isaiah

Our righteous will always fall short, and will not help our case at all before God (57.12).

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The message of repentance, humility, and brokenness is the key to our relationship with God in the Old Testament as well at the New (see 57.15-16). This entire chapter bounces back and forth as God considers our sin and rebellion against the backdrop of his great love for us and never-ending desire to restore.

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Isaiah 58 is THE text on proper, worshipful, appropriate fasting. More than simply from refraining from food, there is instruction on proactive ministry (e.g., “Is it not to share your food with the hungry..?” 58.7). There seems to be a strong connection in verse seven to the well-known parable of Jesus regarding the sheep and goats found in Matthew 25.31-46.

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The result of fasting should be great joy in the Lord (14), not in impressing others (Matthew 6.16).

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The human condition and God’s plan of redemption are laid out in chapter 59. It all leads to God taking things upon himself, in the form of the Messiah.

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The result of chapter 59 is found in chapter 60, the Kingdom of God in all its glory.

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The theme continues into chapter 61, a Messianic treatise that Jesus referred to in declaring who he was (see Luke 4.16-21).

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The celebration continues in chapter 62, now focusing on Zion, the people of God.

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Victory is declared in chapter 63, with praise and prayer.

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Notes on Luke

At the opening of chapter 13, Jesus uses a current (horrible) news item to illustrate that all sin leads to death, and without repentance, there is no one more or less guilty than anyone else (13.4-5).

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How can someone become so hard-hearted that they become indignant when they see someone in dire straits—and had been so for years— healed completely? See 13.10-14.

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Jesus’ response humiliated his opponents to the place where people were possibly even laughing at them. See 13.17.

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We see Luke moving away from the healings into teachings. I have been paying more attention to Jesus’ depictions of hell, which many or most of seem to be metaphorical rather than literal (since the metaphors are so widely different). In 13.28, he speaks of weeping and gnashing of teeth (how long could you possibly gnash your teeth until they were all gone?).

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Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath followed the exceptions granted by Old Testament law regarding helping people in trouble on the Sabbath. He brought this up to his accusers, and “they had nothing to say” (14.3-6).

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Jesus’ call to discipleship was not for the half-hearted/hanging-around-the-edges kind of person. See 14. 25-33.

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Chapter 15 is the same story three times: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. All were in response to the critical statement, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The message of Jesus’ three parables is, “You are absolutely right about that!”

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The parable of the shrewd manager in chapter 16 is an interesting one to dissect and understand. Deception seems to be commended by Jesus; but there is a deeper stream going on.

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The story of the rich man and Lazarus is treated as a parable. But in no other parable do we find an actual name of anyone, where here we have not only Lazarus, but Abraham as well. It seems as though Jesus may be relating an actual event. See 16.19-31.

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In chapter 19, Jesus tells the Pharisees that if he were to quiet the people, the stones would cry out. No one doubted him. Thing about that one for a while.

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Notes on Psalms

Psalm 57: Imagine the great warrior David, hiding in a cave. What does he do? He collects his thoughts and writes another psalm. In a cave.

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David seems to become overly harsh toward his enemies (see 58.6-8). For us, we should take in these verses remembering that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Our enemies are spiritual forces of darkness.

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Psalm 60.12 “With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.”

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Psalm 63.1-4 are verses worth memorizing and meditating upon:


O, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

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