5. What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

Matthew 7:9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

Read: Matthew 7:7-12; Luke 11:11-13

Setting:

Matthew – same (Sermon on the Mount) but with qualifiers of immediate context: verses 6, 12

Luke – different: see v.1… “He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray”

instruction on content of prayer (2-4), importunity in prayer (5-10), response to prayer (11-12), object of prayer (13)

Person(s) being questioned:

Matthew – the Twelve plus surrounding auditors and seekers – preparing to go out on ministry

Luke – disciples only, final round of Jesus’ ministry through Perea and Judea before “Passion Week” – preparing to carry on ministry

Question behind the question:

argument from lesser to greater

supplied in Matt. 7:11, Luke 11:13… in part

in addition:

Matthew – who do we trust

Luke – how do we depend

Expected response:

In Jesus’ day – no one, of course; silly question, God always gives good gifts

to “real” question – God of course, who else, for everything

today – see Fatherlessness data

argument not readily understood in current culture – almost 1 out of 4 adult nationwide, 1 in 3 in Maine, in religious “nones”

should plan for preliminary teaching before asking question about both God and fathering

Jesus’ point:

notice kind of things son is asking for – things normally considered good

applies to what we ask / seek / knock for

God doesn’t “prank” his kids

Matthew – trust in God, not civil authority; show discernment who you trust with “valuables”

Luke – persevere in prayer

Modern Application:

trust: many try to “steal” trust – professionals, science, agencies

ask: what worldview do they represent? is what they promote/counsel consistent with Bible?

persevere: God isn’t a drive-thru – gives what is good for us and for his glory… may not be exactly what we requested

God gives on his schedule and in his way – taken all together is what makes it good

 

God Will Be Gracious

Jonah 4:4-11

Two verses, frequently used as proof texts – Exodus 33:19; Rom. 9:15. Used to “prove” God’s absolute sovereignty – see, God does what he wants to whoever he wants, so get over it. What God said does show that. Yet also shows something much more important (there are other places that make his sovereignty clear) – God says “I will have mercy”. God under no compulsion to be merciful, yet he freely chooses to be abundantly merciful.

Grace and mercy go together, opposite sides of same “coin”. Mercy vs. grace: hold back what is deserved, give what is not deserved; hold back what has been earned, give what cannot be earned. Message of Jonah: God will be merciful and gracious to lost of Nineveh, nothing will hinder his intentions and purpose for them, not even Jonah. And… God remains gracious to Jonah in spite of bad attitude.

Jonah pouting, Jonah resentful, Jonah angry with God, yet God graciously continues to teach his prophet about grace, adding to personal experience, further equipping for ministry.

A. a gracious question v.4, 9a

God doesn’t ask questions for his own benefit

“Adam, where are you?” – God knew, giving Adam opportunity to respond; “is it right?” keeping Jonah engaged in conversation

someone calls suicide help line, keep them talking – leaving to stew facilitates downward spiral of thinking, never good

intended to challenge / instruct

God also expecting Jonah to give due consideration to his question, come up with reasonable (if wrong) response

helps us remember God is gracious – doesn’t automatically smack us down when we speak or act wrongly.. even toward God

keeps us engaged so will be influenced in right direction – truth is if God left us alone, Satan right there to fill in the blanks

provides opportunity for re-thinking and repenting

remember Adam, Eve, Cain – where are you? who told you? what have you done? why are you angry? – God not on detective mission

each question should prompt re-thinking… from God’s perspective – if He’s asking, must be something ought to give more weight to

since God is asking questions, must be something wrong, must be need for repentance – question offers ideal opportunity

two different responses

silence – guilty conscience (4)

at this point, still had enough God sense to be ashamed, not want to talk – preferred to walk away, hope God didn’t follow

had not yet worked through full justification for sinful attitude, not that ready to challenge God and his actions

was uncomfortable being in God’s presence… again – had yet another reason for thinking God was wrong in dealings with now both Ninevites and Jonah

quick retort – defiance (9)

24 hours later, more firm in his resolve (code for hardened in his rebellion), defiantly defensive and overly dramatic

this time answers question… plus – yes, I’m right, even more right than before, right enough to die whether God agrees or not

is interesting: as drama / dialogue progresses Jonah displays less maturity and more childish petulance, not acting physical or spiritual age

B. two lessons v.5-8

the helpful plant

God’s provision after man’s sorry attempt – just like the Garden – made coverings that were temporary, God graciously replaced

Jonah sat in shade he made for himself, only temporary and certainly insufficient – what happens when rely on human genius

should have prompted thanksgiving – Jonah didn’t ask God for shade, yet God provided… for wayward prophet, and still no response of thankfulness – taking for granted if he even grasped that God had done it

God regularly and often makes up for lack in his people, supplying what they need and have no power to acquire

the hot wind

God prepared plant, now prepares a worm that loves that kind of plant – cut off supply of nourishment so plant began to die

then God prepared a wind – plant, worm, wind all specifically designed and sent by God to teach Jonah about God and his grace

three everyday things, unremarkable in appearance, all sent by God – how many times has God done similar for us, are oblivious to it and his intended lesson for us or someone else

discomfort, perhaps even danger – combination of wind and sun can quickly go from uncomfortable to deadly in that climate

don’t forget… Jonah sitting in hot sun by his own choice – no requirement whatever that he endure such hardship

could just as easily have chosen to go find shelter and safety – except bad attitude prevented that, fueled anger toward God

should have pushed Jonah toward God – still not at point where Jonah would acknowledge he needed God’s grace – still thinking he had earned God’s favor

C. an encouraging rebuke v.9-11

truly a rebuke but not delivered that way – are you sure you’re right?? you really need to think about it from different POV

patiently leading Jonah toward truth, not smacking him silly – really accurate rendering of how God treats all his children from time to time

much God could have criticized in Jonah – could have told him how little he deserved, how much aggravation had cost God, how wrong his attitude toward Nineveh was

and that’s just for starters – if God fully revealed to Jonah (or to us) full extent of our sin as he sees it, would drive to despair

instead pointed out what was commendable

you had compassion for the plant, wanted Me to spare it – true, partly selfish… benefit of shade that meant a lot to Jonah

but yet, Jonah wanted God to show compassion to a plant, something that has little value beyond its immediate usefulness

should I not have compassion for 120,000 lost men, women, boys, girls and spare them? – Jonah begrudged compassion on Ninevites, made in God’s image, “worth” his redeeming love

appears Jonah had hard time making that kind of connection, seeing the contradictions in his own thinking, grasping just how contrary to God’s perspective his own was

Most important thing Jonah did not get: if God did not love his enemies, show compassion toward them, be gracious to them, every last soul would die in their sins. Was because God loved his enemy that Jonah was a prophet. Same true for each and every one of us. If we are to truly follow Christ, we must demonstrate same loving compassion to God’s enemies and ours. We must depend on him to use us, even when our “message” doesn’t seem very evangelistic, to draw lost to himself.

The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere. Website – thebibleproject.com; YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLIabZc0O4c 9min.

Memorial Day

Exodus 12:14-20

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, intended for purposeful decoration “by strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” (May 30, 1868) Not to be day of celebrration but one of remembrance, paying tribute to those who gave their lives in military service for the cause of freedom. Without question, God has blessed us by causing us to be born and live in a country like ours with the liberties we enjoy.

Those liberties enjoyed by all citizens in some measure, are enjoyed most by those to whom God has granted freedom from shackles of sin. To the 6 out of 10 people who seldom or never enter doors of church, freedom of religion doesn’t mean much. To those who have many opinions but few convictions, freedom of speech has little substantive meaning. Otoh, they are significant blessings for devoted Christ-follower who can worship freely according to conscience and Word of God. As important as all that is, is a memorial day of far greater consequence to believer particularly, but really to all mankind.

Prior to time of Christ, memorial day had one kind of significance; now, on this side of Calvary memorial day has related but somewhat different meaning. God himself established memorial day at time of Moses. God ordained when and how it should be observed, the purpose it was to have, what it should include, and what should not be part of the celebration.

A. a memorial v.14a, 17b

annual day of remembering

for God’s ancient people – he intended regular stated time each year when all other activity ceased, nation turned its attention to one specific event in their history – first Passover and subsequent deliverance from slavery

just as important as what were delivered from, what were delivered to – were delivered from slavery, delivered to service

object of remembrance: God who delivered

from judgment / death – God who was executing judgment on land of Egypt, iow its people, by striking / killing firstborn (v.12)

was perhaps for different offenses against God, yet Hebrew children no less deserving of judgment than Egyptians

in first place, God delivered Hebrews from God, preserving and delivering them from his own righteous judgment

from Egypt – by this time no question in anyone’s mind who would visit Egypt, God himself, whose purpose all along to deliver his people from oppression of slavery and idolatry in Egypt

would be deliverance from culture devoted to false worship… of idols that had just been thoroughly humiliated… to serve true God in ways He defined and regulated

emphasis not to be limited to events and circumstances – primary focus of memorial: God who had done marvelous acts

more than simply mental exercise – Jesus didn’t say “remember me”, told his followers “this do in remembrance”

each subsequent Passover feast to be a re-enactment of first Passover, and like first one meal not the most important part

begins with sacrifice followed by feast – not snack/token nod of head, a feast / festival celebrating God and what he has done

B. a feast v.14b

celebration

before God done giving law to Israel… 3 pilgrimage feasts – normal daily activities ceased, people come together to celebrate

Passover together with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks or Harvest of Firstfruits, and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles, Pentecost) or Feast of Ingathering” TWOT

each a time of celebration, ceremonies of joy and respect, demonstrating thankfulness for God and providential care

not a time to just let loose and party, pleasure in the moment – God and his benevolent relationship with his people to remain focus throughout celebration

sustenance

feast is opposite of fast, time to rejoice in God and his care, acknowledge dependence on God, and enjoy abundant provision

enjoying a good meal didn’t start with Baptists – in fact, Passover the beginning of week-long feasting and celebration

obvious benefit – nourishment and strengthening of physical bodies…. feast of unleavened bread, not the only thing eaten

less obvious benefits – an occasion (like other feasts) to nourish relationships: person-to-person fellowship, group fellowship, most importantly relationship with God

sacrifice

three weeks vacation each year, all had similar required elements – each began with sacrifice, offering back to God portion of what he had blessed his people with

yes, celebration involved much rejoicing, yet began with solemn ritual of animal sacrifice – a serious time, constantly aware that God is one being honored

C. an everlasting ordinance v.14c, 17

instituted / ordained by God

Passover / Feast of Unleavened Bread not what evolved out of generations of religious observance / advancing culture

not even something this particular people group borrowed or assimilated from surrounding culture – some like to find things in Canaanite or other culture that people of Bible repurposed

want to tell them “knock it off, you’re assumptions are backwards”; wasn’t God’s people who borrowed pagan customs

God’s people at least to start were following God’s commands – was YHWH who told Hebrew children do this on this day in this way for this many days

Jewish people added pages of further regulation to God’s initial ordinance, much of it unnecessary and displeasing to God

intended to be perpetual annual observance

occasional references to Passover observance in OT, e.g., after crossing Jordan, day the manna stopped and ate off the land

God had established yearly calendar for Hebrews, intended first month each and every year to include Passover celebration

didn’t do so well – during time of Hezekiah, Passover was only one of many of God’s requirements people routinely neglected

2 Chr. 30:5 “So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.”

everlasting… yet limited

God, not people, would decide when it ended, and it would come to an end – Heb. 9:8-10

“The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.”

Passover “an illustration for the present time” until what it pictured became reality – married couple, meet someone, make introductions… “meet my wife/husband”, haul out picture?? when person standing right there?

Passover, like much of OT system of worship, intended to be followed / practiced only until the Cross – Jesus declared he “did not come to destroy but to fulfill” Law

was God the Son who on night he was betrayed instructed his disciples how they should in future remember Him, no longer deliverance from Egypt

D. a holy convocation v.16

day of worship

to begin the week / celebration, to end it – a holy assembly, focus not on daily stuff of life but on One who gives life

a time set aside for worship – dedicated to particular purpose, reserved for giving full attention to God

notice choice of words: set aside, dedicated, reserved… not to be used for something else, like Lord’s Day he set aside

for all the people

people at Wal-Mart, local convenience store, restaurants, etc., etc. had time off – everyone expected to be part of celebration

side note; want more people in church yet how often do God’s people encourage otherwise – shopping, recreating, activities on Lord’s Day that require people to work

not day of work

only work done on first and seventh day… what was required to prepare meals and eat – whatever could be prepared beforehand should be – God intended he should be center of attention, not whether roast is (over) done

E. without leaven

something in view of greater significance than emigrating from Egypt

bitter herbs, day on the calendar, dressed for walking, eating in haste adequate reminders of deliverance from slavery

already gotten a hint – first and seventh day

to be a holy assembly – why God demanded Pharaoh let his people to: “to serve Me”, to worship God as he expected/required

memorial, feast, worship to be result of changed life

daily life changed radically for Hebrews when walked across Red Sea – God intended not just daily routine to change, intended his people to be changed

deliverance from hardships of Egypt certainly cause for celebration, thankfulness – deliverance from bondage in sin adds immeasurably to reasons for celebration

corruption to be removed from people just like homes and diets

read through Mishnah, Jewish oral law, paragraph upon paragraph of rules/requirements for dealing with leaven – dough size of olive left in cracks of kneading board….

nothing at all about removing leaven from hearts and lives of people celebrating Passover – completely missed greater point

Deut. 7:6 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” (also 1 Pet. 2:9)

God didn’t say holy for a day, even a week, but “a holy people”. Jewish people’s memorial day celebration to remind them God delivered his people to worship him, to serve him… every day of year. Same true for us: God delivered each of us from mastery of sin, not so could more easily serve own desires but to serve him.

Must be intentional about it – if we are to “…by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” must do our part to become holy and acceptable to God. Utilizing means of grace – worship, ordinances, preaching, prayer, meditation on God’s word – in full dependence on God for all we need to please him.

 

Disappointed by Grace

Jonah 4:1-3

Is really easy to find all sorts of fault with Jonah – should have been like this, done that, thought this way, acted that way. Many times, though, Jonah is who we see in mirror. God directing us to do something, we run in opposite direction. God has particular way of thinking about people or circumstances, we persist in thinking differently. Story of Jonah should give us encouragement – like people of Nineveh, God didn’t leave us to our doom. Like Jonah, God patiently uses less than perfect instruments to do his work. Praise him for that!!

Given how Ninevites responded to God’s message, Jonah should have been delighted, not displeased. Should have rejoiced, not resented God’s grace. What should have brought Jonah before God in worship brings him to complain. Example given here not to encourage copying Jonah but to give hope in God – he will pursue ruined sinners, will use redeemed sinners, his purpose will not be frustrated or derailed.

Jonah displeased, not with events, with God! Jonah disagreed with what he knew God’s plan was for Nineveh. Was disappointed to be right about God. If was baseball instead of Bible, Jonah a classic strikeout who swings wildly at precisely wrong time.

A. displeasure v.1

not just little difference of opinion

more like directly opposing views of redemption – Jonah wanted maximum benefit for minimum crowd, God intended maximum benefit for maximum size group

two or three kids, huge box of toys, dump out and one scrambles to grab all toys if possible, guard for own use – Jonah wanted Gospel grace dispensed on terms he was comfortable with

Jonah understood basics of God’s character – gracious, loving, longsuffering… consider Israel’s history, how God treated them

seems Jonah only saw and appreciated that character in relation to his people, not at all interested in sharing

Jonah did not grasp breadth of God’s purpose – finally got it that God had good things in mind for Nineveh, at least for his generation

probably would have had huge meltdown if suspected Nineveh simply one example of all God intended for rest of world

see in next verse Jonah familiar with Exodus – should have gone back to Genesis, God’s immense promise to Abraham (12:3)

or the infinite supply of God’s grace – like everything else related to God, his supply of grace has no limit, cannot be measured

at least did not work out practical implication of that truth – God can bestow grace on 5 people or a million w/o diminishing what is available… to all of them and more

have little frame of reference, all we work with has limited supply, not so with God; side note – why we can ask big things

intensely displeased

strong expression of conflicting ideas – Jonah had his idea / mental picture of how it should be, refused to accept any other version

convinced not only that his way was a right way, strongly believed his way of understanding and applying redemption the only right way

wasn’t simply that Jonah was “afraid” God might be gracious – knew from history, esp. personal experience God is gracious

problem was Jonah’s list of candidates for God’s grace far shorter than God’s list, and Jonah not interested in modifications

Jonah firmly convinced God was wrong to be gracious to Ninevites – was matter of principle, not preference, for him

offended preference doesn’t generate death wish – this a principle Jonah believed of ultimate importance… he was right

if YHWH could only be proper God for Israelites and none else, YHWH is too small to be kind of God fallen world needs

led to anger… and pride

anger God didn’t see it his way – put kid in timeout, often says what he thinks expected to shorten stay whether genuine or not

Jonah said lot of right things in prayer from fish’s belly… doesn’t mean he embraced those truths and all their consequences

perhaps some said through clenched jaw, angry that God used his prerogative to do things his way – anger one of first sins mentioned… “Cain was very angry” (Gen. 4:5), some other parallels there, too

pride because his way was best – Jonah convinced he was right, God should have listened, offended because he didn’t

B. disagreement v.2

I knew this would happen

no doubts about unchanging character of God – knew how God had acted in past was how would continue to act in future

also recognized good principle – God always acts consistent with his character: names describe, actions display character

so convinced it would happen, took matters “in own hands” – was rational belief, not irrational like some who go to even greater extreme

20 years ago, Heaven’s Gate cult, Hale-Bopp comet had spaceship in tail, would take souls to higher plane

were many valid reasons for Jonah to maintain conviction that God would indeed continue to be unchanging in character

seemed to forget God’s unchangeable plan included Jonah! – God had tagged Jonah for mission, was not going to back out

God could use reluctant prophet to do his work just as easily as change hearts of Ninevites to genuinely repent

I didn’t want this to happen

given no clear reason why Jonah thought as he did – apparently God thought specific reason not important for us to know

leaves us to look for principle(s) to apply in variety of circumstances, not just one kind that looks like Jonah’s

could have been expected threat from national enemy – Assyria on/off hazard to Israel for many decades, no desire to show them favor, encourage them in any way

could have been fear response, thought Gentiles a sub-species – might not have had clear basis, just afraid of them because of past reputation

note: same basic attitude has persisted in church down to today – at one time, blacks viewed as less than human, not deserving of the Gospel or opportunity to worship

present culture: fear of Muslims, distaste for homosexuals and others, attitudes that have serious impact on evangelism

I ran so this wouldn’t happen

Jonah figured he was God’s Plan A, God didn’t have Plan B – was right, not because God couldn’t, he didn’t need one

Jonah didn’t figure on God’s persistence, creativity – for at least a while, Jonah thought he could frustrate God’s plan all by himself… he’s repeatedly finding out otherwise

and… Jonah didn’t figure on God’s plan for Jonah for Jonah – not told final outcome for Jonah, would be reasonable to think God eventually brought him around to right perspective

I knew you would make it happen

perhaps getting at root of Jonah’s problem: notice what Jonah quotes – even in anger/frustration Jonah goes to Bible, kinda think was misusing it though… applying in way God did not intend

goes back to God’s revelation of his name to his covenant people – Exodus 34:6-7, Moses on way to get 10 Commandments, 2nd issue

Jonah didn’t want God to have covenant kind of relationship with any but Jews

happens in personal relationships, particularly controlling types – you can have any kind of relationship you want… with me, no one else

happens in Christian / religious circles – hostility toward Gentiles in Jesus’ day; Gnostic secrets exclude all but chosen few

if don’t dress particular way, use certain version of Bible, show anointing of Spirit by outward signs, not “real Christian”

C. disappointment v.3

death is better than this

Jonah too angry / resentful / disappointed to want to live… too chicken to take own life – could also be attempt to manipulate God!

doesn’t’ seem to get the irony – he prefers death because he has hope, a hope he would deny Ninevites

apparently has already forgotten 3-day submersible experience – was willing to concede certain things if God would get him out of fish’s belly

yet he would consign Ninevites to far worse in spite of God’s intention to show them love and grace – shows how unrestrained anger feeds itself and grows

better to die than see them live

if Jonah lives, he gets to see Ninevites live, too – not his idea of fun – had worked himself into such state, no longer cares about people on any level

may have understood God’s grace, did not fully grasp God’s judgment / wrath – had taste of abandonment, had no real experience of God’s wrath… means also didn’t fully grasp awfulness of sin

if he did, was meaner, more lacking compassion than an prophet had right to be – had no right to be vindictive toward Assyrians, vengeance if / when warranted belonged to God

totally upside down from Paul – Rom. 9:1-4

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,who are Israelites”

Paul, like us, knew that was impossible – even apostle’s death wouldn’t save anyone – is clear way of showing Paul’s commitment to do all he could to bring them to faith

it’s the thought that counts – should reflect depth of our compassion for lost, whether Americans or not

actually only one race, the human race; two kinds of humans, saved and lost – those are categories God uses, so should we

when God brings lost to country, city, neighborhood, workplace, should respond in way that shows God’s grace and mercy

when are around saved people, need to do same – show God’s grace and mercy as we encourage one another

Only way to do that – make sure our tank is full all the time. Focused on Christ, listening to Christ, depending on Christ, becoming more like Christ day by day as we draw nearer to him.

 

The Lord’s Passover

Exodus 12:1-13

Here’s one of those calendar “adjustments” mentioned last week. Revisited Moses’ audience with Pharaoh, now back up a few days and get much fuller report of God’s instructions to Moses and Aaron. God gave highly detailed play-by-play description of what was to be annual time of worship for Jewish people from that time forward. Little room for Hebrew children to get creative – expected them to follow his instruction exactly. Especially on this first Passover, woe be to family who took liberties.

The moment God’s people desired rapidly approaching – the very day God had appointed had arrived (Ex. 12:41) and this gracious God-who-is provided everything necessary for his people to be prepared. Not only prepared for final plague, properly ready for imminent deliverance from slavery in Egypt. True, much to celebrate as 430 years of distance from land promised to them come to end. Also night of mourning, not just for Egyptians. Blood sacrifice one of those two-sided pictures: shows promise of life, at same time bringing death.

Here again see how seriously God takes whole issue of redemption. Not cheap, not easily achieved, must be purchased at very high cost. Not even talking about redemption from sin, just deliverance from human slavery. Celebrate freedom from tyranny, guarantees of nation’s Bill of Rights, and so we should. Must treasure and celebrate freedom from tyranny of sin and Satan. Hebrew children’s experience in Egypt is a picture of redemption from sin… but only a picture… not the real thing. That would come centuries later… at profoundly higher cost, which Son of God purchased on our behalf. Is much in Passover worship that speaks of our true Passover Sacrifice. God gives introduction, followed by instruction and illumination.

A. introduction v.1-2

God speaks – he makes first move

God doesn’t wait for his people – would never make the move if up to us! – another way God asserts rightful authority

don’t have to wonder who is in charge, who sets the standard, who leads / follows – is God who does so in all areas of life

in Egypt – where his people are

was not something Moses/Aaron knew all along – they had to exercise faith in God along with all the people – knew some of big story, had to trust God for details

showing (later in greater measure) how God comes down to man – primary difference between Christianity, other religions

the rest have man in some way working his way out of circumstances and up to God in some way – man makes it up to be with God, or man makes it to be God

popular to say “all roads lead to heaven / God” – no, they don’t! only one, the one God hmself came down to us

continues demonstrating his authority over times of his people – this month

perhaps prior to this Hebrew children used whatever calendar neighbors used – now would all change, which day began the year, how some of days during year would be used

not a new thing, God had made similar declaration to close out week of Creation – “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it” (Gen. 2:3) almost certainly used words so Adam / Eve knew what to do

comes up again in Exodus chapter 20 – God established length of week, first day and last day, made clear expectations of how days were to be used

now month and year – this month beginning of months – established order of months and beginning of year, regardless of where it came on Egyptian calendar

would begin their year with time of worship remembering / celebrating deliverance from slavery – we are blessed to begin each week that way!

B. instruction v.3-11

on this first Passover, people preparing for more than open gates to leave Egypt – were to prepare for presence of God among his people

since Pharaoh refused to let people worship God, he was coming to visit people… in Egypt… and basically stay for a while

take a lamb

v. 5 continues description, here just specifies “one of a flock”, to be taken on tenth day of the month by head of household

would need to leave Egypt before could engage in corporate worship – yet God gives instruction to “congregation of Israel” for family worship while still in foreign pagan culture

Passover to be family / community act of worship – if family too small for lamb portion, invite your neighbor

no conditions given for smallness – no children, single parent, single individual – whatever the reason, God made provision for everyone to have a family to worship with

this kind of lamb

perfect one of the flock, a male, one year old, a sheep or goat – no outward visible blemish, an accurate representative of sheep or goat

God expects the best for sacrifice, those who love God should want to bring the best… because is what perfect holy God deserves when his people come in worship

important note: when we prepare for worship, should purposefully intentionally prepare and bring our best to give to God – best devotion, attention, sacrifice of praise

keep the lamb

watch the lamb, care for the lamb from tenth until evening of fourteenth day – care for it, tend it, feed it, treat it as member of family

is to be some kind of identity, relationship between family and sacrifice – to be their animal, not their purchase, nothing at arm’s length here but close personal identity between sinner and sacrifice

important that lamb was not taken from flock and sacrificed – was taken from home, by the family to be sacrificed as act of corporate worship – the whole assembly/congregation

kill the lamb

God gave them detailed instruction how this lamb was to be complete sacrifice, maintaining connection with family throughout

was to be done carefully, no haphazard affair done any which way – was particular order to events: God’s demands satisfied first, then family needs met

just opposite of contemporary mind-set: family comes first, God gets left-overs… if there are any… after work and play

prepare and eat the lamb

blood from lamb put on doorposts, lintel, not of place of worship but place where family lived – whole nother lesson in that

to be roasted and eaten by family, including neighbors – whoever there in that home to be nourished by animal who had given its life for them

eat it this way

eat the flesh, roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs – will have a little time (roasted) but not a lot (unleavened)

time to prepare the meal but not time for bread to rise – unleavened bread keeps and travels better, important for tomorrow

looking forward – not relaxed… dressed to travel, eat in haste, at same time remembering why this was such a good thing

once redeemed, delivered, bitterness of slavery in past but not ever to be forgotten – forget where you were, take for granted where you are

the LORD’S passover

instituted by God, regulated by God, reminder of YHWH’s might act done solely by him on behalf of his people – had no helper to deliver Hebrew children

no ordinary meal, taken all together shows Lord of hosts defending and delivering, passing over and preserving Isa. 31.5

no surprise God would be so particular about Passover given 1 Cor. 5.7 – “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” – lamb eaten every Passover in anticipation of “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”

C. illumination v.12-13

important distinction of words here in v.12 & 13 – this terrifying God of judgment would pass through land of Egypt, same delivering God would pass over those he intended to preserve

I will pass through

I will strike – unpalatable as it is to many, was God himself who came to Egypt “personally” to strike blow for justice

I will execute Judgment – doesn’t work through agent, circumstances, judicial system – is God himself bringing judgment on his enemies who are also enemies of his people

we’re caught on horns of dilemma – we want God to defend his people from harm, we don’t want God to do that in his way

we prefer God to love people over to his side – many times he does, is how we ended up there; but, not always way God chooses to work: God is love, God is also holy and just

I will pass over

the plague will not be on you – wonder if Hebrew children were really convinced of that, standing there eating supper, questioning if would really leave town that night… alive or dead

just as certainly as God had brought each plague, as surely as God had ended each plague, could be counted on for this one

God doesn’t say: check to make sure they followed instructions, then go deal with Egypt – does say would “pass over”

Hebrew children just as guilty of sin before God as Egyptians, deserved God’s wrath – only one thing could avert it… blood

must be blood applied, not merely shed

not blood of animal sacrificed God saw, was blood of sacrifice applied to doorposts and lintel of their home, where they lived

same is true for what that blood represented… blood of Christ – must be applied to each sinner individually

all this is true

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Rom. 5:6, 8 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

but is it true for you? Jesus’ sacrifice has no value for you until it is applied to you by grace through faith in Christ

God makes this plain in His Word: “God sovereignly and freely choose (Eph 1:4-5) to save you; God gives you faith in his Son, the Lord Jesus (Eph 2:8-10); on the basis of your faith in Jesus’ righteousness and not your own, God declare you righteous (Rom 3:26); God give you His Spirit (Rom 5:51 John 3:23; 4:13) Who will make His presence known in you (Rom 8:16) and through you (Gal 5:22-23); God does this for His own glory (Isa 43:7; Eph 3:20-21).”

 

4. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

Read: Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:40-42

Setting: same hillside near Capernaum (Luke 7:1), near beginning of formal ministry

continuing the first formal “Bible School class” for the Disciples – Jesus the teacher (Matt. 5:2), they the students (Luk. 6:20)

class took place in hearing of “great multitude of people”

appears to be same setting in both Gospels

Person(s) being questioned: the Twelve… directly (Matt. 5:1-2; Luke 6:13ff), but for all present to hear

will be going out on ministry in pairs, representing Jesus, carrying his message, having some measure of authority

greatest need: knowledge tempered with humility

Question behind the question:

are two levels of inquiry – personal and “professional”

personal: why do your own shortcomings annoy you so much in others?

“professional”: are you a skilled diagnoser and fixer of spiritual problems? (see Luke 6:40)

Expected response:

What are you talking about?

to question behind the question:

because they annoy me in myself

I guess not

Jesus’ point:

start with self-examination

check your motives

“Sin we may rebuke, but not if we indulge it! We may protest against evil, but not if we willfully practice it!” CHS

remember your “place”

only God can bind conscience

21.2 God alone is Lord of the conscience,1 and he has left it free from [obligations to] human doctrines and commandments which are in any way contrary to his Word or not contained in it.2
(1) Jas 4:12; Rom 14:4; Gal 5:1
(2) Act 4:19; 5:29; 1Co 7:23; Mat 15:9Modern Application:

is not our task to point out / fix behaviors in other believers

is our task:

to declare truth from God’s word – about sin and righteousness

to live in light of that truth

to build others up in Christ-likeness

remember: we are not God’s “enforcers” – that is the job of the Holy Spirit

The Final Plague Announced

Exodus 11:1-10

Unlike most of Exodus, sequence of events gets little topsy-turvy here. Reason is this: two distinct sequences of action going on simultaneously, can only read about one at a time. Much preparation for final plague for Hebrews had already happened before Moses’ last audience with Pharaoh. Hebrews were getting ready for Passover during plague of darkness and day of light between 9th and 10th plagues. Would mean that Moses knew in advance God’s timeline for bringing Pharaoh to point of temporary submission. If people were paying attention, they could have counted down days to departure also.

God’s purpose is fixed, our text and portion of following chapter describe lead-in to most profound demonstration of God’s character yet in relation to mankind. Different ways to identify next big event on God’s redemptive timeline: judgment of last plague on Egyptians; institution of Passover worship; deliverance of Hebrew people from slavery. YHWH not only demonstrates his power, superiority – also demonstrates grace and mercy alongside holiness and judgment.

After repeated insincerity and rejection from Pharaoh, God graciously prepares his servants for one more – this plague will be the last one. God makes clear what will occur in great detail, how Hebrews should make themselves ready for it, what to expect as result. Are reminded once again – God not simply showing off by making Pharaoh look bad. God, as always, has his own glory in view.

A. context v.1-3

preparation for Moses (1)

God knew what Pharaoh would do following end of plague of darkness; also knew how Moses, Aaron and Hebrews likely to respond

before Moses went to palace for last time, God gave him and people message of great encouragement – will look like “here we go… again”, yet… will be different

only one more decisive act of God in judgment and then Pharaoh will relent – in fact, will not simply permit Hebrews to leave, will drive them out, compel them to leave

is clear reason for Moses to remain confident before Pharaoh – God’s expectations no different, Moses must hold the line

payment for the people (2)

Egyptians probably still not quite sure which end is up – getting reoriented from 3-day blackout, not fully adjusted to devastation from hail and locusts, all that means

would seem, given clear connection between presence of Hebrews and misfortunes Egyptians experiencing, Egyptians probably not thinking happy thoughts about their neighbors

would not expect to be good time for Hebrew children to go asking for cup of sugar from Egyptians, yet is what God instructed

only not just cup of sugar – were in effect asking for wages due for all the bricks made, wages that had never been paid to them

Hebrews not asking for favors here, were expecting just compensation for years of labor taken for granted because of who they were… slaves, from despised people group

prestige for both (3)

what did YHWH do? once again, the unexpected – changed minds of Egyptians so would think and act favorably toward Hebrews

instead of more abuse, even retaliation, treated them with honor and dignity – not only showed favor, acted toward them favorably

probably case of “here, take this and this and this; anything else you see you want or could use? take it, take it all”

Pharaoh’s servants had opportunity to mobilize security forces / military against Hebrews, rounded up and slaughtered, yet God restrained that desire and replaced with respect and honor for Moses

no rational explanation for such unexpected favor being shown by Egyptians apart from hand of God powerfully at work

good reminder for us: when we faithfully do best to live pleasing to God, he gives us favor with enemies, causes them to be at peace with us… because is gracious God, loves his children

B. announcement v.4-8

who (4a)

to be no doubt in anyone’s mind who is perpetrator of this unspeakable disaster – will be YHWH himself who brings judgment

Moses here acting only as mouthpiece – repeating word of God to all who would listen, esp. Pharaoh and his attendants

is interesting: even skeptical scholars see hand of God in this plague; may try to give naturalistic explanation for other plagues, write God out of script, but not this one

this the same YHWH who encountered Moses at bush, who declared children of Israel to be his people, who intended his name be known in all the world

when (4b)

that very night – would be no reprieve, no opportunity to regroup after previous plagues, no making new plan of how to respond

in fact, would come at midnight when Egyptian people would be most vulnerable – Ra at his weakest point, opposite strength displayed at noon

YHWH making plain time of day has no significance in regard to his power, ability – the “God who Is” totally unconstrained by time… unlike his creation

where (4c)

since Pharaoh refuses to let God’s people leave Egypt, God himself will come… to Egypt – definitely not good news to enemies

even for people of God, his promise to show up “in person” a mixed blessing – on one hand, joy and excitement deliverer is coming; otoh, people know who they are, who God is, will he be friendly or frightening

God’s focus, direct attention on Egypt and Egyptians – is absolutely precise and intentional in what he will be doing

what (5-6)

all firstborn in Egypt will die… starting with Pharaoh – for brief time, Pharaoh standing by himself, abandoned by all others

Pharaoh has no backup, no stand-in, nothing to defend or protect from avenging angel of death who accompanies YHWH (12:23)

not limited to Pharaoh, extends to lowest social class represented in Egypt, and includes firstborn of livestock also

what can possibly explain God’s precise action here, requiring life of firstborn – two things, God’s relationship, God’s rule

see Ex. 4:22-23 – relationship initiated by God to give by his sovereign choice first place in his heart to his people

God decides who rules the hearts of his people, same God decides who sits on throne of Egypt… and won’t be Pharaoh’s son

is also somewhat of eye-for-eye justice – Pharaoh and Egyptians would have taken lives of God’s firstborn had he not prevented, now he requires life of their firstborn in return

difference (7)

between Egyptians and Hebrews

God warns Hebrews and Egyptians of impending disaster but with difference – information supplied in warning not the same

Hebrew children told how to prepare so firstborn in their home does not die, Egyptians told to prepare for certain death of their firstborn… w/o exception

no one, no creature would make sound against children of Israel – absolutely no harm of any kind against Hebrews that heed warning to prepare properly

between God and gods

a) Pharaoh himself – next to Ra in prestige and authority, and utterly powerless against true God

b) Min: god of reproduction – God by unerring selection of firstborn without any exceptions showed his authority

c) Ra: god who was believed to create all things – unable to prevent destruction of what he was believed to have created

d) Isis, goddess who protected children – obviously unable to protect most important children in Egypt, those responsible for carrying on heritage in next generation

e) Anubis: god of the dead and embalming; Ex 11:7 refers to no dogs barking, possibly referring to jackal(or dog)-headed Anubis having no power over Israelites during this plague.

result (8)

contrary to Pharaoh’s rebellious refusal to let people go, his advisors would show Moses honor, bring official demand they leave the country ASAP

Pharaoh had told them to leave… with conditions – Moses declares to Pharaoh they will leave according to God’s terms

Pharaoh’s hardness of heart cost him and his people dearly, by their own free choice – had they repented, would have been spared

C. summary v.9-10

for God’s glory (9)

as God performed his wonders, we call some of them plagues, to bring about deliverance of his people, he gets all the glory

as God’s reputation and word permeate the world, is still doing so today, God receives glory every time story is told, when another person is delivered from slavery in sin

every time God and his character displayed in Israel’s deliverance give hope and comfort to his people, he is glorified

for Pharaoh’s humiliation (10)

God will humble and defeat his enemies and enemies of his people – Pharaoh is God’s hand-picked poster boy to remind us

for our encouragement

through plagues / wonders God performed are brought face-to-face with real God, true God – same God has same interest in his people today, same power to provide, protect and deliver

who is your God? for real? the one who has your loyalty and your love and obedience? if is God of Bible, he will take care of you in all circumstances