Needed: Godly Men

Exodus 12:21-32

Frequently emphasis on different syllable when teaching this text. Focus looking to significance of Passover, the blood on doorposts and lintel. The menu, dining attire, time of day, what God himself did that very night described verse 29. All important segments of story, God did put in his word! But… was already committed to writing, in similar detail, earlier in same chapter! If Christians do actually study OT (was for Jews, you know, NT is for us) quickly pass over in repeated section key detail of story that still has great relevance today.

After all, know the ritual – started with the lamb, continued with sacrifice, what to do with blood, then the meal… eaten in haste, dressed for travel. Unleavened bread, bitter herbs, all significant symbols relating to God’s deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt.

But notice who God told Moses to instruct: “all the elders of Israel”…. Connection is this: people today from all walks of life believe they can re-define what God has already defined – two important institutions in particular: church and family. Someone needs to break it to them – God didn’t delegate that task to others, still maintains his right to define what is a church, what is purpose of church, who should lead his church, who is included in his church. We do not have liberty to change that definition.

Same is true of family. God defined, we don’t get to redefine. God determined there are 2 and only 2 genders, no more and no less. God defined marriage as between one man and one woman, appointed husband as head of home. Husband and wife are to be parents to children, training up in nurture and admonition of the Lord. God did not give mankind liberty to experiment and innovate without consequences. Call something whatever you like, God not obligated to show up and bless what is being done in his name or apart from his name. And btw, to say we have advanced beyond primitive understandings and practices of OT is an affront to an unchanging God. Implies we have grown enough in knowledge and wisdom we no longer need God to tell us how to please him.

Why is what passes for the church in America by and large weak and powerless? Because she has said she can improve on God’s design, God’s definition, God’s principles for Christ’s church., Why is family in America such a massive train wreck? (True both in and out of the church…) Because have enshrined science and human wisdom as our collective authority, locked God out of the building, driven him out of our homes. You say, “How have we driven God from our homes?” By welcoming in your home what is an insult to God – whether it walks through the door, comes in on the cable, or enters as part of who you are and choices you make, allow others to make who live there.

God has specific principles he established and expects to be present in our homes, churches, governments. Starts with godly men committed to serving God according to principles found in his word the Bible. Thank God he has given models of that in his word, also here in his church. Please don’t hyperventilate, have panic attack or conniption because this doesn’t describe your circumstances. Is God’s standard, after all. And don’t try to dumb down the standard – God didn’t give permission. God’s grace is sufficient for our need, his forgiveness is adequate for our shortcomings.

A. qualifications

age – had word for nursing baby, child, man or woman, old man or elder – like all other words in Bible, this one used on purpose

if God intended to mean simply “men” w/o regard for any other condition / qualification, had way to express it, didn’t use it

bear in mind: God not just dealing smartly with his people under Moses – was further establishing pattern for us to follow (1 Cor. 10)

had right view then of those who reached old age – was regarded a blessing, gift from God, not granted to everyone

understanding and wisdom – assumption was (right most of the time) that along with age / experience would come understanding

did not expect every day to be new day – instead today should build on yesterday in preparation for tomorrow

if God were adding to their days, they must be using them wisely, applying understanding gained from experience for self and others

respect – not something automatically given because of title or office, earned by long life and demonstrated wisdom – sat in the gate

if elders were those consulted in challenging situations, would not keep place of honor if hard evidence lacking

B. lead v.21-23

elders are to be leaders

tasks – not just ones acquired by default, were assigned particular duties like those referenced in today’s text, carrying out specific tasks relating to Passover observance

not a free-for-all, was elders choosing Passover lamb, sacrificing it, taking blood and applying to doorposts and lintel

responsibilities – could not act blindly, had to choose lamb wisely… meeting requirements for sacrifice and family size

duty to make sure animal sacrificed properly, blood collected then applied according to God’s command – matter of life and death for all in their care

no one given automatic pass… because worked all of life and deserve break; served in ministry forever; someone else better equipped

leaders are to be elders

if God had intended different category of people, had words available to say so – designation not based solely on practical considerations… they do factor in, not only factors

leaders in OT worship set pattern for NT worship, according to God’s design – God’s continued expectations made explicit (1 Timothy & Titus e.g.)

elders / leaders responsible for spiritual health

very first assigned task – select and sacrifice lamb: lay hand on head of animal, showing transfer of sin from all they represented onto lamb-substitute

not only their own spiritual condition in view here, everyone in family included – setting example for family, for succeeding generations, at same time taking care of present sin

elders / leaders responsible for spiritual protection

charged with task of applying blood of sacrifice to doorposts / lintel – purpose to keep outside the home what would otherwise bring death to those inside

same holds true for leaders in church and home – elders and fathers needed to guard flock and family against church members, wife and children

C. observe v.24-25

spiritual leadership a habit

something to be done each year according to calendar God established for his people – principles present in observance applicable to everyday life

remember Job, still sacrificing and interceding for children regularly even though grown – carrying on habit established earlier

spiritual protection a habit

just as important: sources of spiritual harm have no allegiance to calendar or clock – will seek to enter whenever unguarded

default should be alert obedience at all times – neither habit will be present in an elder who ignores them while “growing up”

not subject to circumstances

were to continue observance after was a done deal – what signified in big picture still an issue, people still needing deliverance

slavery in Egypt and all associated with it not their only enemies, not even most dangerous ones – sin and Satan top the list

D. teach v.26-27

be available

not somewhere else when family is gathered – present both physically and mentally, attentive to individual needs

showing by body language that questions / interaction is welcomed – man @ restaurant, follow-up history lesson with children

be willing

can be available, present, at same time unwilling/reluctant to teach – no pass if not good communicator, covered it before

reluctance/unwillingness will shut down questions pretty quickly, same as lack of availability – kids pick up on the signs

be prepared

expect children to ask questions, and if they don’t, elder needs to start with own question: “what do you think this all means?”

should have done homework prior, be ready with answers appropriate for age / needs / understanding of others present

certainly applies to situations other than Passover, other times than just at meals, also to people other than chronological children

Read Psa. 78:5-8

E. be delivered v.28-32

be confident

elders should act obediently and confidently – God knows what he’s doing, can be counted on to keep his word

in this case, if elders followed God’s commands, all those in their charge would be spared death, would be delivered

be obedient

“just as the Lord commanded” – didn’t have option to experiment, innovate, were expected to follow instructions precisely

question for elders/leaders today – has God spoken on topic? if so, what did he say, how do we obey, then do it in dependence on God and his grace

be ready

“called …by night …and said, “Rise, go” – don’t know when God will call to action, must be ready to move whenever he calls

be blessed

“bless me also” – Pharaoh true to nature: wants God’s blessing, but nothing to do with God… like so many we know / can name

also – implies blessing on Israelites, perhaps additional to one already received: gift of life on them and children

Families, churches, nation need men of God who will rise up, devote themselves fully to Christ and his kingdom.

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