Tag: Free to Worship

The Lord is My Banner

Exodus 17:8-16

Our wonderful Creator made man with 5 senses – taste, touch, sight, sound, smell. Then sixth one that mothers use to know what children are doing in other room! One we rely on most, one that gets most attention is sight. Believe when I see. Let me see. Advertising that relies on visual appeal. Images and icons are big deal – emoticons, emojis, memes, all prompt decided and fairly predictable response.

Then the larger ones – banners of varying dimensions used to stir emotion, gather a following, make statement. Star-spangled banner. Black flag in Middle East. Dixie flag. So-called rainbow flag (missing color, indigo, not true rainbow). In each, proportions and colors and shapes have significance, intended to raise awareness or support. Banner in previous generations found at front, heat of action in military action. When soldiers could see banner, would take courage and continue the fight.

Are times when people cannot or do not support banner and what it signifies. Also true are occasions when follower of Christ should not line up behind particular banner – the cause it represents is one opposed to God and his laws. Is one banner we can follow without hesitation or reservation – the one in our text. This another hands-on lesson in theology God patiently leading people through, teaching all they needed to know to please God.

A. provocation v.8-9

few details given

simply told identity of enemy, who started conflict, where took place – lack of information encourages speculation, we won’t

according to Gen. 36:2, 4, 10, 12 – Amalek grandson of Esau, Canaanite heritage from grandmother, forefather of Amalekites

Amalekites portrayed as instigators, ones who initiated armed conflict with Israelites – no reason given, apparently Holy Spirit did not think important

took place at Rephidim, last significant stop between Massah / Meribah and “mountain of God”, Sinai; likely an oasis where could resupply for final stage of journey

act of terrorism – see Deut. 25:17-19

is the first but not the last encounter with Amalekites – will join forces with different enemies of Israel to cause trouble

gain some insight into Amalekite strategy from account Moses wrote toward end of life, nearly 40 years in future – read

did not begin with frontal attack – picked off old, weak, stragglers having difficulty keeping up… noncombatants who couldn’t fight back, cause any harm

two indications why God so incensed at Amalek – terrorist attack, military against civilian; of equal importance, had no fear of God… thus no respect for God’s people

God’s answer – show no mercy to those who showed no mercy, no further reason/provocation necessary to blot them out

surprising plan

untried / untested field commander – first time encounter Joshua who would 40 years later succeed Moses to lead Israel

apparently Moses saw leadership potential even at this early stage – assigned mind-blowing task of leading battle against seasoned fierce Amalekite warriors

untried / untested troops in combat – had not been trained for conflict, had few defensive or offensive weapons, no experience working as unit under command

Moses involved, yet not – up on top of the hill, could see battle but not directly participating – moment by moment details of battle decided / carried out by Joshua

B. battle v.10-13

conflict on the plain

typical of battle strategy of that day – face-off against one another, duke it out until becomes clear who wins – hand to hand combat fought on ground

no advanced weapons, probably no horses or camels or chariots, charge after charge led by Joshua and men against Amalekites

not decided quickly – conflict lasted from early morning until sunset, only break in action when needed to regroup

Moses and assistants on the hill

hill near scene of battle but not in it, Moses and two others… his brother Aaron, and Hur, leader of some prominence

Hur left in charge with Aaron when Moses went up Sinai to get stone tablets with written commandments

most importantly: Moses had “the rod of God” in his hand – was known to Joshua, Moses told him what he was going to do

so much for Israel (and us) to learn here – following deliverance from Pharaoh… obviously a God thing… this first major challenge to Israel’s progress

Moses not trying to be hero – appoints Joshua to lead fighting force; Moses not trying to do alone – took two others; Moses not relying on own genius – took “rod of God”

watch Moses’ hands

battle commenced, whenever Moses raised hands Israel prevailed; arms got tired, hands came down and Israel lost ground

some think this a picture of Moses interceding / praying on behalf of Israelites, helped in his praying by Aaron and Hur; maybe…

two things – standing or sitting not the typical posture for prayer; and… Moses’ hands not empty, was holding rod of God

expect Moses / Aaron / Hur were praying for victory; that not the point, though, and neither was Moses using rod independently

Moses didn’t have liberty to use rod according to his own desire – when he did, were dire consequences for him

Amalek (aka Satan’s agents) defeated

took all day, but by sunset Amalekites defeated, left Israel alone for remainder of time in wilderness

acting here as agents of Satan, doing their part to keep children of Israel from taking possession of what God promised

take note: between 2 and 3 months into wilderness journey, meet first major conflict with enemies – God’s wonderful plan for your life includes conflict with arch-enemy and agents

C. conclusion v.14-16

this is important — write it down

when God says “write it down” or writes something down himself, is a big deal: tablets (ch. 20 & 34); on their hearts; Habakkuk – the vision; John – what you see, write in a book

God intended more than Israelites to know how he viewed hostility against his people – God took it seriously then, still does

no excuse for terrorism… or taking up arms against Christ’s church

terrorism violates both of two great commands – love God, neighbor – are to fear God and terrorists have no fear of God

are to love neighbor, terrorists don’t do that either – God has prerogative to respond strongly against terrorism directly, or through his agents

same is true of those who demonstrate hostility against Christ’s church – to persecute church is to persecute Christ himself

God has options for his response – may work through agents who bring about justice, may work through Holy Spirit to convert enemies into friends

what was in Moses’ hands – rod of the Lord

Moses intention that it be plain to everyone where focus should be – not on men in the field, not the ones on the hill, on God

his holding up “the rod of God” toward heaven not to show he was praying but to show God was working – just as certainly as was power of God to accomplish miracles in Egypt, same power at work on battlefield

God fought for his people

Israelites were being taught to trust God, not Moses/Aaron/Hur/Joshua – was God really directing course of battle, bringing about his decided outcome

is why Moses built altar – to worship the God who had achieved victory for his people – and named it Yahweh Nissi

people should rally around the Lord our banner, should follow his lead, rejoice in his victory over his enemies and theirs

Banner no longer pointed to by rod in hand of Moses. In fact, banner has taken on different form:

Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.”

There is a banner for us to hold up today – for us to gather around and follow, for us to direct others to follow – Root of Jesse, Lion of tribe of Judah, Lord Jesus himself. He is one who fights battles for us, he is one who advances his kingdom in face of enemy. He is one who can offer genuine lasting hope, grant forgiveness from sin, empower and equip us to have victory over Satan and his agents. Those who have needs – fill in blank with whatever applies – can go to Christ and have them satisfied.

Christ is answer for terrorists and their hideous agenda. For sex traffickers, predators, alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers, the homeless and the hopeless. Our task – to follow Christ ourselves first, then show him to others, help them to see Christ as their only hope.

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What Shall I Do?

Exodus 17:1-7

Would be easy to come down hard on children of Israel – think of all their advantages. Had seen God do great and mighty things in Egypt and at Red Sea; could actually see evidence of his presence (pillar of cloud/fire); had ongoing 6 days out of 7 evidence of kind Providence. And had God’s personally appointed leaders to guide and intercede. Should have been piece of cake to just do what rightly comes next. Might even be tempted to think they didn’t need to exercise faith as much as we do.

Period of repeated testing – God puts in situation, gives opportunity for people to respond either rightly or wrongly. Most of time did not pass test, at least to start. Why Paul wrote as he did, 1 Cor. 10:5-11, instruction so we will not do what they did. And… keep in mind: we naturally have tendency to get comfortable here… in this world, with what it supplies. God has designed us for more – trials remind us fallen sin-corrupted world cannot fully satisfy. Not an hour goes by without something that makes plain we live in broken world – often try different solutions to make easier to deal. Then another thing goes wrong. In middle of situation, last thing we want to hear – “it’s a good and gracious gift from God”! Without hardship, like Israelites, would forget about looking to God for solutions.

A. They demanded God’s provision v.1-2

attitude of too many today – make demands instead of requests, get angry or maybe violent when demands aren’t met — obviously not new problem

no water

traveled by stages – number of waypoints on journey from Egypt to Sinai, would take Israelites 3 months to get there

number of considerations: sheep have their pace; the old, the young, the weak and sick needed consideration; size of group, method of camping, food prep

one of more significant details: is desert, approaching summer, people and animals both need adequate water, regularly – location of oases shaped journey

several days’ journey from one oasis to next, portable water supply well-depleted by time they arrived at Rephidim – not desperate… but close

no trust

God had provided abundant sweet water at Marah, was providing manna / quail daily, makes sense could trust God to meet new need – has pretty good track record

notice what has happened – if they ever truly trusted God, trust has quickly turned to presumption… taking God for granted

food / water has been there when needed, of course will continue – they need it so it ought to be available on demand

when it’s not there, figure whoever/whatever making it happen must have abandoned them – doesn’t occur to ask, no relationship based on love and trust

took Moses “to court”

has to be somebody’s fault – their needs / wants have top priority, response is frustration and anger when needs not met

not moaning / groaning that Moses overhears, whining because are uncomfortable – is in your face demand with bad attitude

no question, was a serious issue, shouldn’t minimize that – way God has designed us, we genuinely need water… often

problem was how they chose to try and meet need – people do exactly same today: have real needs, try to satisfy wrongly

challenge / rebuke from Moses

have all experienced interaction w/someone – know from beginning are trying to pick a fight: face, body language, words, tone

is how people approached Moses – usually puts person on defensive, escalates quickly, turns into at least shouting match

Moses, rightly, pushes back, seeks to make people think about what are really doing / asking – are demanding Moses do another miracle

expect their needs met first, perhaps also expect Moses to prove by miracle that he still has right to lead them – way out of line, over the top given was God who appointed Moses

real target – God

demanding their needs be met… immediately – any who were thinking beyond end of nose understood Moses couldn’t do on his own, would require God to take action

Moses, again rightly, tries to redirect people’s thinking – were really putting God, not Moses to the test, expecting God to prove his loyalty / demonstrate his presence

B. They disputed God’s protection v.3-4

complain

opportunity to reconsider attitude and actions does not slow them down – have a single focus, will only acknowledge one solution… theirs

instead press on, cranking up the volume, in process make themselves good example of bad example… repeated in Bible

behaving exactly how sinners usually do – compounding sin rather than repenting: remember Adam and Eve

God graciously gave opportunity for confession/repentance – instead started blame game, avoiding responsibility

charge with abuse

worded as question, probably sounded more like accusation: you just brought us out here to kill us – longer conflict goes, more outrageous statements get

no just cause for Israelites to charge either Moses or God with any kind of abuse – in fact, had good reason to appreciate

once again, another way selfish sinners respond to life – become more demanding, harder to satisfy no matter how good they really have it

ultimately disputing God’s good intentions for them

Moses not the ultimate leader – clear from everything Moses said to people: always said “this is what the LORD says”

to charge Moses with wrong intentions automatically brings God into picture, call God’s intentions / relationship into question

in this case, seems Israelites truly did have serious questions about God – at minimum, shows profound lack of maturity, still stuck in slavery mindset

taking discord/rebellion to new level

based on where Moses went with his plea to God, seems this not simply war of words – belligerent attitude being displayed

would have been incredibly foolish for Israelites to act on their impulses – Moses the only one who knew where they were going, how to get there

more significant: Moses the only authorized intermediary between people and God – at moment, Moses their lifeline

C. They doubted God’s presence v.7

bottom line

permanent reminder of rebellious behavior – name change: Massah / testing and Meribah / contention – people contended with both God and Moses, tested God

because couldn’t see kind of evidence they expected / wanted, they doubted God still with them, still providing for their needs

irrational doubt

no reason to believe they lacked for manna that morning, quail the night before – reason would say ask one who supplied that to supply water also

sin and self prevented them from acting / thinking rationally – looked at only one piece, jumped to conclusion from there

D. They received God’s grace v. 5-6

failed test

sure, they blew it… again, and God knew they would – He had something bigger in mind… for them and us, another proof of his faithfulness and longsuffering

another proof for God’s people, if they would heed, their greatest need not for water – was for God, the giver not just the gift

gracious provision

supplied instruction to Moses, told him how to proceed step by step – in process would reaffirm His choice of Moses

at same time would show people once again who really was supplying their needs – abundantly in face of severe rebellion

stunning picture

based on everything going on in minds of people, what they had to say, how they treated Moses… and God, did not deserve kind treatment

see what God did: he stood on the rock, Moses struck the rock, water came from the rock, the people drank the water

people only watched, did not participate in act of providing life-giving water – God alone provided what they did not deserve and could not earn

setting them up to understand – law given to them at Sinai could not provide salvation, would be gracious act of God also

apostle Paul makes connection: “they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1Co 10:9)

that rock pictured for Israel and us: Christ would be the one struck, smitten by God, afflicted (Isa. 53:4) – from Christ, sinful undeserving rebellious people receive water of life

We today faced with same question Moses had: What shall I do? May be people giving us hard time, may be other kind of situation where God puts us to the test. What shall we do? Who or what is first stop for us in seeking solution? Government agency? Physician? Financial advisor? Personal genius? Or do we run to the rock Christ Jesus? Seek shelter in him, provision from him for all our needs.

Just as important, how do we help others who are being put to the test? Fellow believers, experiencing some real trials, need to encourage them to run to the Rock also. Then those who are still trying their own solution – they may reject our counsel, must still direct them to Christ as the only one who can supply their need. He is the only one who can save, who can forgive, who can satisfy.

 

The Sabbath Observed

Exodus 16:22-36

Few days ago, in conversation, someone lamenting how things have changed since laws relating to Sunday commerce changed. Passing by box store parking lot, full of cars, safe to presume store crowded with shoppers. Not so long in past, was not like that. Even if people didn’t attend church, had some respect for those who did, at least token acknowledgment of Sunday as different. Might have been as simple as “my day”, “do what I want”. Now, often day just like all the rest, anything that interferes with pursuing personal desire is resented.

Might think only unchurched view it that way – wrong! Many professed Christians, including church leaders, have bought into mindset: giving even one hour to worship of God on Sunday is inconvenience that must be accommodated. Viewed as people giving something up to convenience God if they have to go to church on Sunday. Turned something good completely on its head.

Will come back to whole concept of Sabbath, one day in seven, when we get to 4th commandment in ch. 20. For now, consider some introductory principles from this scene in life of God’s people the children of Israel. Will make application of those principles to life of church.

A. a Sabbath to the Lord v.22-26

God’s provision

clearly a God thing, no other reasonable explanation – could gather what they needed daily for 5 days, then 2x on 6th day

not simply the way it happened to work out, purposeful provision from God – know because of quantity… and quality

what they gathered on 6th day was of different quality – kept for 24 hours without stinking, breeding worms, retained nutritional value and usefulness until next day

first indication that whatever 7th day might be like, God didn’t expect his people to make do, settle for 2nd best, eat day-old leftovers – 7th day not designed to be sacrifice for them

one more thing – God had told what he would do… remember promise and test?? v.4-5, gather daily, will be 2x on 6th day

their preparation

prepare whatever needed for meals for 6th day, set aside rest for following morning – on that day alone each week, manna would not spoil

would prepare meals for 7th day from store in cupboard, would be none in field to gather – following God’s instructions = full provision, full bellies

played out exactly as God promised – were able to prepare nourishing meals for family on 7th day… just like rest of the week

the purpose

not left to wonder, God told precisely – 7th day to be “a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD” – just as 10 Commandments address vert. / horiz. relationships, so this day addresses both

is to be day of cessation, solemn rest, complete rest… not with focus on self, “Sabbath to the LORD

character of day to be different from other 6: intended to have particular obvious pervasive God-ward focus… all day long

was to be holy day, distinct from others and set apart from common usage – things that commonly take time / attention not to have focus on 7th day, attention needed to begin shifting previous day

on 6th day, lay aside for 7th – prepare for next day, anticipate next day, have as much freedom as possible on 7th day for holy use

if Lord’s Day our one day in seven set apart as a “holy day of rest to the Lord”, need to begin preparing day before… at least

if it can’t wait until Monday, do it Saturday – purposely shift activities so Lord’s day doesn’t become like every other

then… purposely… fill day with things that encourage growth in holiness, in understanding God and his ways

B. a Sabbath for you v.27-30

firm reminder

had instruction, had example of many neighbors – gather on 6th day for both 6th and 7th, would be sufficient for both days

might think were somehow uninformed, had reason for being clueless – not so, will see in just a moment by God’s response

went looking for daily bread as if all days were same – probably had not gathered additional on previous day in anticipation

learned quickly, and were reminded by growling stomach all day, God said what he meant and meant what he said… exactly

sharp rebuke

wording of God’s question to Moses makes plain those who looked for food on 7th day not ignorant but disobedient

knew what God had instructed, intentionally chose to disregard it – acting as practical atheists, like God had nothing to do with their supply of food

had chosen to trust in own wisdom and expectations more than God’s promise – iow, displaying loyalty to self, trust in self, ranking self as more important than God

God’s question has application far broader than simply those people who went looking for manna on Saturday morning

before you get all over children of Israel for unbelief, when was last time you trusted in your own solution rather than seeking God’s wisdom, following his known expectations

before buying into all media hype about what took place in Las Vegas – attorneys and psychologists looking for motive, something to make Stephen Paddock a victim, politicians looking for excuse to change regulations – consider this: at its root he killed 58, injured 489 people because he refused to keep God’s commandments

answer to his problem, those like him, not found in government policies but in pages of God’s word the Bible – we call it the Gospel, accompanied by power of Holy Spirit

good gift

back to 1 day in 7 – look at what YHWH says about it: YHWH has given you the Sabbath – is one of God’s good and perfect gifts to his creation

spending that day in way that God expects does not mean we give up something – we receive something good from God

means when we misuse that day as children of Israel did, are despising a good gift and showing great disrespect to one who gives it

but wait, there’s more: God intentionally supplies daily need in abundance… the day before! – is to be a blessing, not burden

important connection between God’s gift of the day and his gift of provision – when we keep his one day holy, show we trust him to meet our needs during the other six

flip side – when we do as we please, just like Israelites, are showing we do not believe God will adequately meet needs

should rest from customary labors on that day… without resenting / grudging time given up or lost to holy activities

practical reason, too – trend from Adam on… get more and more focused on things we see, not taking time/effort for unseen

God graciously gives us entire day to not be weighed down with affairs of daily life – instead be lifted up by fellowship with him and his people, meditation on his word

C. provision to be remembered v.31-36

nourishing

need visual aid / reminder so lessons get passed from one generation to next – pot of manna served Israel, written Word today… that also instructs with visual aids (Lord’s Table)

God by his power alone supplied nourishment in place where were no other options – wilderness could not support that size crowd of people and animals

encouraging

intended to encourage succeeding generations – just as God supplied his people’s needs in desert, still able to meet need

God is same – all powerful, gracious, and faithful, does not lack either resources or ability, most important has desire to care for his people

ongoing

wasn’t only few days, even months until they acclimated – God’s daily provision continued for 40 years, precisely according to his calendar

5 days a supply for that day, 6th day enough for 2 days, 7th day none – precisely caring for his people… as he promised

Israel’s experience and record of all this given to us “for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4)

D. one day in seven

modeled by God Genesis 2:2-3

God didn’t need rest because he was tired, he treated 7th day differently for specific purpose – would do well to take note

Only the Sabbath, however, he sanctified, indicating perhaps that the climax of creation was not the creation of man, as is often stated, but the day of rest, the seventh day. The Sabbath is thus an invitation to rejoice in God’s creation, and recognize God’s sovereignty over our time.” TWOT

now, on this side of the cross, 1 day in 7 has enhanced significance – now commemorate 1st day of week and that through faith in Christ and his resurrection we are new creations… and God is still sovereign over our time

if God thought important to model 1 day in 7 before the Fall, we ignore at our peril – after Fall we need it even more

made for man Mark 2:27

Pharisees in their zeal and regulation had made day of rest a burden to God’s people – perverting use God had intended

God graciously lovingly gave us day for our good – that as we focus our time / energy / attention on him, he supplies our needs for week to come – spiritual as well as material

Do you have times, perhaps extended time, where you wonder if will ever get out from under burden of… fill in blank? Heard of someone the other day, had one of those light-bulb moments – I get it! You don’t just have to believe there is a God, you have to do what he says!” Try putting God’s priorities first, ordering week from first day to last according to God’s expectations, showing by choices you make on his day who you are really loyal to.

Are you basically in good shape? no real worries / burdens? good between you and God? Then count your blessings. Seriously. Intentionally think through all you have, that it is a good gift from good God, give him praise and thanksgiving. Then, here’s where it gets little harder, do all you can to encourage others to follow godly example so they enjoy richness of God’s blessing.

Daily Bread

Exodus 16:1-21

Are spoiled in this country and this age. Might not think so, some things we take for granted are daily chore in many parts of world. We have refrigerators. Large ones. And freezers. Generally keep both well stocked, even pay attention to what is on sale so we keep them full. Regularly shop for week’s worth of groceries, maybe two weeks, even month’s worth, treat as no big deal. Then what happens when power goes off for more than 10 seconds? Uh-huh, start adding everything up, watching clock, checking to see when CMP promises to restore power.

Totally different for majority of people in world. They go to market each day, acquire food for a day, know they will be back again the next day or at most two days later for more food. That sort of hand-to-mouth existence gives whole new significance to “give us this day our daily bread”. In that sort of culture, just like ancient Israelites, no daily bread today means hunger. Also has direct influence on how we understand dependence and trust. I’m confident Jesus had all that in mind when instructing disciples how to pray.

Try to put self in position of people in our text: Out of entire crowd of million plus people, Moses and Aaron only ones we know were ever outside of country. Didn’t have Delorme or MapQuest, no clue where going or how to get there. No box stores, grain elevators or fields in sight. Could conceive of no way humanly possible for their need to be supplied – roughly six weeks into journey, supplies brought from Egypt and any acquired along the way gone with no obvious way to replenish.

So… did exactly what we all would do – cried out to God for help. No? Quietly waited for God’s provision to become evident. No? As we work through passage, pay close attention to how God cared for his people. This is standard rest of Bible keeps coming back to – how God supplied manna in wilderness, bread from heaven. Significant event not only for hungry Israelites, important for us as well.

A. complaint v.1-3

the whole congregation

complaining is contagious – in 15:24 was “the people”, now is virtually everyone complaining, and what is said more negative

good lesson for all of us, children and adult, in any circumstance – complaining leads to more complaining… by more people

targeted against “Moses and Aaron”

complaining referenced 7x in 5 verses (2, 7, 8, 9, 12) – was a big deal, even God took notice, let them know he knew

wasn’t really legitimate complaint – weren’t dying of hunger… yet; problem was they didn’t see tomorrow’s food today!

ostensibly against human leadership – voiced complaint against Moses and Aaron, they were ones closest by, easiest to reach

should have known M & A not the ones ultimately responsible, even for decision-making – they always maintained role as God’s mouthpiece

ultimately against God (7-8) – M & A come right out and say that – YHWH has heard your complaints against Him – confronting people with sinfulness of their behavior 3x

selective nostalgia

maybe some hyperbole (exaggeration) about how good it was – to hear them talk, no reason they should have cried out to God for relief when in Egypt

could eat their fill of bread and meat with little or no effort, in spite of evidence to contrary

remember… Egyptians using all means they could think of to control population – consider one of present hot spots: favorite methods used to control… fear/intimidation and food control – keep ’em hungry/weak

expressed desire – die of old age in familiar surroundings – now they had to actually take some responsibility, didn’t want it

convinced themselves bondage in Egypt wasn’t really so bad, given perceived benefits – knew what to expect every day and who to blame it on

just ignored/overlooked what was so painful about previous life – no mention of attempts to kill baby boys, burdensome labor requirements, absence of freedom

NOTE: typical way complainers try to persuade others – over-emphasize one aspect, under-report all the rest

B. response v.4-5

no opportunity for prayer

complained about bitter water at Marah, Moses cried out to YHWH – now God makes next move before Moses has opportunity

important to see that God heard cries of his people when not aimed at him directly, when not presented by their mediator

YHWH answers directly

no beating around bush, simply declares his intention to Moses – even though more than enough provocation, issues no rebuke to complaining people

could holy God possibly do that? let it go without consequences? need to remember these people basically infants in understanding God and his ways

and… important elements of God’s character declared to Moses in few chapters – merciful and longsuffering – had been showing that all along

tells what he will do

will rain bread from heaven – song we like to sing: “Showers of Blessing” — “Mercy drops round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.”

not drops, even showers that God promises – will “open the doors of heaven and rain down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven.Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.”Psa. 78:23-25

lays out expectations

another element in God’s training his people – will they follow instructions, something his children still need help with today

pretty simple guidelines: gather in morning what you need for today; Friday, gather what you need for today and tomorrow

don’t be greedy, don’t be stingy, don’t plan on leftovers – just take what you need for today… and trust God to provide

C. appearance v.6-10

guarded explanation

wise leaders, M & A, don’t tell all they know – would reduce effectiveness of teaching opportunity: people need to learn to trust God with or without explanations

turns attention to YHWH

people repeatedly complaining to M & A, seeking solution from them – could have been tempting to try to fill role of provider

instead “you will know YHWH did this”, “you will see the glory of YHWH” – no question exactly who responsible, whose power

called to assemble – come near

wonder if people had sinking feeling in pit of stomach – front and center, Creator God of all things has heard your complaints

probably thought even though promise of food, was going to be some kind of consequence – remember, no matter circumstances, God always invites children to come to him… with repentant and dependent spirit, will welcome them

God already in the wilderness

when people really didn’t deserve it, God displays himself and commitment to leading his people – ” the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud”

his presence in the cloud showed intent to be gracious, to bless his people, to be near / with them when they come near

we know God is everywhere, they were still learning – not alone, where they were going not unknown to God, he was already there and prepared to lead them

D. promise kept v.11-21

continued theme – “you shall know that I am the LORD your God”

true God doesn’t hide behind smoke/mirrors/curtains – pursues people so as to have relationship built on knowledge

once again, faith not blind leap in dark – isconfidence in God we know and trust, who has made promises and keeps them

God repeatedly gives his people opportunities for faith to grow, for understanding and knowledge of him to increase

quail in the evening, manna in the morning

quail they understood, knew how to prepare; manna, that was something else, miraculous daily provision for next 40 years

1 omer (just under 4 quarts) per person – was to be daily staple (equivalent of bread), gathered each day for all dependents

no leftovers

daily reminder of daily dependence – God intended his people to not only come near but to remain near to him, his provision

those who conveniently forgot, failed to listen – clear reminder God meant what he said, obvious to anyone nearby (stank!)

E. two things

sufficiency v.18

regardless of what was collected, no leftovers, no lack – “he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack”

need to trust in Giver, not gift – when God Almighty declares he will meet needs of his people, no cause to doubt his provision

not dependent on size of provision – what matters is how God works out use of what he provides… when we trust him

source v.4

bread from heaven – not going to use natural means to provide for his people, would do so directly, reinforcing idea of dependence on God

only available from God’s storehouse – was clear to Israelites God must be source, no other explanation given their circumstances – how many people, in wilderness, daily w/o fail

Jesus made sure we know it came from God not Moses – ” it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven” John 6:32

same true of “bread of life” – John 6:32-33, 35, 50-51, 58 – God cares about our bodies, cares more about our souls

bodies are temporary, souls forever – need “the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” John 6:51

Living bread from heaven is always sufficient, will always satisfy. Are you depending on that bread, the Lord Jesus? Do you want more of him? All you need do is ask, come near to him, trust him alone to supply your need.

Dying of Thirst

Exodus 15:22-27

We have privilege of living on “blue planet”, called that because of water that covers 70% of earth’s surface. Water around since the beginning – Gen 1:1-2

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Estimated 60% of human body is made up of water, needs to be replenished regularly. Yet, most of water easily accessible not fit for drinking. Serious problem in many parts of world, even our own – having sufficient water that will safely support human life. Is even more significant in wilderness areas of Sinai Peninsula… where children of Israel were expected to travel.

Remember who they are – men, women, children of all ages and stages, from physically fit to infirm. And then were all their livestock – cattle, sheep, goats. Would have had some supply of milk to drink, use for cooking, but… no water, no milk either. Was April, too – cooler month, high 70’s overnight and 90 during day, a whole one inch of rain. From this point until arrival in Canaan, most of travel would be from one oasis to another. An overwhelming task to figure out given size of the group, rate of travel.

God using this opportunity to instruct his people – they need him not only to deliver from bondage in Egypt, also to sustain and provide during journey. Not something they could do for themselves, God must provide. Begin with no water, then they find bitter water. They need sweet water and abundant water, their greatest need by far for living water.

A. no water v.22

three days – Ex. 5:3 So they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”

can almost hear Israelites second guessing choice of road thru wilderness, maybe even criticizing choice to go that way

more miles, more wondering – not only about immediate surroundings with no sign of oasis, the whole idea of going to church in the desert… really?

and three days?? why is that so important? seems like could do what needed doing without that much effort, hardship, inconvenience – besides, if want people to come to church, can’t make it too hard

supposed to worship

immediate goal of deliverance that they might worship God, sacrifice to YHWH so he would not be displeased with them

already thanked God, celebrated his great act of deliverance at Red Sea; would be redundant to worship again, only 3 days

may already suspect: Israelites suffered repeatedly from short-term memory loss – 1potentially life-threatening situation

under typical circumstances, can survive 3 days or so without water – elevated temps, exertion, anxiety increases need

hit old and young hardest first, then from there – dehydration affects ability to reason, act wisely, can get serious quickly

not just people in need, animals affected also… expressing discomfort only way they know how: noise! – adds to stress level for everyone, increases incentive to grumble

real hardship

what’s up? weren’t they delivered? to this?? – not what they signed up for, remember kind of shape were in before plagues

Ex. 6:9 “they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.” – too disheartened to process idea of relief, deliverance – probably thought had fallen out of frying pan into fire

whatever happened to “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”? – freedom not supposed to be so challenging

no surprise to us: all part of God’s sovereign loving plan to sanctify his people – had been saved, now needed to be sanctified, made holy and fit for life in Promised Land

important note: lessons we learn that really change our lives come through hardship, suffering, difficulty

B. bitter water v.23-24

continued seeking

sometimes have no choice but to keep going – true for Israelites… knew they hadn’t come by water, better be some ahead

one thing had to learn, how to not think like slaves – sometimes hardest part of freedom from bondage… changing mindset

went from bad to worse

mirages can be deadly, deceiving /tempting people to eventual harm – waters of Marah certainly awful tasting if not harmful

could be that animals didn’t mind, definitely not same quality were used to back in Egypt – think well water vs city water

no water better than undrinkable

frustration level headed up scale rapidly, people react – question more like “ok, what are we supposed to drink now, genius?”

accusing, complaining, not doing anything to find solution – more of slavery mindset would need to overcome, taking for granted someone else would solve problems for them

how to respond?

drink anyway – might not have been actually harmful, could have been if too much salt; esp. hard on old and young – drink out of desperation or stubbornness, if bad reaction… oh, well

give up – too much, too hard, too awful, can’t go on, pull a Hagar and put the child under a bush, turn face away, wait to die

grumble – complain to any who would listen, whether could do anything to change circumstances or not

truth is, not just Israelites who behave that way, all of us respond in one or another of those ways from time to time

try to resist sin and temptation in own strength, fail miserably; or we don’t fall into sin, just walk right into it with eyes open

come to conclusion that living obedient Christian life just too hard, don’t have strength or will to continue, give up and hope God will take us even if second class

get in situation we don’t have resources to change, keep trying anyway, let bad attitude come out all over anyone close by

maybe, when gets really painful or some crisis gets attention, end up doing what should have started with – seek help

C. sweet water v.25-26

prayer to God

finally, someone has right idea – cry out to the One who can help, the only one who is able to provide what they needed

Moses did well by demonstrating right response… he didn’t need to be first – anyone among group could have started

important point: God does not test us with difficult situations to see how well we do on our own; he does test us so we will cry out to him for help

crying out to God means we expect him to do what he must, depend on him to help us do what we can in his strength

patient grace from God

God could have rightly rebuked – just days before showed his power… over water!! instead graciously teaching dependence

patient reminder to his people: crying out to God in a jam is good, before jam is better; reinforcing idea that God must provide solution / direction at all times, in all circumstances

obedience required

YHWH had given his people freedom from bondage, also had expectations of them – not as payback, rather loving gratitude

did not grant freedom from boundaries – were not absolutely free, never were, never would be; were free to serve and worship God within boundaries he established

waters of Marah only became sweet when Moses obeyed, threw tree in – true of all of life: bitter without obedience, sweet / refreshing in middle of desert when following God

D. abundant water v.27

faith walk

had not reached destination yet, needed to keep walking – but what about water? how long until next source? could only carry just so much with them

God had demonstrated watchful care, expected his people to move out depending on Him to supply need when they could not see answer – that’s what makes it faith

faithful God

left Marah behind, continued on into desert as Marah disappeared from view, all they could see was desert and road ahead

kept walking, at right moment began to see what looked like oasis – tops of palm trees poking up from surrounding desert sand, shimmering in heat of day

not a mirage, the real thing supplied when needed by faithful God as he had just promised – God showed his faithfulness when people acted in faith

full provision

God is not stingy, not unfairly demanding Father to his people – rewarded their obedience abundantly… water and shade

restful pleasant place for man and beast – more than adequate water for people, animals, pasturage – good rest stop, few weeks (16:1) before next leg of journey

Note final statement from YHWH, v. 26 – “I am the LORD who heals you.” Israelites were at risk of dying of thirst. We live in world, surrounded by people who are dying of thirst. They are trying to quench thirst with bitter water – things that quickly leave bad taste, that do not satisfy, that often cause haarm. Need healing from terminal disease, is only Yahweh Rapha who can heal. God has chosen to provide necessary healing, but only one way, and it involves a tree… the one that stood on a hill called Calvary.

We are ambassadors, representatives of the great Healer, God himself. We know what to bring those dying of thirst: the living water Christ alone will supply. As we hold out that living water, many will reject it outright and continue drinking their own bitter waters. Others will say “not now, maybe later”. Some will receive the living water and be healed by Yahweh Rapha. Remember: response of others dependent on work of God, not your abilities of persuasion. is God who must give desire for living water.

Not just those who have never tasted living water who need to pay attention. People of God get careless, inattentive, drawn away by other things that promise satisfaction. If we are to have kind of life God intends for us, experience blessings he has for us, must stay close to source of living water. Not only heathen who need the Gospel, who need forgiveness – we all do. Must have God’s forgiveness and cleansing that comes only through blood of Christ, his sacrifice applied to us. Our hope must be in Christ’s finished work, not any merit of our own. In his righteousness, not ours.

 

Worship Music

Exodus 15:1-21

Christianity Today article “The Waning of the ‘Worship Wars'”, January 6, 2016

“Out: Organs, bulletins, and choirs. In: Spoken amens, raising hands during worship, and using projection equipment for song lyrics and sermon notes. This change to the American church is deeper than just a formality swap, said the authors of the latest National Congregations Study (NCS). Instead, it’s part of a “decades-long trend in American religion away from an emphasis on belief and doctrine and toward an emphasis on experience, emotion, and the search for a least-common-denominator kind of worship in a time of ever less salient (prominent) denominationally specific liturgical and theological content,” wrote the authors of …one of the most rigorous surveys of local religious congregations in the US.”

Place that trend is obvious – music used in weekly gatherings. No, not referring to volume or instruments used. Are other elements more important than just those. For example, who is singing, what do the words they sing communicate? Often is praise team or worship leader performing for an audience. What passes for praise music could just as easily be love song for boy or girlfriend. Little sound Bible doctrine found in modern music identified as Christian. In fact, not designed to express and teach truth but rather evoke certain kind of response.

Have just finished reading words from piece of worship music from 34 centuries ago – profound contrast between what those words say and what typical modern congregation would hear. Not coincidence that vital signs of American church are cause for concern. Not just about music – that is symptom, not the cause of problem. Root cause – trend away from belief and doctrine… Music reflects that trend.

Will consider from our text – theme, three verses, and reprise… summary repeat. Notice who is clearly the object of worship and attention – the LORD, not anyone else.

A. theme v.1 — the LORD is to be worshiped

final deliverance from slavery

God promised to deliver from taskmasters, from Pharaoh so they could serve Him – crossing the border, Red Sea first significant milestone

milestone?? yes, deliverance from only the beginning; then comes process of being delivered to what takes its place

freed from remaining threat

until decisive defeat of Pharaoh and his military, Israelites still at risk of being re-enslaved in Egypt – certainly Pharaoh’s goal

would be other enemies of various sorts with goal of enslaving them again – for now, under God’s immediate oversight, no threats to cause fear

several things to give them courage – Red Sea between them and Egypt; army and equipment destroyed; pillar of fire / cloud

immediate response

had to be a victory won by YHWH – he alone has power and authority to achieve this kind of result – only response: WOW!

awe and wonder and rejoicing and celebration and thankfulness and praise – iow, worship of God who has done all this

the beginning of what God delivered them to: worship and service to him alone – single-hearted devotion to God who loved and saved them, expressed in worship

B. verse one v.2-5 — the LORD is my God (who He is)

worship may be prompted by what God has done, must not neglect who God is – clearly identified: YHWH is my God

my strength and song

both source and focus: the one from whom I receive, to whom I return – strength, supply, power, direction my Provider

whenever am made mindful of who he is by what he does, proper to return praise, thanksgiving, glory… individual / corporate

worthy of praise, to be exalted

apart from what he does, YHWH is worthy of worship and praise – he is indeed the best of beings, worthy of all we can give him and more

he is above all gods, does not always hold that position in our estimation – need to actively exalt him, remind ourselves and others of his rightful place

a man of war

YHWH is a warrior… with no equal – knows both friend and enemy perfectly, knows how to advance friends and defeat enemies, bring glory to himself in process

more important than simply knowing it, God does it – God wages war on his enemies and those of his people, now the church

be thankful for that – we do not have ability to defeat enemies or even resist their advance; must have God fighting for us and through us to have any hope of victory

deals with his enemies

let’s say, back in the day, friends with Jack Dempsey; hanging out together, somebody tried to pick fight with you – got it made, right?? not if Jack kept hands in pockets

same with God – doesn’t just know how to wage war on his enemies, he actually does so… and fights to win… every time

sometimes, as with Pharaoh, utterly defeats enemy and destroys; other times, subdues enemy, makes him a friend, like us

C. verse two v.6-10 — the LORD is glorious in power (what He has done)

power over enemies

God said he would “gain honor over Pharaoh and his army” (14:17) – kept his promise, deserves praise for that

used his power to defeat enemies, deserves praise; did what only He could do, none other great enough, deserves praise

demonstrated in miniature how his wrath against sin and sinners will be displayed on great Day of the Lord, when “the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, [will hide] themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,and [say] to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Rev. 6:15-17

power over created order

no power known to man could ever produce effect God did working through means in just a few hours, causing created things to behave counter to design

only one of number of times when God would use his power to provide for his people and in process bring glory to himself

power to protect his people

same power used to provide way of escape / deliverance for his people and close that way on enemies, destroying them

Moses makes clear in his worship hymn – God did not just let nature take its course and drown Pharaoh… oh well, too bad

was God actively using his power both for his people and against his enemies – protecting from harm during passage, continuing protection after all were across

D. verse three v.11-18 — the LORD is like no other (what He will do)

question with obvious answer – no one is like YHWH; if you had any doubts, look at what just happened at the Red Sea!

majestic in holiness, awesome in deeds

is God’s holiness that makes him glorious and majestic – perfect in purity, absolutely good, no shadow of imperfection

what God does deserves awe, reverence, praise – God does not act merely to show off; acts with purpose: our good, his glory

he will finish his work of salvation

every other god without exception can only enslave – YHWH delivers; even better, he will deliver his people completely

unlike us, God always finishes what he begins – his intent to bring his people to destination, can be counted on to do that

fill his enemies with terror

true God does not talk big, make threats, then not follow through – God’s reputation precede his people all the way to Jericho

if we are to take God and his expectations seriously, how much more his enemies – those who think they can despise him without risk of judgment

bring his people safely home

doesn’t drop them off, establishes them in new home – supplies all necessary for flourishing, ultimately in his very presence

the past guarantees the future

has cared for his people until now, will continue – God does not change, does rule his kingdom and will rule forever w/o end

E. reprise v.19-21

immediate cause for praise – deliverance

significant portion of praise, element of worship music relate to deliverance from slavery – exalting the God who delivers

not limited to what God did, includes what God will do – deliverance not yet complete, still have far to go under guiding hand of God… through wilderness and all the way to Promised Land

response to praise – more praise

Moses had led in worship, now Miriam leads ladies in more praise and celebration – probably repeated what Moses just sang

praise promotes joy

focusing attention and singing on praising God encourages both singers and hearers, brings joy to ones praising, that lasts for more than moment

Don’t like idea that God is violent, God of war, yet we love the Cross. Greater violence was done against sin and Satan at the Cross than in any other conflict known to mankind. What God accomplished when he deliver his people from Egypt by destroying Pharaoh and his army is real picture in miniature – shows what God accomplished when he delivered his people from sin by punishing his Son the Lord Jesus. Reveals two things: horrors of sin, greatness of God’s mercy.

A Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) committee desired to add “In Christ Alone” to the denomination’s new hymnal, Glory to God, set to be released this fall (2013). But it first requested permission to avoid theological controversy by altering the modern hymn’s lyrics from “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied” to “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified.” …The “view that the cross is primarily about God’s need to assuage God’s anger” would have a negative impact on worshippers’ education”. CT

Awfulness of what Lord Jesus experienced on Cross shows horror of sin. That it was Jesus and not us shows greatness of God’s mercy. How can we not worship the one who showed his love to us in that way. How can we not sing his praise to all who will listen?

The Great Work of the Lord

Exodus 14:15-31

Strong tendency for many generations now – strive to explain what we see in ways that do not require factoring in God. Doing so gives encouragement that man can perhaps control or at least manipulate things around us. What used to be called “acts of God”… now “natural disasters”. Weather patterns and events predictable enough because follow natural laws – program those into computer, let it generate 5-day forecast. Ok, so accuracy is little off, just need to tweak program a little. And what’s with naming winter storms and hurricanes, treating as if living things? Perhaps spawned by Mother Earth, with right incentive or persuasion can be convinced to be someone else’s problem.

Even Bible itself not exempt from those attempts – both how Bible came to exist and what it contains. First five books not written by one individual, really was four over long period of time with different writing styles. Genesis 1-10 not history but mythology; Flood not worldwide thing but explanation for how Mediterranean was formed.

“How did Moses cross the Red Sea? How did he get across? Did he swim? Did he sail? Did he fly? Did he jump? Did he run? How did he get across?” Oh, Moses and children of Israel walked across Reed Sea! Wasn’t very deep, not big deal. One of those hot scirocco winds could have dried things out enough. Maybe only small contingent of Jews anyway – Moses and Aaron and Miriam, Caleb and Joshua and a few others.

There you have it – easy explanation for that story in Exodus. But… a lot of issues with that idea, not least the last verse of text: “Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt“. God was at work in his world then, God is at work in his world today. God grant us eyes to see and recognize his hand, ears to hear his voice and follow him.

A. God instructs v.15-18

be ready to move

so… leaving Egypt looked to be really hard, this… is impossible – tell children of Israel to go forward! Seriously?

have already been times for Israelites, will be many more when God gives instruction and will look impossible to follow it

God expects his people to move forward when he says “Go” regardless of how it looks – if wait until way forward is clear, then walking by sight and not faith

God intended his people to show their faith in him – Moses with rod and hand, people by moving forward, then God would open up way to other side

holds true today – God makes clear we are to move in particular direction, toward specific goal, does not at first show the way

a way will open up

God quickly gives rest of story – “lift up your rod, stretch out your hand” – after, not before, Moses did so, God would work

a way only God can provide – through midst of sea on dry ground – God announces what he will do, sets conditions that eliminate all other explanations than work of God

through midst of the sea – not around, but through it; in many ways like putting head in lion’s mouth – sea chaotic unruly monster to be feared, not entered into

by dividing the Sea, God showed his power and authority; by walking into the Sea, people showed their confidence was really God doing it and… wouldn’t let go with them in middle

on dry ground – think about brothers and sisters in Texas: rain stopped, water subsiding, how long before ground dries out?

Israelites couldn’t wait that long, Pharaoh is right behind; God didn’t require it, the way he made was immediately usable

God’s way not always easy, is often surrounded by great danger – God’s child following God’s way will be absolutely safe

Egyptians will learn, too

Egyptians especially feared sea, not always sure whether sea or sun the most powerful god – under normal circumstances would never walk or ride into sea

another work of God – harden Egyptians hearts, confirm their resolve to pursue evil so nothing else mattered, would dissuade

Egyptians learned first-hand, millions more by hearing account, that is true God more powerful than sea god… or any other one

Pharaoh’s boast – Ex. 5:2 And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.”

Pharaoh about to find out… first-hand – would meet his maker face-to-face, understand truth clearly and held to account

Yahweh will gain honor

God not out to prove a point – one thing more important than any other to Yahweh… not us, not Israelites, is his own glory

Isa. 42:8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.”

Yahweh will not share his position, authority, power, glory with any other God – “you shall have no other gods before me”

in fact, day is coming when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:10-11

B. God protects v.19-22

Angel of God

no big deal made of what is described here – simple statement of fact that Angel who went ahead moved and went behind

prompts important question – who was this Angel of God? an angelic messenger on special assignment? or is this reference to God the Son, present in visible way?

1 Cor. 10:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,all ate the same spiritual food,and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

Sunday School song – My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, All I have to do is follow; Strength for today is mine all way, And all I need for tomorrow.

pillar of cloud and fire

a light that gave comfort and protection to Israelites, cloud that hindered movement by Egyptians, prevented from seeing what God was doing on the other side

clear example of God precisely supplying what his people needed in every circumstance

divided sea and dry land

God can intervene directly in the workings of his creation, can also work through means – does so frequently, here east wind

as he promised, exactly as he promised made a dry path through midst of the sea, wall of water on both sides of dry path

there’s the path, nice and dry, millions of gallons of water piled up on each side – no help at all until people exercised faith and actually walked across

C. God hinders v.23-25

Egyptians pursue

just like Israelites feared, Pharaoh and all his forces followed – path good enough for Israelites was good enough for Egyptians

were so intent on doing evil had little or no regard for very real danger on both sides… and on they went until all were in midst of sea – Pharaoh, chariots, horsemen

Yahweh looked through the pillar

God looked on Egyptians… through pillar of fire and cloud – looked through Son of God, Christ himself, at Egyptians and once again… saw no blood

did not see blood of sacrifice applied to Egyptians, therefore they would pay full penalty for their sins… themselves

Yahweh troubled the Egyptians

slowed them down, clogged their wheels, really got their attention – understood, finally, was Yahweh making all happen

had a choice, actually three options: keep on truckin’, surrender… in this case to God, try to make a run for it – chose the last

Yahweh fights for his people

Egyptians were right, the Lord did fight for his people – he just as surely fights against their enemies, and still does

doesn’t simply keep enemies from winning, he brings about defeat – does it in such a way that he, Yahweh gets the glory

D. God overthrows v.26-31

a wall to his people

God used water of Red Sea to provide wall of safety for his people on either side, pillar of cloud and fire behind

way of deliverance open before them… right through middle of apparent danger – God brought safely through as promised

a coffin to the Egyptians

same water, put to different use by sovereign all-powerful God – used to overcome and entomb Egyptians who rebelled against God repeatedly

had numerous opportunities to repent, submit to Yahweh’s authority – instead, went own way… even when had acknowledged “Yahweh fights for his people”

the people

saw – great work YHWH had done, understood what had happened (they had been preserved, Egyptians not), knew without doubt who had done it

feared – were in awe of God and what he had done, showed YHWH proper reverence, worshiped him… proper response to God making himself and power known

believed – follow-on response to fear and worship: faith and obedience… confidence in God and his promises, obedience to his commands as delivered through his servant

was right thing to do, even though only temporary; don’t point fingers, people of God do same today as then

God still doing great works on behalf of his people – fighting for them against their enemies and his. God grant us eyes to see and understand; desire to praise and worship him for his greatness; words to teach our children how to recognize God at work. God give us ability to see Lord Jesus on all pages of Scripture and on pages of our lives, desire to hear his voice and follow his leading, trusting him in all circumstances.