Move In Day

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In Exodus 40, it’s moving day and God is in command!

God is telling Moses to set up the tabernacle and exactly where to put each piece.  God is detailed and Moses is obedient. “Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him.”   (Exodus 40:16)

Seven times we are told that Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

Let’s pause and soak that truth in.

The church today has not been commanded to build tents, tapestry, tables or tabernacles but the church has been given precise instructions on how to set up elders in the church (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1) and the order of the roles in the home (Ephesians 5, Titus 2, 1 Peter 3, Colossians 3).

Oh that it would be said of us – “we did everything just as the Lord commanded”.

In Exodus 40. In verse 33, the move is complete.

It’s a wonderful feeling on moving day when all the boxes have arrived and the family moves in and sleeps there the first night.

In Exodus 40, God moves in! “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. ” (Exodus 40:34,35)

His glory must have been magnificent and brilliant like never before because Moses had seen some of his glory in the burning bush, at the parting of the Red Sea and on Mt. Sinai but now the glory is so great, Moses was not able to enter the tent while God’s glory came down!

AWESOME!

But it’s so brief.  If there was ever a time for Moses to get long winded, wouldn’t it be now?

Didn’t we just read chapters and chapters of mundane details and now there are only 4 short verses about God’s arrival!

Have mercy – Moses – we want more!

Well, we will get more when we study the book of Leviticus.  Exodus reads like the assembly instructions to a kit but it does not explain how the pieces are to be used.  Leviticus is the “how-to” manual.

You have completed the journey out of Egypt…and now God has moved into the Temple

I pray this Bible Challenge gave you food for thought and has been instrumental to you in a big way. Please go back through the challenge, you will find that each time you do…you learn something new

Feel free to join Soul Sisters on Facebook, drop me a comment through the http://www.virtuousvibes.com website and you can also leave a comment below!

I appreciate each of you

Be blessed

Stephanie

Stand Still & See the Salvation of the Lord

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Exodus Chapter 14 shows us the final part of  Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. We all know the story…Israel has left Egypt… Pharaoh gets angry and then comes the  Egyptian army chase Israel…

The Apostle Paul tells us that this episode is a type of baptism. (1 Cor 10:2,11) In other words it is a death and resurrection type experience and has meaning for us!

In Philippians 3:10-11, Paul stated ‘Know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death, in order that I may obtain to the [spiritual] resurrection of the dead.’

First, please believe that God will often take us into places and situations that confuse us. He may often lead us into trying times, but oh MY GOD, he is about to show up and show out!

Exodus 14:1-3  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.  Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’

Exodus 14:4-6 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did this. When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him.

Why does God sometimes lead us into trying situations? God Himself spells it out in the passage above. He tells Moses the very reason why He will cause Pharaoh and his army to turn on the Israelites and chase them… it is so that God’s name may be exaltedabove all so-called ‘gods’ and that the glory may be returned to its rightful owner – the Lord God of Israel!

So we have a choice in each difficulty we meet. How are we going to face them? Are we going to see them as an opportunity for God to display His character? Or are we going  to freak out thinking it’s all over? I guess the answer to that question depends on how well you have come to know the Lord God! But just possibly, you may be able to relate to Israel’s reaction in the next section!

Exodus 14:9-12The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea…. As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?  Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Wow look at this reaction…does it sound similar to your reaction? We all have been there, rather we care to admit it or not

You would have thought that Israel had seen enough miracles thus far to know that God was on their side. They had seen the mighty plagues and judgements which God had brought against the Egyptians. They had witnessed the death of the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt. They certainly knew enough to stand in faith once again and see this new challenge as another opportunity for God to display His grace… but they didn’t. They chose to focus on the seen and not the unseen. Bad choice! But we do it all the time as well. Let us learn from, and not repeat, Israel’s mistakes. For ‘these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction…’ (1 Cor 10:11).

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. “But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.“ And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. “Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

 

So you, like the Israelites here, are in a trial… If so what are the  commands given to the people? Three things initially come to mind from the passage above us – firstly, do not be afraid. Secondly, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. And finally, hold your peace! These three commands are interrelated and your ability to be able to do the third (hold your peace) in a trying situation will be in direct proportion to how much you are obeying the first two commands.

In fact, for us everything hinges on the second command. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord is THE command. You can imagine Israel, freaking out with their hearts pounding, starting to run in different directions looking for an escape from the grip of Egyptians. They would have done in the outward what we do in the inward! But the command for them is as valid for us today. Stand still! Then it says ‘see the salvation of the Lord’. Now, how does ‘hold your peace’ and ‘do not be afraid’ actually work in reality? Only by looking first at the salvation of the Lord – and that is Jesus. The Lord will indeed save us out of many trials, but there must be a looking to Him in faith first. And that is where peace and a still heart come from.

The last command, to go forward down into the Red Sea, is only given once they have first stood still and looked in faith to the Lord. For us this act of going down into the sea symbolizes our death with Jesus, and in the midst of a trial it also symbolizes dying to our own ability to control our lives and the outcome of the circumstances. It is placed in God’s hands and we walk by faith…sometimes even crawling, but the need, and the command, is to go forward none the less!

Exodus 14:19-22 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

 

Wow! What amazing direction and protection the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) provided. Once they had decided to obey and walk forward, they not only had light in front to guide the way, but thick cloud behind them to keep the enemy at bay!  Israel was perfectly safe and this passage speaks also of our lives who by faith have decided to go forward in the ways of the Lord.

Exodus 14:23-31 The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea… Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.”  Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived… That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

 

Finally we see the great victory that the Lord God brought about for His people Israel. They had worried and been afraid… yet it had come to nothing, for by faith they had walked step by step through the Red Sea on dry ground. And we see everything that gave them such great anguish (namely angry Egyptians) lying dead on the sea shore.

God still delivers today! It may not be exactly at the time when we first demand it, but if we, like Israel, place our small, mustard seed of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then we too will see the action of God on our behalf. But we should never dictate to God of course how He should do this. He is the potter and we are but clay. Sometimes He will deal to the difficulties in our lives, sometimes He will give us the grace to cope with it. What He does is His prerogative. But be assured that He doesn’t fail His people!

This passage also of course speaks of what God has done to our ‘old man’ in Christ Jesus. He has died through our baptism into Christ. Just as Israel came up on the other side of the Red Sea and saw what had become of their enemies, so we are called to see what God has done through our death and resurrection with Christ. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you too stand on the other side of the Red Sea today… resurrection ground.

You should be shouting today for what God has done and will continue to do…You need only to stand still!!

Stephanie

http://www.virtuousvibes.com

A Lasting Celebration

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In Exodus chapter 12 the first Passover takes place. As Christians, we take communion to look back and remember the death of Jesus on our behalf. Israel looked forward to this yearly event. Do you have a good understanding of the significance of this event?

In Exodus 12: 1-14 God provides insight as to what Israel needed to do concerning the Passover. This is a picture of the death of Jesus and the important truths that God wants emphasized.  It was the start of all things new. In Exodus 12:1-2 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.

God changed their calendar! And it has remained changed to this very day.  Israel’s religious calendar is different because of what God said . Their religious calendar starts with the month of Nisan (March-April) and goes through to the month of Adar (February-March). Everything  begins with the Passover. Jesus’ death on the cross is the beginning of the New Covenant of grace; it is the beginning of the New Creation .  Once a person places their faith in Jesus, it is the beginning of real life as God had intended it to be.

God makes the Passover personal, by giving specific instructions. ‘Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.’

He wanted every household in Israel to identify itself with the lamb. They each had to take a lamb, they each had to inspect the lamb, and they each had to kill the lamb. . Just as each Israelite household had to kill their lamb, so our own personal sin was responsible for Jesus going to the cross. It also reminds however of His great love for each of us individually! Yes it is true that ‘God so loved the world that He gave his only Son…’ – He died for the entire world. But it is more personal than that. He did it for you, and he did it for me. In Exodus 12:5-6, he instructs ‘The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.  Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.

Now it was said earlier that they were to take the lamb on the 10th of the month and keep it until the fourteenth of that same month, where it was to be slain at twilight. Matthew 21:1-11 speaks of the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem… Palm Sunday, which was in fact the 10th of Nisan – the very day when the spotless lamb was to be chosen!

They were even required to cook it with care! Exodus 12:7-10 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.

There is a reason for this – Fire, in this sense, speaks of God’s judgement. Just as the spotless lamb had to be cooked by fire and anything that they didn’t eat was burnt up, so Jesus was fully judged for our sin while on the cross. Other cooking instructions included always adding bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The bitter herbs were to be a reminder of the bitterness that accompanied their life down in Egypt. And in like manner it is good for us, when thinking of the cross, to remember the bitterness and bondage that God has rescued us from. Leaven in the Bible speaks of sin (1 Cor 5:7-8) and this reminds us that in view of the cross, and through God’s strength, we are called to live a righteous life.

Having completed the recipe and cooking instructions, God now turns His attention to their attire. When they eat, it is to be with their sandals on and their staff in their hand

Exodus 12:11 ‘This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.’

The reason for this of course is that the Passover was going to be the means of Israel’s deliverance from the Egyptian empire; so they had to be ready, for the journey was about to begin! Like everything else in this passage, this has instruction for us. Believing in the death of Jesus Christ on your behalf is the beginning of an entire new journey, and an entire new walk. It’s the starting line, not the finishing line! It is the start of a new life!

Exodus 12:12-13 On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

 

So judgement was to come upon Egypt. The only hope for Israel was to be under the blood. Let me ask a question – Why were the Israelites saved – did it come down to their own personal worthiness? No, not at all… . It simply came down to whether they were sheltering under the blood of the lamb! I’m sure it was a frightening time…just like many of the trials and tribulations we go through  but the  rest and peace that we have as Christians doesn’t come from our own worthiness. It comes from the simple fact that the blood of Jesus has been shed for our sins. Jesus is our peace!

The Celebration continues… 

Exodus 12:14 This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.

Finally we see that God instructed the Israelites to make the Passover a lasting ordinance – for it is a day worthy to be celebrated! Of course it is a celebration for God had redeemed them from the land of Egypt.

Shouldn’t we celebrate as well God has redeemed us from the world, and from the penalty of sin. The blood is over our lives and we have been declared righteous because of it!

The things that God wanted emphasized when He gave the Passover are some of the things we should think about in our own lives! When we take communion, its a new beginning! We are loved individual, its a personal thing! And believing in Jesus is the beginning of a new journey! We are new creatures in Him!

It should be a lasting celebration!!! Hallelujah!!

Be blessed on this beautiful Monday!

Stephanie

http://www.virtuousvibes.com

 

A Lesson In Oppresion

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We start our journey out of Egypt today! Exodus starts by giving us a reminder of Genesis. I pray you were able to join us as we traveled through Genesis in November. If not refresh your memory by reading the last chapter about Joseph and his brothers.

Our Exodus Challenge starts with reading Exodus 1 and 2.

Joseph and his brothers are reconciled in Egypt…where they live happily ever after ..until a new King comes on the scene. One who cared nothing about Joseph and his family. One who feared that the Israelites were becoming too numerous, so he forced hard labor upon them.  (Exodus 1: 8-11). They were pushed into the heavy toil of bondage..

Bondage, something we have all experienced…perhaps not many physically , but spiritually and  mentally. Feeling stagnated, lost, stuck, incomplete! When you look at Israel’s bondage, the cause, purpose and outcome can teach us a valuable lesson in our own lives. Lets look at some important aspects…

Egypt –Egypt oozed power, wealth and control, similar to the world and the lust and sin, we experience daily. This was a place that God called his people out from… so that they would be separate for Him. The same applies today.

Pharaoh – The Pharaoh had absolute control over Egypt, and was even worshiped as a god by his subjects. The actions of Pharaoh, in stubbornly refusing to allow God’s people to leave Egypt shows us a  picture of satan – the ‘god of this world’ One who exercises his power and control to prevent those called today from leaving his worldly system and coming to God.

Israel – Here we have God’s people who were called to come out of Egypt. Their experience gives us an illustration of God’s ‘called out’ ones today, the church.

Bondage – As the time of Israel’s deliverance grew closer, the bondage and slavery that Egypt enforced over them increased. Often right before our deliverance, our burden and awareness of sin increases. We become aware of what is keeping us bond and separated from God. We then make the decision to cry out to God for deliverance!

Many people do not realize that God was in control of the hardship that Israel went through. He had a purpose behind his workings. Just like with Israel, he has a purpose behind every trial and tribulation we go through.

God’s purpose for Egypt – In Genesis 15:13-16 God said to Abraham ‘…Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions… In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

God allowed Israel’s bondage to increase because He was determined to judge Egypt for its years of repeated sin. Never forget that God’s judgement is always perfect! So many times, one of the reasons God allows our burdens to increase is to judge the “Egypt” in our lives. Sometimes before we are completely saved, the burden of sin will increase so that when we come to Him, we can part completely with  our worldly ways. It often takes a heartfelt hurt or disappointment to get our attention. One that keeps us from falling prey to that same temptation over and over again.

God’s purpose for Israel  Reveal the true character of Egypt –  God wanted to reveal to Israel exactly what Egypt was like. You see, the beginning of Israel’s stay in Egypt, while Joseph ruled, was quite prosperous for the Israelite people. They had it pretty good. Now while this may have occurred for a season, God longed for a separated people for Himself and so He allowed the bondage in Egypt to increase so that they would see the true nature of Egypt, and in doing so, separate themselves from the Egyptians.  So many Christians cannot see the  harm that worldliness can have upon their Christian life. Its always a trap! You slip back to the world and things start off nice, like Israel in Egypt, but its never how it ends up. God often has to reveal the true colors, pull the covers off some things for our own protection…often requiring trials and tribulations to come along.

Bring increase to Israel – Sometimes God also allows bondage to increase so WE CAN INCREASE. In Exodus 1:11-12 it reads ‘So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out…’
Throughout the whole Bible, God often uses trials and difficulties of this life, to bring increase in our life. Think about how you have grown spiritually due to trials and tribulations you have experienced. How your faith has gotten stronger through the waiting season.

 

Draw Israel to God – This is always the end result that God desires out of any trial we go through. In Exodus 2:23-25 ‘And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.’

When do you cry out to God, when do you acknowledge Him? Sometimes things are going so well in our lives that we forget about God. It often takes a difficulty before we truly cry out to God and learn to trust in Him!

Why did God allow the bondage to be so bad? Why did He allow Pharaoh to resist His own people with such stubbornness?

The answer? So that God could be glorified! So that God may display His awesome power in delivering His people and so that all the nations who looked on would marvel and know that the God of Israel is the one true God!

In all the burdens and difficulties we go through in this life, God has this same plan for us! Our testimony, our story can be shown and shared with those around us, so that all may know the God we serve!

Although you may never fully understand all that happens. We can still rest assured that God is still at work and has a purpose for everything he does!

There is a valuable lesson in oppression, how difficult it may be. As we go through the process, we must be committed to growing through the process!

Learning the valuable lessons, and making a conscious effort not to return to the bondage, God has set us free from!

Be blessed on this beautiful Monday!

Stephanie

http://www.virtuousvibes.com

http://www.I-Speak-Female.com

soulsisterscircle@gmail.com