Tag Archives: Israel

WHO NEEDS TO CHANGE, ME?

Good morning or afternoon. I did not write a post today on the Tabernacle. I suppose I will post it when God gives me the go ahead, but for now I am reading and learning a lot.   The below devotional is one that a friend forwards to me and after reading it and sending it to a few of my lady friends, God spoke to my heart and impressed upon me to post it so you all could read. You may already get this daily devotional but I had to share it with as many people as I could.

It is a very good one about change and how hard it is for some of us. The story of Jacob (Israel) has always been one of my favorites in the Bible. He definitely went through some changes in his life.

I feel pretty certain you will enjoy this devotional. It is by Rick Warren and I always love reading his devotionals.  I hope you do too.

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How Can I Ever Change?
by Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?Most of us are interested in change. Moreover, God wants us to change. A life that is never willing to change is a great tragedy — a wasted life. Change is a necessary part of a growing life, and we need change in order to remain fresh and to keep progressing.But often the new ideas we gain from books or seminars just don’t seem to last. Maybe we will be different for a while, but then discover that the new methods do not have a permanent effect. The main reason for this is that we work on the exterior, our outside behavior, instead of on the interior, our motives. Any lasting change must begin on the inside, and that is a work of God.In the story of Jacob we can see the process God uses in helping us become the kind of person we have always wanted to be. The situation recorded in Genesis 32 was a turning point for Jacob and serves as a dramatic example of how God can change us.

The Four-Step Process

Jacob was a somewhat shifty fellow. Even his name means “cheater” or “schemer” in Hebrew. But a life-changing experience transformed him into a new person, and he became Israel, the man after whom the entire nation of Israel was later named. After that experience Jacob was never the same again.

In this story we have a clear expression of the four-step process God uses to help us become the kind of people we want to be. It is a truly encouraging message — a message that says we don’t have to stay in the rut we are in, that God will help us to change, to overcome that weakness or sore spot in our life. We just have to let him. So how do we let God do that?

Genesis 32 relates that while Jacob was alone one night, someone (an angel, according to Hosea 12:4) appeared and wrestled with him until daybreak.

When the man [the angel] saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, Let me go, for it is daybreak. – Genesis 32:25-26

You may be asking, what does a wrestling match with an angel several thousand years ago have to do with changing me today? There are some important insights in this incident that show clearly the four steps required for transformation.

These four steps or phases are crisis, commitment, confession, and cooperation.

Crisis

The first step is crisis. Jacob had a long wrestling match with an angel, and the angel was struggling, but it was a no-win situation for them both. By daybreak the angel was getting tired of the struggle because he saw that he could not win. It was a situation beyond his control.

The lesson we see in this is that when God wants to change us, He starts by getting our attention, by putting us in a frustrating situation that is completely beyond our control. We cannot win, and we just keep getting more and more tired in the struggle. God uses experiences and problems and crises to get our attention.

If we are experiencing a crisis right now, it is because God is getting ready to change us for the better.

We never change until we get fed up with our current situation, until we get uncomfortable and discontented and start feeling miserable. When we become uncomfortable and miserable enough, we finally are motivated to let God do something in our lives.

We won’t change until our fear of change is exceeded by the pain we are experiencing.

Commitment

The second step in being changed by God is commitment.

When the angel asked to be let go, Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Jacob was committed; he was persistent; he stayed with the situation until he worked it out. He was in a situation he didn’t like. It was frustrating and it was getting him down, but he was one hundred percent committed to staying with the situation until God turned it around for good.

Here is the lesson we learn from this: After God gets our attention with a problem, He does not solve it immediately. He waits a little longer to see whether we really mean business.

Most people miss God’s best for their lives because they give up too soon; they cop out; they become discouraged. When God allows a problem in their lives, instead of hanging in there and saying, “God, I’m not going to let go of this until You bless me, until You turn it around,” they give up and end up missing God’s best.

Even if we really want to change, we need to remember that we didn’t get into our present mess overnight. Our attitudes and actions and habits and fears and weaknesses took years to develop, and sometimes God has to remove them layer by layer.

Usually it takes a while for God to change you.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. There is hope. Hang in there. Be committed to getting God’s best for your life.

Confession

The third step in being changed by God is confession.

The angel asked Jacob, “What is your name?” And he answered, “Jacob” (Genesis 32:27). What was the purpose of the angel’s question? It was to get Jacob to acknowledge his character by stating his name, which means “cheater” or “schemer.”

Jacob remembered the heartache he had caused by his scheming against his brother Esau, so when the angel asked, “What are you really like? What’s your character?” Jacob’s reply was saying, “I am a cheater. I am a schemer.” Jacob admitted his weaknesses because even though he was a cheater and a schemer, he was also honest with himself. When he identified himself as “Jacob,” he was admitting his character flaws.

This is an important part of God’s process for changing us, because we never change until we honestly face and admit our faults, sins, weaknesses, and mistakes. God will not go to work on our problem until we first admit that we have a problem. We need to say, “Lord, I’m in a mess. I have a problem, and I admit I made it.” Then God can go to work.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to make excuses for our problems? We become experts at blaming other people and may say something like “It’s not my fault, you know. It’s really the environment I was brought up in — my parents caused it.” Or we might say, “The situation I’m in right now is caused by my boss at work.” Why do we act and talk this way? Because it is hard to admit fault in ourselves. And it can be scary to ask for help.

Why should we confess our faults to God — to let Him know what’s going on? No, He already knows. When we tell God we have sinned, it is no surprise to him; He knew our problems all along. We confess to him because he wants us to say, “You are right, God, I have a problem. I’ve blown it.” It is humbling to admit our mistakes, but once we do, God gives us all his resources and power to help us change for the better. At this point we can start becoming the persons we have always wanted to be.

If we don’t learn the lesson now, we will have to learn it later, because God is going to teach it to us one way or the other. We can save ourselves a lot of trouble by responding properly when the crisis first comes along.

Cooperation

The fourth step in being changed by God is cooperation.

God began changing Jacob as soon as he admitted who he was and began to cooperate with God’s plan. Jacob called the place where he wrestled with the angel “Peniel,” meaning “the face of God” (Genesis 32:30). Jacob had come face to face with God.

Every one of us must eventually come face to Face with God, and when we do that, God can change us.

God said to Jacob, “Now we can get down to business. I want you to relax. Just cooperate and trust Me, and I will make the changes that you want made, and I will bless you.”

God didn’t say, “Jacob, try real hard and use all your willpower to become perfect.” That doesn’t work, and God knows it.

Willpower simply does not make permanent changes in our lives.

That is attacking the outward circumstance. It is the internal motivation that makes the permanent changes, and that is what God works on.

Let God Do It

God always knows how to bring out the best in your life, and He knows how to do it better than you do. If you let Him, He will use whatever is necessary to accomplish this goal, because He doesn’t want you to waste your life.

Do you want God’s blessing on your life? Take the situation that is making you miserable right now, commit it to God, and say, “God, I am going to commit it to You. I am going to hold on to You until You turn this problem around for good.” Then confess the errors that you need to confess, and cooperate with God.

The Bible says, “The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip” (Genesis 32:31). While they had been wrestling, the angel dislocated Jacob’s hip, and as a result Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his life. This is significant, because that thigh muscle is one of the most powerful muscles in the human body. When God had to get Jacob’s attention, he touched him at a point of strength. When we start thinking, “This is what I am really good at, this is what I am really strong at,” God may have to touch that very thing to get our attention.

Don’t Run, But Stand

Jacob often got himself into trouble because he was a cheater, and he often reaped what he sowed. But every time he got himself into a mess, he ran away from it. He just copped out. Finally, God said, “I know how to take care of that temptation — I’ll put a limp in his walk.” Never again could Jacob run away from a difficult situation. For the rest of his life he would have to stand and face his problems — not in his own strength but in God’s strength. God often puts an obvious weakness in people whom he blesses, and often the weakness is some kind of physical problem.

Do you want God to change your life? He will — in His own way. He will use the processes of crisis, commitment, confession, and cooperation. And when He does the changing, it will become permanent. You will not have to worry about your willpower and staying with it because you will be cooperating with God, relaxing and trusting Him.

Maybe you have been limiting God by making excuses, blaming other people, or rationalizing. It is hard to drop your mask and say, “God, I have a weakness. I have a problem.” Until you do this, things will just stay the same as they are now. When you do this, you are changed for the rest of your life.

The good news is this: Beneath all those things you know about yourself that you do not like, God sees an Israel. He sees the prince or princess in your life. He sees what you can become. He sees your potential, and he wants to change you from a Jacob to an Israel.

Let God do His changing!

 

Excerpted with permission from God’s Answers To Life’s Difficult Questions by Rick Warren, copyright Zondervan, 2014.

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What is the one thing you would most like to change about your life? Think through each step in the change process and how you can apply it to your current situation. Join the conversation about prayer on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

PRAYER – MEAL ON THE MOUNTAIN

Yesterday my post finished Exodus 19 – “PRAYER – PREPARING FOR GOD’S APPEARANCE”. In that chapter we found many times where God spoke to Moses. This chapter was a preparation chapter for the receiving of the Ten Commandments. It included what the Israelites must do to consecrate themselves before the appearance of God on Mt. Sinai.

Also, God instructed Moses to tell the people to set barriers around the base of the mountain so no one would even touch the base of the mountain. Mt_Sinai_on_fire_1208OT-51For if this did happen they were to be stoned or shot with an arrow. God was serious about this because the mountain would become holy because of His presence on the mountain. He didn’t want anyone to perish because of a careless act of wandering too close to the base and happen to walk onto the mountain or even touch it with their hand. So barriers were put in place.

The next chapters, 20, 21, 22 and 23, are the chapters that the Law is given. There is a lot in those chapters and I recommend that you read each word in them. However, I will not be going over these chapters in detail. The next chapter that I will post on is chapter 24. I have read and learned some interesting information about this chapter. I am in the process of digesting it all, but I will begin with something that captured my attention. Let me begin with the scripture.

Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11

Now He said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord, but they shall not come near; nor shall the people go up with him.” …

Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.

This is a pretty significant scripture. God invites, not only Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, but seventy of the elders of Israel – which I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Also, Joshua, mentioned later, who is Moses’s assistant or helper. So they are all invited to the mountain, to a particular point. The next verse touches my heart… “…and they saw the God of Israel.” They actually saw God. WOW…what an experience. Then not only did they “SEE GOD”… they ate and drank with Him. God did not lay a hand on them and they ate and drank with God! What an awesome event in their lives. They see the Creator of the entire everything and they share a meal with Him! I think that was probably the highlight of their entire life!s188

My thoughts begin to wander here. What did they eat? Did they drink wine? Did they have a balanced meal? Was it Kosher… of course it was! Now I don’t mean to show any disrespect here, I am just blown away by this. I have NEVER read this scripture or heard anyone even speak about it. Also, I didn’t remember that the 70 elders along with Aaron were with Moses. Nonetheless, I think it is a pretty awesome thing. 75 men of Israel sitting down and eating a meal with God on Mt. Sinai! I bet young Joshua’s eyes and ears were filled with amazement and wonder.

I will not tarry on the subject any longer. I just mainly wanted to bring your attention to that spectacular event and let you soak up the wonderful picture of that day in history. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be continuing with Chapter 24. I may go back and expound on some of the other parts of the chapter. It is all good and there are many things to talk about. The conversation with God is continuous and worthy of mentioning for sure. So until tomorrow, I will close this post for now and hopefully have one to follow-up with this chapter tomorrow.

The Video – Your Presence is Heaven – Israel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQAwpMFS_9o

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PRAYER – PASSOVER, ISRAEL AND YOU

In the last post in the Prayer series “PRAYER – DEATH OF THE FIRTSBORN AND PASSOVER” I talked about the Death Angel claiming the lives of every first born son in Egypt because Pharaoh had refused to release the Israelites as God commanded through Aaron and Moses. The death of the first born will be for everyone not covered by the blood of the lamb on the door posts (Passover instituted) … Genesis 11:5 …from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals.”1280px-foster_bible_pictures_0062-1_the_angel_of_death_and_the_first_passover

The Passover was instituted that night when the Death Angel passed through the city. God gave Moses and Aaron instructions to tell the Israelites so their first born would be saved. The Passover became a most important thing for the Israelites in years to come.

The first thing that is mentioned by God is a change to their calendar as they knew it. Israel’s religious calendar remains this way to this day. Their religious calendar starts with the month of Nisan (March-April) and goes through to the month of Adar (February-March). You may be wondering why God did this. From what I could glean from my reading is because God knew that everything begins with “Passover”. As you know, the Passover was a picture of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross for our sins. This was the beginning of a New Covenant of Grace. This was a new beginning for the Israelites. Their new covenant of grace. Here is the scripture.

Exodus 12:1-2

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

So God started a new calendar for them to observe and remember the Passover from generation to generation.  We, as Christians, are to recognize that Jesus is our beginning. When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, He gives us a new life! The redemption from the shed blood of Jesus and the New Covenant can be ours too!

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The next thing God wanted to do with this Passover event was to make it very personal. He commanded that every household take a lamb or goat from the flock.

Genesis 12:3-4

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the houPassover-lamb_472_315_80sehold is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb.

I found a website that explains this very well. This is from JesusPlusNothing.com. Here is their quote on this:

The next point see is that God made the whole thing very personal. He could have just had one lamb killed for the entire nation if He had so wished. But He didn’t! 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. Talk about getting your hands dirty! It reminds us of course of how personal the cross is. 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. Paul knew the personal aspect of this when he wrote ‘the life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ You can’t get more personal than that!”

The scripture that Paul wrote that he is referencing there at the end is this:

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

And yet another observation from that same website:

“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. The Bible Knowledge commentary says that ‘twilight’ is between the suns decline and sunset (3-5pm). Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey - by William Hole 600 pxWhile I can’t go into it fully, others have shown that Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matt 21:1-11) was in fact the 10th of Nisan – the very day when the spotless lamb was to be chosen! In fulfilment of the Old Testament type, for the next 4 days Jesus presented Himself to the people in Jerusalem, showing Himself to be the spotless lamb without defect. On the fourteenth of that month, around 3 o’clock in the afternoon (twilight, Matt 27:46) while all throughout Israel different households were starting to kill their lambs, Jesus died on a cross. And they didn’t even understand!”

The next part of the instructions that God gives has to do with how to cook the lamb. It is not to be boiled or eaten raw but roasted over the fire and whatever they did not eat must be burned. Here the fire is a representation of God’s judgment. Jesus, the Spotless Lamb of God, was judged fully for all of our sins while he hung on the cross. The bitter herbs were to be a reminder of the bitterness that the Israelites had with their life down in Egypt. It is also good for us, when thinking of the cross, to remember the bitterness and bondage that God has rescued us from. Here is the scripture:

Genesis 12:7-10

And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.Exodus-Passover

Leaven speaks of sin, in the Bible. Eating with unleavened bread should remind us that, it is only through the power of the Cross and God’s power that we are called to live righteous lives.

The next verse was instructing the Israelites to get ready! Be ready to get going on a new journey. The life ahead will be filled with ups and downs so be prepared for the journey. Just like when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior. He doesn’t promise us a rose garden, but He does promise us that He will be with us through every trial and tribulation that we face, just as He was with the Israelites in the wilderness for so many years and thereafter.

Exodus 12:11passover_472_348_80

11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.

Verses 12 and 13 speak about what is about to happen. This must have been a frightening, yet exhilarating time for Israel. They knew, by what God had said, that they could only be saved by the blood that had been put on the door of their home. ONLY if the blood was present would the first born be saved. As a Christian, we see this blood from the spotless lamb as Jesus’ shed blood for our sins. As I have said in other posts, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. No amount of other things that the Israelites could do would have the power that the presence of the blood did. Just as in our lives, if Jesus is not our personal Savior, we are not safe. If there is no presence of the shed blood in our lives, we are lost to Hell.   See these scriptures:

Colossians 1:2020 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Ephesians 2:13-141But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

Romans 3:24-25, 5:1,924 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

5:1 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Finally, the remembrance of these things…

Exodus 12:14

14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.last_supper

They must tell their children and their children’s children and so on all throughout all generations. That is how it is to be remembered. If they hadn’t told them, it would have been forgotten and disregarded as something of little importance. They had enough trouble remembering all the marvelous works of God’s miracles as it was. God had to institute a new thing for them to do every year! EVERY year to remember when He brought them out of bondage in Egypt.

Has God rescued you and brought you through a bondage of sorts? All of us have stories and pasts. We all have things that we have done or been involved in that we wish were not in our pastRedeemed-Jesus-Passover-Lamb. If you are a child of The King, you know Him personally and He doesn’t see “those things” any longer. He sees the precious blood of Jesus that covers your life and your sins. He only sees you through the eyes of Jesus.

God loves you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved!

The Song – Mercy Saw Me -Geron Davis

The Video – Mercy Saw Me –JMCIM Music Ministry

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PRAYER–MOSES AND THE TEN PLAGUES-2

The last post I did was just a shortened version of this one. I included the below table of the Ten Plagues in that shortened version of this post. I will not be going over each and every plague in detail. However, I will look at various aspects of some and expound on those. This is an interesting time that Aaron and Moses had with Pharaoh. One that has been documented by science as well as the Bible, in detail. Yes, science has seen the need to go and “prove” that things like this can and did occur naturally back then. It really doesn’t matter to me whether God did it supernaturally or with the natural events of nature. I believe God made it happen and at least a few someones have said in the past… “God works in mysterious ways.” Here is a website that speaks to the “scientific proof” that these events happened naturally by various natural reasons – the article entitled “Scientists prove that the 10 Plagues of Egypt really did happen”.

As you all know by now, this is a Prayer series and God and Moses and Aaron were in constant contact with God during this time. There was a time line however for all of the plagues and I have found information on a couple of websites that explain the length of days/months that all ten of these plagues took place. Also, one of the websites answered another question that I had about another aspect of one of the plagues.exodus_plagues1 (If you click on the picture it will enlarge so you can read it better).

Here is a table of the ten plagues. The following information is from The Agape Bible Study website.

Scripture Passage

The Plagues

Ex 7:14-35
  1. Water of the Nile turned to blood (even the water in wood and stone vessels)
Ex 7:26-8:10 (8:1- 14)
  1. The plague of frogs
Ex 8:12-15 (8:16-19)
  1. The plague of lice/mosquitoes
Ex 8:16-28 (8:20-32)
  1. The plague of the mixture + *
Ex 9:1-7
  1. The plague of that caused the death of the Egyptians’ livestock +
Ex 9:8-12
  1. The plague of the boils
Ex 9:13-32
  1. The plague of the hail +
Ex 10:12-20
  1. The plague of the locusts
Ex 10:21-23
  1. The plague of darkness +
Ex 11:1-8; 12:29-34
  1. The plague of the death of the firstborn +
  2. Hunt copyright 2009

+ the five plagues that did not affect the Israelites (8:16; 9:4, 26; 10:23; 11:7).

* the precise nature of the 4th plague is not clear. The Hebrew word for the fourth plague is arov / arob, a noun based on a Hebrew root meaning to mix, thus yielding a word that means mixture ( Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-English, vol. I, page 160; Briggs-Driver-Brown Hebrew Lexicon, page 487).

Scripture does not identify the nature of the fourth plague; it is only noted that it was a mixture. It is possible, however, to suggest what the fourth plague may have been from observing the pattern of the other plagues that seem to progress in pairs:

  • Plagues 1 and 2 came from water: the water of the Nile turning to blood and the frogs came from the water of the Nile (Ex 7:28; 8:3).
  • Plagues 5 and 6 were caused by disease.
  • Plagues 7 and 8 came from the sky (9:23; 10:13).
  • Plagues 9 and 10 were the absence of light and the absence of the light of life; darkness in Scripture is often a symbol of death.

As I mentioned that one of the websites answered one of my questions… I will quote the question and answer from one of the websites because it is exactly what I was wondering. First here is the scripture I had questions about.

Exodus 9:1-5the-fifth-plague-of-egypt-joseph-mallord-william-turner

 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them, behold, the hand of the Lord will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep—a very severe pestilence. 4 And the Lord will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.”’” 5 Then the Lord appointed a set time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.”

OK, here is the question that I had and from the website JesusAlive.

 “Q: #327. In Exodus 9, it says that God killed ALL of the livestock of Egypt by pestilence during the 5th plague. Then, before the 7th plague, God told Moses to warn everyone to bring their livestock out of the fields so they wouldn’t die. Where did the livestock come from in such a short time between the 5th and 7th plagues?”

Exodus 9:18-19

18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now. 19 Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.”’”

There are three possible explanations on that same website. The first one seems most plausible to me, as it did to the writer of the article. I will include his first answer and you can read the rest of the possible answers if you click this link – Where did the livestock come from?

#1. If you look at (Ex 9:3), we see God saying that the pestilence would strike all the livestock that were “in the field.” So, perhaps there was sheltered livestock that was not “in the field,” which kept them from being struck with the pestilence. I find this the most likely explanation. There were quite likely very many places throughout the land to shelter animals. For example, we can see in (2 Chr 32:28) that King Hezekiah had “stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes (coops) for flocks.” (2 Chr 9:25) says that King Solomon had 4000 stalls for his horses! (See: Num 32:16,24,36, Mal 4:2, Zeph 2:6, Hab 3:17 for more examples)
*** Note: Something like this would also explain why in (Ex 14:7), Pharaoh had 600 horse drawn chariots to chase after Moses.”

So with that question pretty much answered, here is the second question.image

“Q: #219. How long did the 10 plagues of Egypt last?”

“A: The Bible does not tell us the answer to this question, and as a result, there are numerous guesses. These range anywhere from about a month to about a year (the Jewish Mishnah says 1 year). Based on my studies, I am guessing about 4-5 months. Here is why.

     We do know several facts for sure. First, the Bible says in (Ex 7:6) that Moses was 80 years old when the 10 plagues started after he spoke to Pharaoh. After the plagues were done, and Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go, they wandered in the desert for 40 years (Num 14:33-34, 32:13). Moses died at the end of the 40 years at the age of 120 (Deut 34:7). Therefore, if Moses was 80 at the start, wandered 40 years, and died at 120, the plagues had to have ended in under a year.” …

“…Therefore, the timeframe for the 7th plague through the 10th plague was almost certainly no more than a month and a half to two months. This works out to about 2 weeks at most for each   (the length of the plague plus the warning proceeding it). If we carry this out to the other 6 plagues, we get 12 weeks. So, the total is 20 weeks or about 4 to 5 months for all 10 plagues.”

This link “How long did the 10 Plagues of Egypt last?” – will take you to the entire article. It is worth the read and it’s not very long. Shouldn’t take you but a few minutes. You ask “Why is this all that important?” It really isn’t that important as far as the story line goes. It is important to note, though, that God drew this out over time. He was making a point and hoping that it would make a point to c7f4c49026313d613e025ad931cf6d4f_300x204Pharaoh, I believe. I bet God was so hoping that Pharaoh was going to change… although God knew he wouldn’t … because God is God and He knew the outcome, before Pharaoh was born! God is a good God and wants all to come to a knowledge of Him. More than just a “knowledge” of Him though. Since we know the “rest of the story” and know that Jesus came and died and rose again, we know, ultimately, God wants everyone – ALL – to come to a “Saving Knowledge” of Him! However, Jesus had not graced the earth at this time in history – at least not as Jesus Christ, Son of man. We know, though, that Pharaoh did not ever concede and he was pretty destroyed because of it. God gave him so many chances. So many!

It is worth stating here that the Israelites did not suffer any loss or damage of any kind in the land of Goshen, which was just next to Egypt – during these plagues. Goshen was where the Israelites lived and God protected them, as He said He would. They were under His protection just as we are when we accept Jesus Christ. When we come to a Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ and accept Him into our lives, our lives, our sins, our shortcomings are all covered by the blood of the Lamb.

How many chances have you been given? I can’t count the ones God has bestowed upon me. He is such a loving and forgiving God. However, HE WILL NOT BE MOCKED! God will not tarry with us forever.jacobseesjosephagaininegypt

Galatians 6:7

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Have you heard God calling you? Have you thought that you heard in your heart and spirit “Walk this way” and you chose to walk another? We are human. We make mistakes. We fall, God picks us up. God understands because He created us. We are our own worst enemy though. God can forgive if we come to Him with a truly repentant heart. But if we never acknowledge our error, turn from it, repent and ask forgiveness, how is God ever going to forgive us? We keep holding on to it and beating ourselves over the head with “IT”… whatever “IT” is. God says the time is now. Not next week, not even the next hour… Now!

Hebrews 4:7

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”[a]

James 4:15

14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

If God calls you to come to Him and either walk a different path – away from a damaging situation or relationship, or come to Jesus for your salvation, don’t ignore that call. That still, small voice is the most important one you will ever hear! Heed God’s call to come to Him. After all He calls you His beloved!

The Song – The Wind And The Waves – David Phelps

The Video – The Wind And The Waves (with lyrics) – David Phelps

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PRAYER – MOSES, AARON AND THE ISRAELITES

I just realized that yesterday’s post was entitled Moses Goes To Egypt. Actually I jumped the gun on that title… it ended up being more about Moses’ obedience… or disobedience before they went to Egypt. A little part of the scripture spoke of him loading his wife, Zipporah and children and their belongings on a donkey and headed to Egypt. However, before they got on the road, Moses encountered an Angel of the Lord and scripture says the Lord sought to kill Moses. Here is the link for yesterday’s post if you missed it “PRAYER – MOSES GOES TO EGYPT” After that encounter, Aaron meets Moses and Moses tells Aaron all about what the Lord had told him from the burning bush. They actually had not started out for Egypt yet.

As I have told you before, sometimes God speaks to my heart in powerful ways and dirGOD SPEAKSects what He wants me to write in my blog posts. Tonight is no exception. I had one thing planned and when I sat down to read and write, God directed me to the events of this morning. He reminded me of the conversation He and I had as I started off to work. This morning He wanted me to listen to the last part of that scripture in Exodus 4 (yesterday’s scripture) again and listen very good. So I did and here is what God said to my heart.

The last part of Exodus 4 is about Aaron and Moses going to the Israelites first. They began telling them all about God hearing their cries and the burning bush and all the signs and wonders that God wanted Moses to show them. Then… THEN… the reaction of the Israelites! That was paramount, God said to me! So I thought about it and it instantly brought tears to my eyes. God spoke to my heart about their reaction! I tell you something happens to me when I hear the Word of the Lord spoken on my Bible App on my phone. The spoken Word of God is so powerful! It cuts deep into my soul and reaches places that cannot or have not ever been reached by just reading. Don’t get me wrong… reading is wonderful, but when I got the Bible App and began to listen to the spoken Word of God, it came alive! It is alive!

Hebrews 4:12hebrews-4-12-thomas-nelson-bibles-1-e1372204790994

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I tell you if you do not have a Bible App on your phone or computer or iPad, you need to get one! I use You Version and really love it. Here is a link to download it for free – You Version. God’s Word is an awesome and a powerful thing! It has strength, encouragement, instruction, peace, love, and so many other things that need to sink deep into our souls and spirits. It is life giving, life sustaining and will help you through any … ANY situation! So… let’s read the scripture again in Exodus about the Israelites reaction to Aaron and Moses and all the signs and wonders God told them to share with them.

Exodus 4:29-31

29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. 30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

The part I have underlined and bolded is important and I need to spend a little time on that first before I go any further.

Now, these people, the Israelites, had been in captivity, slaves for Pharaoh for years… years… and years… Moses left when he was 40 and he is now 80. Most of the folks that were there that may have 8813197remembered the “good days” of Joseph, have probably long since died or at least are very old. These folks have been under oppression for a very long time and now they hear the good news that God has heard their cries and pleading to please save them from this all.

Let’s think about that for a moment. “… they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction…”  They realized that the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … and Joseph, still knew who they were. He had not forgotten them. He was still there and He cared for them! The realization of that became such a wonderful thing that they had no other response but to “bow their heads and worship”. I tell you they heard… “HEARD” the Words of the Lord that Aaron spoke. The spoken Word of God! It is alive!

Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.Slide-5

God visited them before Moses and Aaron did and now the people are hearing the Words of God spoken to them in a very personal way! The Words came alive and sunk deep into their hearts, souls and spirits. They were moved! They bowed and worshiped!

Sometimes in church when Pastor Brad is teaching and he gets so into the scripture that you can just see Jesus in him. I just want to bow and worship! It is an amazing thing to experience the power of the spoken Word of God and allow it to sink deep into your soul and spirit. That is also why I love the hymns and praise songs that sing the actual scripture. It is a powerful thing to speak and sing scriptures.

So the Israelites bowed and worshiped. They had church right there! What an awesome beginning to a wonderful journey to come. Those times are so very important because we can draw strength from those times to get us through some more lean times. The scriptures are always available to us these days. Everyone can carry one on your phone or with you in the car or at your desk at work or on your kitchen table at home. The Bible is available. It is God’s love story to us! It is something that we, as Christians, need to get into! Read and LISTEN to the Word. Thank the Lord above that we live in a country, here in the USA, that it is not a crime to carry a Bible. Some folks around the world may not be as fortunate as we are.130822-TH-Gods-Word-Our-Foundation

I heard it said before about some churches that if they don’t preach the Word and Jesus Christ, then don’t even begin to warm the seat. God’s Word is absolute! It is what we must follow and learn what God is trying to tell us in the scriptures. That is the way to grow and bear fruit. If we don’t know what is between “In the beginning…” and “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” How are we going to tell others about our awesome and powerful, Almighty God!? God’s Word is powerful and I want that power to make it through the day!

The Israelites recognized God’s Word and bowed and worshiped! They were moved! Have you been moved lately by hearing the Word of God? Have you been moved so much that you bow and worship because of hearing the Word of God? If not, talk to God and ask Him to move you! Ask Him to speak truth and love to your spirit and strengthen you for the day or night or week or month ahead! Or even the minute ahead. He is faithful. He will do as you ask, IF you ask! He loves you so much! He calls you His beloved.

The Song – This is My Word – The Singing Men of North Central Texas

The Video – This Is My Word

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PRAYER – MOSES THE SHEPHERD AND GOD

Yesterday’s post ended with Moses fleeing from Pharaoh because he killed an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew slave. Here’s the scripture

Exodus 2:15

15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

It just so happens… (remember what I said about happenstance? I don’t believe in it)… Moses was sitting at a well that the seven daughters of the Priest of Midian came to. They came to water their flocks and lo and behold… Moses was at the same well. Remember how many men met their future spouses at a well in the previous posts? Seems like a good place to meet. Anyway, after Moses helped them water their flock, the seven daughters went back to their father’s house and when asked how they got finished so soon, they told him that there was an Egyptian that helped them. Here is the scripture.956

Exodus 2:16-20

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “How is it that you have come so soon today?” 19 And they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock.” 20 So he said to his daughters, “And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.”

* Note:  Reuel is also Jethro – the Priest of Midian.  One in the same person. 

So, Moses found a home and a bride all at the same time. It doesn’t say how long a time period it was from the time he was first sitting at the well and then marries Zipporah… but nonetheless, Moses marries Zipporah and they have a son and they named him Gershom.

Next, the scriptures tell us that God hears the “groanings” of the Israelites in Egypt. Here is the scripture.

Exodus 2:23-25Schnorr_von_Carolsfeld_Bibel_in_Bildern_1860_044

23 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

The cries of the Israelites, I believe, were prayers to their God. The One True God that they served. This series is about prayer and I understand that I have covered a lot of things that didn’t necessarily have any prayer mentioned in it. However, I thought it necessary to share some of the history with you so you can understand the story line of each story that I share with you. I do try to find the “prayer” time and sometimes ipsalm_34_18t is just not mentioned but assumed that there was prayer because of the person being mentioned or the situation surrounding the person. Anyway, the cries of the Israelites came to God in prayer format, I believe, and He heard their prayer. Did you know that God always hears our prayers. His eyes are always on us.

Psalm 34:15

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.

If we humble ourselves He will hear our prayers from Heaven…

2 Chronicles 7:14-152-chr-7-14-web-watermarked

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.

I would like to include an excerpt from a website that I found. It is from an article entitled “Moses in Egypt, and Moses in Midian” and is from “The Christian’s Friend”. The entire article is quite long and is written in “early English” somewhat, but this part is very interesting and I think you will enjoy reading this.

Moses was an eminent type of the Lord Jesus. And I would just notice, in passing, that they are the only two persons mentioned in Scripture whose course we are able to trace from their birth on to the glory. (** there is an addendum that I have made to this part of this quote – you can find the updated information on this part of this quote here on the next post… “CORRECTION – MOSES THE SHEPHERD“)

It is worthy of remark that the life of Moses is divided into three distinct periods of forty years.3-4_moses-shepherd

The first forty he spent in Egypt as the “son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”‘

The next forty in the wilderness tending the flock of his father-in-law. There, at the mount of God, he had a vision of glory, such as could never have been revealed to him in Egypt.

In the last forty we have the account of the sorrowful and trying course he had to run, as the servant of God and of His people Israel, in bearing the burden of that people.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So when the Israelites became so distraught about their situation, they prayed and continued to pray. God heard them and then He remembered Moses. God allows time to pass, sometimes, until we are ready and seasoned to do His will, before He tel162ba415-62c7-4c0e-af1f-c5fc7610922f_g_338ls us what He wants us to do. That is the case for Moses, as well. Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness, tending his father-in-law’s sheep. These 40 years were a wonderful “proving ground”, if you will, for what is to come. Spending 40 years with his father-in-law, who was the Priest of Midian, was the perfect place for Moses to grow in a different way than he did in Egypt. In Egypt he had access to the finest education, luxuries and food. He was a very highly respected man and very well educated. However, this education and all the refinements got him nowhere in Midian. He chose to learn to be a shepherd and keep his father-in-law’s flocks. This can be a very rewarding undertaking, as I learned when I did the series on “The Good Shepherd”. It is also a time of solitude. I believe the combination of being with Jethro – his father-in-law –Moses_w_Jethro_1116-80 the Priest of Midian, and the solitude of being a shepherd allowed Moses to grow in his relationship with God. I can’t help but believe that those alone times that Moses spent with the sheep in the pasture or up on the high plains of the mountains in the Spring and Summer months allowed him to reflect and pray. I can just hear Moses’ prayers (conversations with God). I can hear the realness and the humanness in his prayers. The outright confusion about how his life began and “look at me now” kind of prayer. In those times – those 40 years – though, I believe God imparted wisdom and knowledge to Moses and when God called to him out of the “Burning Bush” it was time. God saw the man that was to “save His people” from Egyptian bondage. Here is the scripture..

Exodus 3:1-10

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.burning_bush-WS

And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

God called him by name. Moses answered instantly. Do we answer God when He calls our name? Or do we ignore and walk the other way? God had something wonderful in store for Moses and He does for you as well. We just have to tune our ears, heart and spirit to hear God when He calls. As I said, I believe Moses spent a lot of time with God while he was tending the sheep. I also believe Moses recognized that familiar voice. It was the relationship they had.Moses Keeping Jethro's Sheep 1863 by Sir Edward Poynter 1836-1919

Now on further down in the scripture, Moses asks God – referring to going back to the Israelites and telling them that the God of their fathers sent him, he says “Who do I say sent me?” Now I believe Moses knew this was God but he was worried about telling the Israelites and wondered if they would believe him. Asking God… How do I convince them that I really had a conversation with You and You sent me….? I know it wasn’t exactly like that, but I believe that about Moses. I do believe he know who God was and was astonished about God appearing to him in this way. What an event! The One True, Almighty God. Speaking to him from a burning bush. Then telling him to go on this mission to save His people. WOW… I can see why Moses was a little overwhelmed.

I know sometimes I get so overwhelmed just in the presence of God in prayer or praise or when I listen to my Bible on my phone. It is just an amazing thing to feel the presence of God and it overwhelms sometimes. I believe this is what Moses was going through at about a 1,000,000+ on a scale from 1-10. So, he is overwhelmed, too. No doubt!

The next post on Prayer will be about the “real” conversation Moses has with God (the Burning Bush). If Moses had not had a relationship with God, he would not have been so real and honest about his reservations. Just my thoughts and opinions.

Tomorrow I will continue this conversation between God and Moses. It gets better!

The Song – Who Am I – Casting Crowns

The Video – Who Am I – Casting Crowns

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PRAYER – PHARAOH, MIDWIVES AND BULRUSHES

Well, we ended yesterday’s post with mostly historical information about the Israelites in Egypt. There is so much to tell in this Journey Through Exodus and I am so excited. Just tonight I was researching and reading and found a video that was done by the same folks that did the video on Noah’s Ark that was found. This was quite interesting and it was about the “crossing of the Red Sea”. I can’t wait to get to that part and share it with you. However, this post is going to be about the Israelites, their babies, the Hebrew Midwives and Pharaoh. There is a bit to cover so let’s get started.

Now if you have been around the Christian religion very long at all, you know about Moses. But, let’s back-up just a bit though and see how the Israelites became a group of about 600,000 people – a group so large that it th402014845_univ_cnt_2_xlreatened the new king – the Pharaoh – of Egypt.

When Joseph brought his father – Jacob/Israel – and the entire family to Egypt, there were about 70-75 Hebrews. Joseph was about 30 years old when his family was brought to Egypt – or the land of Goshen. That is where they settled which is just outside of Egypt. Joseph lived 110 years and the Hebrews (Israelites) grew in number year after year. God just continued to bless them with more and more people because that is what the covenant was that He made with Abraham.

The Covenant

Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Now comes one of those technicalities that screw my brain up…. Trying to figure out how long the Israelites were in Egypt after Joseph dies. Some say only 144 years based on a chart I found on this website Answersingenesis.com. Others say no… they were there 400 years… It’s one of those things that doesn’t really matter to this story line though. Nonetheless, Joseph dies, and the new Pharaoh that comes into power never knew Joseph and all the wonderful things that he did. He begins to get worried because the Israelites are multiplying like crazy and he thinks that they may turn on him one day and over power Egypt. So, he takes matters into his own hands.

Exodus 1:8-10

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”

So Pharaoh proceeds to make them hard labor slaves. Israelites making bricks for Egyptian task-mastersThen that didn’t work so… Pharaoh resorted to the worst plan to  bring the Hebrews under control. Genocide. He ordered the midwives to kill all the baby boys that were born but let the girls live. Now these midwives were Hebrews. The one thing Pharaoh didn’t count on was that they feared God more than they feared him. So they were not about to kill any baby. That went against God Almighty! And when Pharaoh approached them about why they didn’t do that, they just said that the Hebrew women were too strong and had the babies before they could arrive. Pharpharaoh-killing-baby-males-giotto1-e1356389277450aoh then employed all the Egyptians to do the killing for him. Any Egyptian that knew of a baby boy that was born to the Hebrews were to take that baby and throw them into the Nile river.

The following is from the website I quoted from yesterday. I thought it interesting so I wanted to share. This is from the Agape Bible Study website.

“Question: If the Pharaoh wanted to reduce Israelite births, why didn’t he order the girl babies to be killed instead of the boys? It was the fertility of the female Israelites that caused the population explosion among the Israelites, reducing the female population was the most effective means of reducing births.  What policy initiated by Joseph during the Egyptian famine may have played a role in the Pharaoh’s decision to spare the girl babies?  See Genesis 47:20-27.

Answer: Since the time of Joseph, all Egyptian land belonged to the ruling Pharaoh except the land controlled by the Egyptian priests and the land owned by the Israelites.  If there were no men for Israelite girls to marry, they would marry Egyptians and without male heirs, the Egyptians would inherit the property owner by the Israelite families, thus effectively forcing the Israelites to be assimilated into Egyptian society and at the same time ending Israelite control over the fertile Delta region of Goshen.

Note: Joseph was intimately connected to both the Israelites and the Egyptian priesthood, his wife was the daughter of the Priest of On (Gen 41:45).

Despite the Pharaoh’s best efforts, none of his plans brought about what he desired.  The irony present in the biblical narrative of Exodus chapter one continues into chapter two.  The more the Egyptians tried to inflict hardship on God’s people, the more the Israelite’s blessings increased. The inspired writer’s point in revealing these ironies is that God was at work in these events and no one, no matter how powerful, not even the king of the most powerful nation in the world at that time, is capable of disrupting God’s plan for the salvation of His people.”

And aren’t we glad? Our God is an Awesome God! Thank you Lord, for saving the Israelites and thank you for Moses who You had record this history for our wonderful Bible.

Well, as we know the way the story goes… one of the jochebed-1Hebrew couples have a baby. The husband of this couple was from the House of Levi – which was the Priests of the Israelites. He took his wife from the Levites as well. They were well versed in the ways of God and their history up to this point. I feel certain they knew of the Covenant that God made with Abraham and all the stories from then to now. You see, back then, I have read that there was a lot of “word of mouth” stories and things were passed from generation to generation in this way. So, the whole history of the Israelites surely was known by the Levites. Anyway, they married and had this very special son. This is not a normal baby, the scriptures say that he was a beautiful baby. His mother recognized he was very special and she hid him for three months. Then she had to do something with him, so she entrusted him to God. I can just see her praying to God that He would protect her baby and make a way for him. Being Hebrew, she had to know the stories of the Ark and knew that it was a “safe place” for Noah and his family and so she built a tiny ark for her baby. Here is the scripture.The Mother of Moses, Simeon Solomon, 1860

Exodus 2:1-3

And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.

Now I think it is interesting to note that there are only three different Arks in all of scripture. 1) Noah’s Ark, 2) Moses’ Ark and 3) Ark of the Covenant.

Another interesting bit of information from BibleStudyTools.com:

ARK OF BULRUSHES

ark, bool’-rush-iz (tebhah; Egyptian tebt; Septuagint thibis, “a chest,” “a vessel to float”).

  1. Definitions:

The Hebrew word here translated “ark” is used in the Old Testament only of the ark of Noah (Genesis 6:14) and of the ark of bulrushes (Exodus 2:3), and always in the secondary meaning, a vessel to float. The Septuagint translates it of Noah’s ark by kibotos, “a casket,” and of the ark of bulrushes by thibis, a little basket made of osiers or flags. For the Ark of the Covenant, the Hebrew employed a different word (‘aron, “a chest”). Bulrushes (gome’, “papyrus”):

This species of reed was used by the Egyptians for many different vessels, some of which were intended to float or even to be used as a skiff. Slime (chemar, “bitumen”), pitch (zepheth, “pitch”) was probably the sticky mud of the Nile with which to this day so many things in Egypt are plastered. In this case it was mixed with bitumen. Flags (cuph, “sedge”) were reeds of every kind and tall grass growing in the shallow water at the edge of the river.

The baby’s mother provided the best she could for her three month old. She trusted God to take care of him.jochebed She took her most precious treasure – her new baby – and entrusted it to God. Do we ever give our most precious things to God and trust Him to take care of them. This could be our families, jobs, our future, our love, our loyalty. There is no better place to put your most precious things than in the hands of God. It is the safest place. After all He calls us His beloved.

The Song – Praise To The Lord  – Travis Cottrell

The Video – Praise To The Lord  – Travis Cottrell

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PRAYER – THE GOD OF JACOB

I am going to explain in this first paragraph why I will be skipping a lot of Jacob’s early life.  I know you may be wondering why I would skip so much of Jacob’s life.  I have left out namely his meeting Rachel and marrying Leah and Rachel and having children and getting back together with his brother Esau, etc. because I am trying to stay focused on “prayer” in these posts since this series is on Prayer. There simply were not many mentions of any prayer in the chapters telling about the life and times of Jacob and Esau. Some of the story line is quite sad and unsettling, and some is confusing and mostly nothing was mentioned about prayer to God in any of it. So, I am searching the scriptures to find the “conversation” time with God – the prayer time. That is what I really want to talk about. So with that said, I hope it sheds a little light on why I have skipped and will skip things from time to time. Someday, I hope to be able to go back and do more on those stories, but for now, I am compelled to stick with prayer. God has impressed upon my heart to impress upon your hearts how important it is and how it gets His attention. He loves to have conversations with His children.

I am going to pick up Jacob’s story at Genesis 35. This is after a lot of things have happened to Jacob, after many lies and deceitful times among him and his relative Laban (Rachel’s father, and Jacob’s mother’s (Rebekah) brother). Rebekah has died and Isaac is very old and about to die as well. The family has just come through a very disturbing time with Jacob’s daughter Dinah, who had been defiled by the Canaanites. After all was settled – somewhat – God speaks to Jacob. This is a very important inPicture3itiation of conversation from God to Jacob. Let’s see the scripture:

Genesis 35:1-4

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”

And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.

If you remember in my last post – regarding Jacob, I talked about Jacob’s trip to Harem. He came to a certain place and decided to spend the night there. He had a dream about a ladder with angels going up and down on it and God standing at the top of the ladder and told him that He would be with Jacob and that he would provide for him (paraphrased, of course).  The following scripture is from the previous post “ISAAC, REBEKAH AND TWINS“.

Genesis 28:15

15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel;[a] but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

OK, back to this current post.  God visits Jacob once again after the disturbance with Dinah. God calls him back to the area where Jacob made his vow to God – Bethel.

How many times has this happened to us? We have some epiphany with God (definition of epiphany – an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure) and vow to Him that we will be changed and live differently. The saying “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” comes into play here. We, as human beings created by God Almighty, long to have that “God space” in our hearts and spirits filled with God. Sundown_in_mountain_top However, we as finite human beings are so weak when life begins to enter in and the “mountain top” experience that we had with God wanes into the everyday drudgery of life. Oh, how I can relate! We all should be able to relate to some degree with Jacob. He had this wonderful experience with God and then life happened. God is still God though. God called Jacob back, just as He does us. He loves us so much, He will never let us go. God calls … “Come back to me, where you were with Me and you loved Me with all your heart.” God is such a good God. He is so faithful and patient with us, His beloved children.

So God calls Jacob back to Bethel to “dwell” there. He didn’t want him to just visit and renew the vow. He wanted him to bring his whole family animagesd dwell there with Him. Jacob hears God’s call and answers with his whole heart, telling his family to put away (do away with) the foreign gods…. See how far Jacob had allowed his family to get from God? Foreign gods? This is Jacob!? Yes, he is only human and life happened. He is renewed with this new calling from God and answers with vigor! His house responds and they go through a ceremony of cleansing.

The scripture says that Jacob took the foreign gods and gold earrings and “hid” them under a tree. It is suggested by one of the commentaries that I read that this was probably a place unknown to the family that gave them up, so they would not go and get them again.

Genesis 35:4

So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.

When God finds us, do we have “foreign gods” that have taken our attention away from Him? When he calls us unto Himself, do we get rid of them and forget about them or do we just put them on the shelf for “safe keeping”? God calls us to be pure and holy as He is holy.

1 Peter 1:15-16

15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

This song by Tom McCain is very good.  I think we can all relate to the message in this song.

The Song – Holiness – Tom McCain

We must let go of things that draw our attention away from Him and cling to Him and His righteousness instead. He will not let us stay where we are. He wants us to grow and grow with Him. We have to let go of the “foreign gods” totally. We cannot keep them in one hand while reaching for God with our other hand.

When they -finally arrived at Bethel, God appeared to Jacob again. This time God changes Jacob’s name to Israel. God saw Jacob’s change of heart and wanted to establish a new life for Jacob and his family – in fulfilling the promise made to Abram (Abraham). Genesis-35-10-And-God-said-to-him-Your-name-is-Jacob-Your-name-shall-no-longer-be-called-Jacob-But-Israel-shall-be-your-nameThis was a reminder for Jacob that God was with him. Jacob’s name meant supplant(er) – (definition – to supersede (another) especially by force or treachery) and his new name – Israel meant “having power with God” (See this website for information of God changing his name – gotquestions.org).

Genesis 35:9-15

Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel. 11 Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. 12 The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.” 13 Then God went up from him in the place where He talked with him. 200px-Jacobs_Vision_and_Gods_Promise14 So Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel.

So God has appeared once again to Jacob and they have renewed this vow and God changes his name. Now Jacob has “power with God” and the covenant begins to unfold.

The vow we have made with God can be renewed at any time. We just have to call upon the name of The Lord and He is there. He will answer us in our time of struggle or rejoicing. He longs to have a relationship with you. He loves you so much and calls you His beloved.

The Video – Our God Is An Awesome God – Carman

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ABRAHAM’S GATE

This is a little differentabout-touchpoint-israel-v2 today. Instead of writing a post today, I am sharing a bit of Israel’s history. I get a monthly email from TouchPoint Israel. (TouchPoint Israel touchpointisrael@gmail.com). It tells of various things about Israel. This particular email told about a “gate” that archeologists found. It is a very interesting read. I have read or listened to the Bible and in the Old Testament it tells about when Abraham went to a city to rescue his nephew Lot after Lot had been captured. Here is a quote from that post:

“But why is it called Abraham’s Gate? Archaeologists refer to it by this name because it existed during the time when Abraham lived and is known to have visited the city. Genesis chapter 14 tells the story of a great battle among ancient kings that took place in the Dead Sea Valley. The victors carried off plunder and slaves, including Abraham’s nephew Lot. When he learned of his nephew’s capture, Abraham pursued him all the way to Dan (Laish). After successfully rescuing Lot, Abraham and his men chased the kidnappers all the way to Damascus.”Figures_014_Abram_Rescues_Lot,_the_Women,_and_Goods

Here is the link to the full article. At the end of the 1st article I encourage you to click on the bottom link and read and see more pictures of this beautiful gate that was discovered).

I love to see and read about places that are referenced in the Bible. The Old Testament is filled with wonderful stories about the people that had journeys with God. It is inspiring and so wonderful to read. The Old Testament told me many things about God. The first and foremost thing that I learned about God was that He is a God of mercy, grace, compassion and forgiveness. What I learned about the humans of the Old Testament was that they were normal people that were used by God in powerful ways to make Himself known to other people.

Psalm 86:15 15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.02494f70b2ae1a0eb3b9edc3daceb56a

And here is a link to many more scriptures that speaks to how wonderful God is.

I listen to the Bible on my phone (bible.com) and it just comes to life when I do so. I encourage you to listen or read your Bible and ask God to reveal to you what He would have you know. He loves you and wants a relationship with you. He is waiting to hear from you. He loves you and He calls you His beloved!

The Song – Song For Israel – Performed by Sam Glaser

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