Tag Archives: Jacob

Exodus – Conclusion

After going through Exodus like this; i’ve come to understand it a little bit better.  Exodus is more than just about YHWH bringing his people out of Egypt and rescuing them from Pharaoh.  It’s more than about bringing them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai.  It’s even more than about bringing the people of Israel face-to-face with God.  The conclusion that i’ve come to is that Exodus is about fulfilling a promise and it’s about giving the people true worship.

YHWH had made a promise to Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob about their descendants; that he would make their descendants a great nation and that he would bring them out of Egypt.  This is the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise.  The people of Israel have become vast in number, yet they have turned against each other.  In fact, they have united against Egypt and become a unified nation in spite of being 12 separate tribes.  YHWH has led them out of Egypt and brought them to Himself.  He made promises to Moses and to the people as well, and is fulfilling them.

What is worship, and what place does it have in our lives?  The only understanding of God that the people of Israel had was that He was the God of their fathers, and what limited experience and information had been passed down through the generations.  The people knew that there was a God of their fathers, but they had no understanding of who He was / is and what His purpose was for them.  There was a need and a desire for God.  There was a drive to know and worship Him.  There was a pursuit of God, but there was no fulfillment.  That, i believe, was YHWH’s greatest gift to the people of Israel in the book of Exodus.  Not the parting of the Red Sea… not water from a rock… not manna… not the destruction of Egypt… not even freedom from slavery or the unification of a nation.  No, the greatest gift that YHWH gave to the Israelites in Exodus, was the ability to worship Him.  It was the fulfillment of their need and purpose.  That’s the true jewel of the book of Exodus.

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Exodus 29-1 – Setting Apart

It becomes the responsibility of Aaron and his sons to serve the LORD; to come between the people and YHWH; to bring the people, their requests, their need for cleansing to the LORD.  As such Aaron and his sons needed to have one foot on the earth, and the other in the doorway to heaven.  How do you balance the impurity and sin that is so prevalent in the world with the awesome purity and Holiness of God?  Talk about a difficult task; yet that is what Aaron and his sons are charged with doing.

The first steps in fulfilling that role are described here.  Before anything else, Aaron and his sons need to be separated from the group and cleansed both physically and spiritually.  They are responsible for being representatives / ambassadors / spokesmen of men to God.  Therefore in coming into God’s presence they must be as close to clean and pure as humanly possible.  So in this process, Moses is responsible to follow YHWH’s instruction and purify Aaron and his sons.

Could you imagine having the responsibility of being the one that stands between man and YHWH?  Every day you must perform your duties and bring the sacrifices and offerings of the people before Him.  Thus the process of being set apart for God is extremely important.

One thing of interest that i did note, in these first 25 verses of Exodus 29, is that in verse 22 it talks about taking the fat from the ram and from all of these different parts, and then it says, “and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination)“.  When i was looking at this, i thought it was kind of weird that it said to take the fat from the kidneys, and the fat from the entrails, and the fat tail, etc. and then randomly talked about the right thigh because it is a ram of ordination.

It does seem kind of strange, but not so much when you refer back to Genesis 32:24-32.  This passage in Genesis is where Jacob, who had been blessed and set apart by God, wrestles with God.  God touches his thigh socket and he has a limp from then on, and the sons of Jacob do not touch the sinew of the thigh of the meat that they eat.  It is an interesting parallel.  I don’t know beyond a doubt that this is what this is referring to, but it sure does give you pause to think.

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Exodus 17 – Life

So now, the people go from the wilderness of Sin where there was no food, to Rephidim where there is no water.  So what do the people do?  No big surprise, they complain and quarrel with Moses about the lack of water.  How tiresome!  Then again, water is life.  If you had to go without water for an extended time period wouldn’t you be complaining too.  Then when you consider that they were in a dry wilderness, and you have every reason to be upset.

But, by now i would expect that the people would understand the correct way of handling the problem.  Bring it to Moses and to God, and wait for the miraculous provision.  What do they do instead?  They complain and quarrel.  What does God do?  He provides miraculously, of course!  That was a silly question.

In the meantime, all this racket, complaining, and water coming from rocks in desolate places has stirred up the natives like taking a broom to a beehive.  All of a sudden, the Israelites are face to face with angry Amalekites.  If you remember, Amalek was the grandson of Esau, Jacob’s older brother.  So this was family that was attacking them.  It is also the first time that the Israelite people would come face to face with war.  So Moses sends out Joshua to lead the battle, and he stands on the rock with his brother Aaron and with Hur.  Together they hold up Moses hands, and as long as Moses hands are raised, the Israelites defeat this people experienced in the ways of war.  So yet again, YHWH provides life for the people of Israel.

Moses builds an alter / memorial to the LORD there and calls it, YHWH-Nissi, or the LORD my Banner.  Is He your banner today?

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Exodus 12-2 – Obedience

I split this chapter at the end of verse 27 due to the length of chapter overall.  Thus the first verse in today’s work was 28; “Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD (YHWH) had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.”  (NASB)  Opening this section with this verse really struck me.  If there is one thing that i have learned about the Hebrew people through most of  the old testament, it’s that they didn’t like doing what they were told.  They tended to be very stubborn people who took a whole lot of convincing to get them to follow simple instructions sometimes.  Even when they did follow directions, many times it also involved grumbling and complaining.  This was especially true of this particular generation.  Once they go out into the wilderness, Moses has all kinds of problems with them.  So much so that, apart from two people, none of them is allowed to actually enter the promised land.

Yet here we see a simple statement of profound importance.  “Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD (YHWH) had commanded…”  This and similar statements are made three times in this second half of Exodus 12 (vs. 28, 35, & 50).  Why is simple obedience such a difficult thing to do?  I know that the Hebrew people are not the only ones that have that difficulty.  Pharaoh had the same problem… and so do I.  I know that it would be better to do things God’s way.  I know that it would make my life better and easier.  I know that i can trust Him even when i don’t understand.  Yet time and time again the choice i make is the wrong one.  Then, i have the gall to get upset when things don’t go the way i expect them to.  I just don’t get it sometimes.

This section is where the exodus of the Hebrew people really begins.  The final miracle occurs; the firstborn of everyone from Pharaoh’s household to the prisoners in the dungeon lost their lives.  Pharaoh and the people of Egypt “urged” the Israelites to leave.  So exactly 430 years to the day after Israel and his family came to Egypt, the LORD (YHWH) brings them out again.

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Exodus 6 – YHWH

I am so glad that I do not have to do God’s work for Him.  I am so glad that all He requires of me is obedience.  I don’t think that i could handle the stress of the work that God does… that certainly is a silly statement isn’t it.  The point is, God was the one who did the work of hardening and softening Pharaoh’s heart.  God is the one who did the miracles in Pharaoh’s presence.  God is the one who fulfilled His promises to the people of Israel.  It wasn’t Moses, it had to be God, Himself.

There have been times in my life where God has told me what He was going to do in my life, and then i have attempted to make it happen on my own.  One guess as to the result… yup!  I failed miserably!  Months later, God did it.  You would think that after that i would learn my lesson.  Nope, i continue trying to do YHWH’s work for Him.

One thing i did want to make sure that i touch on is vs. 2-3 “God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.”  The word LORD is the Hebrew word יהוה which is JHWH / YHWH / JHVH / YHVH.   This includes only consonants.  Traditionally, with vowels this word has been pronounced as Jehovah.  However, as time has gone by, there has been mounting evidence that there is a mix of words here.  It is believed that while the consonants are natural to the word, the vowels are not.  The vowels come from Adonai (אֲדֹנָי) meaning “my lord” making יהוה (YHVH) into יְהֹוָה (Yehovah).  The concept here is that in the 10 commandments YHWH says not to use His name in vain.  As such the priests who would read the law to the people would protect them from using His name in vain by not even saying the revered name of God out loud to them.  So whenever they came to the word YHWH, the priests would say Adonai instead.  As a result, over the millennia the true vowels to the name YHWH were lost.

Some would say that that is not the case, that those vowels are actually the correct vowels for the name, but even with a very limited understanding of the history and tendencies of the Israelite people and the legalism of the Pharisees of Jesus time, i’m much more inclined to go with the vast majority of scholars and say YHWH.

Either way, i find it interesting that YHWH first tells His true name not to Abraham, Isaac, & Israel, but rather to Moses and His people in Egypt.

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Exodus 3 – YHWH!

I really hate that i have come to this chapter on a Saturday.  This is my most rushed day of the week.  I am very time limited in the morning, and i work a 13 hour day.  There is so much really good stuff here, that it’s really hard to limit what i want to say and still look at more than just a speck of what is here.  I could study and talk about this chapter alone for close to a month.  Well, here goes not much. 🙂

So Moses has gone from being trained in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, with a courtly education.  He has lived this way for approximately 40 years.  From there, he has gone out to the wilderness, and spent another 40 years wandering around Midian with a flock of sheep.  My, how the mighty have fallen!  It is here, after 40 years in the wilderness that God / YHWH calls him.  A man uniquely gifted, both in the highest courtly education possible, and as a lowly shepherd who has learned to lead a flock of sheep.  It is these two polar opposite preparation that provide him with the skills that he needs to do this tremendous work.

It’s amazing and fascinating to me the way that God works sometimes.  Here he tells Moses, “I have seen the affliction of my people… so I have come down to deliver them… Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”  It’s hilarious to me.  God says that He has come down to deliver them, so now Moses YOU go and bring them out of Egypt.  So is it God / YHWH that’s bringing them out, or is it Moses?  God says that it’s Him, and then tells Moses to go and do it.  Talk about priceless!

Then, Moses asks God a simple question; “What is your name?”  What does God answer?  “I AM WHO I AM!”  I almost feel bad for the guy.  Suddenly he is going from a simple shepherd to the redeemer of a nation.  Then when he asks a simple question, he gets what appears to be a non-answer.  What’s the poor guy to think!

What about us?  Does God teach and prepare us in unusual ways, giving us unique and unusual giftings that seem to make no sense.  Then we come to YHWH with a question, expecting some sort of significant answer, we find Him not only NOT giving us the answers that we are looking for, but also expecting us to do something that is so out of our comfort zone that it feels like it is going to kill us?  I love it!  That’s God for you alright!

If you have never been blessed that way, i pray that you will be, and you will be soon.  God Bless.

 

John Camiolo

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Genesis 50 – Mourning & Hope

What is the difference between happiness and joy?  How about between mourning and dismay?  What keeps trials from becoming desperation, and sadness from depression?  There is one word; one concept or idea that divides these from each other.  That is hope.  Hope creates joy (long-term & deeply rooted) rather than happiness (short-term & fleeting).  Hope separates mourning (the natural response  to loss) from dismay (fear of facing the future resulting from loss).  This almost undefinable, nugget of life we call hope is a key and defining ingredient that separates sadness from depression.

Jacob is dead; he has died of old age.  The time of mourning is here, and Joseph and his brothers work to fulfill their responsibility to bury him in the cave of his fathers resting place.  There is a huge procession of Israelites and Egyptians that carries the body of Jacob to the burial mound.  All that is expected and more has been done.

With the passing of their father, Joseph’s older brothers begin to lose that hope.  Their past sin that has continued to haunt them their entire lives now comes to a head.  What will Joseph do to them?  What will he do to their families and children?  Will he enslave them as they did to him?  Will he treat them with cruelty and contempt?  Will he have Pharaoh and the Egyptians do it for him?  So many troubles caused by one choice.  They fear because of the seeds sown by their own actions so long ago.

What does Joseph do?  He relieves them of those full grown weeds; the result of those seeds planted so long ago.  He gives them hope.  He tells them that all that they did was part of the plan meant not for the destruction of his life, but for life for the Egyptians and themselves.  They have no need to fear.  They have no need to be troubled.  God has a plan bigger than they are, and all this trouble and fear is simply wasted life.

How about us?  Do we have a hope, or are we buried in our mourning and fear?  Does mourning turn to dismay and sadness become depression?  It’s time to let all of that go, and to seek the hope that has been freely offered and given.  The one who has created us has a plan.  He has a purpose that includes you and me.  We need to pursue Him… to find He who has been pursuing us.  Are you ready?

 

Rev. John Camiolo

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