Friday, May 6, 2011

Selected Readings from Exodus

Exodus 33:12-23, 34:1-10, 29-35

Hello Project Ezra! This week we will be reading a selection of passages from Exodus 33 and 34. I have chosen not to include all of chapter 34 because some of that information, regarding God’s covenant specifically with Israel, if presented to someone ignorant of the historical background, requires more explanation than an open-air sermon would easily allow. You can certainly read the whole passage through if you like. The passages present amazing truth regarding God’s character, which is very powerful in helping people understand who God is, especially since it was the Lord Himself who proclaimed His character to Moses. But I also think that we, as believers and evangelists, can learn by examining how Moses approached God, and what he said.

Moses said “If I have found favor in Your sight, please show me Your ways.” We should be asking God the same thing, that He show us His ways. When I was a new believer, I spent a good amount of time studying biblical apologetics. It was, and still is, a passion for me. In fact, I derived much of my early ideas of theology from apologetics books. By God’s grace, I was given mostly good, solid material that, though I may disagree with some of the smaller details now, were Biblically sound. However, as good as these books were, they were not God’s word, and deriving your theology from secondary sources can be dangerous. As my faith has matured (although I still feel like a baby Christian sometimes), I have spent a lot more time and focus on the Bible itself, praying that God would show me His ways and reveal His will directly through His word. God can certainly show us His ways through the sound teaching of men and women of God. However, our primary source of truth must always be His word, and we should discipline ourselves to read it daily

Moses asked to see God’s glory. Like Moses, we should desire to see God’s glory, but even more, we should desire to see God glorified. We were created to glorify God, and that must be our primary aim, in evangelism and in everything else. Sometimes it can be discouraging, if you are reading the word and no one seems to be listening, or if they are listening they are mocking you or the Bible. However, ultimately we have an audience of one, God. We want people to listen, and to ask questions, and to engage us. And you will be surprised sometimes when you find out who was listening. But those results are in God’s hands. Our responsibility is simply to be faithful to our calling, and to leave the rest up to Him.

Moses pleaded for God’s presence to be with him and the people of Israel. He asked that they not be able to move on if God was not with them. Moses knew that they had no ability on their own. In the same way, whenever we go out to share the gospel, it needs to be in the power of God. We need to pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit and pray for divine appointments, that God will bring those to us who He has prepared to hear His gospel. It is easy to want to convince people, to want to argue them into the Kingdom of Heaven. And though God may choose to use a good argument to draw someone to Him, without a supernatural changing of their heart and mind, they can never be born again. Just as we put the whole weight of our trust on Christ for salvation, we need to do the same in sharing our faith

It still amazes me how often I sit down to write this blog, praying that it will be an encouragement to others in sharing their faith only to be convicted by what the Lord shows me about myself. Every day I find the riches of God’s word are deeper than I could imagine. If you don’t have a regular reading plan, please start one. Being in His word daily with absolutely transform you. The Grant Horner Bible Reading Plan, which we use for the Project Ezra chapters, is what I use and I would highly recommend it.

I pray this outline is a blessing.

All for His glory,

Read Selections from Exodus

In the beginning of these passages, Moses asked God if he could see His glory, if he could see the wonder and majesty of who God truly is. God told Moses He would let all His goodness pass before him, but he hid Moses in a cleft in the rock, and showed him only His back. God knew that the full site of Him in all His glory would kill Moses.

Then, as God passed by, the passage says the Lord proclaimed the name of the Lord. God declared and described Himself to Moses, and by extension, to us.

So what did God say about Himself?
He declared Himself to be a God who is merciful and gracious
He said that He is slow to anger, that He is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness
God said He forgives iniquity and transgression and sin
But it also says He is a God who will by no means clear the guilty, and that He will visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children

Then God told Moses that new tablets were to be cut for the 10 Commandments, and God made a covenant with Israel, telling them they will see great marvels.

Then, when Moses came down the mountain after speaking with God, the skin of his face shone and glowed. He had to put a veil over his face, because the people were afraid to come near him.

What can you learn from this passage? Something about the character and nature of God.

God is not like man

He can not be controlled, or comprehended.
Men are foolish and self-seeking. Most of the time we don’t want the truth. We want what we think will make us happy and give us power and control.
God is in control, and despite our best efforts to create God in our own image, He can not and will not be brought down to our level.

God is glorious beyond imagination
The sight of Him so affects a man that his face glows
Seeing God’s goodness and glory in its purity is enough to kill a man

God is powerful beyond imagination
Men spend their whole lives trying to break down the creation to the point where they can understand and control it completely, but can not and never will be able to.
God is beyond our natural understanding, but chose to communicate with us through His word. Why?

God is a God of relationship and covenant
God chose then, and chooses today, to communicate and have a relationship with mankind, the pinnacle of His creation.
But our covenant with God has been broken. How? It has been broken through our disobedience, through our sin.


God is just
God has given us His law, His standard, which reflect His perfect character
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
He will not leave the guilty unpunished, and we, who have broken His law, are guilty.
The punishment of the fathers will be visited upon the children. Sin has long-term consequences, both in this life and the life to come.

God is patient
God says He is not willing that any of His children should perish, but all come to repentance
It could be the only reason you are still drawing breath is because God is being patient with you, waiting for you to turn to Him.

God is forgiving
You can be forgiven, not based on your own works or goodness, but based purely on the goodness and grace of God. God, in His great love, chose to satisfy justice Himself, so you could be set free from the penalty of sin
Colossians 2:13-14 - And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.



NOTE: As you have likely noticed, I don’t always choose to include all the details of the gospel presentation in each blog. I believe it is vital that the essential truths of the Gospel, the framework that you hang all of your evangelism on, should be very personal and so much a part of you that they simply flow from you when the opportunity presents itself. All my notes are secondary. The gospel is primary. Many previous blogs have addressed those details, and I would also encourage you to look at the resources below. Many of you are likely familiar with Living Waters/The Way of the Master, but if you are not and may be struggling in that area, I can not emphasize enough what a blessing they have been to me. They will teach you to share the gospel boldly and biblically. Feel free to contact me directly if have any other questions.

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