Thursday, May 31, 2007

Study Questions for Exodus 10:21-11:10

Study Questions for Exodus 10:21-11:10

What has been happening so far?

v. 21—What did God tell Moses to do next?
Why didn’t he tell Moses to go and tell Pharaoh what was coming?
Which direction was Moses to direct his hand?
What was coming this time? How pervasive was the darkness?
Darkness that may be felt may mean darkness that is so dark that the people must feel their way around to go anywhere.

v. 22—How long did Moses wait to do what God commanded?
Does this tell you anything about what obedience means?
What did Moses to in response to God’s command?
What happened when Moses lifted up his hand? Isa. 8:22; Joel 2:2
How long did the darkness last? Can’t be an eclipse.
Where was it dark?
What is the significance of the darkness?
God is in control of what he has created. The Lord gives and the Lord can take away any time he wants. Jer. 4:23-28

v. 23—How dark was the darkness?
Could the people see even in their houses?
What about the Israelites? Isa 60:1-3; Rev. 21:18-22

v. 24—What did Pharaoh do in response to the darkness?
How did they move around to get Moses in the dark?
What was Pharaoh trying to keep in the land?
Why did he offer this?

v. 25—What did Moses want to take with him? Why?
Why wouldn’t Moses compromise and deal with Pharaoh?
What does this say about our life in Christ and before God?
Pharaoh’s offer makes provision not only to keep some of Israel’s wealth in Egypt, but more importantly it dictates to the Israelites how they are to worship God. Pharaoh will tell them how to worship rather than God telling them how he will be worshiped.

v. 26—Why did they need to take all of their livestock?
These sacrifices were the kind that were offered and then eaten before God. It refers to a feast, not burnt offerings which are consumed by the fire.
The law hadn’t been written yet and they didn’t know what to offer or how much to offer.

v. 27—What happened to Pharaoh’s heart?
And what was the result of a hardened heart? (Made strong)

v. 28—What did Pharaoh say for Moses to do?
How strong was Pharaoh’s warning to Moses?
Why didn’t Pharaoh kick Moses out of the court much earlier in the battle?
Why didn’t he just kill Moses?
“…the Bluster of an overwhelmed man denying his own powerlessness.” Mackay

v. 29—How did Moses respond to this warning?
When does Moses think he will be seeing Pharaoh next?

What happened to the darkness?

11:1-10 Transition from the first nine plagues to the last and most deadly one.

1-3 A parenthetical statement.
v. 1—What does God say to Moses next?
How many more plagues (blow or stroke) will God bring on Pharaoh?
Who is getting the plague besides Pharaoh?
Why only one more?
Who all will be going out to worship?
How will they be going?

v. 2—Who is Moses supposed to talk to about this plague?
Who has he been talking to about the plagues before?
Why will the people listen to Moses this time when they haven’t before?
What are the people supposed to do? “Ask” is used in all the other translations rather than borrow in the KJV. It is more like, what would you give me to get me to leave your country? Exo 3:21
Who are their neighbors?

v. 3—Why did the Egyptians like the Israelites at this point?
What did the Israelites think of Moses?
How about the rest of the people of Egypt?
Why didn’t they mention Pharaoh here? Pharaoh is isolated in Egypt against God by himself.

v. 4—Where is Moses when he says all of this? Vss. 7-8
What did Moses tell the people?
When would the next event happen? Midnight was the time when the Egyptian myths said the gods fought. Exo 12:12
Which day would it happen? The second gotcha
Who would be going out into the midst of Egypt?

v. 5—What will happen when God walks among the Egyptians at midnight?
How many firstborn children will die?
What is a firstborn? A man or boy of any age as long as his father is still alive.
He is the one the family focused on because he was destined to take on the family name, fortune, career, etc. He was responsible for the whole family. In Pharaoh’s case he would have been king, pharaoh of all Egypt. Everything about his life would have pointed to this end.
Why the firstborn sons? Exo 4:22
Egypt persecuted and exploited God’s firstborn and now God was going to restore the situation to the place it should have been.

v. 6—What will be the result of all the dead children?
How extensive will be the weeping?

v. 7—What will happen to the Israelite children?
What is this about dogs? Josh 10:21
Why does he mention dogs?
What is the point of killing the firstborn of Egypt but not even Dogs get to growl at the Israelites?

v. 8—Who is going to come to Moses and talk to him?
What will they do when they come to Moses?
And what will they say to him?
What was Moses response?
Why was he angry? Pharaoh wouldn’t repent

v. 9—What will Pharaoh’s response be to God’s final warning?
Why will Pharaoh ignore Moses?
How will killing all the children bring glory to God? Gen 18; Josh. 6; Rom. 9:13-24
What does it mean that all of God’s wonders are multiplied in Egypt?

v. 10—So, what did Moses and Aaron do?
Why isn’t Aaron mentioned much?
How did Pharaoh’s heart get hardened? (Made strong)
Why did Pharaoh’s heart get hardened?

The defeat of a nation by another nation was a defeat of the first nations gods by the second. So it wasn’t simply one nation destroying another nation it was also one religious system destroying another.

The point of this whole story? Don’t mess with God or the people of God. Ezek. 33:11

Study Questions for Exodus 10:1-20

Study Questions for Exodus 10:1-20

Describe the scene you would encounter if you were to pop into Egypt at this time in their history.

What is Pharaoh’s mindset at this point?

Vss. 1-11

v. 1—What does God tell Moses to do?
What has God done to Pharaoh and his servants? (made heavy)
God has hardened Pharaoh’s heart. It is stated as a kind of pronouncement or judgment on Pharaoh for his selfishness.
Why did he do that to them?

v. 2—Why did God want to show all these signs to the Egyptians?
What does “dealt harshly” mean? Judg. 19:25; 1 Sam. 31:4 RSV—“made sport of” NRSV—“made fools of”
What does Moses’ sons and grandchildren have to do with all of this?
“Tell” has the sense of proclamation rather than simply a story told over and over throughout history.
How does telling the story fit into the history of Israel? What is happening here (Psalm 77:11-20; 78:4-6, 43-53; 105:26-38; 106:7-12; 114:1-3; 135:8, 9; 136:10-15)?
Have you ever heard this command before?
How does all of this show that God is the Lord?

v. 3—What did Moses and Aaron do next?
What did they say to Pharaoh and his servants?
What does “humble” mean?
Did it differ from what God had said to say?
How did what they said differ from what they’ve said before?
What does God want Pharaoh to do with respect to his relationship with God and man? Repent—Jas 4:10; 1Pet. 5:6.
What does humility have to do with letting the people go?

v. 4—What will happen if Pharaoh still refuses?
When will it happen?
What is a locust? Joel 1:4-7; Amos 7:103

v. 5, 6—How many locusts will there be?
What will they do when they come?
After Moses made this proclamation, what did he do?

v. 7—How did Pharaoh’s servants respond to these warnings?
How was Moses a snare to them?
What did they say about what had happened to Egypt?
What did the want Pharaoh to do?
Who did he want to let go?
Can you imagine the servants talking like this to Pharaoh in the beginning of the story?
How or why did they think they could get away with it now?
The issue for the servants was worship. They thought one god was as good as another.
“Ruined” is a common word for judgment – destroyed, perished (deut 7:20; Psa 2:12; Ezek. 26:17.
Notice that the servants only wanted to let the men go, not everyone.

v. 8—What does Pharaoh do in response to all of this?
Who does he want to let go?

v. 9—Who is Moses going to take with him?
Why would everyone and everything go to worship the Lord?
God is sovereign over all.

v. 10—How did Pharaoh respond to Moses request?
What did he mean that evil was before them? Niv—you are bent on evil.
This last phrase shows that Pharaoh’s release was highly sarcastic.

v. 11—Who in this verse is he prepared to release?
To whom is he addressing this statement?
If Pharaoh lets the men go, the women and children will have to stay behind and effectively be hostages.
What happened to Moses and Aaron after this brief interchange?
Why were they driven out? Why not thrown into prison?

v. 12—what happened next?

v. 13—How did the locusts come to Egypt?
Judgment Psa 48:7; Jer 18:17; Hos 13 15; Jonah 4:8.

v. 14—How many locusts came?
There were locust plagues all the time, where’s the miracle in this one?
How would God be glorified in this?

v. 15—What did they do when they came? Were they just a little hungry?
How does Joel 2:3 fit into this?

v. 16—What was Pharaoh’s reaction to all of this?
What did he do that was sinful?
What sin was he confessing? Sending Moses and Aaron out so badly? Not recognizing that God was God? Not letting the people go? What?

v. 17—What does Pharaoh want Moses and Aaron to do for him?
How does this plea differ from the one in the last chapter? Does it differ?
He will do anything to assuage the consequences of his sin, but will he repent in his attitude toward God and himself? Will he do what is right? Will he bow the knee to YHWH?

v. 18—What did Moses do next?

v. 19—What did God do in response to Moses prayer?
How did God get rid of the locusts?

v. 20—What was the result with Pharaoh? (made strong)

Study Questions for Exodus 9:1-35

Study Questions for Exodus 9:1-35

Context: What has been happening and why?

Vss 1-7
Vs. 1—What did the Lord say to Moses next?
Where is Moses to go?
Who is YHWH? God of the Hebrews. You'd better let them go. The two sides are further delineated—Pharaoh and God.
For how long are they to be "let go"?
Why were they to be let go?

Vs. 2, 3—What will happen if Pharaoh refuses to let them go?
What does it mean that the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle? Judges 2:15; Job 12:9; Ezek. 1:3; Acts 13:11
The word "field" means open grazing ground, not the kind of ground that would be where they would grow crops.
What does God call what he is about to do to the Egyptians?
Serious/terrible means "heavy." It refers back to 8:24 "grievous" or heavy plague.

There may also be a reference to one of the Egyptian gods where "the hand of god" meant that he was protecting the Egyptians (Mackay).
Which cattle are these?
What about the horses?
And donkeys?
And camels?
Apis the bull god of Memphis or ram of Amun.
What about the Israelite animals?
This was an assault on the Egyptian worship. It overthrew and overcame their gods. It showed that the God of the Hebrews could kill the representatives of the gods of the animals and the Egyptian gods had no power over the Israelite God.

Vs. 4—What is God going to do differently for Egypt and for Israel?
What will happen to Egypt's animals that will not happen to Israel?
What does God call the Israelites?

Vs. 5—When was all this to happen?
When it would happen makes it more precise than Moses simply predicting that it would happen. It would happen tomorrow and it would happen in all the land. God is flexing his muscles and the Egyptians had better take notice.
How was the time set? Who set it?
How far reaching was the curse to extend?

Vs. 6—And what was the result the next day?
Whose animals died and whose animals died?

Vs. 7—What did the Pharaoh do as a result of all his animals dying?
What was the status of the animals in Goshen?
What happened when Pharaoh found out that none of the Israelite animals had died?
Who hardened Pharaoh's heart? Made Heavy
What did Pharaoh do as a result of hard heart?

Notice that Pharaoh's sin affects not only him, but also his people and all of their animals. Rom. 8:19-22. Notice to that the people had chosen to worship animals and now God is killing their animals. God will not allow his people to set up idols and worship them for long.

Vss. 8-12
Vs. 8—What did God say next to Aaron and Moses?
Why did Moses not mention Aaron in vss. 1-77
What did God say for Moses and Aaron to do next?
Who was supposed to sprinkle the ashes?
Where was he supposed to get the ashes?
Where was he supposed to sprinkle it?
Who was supposed to be watching?
Why didn't they explain to Pharaoh what was happening this time?

Vs. 9—What would happen to the ashes?
What would it produce? Deut. 28:27
Who would be affected by this plague?
How wide was the devastation?

Vs. 10 What did Moses and Aaron do?

Vs. 11—What are the magicians doing during all of this?
Its hard to make fun of something when its affects are making you miserable. Where are their gods of healing?
What effect was the boils having on all the people?

Vs. 12—What effect was it having on Pharaoh?
who hardened Pharaoh's heart? Made strong
What did Pharaoh tell Moses and Aaron?
Did Moses and Aaron know this was going to happen?
How long did all of this take?

Vss. 13-21 Psa. 78:47-48; 105:32-33
Nut, the sky goddess

Vs. 13—How does this verse differ from verse one? What does he tell Pharaoh?
Why does he keep saying the same thing over and over?

Vs. 14—What does God say he's going to do now?
Who is it going to affect?
What does it mean that he will send all of his plagues?
What about on their hearts?
This begins, now, to go to the heart of the people. God is after their very cores, not simply their outward allegiance.
What will it show?
What does he mean "none like me in all the earth"?
God is God and there is no other. He is supreme in all the earth. Isa 42:8; Ex. 20:3; John 5:23.
See the other translations of this. God's acts here are actually acts of mercy to the people, even the Egyptians. They have earned God's wrath and judgment, but he continues to warn them, slowly ramping up the plagues and the conditions, trying to get the Pharaoh to repent. "There is nothing more important in life than having a tree perception of God and one's status before him. Pharaoh's stubborn refusal to recognizes the Lord already merited the severest of judgments." Mackay.

Vs. 15—What is God going to do with his hand?
What does "smite thee" mean?
What is "pestilence"?
What does "cut off from the earth" mean?

Vs. 16—What does "raised thee up" mean? Could mean brought into existence, more likely something like "you are who you are because I put you there." Why did God raise Pharaoh up?
1) To let Pharaoh see who God is.
2) God is after worldwide acclaim. He does what he does so that all the world will worship him and give him glory. See Ps. 9:1; 40:5; 44:1. See how Israel recounted the events Deut. 6:22; Psa 135:9. See also how other nations thought about these events, Josh. 2:8-11; 1 Sam. 4:8.
How wide did God want these events to be known? Why did God want his name made known in this way? Who is God?

Vs. 17—How has Pharaoh responded so far to God's show of power?
How has he exalted himself?.
When Pharaoh exalts himself over the people God seems to think that means he's exalting himself over God. How does that work?

Vs. 18—What is coming tomorrow?
What is hail?
Worst means "very heavy"
How big is the hail going to be?
Have they ever seen such hail?

Vs. 19—What does God tell Pharaoh to do in preparation for the hail?
Why are they to gather all the livestock into their barns?
What happens to anything left out?
Another call to faith. Do this in remembrance of everything that has gone before.

Vs. 20— How did the Egyptians respond?
What does "fear" mean?
What does feared the word of the Lord mean?
How do we know they folks who protected their slaves and animals feared the word of the Lord?

"The best way to define what you beliefs are is to ask yourself, what is my last resort?" (Kean). What do you when crunch time comes? Where do you turn when all is lost and there is nothing left for you to do?

Vs. 21—What happened with those who did not fear the word of the Lord?
"Ignored" is "did not set their hearts on" Deut. 32:46; Job 1:8
What happened to their animals as a result of their not fearing the word of the Lord?

Vss. 22-26
Vs. 22—What did the Lord tell Moses to do?
Why did God want Moses to point his staff to the sky?

Vs. 23—What did Moses do?
What happened to Aaron?
What happened when Moses did what he was supposed to do?
What happened besides hail?

Vs. 24—What was the result on Egypt?
How extensive was the hail and lightening?

Vs. 25—What happened to all of Egypt?
What, living in the fields, made it through the storm?
What was left in the fields?
All here is almost certainly hyperbolic. Not each and every animal, but the overwhelming vast majority of animals. We've got to have some plant left so they can be wiped out by the locusts in the next plague.

Vs. 26 What happened in Goshen while all this was happening in the rest of Egypt? Who lived in Goshen?

Vss. 27-35
Vs. 27—What did Pharaoh do as a result of the destruction?
What did Pharaoh say to Moses and Aaron?
What did he mean by "sin"? Miss the mark, go wrong. He is admitting he made a mistake, and error in judgment, a boo boo.
How does he describe God?
Who is the winner of the battle? Pharaoh finally realizes that he is way out of his league with God and wants some relief. He does and says the bare minimum to get the plague to stop.
He is making as minimal a confession as he can. He is being very politically correct. Compare 1 Sam. 15:24; Dan 4:37.
Once the situation has been resolved, Pharaoh goes back to being the same old rascal he was before.
What is his and his people's standing before God?

Vs. 28—What does Pharaoh ask Moses to do on his behalf?.
Thunder is literally "voices of God" in both Hebrew and Egyptian. Kind of ironic in this case.
Does Pharaoh want to make a deal with God?
How does this sort of thing usually go over with God?
What does Pharaoh ask?
What is he willing to do for God?
Pharaoh still things he is in charge. He will give something to God in response for God's giving him something. Two equals making a deal.

Vs. 29—What did Moses say he would do as a result of Pharaoh's plea?
Why will Moses spread out his hands to stop the storm?
How will this teach Pharaoh who God is?

Vs. 30—What is Moses final rejoinder to Pharaoh?
How does he know that Pharaoh hasn't really changed?
What does it mean that he does not yet fear the Lord?
Fear is an attitude toward God that is revealed in submission, reverence, worship, awe, and true Biblical godliness and humility.
What about what the Pharaoh just told him?
What's with that?
Gen 14:19 who is God?

Vs. 31— What does it mean that the barley was in the ear?
Barley was made into bread, brew, animal feed.
What is flax? Made linen clothing
What happened to the flax?
What does it mean that the flax was boiled?
What time of year must this have been? January.

Vs. 32—What happened to the wheat?
Why the difference between the kinds of plants?

Vs. 33—What did Moses do next?
How could he go out into the storm and not get whacked himself?
What does "unto the Lord" mean?
What happened as a result of Moses raising his hands to the Lord?
Who caused the storm to stop, Moses or God?

Vs..34—What did Pharaoh do when he saw that the storm had stopped?
How did he sin?
What is sin?
Who hardened his heart? Made heavy
Who besides Pharaoh hardened their hearts?

Vs. 35—After all this, what was the state of Pharaoh's heart?
who hardened it? made strong
What did he do to the Israelites?
What about his promise to let them go if God stopped the storm?
What does it mean "as the Lord had spoken by Moses"?
Changing paradigms is very difficult, but God will not allow us to remain holding a sinful, inaccurate, or immature paradigm. We are always reforming and constantly called to maturity in Christ. God's judgment is really his mercy being poured out on us. He could just as easily have crushed us for our sin. It's what we deserve for our insolence.

Pharaoh was more interested in his own self esteem and identity than in the welfare of his nation. "The regime and its ideology had to be upheld no matter what it cost the citizens of the land in deprivation and disaster. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why there is no Egyptian record of the Exodus. Disasters did not happen there. With an efficiency matched by many modem totalitarian regimes only the official version of events was allowed into the records." Mackay.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Study Questions for Exodus 7:25-8:32

Exodus 7:25-8:32

Context: What has been going on in the book so far?

V. 25—How long has it been since God struck the water?
Who struck the water?

Vss. 1-4—What happened a week after the water changed to blood?
What did God tell Moses to do? To say?
Plague/smite—Blow—the idea of striking a blow against an individual or nation. It points to divine punishment (1 Sam. 25:38; 2 Chron. 21:14).
Where all were the frogs going to be found?
What kind of people were going to be affected by frogs?
Why do you suppose God chose frogs to go after the Egyptians?

Frogs were thought of as a good thing. They came after the annual floods and represented blessing and fruitfulness. The Goddess Heqt or Heket was depicted as a woman with a frog’s head and supposedly helped Khnum, the creator god, to create mankind. Frogs were not to be killed because they were symbols of new life and growth.

Notice how often the word you “you and your” are used in these passages.

Vss. 5-7—What did God tell Moses to say to Aaron?
Why was he to stretch his hand out rather than strike the water like he had for the blood?
What did Aaron do?
Why do you suppose there is no record of the discussion with Pharaoh?
What did the magicians do in response to Aaron’s miracle?

Vss. 8-15

V. 8—What happens after the frogs over-run the place?
Notice that Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron.
Why does Pharaoh acknowledge that God has brought the frogs?
What does he say he will do if God will take the frogs away?

V. 9—What is Moses response to Pharaoh’s request?
Why does he ask Pharaoh to tell him when to pray?
“Pray” is used 10 times in the OT and 8 of them are in this narrative. 2 Sam. 24:15.

The fact that Pharaoh asked for prayer is a major shift in attitude.

V. 10—When does Pharaoh want Moses to pray for him?
Why does he wait a day?

Hoping for something to come along that will show that there isn’t a God in heaven?

What does Moses say in response to the day to pray?
What is Moses’ interest in this whole affair?
Who does he want to get the glory for the miracles?

V. 11—And what will happen when he prays?
Where will all the frogs go?

V. 12—What did Moses do after he left Pharaoh?

V. 13—How did God respond to Moses’ request?
Where did the frogs go?
What were they expecting would happen to the frogs?

v. 14—what did the people do with the dead frogs?
What happened to them next?

v. 15—What was Pharaoh’s response to the removal of the frogs?

He figured the frogs are gone, what’s the problem?

Did we know this was going to happen? How?
Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? (made heavy)
What does it mean that he hardened his heart?

Vs. 16—What did God tell Moses to do next?
What did he tell Aaron to do?
How long after the frogs is this?
Why is there no discussion of going to Pharaoh and discussing this whole thing with him?
What did the lice come from? Could be gnats.
Why lice? They bite.

This and the flies were probably directed towards the god Kheprer, the god of resurrection, who was symbolized by the flying beetle.

V. 17—What did Moses and Aaron do?
How pervasive was the lice?

V. 18—Did the magicians do the same thing?
What was the result?

V. 19—What happened because they couldn’t create lice?
Where did they say the lice came from?
What does it mean that it was the “finger” of God? Deut. 9:10; Psa. 8:3; Luke 11:20.
What was Pharaoh’s response to the official version that this was coming from God?

The fact that the magicians couldn’t do the “trick” shows that they had been doing tricks and attributing their gods for them. Their admission that god did it may mean that they realize that something “real” is going on here.

There is a possibility that they thought the one doing all of this was simply a strong tribal god.

Who hardened his heart? (be strong)

Cf. John 7:31-32; 11:47-53; 12:37

V. 20—Now what does God tell Moses to do?
What does present/confront mean? Can be used to tell someone to go to battle 2 Chron. 20:17
It usually means there is a great deal of tension on both sides. Christians are not to confront other Christians.
Why early in the morning?
What will Pharaoh be doing when Moses is to contact him?
What is Moses to say to Pharaoh?

V. 21—What is Moses to tell Pharaoh will happen if he doesn’t let the people go?
Why flies?
The word translated flies can mean pretty much any kind of flying insect. Swarms is probably a better word. The LXX translators who lived in Egypt translated it “dog-flies” which sucked blood from their victims. Psalm 78:45 gives a hint at what might have been the situation.

V. 22—How will God treat the area of Egypt where the Jews live?
Why are the flies not going to be in Goshen?
Where is God going to be showing he is ruler?

V. 23—What will separate the two peoples?
When will it happen?
What will it signify?
Distinction/division is “redemption” in Hebrew which separates them apart as recipients of divine deliverance.

The Egyptians should have looked past the flies to the one who separated one people from another and sent the flies on the evil people and saved his own from suffering.

V. 24—So, what happened?
What does it mean that the land was corrupted because of the flies?
Corruption is the word used in Gen 6:12 and Gen 9:11—thorough devastation

V. 25—How did Pharaoh respond to the flies?
What did he tell Moses and Aaron?
Where did he tell the Israelites to go to worship?

V. 26—How did Moses and Aaron respond to the command to leave?
Why are they so concerned about what Pharaoh says?
Why didn’t they jump on the offer? After all Pharaoh acknowledged that God was their God?
What were they afraid the Egyptians would do to them?
Why would they treat them this way?
The Egyptians worshipped virtually every animal. Nothing the Jews did with the animals would have been good in front of the Egyptians. Gen 46:34 Probably not sheep.

Not to mention in this that Pharaoh was asking Moses and Aaron to do less than God had commanded. God requires total obedience, not depending on the whims of fickle people, especially when they come up with goofy plans in order to keep God from being true God.

V. 27—Where did Moses say they’ll go instead?
Why only 3 days journey?

V. 28—What was Pharaoh’s response to this request?
How far does he want them to go?
Why so close?
If it was a simple tribal god, Pharaoh would still be in charge. He could always send his army to bring them back. And he could still say he was Lord of at least his land.

What does he mean entreat for him?

V. 29—How did Moses respond to Pharaoh’s request for relief from the flies?
What did Moses say about how far they would go to sacrifice?
Why didn’t he address that small detail?
What request did he make of Pharaoh?
If Pharaoh had really given in at this point what would Moses have known about moving the trip from 3 days to permanently?

V. 30—What did Moses do?

V. 31—What was God’s response?
How long did it take to remove the flies?
How many flies were left in Egypt?

V. 32—Oops. What did Pharaoh do in response to this grace given to him?
Why do you suppose Pharaoh hardened his heart at this?
Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? (Made heavy)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Opening Prayer

Psalm 145:17-18 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Father, Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. You are faithful in all your words and kind in all his works. You uphold all who are being tempted and lift up all who are suffering affliction. Everyone who looks to you, receives food and care when you see fit. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. LORD you are righteous in everything you do and always kind in all your works. You come near to us and stay with everyone who cries out to you, to everyone who calls on you in truth. You fulfill the desires of those who fear you; you also hear our cries and deliver us. Mighty Father you preserve all who love you, but all the wicked are destroyed. With our mouths will proclaim the praise of the LORD, and let all mankind bless his holy name forever and ever.

Please hear our prayers. Amen

Friday, May 11, 2007

OT in the NT


I believe that both Exodus and the NT give accurate pictures of Moses. Moses started out " a sniveling, weak, wimpy, old man." Correct, then God started to work in his life and began to change him. The NT pictures Moses, after God had changed him into a mature, holy, believer.

"I need to understand that what I thought was holy and righteous might need to change." No, I think your understanding is correct.

In John 13:18 Jesus quotes Psalm 41:9. The context in John 13:18 is a reference to Judas. Moses, in Psalms 41:9, is referring to a friend who betrayed him, not Judas. Can you explain the apparent contradiction?


Hi Gill,
I was thinking of these verses: Hebrews 11:24-27 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

They make it appear that all through Moses life he was a man of faith. But when Moses was in Egypt the first time and when he ran away, the Exodus passage makes it appear that he was fleeing, while here it makes it look like he was living as a Jew while being raised in Pharaoh's house. Anyway, on first glance it appears that the two texts differ. But further reading and thinking brings us to pretty much what you said. The confusion is especially true if you take verse 27 as being when Moses left Egypt the first time. The second time, Pharaoh wasn't angry with him. On the other hand he was plenty angry at various times during the spiritual war that allowed Israel to leave and then again after they left and were pursued by the army.

Psalm 41:9 is part of Psalm 49, obviously, and Psalm 49 was written by David (I don't know why you said Moses) who was the leader of Israel. I take all the Psalms and the OT as a whole to be representative of Israel or about Israel. Sometimes it is about individuals, teaching us about how God deals with individuals. And sometimes as a nation, teaching us how God deals with nations. But in all of it Israel is being a type of Christ, the savior of the world. And then Christ came and was the anti-type of all that went before him.

So, in this particular text, Jesus referred it to himself because it was being written about David at the time, but also about the one who would come and be the leader of his people later. Jesus was the leader of the people of God, in a more important way than David was the leader of the people of God and as Israel as a nation was the people of God. So, Jesus assumes, as do all the NT writers, that David was talking about himself and the one who would supersede all that came after David.

Then, in verse nine Jesus applies it all to Judas. The question comes up then, what do we do with verse four? I believe that when Jesus came to be a man he came to become us as our covenant head. This is why he was baptized. In becoming our head he took on our sins on himself and so this verse applies to Jesus as our head, our representative. He took our sin and it was this sin that separated him from the father on the cross.

I think this fits the overall context of the Bible and it is the only understanding that I've heard that makes sense.

Pastor Lawyer

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Twin Goals of Philosophy

For Augustine, the knowledge of self and the knowledge of God are twin goals of philosophy.
(R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas, p. 59).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Is Psychology Scientific?

Simply stated, science is the systematically arranged knowledge of the material world which has been gathered in a four-step process: 1) observation of phenomena; 2) collection of data; 3) creation of a hypothesis or theory by inductive reasoning; and 4) testing of the hypothesis by repeated observance and controlled experiments…Psychology rarely deals with established facts or truths but with subjective opinions and interpretations of uncontrolled observations. Psychology is not dealing with the consistent interactions between chemicals that can be carefully controlled in the laboratory, but with analyses that are tainted by the unique free wills of the subjects and the mindset of the researchers.
Ed Bulkley, Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, Pg. 51, 52.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mental Illness Does Not Exist

“Religion has castrated itself by accepting the belief that there are mental illnesses and these illnesses are biological and that they are set apart from ordinary human suffering.”

Peter Breggin in an interview with Joost Nixon on St. Anne's Public House, Psychiatric Drugs.

Using the Old Testamen in the New

Pastor Lawyer,

I have a question. You might have answered it in the past, but I don'trecall your answer. A friend and I have been discussing OT passages inthe NT that appear to be misquoted, paraphrased, and or taken out ofcontext. How do we interpret these passages? Possibly, you canrecommend a good book on the subject, an article, etc. What is the reformed position?
Many thanks!

Here are a few books on the subject:

Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period, by Richard Longenecker
Uses of the Old Testament in the New, by Walter Kaiser
Jesus and the Old Testament, by R.T. France

The first one is probably the best. I have it on good authority that the author does a good job of describing what the New Testament guys are doing, but then he flops and doesn't want us to do what they do.

I think we should strive to use the OT like the NT writers did. This means reading them in context and quoting them in context. None of the uses in the NT, that I know of, take the OT passages out of context. Usually, we just don’t understand the context ourselves (Perhaps you know of some and could pass them along to me.). When our pride surfaces and we get a little disgruntled at the NT authors’ use of the OT, we need to remember that they were writing God’s word. If our traditions do not coincide with their traditions we need to think carefully before we chuck theirs in favor of ours. Instead we need to try to figure out what they were doing and imitate it.

Often we aren’t aware of how they viewed things. We don’t know much about types and shadows, but they seemed to be steeped in them and saw them everywhere. We don’t live in a covenantal/Hebrew world, they lived it all the time. We think we’re so smart, and they were doing the writing and knew what they were doing.

One thing we can do to begin reading the NT authors use of the OT is to understand that the NT writers were often writing a sort of commentary on the OT. They were not quoting the OT like we tend to quote things. When they said, “that was pointing to this” we need to figure it out instead of automatically thinking they were a little bit nuts.

Also, we need to take into consideration that they didn’t think it was important to always get exact one to one references. So, there are quotes in the OT from all sorts of sources. Sometimes the sources aren’t even known to us. And sometimes the NT writers conflate several OT writers in one quote and appear to attribute the quote to one person.

It is interesting how seldom the OT commentators ignore the NT writer's take on the OT texts. Also the NT commentators miss the OT context for the quotes in the NT. I don't think I know of a quote in the NT where the author didn't expect his reader to know or at least look up the OT quote in the OT and see what it was talking about. They never want you to know just that one verse (or however many they were quoting).

I hope this helps.

War Is Hell

Pastor Lawyer,

This post in response to an article a friend sent me about the spiritual state of soldiers caught up in the Iraq war. The article is called "How Chaplains, Soldiers Keep Faith During War." It aired in this week's Newsweek Magazine.

This is really sad. I hate to even make a comment on it. I can't imagine what these men have gone through. I spent 4 years on a floating, submerging, nuclear bomb, searching and hunting soviet submarines and practicing shooting them when we found them. But I was never shot at and never saw any of my friends die. I knew lots of Viet Nam vets. I've known Navy Seals who have killed, even murdered people, but I've not experienced it myself.

On the other hand the Bible is full of instances and examples where thousands of men and women were killed by other men and women. And because they didn't have technology like we have they had to do their killing up close and personal. This was the context where God made himself known to his people.

I know a story where the son of God came to us and was d, mutilated, and hung on a cross to have all his bones thrown out of joint until he suffocated to death. I know he died before he suffocated, but I also know he died without losing his faith in the Father.

While I haven't experienced what these soldiers have gone through I also know they have not gone through something unique in world history (I do not mean to sound callous). Men have fought ugly wars throughout history. They have had trials of faith just like our men. They have gone mad like our men. They have become hardened and rough and quiet and introverted. And they have grown close to God and his faith.

In the end the only thing I can say is that true Faith is not faith in our understanding of the god we create in our mind. This god falls apart when things get tough. True faith is trusting in the God of the Bible. And this trust means knowing that God is God and he is doing what he wants because he is God. We also know that he is a loving, graceful, merciful, kind, wonderful God, and that makes trusting him in times that make no sense to us all the more faithful. It is when things aren't going our way or making sense to us that trusting God as God is important. It is times like this when faith is actually faith. And it is trusting in times like this that shows that our faith is in God not in ourselves or our idea of God.

God is not allowing all this to happen. He is causing it to happen, for a reason. We didn't just wander into it. God placed us there on purpose for a reason. We know God is good, so we know that those reasons are also good. When we want to be God, we question and get angry with him. When we trust and wait on him and rest in his choices for us our faith stands firm and grows stronger. See James 1 and Romans 5 and remember the context of those "trials" and "sufferings." The Bible was written and first lived out in a very violent and world, not unlike the world our troops are fighting in today.

I ended up writing a whole lot more than I intended. I haven't gone through what they are going through. We here in Moscow are looking over the edge of the "safe" America into the abyss of the future non-Christian world. For several years now we have been in a kind of war on many fronts. Some of the battles are almost over, some just beginning, and some just keep ing. But loving God and making a stand for him is costing us more than any other American Christian that I know of. We haven’t suffered to the point of shedding blood, though some of us thought about that a couple of years back. But God is God and we are loved by him.

None of this is like our soldiers in Iraq. But I still think being a Christian in American will go south in our life times, if not ours in our children's for sure. And then will we trust that God knows best for his children or will we freak out and lose our faith? I don't know. I hope and pray that we'll stand firm to the end.

I hope this helps.

The Law of Noncontradiction

Augustine also argued that the law of noncontradiction cannot be disputed, for it must be assumed and employed in every effort to deny it. Thus, to deny the law of noncontradiction, or to “contradict” this law, is in fact to affirm it. (R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 58).

The Task of Science

The task of science, in simple terms, is to explain reality. Scientific paradigms shift as they seek more accurate and comprehensive explanations for observed reality. (R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 33).

The Death of Civilization

Socrates realized that the death of truth would mean the death of virtue, and that the death of virtue would spell the death of civilization. Without truth and virtue the only possible outcome is barbarianism. (R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 28).