February 1. 2015

Exodus 32-34 - When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something.  Make gods for us who will lead us.  That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt --who knows what happened to him?”  So Aaron had them provide him with gold and cast it in the form of a calf...The people responded with enthusiasm so Aaron also built an altar before the calf and declared that the next day there would be a feast.  At the feast, the people began to party.  It turned into a wild party.  

God spoke to Moses, “Go! Get down there!  Your people whom you brought up from the land of Egypt have fallen to pieces.  In no time at all they’ve turned away from the way I commanded them.  They made a molten calf and worshiped it....

I look at this people...Oh! what a stubborn, hardheaded people.  Let me alone now, give my anger free reign to burst into flames and incinerate them.  But I’ll make a great nation out of you.”  

Moses tried to calm God down.  He said, “Why, God, would you lose your temper with your people.  Why you brought them out of Egypt in a tremendous demonstration of power and strength.  Why let the Egyptians say, He had it in for them...Stop your anger.  Think twice about bringing evil against your people.  Think about Abraham, Isaac and Israel your servants to whom you gave your word....And God did think twice.  He decided not to do the evil he had threatened against his people.  

Moses then came down from the mountain , carrying the two tablets of The Testimony.  When Joshua heard the sound of the people shouting noisily, he said to Moses, “That’s the sound of war in the camp!”  Moses said, “...I hear songs of people throwing a party.”  And that’s what it was.  When Moses came near to the camp and saw the calf and the people dancing, his anger flared.  He threw down the tablets and smashed them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.  

Moses said to Aaron, “What on Earth did these people ever do to you that you involved them in this huge sin?”  Aaron said, “Moses, don’t be angry.  You know this people and how set on evil they are...”  

Moses saw the people were simply running wild---Aaron had let them run wild, disgracing themselves before their enemies.  He took up a position at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is on God’s side, join me!”  

All the Levites stepped up.  He then told them, “God’s orders, strap on your swords and go to work.  Crisscross the camp from one end to the other.  Kill brother, friend, neighbor.”  The Levites carried out Moses order.  3,000 people were killed that day.  Moses said, “you confirmed your ordination today-- and at a great cost, even killing your sons and brothers!  And God has blessed you.”  

The next day, Moses addressed the people.  “You have sinned an enormous sin!  But I am going to go up to God; maybe I’ll be able to clear you of your sin. 

 Moses went back up to God and said, “This is terrible.  This people has sinned--it’s an enormous sin...And now, if you will only forgive their sin...But if not, erase me out of the book you’ve written.”  God said to Moses, “I’ll only erase from my book those who sin against me.  For right now, you go and lead the people to where I told you.  Look, my angel is going to lead you.  On the day, though, when I settle accounts, their sins will certainly be part of the settlement.”  God sent a plague on the people because of the calf they and Aaron made.

God said to Moses:  “Now go.  Get on your way from here, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt...But I won’t be with you in person --you’re such a stubborn, hard-headed people--lest I destroy you on the journey.  

When the people heard this harsh verdict, they were plunged into gloom and wore long faces...God said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, “You’re one hard-headed people.  I couldn’t stand being with you for a moment--I’d destroy you.  So take off all your jewelry until I figure out what to do with you.”  

Moses used to take the Tent and set it up outside the camp some distance away.  He called it the Tent of Meeting.  Anyone who sought God would go to the Tent of Meeting.  It went like this:  When Moses would go to the Tent, all the people would stand at attention; each man would take his position at the entrance of his own tent with his eyes on Moses until he entered the Tent & the Pillar of Cloud would descend upon the Tent.  The men would then bow in worship at the entrance of his own tent...And God spoke to Moses, face-to-face...When he would return to camp, his attendant, the young man Joshua, stayed--he didn’t leave the tent.

Moses said to God, “Look, you tell me, ‘Lead this people.’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me.  You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am special to you, let me in on your plans.  That way, I will continue being special to you.  Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility.”  

God said, “My presence will go with you.  I’ll see the journey to the end.”  Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now.  How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people?  Are you traveling with us or not?  How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people among all other people on planet Earth.  

God said to Moses, “All right.  Just as you say, this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me.  I know you by name...I will make my goodness pass right in front of you:  I’ll call out the name, God, right before you.  I’ll treat well whomever I want to treat well and be kind to whomever I want to be kind...but you may not see my face.  No one can see me and live.   

Look here is a place right beside me.  Put yourself on this rock.  When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by....Cut out two tablets of stone just like the originals...be ready in the morning to climb Mt. Sinai and get set up to meet me on top of the mountain.  Not a soul is to go with you....

God descended in the cloud and took up his position there beside him and called out: GOD, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient--so much love, so deeply true--loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.  Still, he doesn’t ignore sin.  He holds sons and grandsons responsible for a father’s sins to the third and even fourth generation...

As of right now I am making a covenant with you...then all the people with whom you’re are living will see how tremendous God’s work is, the work I’ll do for you...

I’m clearing the way...Stay vigilant.  Don’t let down your guard lest you make a covenant with the people you live with in the land that you are entering and they trip you up....Don’t worship any other god,...don’t make molten gods for yourselves, keep the feast of Unraised Bread the same month that you came out of Egypt,...redeem each of your firstborn sons...work six days and rest the seventh...appear before the master 3 times a yr., ...bring the finest of the first fruits of your produce to the house of your God...

Moses was there with God 40 days and 40 nights.  He didn’t eat any food:  he didn’t drink any water...When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, he didn’t know that the skin of his face glowed because he had been speaking with God.  Aaron and all the Israelites saw his radiant face, and held back, afraid to get close to him. Moses called out to them and the leaders of Israel came back, as did the people so Moses passed on the commands, everything that God had told him...

 

John 20:1-20:18 - Early in the morning, the first day of the week, while it was still dark.  Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance.  She ran at once to Simone Peter and the other disciples, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb.  We don’t know where they’ve put them.”  

Peter and the disciples left immediately for the tomb...The other disciple got to the tomb first...Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb followed by the disciple who had gotten their first.  They took one look at the evidence and believed.  No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.  

The disciples went back home.  But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping.  As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw 2 angels sitting there....They asked, “Woman, why do you weep?”  “They took my Master, and I don’t know where they put him.”  After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there.  But she didn’t recognize him.  Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep?  Who are you looking for?” Who are you looking for?”  She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”  Jesus said, “Mary. “  Turning to face him, he said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”  Jesus said,”...Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘ I ascend to my Father and you Father, my God and your God.’”  Mary Magdalene went telling the news to the disciples:  “I saw the Master!”   And she told them everything he said to her.