January 20, 2016

The human race is in trouble...Enormous energies have been and continue to be expended by many...at the center and core of this work is God.  The most comprehensive term for what God is doing to get us out of the mess we are in is salvation.  Salvation is God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves...

The Exodus is a powerful and dramatic and true story of God working salvation...It is significant that God doesn’t present us with salvation in the form of an abstract truth, or a precise definition or a catchy slogan, but as a story...with design and personal relationships.  Story is an invitation to participate, first through our imagination and then, if we will, by faith--with our total lives in response to God.  The Exodus story continues to be a major means that God uses to draw men and women in trouble out of the mess of history into the kingdom of salvation.

Exodus 1-2 - ...

Then Joseph died, and all his brothers--that whole generation.  But the children of Israel kept on reproducing.  They were very prolific...and the land was filled with them...A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph and was alarmed by the size of the Israelites...so he organized them  into work gangs and put them to hard labor under gang foremen...but the harder the Egyptians worked them, the more children the Israelites had, children everywhere.  The Egyptians got so they couldn’t stand the Israelites and treated them worse than ever....The king of Egypt had a talk with the two Hebrew midwives named Shipharah and Puah.  He instructed them to kill the boys that were born while the girls could live...But the midwives had far too much respect for God and didn’t do what the King of Egypt ordered and informed him that “the Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; they’re vigorous.  Before the midwife can get them, they’ve already had the baby.”  God was pleased with the midwives and because the midwives honored God, God gave them families of their own.   So Pharaoh issued an order to all his people that every boy that is born is to be drown in the Nile.

A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman.  The woman became pregnant and had a son.  She saw there was something special about him and hid him for three months.  When she couldn’t hide him any longer she placed the child in a waterproof basket and set it among the reeds in the Nile where the baby’s older sister monitored him.  The Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe where she saw the floating basket.  She opened it and saw the child--a baby crying!  Her heart went out to him.  She said, This must be one of the Hebrew babies.”  Then the baby’s sister was before her and asked if the Princess wanted her to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews to nurse the baby for her... After the baby was weaned, Moses mother took him to the Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son.  She named him Moses because he was Pulled Out of the water.  Time passed.  Moses grew.  One day he saw an Egyptian hit a Hebrew--one of his relatives.  He looked both ways & when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.  The next day, two Hebrew men were fighting so Moses asked why they were doing so.  One of the men responded back, “Who do you think you are telling us what to do?  Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?”  Then Moses panicked: “Word’s gotten out--people know about this.”  

Pharaoh heard about it and tried to kill Moses but Moses got away to the land of Midian where he sat down by a well.  The priest of Midian had seven daughters who came to the well to water their father’s sheep.  When some shepherds came and chased the girls off, Moses came to their rescue and helped them water their sheep.  They informed their father, Reuel who invited Moses to join them for dinner....Moses later agreed to settle down there with Reuel who gave his daughter Zipporah (Bird) to him for his wife.  She had a son and Moses named him Gershom (Sojourner).

Many years later, the king of Egypt died.  The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out.  Their cries fro relief from their hard labor ascended to God.  God listened to their groanings.  He remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God saw what was going on with Israel.  God understood.

John 12:36-12:50
Jesus said all of this and then went into hiding.  All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him.  This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right...first they wouldn’t believe, then they couldn’t---again, just as Isaiah said...

One the other hand, a considerable number from the ranks of the leaders did believe.  But because the Pharisees, they didn’t come out in the open with it.  They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place.  When pushed came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory... Jesus summed it up...I am the Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.  If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject his.  I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world.  But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection.  The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word.  The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it.  And I know exactly what this command produces: real and eternal life.  That’s all I have to say.  What the Father told me, I told you.”