January 26, 2016

Exodus 15-17
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to God, giving voice together....Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister took a tambourine and all the women followed her, dancing, Miriam led them in singing.  

Moses then led Israel from the Red Sea on to the Wilderness of Shur.  They traveled for three days through the wilderness without finding water...And the people complained to Moses...So Moses cried out in prayer to God.  God pointed him to a stick of wood.  Moses threw it into the bitter water at Marah and the water turned sweet.  That’s the place where God set up rules and procedures, that’s where he started testing them...

On the 15th day of the second month after they had left Egypt, the whole company of Israel moved from the comfort of Elim (12 springs of water & 70 palm trees) to the Wilderness of Sin...The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness questioning why God didn’t let them die in Egypt in comfort where they had lamb  stew and all the bread they could eat....God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you.  The people will go out and gather each day’s ration.  I’m going to test them to see if they’ll live according to my Teaching or not.  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have gathered, it will turn out to be twice as much as their daily ration.  

Mose and Aaron told the People of Israel, “This evening you will know that is is God who brought you out o fEgypt, and in the morning, you will see the Glory of God.  Yes he’s listened to your complaints against him.  You haven’t been complaining against us, you’ve been complaining to God!”...That evening, Aaron gave out the instructions to the whole company of Israel, and they turned to face the wilderness.  And there it was, the Glory of God visible in the Cloud... That evening, quail flew in and covered the camp and in the morning there was a layer of dew al over the camp.  When the layer of dew was lifted, there on the wilderness ground was a fine flakey something which they had no idea what it was...So Moses told them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat...Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent...Each person had as much as was needed ---whether they gathered too much or too little.  Moses said to them, “Don’t leave any of it until morning.”  

But they didn’t listen to Moses.  A few of the men kept back some until morning.  It got wormy and smelled bad.  And Moses lost his temper with them.  On the 6th day, Moses said to them- “Tomorrow is a day of rest...bake and boil whatever you need today with your double portions  then set aside what is left until morning.  Those who did found that it didn’t smell or there were no worms in it.  On the 7th day, however, some of the people still went out to gather anyway but they didn’t find anything.  God said to Moses, “How long are you going to disobey my commands and not follow my instructions...So people quit working on the Sabbath. 
The Israelites named the bread manna (What is it?) and it tasted like a cracker with honey.  Moses told Aaron , “Take a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna.  Place it before God, keeping it safe for future generations so they can see the bread that God fed Israel in the desert after he brought them out of Egypt.  

Directed by God, the whole company of Israel moved on by stages from the Wilderness of Sin.  They set camp at Rephidim.  And their wasn’t a drop of water for the people to drink.  The people took Moses to task:  “Give us water to drink!”  But Moses said, “Why pester me?  Why are you testing God?”  But the people were thirsty and again complained about being taken from Egypt and dragged out to this wilderness to die.  Moses cried out in prayer to God “What can I do with these people?  Any minute now they’ll kill me!  God said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel.  Take the staff used to strike the Nile.  And go.  I am going to be present before you there on the rock of Horeb.  You are to strike the rock.  Water will gush out of it and the people will drink.”  Moses did what he said, with the Elders of Israel right there watching.

Amalek came out and fought Israel at Rephidim.  Moses ordered Joshua: “Select some men for us and go out and fight Amalek.  Tomorrow I will take my stand on top of the hill holding God’s staff...It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning.  So when Moses got tired from holding up his hands, Aaron and Hur got a stone which they set under him then held up his hands, one on each side so his hands remained up until the sun went down as Joshua defeated Amelek.  God said to Moses, “Write this up as a reminder to Joshua to keep it before him because I will most certainly wipe the very memory of Amalek off the face of teh Earth.”

John 16
I’ve told you these things to prepare you for the tough times ahead.  They are going to throw you out of the meeting places.  There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor.  They will do these things because they never really understood the Father...the longer I’ve talked, the sadder you’ve become.  

So let me say it again, this truth:  It’s better for you that I leave.  If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come.  But if I go, I’ll send him to you.  When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment:  He will show them that their refusal to believe in me  is their basic sin, that righteousness comes from above...that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial.  I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now.  But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.  He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said...In a day or so you’re not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me.

That stirred up a hornet’s nest of questions among the disciples....Jesus knew they were dying to ask him what he meant so he said, “....Then fix this firmly in your minds:  You’re going to be in deep mourning while the godless world throws a party.  You’ll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness (much like the hard time in birth that then turns to joy)...When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you.  You’ll no longer be full of questions.  

This is what I want you to do:  Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you.  Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you.  Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!  ...  Because you’ve gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly”...The disciples said, “Finally you’ve given it to us straight...We’re convinced you came from God.”  Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe?  In fact, you are about to make a run for it--saving your own skins and abandoning me...I’ve told you this so that trusting in me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.  In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart, I’ve conquered the world.”