Monthly Archives: February 2022

Exodus [The Road Out] – Direct Access

Exodus 19:1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 And when they set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain. 3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to  the children of Israel.”

This is my poetic representation of God’s word using verbatim phrases from this portion of Exodus 19 with the goal of seeing the place God is creating for Jesus.  I have the advantage of hindsight and knowing the reality of God’s desire is to make a place for Himself within the people of His own heart.  Moses hoped the Instructions God gave him to give to the people he’d led to this mountain would become a convenient working arrangement between them, but God had something greater in mind.  He intended those Ten Words to become the promise of direct priestly access. 

The third new moon after
the land of Egypt,
they came into the wilderness of Sinai.
There Israel encamped before the mountain.
Moses went up to God.
The Lord called to him
saying, Thus you shall say –
You have seen what I did
how I bore you on eagles’ wings
and brought you to myself.
Now therefore,
if you will obey my voice
and keep my covenant,
you shall be my own possession among all peoples
you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. RSV

It’s taken three months to get to this place of wilderness at the foot of the Mountain of God. “The word conventionally translated ‘wilderness’ is not a sandy desert, but grazing country, not settled by man.”a  Some scholars believe God has brought Moses back to the same place of the burning bush where He first spoke audibly to Moses.  Now Moses has heard the voice of God for a second time and been given the Ten Commands from God that are meant to offer tired, hungry, irritable and lost people a place of worship where they will finally have direct access to God within their memory, their mind and their heart.  Come, Lord Jesus!

aEnduring Word commentary

Wednesday with John – Conversation

John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.”Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? …7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

What is the general theme of the passage?
It’s like Nicodemus and Jesus are having a conversation about two different things.  Nicodemus wants Jesus to know he knows the corporate “we” position: “we” recognize your position with God because of the signs you do.  It’s an odd conversation because Jesus responds to Nicodemus as if he’s answering a question about the Kingdom of God rather than replying to a statement about faith.  Jesus has answered that unasked question to help Nicodemus figure out his “personal” position with God, even if it means going back to square one and learning about love, faith and relationship with God, as if you’re a new born baby.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?
Jesus answers questions of faith our hearts don’t know enough to ask. Jesus has Kingdom answers for our unasked questions that will remind us that new birth is the reality of  our faith and our continued growth.  

What does it say about people?
We’re confused about our faith and what to expect from it.  Our hearts and minds fool us into depending on what “we” know as the basis of our faith rather than our personal relationship with Jesus.

Is there truth here for me?
Keeping the conversation with Jesus going will answer the Kingdom questions I don’t know enough to ask…yet!  I have physical senses that let me feel and hear the wind and I have Spiritual senses [born of the Spirit] so I can understand the difference between a comfortable breeze and a brewing storm in life and in faith — “so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”  

Check out this resource on John 3:16.  I feel safe in guaranteeing you will never “breeze” through that verse casually again after investing your time in John Piper’s four labs on John 3:16

Exodus [The Road Out] – Remember!

Exodus 13:3 And Moses said to the people, “Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; no leavened bread shall be eaten. 4 This day you are to go forth, in the month of Abib. 5 And when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jeb′usites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month…9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt…18 But God led the people round by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle…

“by strength of hand the Lord brought you out.”


Memory of the Lord walking with us is still “the road out” of bondage!  The Israelites began their journey with the promise of an oasis, a land flowing with milk and honey.  But between their bondage in Egypt and that land of freedom lay a vast wilderness with other less obvious adversaries they would have to conquer.  Remember, their battle wasn’t just with an Egyptian army, a sea, a lack of water, unfamiliar food, dietary restrictions and years in a vast wilderness, but with themselves.  The Lord’s plan was to equip their memory by His faithful presence for an ongoing battle against the unrelenting, hidden influences of the other enemies that must be met and overcome along the way: the Hittites, broken and fearful, the Amorites, bitter, broken and babbling and the wicked Hivites. “And the Lord went before them” leading them by day and by night.  Remember!

Wednesday with John – The Revelation

John 2:13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.  23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; 24 but Jesus did not trust himself to them, 25 because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man. RSV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus confronts the “legal” preparations, obligations and rationalizations for the Passover market that has made the Temple a place of diversion instead of a place to prepare yourself for true Worship.  The focus of worship must be changed from a place to a person.  “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” Revelation 21:22 ESV

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus, “the Lamb,”  is fully man so he knows how easily our minds, heart and souls can be diverted.  Jesus is “the Almighty” too, so His heart is determined we must NOT get away with allowing even the legal props of faith to divert us from true Worship.

What does it say about people?
People love ritual!  And preparation really is essential to worship.  The first Sign of Jesus was the wine…and the disciples believed.  This Sign of Jesus’s anger is going to be the memory prompt of their belief in what they have learned and remembered about the truth of walking, and working with Jesus.  

Is there truth here for me?
These words of John reveal how different my experience with Jesus is to that show-stopping action of His anger in the Temple.  But life with “the Lord God Almighty AND the Lamb”  is the challenge Jesus and John have made me aware of today.  It’s made me consider two unique truths: Jesus, the Lamb, is determined to love me AND Jesus, the Lord God the Almighty, sometimes has to whip up my conscience with guilt to remind me I don’t want to make His “Father’s house a house of trade.”

Do you not know that you are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
I Corinthians 3:16

Exodus [The Road Out] – Answered Prayer

Exodus 4
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou hast spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person.” RSV

Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later.  But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.[faithful to the end]
Hebrews 3:5 & 6 NLT

Wednesday with John – The Celebration

John 2:1-12 The Wedding at Cana
1 On the third day THERE WAS A MARRIAGE at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;
JESUS also was invited to the marriage, WITH HIS DISCIPLES.
3 When THE WINE GAVE OUT, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
4 And JESUS SAID to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? MY HOUR HAS NOT YET COME.”
5 His mother said to THE SERVANTS,  “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to them, “FILL THE JARS WITH WATER.” And they filled them to the brim.
8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to THE STEWARD of the feast.” So they took it.
9 When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and DID NOT KNOW where it came from (though THE SERVANTS who had drawn the water KNEW), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom
10 and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but YOU HAVE KEPT THE GOOD WINE UNTIL NOW.
11 This, the first of HIS SIGNS, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and MANIFESTED HIS GLORY; and HIS DISCIPLES BELIEVED in him.
12 After this HE WENT down to Caper′na-um, WITH HIS MOTHER AND HIS BROTHERS AND HIS DISCIPLES; and there they stayed for a few days.


What is the general theme of the passage?
The wedding is an allegory of faith.  Jesus does this first sign to give us a picture of the difference between attending a ceremony as a guest and becoming a participant in a lifelong “feast of the best of meats and the finest of wines.” [Isaiah 25:6 NLT]

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s purpose is to move His people from a ritual to relationship; to celebrate the perfect wedding and lasting relationship of the Groom and His bride.

What does it say about people?
People cannot always meet their own needs. Mary wants to organize Jesus, Jesus is reluctant, the guests are oblivious, the steward is confused, the servants were an unwitting part of the sign that convinced the disciples of their belief.  The wine was the Sign proving He could overcome all those human obstacles to rituals and relationships.

Is there truth here for me?
I am all the things I wrote about “those” people but nothing can limit  glory being manifested better, than when Jesus turns the basic elements of a ceremony into a celebration. I was happy to be a guest at the ceremony for a long time before I realized I have been identified  as the “bride” and that God’s rejoicing. Me too!

For just as a young man marries a maiden,
so your sons will marry you;
and just as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so your God will rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:5 ISV

Exodus [The Road Out] – The Purpose of Plagues

This verse from The Message Bible impressed itself on me so completely on the last day of 2021 that I made the choice it was going to be the basis of my future posts.  No matter which part of the Bible I might be looking at whether my personal favorites, “everything from the New Testament,” or the “lead up” Scriptures of the Old Testament.  There’s irony involved in how God uses our own words to teach us.  I can imagine that He’s smiling [possibly chuckling] from His throne that the choice for our women’s Bible study at church for the next year is a study of the five Books of Moses to focus [me in particular] on recognizing their “lead up” is really Jesus “leading” from behind the curtain of the Old Testament.  My own words are my gentle, but needed, reminder that my heart is going to be repositioned to experience new “rhythms of grace.”

Exodus 7:2 You shall speak all that I command you; and Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you; then I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring forth my hosts, my people the sons of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth my hand upon Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” RSV

Part 1 of today’s peek behind the curtain: Frogs! It never occurred to me that “the plagues” might have any significance other than being a messengers of destruction until I learned “In ancient Egyptian religion and mythology frogs were a symbol of both childbirth and life after death.”  They actually had a “frog” goddess so “it’s unlikely that the Egyptians were afraid of, or repulsed by, frogs.”

Exodus 8:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs; 3 the Nile shall swarm with frogs which shall come up into your house, and into your bedchamber and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and of your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls; 4 the frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.”’” …6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

It’s no coincidence that the Lord uses circumstances of life to become intersections of faith at some point.  Many years ago we lived on a lake.  The highway between towns was the division between the lake and a swamp near us. Twice a year there was a frog migration impacted by some internal need that would drive them from one side of that highway to the other; once to the swamp and once toward the lake. There was a swath of the road that would be covered with hundreds of frogs crossing.  There was no dodging them as you drove.  The road turned into a smelly field of massacre as traffic became part of an unnatural selection process.  There was no way to escape the situation if you needed to get somewhere…and it “stank.”

Exodus 8:7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts, and brought frogs upon the land of Egypt. 

Part 2 of the Peek:  Pharaoh was obviously a victim of his opportunistic and manipulative nature as he dealt with Moses and Aaron.  He’s an astounding example of mindlessly being driven by his own authority and power.  Repeatedly he called down double the trouble on his own people by asking his magicians to exercise their secret arts to duplicate the same plague on his people simply to prove he could compete with the Lord.  His power was the vehicle he could use do that, but that power couldn’t reposition his heart.

Exodus 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to entreat, for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” 10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God.

Part 3 of the Peek:.
15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and would not listen to them; as the Lord had said.

In verse 10 Moses clearly offered Pharaoh the cure for his irregular heart rhythm.  Pharaoh’s heart was hardened against the Lord’s truth but ironically he did still have power over his own truth.  This time “he hardened his [own] heart,” because of his desire to compete with God.  The one choice he could control was the one word spoken by Pharaoh that would unknowingly complete the Lord’s truth for his “tomorrow.”

Wednesday with John – Us and Them

John 1:35 The next day
John was standing with two of his disciples

36 and said “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
37 The two disciples
followed Jesus
38 Jesus turned and saw them following
“What do you seek?”
They said

“Rabbi, where are you staying?”
39 He said“Come and see.”
They stayed with him that day,
40 One of the two was Andrew.
41 He first found his brother Simon
“We have found the Messiah”
42 He brought him to Jesus.
43 The next day
Jesus found Philip and said…“Follow me.”
45 Philip found Nathan′a-el

“We have found him
whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote,
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathan′a-el coming to him
“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”
48 Nathan′a-el said…“How do you know me?”
Jesus answered.

Before Philip called you
“I saw you.”
50 “You shall see greater things” RSV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Kingdom evangelism of others is pretty obvious, but I wonder if it’s something bigger, like “us and them?”  John sees Jesus walking and identifies him as the Lamb of God.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus notices.  He responds to their curiosity. He invites, “come and see.”
What does it say about people?
They’re curious. The two disciples have obviously already heard about the Lamb of God.  Maybe they’ve even heard of Jesus and what he’s done.  They know enough to call Him “Rabbi’ (which means Teacher).” They’re curious enough to follow Him.  Something has happened as a result of their simple curiosity and the time spent with Jesus that has convinced them He IS the Messiah.
Is there truth here for me?
God didn’t plan evangelism as busy-work for believers.  My human nature wants to narrow the scope of evangelism to reaching out to someone else. It’s simpler to believe sharing the truth I know about Jesus is all it takes to make Him attractive to others. It’s true that what I have recognized about Jesus can be enough to provoke curiosity in someone else.  The real truth is my faith has limited value to the faith of anyone else…but curiosity is catching.  The gift of curiosity and time, invested together with the invitation to “come and see” how Jesus will reveal Himself is what makes evangelism personal for “us and them.”