Jan 31 Exo 29:19-31:11; Psa 20:1-9

What is the significance of Aaron and his sons laying their hands on each of the animals to be sacrificed during their consecration service?

Why would God command that the holy leftovers be burnt? Since they are holy, why are they not ordered to be used up (29:34)? Like the ark of the covenant, the altars made were to have metal rings or loops on them through which poles were used when moving them. These items were holy and not to be touched (especially so by those not of the lineage of Aaron). Hence the problem we see in David’s day when the ark was returned and it was hauled on a cart instead of carried properly by the priests as God had commanded here (2 Samuel 6:2-11).

30:11-16 explains the offering to be given when a census is taken. David sinned by ordering a census on his own, they were only supposed to be ordered only by God. This passage is also the basis for the ONLY tax originally authorized by our nation’s Constitution (everyone pays the same, the poor are not exempt, and the rich do not pay more, verse 15. This rules out sales taxes, property taxes, and income taxes, most especially the “graduated“ income tax [Article 1, Sections 2, 9]).

The first five verses of Psalm 20 are a pronouncement of blessing by David. Verse seven states that although some boast in their tanks and fighter aircraft, our boast is in God alone! Verse nine is a petition for God to continue to “hear” (and answer!) His people.

Jan 30 Exo 27:9-29:18; Psa 19:7-14

What is the purpose of the lamp continuously burning pure, clear olive oil (27:20-21)?

A span (28:16) is half a cubit, or about nine inches; a cubit being the distance from the elbow (bent) to the end of the middle finger. So far we have two memorials of the sons of Israel which Aaron bears before the Lord, each of them being a stone with the tribes’ names inscribed thereon. One set worn on the shoulder pieces (two stones, six names on each; 28:11-12)), the other worn set on the breast over the heart (twelve stones 28:29).

Do you suppose that 28:36-39 is the basis for the headgear of Arabs today (they do claim descent from Abraham, although they hate the Jews)?

We are only at the “beginning” of the laws regarding the sacrificial system, but have you noticed how bloody it was?

I believe that the terms used in Psalm 19:7-9 are used synonymously (law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear, and judgments). Each is “of the Lord,” and its “definition” also reflects attributes of God (perfect/blameless, sure, right, pure, clean, and true). Each of these further develops God’s follower (restoring the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, enduring forever, and being righteous altogether. These together are much more desirable than gold (verse 10), sweeter than honey (ibid.). “Keep me from sin Oh Lord, and help me to praise You are my Master, my Foundation, the One who has redeemed me from sin.”

Jan 29 Exo 25:1-27:8; Psa 19:1-6

Why is so much in the tabernacle overlaid with gold?

Why are all these detailed instructions listed in our Bibles (chapters 25-26)?

A useful book for better understanding the Temple is “The Temple: It’s Ministry and Services as they were at the time of CHRIST” by Alfred Edersheim. His magnum opus “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,” first published in 1883 is very well worth the read although it is lengthy (over 1500 pages). He was a learned scholar, fluent in biblical languages, and although a Christian, had the advantage of being of rabbinical lineage and the oral teaching that went with it.

HOW do the heavens tell of God’s glory (Psalm 19:1), especially when we are told that they do it soundlessly (verse 3)?

Jan 28 Exo 21:33-24:18; Psa 18:43-50

Verses 33-34 are the biblical basis for fences around swimming pools. The reason for such a high “fee” for stealing an ox is that this was not only a source of meat, but this was the farmer’s tractor, his source of livelihood. The lowest fine for theft is the price of the article stolen plus twenty percent, and this is ONLY if one confesses before being caught. If one is caught the lowest price is double the value of the stolen item. And NONE of this is paid to anyone but the victim. It is all restitution. Hmmm!

And if he can’t pay (verse 3) he shall be sold [into slavery] to pay for his theft. Yes, the Bible condones slavery, but for violating God’s Order. This would empty our prisons and stimulate our economy if we fully followed the Bible, would it not?!

What do you make of verses 14 and 15? The enforcement of verse 16 would change a lot in our society as well . . . As would 18 . . . And 20.

Verse 25 is key to understanding “usury.” It is alright to charge interest on most loans, but not when loaning to those who really NEED it to live on.

23:2 rules out “mob rule,” even in Congress and the Senate! Does verse five remind you of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31)? 23:8 says that it is wrong to take a bribe. Would it ever be right to GIVE (or offer) a bribe?

Notice the seventy elders, representing the entire world (24:1, 9) and not just Israel.

Psalm: Blessings! Praises! Thanksgiving!

Jan 27 Exo 19:1-21:32; Psa 18:37-42

Do you think being on Sinai (chapter 19) would have been a frightening experience? Why/why not?

The Hebrew for the Ten Commandments (chapter 20) is literally “the ten words,” which may also be understood as ten sentences or ten sayings. Are they only binding upon those who are called by God’s name, or upon all He has created?

It is often commented that the fifth commandment is the first commandment with a promise, and this is true as it is in the form of “do this and be blessed.” However, there is an implicit promise in the second commandment (20:4-6): God basically says, I will whomp on those who worship idols, even up to three or four generations; but I will bless forever those who love and serve Me–forever!

Instead of merely stating “Do not covet” for the tenth commandment (verse 17), why do you suppose God gave so many examples of what not to covet?

Chapter 21 begins part of what I like to call the “case laws.” These show us how to apply God’s Law to the situations of life. Verses 22-25 are among my favorites because they teach us the wrongness of abortion. But they are mistranslated in most Bibles. The mistranslation is in verse 22, and rather than saying “she has a miscarriage,” it should say, and “if the child comes out.” In other words the “problem” is if this struggle causes the woman to go into labor and deliver early. In this unlikely scenario though, the husband of the woman is allowed to ask WHATEVER the judges will allow. In EVERY other situation there is a limit imposed, or an amount fixed. PLUS if the child is born early and there is any harm to the child, then that harm is also to be inflicted upon the perpetrators (fighters). This is the ONLY place in Scripture where this eight-fold penalty is laid out. Elsewhere only a few of these items occur together, the most being five (Deuteronomy 19:21). So, if God says such is the penalty for something that is highly unlikely to occur, how much more do those who intentionally take a child’s life deserve punishment?

21:28-32 teach us that accidents do happen and generally no one is at fault. However, if an owner has been warned that he has “faulty equipment” (or mean livestock), and he does nothing about it, he is fully liable.

Psalm: I wiped my enemies out completely and I am happy for it. But I was only able to do it because YOU God gave me the strength and ability to do so! They cried for help but even You didn’t save them (presumably because they deserved destruction).

Jan 26 Exo 16:8-18:27; Psa 18:25-36

I find it funny that the name “manna” by which we know the food with which they were supplied daily in the wilderness actually means, “What is this?” On a serious note, I find it sad that the majority never did “get” the fact that the Sabbath was a day of rest for God’s honor . . . And we often do not get it today.

We need to be careful that we do not disdain the advice of others. Moses received great labor and time-saving advice from his father-in-law (18:13-27).

Psalm: David seems to say that God rewards us as we deserve, and because he is serving God faithfully God gives him great victory and multiplies his efforts. God is blameless (v. 30).

Jan 25 Exo 14:1-16:7; Psa 18:16-24

God is STILL hardening Pharaoh’s heart (heart is mind so it means he’s making him obstinate, stubborn). Can you imagine the fear in many of the Israelites? Yes, they’ve heard of the death of the firstborn, and yes, they have seen the plundering of Egypt. But at this moment the world’s greatest army is in pursuit of them! How often are we fearful when we have no need?

And how often do we try to second guess God (14:11-12)? Verse 13 is great. Remember Pharaoh in his anger at Moses and Aaron and telling them they’d never see his face again (Exodus 10:28)? Here Moses tells the Israelites: “Quit shaking in your sandals. Watch how God saves us! You will never see these guys again FOREVER.” Not just “not again,” but “never forever!”

It was gross stupidity for the Egyptians to venture into the dry seabed with walls of water on either side. But such is the lot of those who oppose God, their “wisdom” is shown to be foolish (Proverbs 1:7; Romans 1:22; 1 Corinthians 1:20-27; 3:19).

What kind of beat do you think the music had when Moses and the Israelites sang 15:1-18?

The Marah (bitter) mentioned in 15:23 is the same word that Naomi says should be used of her (Ruth 1:20).

15:26 is quite a promise . . . But it is conditional and His people did not keep their end of the bargain.

Is it wise to grumble against God or His servants (16:2, 7)?

In today’s Psalm David proclaims the wondrous blessings of God, and his own righteousness. Or is he only bragging up his relationship with God?

Jan 24 Exo 12:14-13:22; Psa 18:7-15

The Passover is to be a memorial and a permanent ordinance (12:14). That is (in reverse order) it is commanded by God and its purpose is to make them remember (stop and think carefully about) what God has done for them.

Why do you suppose God ordered unleavened bread and bitter herbs to be eaten for the Passover celebration?

“there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead” (12:30). Pharaoh’s response was to have a message sent to Aaron and Moses to get out of the country with all that they had, to go worship God, “and bless me also” (12:32).

Can you imagine the logistical problems of moving two million people along with their tent homes and their livestock (12:37-38). Some take verse 38 to mean that many Egyptians joined themselves to the Hebrews and left with them. Since they are not counted in the genealogies, this would increase the number of those who went out.

In chapter 13 God institutes the setting apart of the firstborn of man and beast. This ultimately points forward to Jesus, the Christ (Messiah, Anointed One). But like many other Old Testament rites which should have shown the Jews who their Messiah was, they turned more to form and ritual than to the true meaning. Can Christians today do the same? Do they ever?

13:8 is one of the many reminders in Scripture that we are to be telling the generations after us of the blessings and grace that flow from our God!

The wearing of points of the law were to be a reminder to love and follow God. But here too they people got caught up in the substance of the matter and forgot what it was all about (Christmas?).

We should remember verses like Psalm 18:7-15 when we are reading and trying to understand John’s Revelation.

Jan 23 Exo 9:13-12:13; Psa 18:1-6

How many times at this point (9:13) have we heard the phrase, “Let My people go!”? I think this is the seventh, and it’s not the last. Since the livestock of the Egyptians has already been destroyed why did God tell Pharaoh (through Moses) to bring in their livestock if they didn’t want it to die by hail (9:19)? Did God forget that they were all dead? No. God provided them livestock by allowing them to buy such from the Hebrews! Probably at a good profit (for the prophet!).

What do you make of verse 34, chapter 9? 10:2? Pharaoh makes quite an admission at 10:16; but it didn’t last long (10:20). Have you ever experienced a “darkness which may be felt” (10:21)? If so, when, where? “But the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings!” (10:23).

As the plagues progress we see that although Pharaoh does not want to give in to God and Moses, that he seems to relent a bit so as not to lose face. I’ll let you go but not the kids; then later, OK, the kids can go but only the sacrificial livestock, none else. But it is the final plagues as God says which will cause Pharaoh to send you out (11:1). And the Egyptians PAID them to leave! (11:2-3; see also 3:21-22 and 12:35-36). And God will SHOW the difference between His people and the people of Pharaoh in that in the land of the Egyptians there will be much noise of mourning, but in the land of God’s people the dogs won’t even be barking (11:6-7)! Have you ever been out at night? There are ALWAYS dog barking.

Notice carefully the commands for the Passover, as Jesus the ultimate Passover lamb completely fulfilled these requirements. Just as the people of that day had to put the blood of the slain lamb on the doorposts and on the lintel; so we must claim the blood of Christ shed for us. And just as the angel of death passed over those who were obedient, those of us who are obedient to Him are passed over by the second death (eternal damnation). God slew Pharaoh’s first born for his disobedience; but He sent His own firstborn to be slain in order to take away the sin of the world.

Note the long introductory verse to this Psalm (18). How many titles does David ascribe to God in just the first two verses?

Jan 22 Exo 7:1-9:12; Psa 17:13-15

“The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” (7:5). Fill in “you” or any other name for “Egyptians,” but most often when this is said, it means bad news for the one whose name is “in the blank.” Occasionally, but very seldom, it is good news to that person/group. Most often in Scripture it means that God is ready to punish for continued disobedience.

The word LORD in our English translations is actually “Yahweh” in the Hebrew. But the Jews got superstitious about saying God’s name out loud. A transliteration of the Hebrew would be YHWH, consonants only. The early scribes wrote in the vowels for Adonai, meaning lord (a-o-a). When those reading aloud came to the divine name (the Tetragrammaton–four letters) they would say “Adonai” instead of Yahweh. This has been carried over into modern translations and was even corrupted by some into Jehovah, reading the original consonants for God’s name and the vowels for “lord.” (Remember the German J is equivalent to an English Y. Confused yet?!)

In chapter 7 Moses is told what miracle to perform when Pharaoh demands one. These are “attesting miracles,” attesting to the veracity of the performer, that he is indeed speaking and working for God. Notice that Jesus though refused to perform miracles when requested/demanded. In His case His whole life and all He did should have been evidence enough. Many people just want to witness a miracle and do not want the responsibility that Jesus demands of us (they are though, “without excuse” Romans 1:20).

Which do you suppose was more grievous to Pharaoh, the plagues? Or having to deal with his wife because his own stubbornness brought on the plagues? Are we much different? How/how not?

Pharaoh’s magicians finally got the hint and told him “this is the finger/power of God [a REAL one, not a wannabe],” but he ignored them (8:19).

Can you imagine the patience and love of God to take so long and give so many chances to Pharaoh and his people when He could have just destroyed them at the very first?

Chapter 9 is where God makes the first distinction between the peoples. The earlier plagues came upon all, these come only on the Egyptians (9:4).

The world wants its “things,” David says. “But I want that which is right and proper; to serve God and be always in His presence!”