June 16-22

 This week’s memory verses:

Exodus 20:1-3
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”

This week’s Scripture Readings:

Exodus 1:1-2:24 – The Birth of Moses
Exodus 3:1-4:17 – The Burning Bush
Exodus 6:28-11:10 – The Ten Plagues
Exodus 12:1-42 – The Passover and the Exodus
Exodus 13:17-14:31 – Crossing the Red Sea

Day 1

The Birth of Moses – Exodus 1 and 2 

 The book of Exodus begins with a recap, catching us up on the story of Abraham’s descendants. It tells us about his great-grandchildren, the sons of Jacob, this large family that was a huge part in God’s overall plan. It even mentions Joseph’s death. Essentially, these words are to remind us about the great man who not only brought the Israelites into Egypt, but sustained Egypt in the famine. However, it seems that when Joseph died, the status of the Israelites died with him. Pharaoh appoints taskmasters over the Israelite people because he recognized their massive numerical growth and feared the Hebrews would become a larger and stronger people. Naturally, the Egyptians began treating the Israelites poorly. Despite this poor treatment, the Israelites continue to prosper. So, Pharaoh turned to having the midwives kill all of the Hebrew boys. The midwives, however, show great bravery and trust God over man. Thus, Pharaoh goes beyond the midwives and makes a decree that all Israelite people will throw their own sons into the river. The situation seems dire, and in a word, hopeless. However, we will see God work. This is a reminder of the great truth from Gen. 50:20. The Egyptians may mean to treat Israel poorly, but God will use it for their good. How? The nation could not grow in this drastic way in Canaan, the Promised Land, because there it was practically impossible to avoid intermarriage with wicked inhabitants of Canaan. Egypt was so racist that Israel could grow there over several centuries without being consumed. While the Israelites probably thought God had left them to their slavery, he was working out his plan all along. So, when we can’t see him working, what will we do? Will we trust he is still at work, still turning things meant for harm into things meant for his glory?

Technically, Moses’ mother did exactly what Pharaoh told the Hebrew people to do with their baby boys putting him in the river, albeit inside a lifesaving basket. Because of her incredible trust in God, she hid Moses 3 months because she did not fear Pharaoh, but trusted God. She put him in the basket and let him go because she trusted God with his future. She was right to do so. It was no mistake the current took that basket directly to Pharaoh’s daughter. As a princess she would need someone to “raise the baby”and the Lord would use Pharaoh’s own purse to pay for Moses’ care.  Thus, Moses’ mother’s faithfulness resulted in her getting to raise her child and provide for her family. Then, Moses grows up in the royal palace. Some historians say he was in line to take the throne after Pharaoh. Whatever the case, we know for sure that he got the finest education and training. However, it was from this position of privilege that he acted. He killed an Egyptian and fled because he had acted out of his own knowledge and wisdom. God didn’t want him to save one Israelite, but all of them. Moses, however, had to be humbled to be used by God. That’s exactly what his time in Midian did. It humbled Moses. Moses couldn’t save the Israelites from his royal palace, he had to be brought low. The same is true of God. Jesus left his royal palace. He condescended, humbled himself to take on flesh in order to save the world. It is this ultimate end, the death of Jesus Christ, that is being worked toward here when God remembers his people and acts in covenant love toward them.

Day 2

The Burning Bush – Exodus 3 and 4 

Exodus 3 begins with Moses’ calling by God. Moses sees the burning bush, yet it is not consumed. The Angel of the Lord calls to him from this bush. Moses soon finds out from the Lord that this is the God of Abraham, and Moses hides his face. God goes on to commission Moses and reveals that he is the “I am.” For the first time, God makes Himself known as “יהוה” or “Yahweh”. The divine name, Yahweh, carries loaded into it’s meaning God’s self-sufficiency and His self-existence. Though, we all need countless people and things to sustain us, God is all God needs to be God.


Exodus 4 begins with God giving Moses signs to confirm his commission. The rod is turned to a snake and back again. Moses is made leprous and healed. Water is turned to blood and back again. In response, Moses makes excuses! Despite all of that, God continues to pursue Moses in his unwillingness, even to the point of sparing his life. Is this not true of all of us? God has called us to himself through his son Jesus Christ. When we, in faith, respond to this gift of grace, we are then called to follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we begin to see the ways in which he has gifted us and what we are called to. However, like Moses, we make excuses. God shows Moses these signs and reveals himself as the Father of Abraham, yet Moses is afraid. Often, we are the same. Today, remember that the God of all creation has shown himself capable and called us to be involved into His plans! We may respond with excuses but He is who he has always been and always will be! We must trust in this God who has shown himself able and faithful. Eventually, Moses and Aaron make it to Egypt and present themselves to the Israelite people. Those Israelite people believe.

Day 3

The Ten Plagues – Exodus 6-11

First, we see God remind Moses that he is the God of the covenant. “I am the Lord.” (It would do us good to remember this). Then, God goes on to make 7 “I will” promises or statements. 1) I will bring you out, 2) I will rescue you from bondage, 3) I will redeem you, 4) I will take you as my people, 5) I will be your God, 6) I will bring you into my land, and 7) I will give it to you as an inheritance. These statements to the Israelite people from God through Moses are spiritually applicable to us today. They were all fulfilled and brought near by our savior Jesus Christ. Yet, the Israelites do not heed Moses. God, however, tells Moses to stick to the plan. Now, Moses objects. While his previous objection was because of his capability, his objection now is of worthiness/cleanliness. Moses wanted to quit after the first setback. God had much to do in his heart before Moses would be ready to deal with all the discouragement ahead as he led Israel to the Promised Land. God is shaping us as well. God is more powerful than any inadequacy of Moses. He is only asking for obedience. The same is true for us. He can overcome any shortcoming, real or imagined, that keeps us from serving him.

Chapters 7 and 8 begin by showing us God’s patient kindness in going over his “Game plan” with Moses. God tells Moses that he and Aaron are to go before Pharaoh and that Pharaoh’s heart will be hardened. God will allow Pharaoh’s heart to pursue its sinful rebellion. When Pharaoh refuses to listen to Moses, the plagues begin. These plagues all attack a god that the Egyptians value and come in a pattern where every third plague comes without warning. First, the water of the Nile is turned to blood. The Nile was worshipped as a god for its bounty and provision of life. God is showing that it is He that controls the Nile. This is also true for the frogs. Frogs were worshipped as a female deity. It is almost as if God is saying, “You want to worship frogs? Here, have them all!” Nevertheless, these plagues do not change Pharaoh’s heart. When the third plague (lice) comes, the Egyptian priests are unable to worship their gods because of their rules of cleanliness. Another thing to remember with this third plague is that we must never think God is unfair when He does not show mercy. If someone is totally fair, they would never show mercy. He isn’t required to warn Pharaoh and he is certainly not required to keep giving him chances. However, he does. That’s mercy. Furthermore, the fourth plague, the flies, brings a false repentance from Pharaoh. He says it’s ok for the Israelites to worship, but they cannot leave Egypt. God will make no bargains. Eventually, the false repentance shows itself as just that: false. As soon as a calamity befalls us, we turn to God. However, when it is removed, we turn away with hardened hearts. Pharaoh is not atypical in his behavior, but actually quite typical (we, sadly, can relate). This entire picture reminds us of the gospel. God sent Jesus to mediate for mankind (like Moses but more perfect). Jesus tells us of our sin and our need to see God for who he is. Yet, we humans turned away with hardened hearts, much like Pharaoh. However, God didn’t give up. He kept pursuing us, and his mediator did not simply demand our release, but died for it.

In this ninth chapter we see the fifth (disease on livestock), sixth (boils), and seventh (hail) plagues upon Egypt. Of course, these still fit the patterns mentioned previously. The diseased livestock was probably directed against the female goddess Hathor, who was often pictured as a cow. The boils were probably directed against Imhotep, the god of medicine. Also, this sixth plague came unannounced, just like the 3rd plague did. It is important to remember that these plagues are not only punishment on the Egyptians are also a show of power by the one, true God. The God of the weak and enslaved Hebrews is the God of all Creation whose power is not limited by either geography or the weakness of His people!

It is this true God that Pharaoh refuses to heed. God even says as much in this chapter. He makes it very clear that he could have ended Pharaoh if he chose to do so. Instead, he is using this rebellion to show his own power. If Pharaoh thinks he is accomplishing anything with his resistance against God, he is dead wrong. All his stubborn rebellion will merely glorify God more in the end. Finally, the chapter closes with Pharaoh’s false repentance. While Pharaoh’s words are seem to be words of repentance, true repentance hasn’t worked its way into his heart. Pharaoh is grieved at the consequences of sin, but not the sin itself. Moses rightly discerns this and knows Pharaoh has not yet repented. This is important for us. Are we truly repentant? Does sin break our hearts because we know that it is against God? Or, do we simply feel bad about the consequences? Are we turning daily to our savior, who is the solution to sin, and being made like him? Or, are we holding on to something in our lives that has no place being there?

The eighth (locust) and ninth (darkness) plagues occur here in chapter 10. Again, God is answering Pharaoh’s earlier question: who is this God? This is the God greater than the god of the Nile, greater than the god of medicine, greater than the god of livestock, and, now, greater than the god of crops. Yet, Pharaoh still will not humble himself. Instead, this chapter is full of negotiations and false repentance. What Pharaoh wanted is what many of us want in the flesh – a way to “give in” to God, without fully submitting to Him. Sometimes we too look for a way to bargain with God as an equal, instead of submitting to Him as Creator and LORD. You never truly know him until you see him as exalted. You never see him as exalted until you see what he has done for us, through Jesus, when we deserved death. Thus, the nine plagues come to an end.

The 10th plague is so unique it will be looked at separately. The thing to take away from these first 9 plagues is that this God is the one and only. He has the true power. He has true strength. He is doing a great salvation work and he is using these plagues to show who he is.

As Moses stands before Pharaoh, in chapter 11, God reveals that Israel’s slavery is coming to an end. Thus, Moses warns that the last plague (first promised) is finally coming to pass. God gave many opportunities for Pharaoh to submit, but he would not. Now those Israelites who had patiently suffered are being freed. God changed the hearts of the Egyptians so that they have no problem giving the Israelites their “backed-wages” for the generations of slavery they had. Moses even warns that when this final event takes place, when the firstborn are taken, it will be because Pharaoh’s hard heartedness and not the Israelite’s actions. We must remember that God honors those who honor him. Those who cling to the son and daily strive to grow in his likeness will be honored. Those who do not honor him are certainly given opportunities to turn toward him (but should not presume they will continue to get those chances). However, those who carelessly live a life with no concern for God will pay a price. This seems harsh. Yet, the fact that there is any hope at all for sinners is an underserved gift of mercy. Those of us who have accepted this gift have been given the chance (and responsibility) to tell those without this hope about it. Are we?

Day 4

Passover and Exodus – Exodus 12

Exodus 12 records the beginnings of the Passover, an event so momentous it is impossible to understand the rest of the Bible without it. While there are several important aspects of Passover to examine, it is impossible to discuss them all here. What is important to see is the purpose of, and things involved in, Passover. First, God makes it clear that a spotless lamb must be taken for a household. This lamb will live with the family for a few days and then killed (imagine how attached the children got to the animal). The blood will go on the sides and top of the doorway for each Israelite family, the meat will be eaten, any leftovers will be burned, and the meal would be taken in full travel dress. Eating with the clothes and staff show their trust that God would free them. The blood on the door is so that the angel of the Lord will “pass over” the dwelling and not take a firstborn. Since the Egyptians do not do this, they lose their firstborn children. The loss of the children is what finally convinces Pharaoh to heed God and let the people go. Thus, the Israelites leave Egypt and the exodus begins.

 This event is so significant for the Israelite people that it literally reorders their whole calendar. The month of Passover is now the first month of the Israelite year and will be repeated as a reminder for all generations to follow. However, it has significance for us as well. Jesus is our Passover lamb. He is the perfect, unblemished sacrifice. He came and lived among his people and without his blood covering our lives we would die. John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus was the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5 that Jesus is our Passover sacrificed for us. Thank God for our Passover lamb!

Day 5

Crossing the Red Sea – Exodus 13 and 14

 The chapter begins with God’s instruction concerning firstborn children, animals, and the feast of unleavened bread. The firstborn children and animals were to be given to God, or set apart. Thus, the firstborn male child or the firstborn lamb were both to be set apart for God. This was to show that Israel, God’s firstborn, had been set apart for his use as well and that people delivered by God are to have their lives ordered by their God. The God who saves us, rules us!

Next, the feast of unleavened bread was to be a week-long celebration of the events of Passover. As the passage states, when children ask why these things are done, it is to be explained. It was meant to be a reminder of what had taken place. More importantly, it shows that our joy and ability to walk rightly with the Lord can only come after the blood sacrifice given for us by Jesus.

Therefore, Israel is now ready to begin its journey out of Egypt. However, God does not take them on the road that would be the fastest way out of Egypt. Instead, he takes them a different, longer way. The passage says he did this so the Israelite people would not see the Egyptian military force present along the shorter route and turn back in fear. It would have been easy for the Israelites to think that the shorter road was the way to go. This way had good, easy roads, the shortest distance, and it was a trade route so food and water could be bought. But the dangers of the way were too great, even though they could not see them. The same is true of our walk with God; a way that seems right to us may turn out to be full of danger we can’t even think of. We often want God to give us the shorter or easier way. However, if he chooses to take us another way, then it is for our good. It is to guard us from some danger or hardship that we may not see or be ready for yet. It is to prepare us in some way. May we stay faithful, obedient, and dependent while God chooses which road we should take knowing that even when He takes the long way, He will never take the wrong way!

God commanded Moses to lead the Israelites in such a way that looked as if they were confused. The Egyptians and their leader, Pharaoh, had a change of heart when they witnessed this. They began to wonder why they let the Israelites leave (forget the 10 plagues that just occurred). It is easy for us to question the Egyptians, but how often do we forgot what God has done. With this change of heart, Pharaoh commands his chariots to chase down the Israelites and bring them back. We know what happens next. The Israelites cry out in fear, wondering if their escape was in vain. Moses tries to calm them, but in his prayers to God we see that he too is afraid. Verse 14 – “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” This is a great reminder. At this point, Moses could have no idea how God would come through in the situation. All he knew was God certainly would come through. In a sense, Moses knew he was in such a bad situation that God had to come through. When the big things come, we usually know we need God. For us, the trouble comes with the small things, the things we think we can do alone. When those situations get out of our control, we get afraid or disappointed. In either instance, we must not fear but trust and rely on God. Thus, God leads the Israelite people across the Red Sea on dry ground while their pursuers are swept away by the sea.

The Passover and crossing of the Red Sea as the climax of the Exodus story are so central to the Old Testament understanding of Israel’s redemption that it is critical we understand the moments where God in power and in love rescued His people. The God of scripture is a God who provides salvation when it seems impossible. It won’t be the last time this happens, as he will provide salvation in the death of his son Jesus.