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Best resource on prayer on 'unanswered prayer' is jerry sittser's classic "When Your Prayers go unanswered." This written by a man who has experience the tragic loss of his mother, daughter and wife in car accident. Also the author of A Grace Disguised. I have totally found sittser's works to be deep, meaningful and relevant on my walk with Jesus.

No prayer goes unanswered...we may not get the answer we think we should, but God ALWAYS answers. Years ago I had a little pekingese dog who was my "child", and when she became terminally ill, I asked...no, begged God to heal her and let me keep her. When we had to let her go to sleep and I took her to be cremated, I was devastated, and really close to being angry with God. The lovely Christian fellow who ran the Pet Cemetary turned me around tho. when I recited my tale of how I had stayed up night after night praying to God for a healing, and He had not answered my prayer, Brother Ben told me this. He said, "God did answer your prayer. She IS healed, and at peace, and will never hurt again. She is with Him, and you can't hope for a better answer to your prayer!" Major kick in the pity party for me!!! HE ALWAYS ANSWERS!!!

My thoughts on Exodus 12:32

“Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.” (NLT)

Every time I read about the exodus Pharaoh’s words “Go, but bless me as you leave” jump off the page at me. Here was a man who had belittled God asking Moses to bless him as he left. Even though Pharaoh didn’t believe in God he recognized that there was something special about our God and His people.

I truly believe that nonbelievers today note that there is something special about true Christians and our Lord and Savior. Some yearn for what we have and yet they still don’t open up their hearts to Christ. Some so fear us that they want to eradicate us. You don’t fear and seek to eradicate something unless you see it as holding some special power that can inflict pain on you in some way or special power that can demolish all that you put your trust in. Some mock us but even their mockery shows that there is something special about us or else they would just ignore us. Yes, our Heavenly Father is special and all-powerful and we as His children are also special. The worldly people have always known this and yet they still aren’t willing to give up the worldly ways they cherish and get the fulfillment that only Jesus Christ can provide. How sad that is especially since Christ has made it so simple to be one of His flock. All it takes is just acknowledging and loving the Heavenly Father and allowing Him to acknowledge, love and bless us as one of His children!

God Bless!

Matthew 20

Two Blind Men Receive Sight

Interestring thing here is that this healing is positioned before the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The men acknowledged the Lord and asked for mercy. They wanted to see, and the Lord had compassion and made them able to see.

So???? Just another healing. Perhaps, but maybe it is foreshadowing the fact that if the crowd in Jerusalem acknowledged Him, asked for mercy, that they too would be able to see that Jesus was Messiah - just a thought.
Matthew 21
The Triumphal Entry

Going to wait for Luke recount to go into more detail, but this entry is a fulfillment of prophecy. Not just Zech9:9 which skeptics charge Jesus manipulated, but also Daniel 9:24-27. Using some math and the Hebrew calender from the date March 14, 445 BC (When Babylon sent Jews back to rebuild the temple) you come to the date of the triumphal entry here 4 days before Passover. Will do the math when we get to Luke.

1) There is an ass and a colt. Matthew notes both, other Gospels mention only colt. Matthew includes because he is writing to Jews, and the prophecy (Zech 9:9)mentions both. The mother (ass) was probably brought along to keep the unbroken colt (foal of ass) from acting up while being brought to Jesus.

2)This was Passover Week. One of the Holy Days where every able bodied male Jew was to come to Jerusalem to worship. There may be somehwere in the neighborhood of 2,000,000 people in Jerusalem.

3)The cry of Hosanna (Hebrew - "save us") was from Psalm 118 used on Jewish feast days to proclaim the Messiah. no wonder the Pharisees got upset.

4)Cleaning out the temple - Jesus said this is a house supposed to be dedicated to (heartfelt) prayer. Instead it is a place where worldly and unscrupulous profits are made. You changed it - and that is wrong.

5)Healings here - miracles - sign of authority for the words spoken in #4.

6)The Pharisees are EXTREMELY unhappy. Over a million people proclaiming Jesus king, their profit center cleaned out with an authoritative sign(s) given....Jesus' reply is from Psalm 8:2. Simply put - If the mature (learned teachers) will not give God His just praise, than the immature (mostly unbelieving) crowd will give Him praise. And in Luke even if the crowd was silent - the rocks would sing out. God will have His praise, and the Pharisees could not stop it.

Matthew 21

The Fig Tree Withers

21Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

If you do a word study of Fig tree, you would probably come to the understanding that the fig tree represents Israel the nation.

The fig tree had leaves. If there are leaves there is supposed to be fruit. The nation professed belief in God (leaves), but there was no fruit (it was lip service and was not reflecting a fruitful realationship with God.) Hence Christ symbolically cuts Israel off unti such time in the future as the remnant (in Tribulation) of Israel proclaims the name of the Lord. In Luke this is done explicitly.

So what about the mountain? Posted before that the removal of mountains is symbolic Jewish saying for "solving great problems". The source seems to be Babylon Talmud (oral tradition) of rabbis.

So what is Jesus saying in verses at top. Well, this seems to be a continuation of the spiritual lesson Jesus taught after the Transfiguration when the disciples could not cast out demon because of "little faith"

"If you have faith and do not doubt" - In the Greek is just not head knowledge, but a deep felt trust in God and Jesus with no doubt in your trust - a faith that is evidenced by persistent prayer....

Then you can do to the fig tree what I have done - cut off Israel - for the disciples it would be in the same vein as 'what you bind on earth, shall have been bound in heaven'. With a solid no doubt trust in God and Jesus, being believers - they will know the Will of God and can bind and loose things here on earth.

With that same faith you can solve great problems (mountains and removing them).

And all things having this faith and knowing the will of God you will get answered and receive through faithful persistent prayer.
NOTE: Remember He is addressing the apostles at this point. Judas would not be able to do this in the future - because Judas was not a person of true faith. But the apostles were used to proclaim the Gospel, and build the early Church. They were given great insight at Pentecost and were shown the Will of God as they travelled after the Cross and Resurrection.

Can we do the same? Yes, but we have to develop the same faith and strive to learn the Will of God. It will be imperfect, but as we advance in our walk and begin to understand the Will of God - as His children we too can move a mountain (solve great problems) when it is in His Will.

Exodus 12

1)Again will deal with Passover and its symbolism during the crucifixion week in Gospels.

2)Pharaoh asking for "blessing": Pat has great observation.

3)38 Many other people went up with them,....

It was not just the Hebrews that left Israel, but also Egyptians and perhaps other nationalities residing in Egypt at the time. So while God was passing judgment on Phaqraoh and the country of Egypt - there were individuals who came to believe in the Lord. Same as when Israel as a nation was cut off from the Lord in Gospels - there were individual Jews who came to believe. Were not the apostles Jewish?????

4)Passover restrictions - for the foreginers in the Exodus to celebrate Passover they had to declare a belief in the God of Israel which was physically symbolized by Circumcision.

Exodus 13

Consecration of the Firstborn

In past years there has been some confusion over these passages.

First, this was not to be done until they reached Canaan. Second, NO CHILD IS KILLED WHEN BEING REDEEMED OR CONSECRATED TO THE LORD. Third, it is done as a reminder to the Israelites that in Egypt the first born died, but in Israel the first born lives and serves the Lord.

Redeeming: God's original instruction was for the first born male to be offered up to be of service to the Lord - ALL first borns would be priests. When Israelites were unfaithful later at the golden calf debacle, it was asked who would stand with the Lord aand the Levites responded. They at that time became the ordained priesthood line, but originally the priests should have come from ALL the firstborn males from every tribe.

All first born animals would be given over when in Canaan to the priests for food and/or sacrifice in future ceremonies.

The EXCEPTION: The donkey? Why? The donkey was an unclean unimal, and needed to be redeemed by the blood of an innocent lamb. If not redeemed by lamb - it was to be killed (neck-broken). This is the only incident of death prescribed when talking about consecration of first born.

Symbolism: Foreshadowing Christ. Donkey is unclean. We as sinners are unclean. Unless we are redeemed (accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior) - we die. That is the sentence for rejecting God. Death and eternal separation from God.

Pat, I enjoyed your thoughts on "Go, but bless me as you leave."

Reminds me of the rich young man again too...

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