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Exodus 12:14-13:16

Random thoughts and impressions I jotted down as I read the Old Testament today.

Also, take your flocks and your herds, just as you have spoken, and leave. But bless me (Pharaoh) also." (Exodus 12:32 NET.)

When I read this I thought, “Did Moses “Bless” Pharaoh? Was there some kind of bank of heaven where Blessings are stored up for certain people and applied accordingly? Pharaoh would have to rely on the mercy of God because he did not have a relationship with the God of gods and I think God’s Mercy had run out on Pharaoh.

The Lord gave favor to the people in the eyes of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever they wanted, and so they plundered Egypt. (Exodus 12:36 NET.)

The word plunder implies war and those that plunder are the victors. Israel had been in a battle; however, it was God fighting their fight against the ineffective gods of Egypt. To the victor belong the spoils of war. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. (Romans 8:37 AMP). What does it mean to be more than a conqueror? To gain victory automatically bestows title of champion, but to be more than a conqueror has not been something I’ve contemplated. Israel’s march out of Egypt carrying her treasure with them made her more than a conqueror without having lifted up one weapon, God did it all.

This night had been reserved by the LORD to bring his people out from the land of Egypt, so this same night now belongs to him. It must be celebrated every year, from generation to generation, to remember the LORD's deliverance.(Exodus 12:42 NLT)

After rereading the above verse in other translations, I realized this particular rendition brought something to the story I had never seen before, God’s timing. In Eternity past God had reserved that specific night for Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, can the things, which so easily beset me, the things I have allowed to entrap me, can the day of my deliverance also have been set in eternity past? Hmmm

"If an immigrant is staying with you and wants to keep the Passover to GOD, every male in his family must be circumcised, then he can participate in the Meal--he will then be treated as a native son. But no uncircumcised person can eat it. (Exodus 12:48 MSG)

God has always provided for those outside of His Covenant to enter in and become His People. As for the congregation, there shall be one statute both for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you, a statute for ever throughout your generations; as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. (Numbers 15:15 JPS)

Finally the passage I had found so very intriguing three years ago and that continues to fascinate me today.

Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem by [substituting for it] a lamb, or if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn among your sons shall you redeem. (Exodus 13:13 AMP)

The previous verse states every firstborn sons and male animals MUST be presented before the Lord, yet the donkey could be redeemed. Why? It is because the donkey is a work animal and can be ridden by man, or is there some other thing going on?

Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey as He entered Jerusalem during His Passion.

When He came near Bethphage and Bethany at the mount called [the Mount of] Olives, He sent two of His disciples, Telling [them], Go into the village yonder; there, as you go in, you will find a donkey's colt tied, on which no man has ever yet sat. Loose it and bring [it here]. (Luke 19:29-30 AMP)

Jesus, the Lamb of God came into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey. Not only did he Redeem man from his sins, he redeemed that donkey from having its neck broken.

Grace and peace,

22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

I feel incomplete if I do not read DAILY from the WORD of GOD.

Before our own list of wants and wishes are expressed in prayer shouldn't we be praying the will of God in our lives. Who are we to think that we know best. God knows our needs and wants before we ask so when we ask for God to take those needs and use them for His will our prayers are answered each and every time.Praise God He doesn't leave it up to our asking and planing but instead works our wishes into His plan! Remember how Jesus taught us to pray Our Father who art in heaven--Thy will be done--.Ask and it shall be given you- Gods will each and every time.

There are really NO unanswered prayers. I believe our problem lies in that if they are not answered as we WANT them to be, then we say God did not answer our prayer. Sometimes, I believe, He says no.

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22 NIV. I asked for many things in 2008 and 2009 with belief....some were answered with a different outcome...perhaps God's plan didn't allow for my prayer to be answered with my outcome but now as I look at some of them, I see why...patience is also needed when you pray...I can personally praise the Lord for answering my prayer, that my father would die in his sleep at the end with peace, due to his illness....he did when everyone else was sleeping. What a blessing that Jesus was there with him and spared my mother the vision of his passing. So I know he DOES answer prayer, however even though I prayed for other things, I believe the timing is God's.

I too have endured much loss due to seemingly unanswered prayer. The biggest heartbreak was the death of my 12-year-old son Matthew, in 1991. My husband and I have struggled with faith ever since.

However, recently I read an inspiring article forwarded to me by a friend. It told the story of a couple unpacking boxes they had carted around for 20 years. In one box they found a prayer list that they had prayed over for a time, (before a move.) Twenty years later they discovered that every prayer on that list had been answered, and several in a way far beyond anything they could have imagined.

It has inspired me to write a list! :-)

Many years ago I was involved in an excellent Bible Study called Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.

I kept all my notes from the study, as I have often gone back over them, especially when I am reading about Moses and the burning bush.

This past time looking over the notes, I too came across a list of prayer requests, that I wrote down at the time I did the study for the first time, well over ten years ago. Like Joyce's article that she read, I too was surprised at how each of the prayer requests had been answered!
What a wonderful, loving, faithful God, who remembered and answered my prayers long after I had stopped praying them!!

"Why did GOD harden Pharoah's heart against the Hebrews?"

I lked Beth's answer yesterday. Let me see if I can elaborate on what Beth posted.

Every year this question comes up, and it is hard to explain. As Christians we understand God to love the World (Creation), we might think this is unfair to Pharaoh in that Pharoah never had a chance, or the God of the OT is mean and not the God of the NT, and we don like to see Scripture like this in OT.

The simple answer is: God is sovereign. God is in charge, and the God described in Is 40:12 that is so big (if He were a man and Isaiah is using this as a picture)He can hold the Universe in His hand knows what He is doing. When really bad things happen, we are not big enough to see the ripple effects (of good) in the aftermath, but God is big enough, and even more important God planned those ripple effects.

The complex answer is: God allowed Pharaoh to be Pharoah. Perhaps you did not read my posts the last few days on the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, and for that I do not blame you as my posts can be long (although hopefully understandable). God raised Pharaoh up to be in power (Ex 9:16 and Paul reaffirms this in Rom 9:17), but why? Pharaoh was considered a god, and the Egyptians believed in many gods. In redeeming the Hebrews, the use of the plagues pointed out how worthless those gods were to the Egyptians. (Please go back and read my posts). The ripple effect: Many Egyptians and others in Egypt saw and believed in the God of the Hebrews and left Egypt with Moses (Ex 12:38 - a mixed multitude). Those people would never have become believers without the plagues.

As to the actual hardening, as per my posts, there are three distinct words that are translated "hardened" from the Hebrew. God had a purpose in the plagues to discredit Egyptian gods, and yes, God could have softened Pharaoh's heart and things would have played out differently. Did God actually harden Pharaoh's heart in the beginning of the plagues?

I would argue that Pharaoh, as every non-beleiver, is about "self". Just as no one can come to Christ until the Father draws that person (softens their heart), Pharaoh would not change his mind unless his heart was softened. God did not do that; God just allowed Pharaoh to be Pharoah - about self and pride. This was Pharaoh's predisposed condition, and refusing to honor Moses' requests was Pharaoh's natural inclination.

the second "hardened" word means Pharaoh saw what was going on, knew it was of God, but still refused to go along with Moses. This is pride (and rebellion) and a picture of a non-believer who knows God exists, but refuses to bend his/her knee anyway.

It was not until the last few plagues that God acted to harden Pharaoh's heart. Now Pharaoh was being touched personally with boils and death of his son, but that is not how God wants someone to come to him - scared and trying to protect himself. Pharaoh had gone over the line, adn God said no- you would not submit to me before on your own; I will not allow you to come to me out of mortality fears. To me this is a picture of a non-believer at the end of his life. Death facing a person, and out of fear of the afterlife wants "fire insurance". Perhaps God hardens their hearts saying, 'oh no, you would not come to m during tough times in your life, and you would not come to me whn your heart was softened (somewhat), you have passed the line of no-return, and you will not come to me out of desparation. (NOTE: some people are saved on deathbed, and so this comparison is not the case for everyone.)

Bottom-line: God could have softened Pharaoh's heart but did not, because these plagues had to play out for Hebrews (as Beth posted), for others (non-Hebrews) in Egypt to come to belief, and to give an example that someone who satnds up to God - whether Pharaoh or satan, well, they never win. God is sovereign.

Maybe this helps, maybe not - and I wiuld again ask that you go back and read my posts the last few days. Print them out and go talk to an elder or a pastor at your church, and see if you can come to peace with the hardening of Pharaoh's heart.

Exodus 12

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

2)Pharaoh asking for "blessing": Pat's observation last year: "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."

3)Ex 12:38 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 Pharaoh 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.

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

[You may or may not agree with the following. It is my understanding of Scripture and my opinion.) If you read, then pary and ask God for insight.]

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.

Some interesting nuggets throughout the Exodus passage. I didn't pick up on the mixed multitudes and realize Israelites and others were fleeing to the wilderness to worship God. It was clear how OBEDIENT the Israelites were following the plagues. Do you think the darkness in Ex 10:21 is the same darkness at the Crucifixion?

The symbolism between moving mountains and solving great problems is very helpful. I've stumbled over this passage for years and finally an explanation that ties together another piece of Scripture I didn't get before (bind on earth...), faith and prayer according to the Will of God.

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