Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The One Year Bible Feb. 1, 2006

Congratulations!! We have finished one month in our journey! I hope you have been uplifted as you have spent time in God’s Word. I pray that this has been a benefit to you. I know that I continue to be amazed at the depth of God’s Word. It seems that I see something new each day. I know that the Spirit will be with you as you continue to read and I pray that these posts will help along the way.

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
We started the book of Exodus this week and I want to give you some of the vital stats for this book as we begin to read it:

PURPOSE: To record the events of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and development as a nation.


WHERE WRITTEN: In the desert during Israel’s wanderings, somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula

SETTING: Egypt. God’s people, once favored in the land, are now slaves. God is about to set them free.

KEY PEOPLE: Moses, Miriam, Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s daughter, Jethro, Aaron, Joshua

KEY PLACES: Egypt, Goshen, Nile River, Midian, Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai

SPECIAL FEATURES: Exodus relates more miracles than any other Old Testament book and is noted for containing the Ten Commandments

I want to focus on one of the miracles that is recorded in the book of Exodus this week, namely the plagues.

Before the first plague Moses and Aaron have a confrontation with Pharaoh and his magicians. We see here that Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them. By looking at the first nine plagues in groups of three we can see some interesting things.

The Plagues:

1. Blood (7:14-25)
2. Frogs (8:1-15)
3. Gnats (8:16-19)

4. Flies (8:20-32)
5. Animal Disease (9:1-7)
6. Boils (9:8-12)

7. Hail (9:13-35)
8. Locusts (10:1-20)
9. Darkness (10:21-27)

In each series the first and second plagues are announced to Pharaoh in advance. The third is given without previous warning. The series of 3 x 3 leads up to a climax in number 10, the number that is the symbol for completeness. Within the plagues themselves there is a progression, an increase in severity. The last three are especially severe and destructive. The Egyptian magicians vie with Moses in duplicating the first two plagues. At the third they try but no longer succeed in their magic arts. They must confess, “This is the finger of God.” Beginning with the second group of plagues (4,5 & 6) a distinction is made between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The land of Goshen where the Israelites live is spared. The first nine plagues deal with phenomena that have to do with nature. Since the Egyptians worshiped the powers of nature, what more effective way could God display his power over all things, which they looked upon as deities? The tenth plague was the plague of the firstborn. With this plague all the first-born were to be killed. But the angel was to “pass over” the homes of the Israelites.

The Passover presents to us one of the most important Old Testament types of the Savior Jesus Christ. As we look at the directions for preparing the Passover meal, we see step by step how the entire ritual points to Christ, our Passover lamb. The Passover lamb was to be a year-old male. John the Baptist tells of the Messiah who was to be the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. In Corinthians, Paul says, “For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.” God directed that this Passover lamb was to be “without defect.” Peter wrote that we were redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. The Passover lamb was to be slaughtered as a sacrifice. Paul reminded his people “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. The writer of the book of Hebrews repeatedly refers to Christ as an “offering” and “sacrifice”. “Do not break any of the bones.” This was direct foreshadowing of Jesus. The Israelites were to “take some of the blood and but it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses.” God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” This points to the teaching that we are redeemed from the power of sin, death and Satan with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. God tells the people that they are to remember the Passover for “generations to come”.

The New Testament
Jesus begins to teach the disciples about his ultimate reason for coming to earth. He was to be killed and rise again (Matthew 17:22-23). This was supposed to be good news but the disciples were all filled with grief. Jesus also has some strong words about forgiveness. Matthew 18 can serve as a guideline on how we are to confront those who have sinned against us. We should try to follow his advice remembering his promise “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20 NLT) Chapter 19 contains the famous story of letting the little children come to Jesus. I feel it is vital for children to learn about Jesus and to be able to be blessed by him. The parable of the landowner is difficult for some Christians who struggle with the fact that at the last minute someone can repent and be offered eternal life. It doesn’t seem fair to us. But if we focus on God’s love this makes sense. His desire is for all to be saved. Holy week begins and Jesus fulfills prophecy as he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. This fulfills prophecy in both Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9.

Where We are Going

The Old Testament
The story of what happens in the wilderness and why they have to spend 40 years there will start playing itself out. I want you to keep thinking about how Moses is a “type” of Jesus as you read. Some famous Bible stories are coming up that have great importance in our study. Pay attention to how God handles his people when they misbehave.

The New Testament
The story of the passion of Jesus will be played out as we finish the book of Matthew. Before we get to the narrative story, Jesus has to teach about the reasons he has come. Pay attention to how Jesus deals with the Pharisees in the next couple of days.

Key Verses

Exodus 3:14
Psalm 23
Matthew 19:14-15
Matthew 20:28
Exodus 14:13-14

May God bless you this week. Please let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to use the comments section of this blog for questions or insights you may have.


At February 03, 2006 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've tried other times to read the Bible through but this is the first time I've made it this far! I can't wait to finish this Book! Thank you Vicar Seth for leading us in this study.


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