Monday, June 08, 2015

What God Provides & Wants From His People - Exodus 19, 20

Jesus is our great Liberator. He fulfilled God’s legal demands by His sinless life and by taking our punishment on the cross. 

            In Exodus, God’s people are liberated from slavery and need a land and a law of their own. God’s Law was a gracious gift of guidance and a reminder of our need for grace. None of us fully keep His Law, which “is holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:11). By showing us His heart and our failings, God uses the Law to lead us to Jesus. Here are God’s “Big Ten” that Moses conveyed to the forming nation of Israel, from Exodus 20.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath… You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house… your neighbor's wife… or anything that is your neighbor's.”  (ESV)

What God Provides & Wants From His People
The Birth of HIS Nation: Our Role (Ex. 16-20)

            What are the bare essentials needed to start a nation? For a cheat sheet, read Exodus, see what God provides for His newly liberated people. Delivered to serve Him, they are prepared to be His nation. Along with water, food and skilled leadership (Ex. 16-18),

God lays out His vision for them. “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4-6 - ESV)

Ø  He tenderly Rescued us to Himself  (Ps. 78:13, 52, 53; 100:3)
Ø  Being His Chosen Ones Requires Obedience (Jn. 14:15-23; Mt. 7:24-28)
Ø  We’re Set Apart: His Priests & Holy Ones (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 1 Pet. 2:5-10)

After preparing them to reverently receive His Word (Ex. 19), He gives “the Decalogue”, His Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; see Vine Front), telling us how to Love Him & Others.

Ø  He is to be our only God! No crafting, serving idols! (Josh. 24:14, 15)

Ø  God is rightfully jealous of our sole affection: “…I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”   (20:5, 6)
Ø  To not make Him exclusively Lord is to hate Him (Mt. 6:24)
Ø  Loving Him is displayed by honoring, obeying Him (Laws #1-4)
Ø  Love others too! The 2nd Tablet of Law (# 5-10; cf. Mt. 22:36-40) 

Receiving His Law, Israel exemplifies holy fear: “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.  (20:18-21 – ESV)

Ø  We are to Revere His Word  (cf. Is. 66:2; Ps. 1 & 119)
Ø  Loving Obedience allays fear (Jn. 15:8-16; 1 Jn. 4:18) 
Ø  His Word tests us (Dt. 8:2, 16; Jer. 6:27; 2 Chron. 32:31)
Ø  Love is Proven by Obeying (Dt. 7:9; 11:13; Dan. 9:4; Mk. 12:28-34) 

            As Joshua also charged them: “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."  (Josh 24:14, 15 – NIV)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Want to be a Good, Wise Worker?

Want to be a Good, Wise Worker?
Learn  from  God’s  Six-Legged  Teachers -  from Prov. 6:6-11

            We all have stories of “that teacher”; eccentric, odd, one-of-a-kind. But a six-legged instructor, with antenna, that raids picnics? God can use anything to teach us. In Job it is the sky, earth, animals… In Proverbs 6 it is an ant. Can you think of some odd things or teachers that helped you learn a thing or two? No names!

            In Proverbs 6 we overhear a parent, King Solomon, challenging a “less than motivated child” - lazy - to learn from something right under his feet; the lowly ant. These ant-inspired lessons in hard and smart work help us fulfill our God-given responsibilities: at school, home, on the job, sports… Read and compare these versions & then use them to answer the questions to help you become a wiser worker like the ant.

Proverbs 6:6-11    (NLT)
6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
    Learn from their ways and become wise!
7 Though they have no prince
    or governor or ruler to make them work,
8 they labor hard all summer,
    gathering food for the winter.
9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
    When will you wake up?
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
11then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
    scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. 

Proverbs 6:6-11  (ESV)
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man. 

What is the “lazybones, sluggard” son told to do first  (vs. 6)? Why is that import-ant?  J
            See also Prov. 1:1-7; 4:1-9;  Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:10; Prov. 30:24, 25

What lessons in motivation does the ant teach us  (vs. 7, 8)?    
            See also Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:17-4:1; 1 Thess. 4:11, 12. ~ Google T.R.’s “in the arena”

How is the ant working in summer is a good example  (vs. 8)?
Sounds  like:  Maturity = Delayed Gratification  (1 Cor. 15:58;  Prov. 12:27; 21:5)
            See also Gal. 6:7-10; 2 Cor. 6:9-11

What can we learn from ant’s gathering in harvest?  (vs. 8  &  Eccles. 11:4, 6)
            “Four things are small…exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong people,
            But they prepare their food in the summer…” Prov. 30:24, 25

What serious warnings is this lazy son - and us  - given? (vs. 9-11)
                “Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.”  (Prov. 20:4)
            See also Prov. 10:4; 13:4; 12:27; 21:5;  2 Thess. 3:10

v  “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…  (Eccles. 9:10)
v  “…work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” (Col. 3:23, 24; 1 Cor. 10:31)
v  “Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can.”  Rev. John Wesley   

Extra  Notes:  

The Context of this Parental Teaching Session:
6:1-5 “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter…” 
6  “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”
12-15 “A worthless person… calamity will come upon him suddenly…”
16-19  “There are six things that the Lord hates… seven…”
20-35 “He who commits adultery lacks sense… destroys himself.” (vs. 32)

Reminder:  Proverbs are general statements of truth .  Not ALL:
Full barns are due to diligence (Ps. 37, 73; Prov. 1:19; 13:11)
Poverty is due to laziness  (Prov. 16:8; Jer. 22:13; James 5:4)  

Mercy towards the poor is godly  (Prov. 19:17; 28:27; 1 Jn 3 & 4;  Mt 25)

King Solomon also wrote this great advice:  “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap… Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” (Eccles. 11:4, 6)

Living  out  “Ant  Hill  Wisdom”:

q  Repent of laziness, undisciplined living!   (Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:10)
q  Would you hire you? Are you contributing or stealing through sloth!
q  Are those watching you seeing an example worth copying? (1 Thess. 4:11, 12)
q  What does it take to “light a fire” under you?  God’s glory? (1 Cor. 10:31) 

6 Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
8 Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
9 How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 “A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—
11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.   (Prov. 6:6-11 - NASB)  

A Lesson from the Ant   – The Message  - Prov. 6
6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
    Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
    All summer it stores up food;
    at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
    How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
    sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
    poverty your permanent houseguest!