book is, at the outset, a biography of Moses - arguably the most
significant human being ever born. Without Moses, there would have been
no Bible, no Jews, no Christians, and no Muslims, and no rule of law as
we know it. What man left his stamp on civilization for all time as
Moses? Yet, if there had been no burning bush, no voice of God, no
leprous hand, no rod changed to a serpent, we would never have heard of
Moses. Without God, there had been no Moses.
33:1 - "Moses the man of God"
was the first of the tribal elders into Egypt. The eleven brothers came
later, in God's time, with their father. The Levites, as priests, would
not inherit lands, leaving eleven. Joseph would be replaced by his two
sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Hence, the number remained twelve. Twelve
seems to be the number of divine government. Israel had twelve tribes.
The church had twelve apostles. The city of Heaven has twelve
foundations and twelve gates.
Exodus 1:2-5 -
"Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan,
and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. ...Joseph."
The Power of One
was only one person, but salvation for all humanity hung by a thread on
her actions. If she had not saved Moses, the world would never have
heard of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. The power of one is inestimable. We
are indebted to many "ones." Don't you fail!
2:3 - "And
when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of
bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child
therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink."
Pitched Within and Without
saved baby Moses by daubing an "ark of bulrushes" with slime and pitch.
That made it water-proof and made it float. Noah did a similar thing
with the great Ark. "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; ...pitch it
within and without," (Genesis 6:14). My brother, David, reminded me
that if we want to be saved, we need to be pitched within and without
with holiness and righteousness.
Exodus 2:3 -
"...she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and
with pitch, and put the child therein."
Moses' Early Life
daughter rescued baby Moses from the Nile River, and his sister,
Miriam, offered his mother to her as a wet nurse. God was working
wonderfully! Although raised in Egypt's royal household, Moses was a
blue-blooded, one-God Hebrew. In his youth, he impulsively killed an
Egyptian who was assaulting a Jewish brother. He quickly hid the
corpse, but the news spread like wildfire. Moses fled Egypt to the
wilderness near Midian.
Exodus 2:15 - "Now when
Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from
the face of Pharaoh."
When Slaves Pray
have often wondered why God told Abraham his descendants must spend
time in bondage in Egypt. Typologically, Egypt represents the world of
sin. Every man and woman must suffer bondage in the world of sin. But
when we earnestly cry out to God, He hears and He delivers.
2:23-24 - "...and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the
bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of
the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his
covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob."
"Who Am I?"
are times when we all feel that we are unworthy to serve the Lord. But
God will give us courage to fulfill every task. He never calls us to do
a job without empowering us to do it. Moses was VERY reluctant to
accept the call of God to deliver Israel from Pharaoh, but God had
answers to all his objections. God will surely enable us.
3:11 - "And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto
Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of
do you want to know about God? What do you need to know about His will
for your life? Ask Him. It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but
it is the honor of kings to search it out. God delights in our interest
Exodus 3:13 - "And Moses said unto God,
Behold, when I
come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of
your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is
his name? what shall I say unto them?"
asked God His name, so he could tell the people. God said, "I AM." It
means "the self-existent one." It also means, "the cause." Nothing else
in the universe existed before God, and without Him, nothing would
exist. His spirit nature is the primordial stuff - more elemental than
atoms, particles, waves, hadrons, quarks, leptons and preons. God is the
basis of all things.
Exodus 3:14 - "And God said
unto Moses, I
AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of
Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."
Ye Shall Not Go Empty
on earth could Moses ever evacuate two million Jews from Egypt? How on
earth could such a multitude survive such an upheaval and transition?
Well, he certainly could not do it if not for the mighty hand of God to
work miracle after miracle in their behalf. NEVER underestimate the
power of God. Israel left with a vast horde of Egypt's riches.
3:21 - "And I will give this people favour in the sight of the
Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go
What Is That In Thy Hand?
love this vast spiritual principle. God uses whatever you have
available. Never underestimate God's ability to use ordinary things
mightily. Moses had a stick in his hand. God turned it into a snake. He
parted the Red Sea with it. He drew water out of a rock with it. That
was the mightiest stick in the history of man, but only because God
Almighty made it so. What is in YOUR hand?
4:2 - "And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he
said, A rod."
actually made God angry by his cop-out excuse-making prayers.
wanted God to send somebody else to do the job. God promised to send
Aaron to help him. He gave Moses some impressive miracle-working powers
(turning sticks to snakes, a hand to leprosy, and water to blood). Some
times our prayers aggravate God, but He graciously answers anyway.
4:10 - "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent,
neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I
am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."
I Will Be With Thy Mouth
God calls a man, He assumes full responsibility for his future. God
assured Moses that He would teach him everything he should say to
Pharaoh. God also promised that Moses would "do signs" with the rod he
carried with him. God foretold Moses of all the plagues He would send
to Egypt and how Pharaoh would respond. Moses simply had to follow
God's leading, and he did for forty more years.
4:12 - "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee
what thou shalt say."
instructed Moses to inform Pharaoh that Israel was God's firstborn. If
Pharaoh would not free Israel, God would destroy Pharaoh's firstborn.
God claimed Abraham's firstborn - "thine ONLY SON Isaac" (as if Ishmael
had never been born). When Esau and Jacob were born, Esau despised his
role as firstborn, so God claimed Jacob as his firstborn. This is not
saying that Israel was God's first son, "because ALL the firstborn are
mine," Numbers 3:13.
Exodus 4:22 - "And
thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son,
even my firstborn."
A Bloody Husband
was Moses' wife, daughter of a Midianite priest whom he met during his
personal exile. His name was Reuel, later referred to as Jethro
(possibly a priestly title meaning "excellency"). Zipporah was hostile
about the Jewish circumcision, refusing to allow Moses to circumcise
their two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, until God forced the issue by
threatening to kill Moses. Their disagreement was so sharp that Moses
sent her back to her father for a while. The entire family rejoined
Exodus 4:26 - "...then she said, A
bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision."
have to appreciate the timing of this miracle. Moses had been in the
wilderness and had not seen his brother, Aaron for forty years. But
after meeting God at the burning bush, God promised to send Aaron.
Moses returned home to collect his wife and children. Aaron suddenly
showed up. There was no postal service, telephones, or Internet. The
only line of communication between Moses and Aaron was God.
4:27 - "And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God,
and kissed him."
When Expectations Backfire
did what God told him to do. He and Aaron presented themselves to
Pharaoh and delivered the message God gave him. But instead of freeing
Israel, Pharaoh punished them harsher. God often allows our enemies to
rage before He smites them. It may look like our prayers and obedient
actions have totally backfired, but they haven't. Moses complained, but
God assured him that judgment was coming for Pharaoh.
5:22 - "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore
hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent
Jehovah - LORD
you see the word LORD in all capital letters in the King James Version
of the Bible, it is rendered thus from the Hebrew "YHWH," otherwise
rendered "Jehovah." The Hebrew language contains no vowels as does the
English. Many Orthodox Jews refuse to pronounce YHWH, so the word LORD
is used. Either way, it means "self-existent One." In this verse, "God
Almighty" is derived from "El Shaddai."
Exodus 6:3 -
unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty,
but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them."
How Shall Pharaoh Hearken?
probably would have asked the same question. "God, why should I believe
the king of Egypt will listen to me?" But God had an answer. "I have
made you a god in Pharaoh's eyes. And your brother, Aaron, will be your
prophet." God can make a mountain out of a molehill. He can make
ordinary men stand before kings and prevail. Stop seeing yourself
through YOUR eyes and see yourself through God's eyes.
6:30 - "...Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised
lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?"
criticized the Pharisees, saying, "an evil generation seeketh after a
sign." That did not mean that God is unwilling to give miraculous signs
to prove His power and glory. But God knows how fickle and
self-possessed most men are. He knows that unless a man has faith
toward God, no miracles on earth will save him. Few men ever saw more
of the miraculous power of God than Pharaoh. Avoid the fatal trap of
Exodus 7:3 - "And I will harden Pharaoh's
heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt."
God's Enemies Provoke Him To Judgments
God is not as cruel as many people accuse Him of being. God never launches the first strike. An offense must first be commited. God's enemies provoke Him by transgressions. He never destroys the just or the righteous. That is Satan's business. God is longsuffering, but His enemies, by nature, invariably give Him cause to destroy them.
Exodus 7:4 - "But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments."
Pharaoh's Sorcerers' Miracles Were Inferior To Moses' Miracles
Satan has always attempted to steal God's glory. It is his number one desire. One of his primary strategies is plagiarism and mimickry. Any time Satan can delude and deceive anyone from true faith in God, he has proudly achieved his objective. Again and again, however, God's power prevails. Moses serpent ate Pharaoh's serpents. God's sword of truth will always prevail over His enemies' swords of deception.
Exodus 7:11 - "Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments."
Take Away The Frogs!
second plague God sent upon Egypt by Moses was frogs. Frogs were
everywhere - bedchambers, kitchen ovens, even in bread dough. Pharaoh
begged Moses to ask God to "take away the frogs!" Moses said, "WHEN?"
Unbelievably, Pharaoh said, "TOMORROW!" Tomorrow?? Even today, people
are as foolish as Pharaoh was, ignorantly postponing repentance and
obedience even in calamitous times. Why not right now?
8:8 - "Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the
LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and
I will let the people go."
This Is The Finger Of God
promised to let Israel go free if Moses took away the frogs. Moses
cried out to God because of the frogs, and God immediately killed the
frogs in the houses, villages and fields. They piled them up until the
whole land stank. But Pharaoh reneged. So God sent a plague of flies
by Moses. Pharaoh's magicians tried to copy the miracle to appease
Pharaoh, but could not. Ultimately, NOBODY will ever beat God at His
Exodus 8:19 - "Then the magicians said unto
Pharaoh, This is the finger of God."
That Nation Will I Judge
God visited Abraham during the horror of great
darkness, Israel's deliverance from Egypt was prophesied. "They shall
afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall
serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great
substance." Moses executed ten plagues on Egypt, and Israel
out with their jewels.
Exodus 9:14 - "For I will at
send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon
thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the
Intreat the Lord
sent ten horrifying plagues upon Egypt. Waters turned to blood. Frogs.
Lice. Flies. Diseased livestock. Boils on men and beasts. Hail mixed
with fire. Locusts. Black darkness. Death of all firstborn. Little by
little, Pharaoh seemed to be humbling. He begged Moses to pray for him.
But every time, Pharaoh double-crossed Moses. Do you nullify the force
of your prayers by returning to sin?
"Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty
thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no
do you call a person who promises to do good as long as there is an
impending threat of severe punishment, but as soon as they think they
can get by with mischief, they quickly break their promises and return
to their old tricks? A con-man? A politician? Pharaoh was more. He was
a cold-blooded rebel against God. Sounds like many in our generation.
9:34 - "And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the
thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he
and his servants."
When Darkness Shines
God sent darkness upon Egypt by Moses, the Egyptians could not see each
other for days. But the Jews could see! Crossing the Red Sea, a cloud
darkened Pharaoh's army, but shined light on Israel! In the world's
darkest hour, God's people have light!
not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but
all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings." Exodus 14:20:
"...it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to
I Will See Thy Face No More
in Noah's day, God said that His Spirit would not always
strive with man. Sometimes, God decides that He will not waste any more
time with certain people. That is a frightening truth. After Pharaoh
played diabolical games with Moses, God said, in effect, "that's all -
no more!" God judged all the firstborn of Egypt. Pharaoh's son died.
Egypt suffered profound judgment. Beware, lest YOU cross the point of
Exodus 10:29 - "And Moses said, Thou hast
spoken well, I will see thy face again no more."
No Death Angel
you heard somewhere that a death angel passed through Egypt, killing
all the firstborn. But you heard wrong. God did not send a death angel.
HE came down! "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all
the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that
sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the
dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle," (Exodus 12:29).
11:4 - "And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go
out into the midst of Egypt."
marks the BIRTH of the nation of Israel. Until that fateful night, the
children of Israel were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. God judged Egypt,
but Israel was saved by the blood of the lamb they sacrificed that
night. Passover foreshadowed Jesus' saving blood which was shed 1400
Exodus 12:13 - "And the blood shall
be to you for
a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will
pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you,
when I smite the land of Egypt."
Worship at Passover
Israelites marked their doorposts with blood from the "passover" lamb.
Those who observed the Passover feast were protected when God judged
the Egyptians. At midnight, Egypt suffered calamity, as millions of
firstborn died. But Israel lost not a soul. They bowed their heads and
worshipped God. Thank God for His salvation.
"That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who
passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he
smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the
head and worshipped."
Feast of Unleavened Bread
seven days following Passover culminate in the Feast of Unleavened
Bread. Jews celebrate deliverance from slavery in Egypt by the mighty
hand of God under Moses' leadership. Wine and flatbread are served
around a family table, with men, women and children hearing the story
of the Exodus read aloud, and thanksgiving given to God for making
Israel a nation. By this example, Christians should remember to give
thanks for salvation through Jesus' blood.
13:6 - "Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh
day shall be a feast to the LORD."
deterred Israel from escaping through Philistine territory because He
wanted to avoid war. Their route seemed senseless, but God knew what He
was doing. Pharaoh pursued them with his full army, and the Red Sea
locked them in. But God loves impossible situations. Just stand still
and let Him work.
Exodus 14:13 - "And Moses said
people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD,
which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen
to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever."
The Red Sea
the "Song of Moses," the dramatic Red Sea crossing is rehearsed and
celebrated. Many modern archaeological discoveries seem to confirm the
scriptures. Egyptian chariots, wheels, weapons and even skeletons have
been discovered at the bottom of the sea. But Israel came out of their
"baptism" alive and well!
Exodus 15:19 - "For the
Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea,
and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the
children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea."
Miriam the Prophetess
called the whole family into service - Moses, Aaron and Miriam. At the
beginning, young Miriam negotiated with Pharaoh's daughter for Moses'
mother, Jochebed, to be his nursemaid. Now all three children are
leading the new nation of Israel. Miriam played her tambourine and led
the multitude in praising and worshiping God for taking them safely
through the Red Sea. Families who serve God together will see
wonderful, glorious things.
Exodus 15:21 - "Miriam
them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse
and his rider hath he thrown into the sea."
Immediately after crossing the Red Sea, Israel was thirsty. But the waters at Marah were bitter and so were the people. Moses prayed. God showed him what to do. When YOUR waters are bitter, pray immediately. Refrain from murmuring. Do not think that God cannot make your bitter waters sweet. He most certainly can.
Exodus 15:25 - "And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,"
Of These Diseases
science now knows how dangerous many of the medical practices of the
ancient world were. Multitudes died due to unsanitary
and misguided medical practices. Israel's health and dietary
seemed strange, but were divinely insightful.
15:26 - "If
thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt
do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his
commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these
diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am
the LORD that healeth thee."
God Provides An Oasis
is only briefly mentioned in Exodus, but it was Israel's first
encampment past the Red Sea. It was an oasis of seventy palm
and twelve wells of water. But immediately after departing Elim, the
people began to murmur, in a place called (coincidentally?) the
wilderness of Sin.
Exodus 16:1 - "And they took
from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto
the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the
fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land
God led the children of Israel from Egypt into the wilderness, He fed
them miraculously with manna. Manna means "what is it?" It was
nutritious bread sent by God from heaven daily to over a million people
for forty years. It tasted like "wafers made with honey" (Exodus
16:31). God instructed them to gather only one day's supply, except on
the sixth day, they could gather extra for the Sabbath. Otherwise, it
always spoiled overnight. Never doubt God's ability to meet your needs.
16:23 - "They gathered manna every morning."
would surely have fed Israel promptly enough if they had not been so
quick to murmur. But they would not restrain themselves. So God sent
manna, with a commandment not to gather more than needed - no hoarding.
Not surprisingly, some people could not resist over-indulging. God
surprised them by rotting the excess. God disapproves of too much, too
fast in just about every area of life.
"Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left
of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was
wroth with them."
has been said about Moses getting water out of a rock at Rephidim. But
we seldom contemplate his circumstances. The people were "chiding" with
Moses - that means "grappling," "tossing," "wrangling," "contending,"
with the poor guy. Most every man of God who ever lived has faced the
wrath of people he was called to lead. But God legitimizes His anointed
in inconceivable ways. Let the skeptics explain water out of a rock.
17:4 - "And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto
this people? they be almost ready to stone me."
verse has enormous significance. The Amalekites declared war on Israel
in the wilderness. Joshua led the defense. Moses stood on a nearby hill
while Aaron and Hur held his hands up to God. Joshua won a great
victory. God declared war on these people until the end of time. Saul
was stripped of his kingship for failing to annihilate them. Samuel
killed their king, Agag. David fought them. Hezekiah fought them.
Esther defeated Haman, an Agagite (Amalekite). These descendants of
Esau are perennial enemies of Israel.
Exodus 17:8 -
"Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim."
benefited immensely from a godly father-in-law. Jethro led the elders
of Israel in making a sacrifice unto the Lord with rejoicing over how
God led Israel out of Egypt. When he saw the people burdening Moses
heavily with their day-to-day problems, Jethro offered the solution of
establishing judges over tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands. The
seventy elders of Israel were eventually selected from these.
18:5 - "And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his
wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of
Up To God
met God in Mount Sinai. That is when and where he received the Ten
Commandments. Nothing is said about prayer, but in fact, the entire
event was about Moses and God in conversation. Sometimes our
conversations with God seem more like business as usual than like
prayers, but that is the stuff of relationships. You do not have to be
on your knees, or speaking in a sanctimonious tone of voice to have
priceless communion with God.
Exodus 19:3 - "And
Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the
A Kingdom of Priests
before God revealed the Tabernacle plan to Moses, He said Israel was to
be a kingdom of priests. A priest is an intercessor between God and
men. Israel would be God's ministers-servants on earth. For all of
time, Israel would be a message-bearer for the Creator of all men. In
good times and in bad, God has a purpose for Israel. It will never be
annihilated. Israel bore the great High Priest, Messiah, and the twelve
Exodus 19:6 - "And ye shall be unto me a
kingdom of priests, and an holy nation."
forbad the congregation to come up into the holy mountain, and ordered
Moses to set bounds to prevent any intruders. The man of God set the
boundary. In today's church, men of God are responsible for defining
borders to keep the church from transgressions. Men of God who fail
are responsible for senseless casualties.
19:12 - "And
thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to
yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of
it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death."
God's Sound and Light Show
rock concerts use pyrotechnics and state-of-the-art light and sound
equipment to dazzle their audiences. But when Almighty God presented
the Ten Commandments, the mountain quaked, covered in smoke,
lightnings, and thunderings. God spoke from a great ball of fire
surrounded by thick darkness. A heavenly trumpet sounded so loudly that
two million people ran far away from the mountain.
- "...there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the
mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the
people that was in the camp trembled."
Sinai was in the Wilderness of Sin, (some believe) named after the
"moon god," Sin. But it was not a moon god who made it famous. Today,
"scholars" could drive you crazy with arguments about where Sinai is,
but it does not really matter. What matters is that God spoke to Moses
and Israel there, and forever changed the world.
"And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended
upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a
furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly."
The Premise of Prayer
is the living connection between you and God. Dialogue, not monologue,
is the stuff of relationships. How do you know and bond with others
without conversation? Can a husband and wife spend happy years together
without meaningful conversations? Can parents and children truly bond
without frank and honest discussions? Even so, the bilateral exchanges
of my words with God's binds me to Him. I pour out my heart to Him and
He responds compassionately. Prayers are the terms of
Exodus 19:19 - "Moses spake, and God answered him
by a voice."
The Ten Commandments
God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He had already done many mighty
miracles in behalf of the children of Israel (i.e., Deliverance from
Pharaoh, Red Sea crossing, Manna, Quail, etc.). If they had been
grateful, they should have been eager to conform to His commandments.
But God had to remind them of His goodness. Let us remember that we owe
Him far more than He will ever ask of us.
20:2 - "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land
of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."
First Commandment - No Other Gods
did any other god ever do for you? The God who created everything,
including YOU and ME, deserves all the glory. It is a shame that He has
to tell us not to worship anybody else. You can call it a commandment
if you want, but it begs to be appreciated as a stark reality. There
ARE no other gods. Whoever created all this universe, OWNS it.
Worshiping anything else is just plain stupid. That may not be
grammatically correct, but it is theologically incontrovertible.
20:3 - "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Second Commandment - No Idolatry
existed long before Abraham and his descendants worshiped the one, true
God. But God will not share His glory with any other. Certainly,
nothing man-made, whether carved, molten (molded) or beaten, could ever
hear, and know, and respond like the true and living God.
20:4-6 - "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any
likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow
down thyself to them, nor serve them."
Third Commandment - Keep His Name
demands our respect. He is holy, even beyond our wildest imaginations.
He will not tolerate disrespect, sacrilege, mockery, or any kind of
insult. God is not mocked. This third commandment instructs us to
protect the sacredness of God's name. It is NOT a swear word, nor to be
used in making oaths. Be safe. Give maximum honor to the Lord's name.
20:7 - "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for
the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
Fourth Commandment - Sabbath
a brilliant idea! One day off every week!
God thought of it first. Rest! Every person needs rest. This is the
only one of the ten commandments not taught in the New Testament,
because God gives believers rest every day when the Comforter comes in
- the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 28:11-12.)
Exodus 20:8-11 - "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the
sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work."
Fifth Commandment - Honor Father
is the first commandment with a promised
blessing. At the very least, your parents have a 15-20 year experience
ahead of you. They provided shelter, food and clothing while you were
otherwise helpless. But that is only a fraction of countless reasons
why we should respect, reverence, esteem, even obey our parents - our
elders! Our world would be radically improved if this generation would
obey this command.
Exodus 20:12 - "Honour thy father
and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD
thy God giveth thee."
Sixth Commandment - Thou Shalt
is a stark warning from the Giver of all life to all the potential
Takers of life. DON'T DO IT! There is no greater created miracle in all
the universe than the human creature. Not even the angels have freedom
of choice, or the ability to freely partake of both mortality and
immortality, including their respective worlds. This marvelous entity
called mankind is God's pride and joy. Not one of us should have the
arbitrary prerogative to terminate another. And we do not.
20:13 - "Thou shalt not kill."
Seventh Commandment - No Adultery
An adulterer is someone
who is married, but commits sexual intercourse with someone other than
their lawful spouse. Strong's
compares adultery to apostasy. An apostate abandons faith, departing
former beliefs. Adulterers abandon wedlock - breaking vows and
destroying the sanctity of matrimony. Since marriage typifies God's
relationship with His holy people, an adulterer grievously trespasses
against holy principle. The Hebrew language from which "thou shalt not"
comes is "lo, lo, lo," which is "no, no, no" or "never, never, never"
commit adultery. God says, "NEVER commit adultery."
20:14 - "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
Eighth Commandment - Do Not Steal
supplies all our needs according to His riches. Every person receives
what God has appointed to him. According to the talents and abilities
that God gives, we earn our daily sustenance. God forbids you and me
from taking anything that belongs to others. That is THEIR portion.
Imagine the world descended into chaos, where no one could keep that
which he has worked to attain; a world without borders, boundaries,
privacy or safety. That is the world of thieves. Obedience to God's
laws would prevent such a world.
Exodus 20:15 -
"Thou shalt not steal."
Ninth Commandment - No False
defends the integrity of the individual by forbidding false testimony.
Slander is a heinous, grievous sin against anyone. Lives are destroyed
by lies, false accusations and misrepresentations. God demands truth
and right-doing in our relationships with others. The devastating
sinfulness of malicious gossip and scandalous rumor-mongering ranks
equally with murder and adultery in this context. If you cannot say
something nice about someone, do not say anything at all. Get the stick
out of your own eye before assailing their splinter.
20:16 - "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."
Tenth Commandment - Do Not Covet
is a synonym for lust. When Jesus warned that lusting after a woman was
adulterous, He spoke of covetous desire. Since the Garden of Eden, God
has always forbidden certain things. The desire for ANYTHING God forbids
is covetousness. Learn what belongs to you, and leave everything else
alone. The forbidden fruit is NEVER good.
20:17 - "Thou
shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy
neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox,
nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
God is Specific
gave Adam everything in the garden except one specific tree. The story
of Cain and Abel taught that God insists on a specific offering (blood
sacrifices - not garden produce). Later, God even made specific
requirements for the altar itself - unhewn stone. Learn a lesson. If
you want to receive God's blessings, you have to do everything His
Exodus 20:25 - "...if thou wilt make
me an altar
of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up
thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it."
the Ten Commandments, God gave Moses countless "miscellaneous" laws.
Every aspect of domestic life was considered. Laws about family,
commerce, criminal and civil laws, moral, even sexual codes were
defined. God's laws were to define right and wrong, with a prescription
for punishment for non-compliance. Centuries earlier, Hammurabi of
Babylon had written sundry laws on the now-famous stele, but his code
has mostly perished. Today, in governments and societies around the
world, the profound influence of "Moses'" law can be seen.
21:1 ( to 22:31) - "Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set
Let it Unfold
never planned for Israel to take possession of the entire promised land
in one large conquest. He knew there would be enormous challenges and
changes to adapt to, even in God's will. Great victories best come in
increments. Therefore, we should not fret when improvements in our
lives come slowly. A rosebud must unfold gradually. Any effort to force
it open will only destroy it. Relax. Be patient - God is!
23:30 - "By little and little I will drive them out from before thee,
until thou be increased, and inherit the land."
By Little and Little
prophecy is based on a divine principle. Everything God does is
progressive. "By little and little I will drive them out..." is God's
daily reminder that HE is giving us the land, and that we are not
taking the land by our own brilliance or devices. He truly governs our
daily progress, sometimes giving more, sometimes giving less than we
expect, but always reminding us that He is the benevolent master of all
Exodus 23:30 - "By little and little I will
drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit
The Body of Heaven
are forced to reconcile verses that appear to contradict. Again and
again, the scripture says that God is invisible. But the seventy elders
saw "the body of heaven in his clearness," on His throne upon a
sapphire foundational stone. The key word here is "clearness." They saw
a bright shining light representing God's presence. See, The Oneness of God
24:10 - "And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet
as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of
heaven in his clearness."
The Tabernacle Plan
Tabernacle plan was as prophetic as anything in the
Bible. Virtually everything about the Tabernacle and its furnishings
carried a message about the coming Messiah and His plan to redeem men
from their sins. If Moses had not followed God's pattern meticulously,
a profound message would have been skewed or totally lost.
25:8-9 - "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among
them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the
tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so
shall ye make it."
The Ark of the Covenant
first item God commissioned for the Tabernacle was the Ark of the
Covenant. Built of shittim wood, roughly about 4ft-L x 3ft-W x 3ft-H,
overlaid with and crowned with gold. Staves permanently slid through
rings on four corners for carrying by priests. The "testimony" (Ten
Commandments) inside was covered by a beaten-golden "mercy seat" with
two winged cherubims facing each other. It prefigured Jesus Christ; the
embodiment and mouthpiece of everything divine.
25:22 - "...there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee
from above the mercy seat."
The Table of Shewbread
second item prescribed for the Tabernacle was the Table of Shewbread,
made of shittim wood and overlaid and crowned with gold. It had rings
and staves so the priests could carry it when they traveled, and sat
past the altar, before the golden candlestick. It ALWAYS contained a
loaf of bread for each tribe of Israel. It foreshadowed Jesus Christ,
the bread of life. God wanted us to know that there is always bread on
His table. Hungry? Jesus will fill you.
- "And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway."
call it the Menorah. It was a beaten-gold candlestick with seven
branches. Jesus is the light of the world. The oil that burned in the light represents the Holy Ghost of Jesus Christ burning in the
seven original New Testament churches. Now, His Spirit fills everyone
who will receive it. The candlestick was to burn continuously. This
little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.
- "Thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the
lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it."
The Tabernacle Curtains and Boards
told Moses every detail of the Tabernacle, including the number of
boards with their measurements, wood type, and overlayments. He defined
all the curtains and coverings by material, color and measurement, and
how they were to be placed. The principal colors were blue, purple and
scarlet. The metals were gold and silver. The skins were goat and
badger. It is inconceivable that a God of such detail doesn't care
about the minutiae of our lives.
Exodus 26:30 - "And thou shalt rear up the Tabernacle
according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount."
veil prevented anyone from entering the Most Holy Place where the Ark
of the Covenant was. The veil was blue, purple and scarlet. Blue is the
color of water, and red is the color of blood. Purple is the color of
royalty - kingship. By the blood of Calvary and the water of baptism,
the Son of Man, prince of peace, Jesus, was exalted to royalty - King
Exodus 26:31 - "And thou shalt make a vail
and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with
cherubims shall it be made."
The Brazen Altar
that happened in the Tabernacle began at the brazen altar. Animals were
killed and burned. Since the Garden of Eden, God required death for
sin. At the altar, the debt began to be paid, the blood was shed, and
remission of sins began. Without shedding blood, there can be no
remission for sins. This animal blood appeased God until the perfect
lamb was slain - Jesus Christ. ALL remission of sins ultimately comes
by HIS blood.
Exodus 27:1,8 - "And thou shalt make
an altar... as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it."
The Tabernacle plan included only one entrance, and that was on the east
side. Nearly all the pagan religions worshiped the sun god, facing
east. God made them face west when they entered the tabernacle. The
single entrance typifies Jesus Christ, the ONLY door of our salvation.
There is salvation in no other. We must turn our backs on all other
Exodus 27:13,14 - "...the breadth of the
court on the
east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. The hangings of one side of
the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their
The Priests' Holy Garments
priest is an intercessor between God and men. From its inception, the
priesthood was the highest office a man could occupy. Accordingly, God
instructed Moses to dress them appropriately. Holy garments would be
glorious and beautiful. Herein is a great precept. Our appearance
should reflect our value. The world would have us "dumb-down", dressing
grungy, sloppily, like worthless creatures. God would have us look
holy, glorious, beautiful. Are you a godly person? Dress the part!
28:2 - "And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for
glory and for beauty."
Bells and Pomegranates
High Priest's robe had golden bells and woven pomegranates around its
hemline. Many theories about their symbolism are mostly mystical,
contradictory and unprovable. Pomegranates are perceived as a symbol of
the righteousness of the Priesthood. The joyous sound of the bells notified
outsiders that the High Priest was still alive after entering the Holy
of Holies - he had not died.
Exodus 28:35 - "And it
upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in
unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he
The Consecration of the Priesthood
Priesthood was consecrated AFTER the Tabernacle was complete. It took a
Tabernacle plan to accomplish the task. The blood sacrifices,
unleavened bread, anointing oil, water of washing, garments, ephod,
mitre, various offerings - ALL were necessary to make the priest holy.
Similarly, the New Testament church must be assembled before Jesus
returns to ascend to His High Priesthood in Jerusalem for 1000 years.
29:44,45 - "And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and
the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to
me in the priest's office."
The Altar of Incense
Altar of Incense was roughly four-feet-cubed, gold-plated, gold-crowned
shittim wood, with horns on the top corners, and rings for the staves
with which the priests carried it. It stood before the Veil,
immediately outside the Mercy Seat, where the High Priest met God. The
Priest offered holy incense morning and evening, perpetually before the
Lord. Once annually, a blood atonement was made here. Incense
represents the sweet odors of the prayers of the saints.
30:1 - "...thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim
wood shalt thou make it."
The Brazen Laver
the Priest sacrificed at the Brazen Altar, he had to wash himself at
the Brazen Laver before entering the Holy Place. The laver is a
typological and prophetic symbol of water baptism in the New Testament.
The altar represents repentance. The laver followed, illustrating our
need to be baptized for the remission of our sins after we have
Exodus 30:18,20 - "Thou shalt also make a
brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal... When they go into
the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that
they die not."
The Holy Anointing Oil
called for a specially concocted holy anointing oil to be used in the
Tabernacle. The proprietary apothecary formula was forbidden to ANYONE
outside the Tabernacle. It had myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia, and
olive oil, all in specific measurements. Everything in the Tabernacle
had to be anointed (rubbed) with it, including the priests. This oil
symbolizes the Holy Spirit which, in the New Testament church, comes to
fill every believer.
Exodus 30:25 - "And thou
shalt make it an
oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the
apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil."
gave Moses explicit instructions for the construction of all artifacts,
vessels and furniture in the Tabernacle. Better yet, He called specific
men into service and gave them powerful anointing to do that work. When
God wants a thing done, He will bring it to pass. Jesus' parable of the
talents indicates that our abilities multiply as we apply ourselves to
fulfill His will. You will do an outstanding job. God will enable you!
31:3 - "I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in
understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship."
instructed Moses to command the people to eat unleavened bread at the
first passover, before escaping Egypt, saying, "that the Lord's law may
be in thy mouth." The bread of God represents His awesome
which nourishes us all. God's word is our life. Manna from heaven
nurtured their bodies, but the Law handed down at Sinai gave life to
Exodus 31:18 - "And he gave unto
Moses, when he
had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of
testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."
Moses the Intercessor
meeting God in Sinai, Moses found Israel riotously worshiping a golden
calf. God started to utterly destroy them, offering to make Moses a
great nation instead. But Moses wanted to be blotted out of the book of life
if God would not save Israel. That was dramatic intercession!
32:31-32 - "Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people
have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if
thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of
thy book which thou hast written."
This is one of the most overlooked
items in the Bible. Aaron and the children of Israel infuriated God
Almighty for creating and worshiping the golden calf. It all began with
the jewelry they brought from Egypt. After that incident, God utterly
hated jewelry on His people. He demanded they give it to Him. Read my
essay on the topic, entitled "Ornaments of Jewelry,"
and you will see that God spoke to the issue all throughout the Bible.
33:6 - "And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their
ornaments by the mount Horeb."
Face to Face with God
punished Israel for worshiping the golden calf, but Moses' intercession
saved their lives. Immediately, God again promised to give them a land
flowing with milk and honey. But the people were unmoved. Ultimately,
it was Moses' profound relationship with God that salvaged the entire
project. Israel could easily see that when Moses entered the
Tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and the voice of God spoke to
Moses. Remember, whole nations can depend on one man's prayers.
33:11 - "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh
unto his friend."
Show Me Thy Glory
is invisible. Three times, the Bible says, "No man hath seen God at any
time." When Moses asked to see God's glory, God showed him His "back
parts." That could not possibly mean God's back, buttocks or thighs. He
is invisible. Moses saw God's past goodness - the Genesis story
revealed! 1400 years later, Moses saw the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration.
33:23 - "I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts:
but my face shall not be seen."
The Stone Tablets
The first set of the Ten Commandments were hewn and written on stone by God Himself. Moses broke them in rage when he found Israel worshiping the golden calf. God made Moses prepare new tablets and bring them into the
mountain where God would again write the law. Those tablets were stored
in the Ark of the Covenant for centuries.
34:1 - "And the
LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first:
and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first
tables, which thou brakest."
promised Israel a holy land, but commanded them to remove every false
god. God will not share His glory or tolerate spiritual adultery. Our
love for Him must be undivided. Love not the world.
- "Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants
of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of
thee: But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut
down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD,
whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."
spent forty days in the holy mount, presumably without food. God
miraculously engraved the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. Moses
descended and found Israel sinfully rioting. He broke the tablets in
fury, and returned up the mount for another forty days without food and
water -- a truly miraculous fast. Ordinarily, no man could attempt that
and survive. Nevertheless, his fasting yielded supernatural results.
Holy fasting will sanctify you unto God with miraculous results.
34:28 - "...he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he
did neither eat bread, nor drink water."
people do not talk about this much, but it is a big deal in the ancient
story. After the children of Israel offended God so profoundly by
worshiping the golden calf, they turned in all their gold. Eventually,
God commanded that all gold be surrendered either to the Tabernacle or
the kingdom - no privately held gold.
Exodus 35:22 -
came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought
bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold:
and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD."
Aholiab and Bezaleel
men oversaw the creation and production of the entire Tabernacle and
all its furnishings, in a VAST range of workmanship - metalworkers,
stone cutters, woodworkers, tailors, weavers, furniture makers,
apothecaries, and more. They made everything from incense and oil to
the priests' robes, even the Ark of the Covenant. When God gives you a job, He will fully enable you.
Exodus 36:1 -
Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put
wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the
service of the sanctuary."
The Tabernacle Materials
instructed Moses to collect a free-will offering from the people to
construct and furnish the Tabernacle. Gold, silver, brass, linens,
skins, wood, oil, spices, precious stones, and much more. "...whosoever
is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD,"
(Exodus 35:5). Soon, Moses had more than he needed. God's work is the
most worthy cause. We should be excited to give all we can to support
Exodus 36:7 - "For the stuff they had was
sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much."
Wood Overlaid With Gold
Tabernacle furniture was made of shittim wood, overlaid with gold,
silver or brass. The furnishings and walls inside the Holy Place were
covered in gold. The Ark represents Christ. Wood symbolized the
humanity of Christ; gold, His deity. God said, in Isaiah 13:12, "I will
make a man more precious than fine gold." Shittim wood is now obscure.
No one knows with certainty what kind of tree it was. The significance
of our humanity will be obscured in heaven after God changes our
corruption to incorruption.
Exodus 37:1 - "Bezaleel
made the ark of shittim wood."
sweet-smelling oil and sweet-smelling incense to be used perpetually in
the Tabernacle. We are so accustomed to the odious and unsavory effects
of sin in the world that we forget that everything in God's universe
was beautiful beyond our ability to comprehend BEFORE SIN came. God
demanded that His earthly house be as beautiful and pleasing as it
could be, reminding us that in His presence are pleasures forevermore.
37:29 - "And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of
sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary."
in the Tabernacle was portable, because Israel was on a journey. God
required them to put rings on the four corners of the holy furniture to
slide staves into for the priests to lift and carry the items. The Ark
of the Covenant could NEVER be touched by any man, and the staves must
never be removed. This teaches reverence and sanctity for the things of
God and the ministry. Modern Christians desperately need to re-learn
Exodus 38:7 - "...he put the staves
into the rings on the sides of the altar, to bear it withal."
priest's breastplate was attached to the ephod (vestment) by golden
rings. It had twelve stones, each representing a tribe of Israel. This
dramatized the role of the High Priest as the intercessor before God in
behalf of the twelve tribes. Some believe that individual stones became
illuminated when God had a special message for a particular tribe. A
man of God carries the burden of the people continually over his heart.
39:8 - "And he made the breastplate of cunning work, ...It was
foursquare; ...And they set in it four rows of stones."
Obeying a Mystery
Moses' team created the entire Tabernacle with literally hundreds of intricate details as prescribed by God. The furnishings, the consumables (incense, oil, sacrifices), the garments (robes, mitres, vestments, etc.) and much, much more. There is no way they could have understood the amazing prophetic significance of all those things. In like manner, we must also obey God many times when we have NO CLUE what His purpose is.
Exodus 39:43 - "And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them."
The Glory Cloud
The ultimate purpose of the Tabernacle was to be a place where people could see God's glory. On the first day the first service was conducted, God covered the place with His glory. Jesus built the church (us) for the same reason - to be a habitation of God's glory.
Exodus 40:34-35 - "Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle."
Follow the Cloud
From the first day the Tabernacle was in service, for thirty-eight years, God's glory was manifest as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in the sight of all the people. When the cloud moved, they moved. When it stayed, they stayed. Always follow God where ever He leads.
Exodus 40:36-37 - "And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up."
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