The Finger of God

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Is God a man? Is He made like a man? Does He have physical characteristics like a man?

Did He really write the Ten Commandments with His finger?

Exodus 31:18 When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

Moses wrote most of the laws as spoken by God.

Moses had been on Mount Sinai for forty days. God had given him instructions regarding the tabernacle, the priests, and the rules of conduct for the nation of Israel.

Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

Moses also received the Ten Commandments from God. These ten laws were not written down by Moses. According to scripture they were written by God in stone then given to Moses.

Is Exodus 31:18 just symbolic and not to be taken literally?

  • According to Strong’s Concordance
  • The word ‘finger’ is translated from the Hebrew word meaning the forefinger.
  • The word ‘written’ is translated from the Hebrew word meaning ‘to write.”
  • The word ‘God’ is translated from the Hebrew word meaning God.
  • The word ‘gave’ is translated from the Hebrew word meaning ‘to give.’

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God, the Book, the Blood, and Us

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Four young people. Enjoying pizza and beer. Socializing. Married (I saw their rings). Just enjoying each other’s company. Laughing. Talking.

They probably didn’t realize they were in a covenant relationship with each other.

Really? Aren’t covenant relationships legal and formal and spoken or written?

A covenant is an agreement or a pledge between people or in the Bible between men and God.

Whether we are aware or not, almost all our social relationships have unspoken and assumed covenants. We assume our friends will treat us courteously and with respect. We assume dinner out with friends won’t end with a fist fight in the parking lot. We trust our friends will honor the marriage vows we made to our spouses.

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Personal Responsibility

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As he entered Panera Bread I noticed he had a slight limp. He was probably 80 years old. Maybe 85. I imagined him being a Korea War veteran. It was easy to see him as having owned an auto parts store or perhaps he had been a supervisor in a factory.

I had no idea who he was, but for some unknown reason he looked trustworthy. I’m sure he lived his life being personally responsible for everything he did.

Where does personal responsibility come from? A quick answer would be one generation passes it on to the next. But where did it originate?

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Exodus 20 – Identity Crisis

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“…and I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” — Emily Dickinson

Exodus 20 records God giving to Moses the Ten Commandments.

There first four commandments define our ideal relationship with God.

  • You shall have no other gods before me
  • You shall not make for yourself an idol
  • You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
  • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy

The last six commandments define our ideal relationship with each other.

  • Honor your father and your mother
  • You shall not murder
  • You shall not commit adultery
  • You shall not steal
  • You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
  • You shall not covet

You may have heard we Christians are no longer under the law, meaning our relationship with God does not depend on following the laws communicated to Moses from God.

Which of the Ten Commandments are you not required to follow?  Continue reading

Exodus 19 – Clean Garments

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How do we approach our holy God? Is just showing up all that’s required? Is there some kind of ritual we need to go through?

As Exodus 19 begins, the Israelites were in month three of their escape from Egypt. They were learning, albeit slowly for some, to depend on God. Now they were going to learn a new lesson about their God.

He is holy.

Because He is holy He expects and is worthy of obedience.

All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible.

‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;

and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel. – Exodus 19:5-6

Moses spoke God’s words to the Israelites, and they responded.

All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. – Exodus 19:8

So far, so good.

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Exodus 18 – Delegation Not Incineration

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“The thing that you are doing is not good.”

The relationship between a man and his father-in-law can be great or it can be terrible. Moses evidently had a strong relationship with his father-in-law, Jethro, since Jethro pointed out to Moses an activity that just wasn’t right.

Jethro was a priest of Midian. The Midianites descended from Abraham but did not worship the God of the Israelites. Before he returned to Egypt to lead God’s people to freedom, Moses spent 40 years working with Jethro, so they knew each other well.

Jethro brought the wife of Moses and their two sons to Moses while he was leading the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land.  He was awed by what God had done and acknowledged there was no other god greater that the God of Israel.

“Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people.” – Exodus 18:11

During his visit, Jethro noticed Moses judging the people from morning until night. It was not a good thing, and Jethro told Moses so.

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Rocking That Water – Exodus 17

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Ever been so thirsty even warm water tastes good? Ice water would be nice, but when you’re really thirsty you need just good old plain water. You can take those first few gulps just thankful it’s wet. The temperature isn’t an issue.

Exodus 17 provides us with another example of God’s provision in spite of His people’s complaining.

All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible.

But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” – Exodus 17:3

Where were the cries of trusting in God? They’ve experienced it before. They were enslaved, and God let them walk out of Egypt. Their lives were in danger, and God protected them. In chapter 16 they were hungry. Did God let them waste away? No, they weren’t even close to starving.

Now they were thirsty. They grumbled and complained to Moses. He petitioned God.

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Potentate Pot Luck

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They were oppressed in Egypt. God freed them. They were trapped at the Red Sea. God provided a way. They were pursued by the Egyptian army. God protected them.

In Exodus chapter 15, the Israelites celebrated what God had done from them.

Now in chapter 16, they grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible.

The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORDS hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” – Exodus 16:3

Would God do all that He had done for His people then let them starve to death in the wilderness? It was possible. It’s not always obvious how God orchestrates circumstances to bring about His desired result.

But He didn’t let them starve.

He sent quail and manna. They ate their fill.

The Israelites had to daily gather the manna for that day’s needs and twice as much on the day before the Sabbath. Why not just give them a week’s worth. Wouldn’t that be more efficient?

Remember the words of Jesus in what we call the Lord’s Prayer?

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Our dependence of God must be daily. For forty years God’s people received their daily bread from Him. They could grumble or complain or just be silent. It didn’t change a thing. The manna was there six days a week.

They should have been thankful. Many probably were. What about us? Do we expect more than our daily bread from God? Each day is a gift. Each day’s bread, whether it be food or health or protection or grace, is a gift.

Dependence on someone or something doesn’t fit too well in our culture. We have independence drilled into us from early childhood. We are expected to learn to fend for ourselves. We are expected to provide for ourselves. Our culture says it’s up to us to make our way through this life.

God has a different plan. He expects us to depend on Him for our daily needs. He expects us to go to Him each day for forgiveness, help, and direction.

Do you ask Him for your daily bread?

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Celebrate, Celebrate, Dance to the Music

Isn’t it amazing how much celebrating is done over the holidays? Whether celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Years, partying is paramount.

When the Israelites had safely crossed the Red Sea and the Egyptian army was drowned in that same sea, God’s chosen people celebrated. It wasn’t a quiet dinner with friends. It was a party.

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Look at Exodus 15. In verse one, they sang. In verse 20, Miriam, Aaron’s sister, led the women in dancing. They had been freed from over 400 years of bondage under the Egyptians. They had good reason to celebrate. And celebrate they did.

When you accepted Christ as your savior and received forgiveness from all your sins, you were set free from the bondage of a life you were never intended to live. And you were set free to live the life God had planned for you.

Did you celebrate? Did you sing and dance? Did you get together with friends and party?

Probably not. I’ve never heard of anyone throwing a salvation party to celebrate being set free from the bondage of sin.

Why don’t we make salvation a big deal worthy of a party?

Did we consider ourselves not so far gone that salvation was just a tweak in our life journey? Just a minor adjustment?

All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

We’ve all sinned. Sin isn’t just a set of bad habits. Sin is separation from God.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sin is a serious condition. It’s not a no-big-deal-everyone-does-it thing to God. If it was, why would He have sent His Son to die a painful death?

Sin is death. Salvation is life. There is no gray area.

We’ve had God’s grace extended to us, and absolutely none of us deserved it. We’ve been forgiven. We now have eternal life not eternal death.

It’s time to PARTY!!

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