25 October 2016

God Provides

Theme: God met the needs of His people

Know: God met the needs of the Israelites when He provided bread from heaven and water from the rock.
Think: Have the mindset that you are under the constant, attentive care of your heavenly Father.
Do: Thank God for His provision and obey His Word to demonstrate your trust in Him.

Scriptures: Exodus 16:1-17:7

Notes and questions:
B1 What are needs? List some.
B2 What is grumbling? Why do we grumble? Why have the Israelites started grumbling again?
B3 They have now traveled 30 days. Food and water are scarce in this area. The people start to complain. Has God ever failed them?
B4 Exodus 16:1-3,
  • Why does Israel always wished they had died in Egypt? They have used this excuse before.
  • Is this a logical argument?
B5 Exodus 16:4-8,
  • Was God angry with them? If you were god, would you have been angry at them?
  • God is going to give them food. Why did God set up a test? Has God ever tested you? Can you give an example?
  • What is the test?
  • Why didn't the people pray to God? Why did they complain to Moses and Aaron as if it were their fault?
B6 Exodus 16:9-16,
  • What food did God sent in the evening? Was there enough quail for everyone?
  • What is manna? How did it come to the Israelites? (I imagine this food looked like corn flakes to us. The dew was not the manna. The manna was on the dew. See Numbers 11.9. Manna tasted like wafers and honey (Exodus 16:31). The people needed to gather it, grind it, prepare it, bake it, then eat it. They could also boil it (Numbers 11:8)).
  • How does feeding the Israelites quail and manna cause the Israelites to know that Yahweh is God? (I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them: “At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will eat bread until you are full. Then you will know that I am Yahweh your God." Exodus 16:12).
  • An omer is believed to be about 1.35 kg (~3 pounds, or 2 liters).
  • When God has provided for us, what did we learn? How can we apply that for our next need?
  • How much did God charge the Israelites, that is, how much money did they have to pay God?
B7 Exodus 16:17-20, why did some Israelites keep manna until the next day? Why was Moses angry with them?
B8 Exodus 16:21-30,
  • What are 2 ways the Israelites could prepare the manna?
  • Why did the manna not spoil on the Sabbath?
  • Why some of the people disobey God and went to gather manna on the Sabbath?
  • Is following God's instructions important? Why?
B9 Exodus 16:31-36,
  • Why did God tell the Israelites to preserve some manna? Do some people need more proof than others?
  • How long did they eat manna?
B10 Exodus 17:1-7,
  • Why do the Israelites always bring up the idea that Moses is trying to kill them in the wilderness, etc.?
  • What is the root cause of their problem?
  • What can we do to avoid this same attitude?
  • What are some of the most important things that God can provide people? Does He?
B11 Other questions
  • Do we get tired of what God provides us? Why? Can you give any examples?
  • Does God know our needs?
  • How can God provide for our needs? Has He provided for you?
  • What might God allow for us in order  to teach us that He will provide?
  • How can we understand God's timing in meeting our needs?
  • When God meets our needs, what are we to do?

Next week:
Angels: God's assistants
Theme: What is the truth about angels?
  1. Colossians 1:16-17
  2. Revelation 22:8-9
  3. Matthew 26:53
  4. Hebrews 13:2

21 October 2016

Contemporary Worship Music

He really makes a good point especially the point that we are to sing with and to each other to edify, not entertain. "Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. " (Colossians 3:16, HCSB)

From Dr. James Leonard

Have I ever told you what I really think of the
contemporary worship band?
  • How short would my preaching career be if I insisted that the sound system blast my voice as loud as the band's music?
  • The quickest way to kill congregational singing is the worship band, whose music is so loud that no longer does the Christian church sing to "one another" songs and hymns.
  • The unity of the church is seriously impaired by these ephemeral praise songs that have a currency of about 8 months, and will not get passed down to future generations. Thus, the old folks who have served the Lord faithfully for 50 years do not share the joys of the songs of Zion with the younger generation.
  • And don't get me started about the light show. When did the church's worship become a rock concert?
  • I guess the worship band's music is so uninteresting, so uncaptivating that it has to be blasted as loud as possible.
  • And I guess that the text of the music of most contemporary praise songs must be so mediocre that one must gin up the emotions by excessive use of musical tricks.
The tragedy of this is that our denominational institutions actively promote the contemporary praise band movement--with all the above characteristics, and so incidentally promote the demise of congregational singing. We send our youth to camps and conferences featuring really cool people playing the same five or ten songs over and over again, with great expertise, and they get hooked on the sensational. And when they return to your typical Baptist church with its musical limitations, they think songs like "No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus" and "And Can It Be" are boring and unrelatable. Our seminaries even might be doing the same thing.
Here's some good congregational singing.

Nothing is impossible

Theme: God demonstrated His power

Know: God parted the sea to deliver the children of Israel from the armies of Egypt.
Think: Be at peace with the assurance that God is in control and will accomplish His plan.
Do: Fight the urge to doubt God when faced with difficulty and uncertainty. Trust Him to see you through the situation.

Scripture: Exodus 14:1-31

Notes and questions:
B1 Outline
  • God's instructions Exodus 14:1-4
  • Pharaoh's actions Exodus 14:5-9
  • Israel's fear Exodus 14:10-14
  • Go forward Exodus 14:15-18
  • God's protecting glory Exodus 14:19-20
  • The people in the sea Exodus 14:21-25
  • God delivers Exodus 14:26-31
B2 Exodus 14:1, Since Moses was a prophet, God talked directly to him.
B3 Did the Exodus really occur?
B4 Exodus 14:1-4
  • Despite the clues of the cities and mention of the "desert has closed in on them," the exact location of these cities is not known.
  • Did God deceive, trick, fool, Pharaoh? Is this wrong? Will He do the same to me?
    • Evidently Pharaoh had already crossed over the line from the possibility of mercy to that of guaranteed judgment. After his first born had died, Pharaoh still wanted to bring back Israel to be slaves. It must have been a shock the next day, to realize that they have would to do all the work.
    • When Pharaoh arrived at the Israelite camp, he saw the "cloudy pillar" move between Israelite and Egyptian camps. You would think that Pharaoh would say, "This is unusual. I think this might be the Israel god that killed all the firstborn. He might fight and kill us." But Pharaoh did not change. God continued to harden Pharaoh's heart, after Pharaoh resisted reality.
    • He might do that to us, but He will give warnings first. If we neglect the warning, we will pay for it. James 1:6-9, Romans 1:20-21
B5 Since the lesson has to do with impossibilities, is anything impossible with God (Matthew 19:2)? This does NOT mean that God can lie or make a rock too big for him to life, etc. All things are things in accordance with His character.
B6 Exodus 14:5-9,
  • Does God allow us to face difficult times?
  • What about those TV preachers who claim that Jesus wants us to be rich, not sick, etc.?
  • If this was only a sea of reeds (shallow water), would Pharaoh have thought the Israelites to be trapped?
  • Why does God harden hearts? (Because they are resistant to His grace and truth. See Romans 1:18-32).
  • From the lesson book:
    • Why do you think God allows us to face difficult and seemingly impossible situations?
    • When have you seen God move and work in what seemed to be an impossible situation? What lessons did you learn through this situation?
B7 Exodus 14:10-20,
  • Israel feared the Egyptian army greatly in spite of great miracles that had already happened. Was God angry with them? No.
  • How much are we responsible for in fighting our battles? Does God do everything, something, nothing, or does it depend on the situation? Can you think of any examples?
  • Can a leader who fears God be helpful in times like this?
  • How did God get glory by killing Pharaoh and his army? (Rebellion leads to judgment. Pharaoh was evil, and it was time for punishment).
  • Most interpret the cloud to be dark to the Egyptians but gave light to the Israelites. Why is this? What is God telling Israel by this?
  • From the lesson book:
    • What are some specific situations in which we need to trust God, but we have a difficult time doing so?
    • What attributes of God make Him worthy of our trust in difficult times?
B8 Exodus 14:21-31
  • What specific blessings did God give Israel for their deliverance?
  • What problems happened to the Egyptians? What did the Egyptians feel when they realized that God was fighting for Israel?
  • What blessings does God give us in our problems?
  • Why did the wind have to blow all night? Was this a warning to Egypt?
  • The Egyptians and Israelites both went into the sea. Why did Israel live, but Egyptians died?
  • Would the dry path through the sea be wide or narrow? What difference would it make?
  • From the lesson book:
    • How can we encourage other believers to trust and believe God when they are going through uncertain times?
    • How has God demonstrated His power in your life?
B9 Does God have power today? How do we see it?
B10 Do we need God's power today?

Next week:
  • God provides
  • Theme: God met the needs of His people
  • Scripture: Exodus 16-17:7

11 October 2016

Judgment Passes Over

Theme: God delivered His people

Know: God struck down the firstborn of Egypt but passed over the Israelites who sacrificed a lamb and applied its blood to their doorposts. The yearly Passover celebration was instituted.
Think: Abide in the confidence that Christ's blood covers your sin and protects you.
Do: Trust in Christ, the Passover Lamb, whose shed blood washes away your sin!

Scriptures: Exodus 12:1-42

Notes and questions:
B1 Outline
  • Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread Exodus 12:1-30
  • Exodus Exodus 12:31-42
  • Specific Instructions Exodus 12:43-51
B2 Exodus 12:1-11,
  • When is Passover 2016? It began at sunset Friday, 22 April 16 and ended at sunset Saturday 30 April 16. The Passover celebration was at sunset 22 April 2016 and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was 23-30 April.  For 2017 see here. The whole time is considered the Passover.
  • What is the Passover mean regarding the calendar? (It is the start of their New Year).
  • What is the significance of the Passover? (It is the day that God begins the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
  • God warned Pharaoh and Egypt that He would kill their firstborn, because of disbelief in God's warnings and lack of repentance (change of mind which results in change of life). The lamb was killed and its blood applied to the doorposts as a sign of believing God and a substitute that died for them. How does 1 Corinthians 5:7 ("Purge out the old leaven, in order that you may be a new batch of dough, since you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us") apply to us Christians? See also John 1:29.
  • Why keep the chosen lamb for 4 days before slaughter? (The ancient Egyptians worshipped lambs. Taking a lamb, the Egyptians' deity, into their homes for four days, with the intention of slaughtering and eating it, was an act that was sure to be noticed by the Egyptians. It was extremely likely that they would be infuriated by this disrespect of their god. This act of courage, standing up for their beliefs and following G‑d's command in the face of possible danger, was a merit for the Jews, one that made them worthy of being redeemed. Nowadays, for the most part, standing up for our beliefs doesn't put us in physical danger. But we should still use the example set by our ancestors to inspire us to have courage in living according to our principles. Source)
  • What is the importance of believing God?
B3 Exodus 12:12-13
  • Why did God warn that He would kill the firstborn? (To Pharaoh, the first born would be the heir. Jesus Christ is the firstborn and the only begotten Son).
  • How did God bring judgment of the Egyptian deities? Could Egyptians deities help people? Who could help them?
  • What did God have to see in order to not kill the firstborn? What is the significance of this? (Humanity was doomed, without hope, to go to hell for eternity. Jesus Christ did not offer money to God, but His blood. The penalty that was to be meted to humanity was paid in full by the death of our savior, Jesus Christ, and the offering of His blood as proof of death).
B4 Exodus 12:14-16, why could they not work the first day and the seventh day, except to cook? (Probably to do holy work rather than physical work. It would also show defiance of the Egyptians).
B5 Exodus 12:17-20,
  • Not having any leaven in the house was very serious to the Israelites. It represents contamination and thus sin. It spreads throughout the dough, so does sin.
  • "Probably the most significant observance involves the removal of chametz (leavened bread) from homes and property. Chametz includes anything made from the five major grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt) that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after coming into contact with water (Ashkenazic Jews also consider rice, corn, peanuts, and legumes as chametz). The removal of chametz commemorates the fact that the Jews left Egypt in a hurry and did not have time to let their bread rise. It is also a symbolic way of removing the “puffiness” (arrogance, pride) from our souls. In fact, Jews are not only prohibited from eating chametz during Passover, but they may not own or derive any sort of benefit from it either, including using it to feed pets. This important stipulation requires Jews to sell all remaining leavened products before Passover begins, including utensils used to cook chametz. The grain product we eat during Passover in place of chametz is called matzah. Matzah is unleavened bread made simply from flour and water and cooked very quickly. This is traditionally viewed as the bread that the Jews made for their flight from Egypt. Matzah is also referred to as Lechem Oni ("Bread of Affliction"). The process of cleaning the home of all chametz in preparation for Passover is an enormous task. To do it right, most Jews spend several days and even weeks scrubbing down their kitchens, thoroughly cleaning the insides of stoves, fridges, and ovens, and covering all surfaces with foil or shelf-liner that came in contact with chametz during the year." From http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/holidaya.html
B6 Exodus 12:21-23, what is the importance of applying the blood? Why would God then not kill the firstborn?
B7 Exodus 12:24-28, for how many years was Israel to observe the Passover? How many years are we to remember what Messiah, Jesus, has done for us?
B8 Exodus 12:29-32
  • Does God keep His word?
  • Does socioeconomic status affect God's judgment?
  • Who did the killing?
  • Remember that God had warned them in advance, so they deserved their foolish decision. They did not believe God.
  • Was Pharaoh truly humble and repentant? See Exodus 14:5.
B9 Exodus 12:33-36, what did the Israelites do? (They packed up and left, after asking and being given much riches).
B10 Exodus 12:37-39
  • What might be a reasonable number for the crowd that left? (There were 600,000 men, probably 600,000 women, maybe 1,200,000 children, plus the mixed multitude. So there might have at least 2,400,000 but probably more than that).
  • In light of Exodus 12:39, God had instructed them to be ready to leave. How was that warning relevant?
B11 Exodus 12:40-42
B12 Questions from the study guide
  • Think about your life before you came to Christ. What were you like? What sins were you in bondage to?
  • Now think about your life since you came to Christ. What difference has Christ made in our life? How has He set you free?