Exodus 8:1-9:35, Matthew 19:13-30, Psalms 24:1-10, Proverbs 6:1-5
Today is the 29th day of January, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible, I’m Brian like every day, and it’s great to be here with you on this day as we take the next step forward in the Scriptures. And we’re kind of settling into this new territory that we’ve begun in the book of Exodus, the story of Moses and the children of Israel. And right now, the children of Israel have been enslaved in Egypt, and God is demanding their release through Moses and Aaron and things have not gone so well so far. And, so, we pick up the story today. We’re reading from the Evangelical Heritage Version this week. Exodus chapter 8 and 9 today.
Okay. So, we have things going on in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, which is the story of the Bible. That’s kind of the story of our every day. But we are definitely seeing the plagues descend upon Egypt and the Bible’s saying God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart. So, let’s like explore this for minute. What does that mean? Because that would seem kinda unfair right? Like God’s hardened Pharaoh’s heart in advance so that he’s gonna take blow after blow after blow as Egypt is sort of disintegrating but God hardened his heart, so nothing can be done about it. That’s not what’s going on here. Think of yourself from a position of power. Like, you know what you’re doing and you have all the bills paid and you have a little bit in the bank…like you have a little sort of place of security and somebody comes along and tells you what you are going to do. Whether you want to or not, you must submit, and humble yourself and obey. That’s probably gonna harden your heart. And that’s what’s happening to Pharaoh. He is the king of Egypt. He is the Pharaoh, but he also believes he is the son of the gods, he is a deity himself, he is a god himself. So, “no God is coming into my land and telling me what to do. Who is this God of the Hebrews”, right? So, you can see his posture here. And, so, what’s happening is God is systematically certainly showing His authority and power but is also demonstrating to Pharaoh and all of Egypt that the God who has chosen the Hebrew people to be His chosen ones in the world, these are His people that He is doing a new thing through and all of these lesser lower spiritual beings that are being worshiped, all of these false gods that nations and people are following will not stand in the face of the most-high God or the people of the most-high God. Pharaoh hasn’t quite learned that lesson, but he is learning it and we will continue that story tomorrow.
And then we get into the book of Matthew. Really, really interesting conversation happens between a…a really good person who has obeyed the Mosaic law and he’s come to the rabbi teacher Jesus asking, “you know, what else do I need to do? Like what…what act, what posture, what do I need to do to have eternal life?” And Jesus said, “you need to obey the commandments.” And the guys like, “well, which commandments?” And Jesus is like, “you don’t murder, and you don’t commit adultery, and you don’t steal, and you shouldn’t lie, you shouldn’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Now that idea is certainly in the book of Leviticus. I believe it’s also in the book we’re reading, Exodus. I believe it’s also in the book of Deuteronomy. It’s definitely in the New Testament, it’s definitely from the lips of Jesus. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Actually, at a later point Jesus will summarize the entire law of God, the Mosaic law that we will read through by saying, “it…it can all be encapsulated, love the Lord your God with all your soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” So, in other words, if you’re doing those things, you are walking the right path, you are in obedience to God. Love your neighbor as yourself. Generally, we interpret that or understand what’s being said here as…as the Golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated. Treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated. And that’s right. And that’s good and that’s true, but it’s even deeper than that. We have talked plenty about separation from God as we’ve experienced it in the Bible. We’ve also watched Jesus come on the scene, announcing and revealing a kingdom that exists and is happening and is in and among us. What we’re watching in Jesus is the declaration that the separation that existed between God and man can be bridged and is gone, therefore the separation that we feel from one another is also gone. It’s not about separation anymore, it’s about union. And we…we’ve already mentioned this. In Jesus high priestly prayer, “make them one as we are one.” Paul’s unpacking of all of that describing us as a body with every part irreplaceable and necessary, whether seen or unseen. So, our trajectory is to become aware of this inter connection, this body that we are a part of, that we aren’t acting as individuals but as believers in Jesus. We are Christ on earth in this world as the body of Christ because Christ indwells us. And, so wherever we are there also is Christ and we are all over the world. So, this deepens, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s deeper than just trying to do for others what you would like to be done for you. It’s loving them as yourself. Loving them like they were a part of the you. It’s pretty hard to be selfish if you’re loving your neighbor as if they were a part of you because than anything you are being selfish about what have to include all of yourself. But it goes deeper than that. If everyone in the body of Christ loved their neighbor as themselves the construct that our culture has created for us, the culture of the lack the one that’s telling us constantly that something’s missing and we need to find that something and buy that something kinda goes away because there is no lack, it’s an illusion. We have what we need, we’re not alone, we’re in this together. We are bound together as one body on this earth that is animated by the very Spirit of God. And I’m not making any of that up and I’m not taking any of that out of context. If anything, I mean context is a huge deal for me, that’s what the Bible says. We’ll see that all for ourselves. So, Jesus says, “love your neighbor as you love yourself”, and then the young man says to him, “I have kept all these. What am I still lacking?” Alright, so, there’s this sense that somethings missing. And Jesus told him like, “if you want to be perfect then go sell everything you have and give to the poor and you’ll have treasure in heaven. And then come, follow me.” So, like He’s inviting this guy to become a disciple. “Come follow me.” That’s what He says to all the people that he follow…that He calls. But Jesus has found the one thing and the man leaves saddened because he had a lot of stuff. This was that particular person’s thing, like Jesus found that thing. The guy came to Jesus and was like, “I think…I think I’m doing everything right. I believe that I have earned righteousness before God but I’m just checking with you and Jesus finds the thing that is his hang up and He will find ours too if we’ll let him and then we’ll have to decide if are going to walk away sad or if we’re gonna embrace Him. But we can say some things about this kingdom that Jesus is revealing. We can say that it is a kingdom of forgiveness and that forgiveness is irreplaceable as we talked about yesterday. We can say that this kingdom is in and among everything, it’s sown in among all things. So, among all the evil of the world goodness is everywhere among it. So, that as Jesus says, “no one will be able to say, look over there, there’s the kingdom or here, over here, here it is.” Because it’s within us. It’s among us. we could say that the kingdom of God is a very interconnected one, one in which we understand our interdependence on one another, one in which we understand that the animating life force, the source is God, and it is the Spirit of God that indwells us. Or we could also say that the kingdom of heaven is…is not a kingdom of lack, it’s a kingdom of abundance, but normally we are only measuring that with our five physical senses. We are only measuring abundance by what we can experience with our physicality, with our bodies, ignoring the richness of a sound mind and the beauty of a whole heart. So, if we began to look through the eyes of this kingdom that we’re beginning to discover through the lips of Jesus, we could clearly say that it is in this world and happening right now and we can experience it fully, but we will have to disengage from the kind of cultural traps that we continually find ourselves in - in the world but not of the world. And if we realize that what we’re ultimately after is wholeness here, where our minds and our Spirits and our bodies are in collaboration with the Spirit of the living God within us, then we wouldn’t be able to help, but seeing God everywhere and we wouldn’t have a sense of abandonment or lack. We would understand we have all we need and there is no lack, there is a never ending supply. This entire world and everything in it, no matter how much we think we have our private property and our own couches that are paid for and like these are our things, everything in this world belongs to God. He is the creator of it, and he has no lack. So, we are beginning to see this kingdom and see that we can be in it. We just need eyes to see and ears to hear.
Holy Spirit again, that’s what we ask for, eyes to see and ears to hear. We open ourselves to You. We invite You fully. we declare nothing is off-limits to You after the same fashion that You found the thing that was gonna hold back this rich Young ruler in the book of Matthew, we ask You might reveal those things to us. What are the things that are gonna keep us from seeing Your kingdom? What are the things that are gonna keep us from operating in Your kingdom? A vast wide-open peaceful place where the world can swirl all around us with its chaos, but we are with You and everything is Yours. Come Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth we pray. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.
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