Exodus 19:16-21:21, Matthew 23:13-39, Psalms 28:1-9, Proverbs 7:1-5
Today is the 4th day of February, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible, I’m Brian it is great to be here with you as we move fully into this brand-new month that we’re. What…what and what an honor it is to share history together, right, to be here, like to be on planet Earth here at the same time. It…it could’ve been different. We could’ve been 100 years ago, and this couldn’t have existed, but we get to share this time, this patch of history together in the world and be connected around this Global Campfire as we let God’s word speak to us. So, let’s get to that. For today we’ll go back into the book of Exodus. And the children of Israel are purified. They’ve been purifying themselves and getting ready for an encounter with God. Exodus chapter 19 verse 16 through 21 verse 21. And we’re reading from the Voice this week.
Okay. Couple things to talk about today. In the book of Exodus God has come down and has met with the people and they are completely freaked out about it. And what we see today is God giving the 10 Commandments. What we’ll see over time is basically the systematic construction of a society. And we need to remember, the people that are around this mountain hearing from God right now, they don’t really have an identity other than as a slave. That’s all they ever were. So, God begins with what we call the 10 Commandments because they apply to everyone. But God will continue to organize His people as we go forward through time and through the Scriptures. And some of these things we can look at and go, “well, I don’t know how to apply that. That doesn’t…that…that custom is not in the culture I live in. I’m not even sure that customs still in the world today.” Or we could read our 21st-century life into a culture that existed thousands of years ago and wonder why God would want them to do that or why they would even do this or that or the other. Don’t get all caught up on that. What God is doing is coming to this people and establishing an identity, His chosen people, a nation of priests. He’s bestowing an identity upon them, and then telling them, “this is what a holy people looks like”. And, so, He’s telling them, “Holy people don’t kill other people. Like, Holy people don’t commit adultery. Holy people don’t steal from each other.” What God is doing is pulling these people dramatically forward in their understanding not only of who they are as God’s people, but also of who He is as God. And a culture unlike any other culture in the world at this time is being established in the middle of the wilderness where they have no way in or out. Like, they’re utterly and completely at God’s mercy and He’s trying to show them that that is the safest place in the world. And we would do well to learn that lesson. So, God speaks of the people, the people are terrified, and they go to Moses and they’re like, “we…we…we cannot have God speak to us, that’s too terrifying. We can’t even pay attention we think we’re gonna die. You speak to us instead. We’ll listen to you. God can talk to you and then you tell us, and we’ll listen to you. This is where we begin to see the prophetic voice appear in the Bible and we’ll talk about that more in the coming days.
We got to the book of Matthew today and Jesus basically just lets loose. He just pretty much confronts straight up the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. These are the people who are entrusted to lead the people in the ways of God. And just hearing Jesus talk in Matthew 23, it's…it’s heartbreaking because we know Jesus has come to Jerusalem and He’s gonna get killed, He’s gonna die going to be awful. And the people, the people, they were…their eyes were being opened but it was the religious leaders that were blocking the path. So, what is Jesus so upset about? What were they doing? What was He calling out? He had plenty to say, but if we distill it down what was he saying? He was saying, “you spiritual leaders will stand before a crowd and lock the door of the kingdom of heaven, right in front of everyone. What you say is not what you do. You’ll travel all over the world to get a convert, but once you got one you enslave them as you are.” In other words, you’ve converted them to your system but not to God. And He’s like, “you have it…you just…you have it backward. You’re focused on the wrong thing, the exact…exact opposite. You’re putting value on what can be brought to God instead of understanding that it has a value because of God. You tithe from your luxuries, but you’ve ignored the essentials of the law - justice, mercy, faithfulness. You remove fine layers of film and dust from the outside of a cup or bowl, but you leave the inside full of greed and covetousness and self-indulgence. Can’t you see that if you clean the inside of the cup the outside to be clean too? You appear at first blush to be righteous and selfless and pure but inside you are polluted.” And there’s more. I mean, you can go back and read it for yourself. It’s just…this is what’s got Jesus so upset because this behavior masked and cloaked in religion was keeping people from entering the kingdom of heaven. And it’s so sad because after He says these things, after He lets loose, such an opportunity for repentance here, but instead they redouble their efforts to kill Jesus. But Jesus is brokenhearted. “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets whom God gives you, you stone those who God sends you. I’ve longed to gather your children the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you refuse to be gathered. This will be the first time that we move into this territory this year, the story of Jesus arrest and trial and execution. And it's…it’s super easy to just kind of go theological, “well, He was born to die and that was that and that was all part of the plan. And, so, I don’t really…I don’t really need to know a whole lot more than that”, but when we enter into the stories, when we walk with Jesus, when we listen coming out of the Gospels what He is saying to us, when we watch Him move around we see clearly something’s different and it’s what we want. We want to live like that. And Jesus is revealing the kingdom saying, “you can, you can. You just have to wake up, you have to open your eyes, you have to open your ears. It’s all here, you’re just not perceiving it. But that’s too dangerous. That can upset the power share that’s going on between these religious leaders and the Roman government. And although Jesus is drawing a crowd and is showing up on the radar, it doesn’t look like He’s trying to build a militia to attack the Romans. So, later on in the Bible we’ll see a depiction of the high priest at this time saying, “it’s better for one person to die then for all of us to die.” And Jesus’s is putting himself in this position. Like He’s willingly putting Himself in this kind of danger in order to bring light into the darkness to ultimately bring light into the darkest of dark. But it appears that the people who missed it the most and did away with Jesus were the people entrusted to bring people to God. Jesus is basically saying, “I…I’ve come for you and you’re refusing me.” Does that not just a little bit break your heart for God?” I know you’re saying, “that sounds weird. You know, He doesn’t have feelings. He’s God. He’s the most-high God. He can just make more people. He can do whatever He wants, He’s God. He can be wherever He wants. For some reason though, He loves us and…yeah…whatever…whatever reason that is, He does. For whatever…for some reason He’s still putting up with us, still believing that our eyes can be opened and…and we can stop this backward life that we’re and live forward, live from within, spilling out into the world, instead of the world flooding in and contaminating everything about us. Yes, indeed God loves you. god loves us and we will be seeing just how much in the coming days.
Father, we thank You for Your word. We love You. It’s hard to try to enter into these stories and walk with You. It’s easy to just read them as stories, cute little Bible stories we’ve heard our whole life but it’s different to try to walk those stories with our hearts and open ourselves to You and see what You are facing and to see that You’ve never lost hope in us, that You’ve never given up on us. And we’ve accused You of it plenty, but it’s just never happened, that’s never been the truth. And, so, Jesus we just want to say how…how much we do love You…we love You Lord and we’re grateful and the words will fail very quickly because what can we say? We don’t have anybody else in our lives like You. Your goodness can silence us because there is no vocabulary to describe it. And yet, You have come for us, to gather us, to know us. You want to know us? And all we have to do is open our eyes that we’re living backwards and reveal our hearts to You completely. And we were talking about that yesterday and we talk about it again. Come Holy Spirit, we open ourselves completely. We want no deceit whatsoever between us in any way. We’ve seen what an honest life looks like in the Scriptures and You have invited us into that life although the path is narrow. Come Holy Spirit and show us the way. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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