Exodus 16-31 Highlights
- God provides the miracle of bread from heaven each day for Israel as they travel to the promised land
- God provides the miracle of water from a rock for Israel to drink
- Israel arrives at Mount Sinai and Moses travels up the mountain to meet God
- God gives Moses the ten commandments at Mount Sinai
- God provides Moses with law for Israel covering many different topics
- God again promises Moses the promised land for His people and the covenant God is confirmed
- God commands a sanctuary to be built and the ark of the covenant to be made
- God provides detailed instructions for construction of the tabernacle
- Moses is given the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God with the commandments of God
Psalms 33, 109, 90 Highlights
- Psalm 33 speaks to the steadfast love of God. The psalmist lists some of the great things of God and His steadfast love: he loves righteousness and justice; he made the heavens by simply speaking; he sees and knows us; only he can save. This psalm highlights how nothing in the world can save us (kings aren’t saved by armies, warriors by their strength) but rather only God can save. He is our help and our shield. His steadfast love is what we look to and rely upon. We hope in Him and nothing else.
- Psalm 109 speaks to looking to the Lord for help. God stands with those in need. David has enemies all around him, seeking to destroy him, and he recognizes that his only hope is to look to God. Give thanks to Him and praise Him, even in the storm. Verse 31 states, “For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.” David tells us to look to The Lord.
- Psalm 90 speaks to recognizing God as everlasting and how that should inform how we look at the days that God gives us. God is eternal, unchanging, everlasting. We aren’t. The psalmist tells us to remember our days are short and asks God to give us a heart of wisdom to recognize that. We should look to God each day He gives us for satisfaction. Our days here are short, and will be filled with trouble. So, let us look to God, who is everlasting, for hope, joy, and salvation where we can then be with him for eternity.
Ephesians 4-6 Highlights
- Paul reminds us all of the unity that should exist in the body of Christ; he gifts each of us differently, and then in turn forms each of us with our varying gifts to be part of the one body of Christ, the church.
- He urges us to walk in a manner of the new life to which we have received by grace and to walk in love
- Paul gives practical instructions for how the gospel should inform how we interact as husbands and wives.
- Husbands are to love and serve their wives as Christ loved the church – husbands are to give their wives in lovingly leading and serving their brides, laying down their lives for them
- Wives are to willingly submit to this godly leadership as the church submits to the servant leadership of Christ
- Practical instructions are also giving for parenting and for children in obeying their parents
- Paul lastly ends with the reminder to put on the full armor of God that He provides to withstand Satan and his attacks in our lives
Philippians 1-2 Highlights
- Paul writes a letter to the churches in Philippi to encourage them
- Philippians is one of the four prison epistles, letters that Paul wrote while imprisoned for preaching and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus
- Paul starts by thanking the Philippians for their partnership with him in the gospel
- He encourages them to know that even his suffering and imprisonment has been used by God for the spread of the gospel
- Suffering is seen to not be a bad thing to be avoided; rather, it is something that we can rejoice in! Whether we live or die, we get Christ! If we live, we get more days to live for Christ. If we die, we get to be in the presence of Jesus forever.
- Paul looks to Jesus’ example of humility as the example for us to seek to follow as we try to develop the mind of Christ
- Jesus was fully man and fully God in heaven
- Left it all and took the form of a servant on our behalf
- Became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross
- At the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord
Israel crosses over the Red Sea and as they set out on their journey to the promised land God continues to provide for His people. God provides bread from heaven and water from a rock to give Israel nourishment on their journey. He doesn’t ask them to do anything except receive his gifts to them. Israel then arrives at Mount Sinai where God gives them his 10 commandments for how to live rightly before Him. This is a pivotal moment in biblical history, as God is providing His people with gracious laws that flow from the character and nature of a perfect, holy, and good God.
God also gives Moses laws dealing with many different circumstances, situations, and interactions they are going to face. God then instructs Moses to lead Israel in the building of a sanctuary, the ark of the covenant, and the court of the tabernacle. God gives them great detail and order to guide them in their construction of these different elements, all of which Israel will use as they worship and follow the one true God.
A few things can be noted about God specifically from this section of Exodus:
- God always provides: God led his people from slavery, delivered them from Pharaoh and his armies, and then as they are in the wilderness, provides them with food and drink to sustain them. Notice that this is always grace from God. He didn’t deliver Israel from Egypt because they were perfect; far from it actually. He delivered them because He loved them and promised them. He didn’t rescue them from Pharaoh’s army because of how great Israel was; rather it is because of how great God is that He would show his power and save His people. He isn’t now giving them His law, that flows from His character, so Israel can follow the laws and earn God’s love. It is actually the complete opposite – God has already set his love on His people, and is now giving them a law by which they can follow and relate to Him. God also provides His people with detailed instructions for building and constructing places for His presence to dwell with His people, where they can worship Him together. God is seen consistently and graciously providing for His people. We can see that even more clearly today in providing His son to die for all our sin once and for all.
- God is gracious: God gives His people the law out of His grace, which can be seen in a couple of different ways. First, by giving them the 10 commandments, God is revealing His character to His people. He is the one true God, the only God worthy of worship, and has a holy name. God’s law flows from God’s character, and by giving Israel the law, He is revealing Himself to them for them to better know Him. The law is also a good and gracious gift because He is showing them how one must live to have a relationship with God. The problem is that Israel will quickly realize that none of them can keep the law. So, God loves them by providing them with a law by which they can know Him, and a law that shows them their sinfulness. Why is this good? Because it shows them their need for a savior! If one doesn’t recognize they are sinful, they cannot recognize they are in need of a savior to save them from their sin. God’s giving of the law then is ultimately not condemning for his people, but gracious, as it prepares them to recognize their sinfulness and need of salvation from God.
- God is holy: Lastly, God is holy. His law shows his absolute commitment to perfect righteousness and holiness as God is perfectly righteous and holy. His law and His instructions for His people reflect the character and nature of God. God is clearly a holy God that hates sin and loves righteousness. God’s holiness and grace can most clearly be seen at the cross of Christ. He is giving His people, and us, pictures in the Old Testament, but in Christ He fully reveals His holiness and grace. Sin must be paid for and blood must be shed for sin. God is holy and will not be in the presence of sin. God is also gracious, and instead of condemning us to die for our sin, He sent His Son to take the punishment for sin that we deserve upon Himself. The cross is the ultimate display of the holiness and grace of God, and we get a picture of that in Exodus.
Ephesians is a letter that Paul wrote to the churches in Ephesus. Ephesians is known as one of Paul’s fullest letters in just six chapters, as he gives three chapters (1-3) of sheer doctrine, and then three chapters of living life as an outworking of knowing that doctrine (4-6).
Paul starts in chapter one with giving a beautiful picture of God’s election. This is written as a means to encourage believers! Look at all the beautiful promises that are those who are in Christ:
- Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
- Chosen by God
- Adopted as sons and daughters of Christ
- Redeemed through His blood
- Have grace lavished on us
- Made known to us the mystery of His will to send Christ as the Savior of the world
- Obtained an inheritance that can never be lost
- Sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance
What a list of promises from God. The fact that God formed us, made us, knew us from the foundation of the world, chose to reveal Himself to us, and bestowed on us all of these great promises should lead us to marvel and worship this great God.
Ephesians 2: 1-10 is one of the clearest pictures of the gospel in Paul’s writings. It would behoove any Christian to have these verses committed to memory. We are all dead in our sin outside of Christ, living for our own glory, and following Satan and His ways in the world. But God, because of his rich mercy and grace, sent His Son to die for our sin knowing full well our sinfulness! By grace we have been saved (v.5)! We have then been called to live in light of the free gift of salvation we have been given, not for our own glory, but for the glory of Christ in the world. Paul goes on to talk about how this gospel tears down every dividing wall that could exist between us. We are all sinners, none better than another. We all are lost, dead in our sin. But in Christ, we can all be forgiven, regardless of race, ethnicity, background, or anything else one could imagine. The gospel tears down all walls.
The last three chapters are then Paul working out for us practical life in light of the great doctrines of the gospel. He starts with the church, showing that as a picture of one body, and how God gifts each believer differently to serve a different role in the body. God gives some gifts, and to others different gifts, but all are important and valuable to make a body work correctly. He does this so that the body of the church can grow up together in love. God doesn’t just save us from sin, he saves us to life together with Him and the body of Christ.
He then spends time talking about what it looks like for a husband and wife to love as Christ loved the church. Again, practical living is always done in light of the truths of doctrine that have changed us. Husbands are to lead and love well, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Husbands are to lead by serving – laying down their lives for their brides, as Christ laid down his life for his bride, the church. Wives are called to godly submission – as their husbands lead, they follow this sacrificial leadership.
He also talks about the relationship between parents and children. Children are to obey their parents, as God has given them to shepherd and care for their souls. Parents are to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, so that they have every opportunity to repent of their sins and trust in Christ as they grow in their knowledge and understanding of Christ.
In six chapters Paul gives clear theology, and clear practice flowing from that theology. May we live to know God more, believe God more, let that shape and mold our hearts, which will then shape and mold our actions and lives.