Letting Christ Transform You From The Inside Out
In the final chapters of Genesis we see the reunion of Joseph and his childhood family.
Why do you think Joseph tested his brothers like this?
Joseph's brothers were very afraid that he would get revenge on them for what they did to him many years ago? How did this calm their fears? What was Joseph's attitude towards their abusive treatment of him when he was young? What do you think contributed to his perspective?
Compare Joseph's childhood dreams to what actually happened here? How did those dreams come true? Why do you think God sent those childhood dreams to Joseph?
In studying the life of Jacob during the last week we learned that Jacob struggled quite a bit with fear. He is again afraid here. How does God calm Jacob's fears about going to Egypt? What does God tell Jacob will happen? Does this come true?
Consider how God cared for both Joseph and Jacob and used dreams and visions to speak to them. How does this make you feel about God's presence and concern for you when you are afraid or need to have God's vision for your life?
Introduction to Exodus
Date: 1420 or 1220 B.C.
Main Idea: Deliverance
There are two major themes in Exodus:
Much of Exodus is a foreshadowing of God's plan to deliver those who trust in Jesus from the enslavement of Satan and sin. Some Parallels to Jesus are listed below:
Exodus has been termed “the central book of the Old Testament.” Indeed its pages contain some of Scriptures greatest treasures including the Ten Commandments, the primary accounts of the ten plagues, the ceremony of Passover, Israel's exodus from Egypt into freedom, God's establishment of a covenant with His people at Mount Sinai, and the construction of the tabernacle along with its sacred furnishings.
God's process in developing Moses into a great leader is detailed here. We are introduced to Moses as an infant. We see some of his character flaws and his fears. We are also shown how God molds this Moses, who reluctantly accepts his mission from God, into a great and humble leader who wholeheartedly leads over 600,000 people out of Egypt to a place unknown to him. This molding occurs over time – lots of time.
We also see more detail (than in Genesis) of the processes God uses in dealing with a hard heart, like Pharaoh's.
Magic – We are introduced to magicians, who use an “evil” power to accomplish their goals. Yet, we see that God's power, wielded through Moses, can conquer this “evil” power. Until now, God has not revealed much about what goes on “behind the scenes” in the spiritual battlefield. Later on, in Job, and throughout most of the prophetic writings we come to understand Satan's devastating methods, accusations, and schemes. We will also learn how to fight this battle with God's weapons.
(Note: Some of the above content came from the Holman CSB and the NIV Study Bible.)
The Book of Exodus is a continuation of the Book of Genesis, where we learned about God's promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These promises involved having numerous descendents, becoming a great nation, having their own land, and bearing seed (a son) through whom all nations would be blessed. (Later on we see that this son, Jesus Christ, comes Judah, one of Jacob's sons.)
Exodus begins with a review of how Jacob and his family ended up in Egypt. Jacob's descendents numbered about 70 (Exodus 1:5) when entering Egypt; they numbered about 600,000 (Exodus 12) when they left in the exodus.
God clearly fulfilled His promise of numerous descendents here!
At the end of the Book of Exodus we will see God's fulfillment of another promise: the creation of the “nation” of Israel.
We can learn so much from a relational and character study of God via this Book of Exodus.
Throughout Exodus, just like in Genesis and Matthew, we see God's ability to discern the needs of differing types of people and groups. He proves to be the ultimate teacher, coach and parent to Moses and Aaron and the Israelites. He even is concerned about the Egyptians bondage to their false Gods and patiently teaches them through his wonders and signs.
God knows we are fearful and need reassurance; he knows how distracted we are; he knows that we just need to “practice” things sometimes with a partner before we can gain enough confidence to trust Him and not stay enslaved to fear. This is what happens to Moses. He works with (speaks to Pharaoh through) Aaron at first, then gains enough confidence to speak to Pharaoh himself. God repeats his instructions to Moses over and over without getting frustrated. Only one time does God ever show anger to Moses. Yet, his anger lasts only for a moment.
Exodus continues to reveal a very personal God to us. God even shares his personal name "Yahweh - I AM" to Moses. As we see his coaching of Moses and hos eventual parenting of Israel, we can personalize these lessons and apply them to our own lives:
Exodus 3:13-15 But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”
God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.”
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. In Exodus 6:2 God again states his name: “And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh (YHWH)—‘the LORD.’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.”
What does God's revealing of his personal name to Moses tell you about their relationship?
In Exodus 4:22 God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh the following:
‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son. 23 I commanded you, “Let my son go, so he can worship me.” But since you have refused, I will now kill your firstborn son!’
Isn't Jesus supposed to be God's firstborn son? Why do you think God referred to Israel this way?
In Hebrew, the word for son (the hebrew letter that looks like an "i" means "extension of". God was forming Israel into an extension of himself and into a people who would reflect God's nature to the world. However, Jesus was God's only "begotten son". Jesus was "begotten" and not made. Jesus was completely infused with the Spirit of God even from conception. He grew and matured, however, he did not need to be "formed" into a reflection of God; he already was.
These early chapters help us to see God's protection and parenting of Israel as His firstborn son. God wants to be Israel's Father. God's passion for their protection seems like that of a new mom with her infant. He will kill anyone who tries to hurt them.
What did you learn from these parables?
What did you learn about God from the Feeding of the Five Thousand in the Book of Matthew 14?
What do you think about Peter being able to walk on water?
In Matthew 15 Jesus seems very direct with the religious leaders. What is he most concerned about?
What do you think about Jesus' interaction with the woman in Matthew 15:21? Wasn't he harsh? Do you think he was testing his disciples to see what they would do with her?
In Matthew 16 Peter proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah. It is on the truth of this fact that Jesus will build His church - which will be powerful enough to not allow evil to reign or conquer it. What will it cost Jesus to build this church?
In Matthew 18 Jesus tells an interesting story about debtors. How do you feel about this?
What other passages from your reading in the Book of Matthew spoke to you this week?