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The first five books of the Old Testament constitute God’s book of instructions for his redeemed people. It reveals the character of God and his good design for life. It bears witness to the beginning of his work of redemption. It equips the believer to live in God’s world, God’s way, as God’s image for God’s glory. What sin and death have broken, God’s people can rebuild by keeping to his instructions by the power of his presence with us.
Hello, and welcome to episode 13 of training for life redeemed . I’m Dan, your host, and I’m here once again with my dad, David Jackson. In this episode, we will be looking at how God took Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness. We are working through Exodus chapter 14 to 20. Reading Torah, we have reached a point where Israel finally left Egypt, but it isn’t going to be an easy journey. Unfortunately, after all the trouble, God went through to get Israel out of Egypt, why would he then put them through this terrifying experience of facing the chariots of Pharaoh’s army backed up against the Red Sea?
Yeah, it seems a little bit of a surprise. It serves two purposes. One of which is to train Israel’s faith. So we’re going to put Israel in a place where their faith, faith in Yahweh, is challenged. And they’re looking at an impossible scenario that he’s going to overcome. And the second one is to demonstrate to them God’s power over Satan’s offspring. So we’re still doing this lesson of contrasting the power of Pharaoh and the power of the Kings of this world who are so intimidating compared to Yahweh’s power. So Israel is going to first have to appreciate the fear of this massive army of chariots that’s coming at them. And then the relief of seeing God smash the whole lot. We tend to focus on our own power and when we focus on our own power and we see that we can’t handle things, we get anxious and we get frightened, but we need to turn our eyes off ourselves onto Yahweh and trust God who makes the promises and that takes practice. So this is an object lesson that God has set up to train Israel to trust him.
All right . And then there’s this awesome, huge, yeah . Song that comes at the end. They were singing. You know , I quite like the Prince of Egypt song that they, that they sing once they’ve crossed the Red Sea. Is this like a big worship service what’s going on?
Yeah, I think it’s certainly worship . This is actually the first time you have an assembly of God’s people. So if you want to talk about church, this is the first church. When the people of God assemble, the congregation is there and they spontaneously start writing songs and bursting out singing and dancing. And , it’s the kind of relief that we saw at the end of World War Two when we had , VE day or VJ day, and people are dancing in the streets and that relief is bigger than the burden of fear and the terror they’ve faced, but worship, isn’t just singing. We’ve got into a culture where praise and worship is a little unit or a bigger unit, depending on what church you go to in your time together. When the church meets the word worship actually means service. So when these people cried out in fear, that was worship. When they walked out of their homes and packed all their gear and headed off into the wilderness, that was worship . There are emotional highs and lows. You’ve got your high moments. You’ve got your fears, you’ve got your miseries. All of that is part of serving the Lord. And when you experience the relief, when God rescues his people from something that frightens the willies out of us, then you have these highs and you explode in the best way to express that is singing. And here we are, we’ve got our first burst of singing.
And it’s a good one at that, for sure. So when Israel left Egypt, they kind of did so in a bit of a hurry, it doesn’t look like they’ve done a lot of planning. I know God gave them some instructions for the Passover to be ready to go. But even that was quite minimal. I think, compared to what they’ve got to move through the Red Sea with there’s no practical planning here. What’s going on.
Well, God , God gives them two weeks notice to pack their bags and get ready to leave the country. Anybody who’s had to pack their bags and move in a hurry will appreciate that experience.
I’ve just spent three weeks moving.
Yes, you did Goats, and chickens and everything else,
That’s right. Just one house, three goats, chickens, not a whole herd.
No, that’s it . It’s, it’s a massive operation. And so two weeks you think, what , what have you got to put together? And God, I think is basically saying, grab your essentials and follow me. I’ll take care of all the rest of it. And that’s what they’re learning to do.
Okay. So how has God then helping us through this? Cause , I mean, he’s not giving us manna. He’s not, we’re not hitting rocks to get our water needs although it has been pouring with rain here lately. How does , how does this work for us? What are we meant to get from this? Do we still earn a living? Or do we just walk around the desert and rely on God to feed us? Yeah.
Yeah. People make some silly choices with this stuff. My experience of this, and I think experience is what teaches you, how to interpret some of those passages. God really, almost literally does drop manna out of the sky, still for his people. And that’s been the experience of missionaries. It’s been the experience of people who have trusted him. There’s a William Carey’s motto is expect great things from God, attempt great things for God. And it’s built on this wilderness experience. When your mother and I got engaged to be married, we were both students in Philadelphia. My family went into back here in Sydney, went into a total massive crisis. So on the one hand, I had to arrange a wedding. And on the other hand, I had to fly back to Sydney to sort things out. So your mother and I were running around like headless chooks in the middle of exams , getting everything done. We flew to Vancouver, met her parents. Hi dad. He followed me home. Can I keep him, was the opening line? I got the most gracious, godly welcome, but then I flew back to Sydney, no money, no nothing. Wasn’t sure I’d ever get back to seminary. We didn’t know whether we’d get married in Sydney or Vancouver or how anything was going to work. So I was casual teaching. I’d calculated my money. I thought, you know, I’d be able to pay for the airfare back probably about the week before I flew out, assuming I ‘ve got enough casual teaching days, but a month before we were due to fly out. I got a phone call from the travel ag ent s aying, this is a Monday. You need to pay your ai rfares b y Wednesday, or we cancel your tickets, which was a bit scary. Pl us a month’s worth of pay had to come in before I could afford to do that. So a mild panic and I pray. And Tuesday morning, my mother walks in with a letter and in the letter is a bank cheque for $500 that paid for the ethic that bank check was posted the previous Friday before I knew I was in trouble before I prayed. So in that sense, God literally does drop manna out of the sky. And I can tell a dozen stories like that, of how God has provided when we were absolutely at the end of our rope. And it’s, you know, I think it’s , lamentation says something like it’s good for a young man to bear the burden in his youth. These are the training days a nd a little bit of poverty when you’re young and married is an opportunity for God to tach us.
I have definitely experienced that similar that when we were at college, that’s when, when we’re the poorest, poverty-stricken theological students. So it’s all part of the way to do life. Okay? So the people, they make it to Mount Sinai, God’s going to make a covenant with them there. You kind of describe this as a bit of a wedding. God appearing on a mountain though, a s fire and smoke the whole mountain shaking. As he speaks, everyone being terrified. T he saying, Moses, you go, we don’t want to hear him again. T hat sounds n ot exactly like the kind of wedding that most brides are keen on.
No, no mind you Well, most brides like to watch Royal weddings with all the pomp and the pageantry and the heralds , the army marching up and down and people in doll’s clothes lining up to go in to Westminster Abbey, you know, the Lords and ladies and everything else. Marriage is a covenant. Marriage is a contract between two people where they’re committed and where that commitment is enforceable. In other words, you know, you you’ve put yourself in a place where your spouse knows that you’ve thrown everything into this. nothing’s held back people today are reluctant to do that, but it starts with a proposal. So there’s an . .. God issues, an invitation to Israel. if you will accept this covenant, I will be your God. You will be my people. He makes promises. He tells them that they’re going to be his treasured possession. They’re going to be a kingdom of priests. They’re going to be the ones who are the go-between between God and every other nation in the world. They’re going to have intimate access to Yahweh that no other nation has like a husband and a wife. He makes commitments. They say, yes, they accept the proposal. They then sit down and make the covenant at Mount Sinai. And you’re dealing with a spouse, a husband, Yahweh, who is all powerful. And that has to be appreciated. You’re dealing with grace that forgives sinners and is going to turn them into holy people. People who are without spot or stain or wrinkle. So now this begins the honeymoon where bride and groom get to know each other out there on their own.
So you’re saying Sinai hanging out in the desert is their honeymoon, right. I just had to look at some of your photos of Sinai and it’s not exactly the kind of place I want to go to for a honeymoon. I’m sure it’s, it’s, it’s beautiful enough. Sure. But I’d like to have water to drink and food to eat. Yeah.
Yeah . It’s not exactly your , when people think of paradise, they think of garden of Eden, not desert and rocks and no water, but this is the place where the bride and groom get to know each other. This is their private, there’s nobody else around. They’ve got their intimacy without interference. And it’s a place where the bride learns to trust the groom. And God can demonstrate his love to her , in ways that are more intense and more, they can take their time with all of this. So what makes this a honeymoon? What makes it a paradise is not the landscape, but the fact that God is there with his bride. And so when we go out to live the Christian life, what makes that life an abundant life is the fact that we have God, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and with us through their whole journey. It’s not the landscape that makes it paradise. it’s the presence of the creator.
Well, that brings us to the end of our episode, but we’ve looked at the first worship service we’ve learned about how God is strengthening Israel’s relationship and marrying them at Mount Sinai. So what are we doing now, dad? Because this tends to be where people give up reading the old Testament and just skip over to Mark. Is that what we’re going to do? Or are we actually g oing t o look into, what people consider the more, the more boring aspects of this part of the old Testament?
Yes . So let’s be clear from now on half of Exodus is talking , going to be talking about law and building Tabernacles, and whether you’ve got your silver sprocket mounted on your post , right . The right way around and how you measure everything. And yes, people give up and Moses to be true, to be honest, his style of writing is don’t say anything , once that you can say five times. So it it’s meant that the Torah is, is meant to be heard, not so much read . So somebody reading this to the people. And so there’s a lot of repetition in it and yes, a lot of people reading their Bible give up at this point, but this is the really interesting stuff. So the next section, we’re not going to be going chapter by chapter. We’re looking at Exodus 21 through to the end of Deuteronomy. And we’re going to pick out these major things that God’s trying to teach us. The first one is holiness. So we’re gonna look at the whole system of how God turns sinful, rotten people, into people who are innocent of all charges and blameless and perfect. That points us straight to the work of Christ. We’re going to look at God’s commandments. So he’s going to give us instructions for how to get life right, seeing as how we’ve made such a mess of it, but he doesn’t just give you instructions. He then gives you examples of how to make that work. So we’re going to look at some of the case studies that God provides. And finally, we’re going to look at what I call the wilderness bootcamp. It’s one thing to do the theory and read the, read the instructions. It’s another thing to get out there and put it together. And so in our wilderness experience over the next 40 years, you think of it as God training an army in camp. And if you get it wrong, we go back and do it again. And we go back and do it again until we get it right. And that really is a lot of what the Christian life is about is our God training is that’s what the Holy Spirit does with us. So we’re going to look at those things over the next four episodes. And then we’re going to finally sit down and just have a look at Deuteronomy, which in itself is one amazing sermon. So we’ll look forward to all of that.
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