May 14


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Exodus 23-26

We are reading more of the law and the instructions for the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle today. We are reading from the Common English Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord God Almighty, seeing you and experiencing you is why we are alive. Prepare US to meet YOU.  Amen.

23 – The Book of the Covenant (Ex.21-24) continues and we finish that today [23,24] plus read the first two chapters that give directions for the Tabernacle [25,26].  To summarize 23: there will be justice and mercy. do not follow rumors or tell lies or lie as a witness, Justice means no favoritism, follow decency- not sentiment, take no bribes and do not oppress newcomers.  The land needs a Sabbath (ea.7th year), as do you and your slaves (ea.7th day). Follow no other gods. You will have festivals and celebrations in each season and God will be in the middle of them. People may ponder this but of a truth we all know; people either party with God or they will party with the Devil. God is commanding that they keep Him in the middle of their celebrations and He institutes these celebrations to assure the culture be a God-centered culture.      So much can be said about the dietary matters of blood, the yeast, the fat, the cooking process, the prohibition of mixing meat with the milk of that same animal – there is a landmark book titled Purity & Danger by Mary Douglas [1966] that offers a good explanation of the depth of this. It all could be summed up that God wants us to be whole and healthy and well. Many particular meats especially are unsanitary, from disorderly garbage minded-animals, putrid and therein they lend toward insanity and symbolize chaos. They were to avoid them and everything about them.  Each person will bring offerings to God / no one comes empty-handed. God led them via Moses and He was also sending an angel ahead of them (this “Messenger”) This angel would protect against enemies, diseases, displacement, or becoming cowardly. They will have security and must avoid false gods.

24 – The Covenant is confirmed in an over-whelming event of effects and visions and fire and smoke and colors and revelations of God this all let the people know that God is abundantly serious and excited about what He is laying down here! The Israelites pledged to God and the elders proceeded into a venue that was most impressive. In case anyone is wondering, the word “lapis-lazuli tiles” is the light effect of azure-blue or sapphire. It’s a deep sky color one sees when looking upward from an airplane at a high altitude. Here they are seeing God. My heavens! Moses then goes up into the cloud to listen/converse with God. Keep in mind that as we are reading the next 7 chapters (do not get bored amid the details of ch. 25-31!) Moses is IN the cloud getting these matters noted straight from God as He is talking to him. What an experience.  This time OMG means OMG literally!
25 – The offerings for the Tabernacle are to be gathered. This is very precious material being stored up. The instructions for the Ark are given as are the Table and the Lampstand. It may help to see this better by searching “The Tabernacle of Moses”. This opens a series of sketchings. Most impressive is the one with the tall flame above the actual Tabernacle. This is the flame that God brought down along with the cloud that we read of at the end of Exodus 40. This assured that God was with them – that’s all anyone needs to know, really.  But at the present there is alot of preparation yet to do to welcome God into their presence in majesty that will help make an impression on these people they will never forget.
26 – The dimensions of the Tabernacle are given.  The details are many and we may feel belabored by all this, but it matters. It matters to God so it needs to matter to us. [Again, searching Tabernacle photos can be helpful]  This is the place where God is going to appear and show his glory.  No house is built without specifications. Homes/Mansions are built and the more important it is, the more details there are. They were to follow these matters every one. Following this was prerequisite for God to appear. Sloppiness here would not be tolerated.  If they were sloppy here, they would be sloppy with everything. Going through Israeli neighborhoods today, the attention to detail is a marvel. Gates, gardens, fences, edging, etc. They get these notions from here in Exodus and it still shows 3,400 years later.  What are we studying and therefore what are we committed to?

May 7


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Exodus 19-22

We are in the Nation Stream today reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear God – Thank you for your guiding Law. So many across the earth fall into trouble and sit in the ashes of a ruined life and moan, “how come no one told me?”  Well, you tell us God. You guide and warn and remind and teach and do this to save us heartache and loss, and we thank you. Amen.

19 – The awe-inspiring pre-show to the Law being given happens in this chapter. These 10 Commandments would prove to be the pillars of civil society. And the Israelites are looking up at all the fireworks and smoke and lightning as we read it in ch.19 and it had to be a heart-stopper!  The events of this “preView” to the Ten Commandments and their arrival and delivery to the people were of grave importance. The future of society would hinge upon these coming laws. God had to get their attention prior to the Law. To read the TenCom’s and to shrug and walk away would have been a travesty.  Thus the fire and earthquake and trumpet blast that must have been Gabriel or Michael cutting loose has them at attention!  God also wanted the Israelites to hear God talking to Moses so that they would take Moses seriously throughout his life.  The impressions were made and – here comes the Law.
One note that is of merit: historically, we know that the Israelites were not capable of keeping the Law as no one is. Interesting that we see Elijah right here in this same place centuries later when he is on the run from Ahab/Jezebel. It wasn’t the thunder and lightning and fire that got Elijah’s heart. It was God’s whisper.  See I Kings 19 to review that at your leisure.
20 –  The Contract with God required keeping these Ten Commandments.  They are not 10 SUGGESTIONS that God hopes they hear and adhere to. They are not DEMANDs (is DEMANDMENTS a word? 🙂 as if God would burn them and throw them in hell the instant anyone falters. They were commands. You shall not do this. It could be worded in English today, “you won’t be killing or stealing or swearing/cursing by Me, got it?! …”  This is the way it was going to be.  The first 4 pertained to treatment of God. The last 6 pertained to the treatment of eachother. Very important to reverence eachother too!  ‘Ever been around someone who claims they love God and yet they treat their neighbors like rodents? ‘pretty nauseating isn’t it?
There’s a whole new code and God offered endless support/provision/protection for those who followed His Law.  Those who wouldn’t, well, you made your choice and you’re to get out of my sight.” Don’t anyone get mad because of their disobedience.          All this is delivered in a setting that shook them to the core.  The Israelites had been dwellers in the delta for 400+ years. and they’d never really seen a mountain. And here they were getting a new “life code”, the scenery is colossal and terrifying, trumpets (that they can’t see!) are blasting, the earth is shaking, the mountain is on fire.  WOW.  Get this memo people and obey this Law.
21 – 22 – The first aspect of augmented civil law was that of slavery and how to handle the matter. This is a topic of must passion today, so much so, that a sensible discussion regarding slavery is often thwarted by ignorance, anger, and resentment. The truth is that 80% of the slaves that resided in North America from 1619 to 1865 (at the end of the Civil War) were treated rather kindly as America was a biblically founded government and biblical laws commanding the fair treatment of slaves were abided by.  Granted 20% of slave owners (who dominate the discussion) were cruel and a notable amount of these brutal slave holders were of African descent themselves (which is usually ignored and very carefully so). The argument won’t be put to rest here and we don’t intend to but . . .    Be that as it may, the issue of slaves [a worldwide phenomenon] and their treatment had to be dealt with and God needed to step in and lay out rules. These slaves were humans made in God’s image too. They were not animals that could be kept however or slaughtered and discarded whenever.  The people of God who possessed slaves must treat them honorably; better than the rest of the world did.  God commanded it.   The truth is that there are slaves today being held and driven by masters who are not Believers – and they will not read our Bible. One report gives a conservative estimate that there are in excess of 200Million slaves on earth today. The majority of them brutalized Christians being treated so by Muslims, Communists, Atheists, and Pagans (and the worldwide secular media couldn’t care less).  Other aspects explained pertained to violence, deviant behavior, theft, rape, pets-gone-wild, and negligence resulting in harm,  The details involving disputes arising around animals is pertinent for animals were pets, food, income, tools for labor, etc.  The Hebrews must remember that they were to be upstanding people as a testimony to the world. They were to treat orphans and widows and foreigners/travelers well.  They were not engage in pagan behavior of any kind, and be amenable regarding loan$.  These were the beginning laws that would be the mark of a civil and godly society.  A country’s atmosphere, even today, reflects on whether they adhere to, or disobey, or are ignorant of these laws that are spelled out starting here and running through to the end of Deuteronomy.

April 30


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Exodus 15-18

We are in the World Stream trudging through the desert with the Israelites. We are using The Living Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord God of Heaven, you rescue in the mightiest of ways. Each salvation you grant is a rescue. The drama of this rescue is marvelous. May we too remain enamored with your power to save and let that spur us [also] to not be a complainer. Let us keep our eye and mind on your wonderful deeds and provision for us.  Amen.

15 – the song had to be overwhelming.  2Million singing immediately after being saved in the most fantastic way imaginable was over the top.  We’ve seen a congregation burst into cheering after a baptism or salvation announcement or a miraculous breakthrough. But here is 2Million singing, exultant after 600,000 soldiers in pursuit are stopped right behind them. God is marvelous indeed. The next three days was spent walking in the wilderness and water was not to be found. It’s easy to ridicule them as forgetful whiners, but take it easy on’em. A few hours without water in the wilderness will make one frantic. A full day or two will make one delirious. There is a nation of them and it’s been three days now! The water is bitter and God needed them to drink it for there was a remedial element in the water that God needed them to ingest to heal the intestinal problem that over 80% of all Egyptiank residences had. If they were not in a panic of thirst they would have not drunk it at all.  This set of incidences had them follow through with “taking their medicine”.

16 – The journey is in full and the Red Sea behind them is well out of sight. The manna begins and everyone has all that they need and the supply is going to last for 40 years. No one starved in the desert – not one. The food they had was good, nutritious, and sweet to eat. The Lord used this food issue to keep the Sabbath matter before them. On the sixth day each week, God sent double supply so they would not be sent out to gather on the seventh. They were to keep and remember the Sabbath. Those who hoarded, thinking God might stop feeding them, had rot and odor in their places. They wanted more food; meat, so God sent quail.  He sent quail here and again about a year later.  We’ll read that in the coming chapter later in Exodus.  God did not send manna on the seventh day. The people finally caught on to this pattern.
17 – The two great events of this chapter are water coming from the rock and the initial battle against Amalek.  The water situation is not a perplexing matter to the locals even today. The porous rocks of this area become infused with water during the infrequent flashfloods. Shepherds then tap on rocks and are able to determine whether there is water inside it. Moses had done this during his shepherding years here [Exodus 2]. It must have been simpler for Moses to do this for bleating sheep than for quizzical and cantankerous people. The army of Amalek shows up and this calls the nation of Israel to battle. The progress toward victory happens when Moses held up his staff and Aaron and Hur supported him.  And the opposite happened when Moses did not uphold his staff. This is symbolic for us today that we need to be upholding our leaders in His Kingdom that God has brought forth. Prayer and support is needed in this area. Complaining is not!
18 – It was a rich and warm reunion when Moses met up with Jethro his father-in-law. They brought his wife and two sons to him as well. Word of the Exodus and the miracles in Egypt had reached Jethro (as it did everyone else for hundreds of miles).  Soon Jethro noticed Moses expending entires days – day after day – settling disputes like a judge before the people. Moses felt it was his duty to do so. Jethro knew better and could see that it was taking Moses to exhaustion. Jethro advised him to set up a delegation of assistants to handle these judgments and disputes. This spread the work to thousands of others who were honest, willing and able.  This landmark chapter has affected the discipline of administration and management the world over.