Leviticus 1-4: Sacrifice

Leviticus 1-4; Psalm 38; Matthew 17:1-13; Acts  23:12-35  Leviticus 1-4:  Leviticus is a book of the Bible that many people, when they start to read, quite soon give up! It appears a little obscure, overly detailed, and (frankly) irrelevant. In context, Moses is giving instructions to the Levites, the priests. Having established the tabernacle where God’s…

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Exodus 38-40: Glory!

Exodus 38-40; Psalm 37:23-40; Matthew 16:13-28; Acts  23:1-11  Exodus 38-40:  At first glance these chapters seem yet more instructions, of a rather arcane kind, about how to construct the tabernacle and make priestly garments, instructions that, while perhaps of antiquarian interest, have no real pertinence spiritually today. However, there is a repeated refrain throughout these…

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Exodus 35-37: Instructions

Exodus 35-37; Psalm 37:1-22; Matthew 16:1-12; Acts  22  Exodus 35-37: Moses now assembles the people and gives them instructions concerning the Sabbath (35:1-3), the Sabbath rest that ultimately points, as the book of Hebrews instructs us (Heb. 4:9-10), to the Sabbath rest that we can have by faith in Jesus. These instructions are serious and…

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Exodus 34: Unveiled

Exodus 34; Psalm 36; Matthew 15:21-39; Acts  21:27-40  Exodus 34: Two new tablets of stone are to be made, and on them God will write his commandments once again as before (34:1-4). It is a repeat, though this time God, in answer to Moses’ prayer, shows Moses his glory. “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful…

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Exodus 32-33: Golden Calf

Exodus 32-33; Psalm 35; Matthew 15:1-20; Acts  21:1-26  Exodus 32-33:  Disaster! Aaron presumes to solve the problem of the people’s impatience at Moses’ apparent delay by giving them gods to worship (32:1-3). He makes a golden calf, and when they see it, they say that these are “your gods” who brought them up out of…

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Exodus 24-26: Mercy Seat

Exodus 24-26; Psalm 32; Matthew 13:44-58; Acts  19:23-41  Exodus 24-26:  The covenant is first confirmed by a special opportunity for the leadership to encounter God in some way (Ex. 24). God is shown to be awesome, majestic, beyond description, and words are used to indicate his purity and beauty—feet on a pavement of sapphire (24:10),…

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Exodus 21-23: Law and Promise

Exodus 21-23; Psalm 31; Matthew 13:24-43; Acts  19:1-22  Exodus 21-23:  Some of these laws seem a little strange to us, others immediately resonant as reflecting the moral principles laid down by the Ten Commandments in more detail now. Behind many of them is the judicial principle of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” In a…

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Exodus 19-20: Eagles’ Wings

Exodus 19-20; Psalm 30; Matthew 13:1-23; Acts  18:18-28 Exodus 19-20:  And so they come to Mount Sinai (19:1-2). They have been “born on eagles’ wings” out of Egypt (19:4). They are a rescued people, a redeemed people, set apart for God as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (19:5-6). And now they are…

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Exodus 16-18: Bread from Heaven

Exodus 16-18; Psalm 29; Matthew 12:38-50; Acts  18:1-17 Exodus 16-18:  The story begins with more grumbling (16:1-3). Israel looks back with false idealized memories of Egypt where in their minds they at least had enough to eat. God graciously answers their ungracious request and sends both “manna” and “quail” (16:4-15, 31). The manna in the…

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Exodus 13-15: Crossing the Red Sea

Exodus 13-15; Psalm 28; Matthew 12:22-37; Acts  17:16-34 Exodus 13-15: This section picks up after more instructions about the Passover (Ex. 12:40-51), and continues with instruction on consecrating the firstborn (13:1-2), the Feast of Unleavened Bread (13:3-10), and the law of the firstborn (13:11-16). It rapidly moves to one of the more dramatic moments in…

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