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Monday, January 25, 2021

EXODUS – GOD’s MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE of ISRAEL FROM EGYPT – Chapter THIRTEEN

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Exodus by pastor Chuck Smith 

EXODUS 13: “GIVE GOD YOUR BEST” – by Sonny Islas, Facebook video.

INTRODUCTION: At this point in the Exodus storyline, just before Israel is powerfully escorted out of Egypt by The LORD, He gives them some instructions about – How they will begin to serve, worship, and obey Him – starting with: 

The Consecration of the Firstborn, The Feast of Unleavened Bread and The Law of the Firstborn
This was Israel’s "Discipleship 101 class".

It’s the same for new believers in Christ. 
They are rescued from the bondage of Satan and sin then they are to be baptized and instructed in the teaching of Jesus – to obey them (MATT 28:19-20). 
By the way, just as a new believer is to be baptized right after he’s rescued (ACTS 2:38), God baptized the entire nation of Israel as He took them through the Red Sea. The Red sea was actually a mass baptism (1 COR 10:2).

EXODUS 13:1-2 (THE FIRSTBORN CONSECRATED)
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

CONSECRATE TO ME ALL THE FIRSTBORN… MAN AND ANIMAL; IT IS MINE:
Through this act and dedication of the firstborn, one of the first lessons the LORD teaches His people here is - God deserves our best and our first. These two verses basically say, “GIVE GOD YOUR BEST! GIVE TO GOD FIRST!” This is the practical principle we can apply from these verses.

For example, the firstborn son represented the first joys of a family or a newly married couple (a joy and experience that cannot be repeated). The firstborn son also typically represented the Fathers first strengths because the father was young and strong when he had his first boy. The firstborn also represented first importance because it was the firstborn that would inherit a double portion from his father.

So then, God was to be remembered as soon as their joy, strength and importance was born. God was given their best and their first. The firstborn son served as a constant reminder that God deserves our best and that God comes first. What they prized and valued most belonged to the LORD.

The LORD desires and deserves our best/our first. So then give God you best! Let’s make this very practical:

We can give God our best/first of our affections – by doing our best to “love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength” (See PSALM 29:1-2).

We can give God our best/first of our day – by seeking Him first thing in the morning (PSALM 63). Generally speaking, the morning is known to be the best of our day due to our fresh strength – this is why the majority exercise first thing in the morning – when they’re most energetic.
We can give God our best/first of our week – by going to church faithfully on the first day of the week (HEB 10:25; 
ACT 20:7). On Sunday’s to worship God.

We can give God our best/first of our years and physical strength – Solomon says, “remember your Creator in the days of your youthECCL 21:1.

We can give God our best/first of our hard-earned money – that is what the tithe was about when Abraham gave it to Melchizedek (GEN 14:20; HEB 7:4). 

PROV 3:9-10 says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the first fruits of all your increase (the best of crops and vineyards); so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”

We can give God our best/first of our ministry (COL 3:23
) – where we minister (serve) to Him before we (serve) minister to others. 
Paul Washer once said, something along the lines of “The man who doesn’t minister to God first, shouldn’t minister others.” 

It’s this heart attitude where we say, “Before I preach – seek God first. Before, I sing, seek God first. Before I evangelize, seek God first” etc. (See PSALM 69:32; 70:4)

We can give God our first/first of our talents and skills – By spending quality time (or more time) perfecting the talents and skills that God has given us. Instead of squandering our time and talents (see MATT 25:14-30).

PSALM 33:2,3 point to musical skills, but we can invest in other skills as well – like communication, teaching (personal example – purchased many commentaries, bible dictionaries), writing, singing (personal example – took vocal lessons and purchased cd’s), building, designing, leading (personal example - read and studied great books on leadership) - etc. 
PSALM 33:2,3 says, “Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.” 
Some Christian think that getting better at what they do for the LORD isn’t that important, but I strongly disagree.

COLOSSIANS 3:23 says, “And whatever you do (whatever - covers everything), do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” This Paul’s way of encouraging believers to work hard and to give God their best.

EXODUS 13:3-10 (THE FEAST OF UNLEAVEND BREAD)
3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. 4 This day came ye out in the month Abib. 5 And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. 8 And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt. 10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

The Feast of unleavened bread followed right after the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb as we already read in EXODUS 12.

This Feast was celebrated yearly in the month of Abib (also known as Nissan, Aviv and March/April) they were to eat unleavened bread (without yeast) and the reasons are more than one:

1. God had them eat unleavened bread to remind them of His swift rescue and their hurry/rushed exit - no time to wait for the yeast to rise – let’s go now.

2. As they performed the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, the making and eating of unleavened bread and the dedication of the firstborn – all this served as a memorial but also as a testimony. This was the awesome story that they were to pass down to their children and non-Jewish neighbors who would ask.

It’s much like it is for us Christians today. When we get baptized or when we take part in the LORD’s Supper, we can explain these things to our kids and others as a testimony of what the LORD has done.

The Jewish children would say, “father, mother, why do we kill a lamb, eat flat bread and offer God firstborn sons?” 
Parents: “Oh, it’s because the LORD rescued us from Egypt and because He spared our firstborns but killed Egypt's firstborns. God had mercy on us.”

In a similar way, when we’re asked about baptism or the LORD’s Supper, we answer, “Oh, it’s because the LORD rescued us from sin and eternal death and gave us newness of life (ROM 6:4
). 

Baptism points to us being buried/crucified with Jesus and raised from the dead/the empty tomb (GAL 3:27; 2:20; ROM 6:3-7). And the Last Supper points to what Jesus did for us, where the wine represents His shed blood for our sin and the bread represents His holy body being broken for us (MATT 26:28; 1 COR 11:25-26).”

Everything that a Christian does and does is connected to the fact that God saved us.
When non-Christian Jews celebrate Passover, they remember the Exodus but when we New Testament Christians celebrate The LORD’s Supper, we remember the cross of Jesus. 
The Jews celebrate their salvation from Pharaoh and Egypt, the Church celebrates our salvation from Satan, sin and hell.

3. Leaven would later represent evil and sin. This is why Jesus warned of the leaven of the Pharisees (religious pride - puffed up like yeast and false teaching). This is why Paul warned of leaven in the local church (unrepentant sin that spreads like yeast/leaven and affects others). So, eating unleavened bread would eventually point to purity.

EXODUS 13:11-16 (THE LAW OF THE FIRSTBORN)
11 And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,12 That thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the Lord's. 13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem. 14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: 15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. 16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt.

Let’s remember that the Passover lamb in chapter 12, the unleavened bread and the firstborn son all point to Jesus. Jesus is the Firstborn, sinless/unleavened, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. All this is a foreshadow of Jesus. Which means that God gave us His best. Why would we not do the same?

“When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites…” “every firstborn male shall be the LORD’s” 
Molech who was a false god of the Canaanites when babies were offered and sacrificed – burned alive was worship. This was another reason why the LORD taught them to give their children to Him instead of Molech. And many Canaanites gave their firstborn/their best to Molech in order to get what they wanted.

One commentator says that “For Israel to pledge their firstborn sons to God was a way of also saying that the entire Nation belongs to God.”
Which reminded me of how, when we give our best to God, our whole hearts to God then everything else automatically belongs to Him as well.

Later in NUM 3:41 we find that the Levites from the Tribe of Levi which was Jacob’s 3rd son – the Tribe that Aaron and Moses come from – they – the Levites replaced the firstborn sons.

When God separate the firstborn sons to Himself it was as though He was saying “What I spared through the death of a lamb belongs to Me. Whom I rescue belongs to Me. That’s us – in the NT. We in a sense have replaced the OT firstborns and the Levites because we have been redeemed by the Lamb of God – Jesus. And now we belong to Him!

1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

2 CCORINTHIANS 5:15 says, “and He died for all (not just the firstborns), that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

EXODUS 13:17-22 (THE WILDERNESS WAY)
17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. 20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

[vs.17] “GOD DID NOT LEAD THEM BY WAY OF THE LAND OF THE PHILISTINES” Insight: God will not lead us into a situation that we can’t handle (at the same time, we can endure all things through His strength; PHIL 4:13).
Into a situation that will cause us to turn back – and give up. He remembers our frame, that we are weak and made of dust (PSALM 103:14
). God led them away from Egyptian and Philistine soldiers because He knew that they were not ready. Which tells us that God will not lead us into something we’re not ready for.

MOSES TOOK THE BONES OF JOSEPH (GEN 50:25
): This is a reminder of Joseph’s faith and God’s faithfulness. Joseph has been dead for hundreds of years now. In the same way all that have died in this world (our Egypt) their bones will be taken into glory, glorified.

The Exodus kind of reminds me of the rapture (1 THESS 4:16-17) where the living and the dead cross over. Some are alive and healthy and others dead and in coffins full of bones.

[vs. 21] And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire. God’s manifest presence was with them - 
day and night – powerful. What did Jesus promise us? I will never be with you always – day and night – unto the end of this world (MATT 28:20). Today we are led by the Word of God (PSALM 119:105) and the Spirit of God (ROM 8:14)

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