Acquainting With Exodus

 

Through last night and this afternoon I read the second book. It was a challenge to get through it without Bob Marley’s famous track running through my head but I did it!

We all know Exodus documents Moses leading the Israelites to the promised land; most of us are aware this is where the ten commandments reside; some may even have got as far as reading the intricacies of the tabernacle.

A friend warned me last night that I may find Exodus repetitive. I found this to be true but suspect the bibles reinforcement of any information is intended for us to remember and keep relevant throughout the ages. Understandably the ten commandments were a reoccurring topic. Although I have always known them, reading them again with new desires made my reactions more emotive and brought on a tonne of questions I guess I’ve always had but never knew.

Throughout the book particularly in the middle, God breaks down the commandments, gives instruction re the treatment of ones property and the property of others. The tone in the detail of his instructions remind me of how an adult would speak to a very, very slow child. I laughed at some points as it reminded me of how simple minded human nature can be and yet we still break the commandments! I heard someone once say that God created those commandments specifically to show we cannot keep them and how much we need him. If this is true, then why?

This smoothly leads me to a commandment I’ve pondered, pulled, prodded and tested of very recent times: The Sabbath.

Again, this commandment is dotted throughout Exodus and means more to some than others. That being said, shouldn’t all commandments hold equal value?

Some believe Sabbath is a Saturday, others a Sunday; many believe the day is irrelevant and it’s what’s done with the Sabbath that matters. I find these conflicting ideas to be a very western thing and I can’t help but wonder why. This point could be another blog in itself (and no doubt will be).

I’ve personally come to the conclusion that the initial sabbath is what we know as Saturday but the history books showcase why and how the day was changed (check it out yourself this blog has enough words, lol) and day you choose is not what determines your Christianity, but it’s the reasons behind your choosing and what you do with the day that counts.

When I was asked why I was sent to church on Sunday, I couldn’t think of an answer; it’s just the way it was. When I’ve asked others why they go on Sunday, usually (and quite defensively) the responses are; ‘we’re not bound by the law!’ ‘we’re not saved by works but by grace!’ ‘Sunday is tradition!’ ‘Saturday is not convenient for me!’ ‘People go on Saturday? Who’da thunk it!’ I’m still researching this one and I hold no grudges against people’s personal convictions, but this element of Exodus and the worlds response to it will astound me always.

I’m not so sure why the instructions for the tabernacle were repeated. The vividness, the majesty and bold beauty of the place was breathtaking to read, but why was it reinforced and how (if we are supposed to) do we apply it to our zeitgeist?

Before I plunge into more questions, I’d like to take this time to share my revelations re slavery. It goes without saying I am OPPOSED to the concept and clearly through Exodus we learn that so is God…or is he? When I hear the term my skin crawls; I can’t help but think of the half assed lesson I was given re black history at school, the reminders of what went on throughout Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean dotted throughout Black History Month, Roots and Amistad as well as modern day slavery and trafficking.

Initially I was shocked to discover God had ‘rules’ re how to treat slaves. But the more I read the more I learned that the term ‘slave’ was intended as what we now refer to as ’employee’. The mistreatment of slaves and captivity is what God forbade. I find it astounding that to this day people try to justify slavery and in God’s name! However, through reading Exodus dare I say it, I’ve seen God’s justice exemplified when he explains how oppressors are convicted. (Dotted throughout Exodus and namely Exodus 21 & 22).

In Exodus 32 vs 14, God repents: I read this verse over at least three times. My eyes almost jumped out their sockets! Did God set the situation up knowing he’d need to repent to prove a point or was he genuinely wrong about something? I find it hard to believe it was the latter, but where can I get clarification?

In Exodus 32 vs 24, the golden calf seemed to have appeared out of the fire almost spontaneously. Did the people intend for the idol to be a calf? What is the significance of the idol being a calf?

Exodus 33 vs 20-23 spoke to me this morning after being angered by an ad on the ‘God Channel’ (which ‘God’ I don’t know but hey ho). Why do people go on TV selling books and sharing testimonies on how they died saw Grandma, God and Uncle Gym. Have they not read this scripture? Or have they?

I’m off to learn Leviticus!

Until some time soon…

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Exodus is quite a read, but when repetitiveness comes into play, just wait until you get to Numbers. Exodus is nothing compared to that book.

    Alright, jumping right in now!

    “I heard someone once say that God created those commandments specifically to show we cannot keep them and how much we need him. If this is true, then why?”

    I don’t necessarily think that God created the commandments to show that we can’t keep them, but to show that in our sinfulness, and with our own works, there is no way that we can approach a Holy God. The ‘why’ is because everything from the fall in the Garden through the Bible is preparing mankind for the Messiah – Jesus.

    Galatians 3:19 says this – “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made . . . ”

    The Sabbath is kind of a tricky one . . . I’m of the opinion that the day of the week doesn’t matter, but that you DO take a day of rest to be with God. I do think that the Sabbath was on Saturday, and I understand why it’s now on Sunday in the Western culture. Some people do Sunday, some people do Saturday . . . right now, between my job, my church commitments, and my writing, it seems like the closest day to a Sabbath I get is on Tuesdays, because that’s the day I don’t have any commitments already made each week.

    It’s exhausting to not have a true day of rest each week, both spiritually and physically.

    As for the tabernacle, the first time is God giving the instructions and pattern to Moses. The second time is the actual construction of the tabernacle. I think it was repeated in such detail twice to make sure we understood the significance of it. The tabernacle was a precursor to the temple (Solomon built the first one), and after that, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:19 that the body of the believer is now the temple of the Holy Spirit. If such care was taken for the original tabernacle, shouldn’t we put the same amount of care into making sure our own bodies glorify God?

    In the King James Version, the term ‘slave’ isn’t used, but manservant or maidservant, so yes, those could have very well been their employees of the day. I’ve also heard that God wasn’t necessarily condoning slavery (in the same way that there were laws for divorce – Deuteronomy 24:1 – but Jesus later explained that was never God’s intent – Mark 10:2-12), but He knew fallen man was going to do certain things, and so He was trying to put some protection in place for those would be in that position.

    Ex 32:14 – I believe God’s anger was completely justified, and He did have the right to destroy Israel there, since the covenant between God and the people of Israel is dependent on their acknowledgement of Him. I think it’s the kind of situation, though, where He may have been justified in what He wanted to do, but realized that He would regret it later. We’ve all been there at some point too, I think.

    The Golden Calf – This story is the entirety of Ex 32. Verses 1-6 is the account of what was really happening with the people of Israel while Moses was speaking with God on Mount Sinai. Verses 22-24 is Aaron’s ‘watered down’ account of what happened, and this is the version he is telling Moses. It rather reminds me of a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, trying to tell the parent that the cookie jar ‘just fell on my hand’. The significance of the idol being a calf was that they had just left the land of Egypt, where one of the (many) gods they worshiped was Apis, a bull-deity. The people of Israel repeatedly made snubs at God on their journey to the promised land, constantly saying that they wished they had never left Egypt. This was just one of them.

    Ex 33:20-23 – No, they probably haven’t read this scripture. It’s sad.

    Have fun in Leviticus! Even as many times as I’ve read the Bible through, this book still boggles my mind a lot.

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