Home thoughts from

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


February 2022

Exodus 13:20-22: Don’t get ahead of God

After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

One missionary, when asked the key to his success, answered in this way, ‘I just watch what God is doing, and I go and join Him!’

If we are to ‘watch what God is doing’, we mustn’t get ahead of Him.

It seems to me that a key principle of guidance found here is to be able to see where God is going, and what He is doing, and for this to be the case we mustn’t get out in front of Him.

We may feel that it would, at times, be easier to know what to do if we also could see “a pillar of cloud” and “pillar of fire”. Yet God has His ways of making His will clear to His people today.

Thought: ‘Do not ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet.’

Exodus 13:19: 3 simple things!

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.’

3 simple things!

  1. God’s Word must be passed on from one generation to another. Moses had not known Joseph personally, but what Joseph said was not lost to him.
  2. God’s Word must be obeyed by each succeeding generation. Joseph was faithful in his day; and Moses had to be faithful in his.
  3. God’s Word can be trusted by each new generation. God will (“surely”) do what He has promised.

PRAYER: Lord, the simple truths are not necessarily easy to put into practice. I find they are often opposed, and that thief, the devil, tries to steal them from my grasp. But with your help I will prevail, and be faithful in my generation as Joseph and Moses were in their’s.

Genesis 13:17, 18: Not always the best route

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ 18 So God led the people around by the desert road towards the Red Sea.The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

How do we reconcile the statement that the Israelites were battle-ready (18) with God’s words in 17b: “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt”? The answer seems to be that although the Israelites were armed, the Philstines had superior weaponry (not to mention plenty of experience in war).

God knows His people well. I believe there are times when He permits us to experience hard stuff because He knows we will grow through the ordeal. But perhaps, on other occasions, He is aware we will be likely to fail the test, so He doesn’t ‘enter us for the examination’ at that point.

These words seem relevant:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”  (1 Cor.10:13).

The people of Israel were not led by the shortest route, but as someone pointed out, the shortest route is not always the best.

‘If you permit the Lord to direct your steps (Prov.3:5-6), except to be led occasionally on paths that may seem unusually long and circuitous. Remind yourself that God knows what He’s doing. He isn’t in a hurry, and as long as you follow Him, you’re safe and in the place of blessing. He may close some doors and suddenly open others, and we must be alert.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: OT Commentary, p.166.

PRAYER: “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me…” (Psalm 25:4,5a).

Exodus 13:16: ‘The LORD’s doing’

And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.’

“…the LORD has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

It may be stating the obvious but I still want to highlight it. There is no sense here of, ‘Look what I did son.’

Nor is it a case of, ‘See how we busted our way out of Egypt and showed those tyrants a thing or two!’

No, listen…

“…the Lord brought us out…”

When I became assistant pastor in one church, I was also given the job of being youth leader. The youth group had fallen on hard times. They were without a leader, and I suppose what I did was to love them, feed them, and keep bringing them together. Over a period of a little more than two years I think something good began to be built. But it was after I left that significant growth occurred. Some dear friends, Dave and Ruth, a godly married couple, took on the leadership mantle. They were kind enough to invite me back to speak to the group on several occasions. The first time I witnessed what was happening, I  told Dave how thrilled I was. He just looked at me with a beaming smile, and said so sincerely, ‘It is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.’

In that one sentence, in which there was not a trace of mock modesty, he gave a lesson in humility I’ve never forgotten. He and Ruth were two of the finest Christian youth leaders I have ever known. They were in it heart and soul. But they gave all the glory to God. They were highly successful, but they knew who gives the growth.

“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

Lee Eclov, a retired pastor writing to other pastors, said this in a recent article:

“The grain farmers I grew up among would stand outside church on Sundays and say things like, “If we don’t get some rain the corn’s really going to be in trouble.” Or “A couple more weeks and the oats will be ready.” But no matter how hard they worked, I never once heard them take credit for their crops. No sensible farmer waits at the grain elevator while his harvest is weighed and thinks, “I did an amazing job this year.” What he does is marvel again at the miracle of land and seed and harvest, and give thanks.

Do your job, but remember, it’s God who makes his grain grow.”

Exodus 13:11-16: Curiosity

After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, 12 you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord. 13 Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.

14 ‘In days to come when your son asks you, “What does this mean?” say to him, “With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.” 16 And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.’

“Curiosity killed the cat”

– Agent Vega.

“It also cured polio.”

– Simon, The Mentalist

Much of this chapter repeats material we have seen before, but…

‘What is new here is the emphasis on teaching one’s children the meaning of the feast; it is necessary for each new generation not only to remember and understand God’s past acts but also to “appropriate them” – that is, be encouraged and instructed and motivated by them. Teaching one’s children about the greatness and mercy of God and the need to obey His commands remains the solemn duty of parents right up to our own day.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.228.

Children are naturally curious. They ask lots of questions. If they see the evidence, the emblems, the example of our faith at home they will want to know about more. Christian parents should be always ready to give a reason for their hope in Christ.

(By the way, Mary presented Jesus, her firstborn, to the Lord, in accordance with God’s command: Luke 2:22,23; see Ex.13;2, 12).

Exodus 13:11: Promises, Promises

After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors…(see also verse 5)

Uncle Frank was a gentle, kind and generous man. We never knew when he was going to turn up at our home In Wigan, but we children were delighted when he did. He always came bearing wonderful gifts. Uncle Frank was, in fact, my mother’s Uncle, but we called him ‘uncle’ too, and we loved him. He was a gentleman.

But Frank had one obvious character flaw. He made promises he didn’t keep. I could never hold it against him, because I loved him too much, but I remember one big promise he made. He was a guard on ‘British Railways’, and he said that one summer he would pick me up on ‘Wigan Northwestern’ station, and I would ride with him in the guards van at the back of the train, all the way to Carlisle. This was where he and his wife lived. I was going to stay with them for a week’s holiday, and oh the many things we were going to do together!

Well, I’ve known for a long time that this isn’t going to happen: I’m in my 60’s, and Uncle Frank is long dead!!

But one of the many characteristics of God for which I am so grateful is His faithfulness. He keeps all His promises.

As someone said, we stand on solid ground whenever we point to any of God’s promises and say to Him, ‘Do as you have said.’

‘Let God’s promises shine on your problems.’ Corrie Ten Boom.

Exodus 13:4-10: The power of personal testimony

Today, in the month of Aviv, you are leaving. 5 When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites – the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey – you are to observe this ceremony in this month: 6 for seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord. 7 Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. 8 On that day tell your son, “I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.” 9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. 10 You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.

The experience of salvation is personal as well as corporate. God saved a people in the ‘exodus’(3), but He also rescued people (8) – personally and individually. It is wonderful to be able to say:

“…the Son of God , who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis mine).

“How marvellous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be.”

‘God intrudes in our world gently and in many ways, but especially in the person of Jesus Christ. It is he who stands for love, as no one else has ever done. His crucifixion is the all-time high-water mark of love on earth.’ (Willard and Simpson: ‘Revolution of character’).

This is love not only for the world (John 3:16), but love for me.

‘…what the Lord did for me…” (8).

Who can calculate the power of personal testimony? The first place to talk about your experience of  salvation is at home. Tell it to your children. Learn to use your “lips” (9) in witness there.

PRAYER: ‘Thank you for saving me.’

Exodus 13:1-3: Mighty Hand

The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.’

3 Then Moses said to the people, ‘Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast.

As we will see next time, the experience of salvation at the Exodus was personal; but we see in verse 3, it also happened to a people. This deliverance was both corporate and individual. It happened to people, and it also happened to a people. (Michael Griffiths observed that some Christians seem to think they’re going to fly solo all the way to heaven. But, in fact, it will be formation flying all the way.)

However, the slavery they had to endure was so great, and the power of the Egyptian oppressor so strong and cruel, that it took  “a mighty hand” to free them (verse 3; see also vv.9, 14 and 16).

A number of people in our church pray for ‘revival’ every Thursday morning. We are asking to see God’s “mighty hand” at work, setting many people free from the slavery of sin right here and now in our own generation. Will you join us in praying for a move of God that is so obviously God that God gets all the glory?

PRAYER: “Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past.” (Psalm 68:28 ‘NLT’)

Exodus 12: 43-51: This magnificent Bible

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘These are the regulations for the Passover meal:

‘No foreigner may eat it. 44 Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, 45 but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it.

46 ‘It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

48 ‘A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. 49 The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.’

50 All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.

At the heart of today’s reading you see the words:

“Do not break any of the bones” (46b).

Fast forward to John 19:31-37, where we read:

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

We have already established in our readings that Jesus is the ultimate Passover Lamb (1 Cor.5:7). The section in John 19 underlines the point, and shows once again how the whole Bible hangs together. How magnificent is God’s Book! “The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.”

Regarding the Passover restrictions as a whole, Tom Hale writes helpfully:

‘Because of the non-Israelites (Gentiles) who accompanied the people of Israel, it was necessary to establish some regulations concerning who could take part in the Passover Feast. For a household to take part, all male members of that household had to be circumcised (verse 48). Thus circumcision remained the chief physical qualification for membership in the covenant community of Israel (Genesis 17:10-14). Gentiles, aliens, foreigners, slaves – all could be members as long as they were circumcised…And when we partake of the Lord Jesus’ “Passover Feast,” the Lord’s Supper, we too must be “circumcised” – not in the flesh, but in the heart (see Romans 2:28-29: Colossians 2:11).’ ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.227.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: