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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

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Pastor of The King's Church Boston Spa.

Exodus 12:6-8: The wondrous Cross

Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.

Three other aspects of salvation are typified in these three verses:

  • The fact that we are all, by our sin, responsible for Jesus’ death (6);
  • The truth that the blood of Jesus must be personally applied to our hearts (7).
  • The reality that we get to feed on Christ by faith (8). ‘We trust Christ that we might be saved from our sins by His sacrifice, but we must also feed on Christ in order to have strength for our daily pilgrim journey. As we worship, meditate on the Word, pray, and believe, we appropriate the spiritual nourishment of Jesus Christ and grow in grace and knowledge.’ Warren W. Wiersbe, Old Testament commentary, p.163.

The Cross of Jesus truly is ‘Wondrous’, and to think that we can ‘survey’ it in documents written centuries before the historical event! ‘How marvellous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be.’

PRAYER: ‘May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the Cross.’

(Apologies that there will be an interruption in these notes next week. I hope to return to writing them w/b 16th January. Thank you again for your interest and support

Exodus 12: 5: Perfect

The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.

Yesterday I had the privilege of having a thirty minute conversation about the Cross with a fellow-believer. My heart still burns at the thought of it. We chatted about how there is a ‘river of blood’ running through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation; about how God has clearly made known His way of salvation.

No wonder Alec Motyer writes about the ‘sacred precincts’ of Exodus 12. You feel over and again that you are on holy ground. It gives you the tingles. At every turn you run into Jesus and His Cross. For example, today’s verse points to Jesus who came into the world and lived the only perfect human life. So he was able to offer Himself to God as both Priest and Victim – the one full, final, perfect offering for sin.

But, as Alec Motyer says, ‘How could Israel have ever accepted that, nevertheless, this was a great new beginning (12:2) and that (of all unlikely – even absurd things) their deliverance would hinge on what they were to do with a lamb and blood?’ ‘The message of Exodus’ p.128. It takes faith to accept salvation on God’s terms – as my friend and I observed in the course of our conversation.

‘There is a way for man to rise, to that sublime abode;

An offering and a sacrifice, a Holy Spirit’s energies,

An Advocate with God.’

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that Jesus paid it all; only He is worthy.

Exodus 12:4: Satisfaction

If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.

This reminds me of the hymn, ‘Now none but Christ can satisfy’ – a song describing the spiritual search through arid places prior to finding (or being found by) Christ.

I understand that one of Peter Seller’s former wives said about him, ‘All his life he was searching for something he never found.’ He was a comic genius, but, tragically, he was also a tortured soul.

When I first met my wife, Jilly, who was not then my wife, she was a participant on a ‘Christianity Explored’ course. She was a ‘seeker’, looking into the Christian faith. In a brief conversation she told me that all her life she had been searching for something, but had always felt an emptiness in her heart. Apparently I said to her, ‘That’s your God-shaped hole.’ (Augustine famously said that God made us for Himself and our hearts find no rest until they rest in Him).

The Passover lamb, which as we know prefigures Christ, brought satisfaction. Everyone could eat and be satisfied. Ultimately Jesus fulfils this picture. He fills the heart as nothing and no-one else can, and He satisfies the hunger of all who turn to Him by faith.

By the way, it’s a lovely thought isn’t it about households ‘sharing’ a lamb? As Christians, we have Jesus in common, and sharing Him is the essence of all true fellowship.

‘Now none but Christ can satisfy, no other Name for me. There’s love and life and lasting joy, Lord Jesus found in thee.

Exodus 12:3: Take the medicine

Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.

We have had a couple of bottles of a rather strong cough medicine in our bathroom cabinet for a long time. I had often heard the virtues of this particular linctus being extolled. In fact, someone once asked me to pick up a bottle for him and his wife when they were quite poorly. It was the first time I’d heard of it, but I knew he held it in high regard!

However, when a pre-Christmas cold left me with a lingering chesty cough, I stopped looking at the bottles and admiring them, and I actually took some. It was only then that I was able to experience the beneficial effects for myself. I’d heard ‘testimony’ given by others, but now I knew its efficacy.

The gospel is the good news about Jesus – the Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.But Christ (the gospel) has to be personally appropriated. Each person has to “take” Jesus for themselves, and to themselves. Jesus is the unfailing cure for sin-sick people, but He must be taken.

One day, when I was pastor of a little church in Lancaster, I was serving communion, and I suddenly felt a tug on my trousers, somewhere around my knees. I looked down into a pair of big brown eyes, and a delightful Ugandan boy looked up at me and said, ‘I want to get Jesus!’ Jesus wants us to ‘get’ Him. We so need Him.

Of course, I had to keep taking the medicine after imbibing the first drop. I didn’t merely take one amount, but several. As Christians we never outgrow our need of the gospel. How we need to keep on preaching the great gospel truths to our own souls. We never stop taking the medicine.

Exodus 12:1,2: New year

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 ‘This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.

Passover was going to mark a new year for the Jews. Passover, of course, speaks loudly of the Cross. As we begin our own new year, we know this is a time when people think about new beginnings, fresh starts, clean slates, and even make resolutions. We also know that the familiar pattern is for many to feel demoralised about their well-meant intentions, not very far into January!

I realise afresh, as I consider this, that there can be no genuine starting over, no authentic new beginnings, without first coming to the Cross in meaningful repentance.

Also, we will not persevere with our good intentions to live as followers of Christ, throughout the year, if we do not set the Cross continually before us as the God-given pattern of discipleship. The Christian life is cruciform: it is Cross-shaped.

Someone said, ‘Being a Christian is not about pinning the Cross, like a badge to your old way of life; it is rather about nailing your old way of life to the Cross – daily!’

PRAYER: Jesus keep me near the Cross…

Notes on Exodus will resume on Monday 3rd Jan, 2022 God-willing

Meanwhile, through this week, I will be posting a brief, daily thought on my ‘A date with Jesus’ facebook page, and on the facebook page of the King’s church, Boston Spa.

Wishing you a very happy new year, and thank you again for your valued support.

God bless you,

Stephen

Exodus 11:9,10: Workers together with God

The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

I am struck by the expression “my wonders”.

As we stand on the edge of a new year, I long to see those works which are so obviously God’s, no-one can argue otherwise. May His signs and wonders be in the church and in the world. May they be experienced “in Egypt.”

But, as so often in the Bible, we are confronted with a paradox: God’s wonders are performed by “Moses and Aaron.”

Here is an important truth: the Lord is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”, but it is “according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

As we celebrate the great wonder of the incarnation – God becoming human in Jesus – we know for sure that it was His wonder. It was His work, His miracle. But, He involved human actors – notably Mary and Joseph, but others too were handed scripts and given parts in the great drama.

Let us pray together that 2022 will be full of God’s wonders, and that by His grace and mercy many of us will be enabled to perform them.

PRAYER: Lord God, on this another Christmas Eve, I give myself to you afresh, praying that I may be an agent of your power in the world

Exodus 11:8,9: Foreknowledge

All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

9 The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”

This doesn’t happen to me often, but just on occasions I will have a dream, and upon awaking I will know it’s not ‘just a dream’. God is speaking through it in some way. This happened to me just a few years ago, and I recognised that the Lord was showing me how I would feel as I went through a particular period in my life. It was a vivid pictorial portrayal of what was going to happen, and in the time since having this dream I have been increasingly grateful for how God spoke and prepared me.

All of that to say that because I believe the whole Bible, I am convinced that God can still speak to His people through visions, revelations, dreams, prophetic words, spiritual gifts, and so on. If God should speak to you in one of these ways, it’s not because you are more spiritual than anyone else. The wind of the Spirit blows where He wills. He is sovereign, and if He speaks to you (or through you) by some gift, it’s about His purpose for you. God meets His people and leads them in varied ways. Your story is not mine; your path is not mine.

Moses’ story involved prophecy, and knowing certain things in advance, as today’s short reading shows.

We can’t manufacture spiritual gifts, nor should anyone try to. But let’s endeavour to stay wide-open to God as we walk with Him. This surely also means an openness to the miraculous and supernatural.

Exodus 11:7: The blood makes the difference

But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.

Once again we see that God’s people are a distinct people. He treats them differently. But on this occasion the people were themselves to be involved in marking themselves out as different, by applying the blood of the Passover lambs to their homes (12:7,13).

‘Previously they had been segregated by the Lord without any cooperative or obedient act of their own, but now, by command of the Lord, Israel must take a stand, self-declared as the people under the blood of the lamb.’ Alec Motyer: ‘The message of Exodus’, p.127.

As we approach Christmas we remember that Jesus was born to die. He came as the ultimate fulfilment of all that the Passover means:

“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

It is being ‘under the blood’ of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world that makes all the difference. We are free from God’s wrath, not because of anything intrinsically good in ourselves, but because of the blood of Jesus applied to our hearts by faith. His blood cleanses from all sin.

‘Faith is not merely a thought of which I lay hold, a conviction that possesses me—it is a life. Faith brings the soul into direct contact with God, and the unseen things of heaven, but above all, with the blood of Jesus. It Is Not Possible to Believe in Victory over Satan by the Blood without Being Myself Brought Entirely under its Power. Belief in the power of the blood awakens in me a desire for an experience of its power in myself; each experience of its power makes belief in victory more glorious.’ Andrew Murray, The Power of the Blood of Jesus.

PRAYER: ‘Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me…’

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