Tuesday, March 13, 2012

my notes for The Story, Chapter 5 (excerpts from Exodus 19-40)

The Story, Chapter 5: Excerpts from Exodus 19-40

-review Genesis 1-11, 12-36, 37-50; Exodus 1-18

19:6's "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation"
-only four words in Hebrew, but Sacks (131): “the shortest, simplest, most challenging mission statement”
-implications for individuals and corporate (w/ app. to us—as indivs, church, Church)
-“kingdom of priests”
-kingdom—but not of this world…
-concepts not reserved biblically as “Jewish” (Melchizedek, Jethro, and pagans)
-priests as mediators—lit. and fig.; priests to the world—as Aaron was to them
-“a holy nation”
-holy as “set apart”
-“nation” as Heb. “goy”
-typically used of pagan nations!; Israel as one among many but set apart
-goy/geviya means “body”; Sacks (144): “metaphor for a group of individuals whose relationship to one another is as of limbs to a body.” (I Cor 12!)
-holiness supposed to apply to all
-Sacks (143b): “the first faith to see holiness as a property not of a sacred elite, but of national life itself”
-but sin-corrupted and Spirit-limited
-holding the two in balance—holy but getting one’s hands dirty (as above)
-better fulfilled by the Spirit-filled NT church as “priesthood of believers” (I Pet 2:9-12 [especially 2:12!]; Heb 10:19-22, Rev 1:7)
--> and all by grace: the choice of Abraham and all the events which followed; here, 4's gracious deliverance and 5-6a's gracious offer
-4’s What the Lord has done: the saving acts of the Lord
-5a’s What the Lord requires: our response of obedience
-5b’s What the Lord promises: the blessings which obedience bring
à Motyer’s “not that they were ordered to obey in order that they might enter the covenant, but that, already being in the covenant, they were called to obey so that they might enjoy the benefits and privileges of God’s people…entering into full enjoyment of what has long been and is rightfully ours”

Exodus 20: Intro to The Ten Commandments
1.) their Biblical context: the giving of “the Law”
-Pink (160; need word study?) on:
-“law of God”—“expressed the mind of the Creator…God’s unchanging moral standard…[by] the very nature of things”
-“law of Moses”—judicial and ceremonial system, given to Israel
-“law of Christ”—absorbs/supersedes “law of God” (I Cor 9:21)
-Exodus 20-31’s overview
-Ch. 20's Ten Commandments (the moral code/law)
-Ch. 21-24's 70 laws of the Book of the Covenant (more moral/civil/social laws)
-Ch. 25-31's ceremonial law (Tabernacle)—all of which foreshadow Christ (Heb 9:9b-10, 10:1-4)

2.) their author: who decides what is right/wrong-- God or State (morality ‘ legality?) or society (changing social norms) or self? the Ten C's or ten suggestions?
-John Long: “hey, it’s not likely they’re written in stone or anything…”
-see: excerpts from John Leo's "Thou Shalt not Command" (USN&WR, 11/18/96)

3.) their background:
-not entirely new ideas (given earlier adherence; e.g. Cain/Abel’s sacrifices and Gen 9’s murder; Gen 6’s evil; Gen 6-9’s clean/unclean; Abraham’s tithe and sacrifice—Gen 14-15; Gen 18-19 and Ez 16:49-50; Gen 39’s potential sin vs. God; Exodus and unjust treatment by Pharaoh)—God codified this set of rules

4.) their timing:
-about 1500 years pre-Christ
-follows Israel’s deliverance from bondage to Pharaoh (Ex 19:4-6; vs. Law in Egypt with probationary/conditional release from bondage with obedience)
-GCM's "God's law was for his ransomed people...God did not promulgate a code of laws for the children of Israel while they were in bondage, telling them that if they would obey it, He would deliver them. He brought them out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and then gave them His law." (w/ app.)
-relationship in the context of redemption, obvious benevolence (vs. Cosmic Killjoy)
-defining freedom and its use (Gal 5:1,13); you get freedom, but what are you going to do with it? w/ app. to kids, new C’s, emerging from U.S. or Egyptian slavery
-follows their spoken willingness to follow Him (19:8; Jas 1:6-8)

5.) their audience
-the unlikely; Cahill’s “We should not be surprised that these words were never spoken to the powerful, the comfortable, and the subtle.’
-addressed to individuals and the community in relationship with God
-again, to the redeemed (Dt 15:15)

6.) their location—in the wilderness/desert at Sinai
-Cahill’s “It is no accident that the great revelations of God’s own name and of His commandments occur in a mountainous desert, as far from civilization and its contents as possible, in a place as unlike the lush predictabilities and comforts of the Nile and the Euphrates as this earth can offer. If God was to speak to human beings and if there was any possibility of their hearing him, it could happen only in a place stripped of all cultural reference points, where even nature seemed absent.’

7.) their scope:
-the 10 C's, in order, touch on religion, worship, reverence, time, authority, life, purity, property, tongue, and contentment
-God (1-4); family (5); society/neighbor (6-10)—and implied priority (vs. simply God/others)
-thought, word, and deed—vs. rules only and the idea that it was not until Jesus that the rules were extended (Mt 5:21-30)

8.) their purpose--NOT! (esp. for Christians):
-not for salvation-- not saved by righteousness, but by faith (Gal 2:16, 3:11,21b-25)
-see: works-righteousness for J and legalism within S (Gal 5:1) vs. antinomianism (“against the law’), incl. libertinism (I Cor 6:12)
-Christianity does not start with morality
-not sufficient: only a small part of the Law; ultimately extended by Christ; Christianity does not start/end with morality
-and not magic...
-on the Ten C’s in the schools to help our cultural troubles, Tomasino’s “The remedy, some seem to believe, could be as simple as giving our children two tablets of stone and checking the moral temperature again in the morning.’
-moreover, Tomasino’s “Seeing the words on paper, or even committing them to memory, won’t necessarily impel people to obey them...Knowing the Commandments is nothing. The Devil, I’m sure, knows them by heart...We have to apply them to our lives...We won’t make a difference by quoting the Ten C’s to our neighbor. We can only make a difference by embodying the C’s and living them out in our relationships with God and [others].”

9.) their purpose--for Israel
-not to introduce a “new bondage”
-LAB's "designed to lead Israel to a life of practical holiness"
-God demonstrating His sovereignty over His people (as earthly kings did thru law)
à still viewed as the central moment in history (at least for Israel)—the revelation of God thru the Torah and the eternal covenant formed at Sinai

10.) their purpose--for Israel and for us
-most directly, to communicate His expectations
-more indirectly, to communicate something specific about God’s character
-even more indirectly, to extend God’s love to us—through law—given his benevolence (Dt 33:3-4; Ps 1:2, Jas 1:25’s “perfect law that gives freedom”, Rom 7:12b’s “the command is holy, righteous and good”)
-as a result, to benefit ourselves—often physically and always spiritually (Dt 11:13-15; Proverbs; Dan 1)—assuming God wants the best for us (Rom 12:2, Heb 11:6)
-to promote civil society and to protect individuals (esp. last 6 C’s, but 1st 4 indirectly)
à see: Israel’s special need for civil order, given new nation whose leadership had atrophied in Egyptian bondage
-at least long-term, to illustrate sinfulness and (at least for them) sin nature (19:8 & 24:3 vs. Israel’s history incl. 40 days later--Ex 32!; Rom 3:20, 7:7b, I Tim 1:8-11)

20:3-6's 1st and 2nd C
-->  note: Augustine combined first two C’s (much overlap) and split “covet’ (#10) into two C’s; followed today by many Lutherans and Catholics
-3's 1st C: "no other gods before/besides me" vs. 4's "idol"-- specifically "in the form of anything" in heaven, on earth, or in the waters

on 3's 1st C: "no other gods before/besides me"... (Dt 6:5, Is 42:8, 48:11)
-->  if “before’, acknowledgment of...
-expected difficulties even within the Christian life well-lived
-the reality of sin and other gods, the struggle with world and flesh despite being a believer (Mt 6:33); gods are real to the extent that we give them power
-the difficulty in making good things into idols—even church (Jud 18:24), Bible study/knowledge, spiritual disciplines
-an emphasis on relationship and keeping God first
--> w/ app. to our priorities:
-->  if "besides", then “no other gods’ (period!)
-sets the standard prohibitively high, assuring the presence of sin (Hos 13:4b)--maybe that’s the point!
--> the difficulty: not in not worshiping God, but in dropping all other gods--or relegating them to an increasingly distant 2nd place (Ps 135:5; II Kings 17:41)
-in principle, anything that displaces God--looking to other gods for security, sustenance, self-identity, or solutions
-->  as the first and most important commandment--crucial (a la Gen 1:1)
-establishes God’s authority—essential going forward
-Reardon’s “The commandments are not equal…Its ‘firstness’ pertains to its essence, not merely its assigned place in the Decalogue’s sequential disposition. It is not only first, but the first…[This] makes idolatry necessarily the first sin.”
-5c's "punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the 3rd and 4th generation" (34:7)
-->  equitable?? as personal judgment or as natural consequences…
-mercy that it's not more?
-incentives/deterrence; ex) speed w/ and w/o children in a car
-"natural" effects of heredity and environment--the impact of sin; exs) alcoholism and sexual abuse
--> bottom line/pat answer: God is perfectly just
-->  but 6's "showing love to 1000 generations of those who love me" (I Chron 16:15, Ps 103:17-18, 105:8) and "keep my commandments" (Jn 14:15, I Jn 5:3a)
-fig. for the extent of God's love (and 1000 > 3-4; Is 54:7-8)

à what’s wrong with idols (vs. icons—e.g., cross, dove)?
-inherently deficient-- by definition, a limiting representation
à broadened to “other gods’ and man-made idols in Christ's life and teaching:
1.) people—Jn 2:24-25 on "would not entrust himself to others"
2.) possessions—Mt 4:3-4's material goods ([gods of] wood & stone? nice house!); materialism/consumerism
3.) personal agendas—Mt 4:5-10's (2nd and 3rd temptation) bowing down to Satan (!)—esp. in our own timing
4.) attitudes—Lk 16:13-15 (Mt 6:24) on Mammon (KJV)/Money (w/ a capital M) and 15b's "what is highly valued among men"

20:7's 3rd C: don't "misuse" God's name
-Heb. “shawe” as “in vain, useless, empty”
-“misuse” implies proper use; what’s acceptable? praise/worship, conversation
1.) using his name casually:
-frivolous/profane—vs. sacred
-mechanical (e.g., closing with “in Jesus’ name’ as “over and out”; Mt 6:7)

2.) purposefully but falsely as with oaths to others or to God (see: God told me (to do) X)
3.) figuratively, as a Christian, our affiliation with His name—as a poor witness; hypocrisy

20:8-11's 4th C-- the Sabbath
-motivated by 11's God worked six and “rested’ one (vs. Dt 5's version connecting this to being freed from slavery)
à changed from Saturday to Sunday by the NT church because of Christ's resurrection (Acts 20:7, I Cor 16:2)
-Wilmington's "as the seventh day commemorates a finished creation, so the first day commemorates a finished redemption [or a new creation]."
-Mk 2:27's "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" comes closest in NT to repeating this commandment
-not explicitly repeated—in a sense, Christ pushes this C back (vs. extending others!)—or at least the interpretation of it
à what do we do with this? at the least, talk, think, reflect, pray about it…

à C's 1-4: loving/worshiping God vs. C's 5-10: loving others; fitting this should be the order

20:12's 5th C
-12b’s promise (Eph 6:2's "1st C with a promise")
-”honor’ as positive vs. prohibitive, but ironically, more restrictive
-”honor’ vs. worship, love, like, obey, etc.
à “honor” defined as an attitude—that implies actions

20:16's 9th C: "false testimony against" vs. lying per se

20:17's 10th C: don't covet
-the only explicitly internal (but see: #4 and esp. #1 as a bookend)
-why an inventory of specific possessions not to covet (vs. brief like C’s 6-9)?
-covers household and work; covers different aspects of life—possessions/wealth, relationships, work; perhaps to cover wife and servant vs. just property (as 8th C.)
-defining “covet”
-not to desire something, but passionately wanting what others have-- particularly with impure motives (esp. wanting ill to befall them), thru impure means, in rushed timing
à usually but not always negative (I Cor 12:31)
à true opposites of covet—apathy/indifference or good covet (vs. idolatry)
-failure to trust God’s sovereignty/providence and be thankful/grateful for His provision
-failure to love others; as the root cause for C's #6-8 and sometimes #9
-who speaking: "the people...they"-- how many? any particular group? perhaps "the rabble"
-who spoken to: "Aaron"
-recognized him as the de facto leader vs. 24:14b’s other leaders (or 24:9’s elders)
-if conspiratorial: without Moses, perceived (accurately) him to be vulnerable/weak
-when: "Moses was so long in coming down" (24:18's 40 days/nights)
-the great benefits to Moses in the presence of God vs. the ill effects of Moses' absence on the people of Israel
-note: 24:14a’s command to wait, but they didn't know it would be 40 days (w/ app.)
-what they didn’t do and say:
-submit to Moses’ leadership/commands
-meditating on what had happened and preparing for what would be revealed
-consult Aaron or pray to God for direction
-relatively idle hands leads to trouble
-what they did and said:
-made Aaron a flattering offer—or "gathered around Aaron" as “an offer he couldn’t refuse” (a mob of sorts)
-"Come..." as a (seemingly, but deceptive) reasonable start
-NIV’s "make us gods"—blatant idolatry
-"As for this fellow Moses" denigrates leader/brother
-"we don't know what has happened to him" belittles further thru indifference

-a really tough spot, but Aaron takes (wrong) action—and right away!
à does he want power (see: Num 12)
-vs. refuse and rebuke
-vs. discussion: persuasion, including reminder about 24:14a’s command
-vs. delay/deliberation with colleagues and consulting God (if not sure somehow!)
-vs. deflect: build altar—to God
à but here, not even a signal of disapproval; MH's "Is this Aaron...that could speak so well (4:14), and yet speaks not one word against this idolatry?"
-good at speaking vs. leading and knowing what to say!
à 2’s strategy? perhaps he thought they would be unwilling to pay the price: "gold earrings [they] are wearing"
-but 3's "all the people"-- rapid but perverse obedience
-from the plunder of Egypt (3:21-22, 11:2-3, 12:35-36)—vs. equally zealous contributions to Tabernacle construction (36:3-7)
--> 4's golden calf cast idol: flagrant violation of 2nd C.

à how could the people do this, esp. so soon after Ex 19:8, 24:3,7?!
--> w/ app. to New Covenant; MH's "plain indication that the law was no more able to sanctify than to justify"
à w/ potentially sobering app. to us: things never seem idiotic to us in the moment (vs. after the fact; what will people say about us in 100 years?!)

32:10-14’s response
-10a's "Now leave me alone..." (NIV)—as if Moses could stop Him?!
-10a's "so that my anger may burn"
-God's tremendous wrath toward sin, allayed only by his mercy (Eph 2:3-5)
-followed by 10b's offer to make Moses "into a great nation"
-gracious offer to Moses (esp. given the way they had treated him and that it was 'God's idea'!)
-an interesting test—vs. Aaron’s response!
-11a’s “But…”
-argues with God—for good here (vs. Ex 3-4)
-refuses God's offer, reveals his agenda/character; MH's "He prefers the salvation of Israel before the advancement of his own family. Here was a man fit to be governor."
à Moses four-part intercession instead:
1.) 11b's after all the trouble you went to-- bringing them out of Egypt
2.) 12a's what would the Egyptians say about this?
3.) 12b's plea/beg
4.) 13's "remember" your promise to, and covenant with, Abraham and Co.
--> 14's "then the Lord relented (KJV’s “repented”!)..."

-26's rallying cry answered by Levites (vs. Gen 34; see also: Num 25)
--> p. 72 of Thomas: "Yet the next morning, mingled with the shattered fragments of those tables of stone, which had been written upon by the finger of God-- there was manna on the ground! This is the amazing patience of God! This is a love that will not let you go!" (Rom 5:20b's "where sin increased, grace increased all the more")


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