Tuesday, March 20, 2012

my notes for The Story, Chapter 6 (excerpts from Numbers and Deuteronomy)


-Primary Topic: Israel's response to the law and God's response to them-- patience and mercy, but then judgment in the face of Israel's "unbelievable" unbelief (all w/ app. to us)
-vs. what should have happened from their gracious deliverance out of Egypt by God and his mercy in the Golden Calf incident
-how it affected Israel's quality of life
-their/our mission as his reps; they set out for battle, but ultimately didn't have the faith to get in

Numbers 11-12: Rebellion and Response
-Chs. 11-12's journey to the southern tip of Canaan-- a 150-mile, 11-day trip (Dt 1:2)-- delayed a bit here...
--> to this point, things had been looking good with arrival in Canaan on the horizon-- no trouble since Ex 32, a lot of obedience in Chs. 1-10, and God's law, tabernacle, and presence at hand, but…

11:1-23 (skim)
-1a's "Now the people complained..." --> 1b's God’s "anger was aroused...fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp"
-to whom: "in the hearing of the Lord"
-implies loud enough to reach Heaven
-complaining to each other vs. going to the source and/or to God
-->  5's "We remember [the stuff] we ate in Egypt at no cost"; 18b's "better off in Egypt"
            -likely in the mode/habit of complaining, as slaves (difficult to break that)
-remembering not well enough; only half of the story of their past-- "at no cost"?! had eaten fish often as slaves?!
-w/ app. to sin and our pasts: exaggerate B's, downplay/ignore C's
-remembering the wrong (vs. right) stuff
-temporal vs. eternal-- their stomach vs. being redeemed and access to the Promised Land?!
-immediate gratification vs. contentment
-focusing on past connections to Egypt; Thomas' "Here was a redeemed people, brought out of Egypt and on their way to the 'land of promise', but with their thoughts, their ambitions, their appetites, fed by the memory of that from which God had redeemed them!...Have you been weaned from the things of Egypt?"

--> 11-15’s Moses’ questions (skim)
-11's 2 Q’s about Moses & God: why did you do this to me? what did I do to you?
-12's 3 Q's about Moses & Israel, incl. compare Israelites to infants—act like babies!
-13a's specific Q about "meat for all these people"—wrong to take burden on himself
-14's despair: "burden is too heavy" overstates the case greatly-- what about God?!
-15b's proposed (harsh) remedy: "put me to death right now"
à people's lukewarm grumbling vs. Moses' honesty, passion and ability to take things to God; import of an intimate, personal relationship with God
-19-20,23’s big-time sarcasm!

12:1-2 (read)
-1's Miriam and Aaron...
-given their relationship to Moses: his sister (Ex 2:4's bail-out) and brother—family?!
            -given their past: Miriam’s servant’s heart (Ex 2:4) and Aaron’s recent chastening
-given their position: prophetess (Ex 15:20) and high priest
-1's Miriam and Aaron "talk against Moses"-- why?
-1b’s "his Cushite wife"
-Cush as 1st son of Noah's son, Ham
-maybe Zipporah (Ex 2), but probably a new wife (Hab 3:7)
-African? a different race/ethnicity; prob. darker (w/ app. to racism and inter-racial marriage, or more generally, picking on differences)
            -if so, leprosy (white) as ironic punishment!
-2's Moses' supposed monopoly as God's vessel vs. "hasn't God also spoken thru us?"
-ironically, true: Miriam as prophet; Aaron as Moses’ mouthpiece
-but here, general jealousy or recent empowerment of the 70 (both w/ app.)
-given God’s response, reason #1 as probable pretext behind latter's substance
-w/ app. to us carping-- get to our real issues; and fielding criticism-- try to discern/anticipate issues

Numbers 13-14
à were the spies a good/bad idea?
-first, note Dt 1:21-23's spies as the people's idea—after Moses had said it was time to go in; approved by Moses and here, by God (also implied by Dt 9:23?)
-positive spin: Moses not acting on blind faith or testing God; the import of assessing B & C—“count the costs”
-negative spin: land "given" to them and they already had God's guidance
-MH's "They would not take God's word that it was a good land, and that he would, without fail, put them in possession of it. They could not trust the pillar of cloud and fire to show them the way to it, but had a better opinion of their own [spies] than of God's wisdom..."
-sometimes we know and stall for time or tread water instead of taking action
-sometimes both options look good and we sit in the intersection rather than taking one fork in the road
à the more you think about it (and the more info you get), the tougher it gets (me with high dive and Zach; bungee, rappelling, etc.)
-->  not initiated by God, but in 13:1, approved by God—probably "OK"
-w/ app. to us finding the balance between these two
-see: greater importance in what ones does with the info; as such, MH concludes: "Yet...if the spies had done their duty, and the people theirs, it might have been the confirmation of their faith, and of good service to them."

13:26-29 (read)
-26's "reported to them...and showed them the fruit of the land"
-27's "it does flow with milk and honey!"
-28's "But..."
-28a's "the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large"; 28b's "We even saw descendants of Anak there"
-29's Amalekites in Negev (Ex 17); Hittites, Jebusites (Jerusalem), Amorites in hill country; Canaanites near the sea and along the Jordan
à a solid report with perhaps some editorial content with 28’s “but”, but so far, so good…
à key: what are we going to do with the "but's"? this is life!
à can/could respond in one of two ways...

13:30-33 (read)
-30's Caleb's confidence (in the face of implied opposition, since he “silenced the people), but 31-33's "but...": the 10 spies argue "we can't..."
-32a's "bad report" (vs. 26-29’s objective report)—because of its details and the editorializing
1.) perspective exaggeration: 32b's "the land devours", "all the people are of great size", "we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes", Nephilim exaggerates Anak (Dt 2:10-11)
2.) speculative exaggeration: 33's "we seemed like grasshoppers to them" (vs. Josh 2:9-11 later)
3.) huge omission: no mention (or implication) of God; all their own effort
à and employing faith/reason, if the Canaanites were stronger than Israel—so what!
1.) the Canaanites were not stronger than the God of Israel; they were grasshoppers to him
2.) the Canaanites were not stronger than the Egyptians—and God had already defeated them
3.) God had promised them empowered victory over the Canaanites
-->  in effect, saying God was impotent and unfaithful—unable and unwilling make good on His promises
à their bad evaluation of the situation rooted in a lack of faith and poor reasoning (Rom 12:2)
-->  comparing C&J to the others:
-not good/bad spy as much as faithful/faithless
-same circumstances and same qualitative assessment, but different evaluation of God-based strength and outcome-- and both equally confident in their assessment!
-LAB's "[They] could not agree with the majority, for that would be to disagree with God."
-->  what would the people do?

14:1-4 (read)
-1-2a's what everybody did:
-1's "raised their voices and wept aloud", 2a's "grumbled" vs. Moses and Aaron (i.e., "speaking" to self/others vs. taking their complaints to M&A or praying)
-on their weeping, MH's "They fall a crying, yet know not what they cry for. It would have been time...to cry out when the enemy had beaten [them] up...and they had seen the sons of Anak at the gate of their camp. But those that cried when nothing hurt them deserved to have something given them to cry for."
-2b-4's what everybody said
-2b's "if only we had died in Egypt or in this desert!"
-ironic and incoherent: they're safe at this point and MH's "They wish to die, for fear of dying." (vs. II Kings 7:3-4)
-3a's "why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?"
-sheer speculation-- and given God's promises and past provision, the question should have answered itself in faith and reason
--> instead, 3b's "our wives/children will be taken as plunder"
-a true concern, just an excuse/decoy, or more crazy talk?
-a pathetic sight; MH's "Unbelief, or distrust of God, is a sin that is its own punishment. Those that do not trust God are continually vexing themselves."
-what this implicitly says about their belief in God's character (Jer 29:11?!), God's choice of a leader, and His word (putting more confidence in man's)

14:5-10 (skim)
-6's Joshua and Caleb "tore their clothes" and beyond that, 7-9 for their attempt to persuade them (Dt 1:29-31 for Moses' attempt)
-10a's "But...the whole assembly talked about stoning them" (!...; I Sam 30:6)
-can’t we agree to disagree or dismissing J&C as crazy? Kill the two most courageous guys we have?
-when it is seen as necessary that all dissent would be quashed (w/ app. to Jesus and Pharisees)

14:18-25 (skim)
-13-19’s plea from Moses
-20's God: "I have forgiven them as you asked" (Ps 78:38a, 106:23; Mic 7:18-20)
-21's "Nevertheless...", 23a's "not one of [these] men will ever see the land"-- mercy and justice, forgiven but still consequences (Ps 99:8)
-24a's exception: "But..." Caleb
-->  for his intercession and service, Moses gets 39 more years of this...great!
-->  Caleb and Joshua get 39 years as well; really bad things happen to really good people...

Thomas' analogy of Egypt, Wilderness, Canaan to "three categories of men" (Ch. 3, SLC)
-saved from Egypt's bondage by faith in the blood of a Passover Lamb
-Red Sea as a picture of baptism (I Cor 10:2; the enemy buried while God's people pass through to a new life)
-given the Law—not saved by good works, but to do good works (Eph 2:8-10)
-meant to go to the fruit and fight of the Promised Land-- sanctification
-vs. wandering in the wilderness (desert, same ol' manna; neither the meat of Egypt nor the fruit of Canaan)
-->  Thomas: "[The Israelites] lived in self-imposed poverty! Every day they spent in the desert was a day they could have spent in Canaan-- for God had given them the land! They would not believe, however, that the God who brought them out was the God who could bring them in!"
-analogy to carnal Christian-- living in the flesh vs. spirit and fruit/fight (Gal 2:20; faith required for J and S)

14:36-45 (not in “The Story”; skim)
-36-38’s 10 spies "were struck down and died of a plague"—an immediate judgment
-executing leaders would avoid future trouble from them
-cause-and-effect sets incentives for others (Eccl 8:11)
-underlines LR judgment of the people
-stricter judgment on them as leaders (Jas 3:1)—for leading people into sin; for misrepresenting God, His land, and His promises
-40's "early the next AM..." and set out for the Promised Land
-acknowledge sin and immediately set out to sin again
--> MH's "They now desire the land which they had despised, and put a confidence in [an expired] promise which they had distrusted."
-44's "Nevertheless...in their presumption" (vs. Moses and God)
--> 45's beating administered by Amalekites and Canaanites
-->  parallels to acting in the flesh, redoubling wrong efforts (doing something/anything), trying to "make it up" to God (guilt blinds them), self-confidence (misplaced belief)

20:1-13's rebellion (Ex 17:1-7's water at the rock sequel; read 20:9-12)
-1’s Miriam dies
-2b's "people gathered in opposition to M&A", 3a's "quarreled with Moses" with 3b-5's std. complaints, blindness, etc.
-8's God's instructions to Moses: "Take the staff and speak to that rock...and it will pour out its water"
-staff picked up but not used (vs. Ex 17)-- meant to be a reminder and an encouragement—oddly, would end up as a temptation!
-9's initial obedience (again)—OK so far..., but 10's strange speech for Moses: "listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?"
            -talk to the rock vs. talk to the rockheads!
-"you rebels": signals anger and frustration (esp. in light of his sister’s death!); smacks of self-righteousness
-"we bring"?!
-11a's disobedience: "struck the rock twice" (with Ex 17:6)—and raised arm as anger/power
-striking twice:
-implies anger and lack of control (wishing he was smashing skulls instead?)
-didn't work first time as a signal of inappropriate method or even as allowing Moses an op to repent
-striking vs. speaking: acting independently, out of the flesh (w/ app. to ministry, force of habit, etc.; Rom 14:23); strike (vs. speak) implies out of Moses' power
-11b's but still success: "water gushed out"
-why punish them for Moses' mistake? w/ app. to God often gets beyond our mistakes
-12's failure "to trust in God enough..." and "to honor God as holy in the sight of the people"
-->  severity?! if anybody deserved to go to Canaan...(Dt 3:26-27)
-MH's "that God judges not as man judges concerning sins" (Is 55:9-10)
-just one thing wrong-- fall short of J under the Law; no special treatment for the "righteous" (Rom 3:23, 6:23)
-higher standard for leaders (Jas 3:1)
-signals severity of the crime (revisited)-- pride, unbelief and Thomas' Ch. 10 argues that this is a picture of re-crucifying Christ instead of relying on the Spirit (Jn 4:14 and 7:37-38's "springs of [living] water"; and esp. I Cor 10:4's "they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them and that rock was Christ")

21:4-9's Bronze Snake (skim here, but pick up Jn 3:14-15)
-6's "the Lord sent venomous snakes" to bite/kill Israelites
-->  8-9's answer from God: "make a (bronze) snake and put it on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live"
-creative punishment and cure
-interesting picture of external bite and internal venom
-leaves (vs. removes) the snakes (or their bites), but provides a cure/antidote
-runs counter (although doesn’t exactly contradict) the 2nd C. (Ex 20:4!)—and prohibition's good reason (II Kings 18:4)
-required an act of faith vs. just talk or automatic healing; required faith in proper thing—where and to whom one looked
-->  Jn 3:14-15 (in context!) and parallels for us:
-problem: bitten by poisonous snakes/sin—and recognizing the problem
-outcome: spiritual and physical/spiritual death
-solution: looking to snake/Christ lifted up on a pole/cross
-a plan devised by God
-solution in a similar form to that which was the problem
-faith and knowledge of sin/wound are implicit
-bronze as judgment; snake as sin; pole as tree
-refusal to accept will/would result in death; MH's "If they slighted this method of cure, and had recourse to natural medicines and trusted to them, they justly perished."
-so easy...how many needlessly died?
-barriers to embracing solution: peer pressure, required submission and obedience to authority, reliance on natural methods instead, can't accept gifts, can't accept that one is wrong and incapable of fixing

25:1-13 (skim)
-1b's "men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women" (ironic given Ruth)
-->  catalyst: Num 31:16's Balaam's counsel (Rev 2:14)—clever but not so much (given man’s nature; I Cor 10:13) and ironic…
-a much more effective strategy; MH's "[Israel], having escaped the curse of Balaam, here sustains a great deal of damage by the counsel of Balaam"
-beautiful women were more dangerous to the Israelites than armed men-- subtle vs. overt attacks
-MH's "We are more endangered by the charms of a smiling world than by the terrors of a frowning world."
-6's galling sin
-7ff's Phinehas and Levite renaissance continued

Dt 4:32-40's conclusion—that’ll preach! (read)
-32b's "has anything so great as this ever happened?"
-33,36's unique in His revelation to them: they had heard the voice of God (delivering 10 C's at Mt. Sinai)
-34,37-38's unique in His redemption of them: they had been delivered from another nation (Egypt) by His power
-35,37's unique in His relationship with them:
-God's desire: 35's "[that they] might know that the Lord is God"; to provide 36's loving "discipline" and 38's "inheritance"
-God's motivation: 37's "love" (first mention in Dt; should motivate their/our love)—available to all—and "chose" (I Jn 4:10)
-see also: power and poetry of 32's flavor ("from the day God created man"; "ask from one end of the heavens to the other") and 34's litany of "great and awesome deeds"
-->  reasons/purposes:
-to know God: 35's "so you might know that the Lord is God"
-38's "to bring you into the [promised] land"
-in sum, 39-40's motivation for Israel to accept God's sovereignty (35,39's "besides Him there is no other"), to love and obey God, and to obtain His blessings
-->  for them, and for us—most evidently, through the cross

6:4-9's exposition on 1st C. (read)
-4's "The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (see NIVSB for alt. translations)
-known as the 'shema'; Heb. for 'hear' where hear = obey; has become the daily Jewish confession of faith-- their most important text in Dt
-5's "Love the Lord your God with all your heart/soul/strength"
-what do heart (emotions), soul (will/guts), strength (physical; perseverance), and mind (mental; import of forget/remember) each represent?
-->  4-5's fundamentals of the faith; 6-9's practice and perpetuation of the faith
-6's "these commandments...are to be on your hearts"-- to be accomplished by
-7a's teach: "impress them on your children"
-7b's talk: "talk about them when you sit at home..."-- all the time!
-mindset vs. event; about living life, not mere instructions (Ex 18:20's details)
-implies urgency, need for strategy, explain motives and dynamic dialogue vs. just giving rules and “laying down the law” (see also: we’re all teachers!)
-8,9's reminders and reading: 8's "tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads"; 9's "write them on the doorframes of your houses/gates" (w/ app.)
-can be taken fig. for act and think (11:18); often taken literally by Jews (see: Mt 23:5's "phylacteries"-- small wooden/metal boxes with scripture passages inside, bound to forehead/arm; 'mezuzot'-- same on doorframes)
-see: the import of external reminders (to us and others; e.g., WWJD bracelets, verses on buildings), esp. in the absence of a better internal-- the Spirit
-see: 9's symbolism of doors/gates; import of writing (exs. diaries, note-taking in sermons/lessons)
-again, talk/life imply a dynamic that will not as easily allow externals to be taken for granted
-see: emphasis on family education vs. church education, but import of both; priests were to educate, but family's role was large, esp. without copies of God's word readily available
-eventually accomplished by the Spirit and the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34, Ez 36:26-27; Col 3:16)

8:1-5's history as a motivation

9:4-6's foreshadowing of temptation to ignore or abuse grace

30:11-14's encouragement

30:15-20's blessings/obedience, curses/disobedience formula of Old Covenant (skim)
-on God and Israel's broad purpose, C.S. Lewis' "God selected one particular people and spent several centuries hammering into their heads the sort of God He was-- that there was only one of Him and that he cared about right conduct. Those people were the Jews and the Old Testament gives an account of the hammering process."
-vs. Habakkuk's Q, etc.
-->  but not immediate cause/effect—preserves God’s sovereignty (us controlling God through our behavior?!) and preserves/adds to free will vs. weakening incentives

34:1-12's death of Moses (skim; read 34:10-12?)
-->  bittersweet, but a triumphant, wonderful, poignant ending to a great life (what kind of music would accompany this as a movie scene?)
-seeing the impending fulfillment of an 80-year promise
-last moments spent in tremendous but appropriate intimacy with God (picture God pointing out all of 2-3's details)
-irony that a better Promised Land awaits him (an odd punishment!; Phil 1:21), but also points to the importance of earthly as well as heavenly things
-tension between God's mercy/grace and justice
-a reminder of the seriousness of sin and the size of the blessings we miss
-10-12's amazing epithet as the conclusion to our (long) study of the life of Moses
-10a's "Since then, no prophet...like Moses"
-10b's "whom the Lord knew face to face" (Ex 33:11, Num 12:8)
-11's "who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do"
--> 12's "no one has ever shown the mighty power (of God) or performed the awesome deeds (through God) that Moses did"
-->  see: Buechner on Moses (recounting esp. Ex 3-4)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

expected (and actual) performance in NCAA's (2012)

Here's how things turned out last year-- with the Big 10 and Big 12 as the biggest under-performers...

This year, given the seedings, here are the expected records by conference (and updated results as of 3/19-- the Sweet 16 and 3/26-- the Final Four and 4/3 the finals): 

Big East:    13-9*   11-5     14-8       14-9
Big Ten:     13-6      9-2      11-5       11-6
Big 12:       10-6      6-4       9-5        10-6
ACC:          9-5       5-3       6-5
SEC:           8-3       5-2       8-3        10-3
Mtn. West:  3-4       1-4    
Atlantic 10: 1-4       3-3      3-4
West Coast: 3-3*    1-3     
Mo. Valley:  2-2      1-2     
Pac 12:        1-2*     1-2    
C-USA:        1-2      0-2    
Metro Atl.:   0-2      0-2    
OH Valley:   1-1      1-1    
Other:          2-18*   8-17   8-18

* including "1st-round" wins for Lamar, WKU, California, and BYU

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")