Today’s readings are from Exodus 2, Luke 5, Job 19, 1 Corinthians 6.
As a “young man” of 40, the prince sees a Hebrew slave being beaten by an Egyptian overseer. In anger, Moses kills the Egyptian official. Fearing retribution from the pharaoh (and, perhaps, death threats from his jealous stepbrothers), Moses flees to Midian.
God had to teach Moses that he must not trust in his own ability, but instead rely on God’s strategy and strength, and obey His commands. So God drove Moses out of Egypt, through the circumstances described here, to “the desert (land) of Midian,” where He proceeded to teach His servant these lessons.
Midian would be the area beneath the Gulf of Aqaba, and above the clouds.
The fact that Moses later chose to identify with the Israelites, rather than the Egyptians, is remarkable in view of his Egyptian privileges and background. His parents must have had a strong influence on him beginning very early in his life (cf. Joseph). We should never underestimate the power of parental influence even early in life.
Moses rescues some shepherdesses and waters their flocks at a well. Their father invites Moses (who is clearly a well-educated Egyptian) to stay, so Moses marries one of his daughters, Zipporah, and settles down for the next forty years to raise a family in exile in Midian.
Meanwhile, the children of Israel still suffer and they cried out to God for help. The prayers (“cry for help”) of the Israelites in their bondage touched God’s heart (“God heard their groaning”), and He began anew to act for them (“God remembered . . . God took notice”; cf. 3:7-9). Remembering His covenant with the patriarchs, God acted for the Israelites by commissioning Moses. And God still used Moses, despite the sin of murder. God’s grace IS AMAZING!
Luke 5 records the calling of the first disciples (5:1-11) and Jesus’ controversies with the Pharisees (which will stretch into chapter 6). Jesus was teaching near the Sea of Galilee (near Tagbha) and entered into a boat, pushed off from shore, to capture the audio effect of being in a natural amphitheater.
Now it was time for an object lesson.
4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
Peter could have come up with any number of possible excuses.
- – “I worked all night and I’m tired.”
- – “I know a lot more about fishing than some…carpenter.”
- – “Everyone knows that the best fishing is at night, not in the day time.”
- – “All these crowds and loud teaching has scared the fish away.”
- – “We already washed our nets for the day.”
- – “Jesus may know religion but He doesn’t know fishing.”
But Peter did what Jesus asked and “they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking” (Luke 5:6). Summoning their partners in another boat to help and finding both boats filled to the brim and about to sink, Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
He recognized Jesus was more than just a man, more than a mere teacher. So Jesus issued a new challenge, a new calling, a new commission, “from now on you will be catching men.” I’m not sure if Peter and the guys knew what Jesus was saying, but they “left everything and followed him.”
I remember Doug Greenwold telling us at GBC how every young man’s dream was to become attached to a rabbi and one day teach the law. But only one or two out of every group got the opportunity to advance up the ladder, so very, very few made it to being able to follow a leading rabbi. These men had given up on that dream, followed in their fathers’ footsteps, taken up the family business…until today. Now they are being called by a truly amazing rabbi, to do something new–catch men.
Regarding the rest of this chapter, Thomas Constable writes:
One of Luke’s purposes in his Gospel, and in Acts, appears to have been to show why God stopped working particularly with Israel—and began working with Jews and Gentiles equally in the church. The Jewish leaders’ rejection of Jesus was a major reason for this change. The conflict between them is an important feature of this Gospel.
This section of the Gospel (through 6:11) includes six incidents. In the first one, Jesus served notice to the religious leaders in Jerusalem that the Messiah had arrived. In the remaining five paragraphs, the Pharisees found fault with Jesus or His disciples. Mark stressed the conflict that was mounting, but Luke emphasizes the positive aspects of Jesus’ ministry that led to the opposition.
Jesus first cleanses a leper, someone who was unclean (5:12-16). This was a Messianic act and thus it announced the arrival of the Messiah. Jesus had the authority (like God) to forgive sins, proven by healing the paralytic brought by four friends (Luke 5:17-26).
The religious leaders were correct. Only God “can forgive sins.” They were just unwilling to go the extra step and believe that Jesus was God.
Luke reveals the grace of Jesus in dealing with a leper, a paralytic and now a tax collector. He delivers them from lifelong uncleanness, a physical handicap, and now social ostracism and materialism. He shows grace.
Luke 5 ends with Jesus’ perspective on fasting. There are times it is appropriate to fast. But Jesus’ disciples did not because the bridegroom was with them and it was a time for joy.
V. 36 illustrates with parables the fact that His coming introduced a radical break with former religious customs. He did not come to patch Judaism up but to inaugurate a new order.
The second illustration (vv. 37-38) adds the fact that the new order, that Jesus had come to bring, has an inherently expanding and potentially explosive quality. The gospel and Christianity would expand to the whole world. Judaism simply could not contain what Jesus was bringing, since it had become too rigid due to centuries of accumulated tradition.
The religious leaders refused to even try Jesus’ way, believing that their old way was better.
Job 19 is Job’s reply to Bildad. Although he continues to feel sorry for himself (19:1-6) and complained that God had attacked him (19:7-20), Job still interacts with God and expressed some hope in the afterlife.
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
Who is it that Job puts confidence in, that he shall ultimately “see”? Throughout the book Job has been asking for an advocate or arbiter with God, so it seems to be this other person.
The advocate of 16:19 was in heaven. This opens the possibility for a divine witness, as mentioned earlier. Nevertheless Job called him a man, and this points to a person other than God. The word “redeemer” in Hebrew (goel) means one who provided legal protection for a close relative who could not defend himself or herself.
He believed in life after death, but he evidently did not know about the certain resurrection of the body. This revelation came from God after Job’s lifetime (cf. Isaiah 26:19; Dan. 12:2; 1 Cor. 15).
Having made this breakthrough of faith in God, Job seems less frantic hereafter in the book. He now saw his sufferings in the light of eternity, not just in his lifetime. When we can help people gain this perspective on their sufferings, we will find that they, too, find some relief.
This Savior we have known much of our lives, will be the one we will see in heaven, not a stranger. Take comfort in that.
David Guzik’s title for 1 Corinthians 6 is lawsuits (6:1-11) and loose living (6:12-20). Christians should avoid lawsuits it at all possible. It’s not good to air our dirty laundry in public. We should be able to take care of things privately, within the church and within respectful relationships.
It takes a gentle and magnanimous spirit to follow v. 7, “Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”
God’s great work for us in Jesus Christ is described in three terms.
You were washed: We are washed clean from sin by the mercy of God (Titus 3:5). We can have our sins washed way by calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). We are washed by the work of Jesus on the cross for us (Revelation 1:5) and by the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26).
You were sanctified: We are set apart, away from the world and unto God, by the work of Jesus on the cross (Hebrews 10:10), by God’s Word (John 17:19), by faith in Jesus (Acts 26:18), and by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16).
You were justified: We are declared “just” before the court of God; not merely “not guilty,” but declared to be “just” before Him. We are justified by God’s grace through the work of Jesus on the cross (Romans 3:24), by faith and not by our own deeds (Romans 3:28).
Notice that the sin of homosexuality is placed among other sins that need forgiveness and sanctification. In that sense it is no different. However, Romans 1 pointed out that homosexuality is also “against nature.” In that sense it is different. But, like all these other sins, it is something a person can be forgiven for and sanctified (to be separate) from, and justified fully by grace.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, even though there may be things that are legal to do, they are not helpful and could very well be enslaving (1 Cor. 6:12). Our body is not meant for sexual immorality like it is meant for food (v. 13). Our bodies are meant for the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 13b). Our bodies are members of Christ (v. 15).
Therefore, we are to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18), which is a sin “against his own body” and a violation of the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (vv. 18-19).
Our bodies belong to God, not ourselves (listen women who are thinking of having an abortion), because Jesus laid down His life and paid the price for us. He not only claims our spirit and soul, but our bodies from the slave market of sin.