Through the Word: The Exodus Journey Begins

Exodus 13

As the Israelite people left Egypt Moses said, “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.”

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted at the Passover, when God led the Israelites out of Egypt. It was for them to remember how God brought them out of bondage. For seven days they were to eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there would be a feast to the Lord.

On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’  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. Exodus 13:8-9

The Israelites were to consecrate the firstborn of their sons and beasts to God. According to verse 8 this was done beause the Lord killed the firstborn sons and beasts of Egypt. God meant for this injuction to be front and centre of their acts toward him, that they should remember and never forget;

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” Deuteronomy 11:18

God wanted them to store his commands in their hearts and minds, as in Proverbs 7:1-3, because that’s where the battle is. Satan mimics God. One day the false prophet will force people to have the devil’s mark on their forehead or hand: Revelation 13:16.

The Wilderness Way

God did not lead the Israelites the direct way to the promised land, for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17

God knew the people weren’t ready for war. There were giants in the land. He needed them to have faith in Him. Have you had a wilderness experience where you needed to learn to trust God? Have you had to fight to be free? We all encounter giants, and we need to keep God front and centre in our hearts and minds for the spiritual battles we fight.

So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.

So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. Exodus 13:20-21

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, just as we carry the DNA of the people who have gone before us. It’s not just about us, and we are here for such a time as this.

Remember the promises God to people who have gone before. We will be led through the wilderness and we will battle giants in order to inherit what God has promised.

Links

Map of the Exodus from Egypt

Frontlets occurs only in Exodus 13:16 ; Deuteronomy 6:8 , and 11:18 . The meaning of the injunction to the Israelites, with regard to the statues and precepts given them, that they should “bind them for a sign upon their hand, and have them as frontlets between their eyes,” was that they should keep them distinctly in view and carefully attend to them. But soon after their return from Babylon they began to interpret this injunction literally, and had accordingly portions of the law written out and worn about their person.

Frontlets

Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus

Succoth or Sukkot is also a festival to celebrate the Feast of Ingathering. The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of three fall feasts appointed and initiated by God in the Old Testament. The Feast (or Festival) of Tabernacles is also referred to as: The Feast of Booths / Ingathering / Shelters or in Hebrew “Sukkot”.

Succoth meaning booths, tabernacles is also the Syriac and Hebrew name for the Pleiades is in the constellation of Taurus.

Etham means “their strength; their sign.”

Through the Word: Desert Wells

Genesis 26

Famine forced Isaac to leave Beer Lahai Roi, “the well of him that lives and sees me.”

What do we do in a time of famine? Pray.

The Guidance

Isaac had thought about going to Egypt as his father had done in a previous famine.

First, he went to Abimelech the king of the Philistines in Gerar as they probably had an alliance. It’s likely that Abimelech was a title given the king, rather than a personal name—much as the Egyptians always called their king “Pharaoh.”

God told Isaac not to go to Egypt but to live in the land of which he would tell him. “Dwell in this land,” said God, reiterating the promise he made to Isaac’s father Abraham.

The Blessing

Isaac stayed and sowed in the land of Abimelech, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. He became so prosperous; with flocks, herds and a great number of servants that the Philistines envied him and stopped up all the wells his father Abraham had dug, filling them with earth. Genesis 26:12-16

The Reaction

There was a problem sowing in the field of the Philistines. They weren’t happy with Isaac’s success. With envy came rejection.

Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

If Isaac was mightier he could have taken Abimelech on, and won. But he departed and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, the outside edge of Gerar’s territory, and lived there.

The Fight for the Wells

Then came the fight over water rights and his father’s wells. Isaac brought his father’s wells back into service, calling them by the same names, but soon had to abandon them, and he renamed them with bitter names.

Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.

Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there.  But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarreled with him. Genesis 26:18-20

Esek means quarrel.

Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah. Genesis 26:21

Sitnah means enmity.

Retreat

Again he moved and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” Genesis 26:22

The Deliverance

Rehoboth means spaciousness, open spaces. It brings to mind a verse about God’s deliverance; “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19

The Promise

Leaving the well at Rehoboth, Isaac travelled to Beersheba. God appeared to him the same night saying; ““I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” Genesis 26:23-25

A Tent, an Altar and a Well

Reassured, Isaac pitched his tent there, and built an altar and a well. Was it by the place that Abraham planted the tamarisk tree? I wonder. The tamarisk tree is a slow growing tree, increasing only an inch per year and taking close to 400 years to grow to full height, so Abraham obviously hadn’t planted it for himself.

The Agreement

After Isaac had found his place in the world, Abimelech sought him out. “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?” Isaac asked Abimelech.

Abimelech had seen the Lord was with Isaac and he wanted to make a covenant of peace.

So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.  Then they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. Genesis 26:30

Water from the Desert

 It came to pass the same day that Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.”  So he called it Shebah. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day. Genesis 26:27-33

Beer means well and sheba means Oath or Seven.

The lessons learned

Isaac probably learned that deliverance does not always come all at once. Sometimes it comes in stages as we have to be led. God allows freewill and we learn from our choices.

Isaac had to obey God about where to settle. He had to sow in the land of the Philistines. His obedience led to God’s blessing but that brought it’s own problems; envy and rejection.

He had to try three times when it came to well digging. His father’s wells were stopped up after his father’s death and he had to redig them. This led to a quarrel with his former ally and then emnity. Isaac did not retaliate but moved again and this time he was allowed to dig a well in peace.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he went back to Beer Sheba and he made a covenant just as his father had. He dug a well, and God appeared to him there. The well meant “well of seven” and “well of the oath.

Did Isaac learn that an oath made by one generation must be renewed by another? He had to open his father’s wells and dig some new wells of his own. An inheritance would be contended for and he had to have faith. Isaac obeyed God, and he found his place in the world.

Abimelech and his men acknowledged God, telling Isaac, “We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you.” What did they learn? I wonder.

Related post

Through the Word: the First Well

Comment

This is for all those struggling to find their place in the world.

Link

Who was Abimelech in the Bible?

Grandeur, beauty and a story to match

While I can’t go anywhere because of the Covid-19 shut down, I’ve been blogging about my walks.  One of my walks was to Wairere Falls in the Kaimai ranges, it’s the highest waterfall in the North Island of NZ.

You can come with me if you like.  You can admire the scenery, it’ll get you out of the house and I’ll tell you a story before our walk.  I’m a bit awkward in front of a camera but it’s a story worthy of hearing.  It’s about a young Maori girl called Tarore and the power of forgiveness.  You’ll see why, besides their grandeur, Wairere Falls is an important site.

Amongst the earliest missionaries to arrive in New Zealand were a husband and wife who settled in the Waikato and started a mission school near Matamata.  In 1835, the Bible Society published 100 copies of the Gospel of Luke in the Maori language.  Tarore was one of their students, and as she began to learn to read, she was given one of these Gospels.  She took the Gospel back to her village and read it to her tribe – and what followed has become one of the most important stories in the history of New Zealand.

Under threat of a neighboring warring Rotorua tribe, the mission school was in the process of relocating to Tauranga and Tarore went with them.

On October 19, 1836, while camped at the base of Wairere Falls, a raiding party killed 12-year-old Tarore and took her treasured Book of Luke.  Ngakuku, Tarore’s father did not seek utu (revenge), for he had become a Christian.

Later, unable to read, the other chief – the Rotorua chief discarded Tarore’s book until Ripahau, a slave boy read the text aloud to his fascinated listeners and the people understood its true value.

Convicted by the gospel, Uita, Tarore’s murderer also became a Christian.

Risking the customary tribal response of utu (revenge) – Uita sought for and received forgiveness from Ngakuku, the father of Tarore and peace came to the two warring tribes of Rotorua and Waikato.

A local re-telling of this story claims that as the men approached one another tears were shed and they embraced. After Uita humbled himself and repented peace prevailed between the two men and a church was built to honour the message which brought about this reconciliation.

This led to the conversion of many of the Maori tribes.  When missionaries visited both the North and South Islands, they discovered that many of the Maori tribes had already been converted to Christ due to the story of Tarore and her copy of the Gospel of Luke making its rounds…

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

The Word Of God was sharper than any taiaha (maori spear) club or double-edged sword and by it the power of utu was broken.

When Tarore’s little book came down to Otaki, the warrior chief Te Rauparaha heard the message and built the Rangiatea Church in Otaki.

Maori warriors

A hidden gem

The height of the Wairere falls is 153 metres.

When Jesus called his disciples, he said, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  (Matthew 4:17-18)

The miraculous catch of fish was the last miracle Jesus ever performed.  153 fish were caught and the net didn’t tear. (John 21:11)

153 is an odd number. What did Jesus mean by 153 fish?
153 means people.
153 adds from 1 to 17: 153 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4+ 5+ 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 +13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17.
17 means nations.
17 is the number of nations present at Pentecost.

It reminds me of the Bible verse from Psalm 42, “Deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waterfalls.”  The significance is not lost on me.  I hope you liked the story and the trip to the falls.

Wairere Falls - Amos 5-24


Links

My walk to Wairere Falls

Tarore’s story: The story of Tarore is a taonga – the maori word for treasure or gift.  It is a treasure of the church in NZ.  NZ history and culture is built on it.  When Tarore’s little book came down to Otaki, the warrior chief Te Rauparaha heard the message and built the Rangiatea Church.  Sadly an arsonist burned it down 1995 but a replica was rebuilt and completed in 2003.

The number 153 represents the Kingdom of God and if you want to read another blog post, Number 153, signs and symbols, I’ll show you why.

My second book: ‘The End, The Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse.’ 

Greetings for 2020.  I haven’t posted here for a while as I’ve been working on my second book, ‘The End, The Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse.’  Unlike my first book which is about the Kingdom within, this is about the world to come – the Kingdom, the power and the glory.

I wrote it to counter the doom and gloom of the climate change message being propagated by the media and those affiliated with the United Nations.

My advice is don’t listen to it.  Turn your TV off and consult the Bible. Ask the Lord what He has to say.  Compare the Word of God to the climate change message.  You’ll find, if you don’t know already, that it’s quite different.

Wayfarer, red moon and shadowWriting the book in 2019, I became mindful of that.   I wanted to show how different the Bible narrative is.  The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible is a marvelous book.   I wanted to do it justice.  Not wanting to make it a boring Bible study, I made the book a questioning journey through the Bible inside a study, where I became a character called “Wayfarer” on a journey through the Apocalypse.

It’s been a strange journey, it’s taken me more than a year to complete. I’ve been at times amazed, puzzled, baffled, frustrated, astonished and rewarded – and I’ve come out with a deeper appreciation of the enigmatic mind behind the last book of the Bible.

Here’s the link for ‘The End, The Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse   I recommend the book to all with an interest in end times.

For a limited time, if you contact me I will offer the book or my first book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” free for a review.

I wish you all the best for this decade and beyond as we await the coming of the true Kingdom.

The ring, and the unnamed servant

doves-eyesIn a way the courtship I wrote about in my story The Kingdom reminds me of the Bible story in Genesis 24 of Isaac and Rebecca.  Isaac’s bride had to come from his father’s country.  The father sent an unnamed servant to go and get her. 

The unnamed servant met Rebecca at a well.  He watched her closely.  When she fulfilled the signs the servant looked for, he gave her a ring and two bracelets.   Rebecca went on a journey with the servant to find Isaac, and she first clapped eyes on Isaac when he had gone out into the Prayer in desertdesert in the evening to meditate.  The servant announced to her who Isaac was, and Rebecca veiled herself.  The servant told Isaac all he had done.  Rebecca became the wife of Isaac, and he loved her.

I could have written those scenes in the Kingdom with that in mind, but I had no way of knowing about “Isaac” when I wrote about the desert and the wells.  I just went where God led.

The unnamed servant was sent with gifts and jewellery to fetch the bride.  He put the ring on the bride.  The unnamed servant is a type for the Holy Spirit.

My rings both have interesting stories behind them.  God supplied the wedding ring out of thin air, and it came first.  Then after I met “Isaac”, a beautiful and very valuable engagement ring came from “Isaac’s” Grandmother in Florida, over 8,000 miles away.

Hosea 2-19

In the story I write called “The Kingdom”, the King told me “Isaac” was going to be my husband.  The story about the gold wedding ring that just appeared one day out of nowhere is in my book.

When I met “Isaac”, he told me his mother’s maiden name was “Isaacson”.  By then I knew he was the husband, but it was still an amazing confirmation.

As soon as “Isaac” knew I was the one, he wanted to get a ring on my finger right away.

The only trouble was he’d just started a business and had no money.  When I pointed out the obvious, he just believed God would help him out with the ring.  And God did.  His mother told him she had a ring just waiting for him.  It was a huge rock!  It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been given.

Trouble

Trouble.  This world guarantees it.
Job, a just man who was severely tested, wrote
Man is born for trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.”  Job 5:7

Trouble can be caused by bad people.  The book of Proverbs from the Bible, says;

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evildoers.
 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
 For they cannot rest until they do evil;
they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.  Proverbs 4:14

Taylor Swift - Trouble

Trouble, the funny version

Taylor Swift sings about it here in her song “Trouble”.   Here’s a 25 sec clip, which my daughter showed to me.  It’s the funny version.

I have warned about bad people in a post called
“Here be Dragons”.

But what if we can’t avoid them, like at work?  Jesus understands trouble.  He was born for it.

He promised “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  Sometimes He’ll take us through it – to test us, or teach us.  And sometimes He’ll take us around it.

My advice; fear God more than man.  By fear I mean “have concern for”.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.  Psalm 34:4-8

This is true, I sought the Lord, and He answered me.  He led me through a bad place, promising it would be a door of hope.  The story is told in my book where I travelled through the Valley of Achor.  Achor means trouble.  Its a place that people on pilgrimage had to go through to get to Zion.  You don’t have to travel it alone.

Hosea 2-14

Fight or flight

fight-or-flight-cartoonIn the Kingdom, we are commanded to stand and fight, with all the armour that God gives us.

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Ephesians 6:10

 

But there is a situation where we are not to stand our ground.

When it comes to sexual temptation, we have to run!

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:8

If you remember the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Joseph ran for it.

She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me! ” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.  Genesis 39:12

Its like the Gambler song;

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.

My book deals with temptation in different places.  Did I run?  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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 Corinthians 10:13

flee-sexual-immorality

Big promises, small beginnings

Zechariah4_10I once made God a big promise;  that if He lifted me out of my circumstances, I would put no restrictions on Him – the sky would be the limit.  I hadn’t factored in what He’d want to do with me. 

When I made this extravagant promise I was living in small town New Zealand, after having lived in Sydney.  After Sydney, I despised the town I was living in.  All I wanted to do was get back to Australia.  For a few months my dream was realised.  I lived in Canberra, Australia’s capital.

But like a boomerang I ended up back in New Zealand, again.  I asked God how can the sky be the limit back in a small town of a small country?

He told me not to despise the day of small things.

I have learned since then that what matters is its not where we live but what we live.

Did I overcome the small town limitations that I chafed against?  My book tells the story.

Comma, comma, comma,,,, chameleon?

Alpha and exploring the meaning of life

In the next chapter of the Kingdom, I went to an Alpha course with my friend “White Flower”, to further explore the meaning of life and our Christian faith. 

Bear Grylls recommends Alpha.  You don’t have to be a Christian to go to Alpha, although you will probably encounter the Lord while doing the course, if you haven’t already met Him.  The churches running Alpha make all explorers feel very welcome.

DL_beargrylls_flyer

To conform, or transform?

On our last night of Alpha, this is what we were taught;

Monarch chrysalis“There are two types of Christian; the chrysalis and the chameleon. The chrysalis is completely transformed, whereas the chameleon merely changes colour to suit its surroundings.  Make a new start, let God transform you inwardly by a complete change.” 

I had always found safety in conforming.  I would stare out from my camouflage at a world of hurt.  Finally, I came to a place where I had to choose what I was going to be.

Conforming would have been the safe option, but I would have stayed a chameleon.

My transformation happened in steps.

First, the cocoon.  God had been teaching me about boundaries.  Now He wanted me to enforce them.   Transforming myself felt scary and dangerous, but I had to do it if I was to leave behind the things that harmed me.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

So when it came to the last question in Alpha, how can I make the most of the rest of my life?   I had to decide whether to be a chameleon, or a chrysalis, whether to use camouflage, or a cocoon, whether to conform, or transform.

My story about that is told in my book.

Comma comma comma Chameleon

Look where you’re going

At the end of the movie Castaway, Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, is left standing at a crossroads with a decision to make, after delivering his final package, a box which bore angels wings on the address.  

crossroads - Castaway

He’d been through a lot – a plane crash, five years on a desert island, and finally a rescue at sea from the raft he made.  If he chooses one way, “there’s a whole lot of nothing to Canada”.

If he chose to go back to the woman who gave him directions, it may lead to love, and rest for his soul.  After all, she owns the ranch with the angels wings.

Castaway, final scene: youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=tvGHSvfnlsQ&feature=fvwp

So he’s standing in the middle of the crossroads, looking.  In the Kingdom, I too had come to a place where I had to look where I was going.  The word was;

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 

My friend had come to his own crossroads, but he wasn’t going my way.  We were both solo parents, and our children loved each other like siblings.  I was worried about what would happen to the kid’s friendships but the Lord let me see I wasn’t responsible for my friend’s bad decisions.

All I wanted to do was heal from an abusive relationship, not deal with his rubbish.  I’d pretty much written my friend out of my story “The Kingdom”, but gave him his chapters as I told him what I needed from a friendship. Duh!

This character appeared as “the Minstrel” in my book.

I wanted him to look at where he was going.  It was a foolish move.  He was so ego driven he interpreted it as a love story.  But that’s for the next chapter.

I chose my way, the ancient path.  It was a good way, and it has led to rest for my soul.

My friend chose his way, “a whole lot of nothing to Canada”.  He let go of diamonds to sift through stones, and never did find a mother for his girls.  Our children also had to part ways at the crossroads, but reestablished their friendship five years later at their new school.  They remained friends until adulthood.

Their Dad tried to reestablish contact with me as well, but I’d taken a different road.  He is still mad at me and yelling horrible things, sixteen years later, from hundreds of kilometers away.  I’ve chosen to ignore him.

His voice gets fainter the further I travel.