Bible Reading Plan (Day 79)

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DAY SEVENTY-NINE — Exodus 32, John 11

Ex 32

… and Moses came down from the mountain. The whole of the people of Israel rejoiced receiving the Law of the Lord. The entered Cannan the next month and lived happily ever after.

NOT!

Moses is up on the mountain for forty days. Meanwhile, at the same time, the Israelites wonder what is taking so long. They get antsy and finally give up. The go to Aaron and demand he make something for them to worship since Moses is too busy or too dead to do anything. Aaron gets a bright idea and collects all the gold from the people, and makes a golden calf.

Uh… Anyone remember back a few chapters ago? Something about graven images = bad?

Aaron then tells the people that the gold statue before them is God and makes the next day a feast to YHWH.

Uh… Last I checked YHWH designated when there are to be feasts to YHWH.

So the next day that have a party that makes the best (worst?) clubs in Vegas look like Kindergarten Field Day.

Uh… Ya know what… This can NOT go well.

Meanwhile, at the same time, Moses gets the Ten Commandment tablets from the hand of YHWH. Just then YHWH commands Moses to go down. Why? “They have corrupted themselves.”  And quickly too! In a month and a half the people went from “Whatever you say we will do!” to “WOOOO! PARTY!!!”

The wrath of YHWH is kindled and he (in one motion) expresses that and tests Moses. He tells Moses that he would destroy them and start the nation of Israel over with just him.

The test is this. What kind of mediator between God and Man is Moses? Moses carries the covenant and the fate of the people of Israel in his hands. And what does he do? “MERCY! Remember your promise!”

And so the Lord shows mercy… BUT!

Moses goes down the mountain, a man sustained by YHWH’s presence for forty days. Joshua hears the noise and reports it to Moses as soon as he sees him. He says it sounds war… like people defeated, no… no… it is singing. (Yet Joshua was right the first time. It was defeat in war. Yet this defeat was not based on any war fought with the weapons and warfare seen with the eyes…)

Moses sees the revelry and burns with anger. So furious he is at the breaking of YHWH’s commands that he smashes the stones which contain His commands to the ground. Moses destroys the idol, burns it, grinds it into powder and makes the people drink it. Then… He turns his attention to Aaron, the one who is to be the spiritual leader of Israel. Moses acts under the assumption that, no… not Aaron… not Aaron. So Aaron… well… LIES! “Whoa… Moses… Moses… don’t get mad at me. It was the woman whom you gave to be with me… [Ooops… wrong blame shifting… that’s another story.] These people… Pff! I mean. They wanted a god to worship since you were gone only like forever and I said, ‘Fine. Gimme your gold.’ So I threw it into the fire and BAM! a golden calf came out! Funniest thing!”

Moses knows it is a lie. He calls for all those who are with YHWH to make themselves known. Probably would not have been too hard since the others were too drunk and disorderly to do so. Those who come froward, Levites! Then, YHWH through Moses commands the just punishment for the gross sin the people of Israel committed. Those Levites are to kill even their own brothers who reveled in idolatry. 3,000 men died.

By doing as commanded they were then ordained for YHWH’s service.

The next day… the scent of blood and booze still hanging in the air, Moses recalls the great sin to the minds of all of Israel. He then says he will go to YHWH in hopes of atonement. When he arrives, he says to YHWH, “Yes! Your people have sinned against you in the worst way possible. Please… forgive them! If not… let me be with them in their eternal punishment.”

YHWH responds… He must be just. That is who he is. Yet Moses is to go, and lead the people.

Then, YHWH sends a plague as punishment.

+++

Jn 11

When we last left our Lord and Savior he was in a bitter war of words with the Pharisees. He called them fake to their faces. Under threat of death he slipped away to the area across Jordan where John started his ministry.

One of Jesus’ best friends, a man by the name of Lazarus, fell ill. When he hears of this, Jesus seems to brush it off, “He’ll be fine. This is all for God’s glory and so that the Son of God can be glorified too.”

Two days later Jesus says, “Hey! Let’s go back to Judea!” It seemsas if he thinks no news is good news and intends to go visit. The disciples, remembering how they must have escaped by the skin of their teeth say, “Uh… Death-wish much?”  Jesus responds that travel is safe when there is light, dangerous if there is no light inside.

The amount of time that the disciples have with Jesus is limited, they must make use of it now.

Then Jesus drops a bomb. “Lazarus is asleep. I will go awaken him.”

The disciples reply, “Oh! So he’s fine then!”

Ladies and Gentlemen…. proof even people of the time mistook that idiom.

Jesus then corrects them with all the subtlety of a 747 on take-off. “He’s dead.” Expanding Jesus says that his absence is no mistake, but for their benefit.

Thomas, who we will see later, says, “Okay… might as well all die together.”

When they get to Bethany (just a stone’s throw from Jerusalem), they find Lazarus four days dead. Martha, the more work oriented of the two sisters of Lazarus, goes to Jesus and scolds him, blaming him for the death of Lazarus. But she turns it around quickly and shows a little bit of faith that whatever Jesus asks of God, God will allow. Jesus says that Lazarus will be raised. Martha mistakes that for the final resurrection. Jesus corrects her understanding. Jesus IS the resurrection! HE is the key to eternal life. He then asks Martha if she believes it. She does.

Martha gets Mary who runs to Jesus. Jesus was still just outside the village. When the people with Mary see her get up and run, they follow her. Mary falls at Jesus’ feet and says the same thing Martha did. “Why did you let him die?”

Jesus is hit hard by this. He asks where the body is buried. She says, “Lord, come and see.”

Verse 35 is the shortest in Scripture. It is two words in English and 3 in Greek. (I do not know if it is the shortest in Greek, but at three words I could entertain the possibility.) Jesus wept. Why?

Why would Jesus weep? Surely in those days death was not an uncommon occurrence. There is little doubt Joseph had died. Perhaps even some of Jesus’ younger siblings because of the higher infant mortality rate. John the Baptist had done so as well. Death is not a foreign concept to him. He saw his coming, and soon.

I would say, (if I am wrong please let me know), that Jesus is weeping because he is human. Jesus is weeping because he sees the hearts of all these people. Some scoff and mock in their hearts that he could heal a blind man but not his beloved friend. Others are looking to him as the answer to the problem of sin and death. And the only way he can answer that is to die himself.

Jesus, his gut twisting in knots approaches the tomb. He commands that the stone be removed. Martha, ever the realist, mentions that after four days of decay, nothing good can come out of that tomb. He rebukes her, quietly and with a lump in his throat (in my own mind.) The stone is rolled away. Jesus then prays. He shows the Trinity at work conversing with itself. He does so not for himself but for those around to see. Then he calls out, “LAZARUS, COME OUT!”

Now let me stop… Remember John 3? All this talk about the new birth. What is more of a new birth than we find here? Something of note… Did Lazarus raise himself? NO! By no means! At what point was Lazarus made alive? It must have been BEFORE Jesus called out. No dead man can hear. The Father elected Lazarus. The Spirit made him alive again. Through Jesus came the call.

Out comes a man wrapped tightly in a burial cloths. As those around stood slack-jawed, Jesus says, “Unite the fellow!”

(Now… does anyone recall John 10:18? Anyone? Anyone?)

Many believe at seeing this, but some with hard hearts go to the Pharisees. So the Pharisees get together to figure out how to put an end to him and his show. Caiaphas then unwittingly says something so profound and true it could have only come from the Lord.  It is better for one man to die than a whole nation.

So it is settled. (Like it wasn’t already in eternity past!) Jesus must die.

Knowing this to be true, and when his appointed time is, Jesus stays off in the outskirts.

Meanwhile, at the same time, the Passover approaches. People are murmuring in the streets. “Where is Jesus? Will he show?” The Pharisees say this too, only with much different motives.

+++

Questions to Ponder:

*Examine how the Lord is both just and merciful, acts both in wrath and love, to the people of Israel in regards to their sin.

 *Compare the resurrection of Lazarus with the talk of new birth in John 3 and Jesus’ description of his resurrection in John 10.

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