Some hard reads there. They are still rather interesting, rather repetitive, and rather gross at times. So much of this stuff is lost on us westerners. But still the overall themes are read loud and clear.
You don't need a degree from a Bible college to realize that God is talking about holiness here. But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit.
First lets look at Exodus. If you're on schedule you should have finished reading it yesterday. (If you're not on schedule it's no biggie!! Remember I too got off schedule for a time, just catch up where ya can and if it starts to get overwhelming, SKIP IT and get back on track. You are not being tested on this stuff. I would rather you read 7/8 of the Bible than to give up now because you are a few chapters behind.)
Here are my observations from Exodus:
*Found it interesting that Moses' mother decided to hide Moses in the Nile River when that was the very place that Pharaoh ordered his people to throw the Hebrew baby boys (1:22). You know in the epic Charlton Heston film they depict the babies being killed by the sword - so you don't think of the Nile being the focal point of the mass murder. Wonder what the thinking was behind this - because in my limited thought processes I would have probably chosen somewhere far away from the Nile to hide him. Obviously for some reason she was hoping for a good outcome by placing him there... maybe one of you out there has a take on this...
* I also found it interesting that they saw something special in Moses from the beginning (2:2) wonder what that was...
*The plagues are always interesting to read... first of all despite common depictions, Moses was not the only one that used the staff - Aaron's staff became the snake and he ushered in the frogs and gnats as well. How disgusting these experiences would have been and for the first few plagues or at least the demonstrations of God's power, Pharaoh's magicians were able to reciprocate - but that didn't last long at all. What a great way to show them that their power is useless. And what a testimony to God's people for them to see the Egyptians suffer with these plagues but have God's protection from them at the same time (9:4,26; 10:23; 11:7)
*God knows us so well - it's not surprising, He created us and knows everything about us - but I loved when God lead the Israelites out of Egypt it says that He did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For He said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." (13:17) We later read that the Israelites were swayed to go back by the smallest struggle (just read in the very next chapter! 14:10-12). War would have sent them over the edge.
*Loved the lesson taken concerning grumbling and it is one that I will not only try to remember myself (cuz I need that lesson often unfortunately) but also will try to teach my children. In chapter 16 when the Israelites got a bit hungry the grumbling started and Moses admonished them saying, (v. 8) that they were not in fact grumbling against them, but against the LORD. Wow. How many times have I grumbled against the LORD. I'm sure I would be embarrassed to find out. Along those lines when the Israelites became thirsty they began to quarrel with Moses and he responded, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?" (17:2) When we demonstrate a lack of faith and a lack of trust in our God we are basically calling Him out - putting Him to the test... not a good scenario.
*The splendor and majesty of the Tabernacle - a temporary dwelling for the LORD - just a fraction of the reflection of the glory of God. I was struck by how He demanded the best and had every detail in order. He is a creative God for sure but also one that asks for our best. The denomination I've grown up in is one of the more laid back denominations. When I was younger shorts and jeans - casual clothes in general - worn to church was a faux pas. But today you see folks come in their team jerseys before their late Sunday morning ball games... I wear jeans most every Sunday... there are ball caps and hoodies and sneakers. I know that the new covenant has created a new "playing field" so to speak in regards to worship... but I also know that God is the same yesterday, today and forever... and I'm sure there are many instances that we should show Him more respect than we currently do. Just my thoughts.
*I also heard Ravi Zacharias say at one time that Exodus recounts God detailing the building of the Tabernacle to Moses and then turns around a repeats the whole process to show that Moses carried out his duties faithfully and obeyed God to every detail. A lesson to be learned indeed. My only question is this: how in the world did Moses remember all of those details!? :) I'm sure God placed them in his heart and on his mind, but I can just picture Moses trying to frantically record each detail using whatever writing instrument was used at that point! If you are a visual person go check out this site - it has a model of all components of the Tabernacle and if you want to see a model on a really terrible looking dummy of the priestly garments go here. (I must say the teacher/nerd in me is tempted to buy that Tabernacle model!)
Ok, so I'm not going to get to Leviticus today as I had thought. No worries, we still have a day more of reading in that chapter (if you haven't been grossed out and scared away from it yet!) - I will try to get to my thoughts there soon. In the mean time, keep persevering! Tomorrow's reading is Leviticus 21-Numbers 5.