Step One: Read Exodus Chapters 4-6
Exodus 6: 6-8
Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.’ ”
Thoughts from Leslie
Last week you learned how God is always with you just as He was always with the Israelites. Knowing God’s intense love for His children could then lead you to ask the following questions:
- Why would God allow the Israelites to be SLAVES anyway?
- Would God allow this if He TRULY LOVED them???
- And for you today: Can God bring good out of the tragedies that we cause or experience?!?
Searching for the answers to these questions will once again LEAD us to God's LOVE…
Meaning of the word "PURE"
In this lesson when it mentions that the Israelites need to remain PURE, it is referring to their HEARTS :)
What Is It to Have a Pure Heart?
- Living by the rule of God, living a life that is pleasing to God.
- Living for the purpose of God, having a single-minded devotion to God.
Remember from our previous lesson that God created a separate people in the Israelites. He set them aside for a SPECIAL purpose. God wanted them to be a MODEL nation. In the early days of false gods and idol worship, the Israelites were the ones chosen to teach the other nations about the ONE true God. They were the prophets and priests of Biblical times. Jesus would be a direct descendant of the Israelites. Because of all this, God needed them to remain "PURE."
When scripture says that God needed them to be a PURE nation, it refers to their HEARTS.
God directly commands this PURITY for the Israelites later in Exodus 32: 12-16
12 Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. 13But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, 16and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.
This lesson’s Bible history will answer the following questions..........
- How could YOU bring something good out of something as horrible as slavery?
- Having your children be SLAVES in a foreign land sure DOES NOT seem very loving. Why would you allow that to happen?! (Genesis 15:13)
First of all, God did not want His children to be slaves. The Israelites made some very bad decisions while living in Cannan and as a result they were taken into captivity by the Egyptians. This tragedy was a direct consequence of their sins. Even though they had sinned and were suffering the consequence of their sins, God still loved His children dearly. He continued to be with them even during their bondage in Egypt.
God did not wish this bondage upon His children, but He was able to bring something good out of this terrible situation.
This time spent in Egypt allowed the Israelites to remain pure of heart, to reproduce, and grow in numbers and strength.
Their bondage in Egypt was not good, but it was good that the Israelites would have a chance to both grow and remain pure. They could use this new strength in their future quest to take the Promised Land from its current evil inhabitants.
Before they were taken out of Canaan, the Israelites were outnumbered by the evil people who lived there. These early inhabitants wanted to corrupt and harm God’s children.
Just like in our world today, not everyone at that time was good. God gave everyone free will to choose. Some of the earliest people decided to go against God. A large number of these people lived in the area of Canaan, the original name given to the Promised Land of Israel. Many of these early inhabitants worshiped false Gods and did wrong in God’s sight.
The Israelites were outnumbered in Canaan, so it was hard for them to defend themselves. What made it really dangerous was the fact that some of the evil men of Canaan were attracted to the Israelite women. Earlier in the Bible (Genesis 34) there is a documented case where an Israelite woman was raped by one of these Canaanite men.
The Egyptians would not try to procreate with the Israelites because the Israelites were mainly shepherds and servants and the Egyptians looked down upon them, so this captivity in Egypt could be used by God to bring about a positive result for His people. Since the Egyptians did not consider the Israelites as their equals, the Egyptians wouldn’t be tempted to “lay” with them. During the years spent in slavery, The Lord’s army could GROW and stay Pure!
Connection to Our Lives
It is easy for us to see God's love in the Exodus stories because we are able to SEE the FULL picture.
We cannot always do this in our own lives. We do not have the full picture..... NOT YET!
We see things happening to us and we question "WHY?”
The Israelites asked "WHY" many times throughout their bondage in Egypt. They may not have EVER TRULY understood the answer to that question, but, we can. Because their full story is documented for us- we can understand and learn from it!
Connection to EACH of Us:
We may NEVER get answers to our "WHYS" in THIS lifetime.
Things may happen to us that we never FULLY understand.
This is where FAITH in GOD comes in................ Faith is: The belief, trust, and loyalty to a person or thing.
It is VITAL that we in TRUST God.
We MUST remain LOYAL to Him.
We must BELIEVE that He TRULY LOVES US!!!
Faith is BELIEVING that GOD has our BEST interest at HEART even when we DON'T yet see the FULL picture :)
My prayer is that through our continued LOVE QUEST God will speak to each one of us.
That by diving into His Word together our FAITH will become EVEN STRONGER both now and in our future!
IMPORTANT FACTS TO REMEMBER
We live in a FALLEN WORLD- sometimes bad things happen for NO OTHER reason than that EVIL exists.
- And sometimes bad things happen to us as a RESULT of our bad decisions.
- DEATH, PAIN, and SADNESS do NOT come from God.
- The Lord CAN USE bad things for HIS GLORY, but He does not CAUSE them to happen.
- He LOVES EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US!
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God wants to GIVE YOU PEACE
Unanswered questions tend to cause us unrest. God does not want us to live a life full of "unrest.”
HE wants us to have PEACE!
Where does PEACE come from?
How in the world can we ever feel peace when we still feel such pain!
When we STILL have UNANSWERED QUESTIONS?!?!
The answers to ALL of the above are................. THROUGH GOD!
Steps to PEACE
PEACE, like any other emotion, must be "fed" in order to exist and grow. We are reflective beings- which means whatever we FOCUS on affects us! If we desire to have a life full of PEACE: we must intentionally control our focus! Peace comes and grows as we focus more and more on GOD and less and less on our pain.
Have you ever noticed that when you are angry, you become angrier if you focus on the cause of that anger? Have you also noticed that when you are hungry, you will become hungrier if you think about food? What we FOCUS on AFFECTS us! Now, let's relate this to PEACE.....God is LOVE, God is ORDER, God is PEACE! If we intentionally put our focus on GOD- our PEACE WILL GROW!!!
HOW TO FOCUS ON GOD
Step 1: Be honest with God! TALK to HIM from your heart!
- When you are hurt, tell Him! When you are angry- tell Him!
- Even if He is the one you are angry with....TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT!
- After you share your pains, ask Him to comfort you. ALLOW HIM TO TAKE YOUR BURDENS FROM YOU! You must release them to HIM!
This can be done ANYTIME day or night! Some of us have VERY DEEP wounds. We may need to pray these things several times per day at first.... that is OK!!! God is willing and ready to listen!
He does not want you to deal with your pain alone! More than ANYTHING, each one of us needs a relationship with our Heavenly Father. No relationship can exist without being open and honest with the other person!
Step 2: Intentionally focus on Peace!
- Listen to peaceful music.
- Read peaceful Bible verses; like this good one: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
- Take the time to notice the LITTLE things that bring peace into your daily life: flowers blooming, birds chirping, rain falling, etc. Thank God for these things! Ask Him to use them to fill you with His PEACE!
Step 3: Be in charge of your sadness.
As humans, we are blessed with emotions. Emotions can be WONDERFUL things, but they can also be overwhelming! One emotion can sometimes take over our lives and rob us from feeling other emotions. Don't let this be the case if you are feeling extreme sadness. None of us ever want to stop feeling- that is for sure, but on the same note, none of us want to be CONTROLLED by our emotions either!
Pray to God that HE will help you "budget" your sadness! Ask Him to help you determine an appropriate amount of time every day to focus on your sadness AND THEN let it go for that day!
Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 4
- There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:
- a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance
After you read through this lesson, continue on diving DEEPER into God's Word.
You can do this by completing this week's art activity and reflection piece.
Also, check our Facebook group page and join the discussions there:
I pray you feel God's LOVE in a powerful way this week,