Thursday, February 18, 2021

February 18 - Exodus 15, Hebrews 7

 Key verse: Exodus 15:2

Big idea: The power of God is displayed when He brings His people out.

After God does something big - like rescue His people from Egypt - how do we respond? We sing! It is one of our most basic impulses. Paul describes it as one of the consequences of being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19). Singing is so integral to Christian worship that some of our songs talk about singing. The great hymnist of the 19th century, Fanny Crosby, wrote: "I think of my blessed Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long; I sing, for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song." Robert Lowry wrote: "What tho' my joys and comforts die? The Lord my Saviour liveth; What tho' the darkness gather round? Songs in the night He giveth. No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that refuge clinging; Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?" In the modern era, Chris Tomlin led us in, "How great is our God? Sing with me." 

Exodus 15 is commonly called the song of Moses, but 15:1 actually tells us that all of the people of Israel sang with him. He led them in corporate worship, and hundreds of thousands of voices lifted up together to praise God for what He had done. God had revealed himself as a hero, the strength, song, and salvation of His people. The language is highly stylized, alluding to the Egyptians being swallowed in the sea as the Earth swallowing them up (Exodus 15:12) like the grave itself. The defeat of the Canaanites is foreshadowed as they heard about His deliverance of His purchased people (Exodus 15:13-16) and they sang about His holy mountain, where they had not yet been (Exodus 15:17-18). God's power was revealed in bringing His people out, in the same way that it would be again and again. God's character and love are rarely revealed as clearly as they are in His acts of deliverance. 

Just three days after rejoicing, the people began to mourn from their thirst (Exodus 15:22-24). They quit singing and started complaining when they lost sight of the blessings God had provided and turned instead to the struggles of their own situation. If we look at what He has done, and realize what it tells us about His heart, we can't help but sing.

Discussion idea: Why is singing such a powerful thing for us? How is corporate singing, like all of Israel singing together, especially powerful?

Prayer focus: Lord, help me to see Your power and love revealed in Your rescue. Teach me to sing of Your mercy and keep Your praise always on my lips.

Key Verse: Hebrews 7:26

Big Idea: The Son of God is our perfect priest.

Hebrews 7 involves a complex argument. Abraham (Genesis 14:17-20), after rescuing his nephew Lot in a battle, gave a tithe (the first ten percent) of the spoils to the Gentile king of a city called Salem (which would later be known as Jerusalem, see Psalm 76:2). That king, Melchizedek (mel-KIZ-uh-dek), was only mentioned in one other Old Testament text (Psalm 110:4) that predicted God would raise up another priest after the order of Melchizedek. The anonymous author of Hebrews explains that Melchizedek serves as a portrait of Jesus: with no genealogy listed, no birth, and no death, he points to the King and Priest who would be born of a virgin, and live forever. In fact, Abraham paying a tithe to a priest showed that his grandson Levi would not be the father of the only legitimate priesthood. When the Son of God became the eternal High Priest, He would not be reversing what had come before, but going back to fulfill the original model.

In the Old Testament, priests would make sacrifices for their own sins, and once purified kill animals for the sins of the people. There was no forgiveness by ancestry, citizenship, or future good works, only by a conscious decision to come and ask the priest to intercede on their behalf. Jesus, the ultimate High Priest, did not need to make any sacrifice for Himself - He is eternally sinless. He did not offer animals as the bloody reminder that sin deserved death, but offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice. 

This is the kind of High Priest we need. Not someone weak, who might fall into sin and need another priest to intercede for him. Not someone mortal, who might through illness or death be unable to help, even if willing. Not someone who sits like the angels, untouched by our suffering. Not someone indistinguishable from us, who might offer comfort but no help. No, we needed a High Priest who was fully human and fully divine, holy and blameless, exalted above the heavens.

It is not enough to believe in God intellectually. It is not enough to be "good," because all of us have sinned. We must go to this High Priest, confess our sin, and let His sacrifice make us clean. He is willing and able to bring us peace with God, if we will ask Him. All we have to do is admit that we are sinners, deserving God's judgment, believe that Jesus died on our behalf and rose again, and call on Him to save us. Why not now?

Discussion Idea: When was a time that someone made peace between you and someone else? What did they need to do that? How is Jesus the supreme example of that?

Prayer Focus: Pray to God, thanking Him for the opportunity to pray to Him because Jesus has made peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment