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Exodus 3:1-8 1
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. 7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

clip_image022Background

This book in the Holy Bible tells the story of God’s chosen people’s struggles with slavery and the beginning of the Hebrew nation later called Israel. It follows the development of the race from Jacob’s twelve sons (Tribes of Israel) to the deliverance from bondage and the beginning of the journey to the Promised Land by the leading of the glory of the LORD GOD. The testimony of both the Jewish community and the Christian church is that Moses was author of the book that emphasizes God’s covenant faithfulness.

Biblical Truths 2

Verse 1. Jethro his father-in-law] Concerning Jethro – Learned men are not agreed on the signification of the word, which we translate father-in-law, and which in Gen. xix. 14, we translate son- in-law. It seems to be a general term for a relative by marriage, and the connection only in which it stands can determine its precise meaning. It is very possible that Reuel was now dead, it being forty years since Moses came to Midian; that Jethro was his son, and had succeeded him in his office of prince and priest of Midian; that Zipporah was the sister of Jethro; and that consequently the word should be translated brother-in-law in this place: as we learn from Gen. xxxiv. 9, Deut. vii. 3, Josh.

xxiii. 12, and other places, that it simply signifies to contract affinity by marriage. If this conjecture be right, we may well suppose that, Reuel being dead, Moses was continued by his brother- in-law Jethro in the same employment he had under his father.

[Mountain of God] Sometimes named Horeb, at other times Sinai. The mountain itself had two peaks; one was called Horeb, the other Sinai. Horeb was probably the primitive name of the mountain, which was afterwards called the mountain of God, because God appeared upon it to Moses; and Mount Sinai, a bush, because it was in a bush or bramble, in a flame of fire, that this appearance was made.

Verse 2. [The angel of the Lord] Not a created angel certainly; for he is called Jehovah, ver. 4, &c., and has the most expressive attributes of the Godhead applied to him, ver. 14, &c. Yet he is an angel, ûalm malach, a messenger, in whom was the name of God, chap. xxiii. 21; and in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, Col. ii. 9; and who, in all these primitive times, was the Messenger of the covenant, Mal. iii. 1. And who was this but JESUS, the Leader, Redeemer, and savior of mankind? See the note on “Genesis xvi. 7”.

A flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush] Fire was, not only among the Hebrews but also among many other ancient nations, a very significant emblem of the Deity. God accompanied the Israelites in all their journeys through the wilderness as a pillar of fire by night; and probably a fire or flame in the holy of holies, between the cherubim, was the general symbol of his presence; and traditions of these things, which must have been current in the east, have probably given birth to the general opinion that God appears in the likeness of fire.

And the bush was not consumed.] 1. An emblem of the state of Israel in its various distresses and persecutions: it was in the fire of adversity, but was not consumed. 2. An emblem also of the state of the Church of God in the wilderness, in persecutions often, in the midst of its enemies, in the region of the shadow of death-yet not consumed. 3. An emblem also of the state of every follower of Christ: cast down, but not forsaken; grievously tempted, but not destroyed; walking through the fire, but still unconsumed! Why are all these preserved in the midst of those things which have a natural tendency to destroy them! Because GOD IS IN THE MIDST OF THEM; it was this that preserved the bush from destruction; and it was this that preserved the Israelites; and it is this, and this alone, that preserves the Church, and holds the soul of every genuine believer in the spiritual life. He in whose heart Christ dwells not by faith, will soon be consumed by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Verse 5. Put off thy shoes] It is likely that from this circumstance all the eastern nations have agreed to perform all the acts of their religious worship barefooted. All the Mohammedans, Brahmins, and Parsees do so still. The Jews were remarked for this in the time of Juvenal; hence he speaks of their performing their sacred rites barefooted.

The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.] It was not particularly sanctified by the Divine presence; but if we may credit Josephus, a general opinion had prevailed that God dwelt on that mountain; and hence the shepherds, considering it as sacred ground, did not dare to feed their flocks there. Moses, however, finding the soil to be rich and the pasturage good, boldly drove his flock thither to feed on it.

Verse 6. I am the God of thy father] Though the word, father, is here used in the singular, St Stephen, quoting this place, Acts vii. 32, uses the plural. The God of thy FATHERS; and that this is the meaning the following words prove: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. These were the fathers of Moses in a direct line. This reading is confirmed by the Samaritan and by the Coptic.

ABRAHAM was the father of the Ishmaelites, and with him was the covenant first made. ISAAC was the father of the Edomites as well as the Israelites, and with him was the covenant renewed. JACOB was the father of the twelve patriarchs, who were founders of the Jewish nation, and to him were the promises particularly confirmed. Hence we see that the Arabs and Turks in general, who are descendants of Ishmael; the Edomites, now absorbed among the Jews, (see the note on “Gen. xxv. 23”,) who are the descendants of Esau; and the Jewish people, wheresoever scattered, who are the descendants of Jacob, are all heirs of the promises included in this primitive covenant; and their gathering in with the fullness of the Gentiles may be confidently expected.

And Moses hid his face] For similar acts, see the passages referred to in the margin. He was afraid to look – he was overawed by God’s presence, and dazzled with the splendor of the appearance.

Verse 7. I have surely seen] seeing, I have seen – I have not only seen the afflictions of this people because I am omniscient, but I have considered their sorrows, and my eye affects my heart.

Verse 8. And I am come down to deliver them] This is the very purpose for which I am now come down upon this mountain, and for which I manifest myself to thee.

A land flowing with milk and honey] Excellent for pasturage, because abounding in the most wholesome herbage and flowers; and from the latter an abundance of wild honey was collected by the bees. Though cultivation is now almost entirely neglected in this land, because of the badness of the government and the scantiness of the inhabitants, yet it is still good for pasturage, and yields an abundance of honey. The terms used in the text to express the fertility of this land, are commonly used by ancient authors on similar subjects. It is a metaphor taken from a breast producing copious streams of milk.

Items for Discussion

  • What is the significance of the bush that is not consumed?
  • We no longer acknowledge Holy Ground by taking off our shoes, yet in other religions, they still do – Have we diminished our respect for God?
  • God promises Moses a land flowing with milk and honey – if we were to rewrite this in modern English for our times, what do you think God would promise us today?
  • What do verses 7 & 8 say about the character of our God?
  • God promised the Israelites someone else’s land – How do your rationalize this today when we consider the conflicts in the Middle East?

 

Mark 10:23-27
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Background 3

Of Mark, the writer of this gospel, little is certainly known. He is commonly supposed to be the same that is several times mentioned in the New Testament. He was not an apostle, or companion of the Lord Jesus, during his ministry, though some of the Fathers affirm that he was one of the seventy disciples. This is improbable, as he is mentioned by Peter (1 Peter 5:13) as his son; from which it is supposed that he was converted by the instrumentality of Peter.
From the New Testament, we learn that he was sister’s son to Barnabas, (Colossians 4:10;) and that his mother’s name was Mary, a pious woman in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and primitive Christians often assembled, Acts 12:12.

His Hebrew name was John, (Acts 12:12,) and it is probable that he adopted a name better known, or more familiar, when he visited the Gentiles, a practice not uncommon in that age. He was at first the companion of Paul and Barnabas, in their journeys to propagate Christianity, Acts 13:5. He chose not to attend them through their whole journey, but left them in Pamphylia, and probably returned to Jerusalem, Acts 15:38. Probably at this time he was the companion of Peter, and travelled with him to Babylon, 1 Peter 5:13. Afterwards he went with Barnabas to Cyprus, Acts 15:39. Subsequently he went to Rome, at the express desire of Paul, in company with Timothy, 2 Timothy 4:11. He remained at Rome while Paul was a captive there, but how long is uncertain, Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24. From Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, we hear that Mark went from Rome to Alexandria, in Egypt, where he planted a church, and died and was buried in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, A.D. 64.

The time when this gospel was written is not certainly known. It is supposed to have been between the years 56 and 63. It is allowed by all that it was written at Rome; of course, it was during the latter years of his life, after the apostles had left Judea, Mark 16:20. Mark was, for a considerable time, the companion of Peter. Though he had not himself been with the Saviour in his ministry, yet, from his long acquaintance with Peter, he was familiar with the events of his life, and with his instructions. The uniform testimony of the Fathers is that he was the interpreter of Peter, and that he wrote this Gospel under the eye of Peter, and with his approbation. It has come down to us, therefore, with the sanction of Peter’s authority. Its right to a place among the inspired books has never been questioned. That it was written by Mark; that it was with Peter’s approbation; that it was a record of the facts which Peter stated in his ministry; and that it was, therefore, an inspired book has never been questioned.

Biblical Truths

Verse 24. Children. An expression of affection, perhaps also implying a reproof that their slowness of understanding was like children. When they should have seen at once the truth of what he said, they were slow to learn it. It became necessary, therefore, to repeat what he had said.

How hard. With how much difficulty.

Verse 26. Out of measure. Very much, or exceedingly. The Greek means no more than this.

Items for Discussion

  • Are we all wealthy people?
  • If a camel cannot fit through the head of a needle, is the Scriptures telling us that it is impossible for anyone with wealth to get to Heaven?
  • Why would Christ call His disciples children?
  • What are the characteristics of children that apply here?
  • If one is wealthy, what is the instruction and lesson in these verses?

Discussion Challenge

  • How is affluence and wealth a risk to the modern Christian church?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Adam Clarke’s Commentary http://www.godrules.net/library/clarke/clarkeexo3.htm
  3. http://www.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=mr&chapter=010 Barnes Notes
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