(Exodus 9, Luke 12; Optional Psalm 38, Proverbs 11:24-27)
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EXODUS 9 – The 5th – 7th plagues on Egypt.
Ex 9:1-6 – The consequences are getting more serious as disobedience continues.
Ex 9:6 – How does this fit with more livestock in v19? Some possibilities… 1) “All” can refer to a very large number, or all in a category (perhaps those left outside, like in v 25), or even “all kinds”. 2) The livestock later in the chapter may refer to livestock imported from other areas, and/or Israelite cattle procured by Egyptians (see Ex 9:6-7).
Ex 9:11 – Humbling of the sorcerers. Earlier (Ex 8:18-19) Pharaoh had been warned by this group. Now they couldn’t even stand in his presence.
Ex 9:13-15 – Yahweh IS the God of the Hebrews (v 1, 13), but He is ALSO Creator and God of ALL the earth (v 14, 16).
Ex 9:15-17 – God’s mercy seen, even in the midst of judgment – God could have easily (and justly) destroyed Egypt completely. Compare Ex 9:16 carefully to Rom 9:14-23 and meditate carefully on God’s deeper GOOD purpose for raising up an evil ruler like Pharaoh. I’ve written “S” beside v 16 because it is such a clear reminder that God is sovereign over ALL things including over evil decisions and actions. But I also wrote “R” by v 17 because God is clearly holding Pharaoh responsible for his evil decisions and actions. How can both be true?? Rom 9:14-23 doesn’t EXPLAIN it all, but clearly states that both are true! And remember the overflowing worship CONCLUSION to the controversial chapters Rom 9-11 (see Rom 11:33-36).
Ex 9:19-21 – AGAIN, God’s mercy even in the midst of His judgment. He WARNS the Egyptians so that those who “feared the word of Yahweh” (v 20) could hide themselves from the consequences.
Ex 9:27 – SOUNDS like repentance (though Moses isn’t taken in – v 30), but true repentance bears fruit in ACTION, and when Pharaoh sees they weren’t COMPLETELY destroyed, he continues in his sin and hard heart.
LUKE 12 – Developing an ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE. The intensity in His several year ministry on earth is quickly building, moving towards the cross. Jesus is so polarizing – huge crowds are interested (see Lk 11:29, 12:1) and the religious leaders are intensifying their attempts to trap Him (Lk 11:53-54). Jesus has just given a sobering talk on the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees and their focus on eternal, temporary APPEARANCES (see Lk 11:37-52). At the beginning of Lk 12 Jesus continues that theme, pressing the disciples to realize that in the final judgment it’s NOT temporary appearances that will matter at all (Lk 12:1-3). In the middle of Lk 12 Jesus is interrupted by someone wanting Jesus to weigh in on a family inheritance dispute (v 13), and this launches FURTHER focus on what is ETERNAL, intentionally turning AWAY from focusing on lighter, temporary things like eating and drinking (v 22-23). At the end of Lk 12, Jesus urgently thinks on the coming judgment (v 49) and His OWN impending death on the cross (v 50 compared to Mk 10:38). And gives concluding warnings about over-focusing on our PHYSICAL families (rather than the family of Lk 8:21). He rebukes about being good at external things like weather prediction but not eternal things, and reminds that when you’re about to stand before the judge things get very urgent (Lk 12:57-59).
Two basic commands summarize the chapter and cultivating an eternal perspective: 1) Don’t be ANXIOUS (it’s put in other words, too, like “don’t be afraid,” etc). 2) Do be READY. A) Ready for action and service (v 35-40). B) Ready to do the master’s will and the final judgment (v 42-48, 54-59). C) Ready for suffering and division (v 51-53).
Lk 12:1-3 – Throughout this chapter, in cultivating an eternal perspective, there are multiple COMMANDS (I write “C” in my margin) like v 1b and PRINCIPLES (like v 2-3; might want to write “Princ.” in the margin). The COMMAND “Beware…hypocrisy” is accompanied by the principle that in the final judgment NOTHING will be hidden. The external temporary things that the Pharisees got so worked up over (see Lk 11:38) won’t matter at all!
Lk 12:4-7 – Commands about who NOT to fear (those that can only kill this temporary body we have now), and a command TO fear God – the one pure fear that should burn every other lesser fear and worry away! This is a HUGELY significant passage about the proper fear of God, so I have “F!” in the margin by v 5 with notes pointing out that surrounding the command TO fear God are commands to NOT fear anyone/anything else (v 4, 7).
Lk 12:8-12 – Again the ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE – thinking about the final judgment should help us NOT to be anxious even when standing on trial for following Jesus (v 11-12).
Lk 12:13-21 – In all this talk about eternal things, someone from the crowd interrupts, trying to get Jesus to take his side in a family dispute over inheritance. Instead, Jesus gives another command and principle (both in v 15). Then a famous parable about a man who wrongly THOUGHT he had years before him in this life, but was on the edge of eternity.
Lk 12:22-34 – A famous section on worry/anxiety/wrong fear, carefully LINKED to the previous section by “Therefore” / “For this reason” (v 22). Multiple helpful commands and principles in this section – I count seven, but at least one is mostly a restatement of an earlier one.
Lk 12:34 – Randy Alcorn wrote a VERY helpful little book on this verse. [Important side note – God has often used the writings of Randy Alcorn to help me meditate on Scriptures like this and cultivate this eternal perspective. I’d probably start with his short book The Treasure Principle and then his novel Safely Home, built around the persecuted church in China.]
Lk 12:35-48 – So we’re NOT to be anxious/worried, but we ARE to be READY for Jesus’ return and the final judgment and doing His will and serving until then. Illustration #1 in Lk 12:35-38, Illustration #2 in v 39-40, and Illustration #3 in v 42-48. Don’t miss the clear inference of different levels of judgment/accountability in v 47-48.
Optional Psalm 38 – David is aware that THIS time of suffering is partly because of his own sin (v 3-5, 17-18) AND because enemies have wrongly attacked him (v 19-20). Don’t miss the confidence in Yahweh and the continual turning to HIM, even though sharply convicted of sin. Satan will try to get us NOT to turn to God when we feel convicted, but He’s our only hope!
Optional Proverbs 11:24-27 – Pr 11:24-26 are all about generosity and not hoarding (compare today’s reading in Luke about an eternal perspective and NOT a love for money).