Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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February 1 - Morning

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, “You shall have no other gods before me.' " - Exodus 20:2-3

There Are No Other Gods in the Presence of the Lord


Exodus 20 begins the pronouncement of the covenant that God will make with the Abraham’s people, the Israelites. The covenant form that God uses is typical of contracts or international treaties in the ancient Near East. Yahweh’s covenant with Israel is similar, but, yet, not identical, to the Suzerainty Treaty that we find preserved in the Hittite documents from Anatolia (Asia Minor, or Turkey today) and Assyrian documents. In these treaties a superior nation or king would offer his protection to a lesser state or tribe based on what that superior king had done to earn him the right to be taken serious. The vassal, or lesser party, would be required to provide some provision and meet some stipulations in order to secure the protection and relationship with the greater king or nation. The basic format would be something like this:
  1. The Title of the King
  2. Statement of historical event justifying the great king’s claim
  3. Requirements and duties of the lesser vassal
  4. A list of witnesses who would enforce punishment if covenant was broken
  5. A list of curses for failing and blessings for fulfilling the covenant requirements
The Lord follows a similar format that was typical for 1440 BC. First, he states his title, “I am the Yahweh your God.” Second, historical proof of his greatness from the perspective of the vassals, “who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Then, follows the list of requirements and duties Israel is to meet if they want the benefit of a national covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (It should be noted that this covenant from Mount Sinai does not replace the covenant with Abraham, see Paul’s teaching in Galatians  3:16-17, “…The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.”)
The Lord says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The phrase “before me,” could be translated “before my face” which would be in reference to the presence or sanctuary of the Lord. In other words, Yahweh continues to state his superiority since there are “no other gods in my presence” and proclaim his ultimate victory in Egypt for Israel to know and trust. Since all the gods were clearly destroyed, Israel can hear and believe the opening statement of this covenant. Israel does not so much need to obey this statement as a command, as they need to be convinced that it is true! Yahweh is not saying, “Don’t have any other gods,” but is saying, “You will find that there are no other gods in my presence.”  This is a statement of victory for Israel to embrace and believe,…or, it can be a law they struggle to obey if they do not believe…
Psalm 82 reiterates the same point:
God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the ‘gods’:
How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
(Note: meaning they are created spiritual beings)
But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.
Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
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Rib (Hb) – Complaint (Eng) – rib is the Hebrew word that means “charge,” “accusation,” “complaint” and refers to arguing a legal case. In Exodus 17:2 rib is translated "quarreled" when the people brought a case against Moses and the Lord for not providing water. In Micah 6 the Lord brings charges, or rib, against Israel and tells them to prepare their defense.
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Do I realize that faith and understanding will produce corresponding actions of holiness?
If I realize that no other gods can even stand before the Lord since they are like nothing to him, then I will find it easier to honor, obey and serve the Great God.



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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

Complete Text

General Text




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Personal

Concern for those that need help

Church

Attitude of encouragement
Censorship
Human trafficking



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Mud bricks by Canaanite palace in Hazor that are located at Joshua's burn layer of the Israelite destruction mentioned in Joshua 11:13.
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A map detailing Hagar and Ishmael fleeing from Sarah in Genesis 21.




Someone to Quote

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“The child asks of the Father whom he knows. Thus, the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition. The right way to approach God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.”  – Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

Something to Ponder

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Frank Tipler is professor of mathematical physics who converted to Christianity according to his book “The Physics of Christianity.” In this 1994 book Tipler wrote:
"When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics."
(See critics here and here.)

Here’s a Fact

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The conquest of the land of Canaan by Joshua was not a scorched-earth decree from God. In fact, Israel was told they’d be living in “flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12). And, after they had taken the land the Lord told the Israelites, “I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’ (Joshua 24:13) The Canaanite people were destroyed, but not their cities. Only Jericho, Ai and Hazor were to be destroyed. Today it is hard to prove Joshua conquered the land and the cities, because Israel did not destroy the cities and the land. But, at Jericho and Hazor the destruction and burning of these two cities around 1400 BC is visible. The destruction and heat from the flames was great at Jericho and Hazor, yet the rest of the land was spared. Israel moved into the cities and the houses, and took over the vineyards and the fields leaving very little archaeological evidence of the conquest.

Proverb

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"Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech." - Proverbs 1:20-21

Coach’s Corner

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Commit yourself to learning knowledge, developing skill and gaining insight each day.

Joshua 11:13
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned.
Exodus 17:2
New International Version (NIV)
So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”
Micah 6
New International Version (NIV)
The Lord’s Case Against Israel
Listen to what the Lord says:
“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;     let the hills hear what you have to say.

“Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;     listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his people;     he is lodging a charge against Israel.

“My people, what have I done to you?     How have I burdened you? Answer me.

I brought you up out of Egypt     and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you,     also Aaron and Miriam.

My people, remember     what Balak king of Moab plotted     and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,     that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

With what shall I come before the Lord     and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,     with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,     with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,     the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.     And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy     and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
Israel’s Guilt and Punishment

Listen! The Lord is calling to the city—     and to fear your name is wisdom—     “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.[b]
10 
Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house,     and the short ephah,[c] which is accursed?
11 
Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales,     with a bag of false weights?
12 
Your rich people are violent;     your inhabitants are liars     and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13 
Therefore, I have begun to destroy you,     to ruin[d] you because of your sins.
14 
You will eat but not be satisfied;     your stomach will still be empty.[e] You will store up but save nothing,     because what you save[f] I will give to the sword.
15 
You will plant but not harvest;     you will press olives but not use the oil,     you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.
16 
You have observed the statutes of Omri     and all the practices of Ahab’s house;     you have followed their traditions. Therefore I will give you over to ruin     and your people to derision;     you will bear the scorn of the nations.[g]
Footnotes:
  1. Micah 6:8 Or prudently
  2. Micah 6:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
  3. Micah 6:10 An ephah was a dry measure.
  4. Micah 6:13 Or Therefore, I will make you ill and destroy you; / I will ruin
  5. Micah 6:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  6. Micah 6:14 Or You will press toward birth but not give birth, / and what you bring to birth
  7. Micah 6:16 Septuagint; Hebrew scorn due my people
Genesis 34
New International Version (NIV)
Dinah and the Shechemites
34 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”
When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.
Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in[a] Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.
But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade[b] in it, and acquire property in it.”
11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”
13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.”
18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. 21 “These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23 Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.”
24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.
25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where[c] their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”
31 But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”
Footnotes:
  1. Genesis 34:7 Or against
  2. Genesis 34:10 Or move about freely; also in verse 21
  3. Genesis 34:27 Or because
Genesis 45
New International Version (NIV)
Joseph Makes Himself Known
45 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]
“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’
12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”
14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.
16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’
19 “You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’”
21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels[b] of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”
25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
Footnotes:
  1. Genesis 45:7 Or save you as a great band of survivors
  2. Genesis 45:22 That is, about 7 1/2 pounds or about 3.5 kilograms
Exodus 7-8
New International Version (NIV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”
Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Aaron’s Staff Becomes a Snake
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
The Plague of Blood
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16 Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’”
19 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vessels[a] of wood and stone.”
20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.
22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. 23 Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.
The Plague of Frogs
25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile.

[b]Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.’”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”
So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”
10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.
Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God.
11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”
12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
The Plague of Gnats
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” 17 They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18 But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not.
Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere,
19 the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.
The Plague of Flies
20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them.
22 “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction[c] between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’”
24 And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.
25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”
26 But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.”
28 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”
29 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
30 Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 31 and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. 32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
Footnotes:
  1. Exodus 7:19 Or even on their idols
  2. Exodus 8:1 In Hebrew texts 8:1-4 is numbered 7:26-29, and 8:5-32 is numbered 8:1-28.
  3. Exodus 8:23 Septuagint and Vulgate; Hebrew will put a deliverance

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