Reading through the Bible: day 34

Exodus 14 – 16

Gustave Doré, The Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea
The famous red see crossing and the giving of Manna and quail.

“The Lord is a man of war”

The statement above from Exodus 15:3 is the first of three texts that directly refer to The Lord as warlike. Obviously we’re all used to the peaceful God of the New Testament, although I’d say you haven’t really being reading the Bible if you haven’t seen the angry nature of God in the New Testament.

There is an issue for some people here as they see it as a contradiction, but this isn’t the case. Consider America, love them or hate them, they are an influential power in the UN and are involved in many peace keeping initiatives, but they were also involved in more wars in the twentieth century than anyone else. Peace and justice are often threatened by people who understand only war, we often consider this a good justification for going to war. If a country developed a biological weapon that could destroy the human race, we’d be in support of taking and destroying that weapon, even if it meant war, because our existence is dependent on it.

In Christian theology, false religions and denial of Christ as saviour and God as Father, are considered highly detrimental to people. With the above analogy in mind, consider that by God warring against the Egyptians, he called the power of their religion into question, and thus was removing some of the efficiency of it as a spiritual weapon. This would be for more people to know peace in the afterlife, so God can be both warlike, and peaceful.

For six days

As an Adventist I find God withholding manna every seven days interesting. Apart from Genesis chapter two, this is the first record of Sabbath keeping in the Bible.

God was testing for obedience, and the Israelites failed, some went to look for manna, some stored manna when they were told not to and so on. It’s interesting that God chose what we seem to see as somewhat insignificant to test obedience. He didn’t use the serious stuff like don’t kill and so on, He simply said that this is how it should be, and they should obey, because He knows better. I’m not going to get into Sabbath keeping and the arguments for or against it in this post, but would like to see a discussion in the comments thread. For some motivation, I’ll stir and point out that I have never seen or heard a good argument against keeping the Sabbath. Bear in mind when I speak of the Sabbath, I’m referring to Saturday as this is the day that has been kept for generations by a divided people and yet no arguments have arisen as to which day they should keep when they reunite.

Painful salvation

I found Exodus 14:13 interesting as it came amidst the complaints the Israelites were hurling at Moses. “See the salvation of The Lord” (NKJV), is an odd thing to say to a fearful untrusting people. Often Christians (especially new ones) come upon difficult situations that would be easier to deal with if they weren’t trying to be good Christians. Sometimes being a Christian is scary, yet personal testimony tries to paint it as something great.

I have found much in my life changed for the better on conversion, but there is a new set of problems, which sometimes seem harder to deal with than the ones I had before. Being a good Christian requires God’s help, just as the Exodus required intervention. It’s also scary and often emotionally painful, yet we need to have faith and keep on, like Moses did. Becoming a Christian has changed many lives, and if it doesn’t change you in some way, you’re probably doing it wrong. Personal change is painful and scary, it’s a step into the unknown desert of having to give up stuff we may like, but in the long run it’s worth it, as God can help you become a better person.

What are your thoughts?

Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.


2 thoughts on “Reading through the Bible: day 34”

  1. The Sabbeth is made for men and not men for the Sabbeth. I am sure you are familiar with all of the New Testament scriptures saying Christians practiced the Sabbeth on the first day of the week (Sunday) but I think it is largely irrelevent which day of the week one holds the Sabbeth, whether it is Friday as in Islam, Saturday as in Judaism, Sunday as in Christianity, or each day of the week as done in Hong Kong for my church for the servents there who only have a singular day in a week off. The important thing is that one has a Sabbeth to worship God and not which day the Sabbeth is.

    1. “I am sure you are familiar with all of the New Testament scriptures saying Christians practiced the Sabbeth on the first day of the week (Sunday)”

      No, I’m not, and I doubt you are, such texts don’t exist.

      The apostles hid in the upper room on the first day of the week as they were unaware of the resurrection and were scared to go out, that is the bulk of the 1st day texts in the New Testament.

      Acts 20 and the death of Eutychus refers to meeting on the first day. They met, broke bread and Paul spoke late into the night. It’s fair to say this was a Saturday night, since the Jewish custom was to begin a day from sunset, thus, the first day of the week starts on what we call Saturday night. Paul spoke because he was leaving the next day (Sunday, when you saying they worshipped), and obviously certain things needed to be said. Surely if a travelling evangelist was in town and that evangelist decided to give a marathon speech on Wednesday night because he was leaving on Thursday, you wouldn’t assume that the denomination he represented worshipped on Wednesdays, or Thursdays?

      In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul asks that people collect their money together for offerings, so that when he came, there wouldn’t be collections, it would be done. Surely you aren’t proposing that getting financial affairs in order is what a Sabbath keeping ex-pharisee would consider a Sabbath activity?

      In Acts 13 Paul has an entire city (Gentiles included) worshipping on the Sabbath, doesn’t say the first day, and we’re to assume that the Jews weren’t meeting on the imaginary first day Sabbath. In Acts 16 Paul and Luke go to meet and converse with women by the river, on the Sabbath. Acts 17 is the kicker, it actually refers (in formal equivalence translations) to Paul going to the Sabbath as a custom. Acts 18 has Paul reasoning “every” Sabbath day, with both Jews and Greeks. In all, it would seem that the apostles made good use of the only Sabbath in existence at that time.

      Perhaps you should check the early History of the Church, it seems that keeping Sunday was at the very earliest a second century addition.

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