Summary: Continuing the series of the skipped over books (Ex, Lev, Num, Deut) after the laws there are the gems of historical narrative in these books.
The Skipped Over Books of the Bible
List after List of Laws
- Absolute Laws – to be obeyed then AND now
- Holiness Laws – to show how we can love God
- Civil Laws – to show how we can love each other
- Health and Wellness Laws – to show how we can love ourselves
Law and Promise
- If you obey THEN …
Gems in the Desert
God’s Hornet – Exodus 23:20-33
Poetic Chiasm of Exodus 23:20-33
Summary Statement: See, I am sending my angel ahead of you (vs. 20)
IF YOU … pay attention, listen, don’t rebel (vs. 21-22a)
THEN … enemy to your enemies, oppose those who oppose you (22b-23)
IF YOU … don’t bow to their gods, demolish them (vs. 24)
THEN … bless you food, health, long life (vs.25-26)
I will send my terror (vs. 27)
BUT … NOT in a single year because … (vs. 29-30)
I will send my hornet (vs. 28)(NIV grammatical reverse)
THEN …establish your borders, hand over the people (vs. 31)
IF YOU … don’t make covenants with people or gods (vs. 32)
THEN … they will not be a snare to you (vs. 33)
IF YOU … don’t let them live in your land (vs. 33)(NIV grammatical reverse)
English translators decided to reverse the Hebrew phrases in order for it to make sense in our language. Normally used in poetic chiasms.
Jill came tumbling after
Jack fell down and broke his crown
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
In English translation
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.
Meeting the ANGEL, the TERROR, the HORNET
- Deut. 7:17-24 Restating the promise
- Joshua 2:8-11 Rahab and the spies
- Joshua 5:13 – 6:2 Joshua meets the commander of the Lord’s army
Central statement, focus statement of the Chiasm vs. 29-30
- But I will not drive them out in a single year
- Little by little until you can handle it
BASICALLY WHAT GOD IS SAYING …
- I am going ahead of you and preparing your life for you
- But I am NOT going to give you more than you can handle at one time
- If I would give it to you NOW, as you want it, you could not handle it
- I’ll let your enemies handle your territory until you are ready for it
- I’ll prepare you, grow you, train you, until you are ready to handle it
Examples in my life of God’s preparing AHEAD of me
Ill: My garden at our first house was ½ acre. All rototilled up and ready with great black dirt. Started out great, straight lines for beans, peas, tomatoes, sweet corn, etc. Got water on it and faithfully moved the water. Began hoeing the weeds, hoed some more, than tried to hoe some more … but too much for me to keep up with. Weeds took over. The next year I had a 10x10 patch.
Ill: I was the setup man and warehouse planner which was second to supervisor in my departments. I applied for 22 supervisor positions, interviewed and it was narrowed down to 2 people, me and the other, 22 times the OTHER was picked. The 23rd time I was and finally understood why I was not ready for the position before … but was NOW. I started supervising 5 people, then 30, then 220, then …I was ready.
Ill: Frankie and I were called to plant a church in Las Vegas in 1995. We said NO, but for very different reasons. Basically we weren’t ready. They called us again in 1997 and we moved out here in 1998. As I studied in preparation since I didn’t have any sermons to prepare. I studied my favorite character in the Bible: Joshua, and I came across this passage. It stuck out at me in bold print. Over the years I have had to remind me that God will open Las Vegas to us “LITTLE BY LITTLE” until we, as a church, are ready to handle it. I wanted a THOUSAND people in the first year but God knew we couldn’t handle it. I wanted to plant 20 new churches here but God knew Vegas wasn’t ready. “LITTLE BY LITTLE” he is opening up the land for us.
What is God saying to YOU in this passage?
Are you in the desert right now hoping, wishing, wanting the promised land?
Is he telling YOU to be patient because the land is not ready for you yet?
Is he telling YOU to be patient because you are not ready for the land yet?
Is God moving slower than you would like opening up to you LITTLE BY LITTLE?