VIDEO Message Be Strong – Exodus Reality

Exodus Reality

 

For most of the past century, scholars have tended to regard the story of the Exodus as a myth — a story meant to inspire awe and devotion but not one grounded in history. However, recent archaeological discoveries have begun to change that.

 

The doubts scholars have had about the story of the Hebrews’ flight from Egypt may be summed up in the words of Baruch Halpern, a professor at Penn State: “the actual evidence concerning the Exodus,” he says, “…resembles the evidence for the unicorn.”

 

As justification for their skepticism, scholars point to the lack of references in Egyptian chronicles of the period to either the Hebrews’ sojourn in Egypt or the Exodus.

 

But as Jeffrey Sheler points out in the book, “Is The Bible True?,” while there may be no specific mention of the Hebrews in ancient Egyptian records, there is plenty of indirect and circumstantial evidence.

 

One surviving document refers to a people called the “apiru,” who were workers in an unidentified building project. And this document dates from the reign of Rameses II, the pharaoh of the Exodus.

 

Scholars have noted the similarity between “apiru” and “Hebrew” — there is no “h” in Semitic languages. Many consider the document a reference to not only the Hebrews in Egypt, but also to their forced labor.

 

Even those who don’t go that far say that this document, along with others, attests to the presence of a large Semitic population in Egypt at the time of the Exodus.

 

What were they doing there? Forced labor. In fact, as James Hoffmeier, a professor at Wheaton College points out, “the practice of using forced labor for building projects is only documented for the period of 1450 to 1200 [B.C.], the very time most biblical historians place the Israelites in Egypt.”

 

As for the absence of references to the Exodus, Sheler points out that Egyptian chronicles were much more propaganda than history. And what ancient despot would want to memorialize an embarrassing defeat?

 

A writer for Biblical Review offered a humorous translation of what this chronicle of defeat would have said: ” … Rameses the Great … before whom all tremble in awe … announced that the man Moses had kicked his royal [seat] for all the world to see, thus proving that God is Yahweh and the 2000-year-old culture of Egypt is a lie …”

 

As Sheler writes, we haven’t “heard the last word or seen the last piece of evidence” regarding the Exodus. But what we have seen and heard attests to the fact that the biblical account is indeed more than myth — the evidence increasingly supports its historicity.

 

Remember, unlike other faiths, biblical faith is rooted in history. Christians believe that God has acted in history, just as He acts in our lives today in order to accomplish His purposes.

 

More and more, modern archeology is confirming what we know: that trusting in God’s word isn’t like believing in unicorns. On the contrary, believing that Scripture is merely the product of men’s imaginations is the real fairy tale — and a dangerous one, at that.

___________________

Copyright (c) 2000 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. “BreakPoint with Chuck Colson” is a radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.


Message Be Strong

Scripture: Joshua 1:9
Pastor David Holwick

First Baptist Church
Ledgewood, New Jersey

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Agreeing to Disagree

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace. Romans 14:19

I remember hearing my dad talk about how difficult it was to walk away from unending arguments over differing interpretations of the Bible. By contrast he recalled how good it was when both sides agreed to disagree.

But is it really possible to set aside irreconcilable differences when so much seems to be at stake? That’s one of the questions the apostle Paul answers in his New Testament letter to the Romans. Writing to readers caught in social, political, and religious conflict, he suggests ways of finding common ground even under the most polarized conditions (14:5–6).

According to Paul, the way to agree to disagree is to recall that each of us will answer to the Lord not only for our opinions but also for how we treat one another in our differences (v. 10).

Conditions of conflict can actually become occasions to remember that there are some things more important than our own ideas—even more than our interpretations of the Bible. All of us will answer for whether we have loved one another, and even our enemies, as Christ loved us.

Now that I think of it, I remember that my dad used to talk about how good it is not just to agree to disagree but to do so with mutual love and respect.

Father, please enable us to be patient and kind with those who don’t agree with us about anything or everything.

We can agree to disagree—in love.

By Mart DeHaan 

Purity and Persecution

1 Peter 4:1-5

What is the connection between suffering and purity for the Christian? These are not terms we usually consider together, but Peter says those who suffer physically cease from sin and no longer live for human lusts. Instead, they live for the will of God. That is not to say we’ll reach a level of sinless perfection but, rather, the power of sin in our lives will be broken.

According to today’s passage, we are engaged in a battle, and Peter says to arm ourselves with the same attitude Christ had in His suffering. Just as He willingly submitted to the Father’s will and went to the cross, so we must accept that suffering is likewise part of God’s will for our life. It’s one of the ways He purifies us and breaks any attachment to our previous sinful desires.

As believers, we are called to live differently from the world around us. This doesn’t mean we’re to be deliberately antagonistic, but our lifestyle should be an example of purity. Others may find this offensive because it exposes their sin, and then they may respond by maligning us in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

Although we want the world to be attracted to Christ by our transformed lives, in reality we may make others uncomfortable or perhaps even antagonistic. This is why so many Christians around the world are being persecuted and even killed for their faith. But every time the church has faced persecution, it has also been purified and made stronger. God never intends for suffering to defeat us. Rather, His purpose is for it to make us holy and effective witnesses for Christ.

The Just Do Live by Faith

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) 

This great principle—“the just shall live by faith”—was the Scripture that so inflamed the soul of Martin Luther that it became the watchword of the Reformation. It occurs first here in the small prophecy of Habakkuk, but is then quoted three times in the New Testament. The term “just,” of course, means “justified” or “righteous.” God says a person is enabled to live righteously by his faith.

The nature of this faith is clarified by three quotations. The first is Romans 1:17: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” The phrase “from faith to faith” means “from the beginning of faith to the end of faith,” and the context indicates that the foundational item of faith is faith in “his eternal power and Godhead,” which “from the creation of the world are clearly seen” (Romans 1:20).

Similarly, in the last occurrence: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). Then the writer notes that the basic item of faith is special creation: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

The middle occurrence is Galatians 3:11: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Paul’s lengthy explanation to the Galatian legalists begins with Galatians 2:16: “Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” Thus, justifying, saving, living faith begins and centers in Jesus Christ, first as Creator of all things, then as the Savior who “hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13). HMM

He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it

Philippians 1:1-26

We have now reached the Epistle to the Philippians, which has been well called the epistle of love and joy. In it we see most of the inner character of the apostle; there was the utmost mutual love between him and the brethren at Philippi.

Philippians 1:1-5

They were the most generous and faithful of the churches, and gave the apostle much joy. Should we not all aim to cheer the heart of our ministers by our zeal and liberality?

Philippians 1:6

This delightful confidence is the crowning joy of the Christian life. If he who began the good work did not also carry it on we should be in a wretched plight, but, blessed be God, the work of grace is in the hands of one who never leaves his work unfinished.

Philippians 1:7-11

The one point in which the Philippians failed was love and unity among themselves; for this Paul prayed, for it is of the first importance.

Philippians 1:15-18

Sweet forgetfulness of self! So long as Christ is glorified, Paul minds not how he himself fares, nor what unkind motives towards himself may actuate other preachers. This is real Christianity.

Philippians 1:19-20

He hoped that the spread of the gospel would call Nero’s attention to his case, and end his imprisonment one way or another, and little did he care whether he was set free by death, or by being allowed to resume his labours.

Philippians 1:25, 26

He would even stay out of heaven a while for their sakes. Oh, to live only to do good! This is to live indeed.

 

Were the whole realm of nature mine

That were a present far too small:

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 

Prayer at Communion

Ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Dear Lord and Savior, we come to your table in faith, for you have told us, “As often as you do this, do it in memory of Me.” Help us to celebrate this remembrance of death and resurrection in the very best way we know how.

Do then, we pray Thee, overshadow us with Thy very breathing Presence. Breathe on us, O Breath of God; quicken and heal and purify and cleanse. Strengthen and perfect that which is wanting in us.

Bless the strangers and the friends who happen to be within our gates today. Dear Lord, make them sense that they have found a home among us as we worship, and to realize that they are just as much “owners” here as we are; for it is the Lord’s house and the Lord’s table—it is not ours.

We are all guests and children in the household—all of us! And we pray that we may love Thee acceptably, for we would not wound Thee again! Thou didst love us with such poured-out love that not even the blood in Thy veins was dear enough to Thee—we were dearer than that blood!

All of this we ask in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Immortal Till Work Done

“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” Ps. 118:17

A fair assurance this! It was no doubt based upon a promise, inwardly whispered in the Psalmist’s heart, which he seized upon and enjoyed. Is my case like that of David? Am I depressed because the enemy affronts me? Are there multitudes against me, and few on my side? Does unbelief bid me lie down and die in despair — a defeated, dishonored man? Do my enemies begin to dig my grave?

What then? Shall I yield to the whisper of fear, and give up the battle, and with it give up all hope? Far from it. There is life in me yet: “I shall not die.” Vigor will return and remove my weakness: “I shall live.” The Lord lives, and I shall live also. My mouth shall again be opened: “I shall declare the works of Jehovah.” Yes, and I shall speak of the present trouble as another instance of the wonder-working faithfulness and love of the Lord my God. Those who would gladly measure me for my coffin had better wait a bit; for “the Lord hath chastened me sore, but he hath not given me over unto death.” Glory be to His name for ever! I am immortal till my work is done. Till the Lord wills it no vault can close upon me.

 

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