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Learning How to Follow God
Calvary Church Midweek Bible Study
Exodus 13


As we continue in our verse-by-verse teaching in Exodus, this week we looked at chapter 13 where I discussed themes of leadership, giving God our best, trusting in His guidance, and sharing God’s story with the next generation. In this blog post, I will do a deep dive into these topics to help us understand the significance of God’s redemptive work in each of our lives.

Leadership and Responsibility

Exodus 13 begins reflecting on the aftermath of the 10th plague in Egypt.  I emphasized the impact of Pharaoh’s decisions on the suffering of the Egyptian people. This serves as a powerful reminder to us of the significance of leadership in our lives and the responsibility of those entrusted with the spiritual care of the church. As believers, each of us must seek God’s guidance and make decisions that align with His will. It is also critical for us to ensure that those in positions of spiritual leadership over us prioritize the well-being of others and lead with integrity and humility. You can accomplish this by spending time daily in prayer and Bible study and by surrounding yourself with fellow believers who can hold you accountable and encourage you.

The First Fruits

Have you ever wondered why giving your best and first fruits to God is so emphasized in the Bible? Matthew Henry answers this best by saying, “God, who is the first and best, should have the first and best, and to him, we should resign that which is most dear to us, and most valuable.” I want to remind you that a cheerful heart with a genuine desire to give, pleases God the most. We need to remember just how much God has given us when we are tempted to give  Him our leftovers.

Trusting God’s Path

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the path God leads us on might not be the most convenient or obvious? I sure have, and it was the same for the Israelites. The path God led them wasn’t the shortest or easiest. But it is a powerful reminder that God’s plan for us, though mysterious, always has our best interests at heart. I encourage you to trust the Lord with your journey, even when it feels uncomfortable or unclear. He will be faithful to lead you through whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

Sharing God’s Faithfulness

Lastly, I shared how passing down the story of God’s deliverance, especially in your own life, is more crucial than ever. This isn’t just about history; it’s about instilling a legacy of faith and reminding our children and grandchildren about God’s unwavering faithfulness. Parents, grandparents, fellow believers—let’s continue to tell these stories of the Lord’s faithfulness and keep the flame of faith alive.

God brought us out of our bondage and our old way of living so that He can bring us into a new way of thinking and living for Him. He desires a new and deeper relationship with each of us. And yes, God has brought us out of bondage to bring us into His blessings.

Full Transcript Unedited

Ed Taylor (00:00:03) – Welcome to the Study of God’s Word with pastor and author Ed Taylor, recorded live at Calvary Church in Aurora, Colorado. To learn more about the many resources available through abounding Grace media or to tune in to our live stream services, visit us online at Calvary Coat Church or download our free Calvary Church app. Now here’s Pastor Ed to take us into our study.

Ed Taylor (00:00:28) – Amen. Open your Bible is Exodus. Chapter 13 is where we are. Exodus chapter 13, verse by verse through the book of Exodus. It’s always good to take notes, jot some things down, maybe write notes in your Bible so you’ll remember things. If you’re listening on the radio right now. Obviously you may not be in a place, but you can always podcast and pick up these studies in another time. Writing down helps you to remember you want to learn to take notes. Our previous study last weekend, we talked about the five things that will help you share the gospel. Engage with culture better. You should remember them and know them.

Ed Taylor (00:01:07) – Pray them into your life. See how they’re lived out in the scriptures. I’ll give you a few things today as well that are worth remembering. But in chapter 13, this nation is learning how to follow God. That’s the title of our study Learning How to Follow God. It’s the next day in the life of the children of Israel. It’s also the next day here in chapter 13, in the life of the Egyptians, the 10th plague is come. There’s weeping and wailing the morning after great judgment from God. It’s a solemn time, a silent time. It goes from weeping and wailing to silence, and you can hear the cries of the Egyptians as they mourn the loss of the firstborn throughout the land. Utter devastation. Why? I’ll tell you why. Their leader led them astray. The nation of Egypt is suffering because of Pharaoh. It was Pharaoh’s decisions that brought not one, not two, not four, not nine, but ten judgments. The leader could have ended it single handedly by cooperating with the messengers of God, Moses and Aaron.

Ed Taylor (00:02:20) – And he chose not to. And the people suffered, and the people suffered greatly. The Bible says, if you read carefully in our study last time. The Bible says that judgment began in Pharaoh’s house. It started with him. That was the first place. Then it made its way throughout the country. And remember if they had placed the blood over the doorposts, which they didn’t. The Egyptians. But like the Israelis, if they place the blood over the doorposts and on the lintels, then God would pass over them. And because of Pharaoh’s bad leadership. Egypt’s suffering. It’s been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. And having been born with a leadership gift throughout most of my life and even the spiritual gift of leadership, I agree. As a leader myself, I take that phrase very seriously. Whoever came up with it. Leadership matters. And I would say in the church, everything rises or falls on those entrusted with the spiritual care of the church, those chosen by God to lead.

Ed Taylor (00:03:31) – Remember, jot it down in Psalm 75, even those of you who might be struggling with where your place is and why I’m not a leader. And why don’t I have that title? And why don’t I have that position? Well, you always remember this for Psalm 75. Verse six says, exaltation comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge. He’s the one that puts down, and he’s the one that exalts another. You can’t even exalt yourself. I mean, you can if you want. You can print out your business cards and put up your website, and you can come through and tell everybody a title that you’ve put. You can do that, but it’s not from the Lord. You want what’s from the Lord and you want it in his timing. Listen, if there’s a leadership gifting on you, then God will take care of it. It may not be the right time. He. There may be more development. There may be things in your home.

Ed Taylor (00:04:22) – There may be things in your personal life. There might be things God is trying to work out in you so that when you are in that position where people look to you within the church for leadership, you all know this. That everything in the church rises and falls on your leadership. The people entrusted to your care. And here’s the key with you that our leaders and overseers in any church, this church, that church. Here’s the key. Are you ready? Are you in tune with God? That’s the key. Yes. We look for faithfulness and yes, we look for availability. Yes, we look for ability. But the key in all of that, with all the attributes is are you in tune with the Lord? Do you have an abiding relationship with Jesus where he can lead you and guide you in a moment’s notice? Are we hearing from the one who has clear direction for his church? Are we living a righteous and upright life? As Paul would tell young Timothy again, jot it down in first Timothy chapter four and verse 12, Paul tells Timothy, don’t let anyone despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word and conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity, to like, come give attention to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine.

Ed Taylor (00:05:46) – And once again. This week. Another prominent, well-known pastor. Step down or was disqualified from ministry the way it went down. I don’t quite understand, but it doesn’t really matter. He’s no longer in the position that God had entrusted to him because of an admitted disqualifying sin once again. Now, of course, we get the attention of all the popular or well used, or, you know, the men that God uses in in great ways. They’re the ones that get the headlines. But this happens over and over and over and over on different scales throughout the church. And it should put a holy fear in us. It should put, you know, you’re like, well, I’m not a leader. Yeah, but the Lord wants to use you that way. And so when I read a headline like that, my heart sinks. It makes me angry at the devil. Yeah, I’m a little upset with the brother too, but man, it makes me more angry at the devil. It makes me.

Ed Taylor (00:06:53) – It makes me just so frustrated with the shortcuts that people might take around me, or in my own flesh, just thinking of in my own life, trying to make decisions in my life that will minimize my flesh and maximize the spirit in my life. Because who am I? And one decision away from an announcement. And I don’t want that in my life, man, I do not. I have not dedicated my life to Jesus to disqualify my disqualify myself, you know, here, now in the last leg of my race. And so it bums me out because it’s going to lead to all kinds of confusion and another black eye in the church. And, and we just think, okay, Lord, everything rises and falls on leadership. Israel now here in Exodus 13, were reminded was blessed with a tremendous man of God in Moses. I don’t really believe we get the depth of the character and the integrity of this man revealed to us in the scriptures. We only get snapshots. He has been tried and tested.

Ed Taylor (00:08:00) – By the time he comes to. Be used of God here in the deliverance of Egypt. He’s been molded and made by God. It’s a process that took two thirds of his life. If you take your life in years right now and think of two thirds of it were only in preparation for the last third. That’s a lot of time. A lot of time of development. It’s true. As we were studying in the beginning of Exodus, he was reluctant, like like he was hesitant. And he really didn’t even want to do what God called him to do. But that’s part of the process. Go ahead and tell God no, I dare you. Go ahead. No, I don’t want to be used in that way. And some of you go ahead and say it out loud. I never want to be a leader. Go ahead, say never. I’d love to see. And then write it down and let me email me and let me know. I said it, pastor, and I can’t wait to see in a couple of years where God equips you and prepares you and uses you as a leader in his church.

Ed Taylor (00:08:56) – That’s his heart for you. God is developing Moses and Moses of his own. I wonder how hard it was for him to write this. But Moses is an own in his own writing. It talks about him being the most humble man. Can you imagine if God said, go ahead and write that about yourself? You are a humble man. It’s like, but, Lord, I’m writing it and it makes me kind of proud and arrogant. No no no no. You know, you’re humble because you’re doing what I told you to do. You don’t worry about the outcome or what people think about you. You just do what I tell you to do. And in his humility and spiritual dependence. And that total surrender is what helped Moses in the ministry here. And as we will learn in coming studies, he’s going to need it. This episode with Pharaoh actually is a lot easier what he’s going to face in the next 40 years. It is going to be a difficult season for him, one that will require him.

Ed Taylor (00:10:00) – To trust in the Lord in his leadership. One that will require him. What we would say in the New Covenant to have an agape love for the very people that he’s been called to serve. It’s going to be difficult for him. But like Micah said in Micah six eight, he has shown you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? That’s a great description of Moses, and may it be a great description of us. Our last study. Now, as we jump into the chapter, the children of Israel celebrated the Passover. They did. It was, they were told it was a wonderful feast, a time of celebration, recognition. But remember, most importantly, the Passover was a time of substitution. The spotless lamb without blemish offered as a sacrifice, and the blood was spread over the door, pointing to Messiah, Jesus Christ. Pick up with me in verse one of chapter 13.

Ed Taylor (00:10:57) – Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, sanctify him to me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and animal, it is mine. And Moses said to the people, remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage? For by strength of the hand of the Lord brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten on this day. You’re going out in the month of Abebe, and it shall be when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hittites and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you. It’s a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast unto the Lord. Verse seven. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days, and no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.

Ed Taylor (00:11:58) – You shall tell your son in that day, saying, this is done because of what the Lord did for me when I came up from Egypt. And it shall be as a sign to you on your hand, and as a memorial with between your eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year. The very first thing that comes out of Moses life is God’s desire for the first. This is very important to God. God wants the first, the best. Whatever he says, open the womb. In his commentary, Matthew Henry put it this way, and I quote God, who is the first and the best, should also have the first and the best. And to him we should resign that which is most dear to us and most valuable. God wanted the best and the most important. He wanted the first animals, the first kids. And so each firstborn had to be redeemed and consecrated.

Ed Taylor (00:13:08) – And this is a pattern with God. He desires our best, the first fruits, the best of the best, not leftovers or things we don’t even want anymore. And, you know, for years we’d get calls here at the church, and maybe we still do. And they don’t reach it to my desk. But we get calls in the church, a pastor, church. Hey, we’ve got an old cow. We bought a brand new couch, and we have an old one. Can the church use it? Let me tell you right now, no. Keep the old one and give the church the new one. No, pastor, that’s not how it works. We got one new one for the house, and we got this ratty old one. If you just turn the cushions over, it would be great for the kids. No. Why can’t the kids have something new? Eagle. Pastor. What are you talking about? Like, are you telling me to go buy a new car? I’m not telling you anything.

Ed Taylor (00:13:55) – I’m talking about the heart of the matter. We don’t want your old couch. You don’t even want it. Why would we want it? You don’t even want anymore is you judged in your own home? We do not want this stinky, ratty old thing, but we think we can give it to the church now. I understand that there’s a lot of motives there, and I’m not certainly not suggesting that maybe there isn’t a good motive to bless the church. But the pattern is give your best. Give your best. And when you pray along those lines, who knows how God will lead you? But to have in the mindset, you know, the church could get my cast offs. The church can get my old stuff. You know, I don’t want to give it a I don’t want to give it to goodwill or anyone. I’ll give it to the church. But we’re not goodwill. We’re not the Salvation Army. This is a church of the of the risen Holy Lord. Like this is.

Ed Taylor (00:14:49) – This is the house of God. And I know, and sometimes we do on occasion do take, you know, donations and stuff. I know that, but here’s the thing. Why would the kids and I think of it. High school, junior high. Upstairs in the rooms we have up there. Why would they? Why wouldn’t they be enough for you to give them a buy a couch for you and buy a couch for the church? I mean, if you really want to give to the church, not you’re just looking for a place to take your old couch. But if you really want to give to the church, then is that in your heart? A desire to give the best? Same thing happens with tithing. You know it’s more common than actually when you’re giving. It’s a much more common. Even our government understands this because they don’t let you get away without giving to them first. Did you notice that in your paycheck? Do you remember when you were a kid and you got your first job and they told you how much you were making? Then you saw your first cheque and you said, what is this? And your parents or somebody sat you down and said, let me talk to you about taxes.

Ed Taylor (00:15:49) – And the idea that the government won’t let you keep it and pay you later. They’re going to take it first. But you know the Lord doesn’t like that. He’s not going to take it first. He doesn’t have his hand in your pocket. He actually says this. I’m going to bless you. I’m going to give to you. I’m going to overflow in your life. Everything about your life is from me, and you’re going to enjoy life to its fullest. And I’m going to require you to give, but I’m not going to make you do it. I’m going to require you to give your first fruits, but I’m not going to make you do it. Because if you don’t give from a giving heart, God would say to us, if you don’t give from a cheerful heart, it’s almost like God would say, just keep it then. Just keep it. If you’ve got reasons why you just keep it, then because you’ve missed the whole point. It’s almost like God says to us, I don’t need your money.

Ed Taylor (00:16:37) – I want your heart. And it’s like, maybe that’s what I’m saying. As a pastor, we don’t need your old ratty couch. We want your heart to serve the Lord. I want your heart. We want you to think about the kids here in our church. Like I think about the kids. Let’s make sure they’re taken care of. Let’s remember them. And you know, I’m sharing this Bible study for us, for our church. I know it goes out. And we already know this as a generous, giving, loving church. That’s not the point. The point is for someone, somewhere that’s having heart issues with the things that they have. God says, right here, I want the best. He says it more and more. This is just another example. I want the best. I want you to remember that everything you have, you’re leaving Egypt, and it’s going to be very fast. You’re going to forget me. So this is the way you can remember how good I’ve been to you.

Ed Taylor (00:17:28) – I want the best. And doesn’t God deserve the best? He gave the best. I love what Matt. That’s why I thought Matthew and he’s such a great comment. Because God is the first and the best. He should have the first and the best. I just thought, that’s so good. That’s my heart for him. That’s what my desire is. This is his pattern for all that he’s done. He deserves the best. And if we’re not careful, we begin to offer God what’s left over, what’s used, what we’re going to throw away anyway. What didn’t sell at the garage sale like people? Your garage sale didn’t even want it. I drive through the neighborhood. There’s always something on the curb that says free. Nobody takes it. Like, I don’t know why. They just don’t throw it away. Nobody takes it. It’s like, man, if you’re like, no, no, thanks. I don’t want that. I don’t want your old toilet. No thanks, man, just throw it away like I don’t want that.

Ed Taylor (00:18:21) – I don’t want that cabinet with three legs. Just throw it away. I don’t need it. I’d rather have no cabinet at all than that one. And there was a coffee machine recently, and you’re like, what is that thing? What days have that thing seen that it ends up on the curb with a sign that says free and it’s there for two days. That poor guy, he’s like, somebody take me under like, no, man, you’re all messed up. And I’m like, no, but you think about it in our own lives. Do you really think God needs your money? Do you really think this church needs your money? God’s going to take care. I’ve been here 25 years. I’ve raised my family here. I quit my job to serve this church by faith, as every other person has. Almost every other person that’s worked has worked outside the church at some time and quit that position to step into faith. And do you know, there’s never been a bill that’s been unpaid? There’s never been.

Ed Taylor (00:19:22) – I’ve never had to bring my kids up and tear their clothes and go, look what you’ve done to my kids. They’re not eating. Look how skinny they are. Like, what’s wrong with you? You’ve got to give. We’ve never used gimmicks here to beg you to give. We never said take your checks in the air. Wave them like you just don’t care. Bring them up here and then have somebody check them. This isn’t enough. You guys got to give more. You laugh, but there was a guy in town here. He’s gone home. I mean, he’s no longer alive. There was a guy in town here in his church that literally had everybody raise their dollars and their checks, and they sang that song like, this stuff happens in churches. But here God has quietly. And faithfully. And generously. Not only provided for every need that we’ve ever had, but exceedingly, abundantly above all that you can think or ask. So that now, for 13 years or so, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in addition to the life of the church, you, your church provides spiritual nourishment to 80% of Colorado, including the cows and the goats and all the wheat out there.

Ed Taylor (00:20:38) – Even the cows are getting saved out on the eastern plains out here, because God gave us even more when we were looking, when we were paying off a building and we were adding staff and we were responding to the growth, God said, here, I want to see if you guys really trust me. I’m going to drop something in that’s going to make you really seek my face because you can’t afford it. But I know you want it, and I’m ready to give it to you and God forgive you. You have that testimony, don’t you? In your own house, different numbers. So don’t let the numbers millions, thousands, hundreds, tens, none of the numbers matter. It’s what God is doing to bring you to a place of trusting him. God wants the first born. God wants the best and he wants you to continually. He says, when you get into the land, keep doing this and notice what he says. When you get into the land, don’t you forget no leaven.

Ed Taylor (00:21:34) – And we learned love and the type of sin. No quarters of your house. You need to search through your house. No, Levan. He repeats it again. Because when they get into the land, they’re going to enjoy the milk and honey. That’s going to be good. And then they’re going to forget the next generation, and the next generation is going to forget the slavery because it wasn’t theirs. They weren’t making the bricks. It’s just stories. And by the time generational stories come through, it wasn’t as bad. It wasn’t as bad, it wasn’t as bad. It’s the milk and honey now. It’s the excess. And get rid of the 11. If you’re taking notes, I’m going to give you a couple things here to consider about this Passover meal. Why? Why is he repeating it? Because it is the number one important picture of Messiah. But there’s three words I want you to associate with the Passover. Three words freedom, deliverance and redemption. Freedom, deliverance and redemption. This.

Ed Taylor (00:22:34) – These are important concepts for the Jewish people even today. Number one freedom. They’ve been set free. This was the birth of a nation delivered from 400 years of bondage and slavery. Freedom number two deliverance. They were literally owned by Pharaoh, by the nation of Egypt. And they now were delivered powerfully and mightily from the hand. And we’ll see this in coming chapters. And thirdly, redemption. God spared them that Passover night because they were purchased. How? By the blood of the lamb. Freedom, deliverance, redemption. We learned last time that there are three great Exodus in the Bible. So I want you to take these three words, and I want you to point them to the great exodus of the cross. So think of these three words the greater Exodus. This is a this is a phenomenal time in the history of God’s people. But there’s a greater exodus, the cross. And I want you to think about it. Number one, freedom. When Jesus died on the cross, he set you free.

Ed Taylor (00:23:42) – He set you free. You’re a new creation in Christ. Old things passed away. Behold, all things have become new. Listen to this. Jesus said this. John 836 therefore if the son makes you free. You’ll sort of kind of be free, but tied to spend the rest of your life. No, Jesus didn’t say that. He said you’ll be free. What? Indeed? This is a big deal for me. You know, I’ve shared it before, but I’m really not, ever going to teach you to identify yourself by a past sin? You know, like rehab, right? Rehab? The harlot. She’s not rehab the heartland anymore. She’s already have the delivered. She’s rehabbed the sister. She’s rehabbed the family saver, if you will. She’s not the heart of it anymore. She doesn’t ever identify herself. Whenever she mentions sex trade or prostitution or harlotry, she can always, forever. And I hope she did. We’ll find out in heaven. But she can always, forever say that’s who I was.

Ed Taylor (00:24:43) – That’s not who I am. And that’s the work today. That’s who I was. Man, you would not believe who I was. If I told you the full story of my life, you would not believe it. But you never met him. Just to add that died in Christ. You get the benefit if you want to call it that, of the new head of the redeemed dead. But you never met the old Ed, you know, with the exception of Marie, not even my kids met him. They might see it. They might have seen glimpses of the flesh, you know, this episodes here and there. But then I have to live with them. You know something, my boy? Eddie had to live with me for a few years as a little guy, having to deal with that. But even God blessed him. Saved his dad. Can you imagine that? You’re praying for people right now. You want. God wants to bless the kids. Saved their dad, saved their mom, saved their grandpa.

Ed Taylor (00:25:34) – God is still working that way. So freedom. Jesus, when he died on the cross, set us free. Number two deliverance. When Jesus died, he broke the power of sin in your life. He broke, literally broke the power of sin. We are delivered now from the pain, the penalty, and the bondage of sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are absolutely, totally, thoroughly and completely delivered for all time and eternity. That’s a Hallelujah moment right there. You are a new creation in Christ. And then finally, redemption. When Jesus died, he purchased our lives by his own blood. That’s the seal. It wasn’t corruptible things Peter said. Remember? He didn’t buy us with money or gold. He sacrificed himself. He bought us with his own blood. We’re his own. We’re blood bought. Owned by God. So we have in verse 11, notice it shall be when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers.

Ed Taylor (00:26:31) – And he gives it to you, that you shall set apart to the Lord all that opened the womb. He’s repeating it. Sometimes we need things repeated. Sometimes you you’re in a Bible study or anything. You keep hearing the same thing. You know why? Because God loves you. He’s going to keep repeating it. Some of you things are being repeated because you’re not acting on it. So I might be talking about the firstborn, and I might be, you know, going on about the couch, but there’s something in your life that God keeps hitting over and over and over again. I’m talking about a couch, but the Holy Spirit is talking about that. And you go, why did I keep hearing that? Because God wants you to move forward. He wants you to deal with it. He wants you to act on it. He wants you to handle it. He wants you to. Maybe some of you just need to believe today. Maybe that’s all you just faith. By faith, you go.

Ed Taylor (00:27:16) – Yes, I have been delivered. I am not who I was. Perhaps you have to step out and tell somebody you’ve been holding it over them. You’ve been manipulating, hold it in against them like you just have to say no. I believe you’re a changed man. You’re a change woman, I believe it, I believe that I believe it for you. I believe it with you and with forgiveness, I release you. From the debt that you owe me. Let us move forward together by faith. Here you have it repeated. Set apart. Verse 13. Every first thing of the donkey. Now, you guys, you Bible students, you know a donkey is going to it’s going to be declared an unclean animal. But even that which is unclean you shall redeem with the lamb, does not remind you of anything in the new covenant. Remember the animals coming down in the sheet for Peter, and he’s like, oh no, no, no, I will never do anything. No way. Those are unclean.

Ed Taylor (00:28:09) – And what does God say? Hey, what I have called clean, don’t you dare call unclean. So even a donkey can be redeemed. Even a donkey isn’t that great? So that tells me that even in my life, the gutter mouse God can save anybody. He can redeem anybody. If you will not redeem it, you break its neck. Okay? Redeem it. All right. Please. And all the firstborn of man among your sons, you shall redeem. So it shall be when your son asks you in time to come. What is this that you shall say to him, by the strength of the hand of the Lord? He brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And it came to pass, when furrow was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animal. Therefore I sacrificed to the Lord all the males that opened the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I’ll redeem.

Ed Taylor (00:29:02) – It shall be a sign on your hand as front between your eyes and the strength of the hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt. The firstborn takes on such great significance. All the firstborn from now on belonged to me. There’s a couple of things I want to share before we head out. First of all, I want you to know we learned this back in Exodus four, verses 22 and 23, that God refers to Israel as a nation, as his firstborn. He says. He says Israel is my firstborn, which is quite significant because in that statement he’s saying they have a place of preeminence, but they’re not the only nation I care about. They have a place of significance and importance. But they’re not the only nation I care about which we may describe today. That God loves the Jew and the Gentile. He always has. Which got corrupted along the way. He says, the mighty God has a love for all the nations, all peoples, all nationalities. This goes back prior to this.

Ed Taylor (00:30:07) – It goes back to the Abrahamic Covenant. Remember what he said. You may miss this as you read through and have different emphases in the text. In the Abrahamic Covenant, God sets something very powerful about all the nations of the earth. He said this I will bless those who bless you. Abraham. And those who curse you all curse? Well, who’s he talking about? Every single nation on the planet Earth. Jew and Gentile like you blessed Abraham, even before the nation is formed. Abraham was told by God, I love the nations. I love the nations. The Abrahamic Covenant was about a personal relationship. This is how God, how the God of all creation, treats his friends. Your friend Abraham, God will be a friend to you. Anybody that blesses you. Abraham. I’m going to bless anybody that tries, that wants to bustin. Anybody tries to hurt you, they’ll be hurt. Why? Because it’s personal. And it’s open to anyone. You who are a part of the New Covenant are grafted into the Abrahamic Covenant by faith, so that today we bless the nation of Israel.

Ed Taylor (00:31:20) – God will bless you. You know, blessing the nation of Israel doesn’t mean that you agree with every governmental thing. Just like you love your own country, you don’t agree with every governmental thing that happens, but you love your country. God says you love and bless the people of Israel. I’ll bless you. And so Israel places has a big place in our hearts because we’ve been grafted in. You learn. And I we went through this in our first time we studied through the book of Romans, the specific, important place that the Jews have in the life of the New Covenant. And what God has done through them. And it’s true. God is now our friend and those who bless you. He will bless and those that try to curse you, he will curse. And the first born takes on tremendous importance throughout the scriptures. Remember, Jesus himself was called the firstborn from the dead. Now first born can confuse us a little bit, because when we think of, an English first born, we think of order of birth.

Ed Taylor (00:32:22) – But that’s not the phrase. It’s one word, not two words. And the Greek word for firstborn in the New Testament means first in preeminence, first of many more. Many more will follow Christ by faith. You are one of them. Just like when the kids. I don’t know if they’ll do it at this VBS, but when the kids are singing songs and they’re learning songs, they’ll sing a song about father. Abraham has many sons. Many sons has Father Abraham. I am one of them. And so are you. So let’s let Don not know. I don’t know the rest of the song, but you get it. I know all the hand. I know the sounds, but not all the hand movements. And I guess you start beating each other up in a circle or something. But Father Abraham, many sons and daughters. You’re one of them in mind. Why? Because we’ve been grafted in from the very beginning. God is saying, this is not a religious experiment, that you’re going through an experience.

Ed Taylor (00:33:20) – I’m calling you into relationship. And until you get that, you’ll always feel disconnected with him and with each other. Because the church is relational. It’s all about connecting people. It’s all about putting us in proximity. It’s all about using us in each other’s lives. Not only that, I want you to see parents. Grandparents. Do you hear the emphasis of telling your kids your story? He tells them twice. You guys. You, you’re. When your kids start asking questions. It almost. Can’t you hear it? In the 21st century, when your kids start asking questions, it can’t be their teacher at school. That gives them the answer that has to be secondary. When your kids are asking questions, it can’t be the social media that gives them their answer. It has to be secondary. When your kids are asking questions can’t be their friends on their baseball team or their football team, that gives them the answer that has to be secondary. When your kids start asking questions, you have to tell them.

Ed Taylor (00:34:24) – You’re the one that has to share. This is the mighty hand of God. He took us out of Egypt. He. You have to understand. He gave us freedom and you have to understand. He gave us deliverance. And you have to understand that he gave us. And you you share with your kids the work that God has done in your life. And I shared this before, like, if you were born into a Christian home, then your kids need to hear that story. You need to find out the origin story of how Christianity entered into your family, and make sure it gets passed down, generation and generation. For us, it was me. It’s easy. For me, it was me. That’s how it entered into our family in a very dramatic way. And this is why this passage of Scripture and other passages are why I was convinced, Mary and I both to tell our kids our story at an age appropriate level as early as possible so that they knew. I mean, you got to understand, when we’re starting to show our wedding pictures and my son says, why am I in your wedding? He needs to know.

Ed Taylor (00:35:30) – He needs to know why he was in our wedding. You know why he was in our wedding? Because God delivered his dad from sin, not because. Oh, you know what? We were living sinful lives and magnify all the sin that will come later. That picture exists, and I’m proud of it. That picture exists because God is a redeeming God, and God is a saving God, and God is a changing God, and God is a delivering God. And you know what, son? You know what, Eddie? You’re in that picture. Because if it wasn’t for the Lord, we would have never gotten married. You would have only seen me half the time or less, or man, you wouldn’t have a doubt at all because I probably wouldn’t be alive. You need to tell your kids a story. I know it’s embarrassing. I know it’s shameful. But God’s not asking you to give the embarrassing parts or the shameful parts unless your kids can understand them. And when they can, then you can share.

Ed Taylor (00:36:24) – Yeah. You know what, son? I was not a good man when I wasn’t following it. Yeah, I mean that. There’s no question my kids know the story by now. I mean, they’re all adults now, but, like, they know the story. You know the story, but, you know, you don’t know the whole story. Because our pieces of our story reserve for special places. Right. And the really my story isn’t really that big a deal, actually. The story is not the focus. And sometimes that’s what testimonies become like. Oh, look at you. You’re the hero of your testimony. If you’re the hero of your testimony, you haven’t shared a God given testimony because the hero of our testimonies is the faithfulness of God. And that’s what he’s saying. Because if you don’t tell your kids about the power of God. If you don’t demonstrate to your kids the power of God. If you don’t give them something concrete about why they’re alive today and why they’re in a Christian home, and why you love God, and why we go to church, and why we study about why VBS is important, why all of the whys of your home.

Ed Taylor (00:37:32) – Then they’re going to fall for a lie. You want to substitute the lies of the enemy for the wise of God. Because you have a story and I know it’s not. I mean, just thinking about it like I have to share a little bit. I have to rehearse a little bit. It’s not good. Until God enters in. And then he’s so faithful. It’s honest, capable parents. It’s your responsibility to initiate the conversations, to answer the questions, to help your kids engage them, draw them near, help them. Give them the perspective of the power of God. This is why Mom and Dad goes to church. We love Jesus. What does that mean? Well, let me tell you a story, son. Let me tell you a little story. Let me tell you what God has done. Let me put around the house memories and things to help us remember. Let me tell you, when we’re praying together. Let me tell you when God is powerful. And he’s done great things.

Ed Taylor (00:38:38) – And even someone listening to me right now, you’re like, man, but I’m still preaching. Yeah, but God is in your life. If you’re still pre testimony, then go ahead and seal the deal and repent of your sins and come to know Jesus tonight and let the real work start. God has brought you this far, but this far is not far enough. This far has to lead to repentance. This far, like God save you. I think of all the time you know somebody in jail. If you get me out, you get me out. I’ll serve you all my day. You get out. You stop serving. Well, that’s not a testimony of God. That’s just using God like this cosmic genie. And he was faithful to you, but you responded with unfaithfulness. Well, let this be the time knowing God has got you out now. Give yourself. Keep your end of the bargain because God did. Keep your end of the bargain. You and I could already hear someone in in a jail cell.

Ed Taylor (00:39:28) – No, God hasn’t gotten me out. Well, your bargain is still there. You’re alive. So we use greatly in the place you are. God loves you. You know the final parts of this section. Notice then it came to pass, verse 17, when Pharaoh would let the people go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and returned to Egypt. So the Lord led the people around by the way of the wilderness of the Red sea. The children of Israel went up in an orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. This is interesting. I wish we had more time, but enough to be said here that if you take out your Bible maps, you’ll notice that the way that God led them was not the most convenient way, but it was the important way. If you look, this weary, worn out group of Hebrews are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys in their lives becoming a nation, heading into the promises of God, the milk and honey of life.

Ed Taylor (00:40:30) – But the route that he leads them is unusual. It’s not the obvious or the shortest or the nearest that maybe we would choose instead. It’s an area that’s uncomfortable and not safe and a little fearful. God led them by the way, of the wilderness. He didn’t take them through the Philistines because he didn’t want them freaked out. He didn’t want them scared. The Philistines were warriors. And these guys are nothing. They just got a bunch of gold earrings and stuff they took from the Egyptians. They got no weapons of war. They’re just a few days out of slavery. Because God knows what’s best. The shortest route would have been by the coast. You can take your Bibles out and see. I bet you some of your Bibles has this already marked out for you in color, so you can see it. It would have taken 10 or 11 days. But you’ll see in our future studies because of unbelief. It took them 40 years and a whole generation died because of their unbelief. That’s a different story altogether.

Ed Taylor (00:41:35) – But God knew the weakness of the children of Israel, so took them the way that he wanted, which for us today. Gives us a lesson to hold on to. And it’s just this. You can trust the Lord on the path that you’re on. Even if, you know, sometimes you go. But if I was in control, I would do this. Well, thank God we’re not in control. You can jot it down in Deuteronomy chapter eight. There’s just these new lessons that they need to learn, and you’ve got to know detours, delays, disturbances, timing. Some things may seem unnecessary or even unwanted. Maybe other times they. It looks like a waste of time or resources. But remember, God is faithful. He knows what he’s doing and you need to learn how to follow God. When are you going to learn that lesson? It’s always your thing, your name, your, your, your and God saying, when will you follow me? I’m ready. Yeah, but you don’t understand.

Ed Taylor (00:42:38) – There’s a shortcut. It’s not good for you. No, you don’t understand. I can get there faster. It’s not good for you. No, you don’t understand. I mean, how many times you may not say it out loud, but in your heart you’re like telling God. God, you don’t understand. And God’s going. What? You mean I don’t understand? I know exactly what I’m doing with your life. It’s almost like God saying, you don’t understand where you came from and where you were when I met you, and just how lost you were. You think I’m going to get you lost? I delivered you from lostness forever. It’s a hard lesson to learn though. Notice with me night. Verse 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with them. For you place the children of Israel under a solemn oath, saying, God will surely visit you, and you’ll carry out my bones from here with you. I love that he kept he kept his word. All these 400 years later, he kept the word.

Ed Taylor (00:43:32) – They took the bones of Joseph into the promised Land. So they took their journey from south and camped in them at the edge of the wilderness. By the way, in sukkah. This is the first of seven stops that the children of Israel are going to make, and at each stop they’re going to learn something here and suck it. They’re there. And what they’re going to learn is that God has a divine guidance system for them. Notice verse 21, the Lord went before them by day, and a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night, and a pillar of fire to give them light, so as by the day and night he did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. They’ve got a whole new way of life. They had to learn it. Suck up here. This. Stop. This place where they’re going to grow in faith. They’re going to learn to trust to a new way of life, trusting the Lord and following his leading.

Ed Taylor (00:44:28) – It’s remember, we’re learning an exodus identity, authority, identity, authority. Their new identity is to follow the Lord. They’re not going to follow that taskmasters. They’re not going to make bricks anymore. And if they do make bricks, it’ll be for their own houses. It’ll be for themselves. They’re going to learn to follow a new master. And I know there are times I look at this divine guidance system like if it was a, you know, we kind of think, you know, if God could speak to me from a bush or he could lead me with fire, I’d follow him so much better. Really? Would you? Yes, pastor. Yeah. It seems that it would be easier and more clearer. But those of you that might even be saying that right now. Yes, pastor. If there was a it’s dark outside right now. So if there was a fire and big pillar in the sky, I could easily follow it. But you have something greater. Why would you settle for the lesser? Why is that your posture in your life today? You would settle for the lesser because you have the greater.

Ed Taylor (00:45:32) – The Spirit of God lives in you. You get direction from the inside out. You get confirmation. You get correction. You get conviction. God puts thoughts in your mind. He puts direction in you, and he then bids you to follow him. And you go, well, well, you know, I don’t always know what he’s saying. I don’t I’d rather have the fire, but then you wouldn’t be living. By the faith you have today. You want to be living by the faith you have today? He illuminates the word as you open it up. He’s our Paraclete is the one who comes alongside of us, the one who dwells in us. And God brought us out so that he might bring us into a whole new way of thinking, a whole new way of living, a whole new way of experiencing and knowing God. And God has brought us out of bondage to bring us into blessings, just like the children of Israel right here. And so the best way to do it is to live by faith.

Ed Taylor (00:46:28) – Amen. Lord, thank you for your word tonight, and it’s so rich and so good to us. Even in a chapter that seems repetitive, it’s not as much as it is instructive. And I pray for those today that maybe have been hesitant to share your story with their kids, or maybe been hesitant. They they feel like it’s too much, they feel like social media is too much and the government’s too much, and the schools are too much and the words too much, and they just feel so weak in ministering to their kids. I pray for a special anointing upon parents and grandparents, great grandparents tonight, that they would feel the power and the courage that is always already there by faith to step into their kids lives with love and care and concern, and to win back the hearts of their kids if needed, and to walk alongside of them to help them on the journey. Just like it here. Tell your kids. Tell your kids. Tell your kids. Even tonight. You’re telling us, your kids of your faithfulness.

Ed Taylor (00:47:33) – That whatever we’re worried about tonight, you got to taking care of whatever’s causing this anxiety. You got to taking care of whatever the unknown is in the future. You’ve already been there. You already know where you’re taking. Yeah, but this route, this is not what I wanted for my life. This is not what I wanted for my marriage. This is not what I want. No, no, no, no. This is what God wanted. And so we want what you have for us. Lord, instill in us faith. Build us up. Set us free. Lord, the one that you said the the one that you set free. Jesus is free indeed. Let us walk out here as Christians that indeed we live in the freedom that’s ours. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ed Taylor (00:48:14) – We pray that you’ve been encouraged by this Bible study, delivered live from the Sanctuary of Calvary Church for prayer. Call us at 87730. Grace. That’s (877) 304-7223 to listen to this message in its entirety, or to join us for our live stream services, visit us online at Calvary Coat Church or download our free Calvary Church app.

Ed Taylor (00:48:41) – Be blessed as you worship Jesus this week.

Key Words: study of God’s word, Calvary Church, Aurora, Colorado, Exodus, leadership, following God’s guidance, biblical stewardship, faithfulness, Passover meal, redemption, faith journey, trust, Abrahamic covenant, legacy of faith


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