In this first of a two part study on Exodus 33 and 34, Stephen Macfarlane joins Tim Young to dig deeper into the record to see how Moses sought to know God. The divine name had been revealed earlier to Moses (see this podcast) but Moses still desired to know God more intimately. These chapters serve as key studies to show us how we too should seek after God, to know him and to manifest his name.
You may be surprised to know that over 600 prayers are recorded in the Bible with over 450 revealed answers associated with those prayers.
So the Bible has a lot to say about prayer and the principles of prayer which can really help us in very practical ways as we offer prayer. What we learn as we look at prayer is that prayer has a purpose.
Seems like an odd thing to say, of course they do, otherwise why am I praying. Actually, what we see is that prayers are made with an expectant result in mind.
First, what is PRAYER? A person who did a lot of study on this subject once gave this definition and I think it is a good one, “prayer is the raising of the heart and mind to God … in short communication with God on high.” Prayer is an incredible gift God has given us in that we are able to talk to him and in turn as we read His word the Bible, He talks to us…communication takes place.
How do we learn to pray? … that ultimately comes by doing it, by practice.
Some view prayer like a 911 call only to be used in the case of emergencies. If they get what they ask for they may or may not express thankfulness and let that lead them into a better understanding of prayer.
But if they do not get what they asked for, they question whether prayer works or worse whether religion is worthwhile or not.
If we view prayer as something only to be used in times of trouble or we doubt whether prayers are heard because we did not get the answer we asked, if we are not sure what to pray for or even how to go to about praying altogether … we hope our thoughts together will help either change our view of prayer or provide us with a more focused direction on what to pray for and how to go about it.
The Lord tells us we have only 2 real choices on this subject …
Prayer Principle 1 – We Pray or we Faint!
So one of the first Key Principles of Prayer we learn is: that prayer needs to be consistent and constant …
Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”
We either pray rightly or lose heart …faint. (Gk ekkakeo “to be utterly spiritless, wearied out, exhausted”) … that is how critical prayer really is.
If we do not pray we faint. Notice the Lord says “ought” to pray… it is our duty to pray, an obligation, absolutely necessary for our spiritual health.
WE NEED GOD’S HELP – our attitude to that fact, affects how we pray and if we pray … need to see how important prayer really is to us
As we look at Principles regarding prayer, we need to be aware of one of the major challenges we face today (this challenge has a major effect on us as well as our children, young people in general) … that being in society today we are so far removed from absolute dependence on God. This then results in an adverse affect on our prayers.
Let me illustrate what I mean by this by looking at what I call the Lettuce effect. Where does a head of lettuce come from? If you were to ask a child (and I did) they will tell you it comes from the store! Some adults might think the same way as well!! We live in an age that is less dependent on the land. Very few if any of us are farmers. So easily for us to overlook our need for God and overlook our material blessings & dependence on Him.
Man has created his own light system and water systems all driving us further from God dependence. We have created an infrastructure that is comprised of seed warehouses, sorting areas, refrigerated warehouses, transportation to move things vast distances so we can bring our lettuce from Mexico or even further away.
Reality is that God is at the source of everything. No seedling, no food. We need to rekindle that absolute dependence on GOD, a recognition that we depend on Him for everything THIS is a vital part of prayer. God dependence.
We have a Father in heaven that supplies our needs … Here then is the absolute starting point for prayer … prayer requires a faithful belief in God’s existence and that He is the provider of all we require
Prayer Principle 2 – Believe that GOD Hears
Another key Principle of Prayer some might say is actually the most important one is outlined for us in the Epistle to the Hebrews – Hebrews 11:6 “ But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to GOD must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”
Need faith, (Faith in GOD) this must exist before prayer is really prayer at all.
Prayer Principle 3 – There is a Way to Pray (Pray the right way)
Another principle of prayer is the way in which we address our prayers and the purpose behind them. We learn about this from the instruction Paul gives in the epistle to the Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Need the right spirit (humble – thankful) … recognize that God is the great Creator and that he is our Father …and that our prayers are offered in the name of LJC
It is also critical since we are praying in our Lord’s name that our prayers need to be in accord with God’s purpose. Our prayers then need to be aligned with our Heavenly Father’s will (One of the most vital of all the Prayer Principles)… we need to understand what that is.
If they are aligned … we can have full assurance they will be answered. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” 1 John 5:14
Creates in us confidence that prayers are heard and that they are powerful. Our petitions need to be in harmony with the purpose of God. In this way prayers are conditional … “Thy will be done” as our LJC says. To be fair, sometimes we may not even be aware of what the LORDS will is … at least acknowledge that we want His will to be done versus our own.
This leads us into considering what is the will of God vs what is our own will? We can illustrate this with a simple example we all can relate to in dealing with our NEEDS vs WANTS. What do we really need vs what do we want?
This is a topic we many times get wrong. Our basic NEEDS, God looks after them all for us. Roof over our head (place to live) – Food and water – Sufficient Health & Hygiene – Clothing to keep us warm or protected.
WANTS – are anything beyond that – we want a Mansion don’t need it! designer clothes, fancy car etc. We need to pray that God will provide us with what we need since he as a Loving Father knows best. If God gave us everything we wanted we would be in deep trouble. Sometimes we can pray for what God doesn’t want. We are not teaching God in our prayers but beseeching Him.
Some things to avoid.
- Need not be long although some occasions may require it (personal prayer perhaps).
- Not repetitive – spontaneous with meaning – as the Lord says “for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask” (Matt 6:8) – fact of divine foreknowledge does not make those prayers any less necessary for us or any less real to God.
- Need not be showy in prayers as the Pharisees did on the street
In fact, praying in the right way is critical to developing a personal prayer life. Think of a children’s prayer – they are very honest (they thank God for everything and pray for everyone – not encumbered by doubts & obstacles we as adults see) Childlike – humility, trust, dependence
The greatest obstacle to sincere praise is our pride and adult “wisdom” which is often little more than conceited ignorance. When we are humbled, we are in the position to offer the greatest praise.
Prayer with the right attitude: Make our words brief Matthew 6:7 / Humility Luke 18:13 / Be specific Philippians 4:6 / Reverential Ecclesiastes 5:2 / Habitually 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer Principle 4 – Listen or God Won’t
There is also then a negative principle that is also true of Prayer… Sometimes this is caused by mixing up needs and wants. In other words we pray for the wrong reasons or we have an impediment making our prayers ineffective towards GOD.
In James’ epistle we are told of such a conditional principle of prayer “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3)
The believers in the 1st century were asking for the wrong reasons. They wanted something that they could use for their own selfish ends. They were not getting an answer to their prayers as a result
Our treatment of others we can be challenge our receiving answers to our prayers:
Want mercy, must be merciful. Prayer is difficult when we have a grudge against God or what he wants us to do. Need to get wrong things out of our lives…otherwise prayers will be difficult. (ex. unconfessed sin)
This is an area of prayer we don’t often talk that much about. But God’s word is clear that there are times when prayers are not heard:
- When pride is prevalent Job 35: 12
- When iniquity is in our heart Psalms 66:18
- If we forsake God Judges 10: 11-13
- REFUSE to listen to God’s word Proverbs 28:9 “ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination”
- Wilfully disobedient Isaiah 1:15
- Pray for selfish reasons James 4:3
What are some practical ways to help us pray for the right reasons:
– ask ourselves, what is the Higher Principle I need to think about in this prayer – is it forgiveness? is it love? is it health … for what reason?
– how can what I ask for or say, Give God glory, or ensure that He is glorified in what I’m requesting.
– is what I ask for Aligned with His will and if I’m unsure at least acknowledge in sincerity we want it to be according to His will and therefore we will be accepting of His answer because He knows better than we do.
– How does what we ask for advance His purpose?
how can I make my prayers more for others and less about myself?
Prayer Principle 5 – Prayer Works (God Answers Prayers)
Ephesians 3:20,21 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
– even more can be achieved than what we can even ask or think! – need for prayer comes by recognition we need God’s grace (all He has done for us) … we cannot do things on our own (recognition of our weakness & dependency) – that is why Ephesians 3:20, 21 is so powerful, we have limits, God does not …in times of joy, sadness and depression He is the only one who understands us and can help us … it is the method that God has given us to talk (communicate) with HIM
GOD answers our prayers … but His answers may come in different ways: TIME is the challenge, different for us versus GOD (need to see things from God’s eyes/ perspective where time is not limited – see time & opportunity are in God’s hand)
- we tend to view time as a clock that goes around and around. Life is more like the old fashioned hour glass. For us it runs out.
- For God time is infinite … no beginning or end, forever. Need to keep this in mind when it comes to answers to our prayers.
A couple of ways we get answers to our prayers:
- Yes (sometimes so fast we may wonder if it is the answer) Acts 12: 5 “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when she (Rhoda) knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.”
- No – our petitions are not granted – No is an answer … it could also be not yet (…wait – not yet) Hebrews 11 – all died without receiving their prayers yet. (in time they will receive it)
- Wait – could be silence (because it is best for us to wait at that time)/ Delay for the same reason – doesn’t mean it wasn’t heard at the moment we made it. Daniel 10:12 – Daniel prayed and did not receive an answer until 3 weeks later but the pray was heard on the first day he made it. “Fear not Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand …thy words were heard” (Don’t mistake silence for inactivity) – results may come in time.
- Another Way – something quite often we did not expect or see – God had another way!
Note: all of these are answers! Never confuse not getting what we want as no answer!
We have the most powerful communication tool in the world let’s use it!!
1 John 3: 22 (KJV) “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
1 John 3:22 (ESV) “and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
Prayer Principle 1 – We Pray or we Faint!
Prayer Principle 2 – Believe that GOD Hears
Prayer Principle 3 – There is a way to Pray (Pray the right way)
Prayer Principle 4 – Listen or God won’t
Prayer Principle 5 – Prayer Works (God Answers Prayer)
We feel like we are standing on holy ground in this episode. Frank Abel and Tim Young discuss the revelation of God’s name of Yahweh before Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3. What does this name mean and what does it tell us about God? This continues our studies about God and how he manifests himself.
- Exodus 3:3-4 – standing on holy ground – the importance of this topic
- Moses asking questions Ex. 3:3,11,13 “What is your name?”
- Exodus 3:14-15 The declaration of the name
- The name is Yahweh v. 15 (in all caps)
- Present or future tense? I AM as to existence or I WILL BE as to intent
- Considering the context Ex. 3:12
- Other examples are usually future unless context indicates it to be present tense
- Exodus 6:23 “by Yahweh I was not known”
- El Shaddai as a title for blessing
- The fathers did not know or experience the covenant name even though they heard it from God and used it… “calling on the name of Yahweh” (e.g. Gen. 12:8 cp. Gen. 15:7-8)
- Exodus 6:6-8 The name and what God says he will do
- Emphasis “I am Yahweh” verses 2, 6, 8
- Seven “I will” statements in v. 6-8
- The meaning for us – God’s name is a memorial forever as he is “taking out of the Gentiles a people for his name” Acts 15:14
Jesus said that those who are resurrected to everlasting life will be “equal to the angels”. If this is the case then we certainly want to know as much as we can about God’s heavenly angels. Rob Alexander joins Tim Young to introduce us to this essential Bible study.
“… those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35-36)
- Why study angels? (Matt. 22:29-30; Luke 20:35-36)
- Meaning of angel – messengers, can be either human or heavenly
- We are made in the image of angels a.k.a. Elohim (Gen. 1:26 cp. Psa. 8:4-6; Heb. 2:7-9)
- Angels appear as men (Gen. 18:2; Judges 13:16)
- Angels also appear in glory (Matt. 28 – at Jesus’ tomb) but also can be invisible (Num. 22:31 – Balaam; 2 Kings 6:14-18 – Elisha and chariots of fire)
- God manifestation
- The curious case of Jacob wrestling an angel (Gen. 32:24,30)
- Described as a man but an angel (v. 24; Hosea 12:4)
- Jacob says he has seen God, face to face (v. 30; 1 Tim. 6:16)
- Angels represent God (Ex. 3:2,4,6)
- They take on his name (Ex. 23:20-21)
- The curious case of Jacob wrestling an angel (Gen. 32:24,30)
- Final conclusion
An essential part of our Bible study is to understand that the word of God was written for us. It is a personal letter to you in this very day and age. Aaron joins Tim to discuss many different passages that relate to us that the Bible is so much more then a history book.
For further reading get a copy of Our Sure Foundation by the Christadelphian Magazine.
Key Verse “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and is discerning of the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12)
It is a pleasure having the chance to talk about what I would suggest is a powerful and predominant characterization of Gods word …it’s a characterization, which…I would suggest, is incredibly pertinent to anyone who decides to read the word of God and that’s this description of Gods word as living.
And you know this is a description echoed throughout the bible…Peter in fact uses the same description. In 1st Peter 1 vs 22-25 he writes, “born again through the word of God which lives and abides forever“. It’s a powerful adjective….That we wouldn’t often attribute to most literature (when we think of living we think of something relevant and pertinent/ex. A book written in 1850 may not age well/ its message becomes old… perhaps stagnant).
But before we get into what exactly this characterization of a living word means, I think its important to preface why this is so important…because how we understand God’s word to be written, in many ways directly effects how we understand the Bible, and how we choose to read it as a document! Some Christians believe parts of scripture are irrelevant and outdated etc. So its really a fundamental thing to take the time to understand, how God’s word is intended to be received by us?
And I think what we will find as we take some time looking at this, is that the bible is actually fairly clear on how it was written and fairly transparent in how its word was intended to be received by the reader
Laying the foundation of scripture relevant for us and written for our benefit
Start by looking at how the Bible elaborates on this idea of a living word, and we can start by keeping ourselves in this same chapter 1st Peter 1 (is one of those overarching verses that I would suggest encompasses the way scripture was intended to be received).
With Peter, who seemingly has a lot to say on how the Bible was written, in vs 10- 12 “the prophets have inquired and searched carefully …but to them it was revealed that not unto them but to us they were ministering” (powerful statement for Peter to make here…100’s upon 100’s of years after these things were written, the ministrations of the prophets were written for his time!).
We see an example of what Peter is referencing in Daniel 12 vs 9 don’t we? (it wasn’t for Daniel to understand all the things he wrote/ the word of God was for those who were to come/ wrote things often incomprehensible to themselves because they wrote to a future generation).
We have David in Psalm 102 vs 19 “This will be written for a generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord” (the words and meditations of the psalms were written for generations to come!)
And to appreciate the significance of these statements is to appreciate how far off it would be to suggest the writings of these inspired writer’s to be irrelevant, or outdated, or that they’re writing with the misconceptions of their day…(that’s an accusation often leveled at the Old Testament).
(Paul elaborates on this) Romans 15: 4 “for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures may have hope”.
Continue in 1st Cor. 10 vs 6- 11 “now all these things happened to them as examples but were written for our admonition”.
But if anything is evident from these verses, it’s primarily that they were not concerned with their day…they were communicating messages that would have a greater relevance to future days!… often writing things incomprehensible to themselves.
All of these examples work to paint a picture of God’s word that reflects that description of a living word/ timeless principles and stories (in other words it’s messages and principles are unmarred by the cultural influences of it’s day as many authors of scripture had little understanding of what they wrote) that we can take lessons and exhortation from.
Now all of this reinforces the idea of an inspired word, but I would really suggest there are two ways you could define a divinely inspired word.
We could suppose it to be …a verbatim account of what God caused to be written by special men centuries ago, leaving us a word which is profitable for instruction when we read it….or, while admitting this…we could take this understanding a step further… and when we do we come to a powerful conclusion….
Directly addressed to us (take the understanding of what a living word means to a more personalized level)
- Matthew 22 vs 31 we think of Christ, who when speaking with the Sadducees references the account of the burning bush and God’s dialogue with Moses. instead of saying “that which was spoken unto Moses by God” he says “spoken unto YOU by God”…leaving us with the powerful reflection, that God’s intention was that those who read them should also be addressed by them!
- We have Hosea 12 vs 3 where Hosea recounting the events of Jacob in Bethel wrote “in Bethel God spake with US!…( 100’s of years later, Hosea is telling his reader they are being directly addressed by God!!)…(That is the nature and the full reality of the living word of God!)
- Hebrews 12 vs 5-7 referencing Solomon’s counsel to his son, Paul says “have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons!” words first spoken by Solomon to his son, but here we see God speaks to us as sons! The intention being that the reader should regard these words as a personal message to us.
- 1 Cor. 9:8-10 – Even the law of Moses was written for all believers!
Word of God speaks to us! We use the present tense deliberately because these words spoken and recorded thousands of years ago are purposed for us the reader…The Bible is God’s dialogue with us…We often think of prayer in this way don’t we but how often do we perceive scripture to be the same?
- Romans 4 vs 23 “The words, ‘it was account to him’ were not written for his sake alone but for us”. The message being that just as the word of God is characterized as living well so is the hope within this word characterized (the hope offered to Abraham and so many other faithful offered to us).
We have talked about a lot tonight, we have considered the character and the nature of Gods word…It’s a word whose principles and stories are as applicable now as they were thousands of years ago, it’s a word that has the power to prick the heart and conscience of the reader, but above all we are left with a picture of a word that is addressed and personalized to us. God’s word is like a personalized letter to us.
Hebrews 3:7-8 “Today if you hear his voice, Harden not your hearts”. Today was still today, and present when the letter to Hebrews written, and so to does those words speak to us! Now is the day of opportunity, Gods word is a living word, and we must be alive to its message.
Why would you write in your Bible? Marking our Bibles is a great way to make it personal. It helps us to get it into our heart and to have a ready answer. Tim and Josh discuss different types of Bible marking with lots of examples of what they’ve found to be helpful.
- What is Bible marking? Why do it?
- Wide margin Bibles
- Getting into a routine
Why Personalize Your Bible?
- Duty of a King to write out the law (Deuteronomy 17:18)
- It is about getting it into your heart (Proverbs 7:1-3)
Types of Bible Marking
- Identifying words
- Love – Agape / Phileo (1 Peter 1:22)
- God – El / Elohim
- Church – Ecclesia
- World – Kosmos / Aion
- Character traits of God (Exodus 34:6)
- Contextual repetition
- Seeing the context (Genesis 11:1-9; Luke 12:16-21; Mark 12:30,33 cp. v.44; Matthew 4:1-10)
- Understanding organization and structure (Revelation 1-3; Matthew 5; Zechariah 1-6)
- Topical notes / Theme studies
- Using the back of your Bible
- Chain reference marking
Season 3 starts on January 18th, 2021. Listen in as Tim and Jay discuss what is ahead for our new studies and some other goodies!
Martin Mostacedo joins Tim Young to wrap up season two. Martin talks about his beginnings in Bolivia, his Catholic upbringing and how he came to a changed life by reading and studying the Bible. Martin shares his favorite episode and his impressions on season two.
Key verse from John 4:23, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”
Cover image from Wikipedia “La Paz Skyline” which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.
The word “ecclesia” has been said a few times on the podcast without any definition. We fix that in this episode. Matt Colby rejoins the podcast to talk about one of his favorite Bible study tools, the lexicon. As a practical example, we look up the word “church” in different lexicons to see what sort of definitions they provide. The Greek word for church is “ecclesia” and we delve into the significance of this word and why we prefer to say “ecclesia” instead of “church”.
- 1 Corinthians 11:18
- Romans 16:5,23
- 1 Corinthians 1:1-2 (key verse)
Lexicon resources mentioned:
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
Louw & Nida
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains
BDAG (Bauer, Danker, Arndt, Gingrich)
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition
The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (English, Hebrew, Aramaic and Aramaic Edition)
New Testament Words
by William Barclay (Author)
Our last study of the “eternal judgment” by our Lord Jesus Christ made us reflect on how we are judging now. We might read one verse that says “do not judge” and another one that instructs us to judge righteously. Frank Abel joins Tim Young to discuss these passages and how we have to take them all together to get a balanced view.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24)
- Many passages about the future judgment relate to how we are judging now (e.g. Rom. 14:10-13)
- Essential Bible studies are so we might exercise our discernment between good and evil (Heb. 5:14)
- We have to be wise about how we judge. Contrast between 1 Cor. 4:3-5 and 5:3; 6:5 (1 Cor. 11:28-32)
When Not to Judge
- When you are judging motives (1 Cor. 4:3-5)
- When you are a hypocrite (Matt. 7:1-3, see also James 3:1)
- When you are judging outward appearances (John 7:24; James 2:1-4; Isa. 53:2-3)
- When you have only heard one side of the story (Prov. 18:17; Deut. 19:18)
- God loves judgment
- To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD (Prov. 21:3, see also Psa. 51:16-17)
- In judgment he delights (Jer. 9:24; Micah 6:8; bonus Zech. 7:9; 8:16)
- One of the weightier matters of the law (Luke 11:42)
- The need to balance love and judgment
- What is a true friend? (Prov. 27:5-6)
- How to love your neighbor (Lev. 19:17-18)
- Loving like Jesus (Rev. 3:19)
For previous episodes visit www.essenitalbiblestudies.org and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.