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Cutting Room Floor (Page 8)

One of the most difficult and painful tasks for any well-studied sermon is to condense the material that is most important, relevant and valuable to the audience. Oftentimes, a good deal of good material is left on the preacher’s cutting room floor. Luckily, some of that material has found a place here.

At The Pastor’s Cutting Room Floor, you’ll find a number of things that don’t make it into the sermon, for a variety of reasons: there wasn’t enough time, the point was too small to make, the point was too technical to make, the issue is better dealt with out of the pulpit, etc.

Welcome to the stuff that didn’t make it. I pray it challenges you to deepen your understanding of God’s Word and to ultimately know Him better.

Psalm 95/Hebrews 3-4 & Sermon Q&A

Part 1: Sermon Discussion   Today’s sermon was a vision-casting sermon. After reflecting on several passages of Scripture (including Psalm 95, 1 Peter 5, and Proverbs 29:18), we looked at the past, present and future of our church ministry. I personally am humbled to be a part of a legacy that has lasted for 60 years, and I pray for many, many more years of effective ministry until the Lord returns. During the discussion about future ministry endeavors, I pointed…

Exodus 15b-17a: Manna Mania

The manna episode of Exodus 16 echoes throughout all of the Old and New Testaments. Passages all over Scripture, from Deuteronomy 8:3 to Psalm 105:40 to Revelation 2:17 all have clearly point to the time God rained down bread from Heaven. There were simply too many to reference them all in a single sermon, and an exhaustive search of all the allusions in the Bible is beyond the scope of a single blog entry! I did, however, have one major…

Exodus 15a: Hebrew Poetry and Exodus 15

I have a confession to make: I hate poetry. Especially the kind that doesn’t rhyme. But I do love Hebrew poetry. It works a bit differently than what we’re used to in English. Hebrew poetry typically doesn’t rhyme words (though sometimes it plays with sounds), but instead it “rhymes” ideas or thoughts. There were a few poetic features of the Song at the Sea that stood out to me this week, but I had to cut because they would’ve bogged…

Exodus 13b-14: Crossing the Re(e)d Sea

Many times in a sermon, discussions are not entirely cut so much as they are trimmed. That is the case for the Red Sea this week. I spent a few minutes talking about the controversy of where the Red Sea might be located. But compared to the volume of research that is still alive and well today, it was a short page in a lengthy book. So let’s fill in a few more (but not nearly all) of the gaps…

Exodus 12c-13a: Echoes of Exodus

You may have noticed in this week’s text (Exodus 12:43-13:16) that there were a lot of familiar-sounding verses. Exodus 12:1-14 covers the Passover, 12:15-20 the Feast of Unleavened Bread, then 12:21-27 once again covers Passover. 12:43-49 once again cover the Passover, and 13:3-10 looks once again to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So we could outline the two chapters like this: A) Passover, Part 1 (12:1-14) B) Feast of Unleavened Bread, Part 1 (12:15-20) C) Passover, Part 2 (12:21-27) X)…

Exodus 12b: Another Look at the 600,000

How many Israelites left Egypt in the exodus? The text of Exodus 12:37 tells us that “about six hundred thousand men on foot” left. Taken at face value, this would mean somewhere between 2 and 3 million Israelites altogether left, counting women and children. In the sermon today I mentioned that this enormous number has been a problem for a long time, for multiple reasons. There are several archaeological and historical issues with this large a population. James Hoffmeier, an…

Exodus 12a: The Meaning of “Passover”

The holiday of Passover commemorates the Lord’s “passing over” the Israelite families as He struck down the firstborn sons of Egypt. We might assume that the word “Passover” is drawn from the “passing over” of the Israelites, but some think the case is not that clear. The word “Passover” comes from the Hebrew word פֶּסַח (pesach). This is not the same Hebrew word for “pass through/over” in Exodus 12:12; however, it is coming from the same root as the verb…

Exodus 10b-11: The Plagues of Exodus and Revelation

The plagues of Exodus were outpourings of God’s wrath upon the Egyptians. God was clearly demonstrating to the Egyptians (and His people) that He is supreme over their gods. There is a great deal of language that points to the truth that Egypt is suffering exactly as she deserves; she reaps what she has sown. The plagues are God’s just and righteous wrath upon the earth. Fast forward several thousand years. The Apostle John is on the prison island Patmos…

Exodus 9:16 and Romans 9:14-18

The hardness of Pharaoh’s heart has stimulated a great deal of discussion, both in our local church and the history of the Church universal. Did you know that the Apostle Paul uses Pharaoh as an example when discussing the future of Israel and God’s covenant with them? In Romans 9-11, Paul discusses God’s past, present and future relationship with the nation Israel. Paul is wondering aloud (for the sake of his audience) if God has forsaken His covenants with Israel…

Exodus 7b-8a: Creation & the Plagues

The narrative of the plagues is quite familiar to many people that have been around church for some time. Many people can even recite the ten plagues in order (or sing a song that lists them all!). The familiar can sometimes get boring, so I have sought to remedy this perceived problem by giving some new perspective each week on the plagues. We have discussed the gods of Egypt and their relationship to the plagues, and this week we also…

Exodus 7b-8a CRF: The Gods of the Plagues

Several passages of Scripture make it clear that one function of the plagues of the exodus was to enact judgment upon the “gods of Egypt” (Ex 12:12, 15:11, 18:10-11). Numbers 33:4b probably states it most succinctly: “On their gods also Yahweh executed judgments.” Below is a chart that demonstrates a few of the possible gods that the plagues might have been aimed at, if they were indeed aimed at specific gods. Following the chart is a more detailed analysis of…

Exodus 7:1-13 CRF – The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart

The issue of Pharaoh’s hard heart has incited quite a bit of debate for centuries. It has fueled much of the fire between Calvinism and Arminianism, election and free will. I attempted to treat the subject as fairly as possible this Sunday, while leaving a lot of the technical stuff on the Cutting Room Floor. This entry today will work as a bit of a data-dump, with all the information collected into one place for your further study. Lexical Terminology…

Exodus 6: Fun with Genealogies

OK – I understand… most churchgoers don’t jump out of bed, eager for a chance to study genealogies! But 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that every Scripture is there for a reason, including the more difficult ones like Exodus 6. So this Sunday I tried to focus on the main thing: why does Exodus 6 give us a genealogy in the midst of all the narrative plot? I pointed out that the genealogy primarily follows the line of Levi, specifically…

CRF – Exodus 5: The Theme of Exodus

“Can anyone tell me the Big Idea of the book of Exodus?” You’ve heard me say that phrase for several weeks now. And what is the Big Idea of Exodus? Serve Yahweh, Creator and Redeemer, who dwells among us. We have seen various aspects of this theme already coming together, even though we are only an eighth of the way through the book. The word “serve” is a major part of chapter 5. One of the elements of that chapter…

Exodus 4b CRF – The hzq of God

Today in the sermon, I teased the coming theological difficulty of Pharaoh’s hard heart. Who hardened it: God or Pharaoh? And how do we reconcile these statements together? Exodus 4:21 was the first verse to bring the issue up: God says to Moses, “I Myself will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will not let the people go.” What I didn’t get time to dive into was the relationship of this verse to Ex 3:19. The tension between God hardening…

Exodus 3-4 CRF – An Emphatic Translation of Exodus 3-4a

Exodus 3-4a is mostly made up of a dialogue between Yahweh and Moses. There is a lot of wordplay in these verses, especially concerning the divine name and the verb “to be” (see my sermon on Exodus 3:1-15). One of the things I did not get time to bring forward in the sermon is the use of emphatic pronouns in the text. First, a brief Hebrew lesson. The Hebrew language can form a pronoun in two main ways (pronouns are…

Exodus 3:1-15 CRF – In-Law Problems

Reuel/Jethro/Hobab When Moses fled to Midian, he was quick to settle down and marry Zipporah. Exodus 2:18 tells us that Zipporah was daughter of Reuel, the priest of Midian. Only a few verses later (but 40 years into the future), we are told that Moses is keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, priest of Midian (3:1). This alone does not present us with much of a problem. Double names are quite common in the Bible (Jacob/Israel, Abram/Abraham, etc.). It…

Exodus 2:11-25 – CRF Acts 7 and Hebrews 11

The events in Exodus are alluded to or referenced in just about every New Testament book. The specific event of Moses’s early life in Egypt (Ex 2:11-15) is commented on at length in two different New Testament passages: Acts 7:23-29 and Hebrews 11:24-27. Both of these passages give us unique and inspired insight into the text of Exodus.   Acts 7:23-29 – 23 “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And…

Exodus 2:1-10 CRF – The Name of Moses

What’s in a Name? Part of the genius of the narrator of Exodus 2 is deliberately leaving out the names of the main characters (on the cutting room floor?). We never hear the name of Moses’s mother or sister or the name of Pharaoh’s daughter. The former two we get more information about later in Exodus, but never the princess (it’s unfortunate, because that might’ve helped solve another Cutting Room Floor a few weeks ago!). This is part of the…

Exodus 1:8-22 CRF – The Pharaohs of Exodus

Buckle up, folks, because this is a long one. Today I’m going to tackle two issues that didn’t make the sermon: Who are the pharaohs of the exodus? and What did Pharaoh mean by the phrase, “see them on the birthstool”? The Pharaohs of Exodus There are two pharaohs in the book of Exodus: the pharaoh of the oppression (chs 1-2), and the pharaoh of the exodus (chs 3-14). For those who believe Exodus is a book that accurately reflects…