Monthly Archives: March 2017

Exodus 35-38; The Prefect Tabernacle

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Since God inspired Moses to write down the intricate details of the building of the tabernacle, I figure it must be important. So, not being one who can picture it from the words, I went to Google.

Not all artists renderings are exactly the same, but I can see that structure was amazing. For one, the colors must have looked spectacular against the backdrop of the desert.

And all that gold!

I love how God inspired them to construct the courtyard around the tabernacle, to protect it and set it apart. And I love how the Israelites built their tent cities around the place where God lived on earth.

God took His dwelling place seriously, and so did the Jews. How could the neighbors not recognize it, too? It had to be quite a testimony.

The New Testament tells us Jesus dwelt, or tabernacled, among us. Hebrews talks about a more perfect tabernacle not made of hands. Every detail of the Old Testament tabernacle is realized in the person of Jesus Christ. Think of it. He is the Gate, the Door, the Sacrifice, the Atonement, the Bread, the Light, the One who cleanses and intercedes. And when Jesus died on the cross, the veil that up until that time separated us from the Holy of Holies was ripped in two, giving us access to God Himself any time, any day.

So I don’t want to gloss over the tiny details of the tabernacle Moses built. It’s a picture of my Jesus. I want to build my life, my city of tents so to speak, around Him. I want to honor Him, worship Him, and recognize what a truly awesome God He is. And I want to stand out as His follower as obviously as a colorful tent in the desert.

Exodus 33-34; Looking The Part

Often when reading this portion of Scripture I am struck by the change in Moses’ appearance after spending time with God. I was today as well. But God has me thinking about another aspect of this truth.

When God introduced Himself to Moses He said He is, “The Lord.” Then He said it again, “The Lord.” I AM. I AM. He went on to tell Moses He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, loving, faithful, forgiving, and just. I’m thinking, who wouldn’t want to hang out with someone like this?

And why wouldn’t spending time with God cause us to shine, too? At least put a genuine smile on our faces.

Here is what spoke to me today. Moses continued to talk to the people, continued to share what God was saying to him, continued to lead them. Oh, he toned it down a little because the people were a bit uncomfortable in his presence. But there could be no denying that Moses had spent time with God Himself, and that spending time with God had changed him.

I think we can learn from Moses that we shouldn’t keep our encounter with God to ourselves. My prayer is that people may recognize I’ve been in His Presence by the words I say, the love I show, the joy in my heart, and the smile on my face.

I don’t want to be obnoxious about it, but may people see Jesus in me.

Exodus 32; 960 Hours

It’s the middle of March. I’m wondering how many of you who made New Year’s Resolutions are still sticking with it. Myself? I quit making New Year’s Resolutions long ago. I stink at it.

But what about when we make promises to God? Are we able to keep those promises more than forty days? Forty days were all it took for Aaron and the Israelites to forget their promise to follow God, and make a golden calf to worship instead. 960 hours.

How seriously did God take their failure to keep their promise? 3,000 people died that day. I call that serious.

A man in my church lost a bunch of weight a while back. He looked great. I, who gave up my yearly resolve to lose these extra 15 pounds I’m carrying asked him how he did it. His answer? “I prayed.”

I don’t remember ever seeing an infomercial on that diet plan.

But my friend said that he prayed believing God would hear and answer his prayer. Then, every time he was tempted to open that bag of chips or have that second helping of dinner, he’d pray. And God answered his prayers.

Prayers. My friend lives his life in an attitude of prayer. And God answered his prayers as often as he prayed. He successfully lost the weight and has kept it off several years later.

I don’t think the Israelites did much praying when Moses was on the mountain. Because if they did, God would have answered their prayers. They would not have lost their confidence in God and Moses if they had prayed about that.

I take two things away from this chapter in Exodus today. One, God takes my promises to Him very seriously. And two, if I feel led to make a promise to Him, He is able to help me keep it. If I ask Him. And if I go to Him when I am tempted to break that promise, He will give me the strength to be successful.

He is able. And because He is, so am I.

 

Exodus 30-31; Five Bucks. Five Bucks.

Each Jewish adult was required to pay a ransom for his or her life. (30:12) The price was half a shekel, or about 8 grams of silver. So by today’s standards, a life was worth about five bucks. (chabad.org)

A rich person wasn’t worth more than a poor person. A poor person’s debt wasn’t simply forgiven for lack of funds. Men didn’t pay more than women. Healthy not more than the sick.

Five bucks.

This says two things to me. 1) We are all equal in God’s eyes. That may give you warm fuzzies, but the reality is we are all equally guilty in God’s eyes. We all have sinned. We all are his enemies. We are all in need of redemption. But…

2) Jesus paid it all!!

Jesus went to the cross and died once for all. My ransom cost Him exactly what yours did. The wages of sin is death. Jesus died. I’m no more special than you, no more chosen than you, no more loved than you.

Jesus paid my ransom at the same time and in the same way He paid yours. I am forgiven because I’ve accepted His work on the cross and claimed it for my own. I pray you have done the same.

Exodus 27-29; A Step Further

There were a lot of hoops Aaron and his sons had to jump through before they could do the work of the priests. From the top of their heads to the tip of their toes, from what they ate to where they ate it, from what animal they used in the sacrificed to what they did with every inch of the animal, nothing was left to chance. Their instructions, which were many, were clearly spelled out so the Jews could have their sins forgiven.

But after all that, even if carried out to the letter, the ceremony and sacrifices could only cover their sins, none of it could actually take those sins away. (Heb 10:4)

Only Jesus can do that. (Heb 9:15, 26; Romans 3:23)

Scripture tells us that when Jesus offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice, He washed our sins away, removed them as far as the east is from the west, buried them in the deepest sea, and promises never to remember them ever again.

What we read in Exodus is a picture of the intricate details Jesus fulfilled. But He went a step further. And I am praising Him today because He did!

Exodus 24-26; Where Worship Is

I know people say you can worship God anywhere. I actually hope you do worship Him often throughout the day, every day. I’m sitting here in my enclosed porch watching a couple birds make their home in a birdhouse that was once my dad’s. A squirrel just ran along the top of my fence. And my azalea bush is at the end of its beautiful display. I worship the Creator in the magnificent work of His hand.

But does sitting here today mean I don’t need church? God’s instructions to Moses concerning the building of the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant include minute details. These were carefully instructed, ornate, expensive, purposeful places where God’s people would gather to worship.

As I read these chapters it occurs to me that if God was so interested in the physical places of corporate worship back then, He probably is still interested in us taking our places of worship seriously. In the building of these structures God was providing a place for the Jews to gather together to worship because corporate worship was important to Him.

Still is. Don’t neglect the gathering of saints just because you think you can worship God on a golf course. Oh, go ahead and worship Him on the golf course. Just don’t do it on Sunday morning when you have the unique opportunity to gather together with other believers and worship God as one.

I think God, by the example we read in these chapters, must think it’s pretty important.

Exodus 21-23; Play Nice

Wouldn’t life be amazing if everybody lived according to the principles God laid down for His children here in these chapters? Murder demands a death sentence, you pay your debts, you are honest, if you are guilty of careless behavior you fess up and pay up, and you don’t mistreat people. It’s the Golden Rule broken down into specific behaviors.

We live in a day where so many people trample over others in order to get ahead. One person’s rights trumps another’s rights, sometimes violently. We live in a society with a sue your neighbor mentality, and we are witnessing the consequences for such selfish and self-centered behavior.

But there are many who aren’t caught up in “self.” I see examples of that almost every day. And I hope you do, too.

I was talking to some friends of mine the other day, and they said they’d received a check from their granddaughter who was almost done paying for her car. They had loaned her the money and she’d been faithful to pay it back. Oh, that’s not unusual, they said. They’ve loaned money to most of their kids and many of their grandkids at one time or another. They never charge interest, and they’ve never been stuck.

In fact, the husband said they let the kids determine how much they can pay a month, AND he lets them keep track of the debt themselves. When the kids tell their parents they are paid in full, the parents trust them that they have indeed met their obligation. Debt paid.

Some of you might say that loaning money without charging interest is not good financially. That money would be gaining interest if it sat in the bank. So, while they are loaning money to their children, they are really losing money.

So?

These two are not in any way wealthy. She is a retired nurse, he a retired county worker. But when I read Exodus 22:25 I thought of them. They are living what God instructed the early Jews to do with their own families.

I know others who are financially generous. My sisters and their husbands are. I know many people who are generous with their time, their talents and abilities. I know honest and thoughtful people who live the Golden Rule every day. And life is better because they do.

Now let’s be clear. None of these good people are earning brownie points with God in order to earn heaven. We saw that in the chapters we read in my former post. But God would love for us to enjoy this life while we’re here. He’d like us to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, generous, thoughtful. He’d like us to treat one another in a way that we’d like to be treated ourselves.

We’re stuck here on this planet until God takes us home. So while we’re here, let’s play nice.