Exodus 32-34; Acts 2 & Psalm 16

When the people saw Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it.” (Exodus 32:1-5 ESV)

What in the world just happened? The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. God brought on plagues to wake their captures up and parted the Red Sea to set them free. All of this just happened and now because Moses is taking a bit longer than they hoped to return from talking with God, they get impatient. They get so impatient that they seem to completely forget what just happened. They get so impatient and in need of “worshipping” something that they build an alter to a golden cow. This sounds crazy!

Looking back on their story now I want to shout “what in the world are you thinking? How forgetful can you be, not to mention ungrateful?” But then I wonder if I’m like the Israelites. I praise God when times are good and I do reflect on all the good He has blessed me with. But do I get impatient and take matters into my own hands when I don’t have an answer right now like I would prefer? Is my tendency to worry about things a flaw of mine that means I don’t trust Him as much as I should?

And Peter said to them ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and all who are far and off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself. And with many other words He bore witness and continued saying ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation.’ So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:38-41 ESV)

On the day of Pentecost, it was publicly announced that salvation was open not just to the Israelites, but to Gentiles and all who call upon the name of the Lord. People from all over, heard the Good News in their language so they would have the opportunity to believe. Three thousand believed that day.

I would have loved to have been a witness to the events of Pentecost, with Peter’s sermon and thousands coming to salvation. What marvelous sights and sounds!

I bless the Lord who gives counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fulness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:7-11 ESV)

Amen and amen.

~Kellie

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Exodus 28-31; Acts 1

There’s a lot of description about the priests’ garments. Skill and care went into making them.

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.

Exodus28:2-3, ESV

I love that God filled them with a spirit of skill. I love that he had specifications of how things should be made. I love that in the colors and gems and details, he lists the names.

You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. 12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for remembrance.

Exodus 28:9-12, ESV

29 So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord. 30 And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.

Exodus 28:29-30, ESV

From the detail of the garments, the sacrifices offered, the anointing of the priests–a way of setting things apart, a holiness. Even the names of the sons of Israel. Each act and detail meaningful. But the names–being known by the Lord.

Known by the Lord.

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 1:1-3, ESV

Chosen.

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

Acts 1:21-25, ESV

This is a precious pause in my day–to consider his vast love, his intentional creativity, and that in the details he includes names, he knows hearts. He chooses and equips people to glorify him.

Lord, you show me that you’re in the details and that nothing is overlooked. Thank you for your Word.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 25-27; Luke 24

When my wife and I are with friends, we noticed how we have great conversation, great food, and have a long night of being together. What gets us is that at the door, with everything ready to go, we spend another 30 minutes or even more, talking some more. We were at one time embarrassed by that, but then rested in it because those 30 minutes were some of the more intimate moments of conversation that we did not have around the dining room table or in the living room. I see that a little bit in how my alone time with God has been looking. I spend time and then I want to linger. So I love the story of the two on the road to Emmaus.

 And so they strongly urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. – Luke 24:29 NASB

Is it not true? When I spend time with Jesus, I do not want to let go. I am starving for truth, for love, for conversation that takes me to a place where I am more than who I am. I have boldness, courage, strength, faith to move mountains. Is it true that faith comes from hearing the Word? It must be, because Jesus is the Word and when He speaks my life compeletely changes. Here the two men “strongly urged” Him to stay with them because they wanted to spend as much time as they could with this experience, this feeling, this life changing conversation. I keep forgetting that they just came from Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified a few days ago.

And then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. – Luke 24:31 NASB

This is crazy right? They did not see Him, recognize Him – not at all? How many times have I not prayed for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes as I read the Word? How can I possibly forget to invite Him into my world to change me, to give me an experience with Him that I will never forget? I tell you what, if I had just spent a long journey with someone who changed my life, then found out it was Jesus, the lover of my soul, and then see Him vanish before my eyes, I too would have ran back to Jerusalem to tell everyone He is indeed was risen from the dead.

I am reminded again how important the Old Testament was to Jesus. I love that we look at the Word from both an Old Testament (larger reading portion because there are more books) and from a New Testament lens every day. Each day is an adventure as to how the Holy Spirit will speak to me and from which portion of the Word.

May the time we spend together in Your presence nourish our hearts and minds; may it strengthen our relationship with You, and renew our commitment to live in this world as Your faithful disciples.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Exodus 22-24; Luke 23; Psalms 12, 14

Is there a way that we can tie these passages together? It does seem like there may be a progression here:

  • In the Exodus chapters we see God challenging Israel to obey him and obey his festivals and rules. As we continue to read through the Old Testament, we realize they never did. Can you imagine how different the world would be if we saved our enemy’s animals when they were in distress (Exodus 23:4&5)? Or let’s say no one ever shares a false report! What a blessing that would be (Exodus 23:1). But Israel did not listen to the word of God, so that leads to a further alienation from God.
  • In Psalm 22, not only do people not save their enemy’s animals they spread lies about their neighbors that they should be friends with: Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak (Psalm 22:1&2). It seems as if Israel is moving further and further away from God. That leads to the ultimate denial of God in Luke’s Gospel.
  • In Luke 23 we find the leaders of Israel demanding to murder the very God of the universe! They are acting as if there is no God.

So how do I apply this to my life? Perhaps it’s not such a serious progression against God, but as we do ignore his activity in our lives we start to not treat or relate to him as the God of the universe. I know I have become callous to my sin many times and haven’t treated the God I love with the proper respect and honor due him. And yes, perhaps by starting out obeying in the little things then it becomes easier to honor him in the greater ones.

Father God, help us not to become callous in the things you command us to do and observe. May we always be diligent in the smaller things so that when the bigger issues come our way we are ready to obey your word.

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Exodus 19-21; Luke 22

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you should labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 ESV

My pastor asked this question on Sunday, “Am I working for rest? Or am I working from rest?” More often than not, I am working for rest. But, when I take a Sabbath, I am energized to do the work that God has called me to do. When I quiet my heart and mind before Him, I remember that I’m not in control. I don’t have to frantically live my life and worry that I am falling behind. “Rest. in His strength to do it, Rest in His ways above ours, Rest in Him who is with you, in you & is 100% for you.” (Ann Voskamp)

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:1 ESV

Am I resting in His care for me?

“And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Luke 22:15-18 ESV

When I take communion, I reflect on what God did for me. That He paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sins, because He loves me that much. It strengthens my faith, knowing that His promises will be fulfilled.

Thank you Father for your faithfulness. Thank you that your law is for my protection, because you know what is best for me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I love you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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