Monthly Archives: January 2009

Exodus 40

Scripture

 

“In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out – until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.” Exodus 40:36-38

 

Observation

 

The Lord led the Israelites in all their travels. They didn’t move unless He said it was time. The cloud, that His presence resided in, was in the sight of all of Israel.

 

Application

 

Our pastor defined inverted Christianity this past weekend, as:

o       Instead of following the Spirit, I invite the Holy Spirit to follow me.

o       Instead of serving God’s purposes, I ask God to serve my purposes.

Next, he asked a challenging question: Will my life be an adventure following Jesus or an inversion where I ask Jesus to follow me?

 

I need to keep Jesus in my sight daily and be in tune with what He has planned for my life. Instead of making my own plans and asking Jesus to follow along, I need to ask for His agenda and then be obedient. 

 “Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Proverbs 8:33&34

 

Where He leads me, I will follow.

 

Prayer

 

Heavenly Father,

You are the One who knit me together and knows all the days ordained for my life. You are the only Way. Please help me to keep You in my sight always and follow Your lead in all I do and say. 

Amen.

 Beckie (look2thehills)

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Exodus 38-39

Scripture

“They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen–the work of a skilled craftsman.” Exodus 39:3

Observation

Exodus 38-39 gives great detail of the work the Israelites did under Moses’ direction. Their materials were things such as gold, gems and jewels, fine linens of rich colors. The workers’ hands were skilled and they worked hard and willingly. In fact, “The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.” Exodus 39:42-43.

Application

I’m curious about these skilled workers. They all possessed great talent, equipped by the Lord:

  •  “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel, son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts–” Exodus 35:30-31.
  • “So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.” Exodus 36:1 (emphasis mine)

And in their work, they served the Lord, doing as he commanded. The word that comes to mind, though, is excellence. As I read the details of the things they built and created, they are rich in color and speak of skill. I didn’t get the impression that the effort they put in was done half-heartedly, but rather painstakingly. I mean, that kind of attention to detail is done through careful consideration–that takes love.

I haven’t exactly figured out what my craft is or what the Lord would have me build for him.  I’ve taken an online gifting test, and the answers change depending on my mood or perceived strength that day. So I try to take it one day at a time, trusting the Lord’s leading. My craft isn’t obvious to me: like singing or teaching. A lot of things don’t come naturally to me, so maybe that’s where my head gets messed up, because I sort of expected that my gift should be obvious and would be effortless. Maybe I need to rethink my thinking: these workers possessed great talent equipped by the Lord … they followed his instruction … and did it with a standard of excellence motivated by love. Maybe I should start there:

  • The Lord will equip me too.
  • I should follow where he leads me.
  • I should do it out of love for him.

Prayer

Father, thank you for turning my thoughts to you. I trust that you will lead me where you want me to work and that you will equip me for the job. I pray that I would be eager to serve you and do so joyfully and generously. Please cultivate in me a standard for excellence. I don’t pray these things for my glory, but rather that when people would look at me, they would see you at the very heart of my heart.  Thank you for so many examples in my life of excellence and love for you to challenge  and encourage me. Amen.

Courtney

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Exodus 35-37

Scripture

Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD’S contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the LORD.  ~Exodus 35:21, 22


Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful person in whom the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him, to come to the work to perform it. So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it.  ~Exodus 36:2,6-7 (NASB)


Observation

When have you heard a pastor get up and say, “Stop giving!” That’s what Moses had to do. The people gave and gave, and served and served, and it was too much! Makes me think . . . If everyone responded to God’s tugging in their life would our churches have to stop passing the offering plate? Would they have to turn people away at the volunteer counter? That is definitely not the case in most churches today. I’ve heard the statistics — 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work, apparently known as Pareto’s Principle in the management world. It begs the question, where do I fall on that spectrum?

Am I the one that broke off my earring for the golden calf, tossing it at the first interesting cause that came along? Or, am I the one that digs through all my earthly treasures and keeps bringing more and more to build the tabernacle of God, giving with thanksgiving and reckless abandon?

The people of Israel gave the best they had — jewels, skilled workmanship, fine linens — the very best, and with the best of intentions as well. Their hearts and spirits were moved and they responded.

Application

I cannot, and should not ignore God’s stirrings in my heart to give or serve.

I need to evaluate my church and ministry involvement. Can I do more? Can I encourage others to do more?

God owns it all, and can overwhelmingly accomplish any task, and yet He would gladly use me in the process.

My heart should offer it all with thanksgiving (Psalm 50:14; II Corinthians 9:7).

Prayer

Dear Lord,

You own it all! The cattle on a thousand hills, the whole universe is at Your disposal. Everything you have entrusted me with is truly Yours. Please help me to listen to Your beckoning, to Your gentle instruction to give of myself and my resources. I pray that I would hold nothing back. Help me not to be a stingy or reluctant giver. Open my hands, Lord, and use it all — every ounce of strength, every penny in the bank, every minute of my life, every breath of my emotion, I want to pour out to You. It could never be enough for all You have done for me, and yet it doesn’t earn me anything. I want to give you my heart, soul, mind, and strength simply because You are.

~Amen

Erin (5intow)

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Exodus 32-34

“SOA” combined:

There are so many practical truths packed into these three chapters that I decided to stray from the usual SOAP outline (hopefully, I won’t be the first “fired” contributor!).  Instead, I’m going to present a brief  “SOA” for each truth.

Scripture, Observation, Application:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

S:  Ex. 24:3 and again in 24:7…Israel claims, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.”

O:  Ex. 32…then they built and worshipped a golden calf.

A:  I judge the Israelites for their stupidity yet I make and break this promise daily.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

S:  Ex. 32:10…God says He will destroy the entire nation for their sin.

O:  Ex. 32:11-14…Moses pleas for mercy and God listens.

A:  This is a great answer for “why pray when God already has a plan in place. We can’t change His mind, can we?” What would have happened if Moses hadn’t prayed?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

S:  Ex. 20:3…”Have no other gods before me.”

O:  Ex. 32:28, 35…Israel worships the calf and is punished by the sword and a plague.

A:  Our sin does not go unpunished. We really DO reap what we sow. Forgiveness does not eliminate punishment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

S:  Ex. 32:2-4…Aaron leads the calf project

O:  Any connection between God and Aaron is absent in recent chapters. At least it is unrecorded. While Moses is spending months intimately communing with God on the mountain, what has Aaron’s relationship with God been like?

A:  If we aren’t in relationship with God it is so easy to make wrong choices. This can be especially damaging if you are a leader.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

S:  Ex. 33:13, 15…Moses says, “Teach me Your ways so I may know You…If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us from here.”

O:  Even after receiving all the “do’s and don’ts” of the law, Moses understood that RELATIONSHIP with God was most important. He didn’t say, “help me keep all these commands.”

A:  What am I focusing on?…the legalistic list of rights and wrongs OR getting to KNOW my Saviour?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prayer

God,  You have once again revealed Yourself in Your Word. Your character is so evident in the way you deal with Your people…then and today. If I truly want to follow You, then I need to KNOW You. I need to spend those intimate moments in the cloud on the mountain so I can hear Your voice, see Your hand, glimpse Your back. For only then will my face glow with Your glory. Amen.

Simply Spoken

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Exodus 29-31

Scripture

 

“So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests.  Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God.  They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them.  I am the Lord their God.” (Exodus 29:44-46) (NIV).

 

Observation

 

“The Love is in the details”

 

I don’t find this passage of scripture easy to read. It’s replete with detailed descriptions of the requirements for worship at the Tent of Meeting, specifying everything from on which earlobe the blood of the sacrificial ram must appear, to how long the priest who comes to the Tent of Meeting must wear the sacred robes.  There are unequivocal remarks about the measurement of the altar for burning incense, the type of metal used for the washing basin and a mind-boggling description of the weight and composition of the spices to be used in the anointing oil.   It seems like a great deal of work just for the sake of atoning for sins, but then again, the Israelites had a fair amount to atone for.  After witnessing an amplitude of miracles from a very present God who went so far as to appear on a mountain to their leader, the Israelites shucked deliverance and physical confirmation of their God for a golden idol because Moses was taking so long in receiving his marching orders from the Most High (Exodus 32:1-4).  Once again, His provision hadn’t proven enough for them, and their impatience and grumbling must have appeared to God as a very temperamental type of love.  How often our love must seem the same way to Him.

 

Much of Exodus represents the kind of detail found in this passage.  In fact, after the thunder and lightning recedes from the top of Mount Sinai, and Moses disappears into the darkness to meet with God, the Lord waxes poetic for 12 chapters on what he requires of his people – the people who worship Him, the people who pray to Him, the people who plead of Him, the people who profess to love Him.  I am reminded of where He tells us that our love for Him is manifested in, among other ways, the keeping of his commandments (Eccles. 12:13, Deut. 5:9-10, John 14:15).  It seems natural, then, that the Lord in His infinite wisdom might have set up an intricate network of worshipful responsibility so that His “stiff necked people” (Exodus 32:9) might show Him, without neglect, that they loved Him.

 

Application

 

The Christian faith is one of grace, and not of accomplishment (Ephesians 2:8), but we cannot separate the message of a faith-based salvation from the requirements of scripture that make clear we are called to faithful obedience in the pursuit of the holiness of God.  It is in this way that we show God our love for Him.  His gift of salvation is given freely, but it is a shallow relationship with the Lord that is not marked by the pursuit of spiritual disciplines like tithing, discipleship, worship, hospitality, evangelism and others.  While it might seem, to the weary believer or the new Christian that this walk of ours is fraught with too much difficulty or too much work, we are reminded that Christ gives us the strength to accomplish everything he requires of us (Phil. 4:13).  Indeed, the Lord made clear to Moses that even in the intricacies of construction and worship relative to the Tent of Meeting and the Day of Atonement, he had “given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you…” (Exodus 31:6).  We are never without the capacity to do what the Lord commands, and in doing that, we show the One who has pursued us from the start of time that we love Him unconditionally, unreservedly, unendingly.  Our obedience to God is proof that He is, indeed our God (Exodus 29:46).  Let us commit ourselves to living a life of love (Ephesians 5:1-2) by doing what we are commanded. 

 

Prayer

 

Heavenly Father, let my heart be glad to serve you, and let me show you that I love you in every daily expression.  Make me a happy keeper of your commandments, a joyful practitioner of Christian disciplines, a walking testimony for you and the great gift of salvation I have been given through no earning power of my own.  Make me unthinkingly obedient in showing others that I love you, and that you are my God.  Amen.

 

– Sarah

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Exodus 26-28

Scripture

“Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord.”  (Exodus 28:29)

Observation

Details, details, details!  God stipulated exactly how His tabernacle should be built and furnished.  From the measurements of the altar to the color of the priestly robes, God orchestrated it all.  The Israelites carried out God’s instructions in reverent obedience, trusting that God’s goal for them was not mere details, but lasting salvation.

Application

Why should details from thousands of years ago speak to us today?  Actually, on this side of the cross—when we read about the tabernacle with New Testament eyes—the details mean even more.  We know now that God’s tabernacle stipulations were met and surpassed in Jesus Christ.

Aaron wore the names of Israel’s sons when he entered the Holy Place.  Jesus wore the sin of all mankind there.

Aaron made sacrifice for sins.  Jesus Christ became the sacrifice himself.

“When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation….How much more, then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”  (Hebrews 9:11, 14)

Prayer

God, truly You are in the details.—My salvation has been Your plan all along.  Thank You for Jesus Christ, my high priest who ransomed and rescued me.  Thank You that my name was on his breastpiece.  How I need the mercy You so freely give! Today I trust again in Your lasting salvation.  Amen.

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Exodus 23-25

Scripture

“Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.”

Exodus 23:14-16

Observation

As I was reading through this passage it struck me that there were three feasts that were celebrated each by the children of Israel. This seemed curious to me. Why three? This number is so important when connected to our faith and our God. For further insight I looked into the nature of these feasts. The first feast is the Feast of Passover which commemorates that Lord’s deliverance of His people out of captivity in Egypt. The second feast is the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost which celebrated the first fruits of the harvest in the Spring. The final feast is the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths in which the final fruits of the field are gathered in. The people of Israel were to celebrate the work of the Lord in their deliverance, in the process of their work, and in the bringing in of the harvest.

It occurred to me that once again the Master artist is painting a picture of His plan in the midst of calling His people to rest and celebration. It seems to me that the Feasts are a type for salvation, a foreshadowing of His plan of salvation. Each feast corresponds to one aspect of the saving work of God in our lives. The Passover Feast in which the lamb is sacrificed so that death might past over the people of God corresponds to the work o God in justification in which the perfect Lamb was sacrificed once and for all to open for us the Holy of Holies that we might approach the throne of grace with confidence. Just as the children of Israel were ransomed from the power of Pharaoh, we are ransomed from the power of sin and death.

The Feast of Weeks corresponds to the work of Sanctification in which the first fruits of the work of Christ are carried out by His church. This feat lasted 50 days and was celebrated through the labor of the barley harvest. In the same way sanctification is a process of celebration and work in our lives as we (hopefully) cooperate with Holy Spirit to be conformed to the image of Christ and to be made complete in Him.

The final feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, corresponds to Glorification in which the fruits of the harvest are brought into field and work ceases (at least the work of the harvest). The image behind this feast was that of being “brought in.” In the same way one day we will be brought into be with God forever.

It ia absolutely amazing how God paints pictures of His wisdom in the midst of giving His children the gifts of celebration and rest. These Feasts were immediately intended for benefit and pleasure of Israel but they were also painting a picture of the redemptive work of God. In calling His people to reflect and celebrate His provisions and abundance, He also pulled back the veil to give a preview of a plan for a much greater provision . . . the provision of Jesus. This is all about Jesus and it always has been.

Application

I don’t think that there is enough space to expound upon all the ways that these ancient Feasts apply to us. It is funny because I always considered them to be obsolete and part of the Old Law that has passed away. The Feasts were irrelevant today. I could not be more wrong because all of it, Law, Feasts, Ark, Tabernacle, all of it points to Jesus and what He has done. What I am personally connecting to right now is the concept of celebration as the connecting theme in all the dimensions of salvation. In all of it, Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification the correct and natural response is celebration and worship. Celebrating the gifts of God and worshiping Him for providing for us when were helpless. We serve a God who loves us beyond anything we can imagine and He has been trying to tell us this in everything that He has done in the story of redemption.

Prayer

Lord, I am overwhelmed by Your goodness and provision. I am amazed that you approach all of the work you do for us with the attitude of celebration, joy, and abundance and that you invite us to celebrate with You and in your power. Help me to live in joy and celebration and worship for the amazing provision you have given in your Son. Teach me to live in the joy you have provided in my salvation: in the freedom from the penalty of sin in justification; in the freedom from the power of sin in sanctification; and in the hope of freedom from the presence of sin in glorification. Above all let me always remember the cost of this freedom and that to be freed from sin is to be brought into the presence of Jesus, the One who all of this is about. Teach me to live in the joy and abundance of my salvation – Christ in me. Amazing!

mhipsley

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