Monthly Archives: January 2022

Exodus 40:17-38; Leviticus 1-4

In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. . . So Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

Exodus 40:17, 33-34 ESV

After endless careful preparation, the tabernacle was complete. Expert workmanship. Excessive attention to detail. The highest quality materials. Donated and hired time and labor. Finally, everything was in place and the tabernacle was assembled, and God moved in.

Israel had some trying days in their not-so-distant future. Their faith was also relatively young as a nation, as individuals. They didn’t have centuries of recorded history verifying God’s plan for them as His people. Their most familiar context was slavery. God was reshaping their thinking. He was their God, and they were His people. He was present with them and would remain, faithful and sovereign.

And with the tabernacle in place, the sacrifice instruction begins. Sins, intentional and unintentional, by leaders or common people, individual or corporate, all demanded repentance and sacrifice. A new vocabulary methodically punctuates the next chapters.

Offering. Without blemish. Accepted. Atonement. Kill. Blood. Fire. Entrails. Burn. Pleasing aroma.

And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.

Leviticus 4:35 b ESV

The repeated refrain. For centuries, this practice of sacrifice will remain. Israel would repeat this ritual, pinning all their confidence on a future sacrifice that would once for all pay for their sins as their Messiah would hang on a cross, bloodied and bruised. While they wait, they are offered a reminder to hope, a visible promise of forgiveness. As the sacrifice assaults their senses — sticky blood, burning meat, priestly murmurs, splashing water — the messiness of their sin will again remind them of their need of a Savior, of the deep divide between them and God. He has taken up residence right there, and yet, he remains untouchable, distanced by sin.

Now, we look back. Gratitude swells as I picture the tabernacle and all God taught the Israelites through the very construction of it. His love, His plan, His foresight. He knew that I needed a Savior, just like Israel of old, and His plan solved that issue for everyone from Adam through the end of mankind. Just as the tabernacle had one gate, He provided one way. Just as He indwelt the tabernacle, He floods my heart and life through the miracle of Jesus Christ. Just as the lambs burned as a pleasing aroma, so our lives play out for His glory. Just as Israel knew atonement through a coming hope, so do we as we remember that hope fulfilled.

The Old Testament is not just an interesting story of past happenings (or an unexplained record of animal killing), but a more vivid lens to expose the vibrancy of our faith, the eternal intentionality of God the Father as He crafted our salvation.

Father God, thank you for leaving nothing to chance, for carefully, methodically explaining salvation, demonstrating our sin and your plan, and making a way for me to know you intimately. Thank you for the picture that the tabernacle gives us of you and your plan through the ages. Thank you for taking care of my messy sins once for all and offering at no cost to me the hope of heaven. May my life be a beautiful aroma to You. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Exodus 38:1 – 40:16

In the passage today, Israel is coming together to build all the items God commanded Moses to make for the tabernacle. Each piece was crafted exactly to God’s specifications.  I am sure that God had a job for every one who wanted to participate.  It required a lot of various skills which God instilled in each individual.   Each man had his skill and each man used it to God’s glory and specifications.  It also could be that the person contributed money needed to purchase the materials.  Not one contribution is greater than another in God’s eyes if they are done to His glory.   It is like that today as well.  God gives me special gifts, and He give you another.  When we use them in conjunction with one another to bring God glory, then something beautiful comes out of it. That is exactly what is taking place here.  All the various pieces of the temple are being assembled together to make a tabernacle where God was pleased to reside.

They presented The Dwelling to Moses, the Tent and all its furnishings:

Fastening hooks, frames, crossbars, posts, bases, tenting of tanned ram skins, tenting of dolphin skins Veil of the screen,

Chest of the Testimony with its poles and atonement cover

Table with its utensils and the Bread of the Presence

Lampstand of pure gold and its lamps all fitted out and all its utensils and the oil for the light

Gold Altar

Anointing oil, fragrant incense

Screen for the entrance to the Tent

Bronze Altar with its bronze grate, its poles and all its utensils

Washbasin and its base

Hangings for the Courtyard, its posts and bases

Screen for the gate of the Courtyard, its cords and its pegs

Utensils for ministry in the Dwelling, The Tent of Meeting

Woven vestments for ministering in the Sanctuary

Sacred vestments for Aaron the priest, and his sons when serving as priests.

The Israelites completed all the work, just as God had commanded. Moses saw that they had done all the work and done it exactly as God had commanded.  Moses blessed them.  (Exodus 29:33-43 The Message)

Isn’t it nice when we work long and hard on a project that our efforts are noticed and even rewarded? It so encourages us to work just as hard on the next project.  I think it makes all the difference in the world for the morale of the people, and it gives the people confidence in themselves and the desire to continue putting forth the extra effort on everything asked of them to do.  Moses was being a good leader, in my opinion, and he was also a good servant to God. 

Everything was then consecrated and made Holy before God. 

God, how beautiful heaven must be! This is only a glimpse of your creativity, your beauty and your splendor.  It is amazing that you let us participate on tasks here on earth that are used to bring people to You in worship and praise, to honor You for all You do in our lives and the lives of those we love.  It is so wonderful when we can sense your pleasure with us, and bask in your warmth as we walk this path here on earth.  Thank you for all that You are, and for all that You do for us each and every day.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Carol (carolvorwe)

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Exodus 35:30-37:2 

I love telling my story of God’s calling me into the ministry of fund raising. It really has never been about the raising of funds for that is how I am measured, but it has been about leadership, honouring God with my time, and stewarding the relationships that God has brought into my life each day. I am known as being one of the most networked individuals in Christian ministry because of all the individuals I have walked alongside as they have journeyed in their faith walk. That only happened because of the anointing and favour of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I know God sees me because of the call, I know He sees me because He has gifted me with skills and passion for the work set before me. So when I see Him doing the same thing with Bezalel and Oholiab, I get excited for them both for what an honour to be named by God in His conversation with Moses.

Moses told the Israelites, “See, God has selected Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He’s filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and know-how for making all sorts of things, to design and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to carve stones and set them; to carve wood, working in every kind of skilled craft. And he’s also made him a teacher, he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He’s gifted them with the know-how needed for carving, designing, weaving, and embroidering in blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics, and in fine linen. They can make anything and design anything.” – Exodus 35:30-35 MSG

God called them by name. They must have been encouraged and they surely could see that their giftedness and skills were theirs because God resided over their work. They very well may have been excellent artificers, but they knew they were further endowed with higher gifts, maybe even miraculous ones. I think that God loves when we are open to this unexpected exertion of His power – He is extending His hand to mine because He has work that needs to be done. Now that God has conferred this honour on the architects of the visible sanctuary, He has honoured these individuals as men who have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit to faithfully employ their labours in building a tabernacle as leaders.

I do not find it difficult to understand that God would gift skill in secular or spiritual employments. These gifts all come from Him. I recognize this and honour Him as I study how to serve Him with these gifts. Not a day goes by where He has not taught me something on how to serve Him well. I believe my work is extraordinary because I was designed for it.

Father, thank you for Your giftings, Your calling, Your Holy Spirit that endows with wisdom and understanding. Thank You for calling me to meet with You each day so that You can pass on truths and walk with me through experiences.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Exodus 33:1-35:29

A prism is a glass or other transparent object in prism form, especially one that is triangular with refracting surfaces at an acute angle with each other and that separates white light into a spectrum of colors. Diamonds can act as prisms. A faceted diamond acts as a prism as light slows down upon entering and speeds up upon exiting the facets. Jewish tradition speaks of the prism or diamond effect of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament). One can read the Torah they say year after year and each time it enlightens the reader on something new that comes out from the same passage that has been read for several years. We have known that for years if we’ve been Bible readers for some time. You read a passage and the next time you read it the text enlightens your mind/emotions and a different way. God’s Word is alive.

Well today’s text has done that to me. Read part of chapter 33 below:

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp (Exodus 33:7-11a [ESV]).

When I have read this passage before — most likely 50 times — my focus has been on Moses and the great privilege he had to be literally in the presence of God. How glorious that was! And yet this time my focus fell on the people of Israel. They stood afar off in the doorways of their tents. The were bystanders. How sad. They worshiped from afar. They had no direct connection to God. I found myself really feeling sorry for the people of Israel.

How different it is today. When Jesus died for our sins the curtain in the temple was torn in two giving us all direct access to the God of the universe through Jesus our Saviour. Do we realize what a great gift this privilege is? Do we take advantage of this like we should?

Father God, thank you for the great privilege you have given us through the death of Jesus to communicate directly to you! Thank you for this connection we have with the God of the universe. Help us never to take it for granted. We pray all of this in the strong and saving name of Jesus, Amen!

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Exodus 30-32

If Aaron knew …

Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come. Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. 10 Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to the Lord.” (Exodus 30:7-10, NIV, emphasis mine)

If Aaron knew the plans being discussed behind the scenes, would he have participated, encouraged, enabled the things he did?

Moses was getting instructions from the Lord. The Lord names people, tells Moses that he is equipping them with honorable tasks and special skills to do the things he as planned for them. So many people get to participate in the Lord’s plan, get to contribute meaningfully to a people’s future–creating things of beauty, leading them in reverence–all things they were specifically chosen for and given knowledge and ability to accomplish.

But when Moses didn’t come back soon enough, the people grew impatient. And Aaron, one of them who had been set apart for something greater, participates in something lesser, detestable even, than what God would have for him.

He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4a, NIV)

And his excuse? When you know the truth, it’s pretty lame. Even if you didn’t know the truth, it’s just lame.

22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!

25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. (Exodus 32:22-25, NIV, emphasis mine)

The reading today has me in deep reflection. I want to be attentive to the Lord, to be available for tasks he has for me, to honor him with my life. But sometimes my attitude, words and actions aren’t in alignment with that desire.

If I knew what the Lord was planning, behind the scenes, the plans he had for me, would my impatience, immaturity, or lack of restraint derail me from something better, meaningful, God honoring? At first glance of the subheadings, I imagined I would write something about the idols we craft. But here I find myself thinking on how stupid moves and pressure can quickly take one so very far for what God wants for him.

If Aaron knew what God had set aside for him to do, would he have been so quick to fashion a golden calf instead?

Lord, help me to make better choices.

Courtney (66books365)

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