Archive for March, 2011


Exodus 31:1-6,12-13,16-17 Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you… Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy… The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.’”

How beautiful is it when God reveals His desires for us? After God described the beautiful dwelling place He will live in to be with His people, He reveals that the materials are provided to the Israelites, as are the skills and the calling.

God certainly has shown total and perfect control in all He does and He has a beautiful way of using His people to achieve His objective. What then happens to great men like Moses and what is this about the Sabbath?

One great challenge we face as humans is our pride. Pride has served as a great stumbling block to many in their walk and continues to be among the greatest battles we face daily.

We today deal with challenges such as lack of self-confidence, low morale, poor esteem, low self-worth, etc. as issues that affect our personality and we try to work hard against it.

Children are taught from a young age to take charge, be leaders, be individual and confident in their presentations, we reaffirm them, motivate and inspire them, etc. to help them work away from the issues of low self-esteem.

With God, things seem to be very different. First God chooses a man who stammered, who had no face among the Egyptians or Israelites because he murdered and ran away, who was just a shepherd tending flocks and lived under the grace of his father in law Jethro.

Moses was that man and God used him to accomplish the great task of shaming the great Egyptians and freeing the Israelites from 430 years of bondage and slavery, all without an army or wealth or physical strength.

As Moses leads this great nation of over two million people across the sands of the desert to the promised land, God then establishes other men from among the nation to take up other responsibilities.

Clearly God is not in the process of making one man superstars but rather works on using each of His chosen ones to do His work when they are willing and ready.

When we are transformed by God’s love, we are each called to serve God and some may be called to be the face while others may be called behind the scenes but no single person’s role makes them any less important to God.

Further, God makes it clear to the Israelites that they were to keep the Sabbath without fail and the consequence of not keeping it was death! Seems a bit stiff as an expectation, you might wonder.

When we contrast those words of God to the words and actions of Christ in the 4 gospels, you are left shocked as were the Jews of Jesus’ day because we see that our understanding of God’s words are not complete and Jesus reveals the meaning and purpose of God’s word.

Read these passages from the gospels and think about Jesus’ response: Matthew 12:1-16; Mark 3:2; Luke 6:1-5; Luke 13:10-17; John 6:2-18; John 7:23.

On the sabbath day, Jesus healed people and ate grain from the fields and this stirred up the keepers of the law who lived by this commandment in Exodus 31:16-17 and Deuteronomy 5:14.

Jesus responded to them asking them how they felt about David’s actions when he and his companions were hungry and went into the temple and ate the consecrated bread. It was unlawful for them but not for the priests.

Furthermore, priests work on the sabbath day and that is certainly unlawful as per the law, yet they are considered innocent. The problem here was not the action but that God desired mercy, not sacrifice.

Sabbath was the day of rest from regular work but it is a day to celebrate God’s goodness to us. We are called to spend the day worshipping God. No law must be understood so as to contradict itself. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the sabbath and the day is to be dedicated to Him for His glory.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Exodus 30:1,6,12,16,20,21,25,36 “Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense… Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony—before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony—where I will meet with you… “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them… Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the Tent of Meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the LORD, making atonement for your lives”… Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering made to the LORD by fire, they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come”… Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil… Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.

If not for awe, I am unsure what other emotion I can express for God who has not left a single stone unturned in terms of His plan for a place to dwell among His people.

Not only has God shown an ability to plan to perfection but His provision of skills, material and willingness to the Israelites show He is a master orchestrator and is beyond brilliant!!!

The question again this morning is to understand how all this relates to us who live nearly 3,500 years after this incident? (more…)


Exodus 29:1a,9b,15-16,35,38-39,44-46 “This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests… Then tie sashes on Aaron and his sons. The priesthood is theirs by a lasting ordinance. In this way you shall ordain Aaron and his sons… “Take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. Slaughter it and take the blood and sprinkle it against the altar on all sides… Slaughter it, take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Then sprinkle blood against the altar on all sides… “Do for Aaron and his sons everything I have commanded you, taking seven days to ordain them… “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight… “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.

As I read today’s chapter, I was left squirming about all the blood and gore stipulated by God as an offering to Him and kept wondering why, why? Animal rights have obviously had a lasting impact on me and therefore I see all this sacrifice in a different light from the people of Moses’ age.

Having said that however, I do know that God does not simply ask for these sacrifices without perfect reason and therefore I hope you join me in asking God to speak through this chapter into our lives today. (more…)


Exodus 28:1-3,9-10,15,29,35-36,38,41 “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest… “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other… “Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions—the work of a skilled craftsman. Make it like the ephod… “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… Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die. “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD… It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the LORD… After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.

How interesting that God chose Aaron and his family of Levites to become the priests of Israel. Moses was the priest this far and now the mantle was going to be passed on to his older brother and his family.

Again we see God describe every garment, including undergarments and accessories in a precise manner and all with great significance. We don’t need any of this today to worship God and so how is this chapter relevant to us in today’s day and age? (more…)


Exodus 27:1,7-9,19-21 “Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide… The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried. Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain. “Make a courtyard for the tabernacle… All the other articles used in the service of the tabernacle, whatever their function, including all the tent pegs for it and those for the courtyard, are to be of bronze. “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. In the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain that is in front of the Testimony, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the LORD from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.

As we continue to read the details of what God wanted His dwelling place to look like, one thought that keeps coming back to me is why would God entrust the work of His own dwelling place into the hands of sinful men? (more…)


Exodus 26:1,15-17,26,30,36 “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman… “Make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. Each frame is to be ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide, with two projections set parallel to each other. Make all the frames of the tabernacle in this way… “Also make crossbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle,.. “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain… “For the entrance to the tent make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer.

This is a detailed schematic of what God wanted His resting place to look like. We can see through it the precision of God’s planning and knowing that this plan was fulfilled, we can admire God’s confidence in His people to provide everything needed to accomplish His request.

It is easy for us to lose interest in reading these chapters as they seem to contain no real significance to us today or is there something that God wants to reveal to us through it today? (more…)


Exodus 25:1-2,8-10,16,21-22,29-30 The LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give… “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. “Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high… Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you… Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you… There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites… And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times… A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

Again we come upon a chapter that we could spend days dissecting and admiring God with for the detail He gives Moses, each aspect of which has great significance. However, we started this journey a chapter a day and we will do our cursory study in this way and God-willing come back and do a detailed study at His appointed time.

From the perspective of an ark of God, this model was not unlike the Egyptian arks to their Gods that were carried on their shoulders. Why would God want the Israelites to have something similar and what was to the show aspect? (more…)