November 9, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 31

God-given ability…

God’s instructions continue. He is giving specific instructions to His people regarding important matters of worship and relation to God. It really shows how Holy God is — how set-apart He is — when all of these guidelines are needed just to relate to Him. Think about all the protocol you’d have to go through to go meet with the president. It would probably be more trouble than it’s worth, honestly. But this is not true for God. A wretched sinner can’t just rush into His presence.

In this chapter, we see God give instructions to finish the tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony, the mercy seat, and more (verses 1-11). Following this, God gives further instruction regarding the Sabbath (12-18).

Regarding the finishing instructions, this passage is used to show how the Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell believers like after the new covenant. Those are some great issues to study, but today I want to camp on how God equipped His people for what He called for (verses 3-6).

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

What has God called you to? What has He commanded of your life over and over again? Are you obeying, or do you still feel unable and disqualified? Are you serving and sharing where you know He has called you to?

Whatever the answer is, we see in this passage that He is calling you for a specific task, for a specific reason, and that He will equip you for it. For the purpose of His plan being accomplished. God pays for what He orders. This passage shows, very clearly, that God equips His people for what He calls for. The quote, “God doesn’t call the equipped, but He equips the called” rings true here, doesn’t it?

How much clearer can God make it? Let’s read it again, “and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you:” (31:3-6).

If God has called you to a task, obey. Keep following His voice, you know He will equip you for the task and put others around you who are equipped for it as well. The key is that the equipping comes only from Him. When He is the one who equips you, it is He who will receive all the glory.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

November 8, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 30

Exodus 30 is all about the tabernacle – and specific instructions that God gives on how it should be assembled. Remember, the tabernacle was a portable temple; a place of God’s dwelling in the wilderness.

It has several distinct areas: the gate area where you would enter, the courtyard – where sacrifices were brought and made, the holy place, and the holy of holies where God would dwell.

Exodus 30 gives instructions for:

– The Incense Altar – Verses 1-10
– How offerings are to be given – Verses 11-16
– The Wash Basin – Verses 17-21
– The Anointing Oil – Verses 22-33
– The Burning of Incense – Verse 34-38

The Incense Altar …

…is a symbol of perpetual adoration for the Lord. Jesus is our intercessor who is always making intercession for us. It also symbolized worship for the believer. The Wash Basin reminds us that we are dirty – stained by sin. We realize that only through the blood of Jesus can we be made clean – white as snow!

The anointing oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Oil is always a symbol of the Spirit. He embodies us and changes us from the inside out.

Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to offer blood sacrifices anymore? Hebrews 10 tells us:

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. (v.1)

For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, Christ came into the world… (v.4-5a)

Our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. (v.12)

Spend some time thanking Jesus for His atonement for our sin – for being our High Priest – and for making it possible for us to boldly go to God through Him!

Posted by: Tim Parsons

November 7, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 29

“We believe therefore we do.”

This is a concept that I think about often. I’m a very curious person by nature and over the past couple of years, I have been asking this question: What makes us act? For instance, why do children scream at the top of their lungs at the grocery store over a box of cereal? Why do we put money into a retirement fund? Why do we shake hands in our culture when other cultures bow to each other? The answer that I have found is, that in all these scenarios, faith in a desirable outcome is the common factor. The child believes that they will receive the cereal, we believe that the retirement fund will offer security, and the hand shake in our culture shows respect keeping us in the social norms. I would even venture to say that we do nothing apart from our faith. So the real question is this: What is our faith in?

Our current passage focuses in on the sacrificial system of the Levitical priesthood. More specifically, it sets up how a priest becomes consecrated for service. This is the time period before Christ, thus atonement for sin was given through the blood sacrifices of animals. We know now as we read the passage retrospectively that these sacrifices were pointing to the ultimate atonement for sin through the blood of Christ. However, in the law given to Moses, which is given in detail in the book of Leviticus, God is very detailed in how to go about making sacrifices to him. Why? We see the answer clearly in Leviticus 19:2:

“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”

So why did they do this? To make themselves holy so that God could dwell among the Israelites. God is holy and atonement had to be made for sin before He could enter into their presence or they would have died. Ex. Leviticus 15:31:

“Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by defiling my tabernacle that is in their midst.”

Did this mean that the sacrifices made them sinless? Of course not, but their faith is what justified them. I submit to you that the Israelites would not keep the law if they did not have faith that God is who he says he is. To prove my point, continue reading through the Old Testament and you will see how the Israelites turned away from God and the judgement that was bestowed upon them because of their unbelief. In other words, as they believed they acted.

The same is true for us. I challenge each of us to search our hearts and ask the “Why” questions:

Why do I do what I do?
Why do I go to church?
Why do I read my Bible?
Why do I call myself a Christian?

Is it because of the social status among peers? Maybe to be viewed as a good person? I hope that the answer for each of us is that, without Christ, we deserve wrath in Hell because of our sin. Jesus himself came as the God-man to live perfectly in our place and take the wrath we deserved on the cross. Through belief in Jesus as our Lord, we are graciously saved and reconciled back into a relationship with the God of the universe.

Any other motivation will lead to Hell, no matter how good the action looks.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

November 5, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 28

As the high priest, Aaron’s garments had to be perfect. They had to be exactly as God commanded them. Can you imagine having that kind of dress code at your job? You get hired and your boss says, “by the way, if you don’t wear a suit and tie, neatly pressed, you will die.” Yikes! So, why was God so particular about the priests’ garments? What’s the big deal about what they are wearing? God cares about details. He is not a happy-go-lucky God who just lets anything fly. He has standards, perfect standards that He demands be met. The high priest was representative of the people of Israel so many of his proper attire before God was significant.

The high priest was also a picture of Jesus, a representative on behalf of the people. Now, Jesus is the ultimate representative for all humanity to God. We also see that Aaron held the people close to his heart physically with his garment ornaments while Jesus holds us in His heart as He intercedes for us to God in heaven.

We could talk about many more references to Jesus in this passage (see below for a website link for further study), but the most striking parallel is that of Aaron who interceded for Israel and made atonement for their sins. Jesus did this once and for all on the cross and now acts as our High Priest forever (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 2:17, 7:17). He was perfect in every way and never sinned but always did the will of the Father (John 5:19). So, it makes sense that someone who is holding Jesus’ place and fulfilling His role until He comes would need to be clothed perfectly and follow God’s exact commands and steps. Those are impossible shoes to fill.

Praise God today that we have a High Priest forever in Jesus who is clothed even more perfectly than Aaron. We have a High Priest who is adorned with perfect righteousness and divinity. If you wish to study more about Jesus as our High Priest, a great place to start would be the book of Hebrews.

Here’s a good Bible History article on the subject.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd