Spiritual Rants: February 10 “Pay-up Time” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Exodus 30:11-31:18 Matthew 26:47-68 Psalm 32:1-11 Proverbs 8:27-32

Old Testament:   Exodus 30:11-31:18

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Jews had a tax to pay.

The priests had to be anointed and clean themselves every day.

On Saturday the Hebrews had to rest.

The Ten Commandments would represent the people at their best.

Exodus 30:11-31:18

Exodus 30:11-21 Pay-up Time

Each Israelite over twenty years old was to pay a tax of a half shekel for the purpose of 1) making atonement for themselves, i.e., making themselves pure before God to have a relationship with Him 2) to pay for maintenance and service of the tabernacle. It later was reduced to a third shekel (Neh. 10:32) and became an annual tax by the time of Christ (Mat. 17:24). It’s hard to know what a silver shekel from that time would be worth today. A shekel is a measurement of weight. A garah was a Babylonian weight measurement. Whatever the amount was, it was not exorbitant since the poor person as well as the rich could pay it and the amount was the same. The main thing to understand is that there was a payment to be made for sin. Jesus was our payment. We don’t have to pay that temple tax!

Exodus 30:17-21 Wash-up time

Ever gone into a restaurant bathroom and there was sign that said, “Employees must wash their hands or . . . die!”?  Moses was instructed by God to have a basin made of bronze for the priests to wash their hands and feet.  Or they would die.

Exodus 30:22-33 Spice-up time

The priests were to use myrrh, cinnamon, cassia, olive oil to anoint the tent, the ark, the table, the utensils, the lamp stand, the altars, and the laver.  They were to have a professional perfumer prepare the mixture. It is to set all these items apart to the Lord (also the definition of sanctification).  The priests were also to be anointed. It was holy ointment.  If anyone else tried to make something like it and use on a common person, they would be kicked out of the community.  This was serious stuff.

Exodus 30:34-38  Smo-kin’

A perfumer was to make up a batch of incense from spices of various types.  Again, kicked out if someone other than a priest uses the incense.  God, apparently, would be incensed.

Exodus 31:1-11 Only a Pro will do

Only professionals were to make the designs for the precious stones and wood for the tent, ark, mercy seat, utensils, lamp stand, laver, garments, oils, incense and all the furniture. Nothing sloppy for the Lord!

Exodus 31:12-18 Take two tablets in the morning and then call Me

Another serious matter was Saturdays, the Sabbath for the Hebrews.  God rested on the seventh day of Creation.  The Hebrews would show themselves to be God’s people by resting on Saturday.  If they didn’t . . . it’d be curtains . . . and not the tabernacle curtains either.

God gave Moses the two tablets of the law as a lovely parting gift on top of Mount Sinai (v. 31).  They were written by God Himself.


The Jews had to pay a temple tax.  The priests had to clean up and be anointed before they could do their work.  Hebrews had to make sure they rested every week on the Sabbath, Saturday.  After Moses finished talking to Yahweh, God gave him the Ten Commandments written by Himself on two tablets of stone.

New Testament:   Matthew 26:47-68

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Soldiers came to the garden and took Jesus from there.

Peter cut off Malchus’ ear.

Caiaphas asked if Jesus was God.

The people beat Him.  Did they think He was a fraud.

Matthew 26:47-68

Matthew 26:47-55 Ear! Ear!

A large group with swords and clubs approached Jesus. They were led by Judas. Judas’ sign to the mob was that he would kiss the one they had come for. He did. Jesus addressed him as “friend.” I sure wouldn’t. But that was Jesus. The word for friend also meant companion or associate. It’s only used three times in the New Testament. They began to take Jesus away.

Have you ever heard that Peter was impulsive? Well, he was. He took out his sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s slave, Malchus (don’t name your kid Malchus!). Luckily Jesus was there to paste it back on. Peter got rebuked for it. “Those who use weaponry can very well get killed by weaponry.” Jesus said He could called twelve legions of angels if He wanted to. That’s 72,000 angels. I bet they could do some damage.

Jesus said the Scripture had to be fulfilled and things had to go down the way they were. But He said it was a bit classless to come out to get Him the way they did. After all, He had sat out in the temple and taught every day. They could have come and gotten Him then. Then all the disciples absconded.

Matthew 26:57-68 Second Trial

Jesus made six stops that night. All were illegal according to Jewish law. There was a brief stop at Annas’ house to give Caiaphas time to assemble the Jewish governing body, the Sanhedrin (John 18: 12-14; 19-24). The second stop was at the High Priest, Caiaphas’, place. Peter was sneaking around behind them and snuck into the courtyard to see what was going on. (See the Bible Knowledge Commentary on Jesus’ six trials.)

The chief priests tried to get people to testify against Jesus to be able to kill Him. They were miserably unsuccessful except for one guy who quoted that Jesus said He would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Jesus had said that three years earlier (John 2: 19). Caiaphas asked Him about it but He didn’t say anything (cf. Isa. 53:7).

Caiaphas asked Jesus if He was God or not. Jesus said, “You said it! In fact, you will see Me sitting at the right hand of God and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

I guess that was too much for Caiaphas. Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy. He said Jesus deserved to die which was the very thing he had been shooting for anyway.*

The people spit at Him and beat Him with their fists (cf. Isa. 50:6; 52:14).  Dripping with sarcasm, they asked Him to prophecy and tell who was hitting Him.


Soldiers came to take Jesus away.  Peter tried to lop off Malchus’ ear.  Jesus’ trials were all six illegal.  Caiaphas asked Jesus directly if He was God.  The people observing with the Sanhedrin council beat Him and spit on Him.

*The council that Ciaphas presided over was called the Sanhendrin.  The Sanhedrin represented the nation of Israel, much the same as our Congress and President represent the U.S.  When the Sanhedrin rejected Christ, in essence, the entire nation was rejecting Christ.

Psalm 32:1-11    A Psalm of Thanksgiving by David

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Psalm 32:1-11  Joyful All Over Again

My doctor once told me that people don’t like to be told they’re wrong.  He was right.  I can’t wait to ask him, next time I see him, how he gives diagnoses.  I would imagine he’d have to tell people they were going to have to change direction if they’re going to get well.

The Bible is only for the humble.  The beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount start out, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).  It’s humility that gets you anywhere with God.

This psalm is about being forgiven and the joys of being forgiven.  Of course, you can’t be forgiven if you don’t confess your sins and you usually don’t confess your sins unless you are humble.  Sometimes we have to be humbled, though, to be humble.

David begins by proclaiming how happy he is that his sin has been forgiven (v. 1).  He says the happy person is the one whom God does not consider guilty.  It is the same person who is being honest with God, “in whose spirit there is no deceit” (v. 2a).

The psalmist tried to hold back from God about his sin but then his spiritual condition leaked into his bodily condition and he got sick (vv. 3-5).  He had to agree with God about his transgression.  The New Testament Greek word for confess is homolegeo.  Homolegeo literally means “say the same thing.”  When we confess our sin, we agree with God about it.  We have transgressed His rules and violated His character.  To agree with God takes humility.

God usually takes us through some circumstances that cause us to be humble.  Look at Job and Jonah for example.  That is the story of their lives.  Jonah cried out to God “in a flood of great waters” (Jon. 2:1-10).  But, both Job and Jonah, after they were humiliated, were also exalted (cf. 1 Pet. 5:5-6; James 4:6, 10).  God was faithful to them both and they were delivered (vv. 6-7).

You can’t be arrogant and learn.  The only way to learn is to be humble.  You can’t think you know more than your teachers or you won’t learn (Matt. 10:24-25) and you probably won’t get a good grade either.  You can’t be like a mule or a horse who need a bit in their mouth or they’ll run away from you (v. 9).  God won’t put a bit and bridle on you.  He wants you to love Him.  He will woo you, though (John 6:44).

God will instruct us and teach us (v. 8a).  This is a great verse to pray for ourselves and for others.  Tuck it away and use it!  God has His “eye” on us and He will counsel us (v. 8b), if we ask Him.  He sent the Holy Spirit to be the great Counselor (cf. John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13 NIV).

All the people that harass you for being a Christian?  They will have many sorrows (v. 10a).  Believers will have God’s hesed all around them (v. 10b, you should know what hesed is by now).

David ends by exhorting us to be joyful (v. 11b) and when you’re done, be joyful all over again, that is, re-joice (v. 11a, cf. Neh. 8:10; Phil. 4:4).

Proverbs 8:27-32   If You Want To Be Happy For The Rest of Your Life

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Didn’t we already talk about this yesterday?  That Wisdom was there at the founding of the world (vv. 27-29, 31)?  Science talks about studying repeating events and then they say evolution is a fact.  Were they there when the world was created?  Was it ever repeated?  Wisdom was there!  I think Wisdom is a creationist.  Just sayin’ (v. 30).

Since Wisdom was there herself, shouldn’t we listen to what she says?  What does she say?

She says, “Listen!”  Everyone who listens to her ends up happy (v. 32)!

Choose Life: Scripture:  Matthew 26:64   NASB    “Feed Your Head”

“Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.'”   Matthew 26:64

Of course, when Jesus spoke He was speaking Scripture because He was the Word (cf. John 1:1).  But have you noticed how many times when He spoke He was speaking the Word because He was quoting it?   He was so much The Word that He couldn’t help quoting it!

In our verse today, He quotes Scripture twice in one line of speech!   In verse 64 He quotes both Isaiah 50:6 and Isaiah 52:14.

So here’s the question.  How much Scripture can you quote?  It would be obnoxious if we all spoke in Scripture all the time but how often do we quote Scripture as we discuss things or even pray?  A good way to learn Scripture is get the resource from Navigators called the Topical Memory System.  It is one of the more rewarding things you can do in your life.  You will understand your Christian life better and have a closer walk with God if you memorize those 60 verses.  You will understand your pastor’s sermons better and have an overall better grasp of the Bible.  You can find it here:  Topical Memory System.   It’ll be the best $11.70 plus $3.50 you ever spent.  Guaranteed.  Or your money back.  (Of course, you’ll have to wrestle with Scripture Truth on that!)

Let’s not overlook the fact that Jesus was proving to Caiaphas that He was God by using these two quotes.  Jesus quoted Isaiah to indicate that He was the One Who would sit at the right hand of God as Messiah and as God Himself.  “Son of man” was a known title for the deity of the Messiah, used by Daniel and Ezekiel.  It was known that the Messiah, God, would be the One Who would come back on the “clouds of Heaven.”

Of course, this kind of information would only infuriate a non-believer like Mr. C.  The high priest tore his robes, which was forbidden by Jewish law (cf. Lev. 21:10).  But it showed his disgust.  He thought Jesus had “spoken blasphemy” (Matt. 26:65).  Shows just how out of touch he was!   Jesus was giving him ultimate truth and he took it as ultimate falsehood.

How is your understanding of Jesus as God?  How is your Scripture memorization going?  Start or re-start your Scripture memory program today.

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Dt. 30: 19)!

Fun Application:

Coincidentally, I was thinking this afternoon, before writing this blog, how Scripture-ignorant most Christians are.  I had a professor in seminary who called Christendom, dumb Christians.  Get mad at him, not me.

He would certainly be right in one regard.  Christians don’t know Scripture.  One young Christian defended himself to me recently by saying he didn’t know the “addresses.”  Ha ha.  He meant that he knew he knew the Bible well but just didn’t know where to find anything.  He didn’t know the references, the “addresses.”  I’m ROFL.  (Sarcasm.)

Try that in band when it’s time to take a solo and you sound awful but tell the band director, “Hey, I know the scales but I just don’t know their ‘addresses.'”  The band director will be ROFL, too, NOT.

You know those satellite TV ads with the dumb people in them?  Don’t be the dumb people in those ads.

Learn some Scripture.

Disciple has as its root, discipline!

You’ll be blessed if you do!

The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Take Two Tablets . . .

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