Spiritual Rants: February 12 “Returns Department” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Exodus 34:1-35:9 Matthew 27:15-31 Psalm 33:12-22 Proverbs 9:1-6

Old Testament:   Exodus 34:1-35:9

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Exodus 34:1-35:9

Intro:  

God gave Moses another copy of the commands that He made without tools.

Then Yahweh reminded everyone to keep His rules.

Moses came down from the mountain and his face shined.

Everyone gave for the Tabernacle whatever they could find.

Exodus 34:1-35:9

Exodus 34: 1- 9  Returns Department

Moses made two new stone tablets for God to re-write the Ten Commandments.  Moses went back up on the mountain and the Lord came down to him in a cloud.  As the Lord passed in front of Moses He proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (vv. 6 – 7).

The relationship God has with His people is one faithful love, the Hebrew word hesed.  Although God is Love, He is also all-holy.  He must punish sin even to the third and fourth generation.

Then Moses bowed low to the ground and worshipped Him because of Who He is.  He asked again for God to forgive the nation’s sins and continue to be with them and guide them even though they were so boneheaded.

Exodus 34:10-28   Renewal of the Vows

God promised to do miracles that would be a witness to other nations.  This included the removal of enemies from Palestine.  God was using Israel as a witness to Himself as well as to teach other generations about Himself and His ways.  The purpose was so they, too, could have a relationship with Him.  They were not to covenant or  intermarry with the other nations lest they take on their pagan worship and ways.  Their failure regarding this resulted in their eventual exile.

Much of this passage is a reminder of things God had already commanded them in chap. 12: 15-20; 23: 15; 34: 19, 20; 13: 12-13; 22: 29-30.  These include the adjoining of the Feasts of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks (aka Feast of Harvest aka Feast of Pentecost) and the Feast of Ingathering.

There was also a reminder to rest on the Sabbath, one of the Ten Commandments.  Also, the prohibition of cooking your kids (baby goats) . . . in mother’s milk (cf. 23: 19; Dt. 14: 21).  (It was most likely to either show the value or life or not to copy local pagan customs.)  Moses was to write down all that God told him about the covenant.  Yahweh then presented Moses with another copy of the Ten Commandments.  Moses was again up on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights but the people did not fall into idolatry this time.

Exodus 34:29-35   God gives Moses A “Shiner”

Moses didn’t know it till someone told him but after being with Yahweh, his face started shining.  (Everyone knew he was bright.)  He had to wear a veil when he wasn’t with God and took it off when he went into the Tent of Meeting.

Exodus 35:1-9   Striking The Tent

Moses reminded everyone to rest on Saturday.  He also put out the call for precious metals, precious stones and material to be used to build and operate the Tabernacle.

Summary:  

After Moses had destroyed the original ten commandments, Yahweh replaced them with new ones.  God reminds the people to keep the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Weeks as well as other parts of the covenant He had already established with them.  Moses’ face was shining after he came down from his meeting with Yahweh.  Moses reminded everyone to rest but also asked for material for building the Tabernacle.

New Testament:   Matthew 27:15-26

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Intro:

The governor was allowed to release a crook.

Pilate wanted to release innocent Jesus but another they took.

Though he was the local authority he himself held no sway.

Jesus was tortured and taken away.

Matthew 26:47-68

Matthew 27:15-26   Our Pilate Is Not In Control

During the holidays, Pilate was allowed to offer to release a prisoner.  The Jews wanted Jesus crucified and Pilate believed Jesus to be innocent (his wife had had a dream about Jesus and warned him, v. 19).  Sure that the people would choose Jesus, he thought he could solve his dilemma.  They surprised him by asking for a murderer and insurrectionist, Barabbas (not to be confused with Baraxo, the soap that Ronald Reagan used to pedal – Ronald Reagan sells Baraxo).  When Pilate asked the people what they wanted done to Jesus, they shouted as one, “Crucify!”  (Talk about a national rejection!)  Pilate was afraid of a riot so as an object lesson, he symbolically washed his hands of the mess in a bowl of water.  (Unfortunately, that works as well as crossing your fingers behind your back.)

Pilate said he was innocent of Jesus’ blood (see above re: crossing fingers).  The people said they wanted Jesus’ blood on themselves and their children.  That would have been good because they would’ve been saved but I don’t think they really meant it the right way.  So Pilate released the scumbucket, Barabbas, and had Jesus scourged in preparation for crucifixion.

Matthew 27:27–31   Can You Believe These Guys?

In a sense I guess people mock God these days.  But to actually take the Son of God and strip Him, put a scarlet robe on Him, then stick a crown of thorns on His head, a reed in His hand THEN mock Him?  They chanted, “Hail, King of the Jews!” v. 29) and spit on Him and beat Him over the head with the reed (see Isaiah 52:14 and 1 Pet. 2:23).  Then they put His own clothes back on Him and took Him away to crucify Him.

Summary:

Pilate was allowed to release a prisoner every year during the Passover.  He was trying to have Jesus released to get him out of his dilemma of convicting an innocent Man.  But the people wanted to release the murderer and insurrectionist Barabbas instead.  Jesus was tortured and taken away to be crucified.

Psalm 33:12-22    A Hymn Of Praise by David

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Psalm 33:12-22  Seven More Reasons To Praise The Lord

Today we look at Psalm 33, a hymn of praise, probably written by David after a great victory (cf. possibly after defeating the Ammonites, 2 Sam 12:26-31; 1 Chron. 20:1-3).

  1. The Lord watches over any nation that has dedicated herself to Him (v. 12).
  2. God watches over all who have dedicated themselves to Him (vv. 13-15).
  3. Those who fear the Lord rather than kings, armies, and horses are secure in Yahweh (vv. 16-18).
  4. Yahweh will deliver believers from death and famine (v. 19).
  5. God protects those who wait for Him to act (v. 20).
  6. When God does a miracle, it is an occasion for praise (v. 21).
  7. The hope of believers is God’s binding, covenantal, lovingkindness aka hesed (v. 22, Hebrew word for “lovingkindness,” NASB, unfailing love,” NIV, “faithfulness” NET).

Now when you want to praise the Lord, you have ten plus seven reasons outlined here in Psalm 33.

Proverbs 9:1-6    Open House

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Wisdom is again personified as a woman.  This is a working woman and a great cook.  She is WOMAN, W-O-M-A-N.  She can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan.  We’ll see this industrious woman again in the last chapter of Proverbs (cf. Prov. 31:10-31).  I think when Solomon shows wisdom as a woman, it is not to feminize wisdom but to show her beauty.  You wouldn’t normally speak of a beautiful man but a man can have the kind of wisdom Solomon espouses as can a woman.

In verse 1, wisdom has her tool built strapped to waist and is wearing a hard hat (v. 1).  She has made a perfect house symbolized by the seven pillars which represent perfection and completion (v. 1b).

She’s probably taken a shower, hopefully she has, and then mixed together some good wine and cooked a really tasty meal (v. 2).  She’s sent out all her helpers to invite in her guests.  She takes a bullhorn to the top of the house to announce her banquet (v. 3, I’m exaggerating, of course).

She invites all the dummies, naive, and simpletons (v. 4).  Remember Christendom is dumb Christians, so she is inviting everyone!  Remember the day before yesterday, I said humility is necessary for learning?  She’s invited the right people.

She is handing out copies of Wisdom For Dummies (v. 5).  I’m speaking figuratively.  But so is she.  She says the dummies can eat her food and drink her wine.

Wisdom says her guests can eat her meal and live.  But they have to quit acting like dummies (v. 6a).  They’ll have to keep eating what she’s dishing out (v. 6b).

Choose Life: Scripture:  Exodus 35:2  NASB    “The Rest Of The Story”

“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.”   Exodus 35:2

In the time of Moses, God made a rule that everyone had to take Saturday off and not do any work.   If you didn’t take a break, you’d be put to death.  Death was by stoning . . .  with real stones.  You couldn’t even kindle a fire to cook food (v. 3).  God was trying to distinguish His people from the surrounding unbelievers.   They were to commemorate God’s creation of the world by resting like He did on the seventh day.

In the New Testament, Jesus said that if your ox fell in a ditch on a Saturday you would be able to pull it out (cf. Luke 14:5).  I think that means, if you have to, you can work on a Saturday.  In our case, since we are in the church dispensation and celebrate the Lord’s resurrection on Sunday (cf. Acts 20: 7; 1 Cor. 16:2), it means you can work on Sunday, if you have to.  The norm is resting on Sunday.

But what if you are a nurse or doctor?  Others may have to work on Sundays, too.  Pastors?  Air traffic controllers?  People in media.  When I was in radio years ago, I had to work on some Sundays or people wouldn’t be able to hear their church services!  Now sometimes I have to preach on Sundays.

The point is that we have to have some rest.   Normally, that would mean getting about eight hours of sleep a night.  It would mean trying to rest on Sunday or an alternate day if you have to work on Sunday.  To work without breaks and rest means that we’re not trusting God.  Remember the story of the manna (cf. Exod. 16:18-30 and blog Daily Bread)?  God gave food every day and they were supposed to save enough for the day and pick up double on Saturdays so they wouldn’t have to work.  Some didn’t follow directions and had nothing to eat on Sunday (cf. Exod. 16:27).

Proverbs 3:5-6 (RSV) says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”

So how are you doing with your rest?   Do you trust the Lord enough to take a break?

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

Fun Application:

There are consequences for not following God’s Word.  For years, I worked as many hours as I could every day trying to please God.  I guess I missed the commandment to rest.  So ten years ago I had six heart by-passes.  I joked that I was trying to get them done while I was still young and healthy.  Ha ha.  I have wrestled with chronic fatigue ever since that operation.

So now I try to rest a bit more.  The Bible isn’t kidding when it says that we reap what we sow.  Yahweh even kicked everyone out of Israel for seventy years for not honoring His command to let the land rest periodically.  After He kicked everyone out, the land rested (cf. Gal. 6:7, also see Land Ho!).

Are you eating right?  Are you getting about eight hours sleep a night?  If not, you aren’t honoring God.  You aren’t being the best disciple.  You don’t see the twelve boys out partying hardy every night are you?  I’m sure they had fun.  They loved fellowship.  There were probably church pot-luck dinners.  They were also hikers.

Are you having some fun?  You should.

Get it together.

If you do, you’ll be blessed.

The purpose of the “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:   The Pilate Is Not In Control

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