Spiritual Rants: February 13 “Flying On Instruments” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Exodus 35:10-36:38 Matthew 27:32-66 Psalm 34:1-10 Proverbs 9:7-8

Old Testament:   Exodus 35:10-36:38

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Exodus 35:10-36:38   Cache Call

Intro:  

For workmen Moses put out a call to make everything including a table.

Anyone who wanted to give would be able.

Exodus 35:10-36:38

Exodus 35:10-35  Work Call

A call went out for skilled workmen to work on all the furnishings of the tabernacle.  In verses 30, 31, Bezalel was called by God and “filled him with the Spirit of God.” It is not only preaching or teaching that God empowers with His spirit. I wonder if Bezalel was good at bezeling?  It turns out that both Bezalel and Oholiab were good craftsmen but could also teach others (v. 34).  Apparently, the women could spin a good yarn . . . with goat’s hair (v. 25).  Although gold had been mentioned before, now even gold “jewelry” was accepted (v. 22).  Make of that what you will.

Exodus 36:1-7  Cache Call

Any who wanted to donate could donate. It was called a “free will offering” (v. 3). How often do you hear this? “The people are bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the Lord commanded us to perform” (v. 5). Moses had to tell people to quit donating.

Exodus 36:8-38  Construction Commenced

Again, the construction of the tabernacle is described (cf. chap. 26:1-37).

Summary:  

Moses put out a call from workmen to work on the Tabernacle.  Anyone who wanted to donate toward the project could do so.

New Testament:   Matthew 27:32-66

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Intro:

A man from off the street was picked to help Jesus with His cross.

To the Place of the Skull He was led, an irony not lost.

There He died, our sins to heal.

A rock was rolled to make a seal.

Matthew 27: 32 – 56 The Crucifixion

A “man off the street,” Simon the Cyrene (Cyrene was a city in N. Africa) was forced to help Jesus with His cross as He carried it to His crucifixion.

He was led to a place called Golgotha. Golgotha means “Place of the Skull.” It actually looks like a skull.

They gave Jesus wine to drink that was mixed with gall but He refused to drink it. He did not want His mind to be clouded.

People gambled for the rights to His garments.  This fulfills prophecy in Ps. 22: 18.

There was a sign erected above the cross, “This is Jesus The King of the Jews.”  The controversy about this sign can be found in John 19: 21, 22 (see blog What Is Hip?).

Passersby as well as the robbers crucified with Him were shouting insults at Him. They yelled at Him to save Himself if He was God. The robbers, too? That’s what it says (v. 44).

From noon (third hour) till 3 P.M. (the sixth hour) the sky went dark.  This was when Jesus became sin for us.  He could not bear the separation from the Father so He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama savachthani?”  It means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” and was a quote from Ps. 22: 1. Some thought He was calling Elijah. One of the bystanders offered a drink of sour wine from a stick and He took it.

Jesus “cried out” (v. 46) with a “loud voice and yielded up His spirit” (v. 50). Notice two things. 1) He “cried out.” Asphyxiation is at least a part of death by crucifixion. How can one “cry out” who is being asphyxiated? He had enough life left to cry out. 2) He “yielded up His spirit.” Conclusion: Christ’s life was not taken from Him. He gave it up . . . for us (cf. John 10:11, 17, 18). (Consider also that He made no defense at His trials.)

The veil that we have been studying in Exodus that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was torn from the top to the bottom. God, Himself, tore it from the top down.

There was an earthquake and tombs were opened. The bodies of many believers who had died were raised up! (Like a scene from Walking Dead?  Probably not quite!) They went out and witnessed to people. That must have been astonishing!

Ernest Borgnine*, I mean, a centurion and some of his men who had witnessed the events of the day said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (v. 54).

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of James and John were witnesses to the crucifixion. (John mentioned that Mary, Jesus’ mother, and Mary’s sister were also witnesses from the near the cross (John 19:25-27).

Matthew 27: 57– 66 The Burial

No provision was made for Jesus’ burial but a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. He buried the body in his own tomb. He rolled a large stone to cover the opening of the tomb and left. Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary stayed. The women were at the cross and the tomb but the disciples had absconded.

The chief priests and Pharisees were not done yet. They asked Pilate to guard the tomb so no one could fake Jesus’ prophecy to rise after three days. So they made sure that the tomb was secure and set a seal on the stone. Could they have helped God out any more than that? The stone was most likely sealed “with the official Roman seal and with a cord and wax, which if tampered with, could be detected” (see Bible Knowledge Commentary). The fact that a miracle had been done would be all the more clear to the world.

*You’d have to see the 1977  Jesus of Nazareth TV mini-series to get the Borgnine joke.

Summary:

A man was picked off the street to help Jesus carry His cross, Simon the Cyrene.  Jesus was led to Golgotha, literally, “the place of the skull,” to be crucified.  Jesus took on all the sins of the world for all time so that anyone who trusts Him can have eternal life.

A rich man, Joseph of Armathea, took responsibility for burying Jesus’ body in his own tomb.  A large rock was rolled in front of the cave of the tomb so that no one could steal the body and fraudulently claim Jesus had come back from the dead.

Psalm 34:1-10   A Hymn Of Praise And Thanksgiving by David

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Psalm 34:1-10  Tasty, Part 1

We’ll look at this psalm today and tomorrow.

There is a superscription on this psalm which is not always inspired but it is inspired in this case.  It indicates this is a psalm of David on the occasion of acting like a madman in front of Abimelech.  You can read about that in 1 Samuel 21.

Of course, in 1 Samuel 21, the ruler there is named Achish, proving that the Bible is not inspired.  Oh, wait.  The rulers in that area at that time were called Abimelech, much like the rulers in Egypt were called Pharaoh, or the rulers in the United States are called President.  If you hear an attack against the Bible, you should consider the Bible innocent until proven guilty.  Then find a good commentary and do your own research.  I’ve never found a mistake in the Bible after studying it for five decades.

We used to sing a cute little song based on verses 1-3.  It was a little song of praise, obviously, since this is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving.  We should always praise the Lord (v. 1), not just singing a song sometimes but all day long (cf. 1 Thess. 5:17).  We should sing so the humble believer can be lifted up (v. 2) and encourage each other (v. 3).

The song we sang ended with verse 4. God heard our prayer and delivered us from our fears. If we don’t trust the Lord in prayer, how can He deliver us from what ails us? Our faces will reflect the blessing of the Lord (v. 5) and show that we aren’t ashamed when calling on Him.

I used to know John Denver’s uncle who lived in Atlanta. His favorite verse was verse 6. He was just a poor man whom the Lord had saved from trouble. He traded his car to us so we’d have transportation to go to Dallas to seminary.

He also liked verse 7 that the angel of the Lord protects those who reverence Him and delivers them. The “angel of the Lord” is a phrase that frequently recurs in the Old Testament. It’s not found in the New Testament. I think it’s the Lord Jesus Himself.

Why do people reject Christ? I don’t know. Pride? People who want the truth jump at the chance to trust Him (cf. John 3:21). You can always ask them to just try trusting the Lord. They can “taste and see that the Lord is good” (v. 8a). They’ll be blessed if they do (v. 8b)!

Fearing the Lord and reverencing Him is the theme of Proverbs but is also found a lot in Psalms. Here it is again, fear Him and you won’t have need of any of the necessities of life (cf. Matt. 6:25-34). Lions sometimes starve and are hungry but God makes sure that anyone who truly is committed to Him has everything they need (v. 10). Going through seminary I was amazed that I had what I needed all the way through, including enough for a nice library of books when I graduated. But as I remind our church, God’s answers to prayer are really limited to those who have committed to him as disciples. There are catches on all the promises of prayer. All of the caveats are related to commitment and discipleship (cf. Mark 11:24; John 14:14; 16:24; 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15).

Proverbs 9:7-8     A Mod And A Rocker

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If we want to be like Christ, we’re going to get the same reward He did.  “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).

A old friend of mine used to say, “no good deed goes unpunished.”  It is remarkable how people can hate the truth.  Proverbs 17:10 says, “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.”   If not, expect the blows to fall on your head!  Remember Christ was Truth and what people did to Him?

If you confront a “scoffer” he will “hate” you (v. 8a).  We live in an age of mockers, so look out!  “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts” (2 Pet. 3:3).

In the movie A Hard Day’s Night, an interviewer asked Ringo if he was a mod or a rocker.  He said he was a mocker.  The Beatles summed up an era in that statement.  We are in the last times, a time of mockers.  I liked to talk to the owner of a local records store.  He likes to challenge my Christianity and my views on creation.  He likes to debate but he never has any proofs.  He only mocks the views he hates (v. 8a).  His record store is filled with records of hate and anger against anything establishment and most anything that displays the truth.

On the other hand, it is still good to teach God’s truth because you might run across someone who loves reproof (one of the Bible’s main objectives is “reproof,” cf. 2 Tim. 3:16).  A wise man loves  reproof (v. 8b).

Choose Life: Scripture:  Matthew 27:46   NASB    “Flying On Instruments”

“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?’ that is, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?'”   Matthew 27:46

Have you ever felt abandoned by God?  David certainly did.  He wrote Psalm 22 that begins, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1).  Jesus was quoting David when he yelled this from the cross.  Why would Jesus feel like God had left Him?  Weren’t they both kind of close?  Like really, really close?   They were.  That’s why Jesus felt so forsaken.

Here’s what happened.  Jesus sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed before He was taken to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God (cf. Luke 22:44).  Was He afraid of being killed?  The most courageous man who ever lived probably was not afraid of death.  However, He would have been distraught over the idea of separation from His Father which He knew would occur when He became the sacrifice for our sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4). The darkness that fell on the region was symbolic of God laying the sin of the world on Christ (cf. Matt. 27:45).  That was the reason Christ cried out to God and asked why He had been forsaken.

Now back to David and to us.  Why do we feel like God has left us at times?  The key word is “feel.”  Our sanctification, growing in holiness, comes primarily through our minds (cf. Rom. 12:2; 7:23-25; 8:6-8; Col. 3:2).

Back in the dark ages, a state of life wherein a person lacked God’s presence was dubbed a “dark night of the soul.”  Figures this would come out of the dark ages.

I don’t know if I hold to all that was believed about a “dark night” but I have been through something I call “flying by instruments.”  Sometimes when a pilot is going through a storm and can’t see anything out his windows, he is forced to rely strictly on the instruments on his control panel.  Pilots have to learn to do this since inevitably they will encounter a situation in which they’ll have to depend only on their console.

There will be times in the Christian life when we will basically have to rely only on our control panel, the Scriptures.  We shouldn’t trust our feelings.  I don’t know a single Scripture that indicates that God will guide us only by our feelings.  They are too unreliable.  In contrast, our faith is based on Scripture and the opposite of faith is the doubt that we “feel” (cf. James 1:6-7; Rom. 14:23).

How are you doing in this area?  Are you trusting your feelings or are you trusting God and His Scriptures?  Are you “flying on instruments”?

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

Fun Application:    I heard a lady call into a Christian radio program.  She had lost her “joy.”  I was a little disappointed in the host of the program who tried to help her get her “joy” back . . .  in a matter of seconds . . . on the air.  Oh, my goodness.  Sometimes things take time.  (The host recommended the woman write on her chest.  Ugh.)

The best way to have joy is to feed your mind.  Memorize Scripture.  Then when disaster or bad times strike, the Holy Spirit can use the Word that you’ve already tucked away in your heart.  The Word is the only thing, really, that we can trust.  My “go-to” verses are Isa. 41:10, Ps. 71:20-21; and Zeph. 3:17 (that’s right, from the book of Zephaniah!).  For more fun:  find your own “go-to” verses!

You’ll be blessed if you do!

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:   One Tabernacle Goes Up, One Comes Down

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