Spiritual Rants: February 15 “The Ecclesiastics’ New Clothes” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Exodus 39:1-40:38 Mark 1:1-28 Psalm 35:1-16 Proverbs 9:11-12

Old Testament:   Exodus 39:1-40:38

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Exodus 39:1-40:38  The Ecclesiastics’ New Clothes

Intro:

The priests all got new clothes.

Through a cloud God led them through places He knows.

Exodus 39:1-40:38

Exodus 39:1-29  The Ecclesiastics’ New Clothes

The priests’ clothes were made according to the previous orders.  Only the best materials again: gold, blue, purple and scarlet linen assembled by the best garment makers.  The best craftsmen made the breastplate, robe and crowns.  An interesting feature of the breastplate was that it had four rows of three beautiful stones each (ruby, topaz, and emerald, a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst, a beryl, an onyx and a jasper).  They each corresponded to one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Moses examined everything when it was done and determined it was up to God’s standards.  Then Moses blessed them.

Exodus 40:1-33  The Ecclesiastics’ New Home

Moses was given instructions on how to arrange the parts of the tabernacle in v. 1-16.  The physical arrangement of the tabernacle is given in v. 1-8.  The tabernacle and everything in it were set apart for the Lord’s use in v. 11, 12.  The washing, dressing, and anointing of Aaron and his sons are described in v. 12-16.  In v. 17-33 those instructions were carried out.

Exodus 40:34-38  God’s New Home

God had promised to dwell with the Israelites (29: 45).  Now He fulfills that promise.  The glory of the Lord, represented by the cloud, aka the shekinah glory, filled the Tabernacle.  Even Moses who had been with God was not able to enter the Tabernacle.  When the cloud lifted, the people could travel. If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle, they had to stay put.

In the book of Exodus we have seen God take His people out of slavery, show His power over Egypt, establish the nation as a theocracy, give them laws (including the Ten Commandments), give prescriptions for worship and the Tabernacle and promise to lead them in a cloud. Wow.

Summary:

Clothes were made for the priests.  God gave commands to Moses on how to arrange the parts of the Tabernacle.  God promised to lead His people by His presence through a cloud.

New Testament:   Mark 1:1-28

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Intro:

The book of Mark is about Jesus as servant.

About repentance, John the Baptist was fervent.

Jesus was baptized and endorsed by God.

He cast a demon out of a man and all the people were awed.

Mark 1:1-28

Mark is the shortest gospel. He wrote what Peter saw.  He wrote for Gentiles and more specifically for Romans.  He was a protege of Peter.  He is brief. He likes the word, “immediately.” He uses it 42 times in only 16 chapters.  He probably wrote before 70 A.D. when the Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem, perhaps around 66 A.D.  He emphasizes Jesus’ actions more than His teachings.

His purpose is to proclaim the good news that Jesus was crucified and risen on behalf of our salvation.  The key verse is Mark 10: 45, ”For the son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 1:1-8   Here’s Johnny!

The opening line of Mark pretty much sums up what he wants to say.  His message is the good news of Jesus, the equivalent of “Yahweh saves.”  “Christ” means Messiah or anointed one.

Then Mark quotes Isaiah (40:3) predicting the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus.

John preached a change of mind (“repentance”) for sins to be forgiven.  JB dressed funny, in a camel hair jacket and a leather belt. He ate locusts sweetened with honey.  Mmm.  He preached that the Messiah was about to hit the scene and baptize with the Holy Spirit. JB was only baptizing with water (v. 8)

Mark 1:9-13  Here’s Jesus!

Jesus was baptized by JB to endorse John’s ministry, identify with Israel’s sin, as well as indicate the beginning of His own ministry.  When he was coming up from the water, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon Him.  A voice came out of the heavens and said, “You are My Beloved Son.  I’m very pleased with You.”  Then Jesus was forced into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit for forty days and was tempted by Satan.

Mark 1:14-28  Here’s The Disciples!

Again, Jesus called the Jewish nation to change their minds and believe the good news.  The good news was that the time had come for the kingdom of God. Had the Jews accepted it, the rule of Christ and the Millennium would have begun.

Jesus saw Simon and Andrew fishing and called them to “fish” for men instead.  They “immediately” left their nets (v. 18) and followed Him.  Then he called more fishermen, James and John, his brother.

“Immediately” on that Saturday, Jesus began to teach in the synagogue in Capernaum.  People were amazed because He spoke like He knew what He was talking about and wasn’t like their teachers.

A demon possessed man in the synagogue disrupted the service.  He asked if Jesus had to destroy demons.  The demon said he knew that Jesus was, “the Holy One of God.”  Jesus told the demon to shut up and to come out of the man.  The man convulsed and the demon was expelled. Everyone was amazed. “Immediately,” the news spread about Jesus into all of the area of Galilee.

Summary:

The book of Mark tells the story of Jesus from the viewpoint of a Gentile.  John the Baptist arises on the scene to get everyone ready for the appearance of the Messiah.  God endorsed Jesus when He was baptized by John.  Jesus began to call His disciples.  Jesus began to preach in the synagogue in Capernaum.  He cast a demon out of a man who was bothering Him.

Psalm 35:1-16   A Lament by David

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Psalm 35:1-16   Big Brother, Part 1

1 John 2:9-11  says, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.  The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  If that is true, what can anyone do with Psalm 35?

Psalm 35 is asking God to whack someone else in the head.  I’m imagining there are more Christians out there that would like to whack me in the head than vice versa.  And the Scripture is clear, if someone harms us, Christian or non-Christian, we are to let God do His thing and we’re are to get out of the way.  The exception is that I believe we are allowed to defend ourselves against those that would harm us.  Jesus allowed his disciples to bring swords with them when they went out on mission trips and when He knew He would not be there to protect them (cf. Luke 22:36, 38).

In general, we should allow the Lord to execute vengeances, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).

One author, who writes primarily about spiritual warfare, believes Psalm 35 is a good example of a prayer to pray against demons when they strike.  I think it is a good prayer to pray when we are attacked by others, leaving vengeance to the Lord.  But it is also a good venting mechanism.  It allows us to get our feelings out.

David most likely penned this one while being relentlessly pursued by King Saul.  David had Saul trapped twice and could have offed him but backed out of the way.  He did not want to be responsible for being outside of God’s will (1 Sam. 24; 26).  Are you willing to allow others out of their predicaments so that God can deal with them directly?  David let Saul go twice.  It is possible that David was praying a prayer like the one in Ps. 35 against those who stirred up Saul’s anger against David.  I think it is likely that David was just venting.

The New Testament is clear that we need to allow God to protect us (Rom. 12:19) but we are also allowed to protect ourselves (cf. 2 Corinthians, a defense by Paul against those who attacked his ministry).

David asked that the Lord fight those who attack us (v. 1).  Jesus is our older brother (cf. Heb. 2:11).  If you can’t rely on your older brother to come to your defense, who can you rely on?

We should rely on God to defend us with His armor, a small buckler shield, a spear, and a battle axe (vv. 2-3).  That should be enough to destroy anyone who’s bothering you!  He will turn them to “dust in the wind” (v. 5).

Would you want Jesus chasing you?  In verse 6, David calls for “the angel of the Lord,” often a reference to Jesus Himself in the OT, to follow after his enemies.  There’s the big brother thing again.

I always wondered why bullies just seem to randomly pick on people.  They seem to attack without cause (v. 7).  Of course, the reason could be that Satan sent them.  Bullies always pick on people they think they can easily defeat.  That’s why big brothers are so effective.  They’re usually bigger than your enemies.

I don’t think David is praying anything unfair.  He just asked that they trip over their own nets (v. 8, cf. Ps. 64, it’s called talionic justice).  That seems fair.  And it’s also kind of funny, too, when you think of it.  I used to get bullied when I was a kid.  Then eventually, after a growth spurt, the bullies were caught in their own trap.  Or, as we used to say back then in New Jersey, “You started it, we’re going to finish it.”

Ever watch those movies where you get really sick of the bad guy and then the bad guy gets his “comeuppance” at the end of the movie?  Don’t you love it?  Inevitably, that happens when you trust the Lord (vv. 9-10).

The crazy thing is when people you thought were your friends start attacking you (vv. 11-16).  How does that happen?  Again, perhaps a time to pray against the demons that are influencing your friends.  If you are thinking about going into the ministry, think again.  You’ll run into this sort of thing a lot, if you are really trying to serve the Lord (cf. 2 Tim. 3:12).

At our church in the country, we understood verse 16, “Like godless jesters at a feast, they gnashed at me with their teeth.”  We called it the business meeting.

Proverbs 9:11-12    When Life Is No Party

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If you want to live a long life, the Bible tells us how to do that:  obey your parents.  It’s fifth in a list of ten commandments (cf. Exod. 20:12).

Here Wisdom agrees, listen to her and you will live a longer life (v. 11).  Wisdom is like a parent.

If you want to be a wise guy, you will be blessed (v. 12a).  If you want to be a mocker, you will suffer for it and people will ask you to leave their parties (v. 12b).  That is, unless the party is filled with mockers but then you will feel alone when you bear the brunt of their mockery.  You’ll wish you had left the party.

Choose Life: Scripture:  Exodus 40:34   NASB    “Ring My Chimes”

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”   Exodus 40:34

The glory of the Lord covered the tent of meeting where Moses and God used to meet regularly.  Shekinah glory is the term invented by the Jews from a form of a Hebrew word that means “caused to dwell.”  It isn’t exactly in the Bible but the concept is there.  When the presence of God left the Temple due to sin the word used was “Ichabod” which means “the glory has departed” (cf. 1Sam. 4: 21).

In the New Testament we are commanded to be “filled with the Spirit” (cf. Eph. 5:18).  This is not an option, it is a command.  The life of God should dominate us.  Previously in this book (Exod. 28:33-34; 39:25-26) the priests were told to wear an ephod (“a kind of apron elaborately embroidered with two pieces, back and front, joined at the shoulder with a band at the waist.,” Life Application Bible, Exod. 28: 6-13) with bells of gold hanging off of them.  McGee says, “The bells speak of the testimony of that life.”

When we’re filled with the Spirit, we should manifest the shekinah glory of God.  And that should ring some bells.

In the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, the angel Clarence said that whenever an angel got its wings, a bell would ring.  He was wrong, of course.  But when we act in the power of God and exhibit the presence of God, it will ring some chimes.

Ring your bells today.

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

Fun Application:

When people see you coming, do they hear pretty chimes?  Or do they hear air raid sirens?  Well, sometimes if we’re in God’s will, they may hear air raid sirens.  After all, to unsaved people we often smell like skunks (cf. 2 Cor. 2:15-16).  Normally, amongst believers, we should sound like chimes.

What are you doing around fellow believers so that you will sound like chimes to them?

Here are some ideas:

  • Surprise people with gifts (then how will they know you are secretly chiming?  sometimes somehow they know even if they don’t know . . . and God knows . . .)
  • Always try to say something encouraging like “you sure look nice in that dress,” “I like your hair that way,” “I like what you said the other day . . .”
  • Make them candy or a cake or cookies or blanket . . . or something!
  • Ask what you’d like someone to do for you . . .  do that for someone else (cf. Golden Rule, Matt. 7:12)
  • Buy someone a coffee or latte or cappuccino (I was thinking about the entry above)

OK.  I think you’ve got the idea.

Start chiming.

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:   Here’s Johnny!

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