Old Testament: Exodus 26:1-27:21
Exodus 26:1-27:21 Going Loopy
You can go loopy reading all the details for the Tabernacle. But they’re in the Bible. Read v. 26: 1-6 regarding the curtains of linen and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Recently in a debate on creation vs. evolution, the evolution proponent objected that Noah could not have been skilled enough to build such an intricate ark and that it couldn’t possibly have housed as many animals as the Bible claimed. That person should read the details on the construction of the Tabernacle. You can see where Moses had some Divine help in knowing how to construct it and what to put in it.
The curtains were to be of goat’s hair. More loops. Temple covering of rams’ skins dyed red and porpoise skins (NASB). Talk about the “porpoise-driven life”! Where did they get porpoises around the Red Sea? It’s a word that’s hard to know what the translation would be. Sea cow? Goatskins? Badger? Dolphin (no, not those sweet dolphins!)? It’s hard to know but whatever it would have been waterproof! (The NET Bible notes indicate that there is an abundance of porpoises and dolphins in the Red Sea! Who knew!?)
26:15-29 In the 70’s there was a popular expression, “Sock it to me!” Did it come from this passage? Well, don’t be “board,” you can glance through it all. Also, back in that time, Bill Cosby asked the “age old” question, “What’s a cubit?” I guess Moses knew. It was 45.72 centimeters.
26:31-37 A veil had to be made to separate the holiest inner part of the tabernacle, “the holy of holies, from , “the holy place” which was outside the “holy of holies.” It was to be made with cherubim which were a type of angel. The cherubim guarded the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were kicked out. (Gen. 3:24, “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”)
Diagrams of the tabernacle can easily be found online or in study Bibles. It could only be entered by the High Priest once a year. It was torn after the crucifixion to show that believers now have direct access to God (Mark 15:38). The ark (different Hebrew word than the word for Noah’s ark) was a chest that had the Ten Commandment tablets in it along with some manna from the exodus and Aaron’s rod that budded. According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, the ark was 2’ 3” wide, 3’ 9” long, and 2’ 3” high, based on the cubit as 18”.
The “mercy seat” (“seat of atonement” NIV) was the top covering of the ark. It was the place where sin was forgiven as well as the top of the ark. It was 2’ 3” wide, 3’ 9” long (because it covered the ark . . . duh!)
27:1-7 The bronze altar was in the outer court of the tabernacle. It was a place to offer sacrifices indicating that no one could approach Yahweh without a blood sacrifice. Some believe the bronze represents judgment and the wood used in the altar represents Christ.
It would have been good for Uzzah to have studied verses 4 -7. It could have saved his life (see blog Uzzah, Oopsa). He needed to know how to transport the ark. You can read his rather strange story in 2Sam. 6:3 -8.
27:9-21 The Court of the Tabernacle was rectangular, 75’ x 150’ (vv. 9, 13, 18). The lamp stand with its seven lamps (v. 20, 21, cf. 25:31-39) was to go on a stand by the ark in the Holy of Holies. The people of Israel were responsible to provide the olive oil to keep it lit continually.
God gave detailed instructions to the Israelites on how to make the Temple and how to make the utensils to be used for worship.
New Testament: Matthew 24:1-30
Jesus told two parables to show we should be alert
One was about a wedding feast,
The other of a servant who showed no increase.
Matthew 25:1-30 A Big Talent Show or the Big Show of Talents?
Matthew 25, like Matthew 24, is very, very Jewish.
Mat. 25:1-13 is the story of a Jewish wedding. Jewish tradition held that a groom would be engaged for a year before marriage. The engagement was binding, however, to the extent that a divorce had to be granted to break the bond even though the couple wasn’t living together. The Parable of the Ten Virgins tells the tale of five “bridesmaids” who were prudent and kept enough oil to keep their lamps lit the night before the wedding. Five were “foolish” and didn’t plan ahead by bringing enough oil. No one knew when the groom would come to take away the bride and start the wedding feast. So when the groom actually arrived, it turned out that the five ditzy bridesmaids had to go out and purchase more oil. When they came back, the festivities had already begun and when they rang the doorbell, the groom answered and said, “who are you ditzy girls?” They were left outside.
Jesus was warning the Jews living in the Tribulation to be ready or they’d miss the festivities for His wedding, aka, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It was by invitation only. Only the saved get in. It is possible that the oil, symbolic of the Holy Spirit in Scripture (cf. Ex. 27: 20, 21 in today’s OT reading!), represents salvation in that only those who are saved and the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom. 8: 9b, “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” NIV) will be guests at the Supper.
The word “talent” is used today for abilities and comes from this parable. Back in New Testament times, however, a talent was a measure of weight and in the case a measure of the weight of silver used for remuneration.
Three servants are described. Two use their “talents” for their Boss and make him money. One doesn’t even put it in the bank to earn interest but buries it because he knows his Boss is a “hard man.” When the Boss comes back, he commends the first two employees even though they both make different returns. He condemns the third employee for knowing better but being lazy.
So those who do not use their abilities for God and the furtherance of the Kingdom will lose what they had and the faithful servants will inherit what they lost. V. 30, 31, “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (NASB). Have you ever heard the expression, “Throw the bums out!”? They will be. Some Jews in the Tribulation will be able to see the signs of the Second Coming but will ignore them. They will cry and break their own teeth because they missed the chance of salvation.
Jesus tells a parable about ten virgin bridesmaids that were supposed to keep on the lookout for the groom. Only five stayed on alert and were ready when he came. This was a warning to Jews to be alert for Christ’s second coming during the seven-year Tribulation.
He told another parable to indicate that believers should be careful to use their abilities to further God’s kingdom and His agenda.
Psalm 31:1-8 A Psalm of Lament by David
Psalm 31:1-8 A “Hand-y” Man, Part 1
Don’t lament but we’re back to another lament psalm. It is a three-parter. This one could have been written at several times in his life. He had problems at Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1–15) and at Ziklag (1 Sam. 30). But since David was closest to being in a “besieged city” (v. 21) was during his bout with his son, Absalom in 2 Sam. 15-18. Counsel was taken against him in 2 Sam. 17 which sounds like verse 13 of this psalm. David was never literally besieged but figurative siege can be bad enough. If you are stuck in a rut, you can probably relate to this psalm.
I felt like I was in a besieged city when we lived in Atlanta years ago. I felt called to the ministry but the roof, well, and the sky, fell in on us as we tried to move from Atlanta to Dallas to go to seminary. And like a meteor had hit us, too, now that I think of it. Don’t expect things to always get better after you obey God. Often, they get worse! I loved the city of Atlanta. It’s been my favorite place to live in my life . . . probably (I don’t want to insult, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, or Illinois). But I felt trapped and we couldn’t get out of town for over a year. So I know a little of how David may have felt.
When we don’t understand why things happen like they do in life, isn’t it a comfort to know we can cuddle in God’s arms and take refuge? Well, maybe cuddle is the wrong term but we certainly can be content to know He is in charge (v. 1, cf. Phil. 4:11)! When we trust in Him, we’ll never come off as a knucklehead (v. 1b, “never be ashamed”). He knew God would never do the wrong thing and would “deliver” him (v. 1c).
The “rock” thing is in verse 2 and 3 again. David mentions God as rock about thirty times in Psalms. Rocks don’t give. They are not malleable. If you fall on a rock, it hurts. Many of them are very hard to move. He asks the “Rock” to rescue, deliver, and guide him (v. 2, 3b).
David trusted God to pull him out of any trap that his enemies might set for him (v. 4). Do you sense others are trying to catch you in something to embarrass you?
Verse 5 is Jesus’ prayer on the cross (Luke 23:46). Satan thought he had trapped the Lord. Boy, was he surprised when He rose from the dead! The trick was on Satan! God “ransomed” Jesus and sprung him from the devil’s trap! Many ancient martyrs quoted something similar to verse 7 before they were killed (cf. Acts 7:59). Andrew Murray, the nineteenth century saint, stated, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”
Non-believers may trust in idols, even American idols, but believers know that God Almighty Himself is protecting them (v. 6). David again relies on Yahweh’s binding, covenantal hesed love (v. 7a). God knows all our pain, affliction and trouble (v. 7b, c).
In the Lord’s model prayer for us, we ask that God deliver us from, literally, the evil one (v. a8, cf. Matt. 6:13). When we feel squeezed in life, God often will respond to our prayers and give us elbow room so we will feel freedom (v. 8b).
We can trust God’s hands (v. 5) or fall into our enemies’ hands (v. 8). We can fall into the “everlasting arms” (cf. Deut. 33:27) or end up in the “pit” (cf. Ps. 30:3).
Proverbs 8:1-11 ONE Job
Wisdom is often personified in Proverbs. Here she is blathering again. At least, if you are a fool, that’s what you’ll think. A fool is another name for an unbeliever in Proverbs (v. 5). If you think about it, that makes sense. My daughter, when she get frustrated with some people, she’ll say, “they had ONE job . . . .” She means, of course, that there was one specific thing they were supposed to do and they messed it up. Fools have ONE job. They are supposed to trust Christ for salvation. They have their whole lives to get it right but, if they remain fools, they don’t get it right.
Wisdom, in the form of a woman, screams out again from the middle of town, right where all the cars are crisscrossing, “Hey! I’m trying to teach you something!” (vv. 4-11). As Steve Martin used to say, “But, noooooooooo.” People don’t listen (implied, cf. v. 36). How many times does Solomon have to tell his kids to listen to his commandments? I guess kids haven’t changed over the years (vv. 25-26).
Everyone believes that happiness is having a lot of stuff. They believe bumper sticker wisdom, “He who dies with the most toys, wins. Actually, the opposite would be true if you’re an unbeliever, wouldn’t it? “He who dies in the most debt, wins.” That would be cheating the system. Of course, Christians won’t think that way. They repay debt (cf. Ps. 37:21).
Wisdom is worth more than silver, gold, or jewels (vv. 10-11). It is in the Scripture that we learn about sitting by still waters (cf. Ps. 23:2), having peace that passes understanding (cf. John 14:27; Phil. 4:8), abundant life (cf. John 10:10) and eternal life (John 17:3).
What does the world give? Tribulation (cf. John 16:33), detritus (cf. Phi. 3: 7-8, “loss,” is literally skubala, garbage), and death (cf. Rom. 6:21).
We have ONE job in life. Listen to what Wisdom has to say.
Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 25:29-30 NASB “God Bless The Child”
“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:29-30
I used to love a group called “Blood, Sweat, and Tears.” They did a song called, “God Bless The Child.” It begins this way: “Them that’s got shall have, Them that’s not shall lose,
So the Bible says and it still is news.” I think the lyric may be based on this parable in Matthew 25.
The parable is about three people who are given money to invest by their boss. Two make money and the other is lazy and doesn’t make a profit at all. He gets thrown into outer darkness. What does that mean? It could mean that he wasn’t saved even though he knew he should trust Christ. Or, it could mean that he was a servant and was closed out from receiving rewards at the bema seat judgment for believers (cf. Rom. 14: 10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10 and my blog, Bema Me Up Scotty!)
I keep trying to emphasize the bema judgment in my writing because I don’t think enough Christians know about it. They think they can just trust Christ and do whatever they want. And they can. They will still get into Heaven. But they will lose rewards in Heaven. Although our time here is a probation period to test whether we will trust Christ or not, it is also a probationary time that will determine our place in Heaven for eternity. It is very serious stuff.
Do you believe that God will bless you? Are you living like He will?
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
When I graduated seminary, I was really afraid I wouldn’t measure up in the ministry. I thought about how Moses didn’t make it to the promised land at the end of his life because he messed up and disobeyed God (see my blog, Zombie Attack). Uzzah was struck dead when all he did was try to catch the ark when it fell off an ark (see blog Uzzah, Oops, and Running On Faith). If Moses and Uzzah couldn’t gain God’s approval, what chance did I have?
Over the years, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter if I have led millions of people to Christ like Billy Graham or raised people from the dead like Peter and Paul (cf. Acts 9:36-42, 20:9-12). It only matters that I trust God and try to fulfill the ministry God has given me by faith. Then I will have my full reward in Heaven. I won’t be missing anything.
Did you realize that every believer is also a minister? Peter said, ” . . . you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” If you are part of a “royal priesthood,” it doesn’t mean that you have to dress in priest’s garb or serve communion. It does mean that you are a minister.
Paul says, ” . . . each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” In other words, everyone is given a gift to be able to minister in the body. Because we are all ministers!
Are you exercising your gifts today?
If you are, you will receive rewards in Heaven.
And you will be blessed for eternity!
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: Going Loopy