Old Testament: Exodus 28:1-43
Exodus 28:1-43 Men of the Cloth
Worship for the Jews was such an affair,
That the priests had to be very careful what they wear.
And you thought Joseph had some pretty cool duds? This part of the chapter describes the beautiful details of the priests’ garb who were to minister in the tabernacle. I saw a very well-dressed couple at a restaurant after church recently. Surprised that someone would dress up for church in this day and age, I commended them. They said, “Only the best for God!” True. There is a lesson here.
The priests’ jobs were to burn incense, maintain the lampstand and offer the sacrifices. The high priest was Moses’ brother, Aaron. The other priests were Aaron’s two infamous sons, Nadab and Abihu. Don’t name your kids Nadab or Abihu! You’ll find out why in Lev. 10:1-2. Aaron’s youngest sons, Elezar and Ithamar, had to take over for them. That should whet your interest.
The garments of the priests set them apart from the other Israelites. The clothes were made of the same material as the curtains described in the last chapter with some gold added. The best craftsmen were to be the haberdashers. This chapter contains the details of the various pieces and jewels that were used.
Note the “Urim and Thummin” (v. 29, 30) were two stones that the priests used to obtain direct wisdom from God to make decisions for Israel (cf. Num. 27:21).
28:36-38. The turban and the tunic of the priest were to be made of linen (v. 39). The turban was to have a plate that stated HOLY TO THE LORD. God takes holiness seriously (1 Pet. 1:16). You can’t get hats like these at Lids.
Not approaching God in proper attire could result in death (v. 43)!
God gave very specific instructions to the priests to wear certain garb in worship at Temple.
New Testament: Matthew 25:31-26:13
Jesus separates the goats and sheep,
It’s the hungry and down and out He expects us to meet.
Not to help could result in Hell,
Caiaphas comes out to answer the bell,
Mary is responsible for a glorious smell.
25:31 Judgment: Why Are No Sports Teams Called The Goats?
No one names their team “The Goats.” To be fair, no one names their team after sheep either. Jesus says there will be a judgment. Can’t say we weren’t warned. It will be better to be with the sheep at that time than the goats. (Are Christians supposed to be conservative? Notice the “sheep” are on the “right.”)
25:34-40 How To Help Jesus
Jesus commends those who feed the hungry, homeless, badly clothed, imprisoned, or sick during this time. The setting is still the seven-year Tribulation when those who follow Christ are apt to be in special need. By way of application, all of this is also true today. Do you make sure your pastor has transportation, clothes and food? Some churches, in trying to save a buck, do not care for their ministers in this (Laodicean) age. Jesus says that as you treat His brothers (cf. Heb. 2:11, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one [Father]; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren”), so you have treated Him.
25:41-46 Persecutors Prosecuted
This does not teach “works salvation.” Salvation is always by faith. What it does show is that those who are truly saved will take care of their own who are going to be persecuted during the Tribulation. Those who do not help the persecuted believers will end up in H-E- double hockey sticks. Isn’t ignoring those who need help during this time (and any time!) a form of persecution?
Notice Hell was not created for human beings. God does not hope for ANY human being to be doomed to Hell (2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”). Hell is created for “the devil and his angels” (v. 41). Another word for the devil’s angels? Demons.
26:1-5 The Passover Plot
The successor to Aaron at this time was Caiaphas. (Ciaphas was probably a little more like Nadab and Abihu than Aaron.) Jesus warned his disciples that the time was very near for His crucifixion. He indicated it would be at the time of the Passover. We’ve looked at the Passover in our study of Exodus so you can see the parallel.
Showing that the nation had truly rejected Christ, their representatives, “the chief priests and the elders of the people” were looking for an opportunity to kill Him that wouldn’t rouse the people.
26:6-13 A Dab’ll Do Ya?
There was a hair tonic ad long ago, “A little dab’ll do ya.” The woman (Mary, Martha’s sister, John 12:3) who came to the home of Simon the leper (not of American Idol fame) apparently had not heard this ad. She slathered Jesus with very expensive ointment (a “year’s wages” worth, cf. John 12:5 NIV). The disciples, in particular Judas (cf. John 12: 4), objected to the waste of money. Jesus used the episode as an object lesson to show that He was going to die soon and that the story of the woman would be told around the world. No sacrifice made for Christ is wasted. Mary was the only one who anointed Jesus. (The women went to anoint Jesus but He had arisen already, cf. Luke 24:1-3). She was the only one who understood that Jesus was going to die.
When Christ comes back, He will sort out the lost people from the saved. During the Seven-Year Tribulation in the future, Jesus expects believers to help other believers. It will be a time when many will have need of basics. Jesus would help them and he expects able believers to help the downtrodden believers during that time.
The High Priest, Caiaphas, began to plot Jesus’ death. The nation of Israel had clearly rejected their Messiah at this point. Martha’s sister, Mary, anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment in preparation for His death and burial.
Psalm 31:9-18 A Psalm of Lament by David
Psalm 31:9-18 A “Hand-y” Man, Part 2
Today we read the second of three parts on Psalm 31. Psalm 31 is a lament. David may have been surrounded by his enemies probably during the rebellion by his very own son, Absalom.
David again asks for God’s unmerited favor, His grace (v. 9). David knows God is not obligated to help him but figures maybe God will be gracious mainly because he knows God is a gracious God.
David has not been happy lately, he’s been in “sorrow” (v. 10). Have you been in sorrow? God understands. David has been so distraught that even his body is wasting away (v. 10d). Did you realize there is a connection between your emotional state and your body? If David’s circumstances in this psalm are due to Absalom, he has brought them on himself. It was his sin with Bathsheba that brought on most of the distress in his life. God does not punish us as we should be punished (cf. Ps. 103:10). But David was punished for his sin (cf. 2 Sam. 12:7-14).
David describes his plight in verses 11-13. He has become a “reproach” (v. 11 a-c), people who see him on the street cross over to avoid him (v. 11d). He feels like a zombie (v. 12, “a dead man,” I know the feeling, just yesterday my cardiologist said he was checking my heartbeat to see if I was a zombie!). He feels “broken” v. 12b). People “slander” him and he is surrounded by “terror” (v. 13 a, b).
He knows his enemies have “counseled” and “schemed” to off him (v. 13c, d). It is verse 13, along with 2 Sam. 17, that leads many to believe that the setting of this psalm is the rebellion of Absalom against David. And you thought you were having a bad day? David’s son and his son’s pals were plotting to remove him from the earth!
When God has put someone in authority, it is interesting how often they know that something is going on around them. When I was pastor of a small country church, God would often allow me knowledge of what was going on in the church. Somehow David knew of the plot against his life and he put his entire trust in God (v. 14).
I know a restaurant owner in Texas. He often used to tell me that he couldn’t evacuate the planet unless God allowed it. Thirty years later he is still alive and kicking. He knew “his times” were in God’s hands (v. 15). He and his wife have survived various illnesses and business setbacks. Of course, someday he will have to be promoted above. But, until then, he knows God is in charge of his life and its span. What security we have knowing that “our time” won’t come until God releases us from our service here!
David lived his life to please the Lord like the Apostle Paul generations after him (implied in v. 16, cf. 2 Cor. 5:6-10). Once again, David appeals to Yahweh’s hesed, His faithful lovingkindness (v. 16b). Hesed is the translation of “lovingkindness” in the NASB and “unfailing love” in the NIV. It is a binding, covenantal love. (Are you sick of me writing that? So have you gotten ahold of the concept deep inside yet?) David knew that God was obligated to love him and take care of him.
Do you like being put to shame? I don’t. Neither did David. He knew God could save him from being put to shame. We are never put to shame when we trust the Lord (cf. Rom. 10:11 NIV ESV HCSB NET KJV). He actually wishes his adversaries end up in Sheol where they will finally shut up (v. 17b, 18). The righteous who trust in the Lord will not be able to hear them from there.
Proverbs 8:12-13 Avoid Potty Mouths!
Only two verses from Proverbs today. Allows us to take a breath!
Fearing the Lord doesn’t mean we literally fear the Lord. It means we hold Him in awe and respect. It means we understand that He has the power to vaporize us if he wants to. But He always loves us immensely (cf. John 3:16; Eph. 3: 14-21).
If you don’t fear the Lord now, you will really fear Him later.
Fearing the Lord leads to wisdom. That is the theme of the book of Proverbs (cf. Prov. 1:7). Fools aka unbelievers don’t fear the Lord. They are “proud,” “arrogant,” and have potty mouths (v. 13).
Have you noticed that those who have potty mouths are generally proud and arrogant? They are not people who are being prudent, knowledgeable, and discreet (v. 12).
Avoid potty mouths!
Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 25:41 NASB “A Love Relationship”
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41
I once heard a young girl say how she was witnessing to another girl in high school. She told the other girl that everyone’s destiny was determined by God. Some were born for Heaven and some were born for Hell. I realized that the entire church believed that. We didn’t attend there anymore.
What kind of a God would create some people for eternal punishment and others for eternal bliss? And why would He choose some for one place and others for the other? Would that be a God of love? Absolutely not! That sounds like theology that comes straight from the Pit!
Here is the truth. God wants a love affair with YOU! Yes, YOU! Not some of you, plural, but all of you! And particularly . . . YOU! (singular, as in actual YOU!). Here’s one way I know that. Peter said, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Not the part I put in italics, “not wishing for any to perish”! God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell.
Now, some people insist on going there. So God is not a divine rapist. He will give you every chance but He is not going to force Himself on you. He wants you to want Him. But He seeks you out (cf. 1 John 4:19).
Here’s another way that I know God doesn’t arbitrarily send people to Hell. Our verse today says that God didn’t even create Hell for people. He created Hell for “the devil and his angels.” That makes sense because God doesn’t want anyone to go there! (No people anyway. He does want the devil and his cronies to go there.)
C.S. Lewis once said there are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “thy will be done.”
Whose will do you want? Yours or God’s? If you choose God’s will, you will be spending eternity with Him in a love relationship. Choose Him and His will!
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
You can pick up about any magazine and see it. You can see it in books. You can see it on TV. It’s on the internet. What is? What am I talking about? I’m talking about people going their own way. Every one does it. Well, a lot of people do it. Here’s is James description of the situation in James 4:13-17:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
That could be a description of saved people but more often than not, it’s a description of unsaved people. Here’s how the prophet Isaiah describes us in Isaiah 53:6:
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
Isaiah describes us as sheep without direction.
Don’t be a like a lamb without direction. Trust the Lord. Proverbs says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3: 5-6).
You’ll be blessed if you do!
Who wants to just wander around like sheep?
Is that what you’re doing?
God loves His sheep.
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: Why Are No Sports Teams Call The Goats?