Spiritual Rants: February 9 “Clean-up Time” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Exodus 29:1-30:10 Matthew 26:14-46 Psalm 31:19-24 Proverbs 8:14-26

Old Testament: Exodus 29:1-30:10

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Exodus 29:1-9   Clean-up Time

God demonstrated His holiness to His people by having elaborate cleansing ceremonies for His priests.  They were to wash first.  Then  they were anointed with oil, symbolic of the Holy Spirit.  Then they were dressed in the special clothes described in the last chapter.

Exodus 29:10-17  No bull . . . yes, bull

A bull was sacrificed and the remains disposed of in a particular manner.  The priests first laid their hands on the bulls’ head indicating the transfer of sin to the bull.  Some of the blood was put on the altar and the rest of the bull was burnt outside the camp (Christ was crucified outside “camp,” meaning outside Jerusalem – Heb. 13:13 “So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach”).

Exodus 29:15-21   Ram On

The same ceremony is performed  with a ram as with the bull.

Now it gets more icky.  Another ram is sacrificed but the blood is put on Aaron’s and his sons’ right ears, right thumbs, and right big toe.  The rest of the blood was sprinkled on the altar.  Then some of the blood and some anointing oil was to be sprinkled on Aaron and sons’  garments to set them and their garments apart as holy to God.

Exodus 29:22-30  Do The Wave!

Should there be an organ in church?  I don’t know but there sure were some in the Israelite’s ceremonies.  They took the organs of the second ram along with a loaf of bread, a cake and a wafer and they were to wave it all between themselves and the altar to indicate it was being given to God.  All that stuff was then burned on the altar.

Notice victuals were provided for the priests in that the breast of the ram were to be eaten by the priests.

The high priest’s garments were to be passed down to his succeeding son in a special seven day ceremony.

Exodus 29:31-46  The Cleric’s Cuisine

Direction is given on the sacrifice of lambs.  Christ was the “Lamb of God.”

Offerings were made daily to purify the nation of sin.  The priests were to eat of the sacrifices of the rams and lambs (v. 32 Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket, at the doorway of the tent of meeting.)  Christians as ministers of God (1Pet. 2:9, “But 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”) should partake of Christ’s sacrifice daily and  eat and fellowship with Him (Rev. 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”)

Exodus 301-10  The Altar Smells

Not to be confused with the larger “altar of burnt offering” described in Chap. 25, the incense altar was about 1 1/2 feet square and 3 feet high.  Incense from this altar was taken into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest once a year on the “Day of Atonement.”  Aaron was to burn incense on this altar twice a day.  Incense is often symbolic of prayer.  Atonement (cleansing) had to be made for this altar once a year by sprinkling bull’s and goat’s blood on the “horns” of the altar (cf. Lev. 16:14-19).  You can check a Bible Dictionary or look online to see what  “horns of the altar” looked like.  They actually looked like . . .  horns.

New Testament: Matthew 26:14-46

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Matthew 26:14-19  Let’s Make a (Bad) Deal

Judas sells Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver.  Jesus had earlier said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul” (Matt. 16:26)?   Judas didn’t even get the whole world in exchange for his soul.  What was he thinking?  Bad deal.  Thirty pieces of silver was the price to be paid for a slave (Ex. 21:32) and the amount prophecied by the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 11:12).

Jesus told his disciples to go to “a certain man” and tell them they were coming for dinner, specifically, the Passover meal.

Matthew 26:20-25    Not Passed Over

When Jesus was having the Passover meal with his disciples, He announced that one of them was going to betray Him.  They all apparently had guilty consciences since they all said, “It’s not me, is it?”  When Judas said it, Jesus replied, “You said it.”  But this was not a good thing since Jesus said that man would have been better not to have been born.

Matthew 26:26-35  The First Communion

At dinner, Jesus broke bread, symbolic of His body about to be broken for them.  They also drank the “fruit of the vine,” symbolic of Jesus’ blood being poured out for them.  In fact, Jesus said it was the “blood of the covenant” by which He meant that the New Covenant had come.  Jesus said He wouldn’t have this type of communion with them again until His Father’s kingdom was established.

Afterward, they sang a hymn (not a pop song!).

Jesus quoted the Old Testament (Zech. 11:12) that the Shepherd would be struck down and the sheep scattered.  He said all the disciples would “fall away because” of Him.  Peter said, “No way, that’s happening’.”  Jesus told him before the rooster crows that Peter would deny him thrice.  Peter said, “Ut uh.”  All the other disciples chimed in saying, “Ut uh.”

Matthew 26:36-46  The Lord’s Prayers

Jesus took all the disciples with Him while He went to pray.  He told them, “Sit.”  He took Peter, James and John with Him to pray.  He asked God to take the “cup” of suffering from Him (v. 42).  By the cup of suffering, Jesus most likely meant the suffering of being separated from the Father.   Since He became sin on our behalf (2Cor. 5:21) and the Father could have nothing to do with sin, He was separated from the Father for a time.  The separation from the Father would cause Jesus worse suffering than simply dying.

He found the disciples sleeping.  He asked again that the “cup” be removed.  He conceded that if it couldn’t be removed that He wanted to do God’s will.  The disciples were sleeping again.  Jesus asked a third time.  Contra some modern-day preachers, God does not always answer prayers the way we want, even if we make them in full faith.  He didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer as He asked.  Sometimes it’s  that God’s will just has to be done.

Disciples sleeping again!  “OK,” Jesus said, “let’s go, the Betrayer is here.”  He meant Judas.  That meant everything was about to kick into high gear.

Psalm 31:19-24    A Psalm of Lament by David

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Psalm 31:19-24   A “Hand-y” Man, Part 3

Today we look at the last of three parts on Psalm 31.  Psalm 31 is a lament.  There are almost 50 laments in the Psalms or almost a third of all the psalms, depending on how you classify them.  God knew we would be whiney-butts and knew we’d need encouragement.

It would have been bad enough to have your own son try to wrest your kingdom away from you but when David wrote this psalm, he was probably surrounded by his enemies.

Hands are mentioned three times in this psalm (vv. 5, 8, 15).  It is a pretty handy psalm, hence, my title.

Ps. 31:5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.

Ps. 31:8 And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place.

Ps. 31:15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.

Twice the hand mentioned is the hand of the enemy.  Twice it is God’s hand to which David makes his appeal.  You really  have to hand it to him.  We should probably give him a hand.

Though he laments along the way, David ends on a note of praise, as usual.  He members God’s goodness (v. 1).  It is good to remember God’s goodness when we are low.  It is hard to have too much of a pity party if we remember that God is good and always has our best interests in mind (cf. Ps. 56:9; James 1:17).  God even “stores up” goodness for us (v. 19b).

God hides us from people working to do us in, “conspiracies” (v. 20a, cf. v. 13, c,d; 2 Sam. 17).  Although it is a harrowing experience when people plot against you, it always interesting to witness how God extricates us from his snares.  Trust me.  And if you are a pastor, you will learn this.

When I committed to go into the ministry, finally, and was in Atlanta, it seemed we were never going to be able to leave town and get to Dallas to seminary.  Verse 22 kept coming to mind.  It seemed I was in a “besieged city” (v. 21).  I was not actually under siege and neither was David, but it sure felt that way to me and probably to him, too.  Have  you ever felt trapped in your situation with no way out?  God knows.  God cares.

Warren Wiersbe likes to remind us, “ . . . when His people are in the furnace, the Creator keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat.”  He knows how long and how much, and He is always “in control.”

We can go into a panic.  David went into “alarm” mode and thought God had forgotten about him (v. 22).  But afterward, David could report that God had heard him when in a panic he cried out to Him (see The Idiot Rule; Ps. 66:18-19).

David exhorts believers to love the Lord (v. 23a).  He gives reasons:  God preserves those who cling to Him (v. 23b) and he beats evil people in the head who cut you off on the road and are rude in restaurants (v. 23c, my paraphrase).

The key to being spiritual is often just waiting for God to act and not getting in front of Him (v. 24, “Be strong and confident, all you who wait on the LORD!” NET; also, Matt. 16:23).

Proverbs 8:14-26   Before Dust In The Wind

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Wisdom often appears as a person in Proverbs.  Here she is bragging about herself:

Kings and even princes and nobles use her principles and the power of her principles to rule (vv. 14-16)

If you do right by Wisdom, she will do right by you (v. 17)

People can have true riches that actually satisfy by using her principles (vv. 18-21)

Jesus used Wisdom to put the world together way back before there was just dust in the wind  (vv. 22-26)

Choose Life: Scripture:  Exodus 29:10   NASB    “No Bunk”

“Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull.”   Exodus 29: 10

I love this passage.  You would be right to ask me why.   It doesn’t seem like a real exciting verse.  It is.

The consecration service for the priests lasted a week (cf. Exod. 29:35-37).  Each day of that week a bull was sacrificed.  Before the bull was sacrificed, the priests were to put their hands on the bull’s head.  This symbolized the transfer of sins from the priests and then the bull was slaughtered on their behalf.  This is just what happens when we trust Christ.  Our sins are put on Him (Isa. 53:4–6, 12; Matt. 26:28; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24).  We are now a “royal priesthood” to God (cf. 2 Pet. 2:9).

The transfer of sins from us to Christ is called an “imputation” or a crediting of our sins to Jesus’ account.  You can drop that term at your next dinner party and impress people.

Here’s why this is so cool.   If you understand what’s going on with the bulls, you’ll understand what happened when you accepted Christ.  If you understand what happened when your sins were “imputed” to Christ, you’ll understand that there was nothing that you had to do for your salvation except to trust Christ.  If you understand that you had nothing to do with your salvation except to trust Christ, then you’ll understand that there is nothing you can do to lose your salvation.  You’ll understand that salvation is not because of anything that YOU have done (cf. Titus 3:5).  You’ll understand that when you sin, you’ve broken your fellowship with God but you haven’t lost your relationship with Him.  You’ll realize that all you have to do to restore your fellowship is confess your sin (cf. 1 John 1:9).

So don’t kid yourself that you can do works to please God for salvation.  Don’t kid yourself that you need to “feel sorry” for your sins.  That’s all a bunch of bunk.

Do you realize that?

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

Fun Application:

Here is what Paul said about his past, ” . . . to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself” (1Cor. 4:3).  He also said, ” . . . I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3: 13-14).

Paul murdered Christians before he was saved.  He says he put all of his past behind him.  Are you better than Paul?  Put away your pity parties.  If you think that your sins are worse than anyone else’s, you are being prideful.  You think you are a bigger sinner than Paul or anyone else.

In the words of the great theologians, the Eagles, “Get Over It!”

You’ll be blessed if you do.

No bunk.

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:   Being Bullish

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