Growing in Trust

Exodus 13-15

Exodus 13 21 NIV

Sometimes, when a person makes a major purchase, like buying a new car or a new house they come down with a phenomenon known as “buyer’s remorse.”  Buyers remorse happens when you second guess that decision.  Yes, you like that new car and all.  You could think about how wonderful it would be when you drive it down the highway.  But when that first car payment comes due and you see how much of your paycheck goes out every month… and will continue to go out for the next 4 or 5 or 6 years, you can have buyer’s remorse.  It can be even worse when you realize that that dream house you’ve always wanted requires 1/4 of your paycheck every month and will for the next 30 years.  Yikes!  Buyers remorse has to do with regretting that important decision.

After the 10 plagues, the last of which included the death of his firstborn son, Pharaoh was so devastated that he let the Israelite slaves leave.  He wanted to be rid of them.  Their God had displayed His power and Pharaoh’s hubris was finally knocked down.  But like a boxer in a ring who has been knocked senseless by a much stronger opponent, Pharaoh still manages to get back up on his feet and try again.  He realizes that he’s suddenly lost a significant part of his workforce.  600,000-able bodied men were gone.  Who was going to build Pharaoh’s cities and pyramids and harvest their crops?  Pharaoh has buyer’s remorse.  He wants to get those slaves back.  So he assembles his army, the most powerful army in the world, and sends out the chariots and soldiers to chase down the Israelites traveling by foot.

Meanwhile, God is making his visible presence known to Israel.  He’s leading them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  This was important.  God’s people were no doubt very disoriented.  They were leaving a place that was known and familiar to them.  For over 400 years they had been living in Egypt.  They were now going to a land which they had never been.  They may have heard stories from their parents and grandparents about this land, but chances are that after 400 years, it had all but been forgotten in Israel’s memory.  They had no idea where they were going.  So they needed some visible assurance that God really was with them.  So he made Himself visible.  I’m sure that this brought some comfort to the traveling Israelites… until they heard the sound of Pharaoh’s army, with it’s galloping hoofbeats bearing down upon them.  As they looked forward to their escape route, there was nothing but the vast sea before them, and behind, the most powerful army in the world.

In despair they cried out to Moses- “why did you bring us out here to die, weren’t there enough graves in Egypt to hold our bodies?”  The sarcasm would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high.  These people truly were terrified.  Yes, they could see that God was leading them- his tangible, visible presence was right there… and yes, God had performed 10 great signs in Egypt.  But they were still scared.

It is normal to get scared when scary things are about to happen to you.  It would take the nation of Israel a long time before they would begin to really trust God in all things.

I’m a baseball fan.  Over the last 8-9 years I’ve watched the Washington Nationals play a lot of baseball.  They have been a very good team for years, but unfortunately, too many times that great team fell apart during the playoffs.  Every time they were in a do or die situation in the playoffs, they lost that deciding game and were eliminated from the playoffs.  This happened over and over again.  So when the 2019 playoffs started, and the Nationals played the Milwaukee Brewers in the one game wild-card play off and they were behind by 3 runs, I started thinking “Oh no, not again!  We’re gonna lose once again.”  But they didn’t!  They came back and beat the Brewers.   Wow!  It was different.  After all these years they won a playoff series.  But then they played the mighty Dodgers.  Once again they go behind 2 games to 1 and were facing an elimination game.  They were behind and it was getting late in the game, and then miraculously, they tied it up and went into extra innings, and then Howie Kendrick hit a 10th inning grand slam and the Nationals won another series.  They moved on to the next round, where they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in 4 games.  By this time I was becoming a believer.  So much that when they played the Houston Astros in the World Series and got down three games to two and were facing elimination, I suddenly wasn’t worried any more.  I had become a believer.  I just knew that they would come back and win… and they did.

So Israel can be excused for fearing Pharaoh’s army and believing that the worst was was about to happen.  But once again, God showed up in a powerful way, the seas were parted and Israel went through on dry land, and Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the sea as they gave chase.

How many times does God need to show up before we begin to trust?  For me, it only took a few come from behind wins for be to begin believing in the Nationals and placing my confidence in their ability to come back and win.  It would take quite a few more wins before Israel would finally come to fully trust God.  What will it take for you to fully trust God?  Israel’s story is, in many ways our story too.  We can read these stories and have our faith strengthened to help us keep trusting God even in the middle of hard times.  God is with us and God has the power to display His ultimate victory over the forces of evil.

Jeff Fletcher

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=exodus+13-15&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s Bible reading will be Exodus 16-18 on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Light Dawns on the Dark Night of the Soul

Exodus 10-12

Exodus 10 1 2 NIV

As we go through life, there are times when it seems like God is very active and involved in our day to day lives and we sense God’s love, nearness and active interest in our lives.  However, if we are honest, there are other times when life seems to just move along and God doesn’t seem to be saying much or doing much on our behalf.  The technical term for this awareness of God’s absence is called “the dark night of the soul.”  Many growing Christians have and do experience times of God’s apparent absence in our lives.

As we read through the Bible it becomes apparent that there are times when God gets actively involved with His people.  God was there in creation, making the earth, making the plants and trees, making the animals, making Adam from dirt and Eve from Adam’s rib.  God was there in Eden talking openly and directly with Adam and Eve.  God was there asking Cain about his brother Abel.  But then we don’t hear much from God.  We know that people like Enoch “walked with God”, but we’re told very little about what God is up to for hundreds of years, as the population of earth increases and also the sin of humanity increases.  There is a long period of God’s apparent absence from history until the days of Noah when God appears to Noah and tells him to build the Ark because a flood is coming.

After the flood there appears to be more years of silence, until the Tower of Babel gets built and God comes down and confuses people’s language.  Then there is more silence from God until he calls Abraham.  And so on and so on…There are intermittent times where God is active and involved and times when God seems silent throughout the book of Genesis.

At the end of Genesis God saves Abraham’s family from famine by bringing them down to Egypt.  At first, all is well as Joseph, Abraham’s great grandson is the second most powerful man in all of Egypt.  But Joseph eventually dies, and he is no longer able to protect his family from the powerful Pharaoh, and eventually the descendants of Abraham are enslaved by the Egyptians.  This lasts for a period of roughly 400 years.  During that 400 years it seems that God is once again silent.

During that time Israel is growing from a few hundred people, to millions of people.  Millions of men, woman and children living in bondage in a foreign land.  Perhaps stories about God and their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were passed along by word of mouth, but we might imagine that so many years of silence may have left the nation of Israel in a permanent Dark Night of the Soul.  But then… out of the darkness and silence, Moses is born and becomes a member of the Egyptian royal family.  God is at work, but he’s not quite ready to make himself fully known to Israel.  Moses kills an Egyptian and flees to the wilderness and it seems that the darkness continues and the voice of God remains silent…until God appears to Moses in the burning bush and tells him to go back to Egypt.

In Exodus 10-12 the time has come for God to make himself known to His people… and to Egypt. Exodus 10:1-2 – “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

Here, God tells Moses that He’s about to make his presence known in a powerful way.  God’s about to show up, the darkness is ending, the silence is over.  And show up He does!  God shows up in a profound and powerful display of his power and might.  Bear in mind, Egypt was, at the time, the most powerful empire in the whole world.  Pharaoh was the most powerful person in the whole world.  Pharaoh had been exerting his power in a ruthless way over God’s chosen people for hundreds of years.  Lord Acton once said “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  In the United States we live under a Constitutional system that intentionally balances power among three different branches of government- Executive, Legislative and Judicial.  This is to prevent any one person from having too much or absolute power.  These lessons were learned after observing thousands of years of kingdoms.  Pharaohs and other absolute monarchs have historically used their power in destructive and unjust ways.  And with such unmatched power comes hubris.

The Poet Percy Bysshe Shelly captures the hubris in his powerful poem Ozymandias:

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Pharaoh, like Ozymandias in the poem, was filled with hubris over his unmatched power.  He believed himself to be king of kings.  He needed to be taught a lesson in humility by the true King of Kings.  God showed up.  Ten plagues later and all of Egypt was brought to their knees.  Meanwhile, the people of God began to see first hand just how great and powerful their King, the true God, YHWH really was.  That story has been told for thousands of years, and today, the people of Israel continue to sit down and eat bread without yeast and drink wine and remember the Passover and how powerful their God really is.

Sometimes, God seems to be silent, but make no mistake, God is still there and God is still powerful and in the end, God will show himself to be greater than all human opposition.  May you know the true God.

Jeff Fletcher

So Egypt Will Know

Exodus 7-9

Exodus 7 5 NIV

Moses does not believe that he can speak adequately, so what does God say? He does not tell Moses, “I am sorry. I picked the wrong man.” No. Instead He says, “I picked you for a reason. If you can not speak, then delegate that duty to Aaron.” God still says that He is going to speak through Moses, not Aaron. Once Aaron has received the words from Moses, then Aaron can speak them to Pharaoh. In fact, this is the way that religion is going to work for the rest of human history. God will pick a prophet, whether that prophet thinks he is capable or not, and will speak to the rest of humanity through that single person. God is also able to set up leadership through this prophet and the prophet can lead others and coordinate with them in order to achieve more and reach more people. This is what is established in the Levitical priesthood.

 

I recently heard an interesting interpretation on the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. I have usually not been able to define the phrase “hardened heart” when I read it. This interpretation however, defines the hardening of a heart as making a man brave. Under this interpretation, God did not force Pharaoh to refuse to listen. Pharaoh first chose to ignore the words of God. Then, when he became fearful because of the plagues, he was willing to let the Israelites go. It is at this point that God makes Pharaoh brave, allowing the Pharaoh to hold to his original decision not to let them go. I think this interpretation has some merit and is interesting at least.

 

Why did God choose the plagues that he chose? Why did he turn the Nile to blood? He could have turned it to mud or dried it up or anything. Why did he send a plague of frogs? Why not crocodiles or giant river snakes or something a little more intimidating? Why gnats? Gnats are just tiny little things, a nuisance at worst. Well God is the mastermind behind all of this, so He must have known what he was doing. Let’s try to think about all of these plagues in the context of Egypt. We know that Egypt is full of sorcerers who have a handful of tricks. We also know that the Egyptians were polytheistic and had many zoomorphic gods. Finally, we know that the Pharaoh had been oppressing the Egyptians with hard work and even worse, had slaughtered all of their baby boys.

 

God could have just dried up all of the water in the Nile and it would have had the same effect. All the fish would die and begin to rot and stink. There would be no water to drink. Yet God chose blood. This relates to what I said yesterday about turning people by degrees. God is starting with a plague that the Egyptians think is mere magic. The same thing occurs for the frogs, but the magicians can not create gnats. There is definitely some symbolism to blood in the Nile, possibly referring to the Pharaoh’s slaughter of the newborns. I also think it has to do with the significance of the river to Egypt. That river was a large part of the economy for them, they relied on it. So God took it away. Man should rely on God because he is the source of life. Even at this point in history, people knew that blood is an essential part of life and thought that a person’s life was in their blood. Thus, by turning the river to blood, God is saying, “I give life and I take away life.”

 

The plague of frogs is a weird one for me. The way it is described makes it sound like an inconvenience; they are just everywhere. One commentator I read said that this was poking fun at the Egyptians gods Hapi and Heqt. God was directly challenging the gods of Egypt.

 

The gnats are particularly nasty. Have you ever been out on a run in the summer when all of a sudden your mouth is full of gnats? Maybe that is just me. It is one of the most unpleasant experiences. Now have you ever been in a dry, dusty field running around and kicking up dirt? That is also quite unpleasant. It gets tough to breath. One time I was in a situation like this and I had to keep blowing my nose until it stopped coming out black. Now replace the dust in this field with gnats. That is a nightmare.

 

I am going to stop there and ask that you ask yourself these questions and see if you can come up with an answer. Why flies? Why livestock? Why boils? Why hail? God has every tool imaginable at his disposal, yet He deems these to be the best plagues for this situation. Why is that?

 

 

Thanks everyone for starting this plan and sticking to it! If you started from the beginning, great job making it this far and if you are just joining, I hope that you are able to find a routine of your own or hop in with this one. There is nothing better for the mind than to focus on God’s word daily.

 

Thanks for reading,

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=exodus+7-9&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Exodus 10-12 on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Called – & Equipped & Planned – by God

Exodus 4-6

exodus 6 7

Anytime God asks a question, you should be thinking to yourself, “Why would God need to ask that question if he already knows the answer?” Here, Moses doubts that he has any ability to convince anyone that he had spoken with God. Then God asks him this leading question as if Moses should have known that he already had everything that he needed to fulfill the duty that God called him to. When you are given a task by God, you had better believe that he has already equipped you for the job. The staff is already in your hand.

 

The method that Moses is given of turning his staff into a snake is an interesting one. The Egyptians sorcerers already have tricks like this; they can perform a similar feat. God always has a plan and he knows the hearts of his audience. He knows that when Moses’ staff turns into a snake, no one will be surprised because they have already seen sorcerers perform the same feat. Then why would God use this method? This is simply the first of many signs to come that will change the hearts of the audience by degrees. This is the same method that Socrates extolls as the tool of a great rhetorician. The great rhetorician will not attempt to change a man’s mind by presenting him with facts. On the contrary, he will use his knowledge of the man’s heart and what is familiar to the man, even if it is false. In this way, you can slowly turn the man’s thinking towards your position by degrees, small increments. This is how I see the signs that Moses performs before Pharaoh and all of Egypt. In other times throughout the Bible, prophets perform different signs and these signs are more suited to the people of that time and region. If Elijah had performed the signs that Moses performed, he may not have been a successful prophet because the signs of Moses are too different compared to what his community was used to experiencing. If this is the case, what kind of signs might God use in our modern age?

 

Yesterday we saw some of the ignorance and incompetence of the Pharaoh, and again we see it today. When he takes the straw away from the Israelites and demands the same quota, he is acting as a bad leader. There are leaders like this who still exist today, be it our teachers or our bosses. The bad leader sees the failures of his subordinates and reprimands them by increasing their workload or taking away resources which he sees as a crutch. Doing this only makes their productivity decrease. The good leader sees the shortcomings of his subordinates and reinforces them in their areas of need so that they can be productive and produce good results. I don’t see Pharaoh’s action in this case to be cruel, merely foolish; he sincerely does not know how to lead people.

 

When God speaks to Moses again, he says that he has heard the groaning of the Israelites. What is incredible about that is that well before he heard their groaning, he had a plan in place to save them. He took the evil of the murder of all baby boys and turned it into good by allowing Moses to live. He allowed Moses to grow in knowledge by being raised as an Egyptian. Then He met with Moses to show him the way to deliver his people. This plan was set into motion before the Israelites even knew they needed saving. That is the power of a God who does not operate on our time. By the time we realize that we are in trouble, God has already been working to get us out of it.

 

Nathaniel Johnson

 

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=exodus+4-6&version=NIV

Can you believe we are about 1/12 of the way through the Bible already!  (Genesis and Job are big books!)  The Bible has 1,189 chapters in all – which means on average reading 99 chapters a month to complete the Bible in a year.  Well Done!  And, if you haven’t been reading every day – February is a great time to get started!

Tomorrow’s Bible reading will be Exodus 7-9 on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

God’s Deliverance Begins – Again

Exodus 1-3

Exodus 2 3 NIV

I had fun with today’s reading; I laughed out loud numerous times. I’m going to try to recreate some of the internal dialogue that was playing out in my head as I read it. Enjoy.

 

“We need to be shrewd with these Israelites. What should we do? I have a brilliant idea! Let’s enslave them.” – The new Pharaoh, probably.

Shrewd: having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute.

I’m not sure the new king really knows what shrewd means. I suppose he was astute in his observation that the Israelites are more powerful than he, yet he is not displaying great judgement in putting shackles on the people who got to their current position thanks to a very shrewd man named Joseph. As Egypt will soon find out, God is great at providing the Israelites with shrewd men who are capable of delivering them at just the right time.

 

“Murder all the baby boys. Do it for king and country, why else? What’s that? It’s immoral to kill babies? Why would you possibly think that?” – Also the new Pharaoh, probably.

The midwives are smart enough to lie to the king and tell him that they aren’t responsible for the lives of these children (as if a person could be considered “responsible” for someone else continuing to live). They claim that the women giving birth are just so skilled at it that they do not need the assistance of a midwife. That is quite a longshot. When is the last time you heard of someone giving birth to a child without the assistance of a professional? Yet the king is dull enough to buy it. He sincerely believes that these women have no concept of morality other than to obey the edicts of their government. The midwives feared God over their government and followed the commands of morality and God instead of the king.

 

The mother of Moses saves him because she thinks he is beautiful. When is the last time a mother did not think their baby was beautiful? Every mother in this time must have been like her, attempting to hide their baby boys after seeing how beautiful they were. After all, the king made it the family’s duty to kill their own children. Moses’ mother was shrewd. She put him in a basket and set him out in the Nile, intending for him to survive. This sounds insane knowing what lurks in the Nile. She created the basket so that he would be protected, it was waterproofed with pitch. She placed it among the reeds so that it wouldn’t wash away. Finally, she had Miriam, Moses’ sister watch over the basket from a distance. His mother was certainly crafty. I believe she knew exactly what would happen next, otherwise she would not have done it. When Moses is found, his own mother is hired to raise him. That is the work of divine providence and the craftiness of Moses’ mother.

 

As a side note, the midrash states that Miriam had a significant role in leading Israel alongside Moses and Aaron after the Exodus. https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/miriam-midrash-and-aggadah

 

The bloodlust of Levi comes out in Moses when he kills the Egyptian.

 

The burning bush seems unique at this point in the story. In the past, God had interacted with people by sending messengers. Abraham speaks with God before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob wrestles with God. Now we have Moses talking to God in a bush. It is a little different but this begins to be the pattern from here on out. We soon get the pillar of fire and cloud (which appears over the tent whenever Moses speaks with God), and the mountain covered in cloud when Moses receives the law. Later God identifies himself in a new way. He gives himself a name “I AM WHO I AM” or “I AM THAT I AM” which is the translation of the Hebrew YHWH. Up until this point, He has always identified Himself as “The God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” This encounter seems to be a turning point in the human story. From now on, a large group of people is going to interact with God in a personal way, they will address Him by name and they will be in close contact with Him.

 

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+1-3&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s reading will be Exodus 4-6 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

This Sounds Vaguely Familiar (Exodus 38-40)

Saturday, August 20

20-holiness-to-the-lord

We have made it to the end of the book of Exodus!  Even if this is your first time reading through the book of Exodus (and CONGRATULATIONS to you, if it is!), several parts of these final chapters should sound quite familiar – because we have read nearly the SAME thing just a few chapters back?  What is the difference?  Why the repetition?

In Exodus 27 & 28 God is giving explicit directions to Moses on how the priestly garments, the altar and the tabernacle courtyard are to be made – materials to be used, precise dimensions, and the exact designs God desires for His Holy Place and His Holy People.  And, in Exodus 38 & 39 we read that it WAS done exactly the SAME way – including once again all the materials, dimensions and exact designs.  In chapter 39 it says at least 8 times that the work was done “-as the Lord commanded Moses”.  At the end of the chapter (vs. 43-43) is says, “The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord commanded Moses.  Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded.  So Moses blessed them.”  It seems that details are pretty important to God.  He didn’t just want it done.  He wanted it done correctly.  He wanted it done HIS way.  Sometimes I think we are quick to pat ourselves on the back if we can just cross a job off the list.  But, have we done it correctly?  Have we done it God’s Way?  Is there a job that needs some more of your attention to do it correctly?  To get it done God’s Way?

Another related phrase that caught my attention was a saying that was to be engraved on a gold plate and attached to the priest’s clothing with a blue cord:  “HOLY TO THE LORD”.   Holiness – to be set apart – total devotion  – unlike any other.   As a member of the royal priesthood (as explained in 1 Peter 2), how is your holiness quotient looking today?  Are you set apart – or blending in?  Are you totally devoted – or only when convenient?  Is there a visual reminder (like the priest’s gold engraved plate on their clothes) that will help you remember to be HOLY TO THE LORD?

    “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy , but now you have received mercy.  Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and aliens in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, thought they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”         I Peter 2:9-12

  Live Today

HOLY TO THE LORD!

And All Your Tomorrows Too!

(Thank you to Josiah Cain who wrote this week.  Since he was working so hard serving in Louisiana the devotion for today (Saturday) was written by Marcia Railton.  Keep praying for Louisiana – and let’s jump into Leviticus next!)

 

It’s Time to Build …Finally (Exodus 35-37)

By Josiah Cain

holy of holies

After many chapters of instructions it is finally time for the people to craft these objects and put the tabernacle together. Not just any old person built things for God; only the ones filled with His spirit were builders. It says that these people were filled with craftsmanship and intelligence this way they could accurately build all that God commanded them.

I also liked how God provided for his tabernacle by having the people give but only if they wanted to give. God didn’t force people to give like He did with the flat tax rather He only wanted those who really cared to give. So many people were moved that Moses had to command the people to stop bringing stuff because they had more than enough to finish the project.

I always enjoy seeing God interact with His people and how He provides for what needs to be done. If we trust God with everything we won’t be disappointed by Him, I promise.

The Israelites Mess Up Again, Shocker! (Exodus 31-34)

By Josiah Cain

Tissot_The_Golden_Calf

There is a lot to cover in these chapters and a lot of cool and terrible stories take place. Of course, in normal Israelite fashion, we find the people of God disobeying orders. They make a golden calf statue to worship while Moses is away on Mt. Sinai. God tells Moses that the people are messing up and Moses then pleads with God not to destroy them; if it wasn’t for Moses the Israelites would not have made it very far. So Moses goes down to see what is happening and ends up destroying the tablets that God made and the golden calf the people made. Moses then orders the Levites to kill the people who disobeyed God and this is the same event that made the Levites the priestly tribe for the rest of Jewish history. In total 3,000 people ended up dying that day at the hands of the Levites but that wasn’t enough for God; God later in the evening sent a plague to kill some of the Israelites and finally all the punishment was over. The Jews really can’t seem to keep themselves out of trouble.

There are many things that I don’t envy about Moses, like the time he killed that Egyptian, but if there is one thing I am jealous of, it would be the way he talks to God. It says in chapter 33 that God talked to Moses face to face. What? How cool is that! Can you imagine talking to God face to face?!? It is incredible to think that Moses literally heard the voice of God and sat in the same place as God dwelt. I would give anything to commune with God in this way. Reading the way that God and Moses communicate just builds my anticipation for the coming kingdom even more.

Moses actually spent so much time with God that his face started to glow. I can’t imagine what this would have looked like but it was enough to scare some of the Israelites apparently. I wonder if we will have glowing faces when we spend a bunch of time with God? It did stink for Moses though that he had to hand carve the Ten Commandments again. I would still trade 40 days of no eating and stone carving for that much time with God.

Thanks for reading again and please take to heart the lessons that we can learn from the Israelites. If we follow God’s rules then everything works out for us in the end. I also think that we can learn patience from this story. The only reason they made the statue in the first place was because they were worried that Moses wasn’t coming back. We need to wait because God always has things under control.

 

More Instructions?!? (Exodus 28-30)

By Josiah Cain

josiah garments

After yesterday’s reading I didn’t think that it could get any more thorough but it did. In this section God lays out very specific instructions for what Aaron and his sons are supposed to wear, who is to make the clothing, and how they are to make it. There are also instructions on what type of sacrifices the Israelites are to be making; God even gave directions on how to make holy perfume. It all seems a little much but at the same time I really appreciate the lengths that the Israelites went through to honor God and follow His orders.

One thing that stuck out to me in this reading was how the spirit filled those who were supposed to be doing the crafting. It is not very often in the Old Testament that we find the spirit filling people. I think it’s cool how God gave certain people the spirit so they could make clothing. It just makes me realize that everyone’s gifts are important and God may very well be blessing you with a gift that is simple, like making clothing.

I also liked that Aaron and his sons ate from the sacrifices that were made to God.The fact that God provided for His priests through what was His really appeals to me and shows me that YHWH is a God of love. Of course everything is already God’s but the sacrifices almost seem doubly God’s, if that is even possible.

The last thing that I really liked about this section is the flat census tax that everyone payed. No matter how rich or poor you were, you payed the same amount as everybody else. There is something appealing to me about that but I can’t really explain why I like it so much.

Anyway, thanks again for reading my short and humble thoughts on today’s section. God bless and have a great day!

Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark

By Josiah Cain

josiah ark

Well if there is one thing you probably noticed about today’s reading, that is, it was repetitive. The amount of instructions were so long because every other sentence was like, do this exact same thing again on the other side. Besides all of the long winded instructions, what else was there? I actually think there is a lot of value hidden in these words.

The first thing I noticed was how specific the instructions got; it was just like yesterday’s reading where the situations that were described got really specific. I think this shows us that God really does have an exact way that He wants us to do things sometimes.

Also what a cool job it would be to build God’s tabernacle and His ark. The ark is such a historically important object that Hollywood even decided to make a movie about it. Also the tabernacle was the first place that God really calls His dwelling place, the first time we see God dwelling amongst His people since the Garden of Eden.

Another thought I had was how everything the ark and tabernacle were built out of was expensive. I think that material doesn’t really change the holiness points of structures but I think it did impact the Israelite’s view of the whole ordeal. The Israelites had to put some skin in the game if they wanted to really build the ark and tabernacle. All of the materials mentioned did not come cheap and easily, especially in the middle of the desert.

All in all, this might not have been the most thrilling section to read but it is still important because God put it there. I hope you did learn something about the tabernacle and the ark. It might have also made you appreciate the fact that God hasn’t asked you to build Him a giant tent in your back yard. Once again thanks for reading!