Becoming A LightWhenever there is a large group of people, one needs rules to govern conduct within the group, so that everyone can work together to achieve the purpose of the group. Take a look around: families have rules which govern routines & tidiness. Schools, offices, churches, nations all have rules to define acceptable conduct so that the group functions smoothly.
God had brought out a couple of million individuals from Egypt. Now, He was working to give them a collective identity, and helping them define what was/was not acceptable behavior, so that they would be able to build a peaceful, prosperous nation.
The success of any group, organization, nation, depends on how well the individuals of the group understand the group purpose and work together to achieve that purpose. As God starts the process of moulding Israel into a nation, He starts teaching the INDIVIDUALS what it means to be an Israelite.
At the Fall, Man chose to be his own god ( to be in control, making his own decisions), he separated from God, as a result Man became selfish & self-centered. This choice & this attitude of heart, is the root of all evil deeds that abound in the world. So God attacks the root of the problem and starts teaching them how to overcome the sinful Adamic nature.
➡ Don’t have any gods above ME. To obey that commandment, each Israelite would have to stop being god of their own lives. We enter into relationship with God through Jesus, as we give up wanting to control our lives ( repent of being our own god), ask for forgiveness, and ask Jesus to be our King because we desire to walk with HIM in the direction in which HE is going. [Rf Mt 11:28-29, Rom 10:9-10, Amos 3:3]
➡ Don’t create false images of ME. Ex 20:4-6 We all are very good at creating at false mental pictures of God – harsh taskmaster ( always watching with a crictical eye); santa-in-the-sky ( cuddly-wuddly god who will do anything); puppetmaster ( god who micromanages every detail of every one’s lives)…. The list is endless… How we see God affects the heart attitude we have to Him & how we relate to Him. You will notice that the Israelites projected their experiences of Pharaoh onto God… thus they were suspicious of God’s motives & actions>> Result: they could not trust & obey God. What is the mental image I have of God?As we read through the Bible note down points that will show you God AS HE IS, and not as you imagine Him to be.
➡ Don’t take MY NAME in vain. Ex 20:7 The Israelites were identified as belonging to God. We as Christians, bear the name of Christ. We take His Name in vain, [ insult Him] when we act in ways which bring dishonor to His Name. God is saying, if you don’t intend to walk in My ways, don’t say that you belong to Me. In Hebrews 11, we read of all the ‘faith heroes’, and then we read that God was not ashamed to be called their God, because each one of them walked in God’s ways and did not settle down into the ways of the world. [Rf Heb 11:13-16]
All the various sins we commit come from the selfishness & self-centeredness that arises out of the root of wanting to be our own god. Now, God goes on to deal with the ‘fruit’ SIN bears through our lives. Through all the laws, He lays out some simple principles to train us to overcome the Adamic nature:
♦ Ex 20:12-17 Dishonouring, Covetousness, lying & adultery… They all start with selfishness, low value for others and end up hurting others for personal gratification. Result: Broken hearts & relationships. Principle God lays out: Look beyond yourself. Value others. Don’t seek only your own gain. Consider the impact your actions will have on others. Your actions have far-reaching consequences…
♦ (Ex 21:1-25 & 22:16-17) Principle: Treat people fairly. Don’t exploit their weakness & need for personal gain.
♦ Ex 21:12-18 Principle: Punishment must be just and not executed in anger on the spur of the moment.
♦ (Ex 21:22-36 & 22:1-14) Principle: Take responsibility for your actions. Be quick to acknowledge your fault, and do all you can to set it right.
♦ Ex 23:1-9 Principle: Don’t pervert justice by lying. Lay aside enmity in times of trouble & help one another.
♦ Ex 23:10-19 Principle: Remember all that you have is a blessing from God. You labored, but if He didn’t bless it, you would have nothing. So take time to be holy… seek rest & refreshing in His Presence… set apart times to intentionally celebrate His love & faithfulness.
This principle of Sabbath is symbolized in the Inner Sanctum. When lit, the Lampstand with its 7 branches with almond blossoms, would have looked a bit like a burning bush. The fire in the bush on the hill represented the presence of God to Moses. Here too, the Lampstand represents the presence of God shining continuously in the darkness, to be a light to His people.
The Lighted Lamp would shine on the 12 loaves of bread [representing 12 Tribes of Israel] on the Table across the room. The bread was changed every Sabbath. Such a picture of God’s people being refreshed & renewed Sabbath by Sabbath in God’s presence…
God’s purpose in calling Israel out was so that they would learn from Him how to build a healthy, peaceful thriving nation. Israel was to be HIS witness to the nations drawing others to HIM. We too are to be His LIGHT shining in a dark world. [Ref Is 43:10, Mt 5:13-14, Phi 2:14-16]
Abba Father, teach me & train me to walk in Your ways… to understand Your heart & walk closely with You. Fill each one of us with Your Holy Spirit that we might be bright shining lights for You. In Jesus Name, for Your Glory. Amen.
Blessed to be a Blessing to the Blessed People
Building the Tabernacle
The Israelites were instructed to build a sanctuary / a house for God ( Genesis 25:8). They were to build the tabernacle and all its furnishings using the finest materials, as would befit the Lord God Almighty. Moses was instructed to receive the offering from the people: " gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet/ fine linen; ram skins dyed red hides of sea cows; acacia wood; olive oil.. spices; onyx stones and other gems.." 25: 3-7. And the most striking word is ".. receive the offering from each man whose hearts prompts him to give " v 2b ✅
Let us trace out the first hand report from the scripture. The Israelites were in the wilderness, coming out of slavery and were on the way to Canaan. From where they would gather/collect all the materials for building the tabernacle? Even if they possess it, would they give it voluntarily?
On the first Passover, " the Israelites asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.... and they gave them what they asked for.." ✒ Exodus 12: 35-36. It is confirmed that the Israelites had gathered all these materials, and had carried out of Egypt during exodus. Perhaps the precious stones and gems were heirlooms that had been handed down for generations and were irreparable. These materials seems to be their most valuable and hard-earned assets after spending over 400 years of slavery in Egypt. How did they do the project?
What motivates them?
✅ WILLING & CHEERFUL GIVING:
Exodus 35:29 "..they brought all these materials as FREEWILL OFFERINGS ". They gave the best; they gave what they have; their hearts were moved to give
✅ TIRELESS LABOUR:
Building the tabernacle was not a weekend home - improvement project.
》 The women probably spent years preparing linen threads and yarns, spinning and dyeing and weaving to make the cloth for 11 curtains that were 45 feet long and 6 feet wife ( 36:9)
》 The men likely worked months in cutting and hauling and planing acacia wood for the framing of the tabernacle ( 150 feet by 50 feet).
》 Imagine the time taken for butchering, refining, tanning of skins and making leather.
Why did they do it?
Renaissance inventor, scientist and painter Leonardo da Vinci said, "Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art ".
God had filled them with the Spirit ( 35:31-35)
God promises, ".. make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them " v 8
Beloved, you and I will not be called to build another tabernacle. But we are called to use our God - given gifts of creativity with our heart's energy pointed to the Kingdom of heaven. We need:
~ A willing heart to obey and give
~ A sensitive mind to see the needs
Glory to God
Mark Boje, ArP
Exodus 23:30 (KJV) By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land.
Amorites, Hittities, Perizzites, Cananites, Hivites and Jebusites these are the literal enemies of children of Israel. (Ex23:23) each one has a spiritual significance. They are the established evil characters in our lives. Overnight we cannot overcome them. They are settled deep down in our spirit, soul and body.
In a fenced garden, if any animal like cow, buffalo, goat, dog tries to enter we can get rid off them by shouting and threatening. But remember the leaf - eating and plant damaging small green caterpillars, it will not hear your shouts nor care for your threats. You have to deal diligently with it. In the same way however you scream or pray you cannot overcome certain bad spirits. Slowly and little by little by reading the word of God and applying it with the help of the Holy Spirit we can be transformed into Christ like character.
Amorites: spirit of pride
God resisteth the proud but giveth grace unto the humble
Hittites: spirit of fear
Fear of future, fear of death, fear of failure.
All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Than why should we fear?
Perizzites: spirit of fault finding
Matthew 7: 3
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Canaanites: spirit of covetousness
1 Timothy 6: 10
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Hivites: spirit of worldliness
James 4: 4
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Jebusites: carnal minded
Romans 8: 6
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
May God help us to be transformed
*Exodus 20:1 - 3:And God spake all these words, saying,I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me
I loved music. I learn how to play piano when I was five years old and had been doing it ever since.I love music instruments, I play organ in the church, practiced everyday, took lessons at least once a week. I dreamed of someday joining the London music academy. By the time I got to highschool music had become my life. Everything revolved around my music,even my social life.If I had a recital, l I dropped out of every other activity in order to practice. And I was obsessed with my weight, willing to gain even a few extra grams that might jeopardize my figure.
When I become a Christian I never dreamed it would affect my music. But one day in church the sermon was on the first commandment. The pastor talked about how certain things can become gods to us if we let them become more important than God. I thought about the amount of time I spend practicing my musical instruments compared to the amount of time I spend reading the Bible and praying.
Had music become my idol
I began to pray about it and God showed me that I had let music become more important than him. I decided to spend no more time practicing than I did reading the Bible and praying. I cut down on my music lessons and got involved in our church's Youth Group. It's been difficult to let up on music but now it's ok that music is my second love, because my first love is Jesus.
Christy.(16yr old student)
Wait a minute:
Give it a thought, what is my god? Education? Money? Family? Beauty? Workplace?✈ an on......
GIVE JESUS YOUR FIRST PLACE and SEE HOW HE WOULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
V V Samuel
Total Obedience from Imperfect People
A sense of uncomfort triggers our mind and body as we read through these chaps.
The first thought comes to us, it is impossible,so difficult to read and then follow.Wait Up !? you don't have to worry.
Lesson 1: God wants 100% obedience. There are no option in this exam paper. Everything is mandatory for a successful Christian life. Why? God is the creator and the ruler of Heaven and Earth, so his demand is justified.
Lesson 2: This obedience cannot be obtained without God's (Holy Spirit) help. As believers we still have this sinful nature,which still requires chiseling to attain God's ultimate plan.
Lesson 3: Awareness of the laws leading to revelation of God's character under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Reading and studying the Bible helps us to be aware of God's standards. If you don't know your God, your life is meaningless.
Lesson 4: Trying to please God gives a sense of fulfillment. All human beings have an emptiness within themselves which, if not filled with God brings dissatisfaction. This is how we were created.
With the increase in technology, life has become easy but lopsided. Increase in suicide rates, self centeredness, no inclination or feeling to call up our dear ones- to find how they are, short whatsapp chats with smileys and emojis have made relationships impersonal, destination trips have taken precedence over family visits, u can just go on adding......
Its time to think, Are we,in line with God's plan or Do we need to go to back to the Grand Old Book and ask ourselves who we are and what is our purpose here on the earth?
May the Lord guide us in our introspection, to spent more time with the Word than with the things which are fleeting.