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Category Archives: Pentecost

The Table and the Lampstand

You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold around it. You shall make around it a rim a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. You shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. The rings that hold the poles used for carrying the table shall be close to the rim. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. You shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour drink offerings; you shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always. You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The base and the shaft of the lampstand shall be made of hammered work; its cups, its calyxes, and its petals shall be of one piece with it; and there shall be six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on one branch, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself there shall be four cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with its calyxes and petals. There shall be a calyx of one piece with it under the first pair of branches, a calyx of one piece with it under the next pair of branches, and a calyx of one piece with it under the last pair of branches—so for the six branches that go out of the lampstand. Their calyxes and their branches shall be of one piece with it, the whole of it one hammered piece of pure gold. You shall make the seven lamps for it; and the lamps shall be set up so as to give light on the space in front of it. Its snuffers and trays shall be of pure gold. It, and all these utensils, shall be made from a talent of pure gold. And see that you make them according to the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain. (Exodus 25:23-40, NRSV)

God gave clear instructions as to how the temple was to be adorned. And notice all of the bigger pieces had rings for poles for easy moving as the temple was not yet a single place.

And that is how we should see the understanding of worship. It is not done in one place and only one place but is done everywhere we go because no matter where we go God is there with us. Not because we take God there, but because God is already there.

How does your life reflect the meeting of God everywhere you go?

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The Ark of the Covenant

The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats’ hair,tanned rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them. In accordance with all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. They shall make an ark of acacia wood; it shall be two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside you shall overlay it, and you shall make a molding of gold upon it all around. You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side. You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, by which to carry the ark. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. You shall put into the ark the covenant that I shall give you. Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its width. You shall make two cherubim of gold; you shall make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other; of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They shall face one to another; the faces of the cherubim shall be turned toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the covenant that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the covenant, I will deliver to you all my commands for the Israelites. (Exodus 25:1-22, NRSV)

When I think of the Ark of the Covenant I think of Indiana Jones and the raiders of the Lost Ark. And the image that comes to mind is the one to the left at the top here.  But when I was looking for a picture for this blog I found a different view of the ark. One that had the poles in a different place. And I thought, maybe this is a better rendition for the ark. You see the text says that the cherubs are to be above the mercy seat. And to me, the mercy seat is just that a seat. And who would be sitting on the box that contains the tablets that God has given the people? God would. And would God, or any of us for that matter, want a pole where our legs would be? Seems a bit uncomfortable to me…

So this picture here to the right is the other one I found that I think is probably a better rendition of what the ark would have looked like. The length of 2 and a half cubits is just about the right distance to hold the handles and carry the ark. remember a cubit is the length of the arm from the tip of the tallest finger to the elbow. So it wouldn’t be too wide to carry it this way and the pole would then not be in the way of the seat.

This is important because God took the time to give specific instructions for its construction so we need to follow them. And it is amazing to me the Israelites wandering in the desert were able to do this. It shows we can do anything as long as God is with us!

 

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On the Mountain with God

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. God did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; also they beheld God, and they ate and drank. The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.” Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:9-18, NRSV)

God called the leaders to come up the mountain to him. They went up and they saw God. They beheld God and God did not smite them nor harm them.

And they ate and drank there, and then God called Moses to come up to Him. And Moses stayed there for 6 days and then on the 7th day God called to Moses and Moses entered the cloud and stayed with God forty days and nights. God stayed with Moses and fellowshipped with him.

Have you fellowshipped with God?

 

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The Blood of the Covenant

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:1-8, NRSV)

God made a promise to the people of Israel through Moses. Moses built an altar and set up 12 pillars one for each tribe and then offered burnt offerings and sacrifices. He then spread half of the blood on the altar and then read the book of the covenant to the people. Moses then took the rest of the blood and dashed it on the people. This sealed the covenant between God and the people.

Have you been dashed with blood?

Has the covenant between you and God been sealed?

 

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The Conquest of Canaan Promised

I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Be attentive to him and listen to his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him. But if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. When my angel goes in front of you, and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods, or worship them, or follow their practices, but you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars in pieces. You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you. No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. I will send my terror in front of you, and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send the pestilence in front of you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, or the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. I will set your borders from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will hand over to you the inhabitants of the land, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. They shall not live in your land, or they will make you sin against me; for if you worship their gods, it will surely be a snare to you. (Exodus 23:20-33, NRSV)

Here God told the Israelites that is they listened to God’s Angel that the land God promised them would be conquered by them.

Do we listen to God?

Do we do what we think He would want us to do, or actually what He is telling us to do?

Sometimes we get hung up in our own ways and our own insecurities and fall back on our understanding and our fears, but God is leading us to places we have never been and taking by means we can not understand. If we do not listen and follow His direction we will be lost and floundering.

So do you listen to God?

 

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The Annual Festivals

Three times in the year you shall hold a festival for me. You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God. You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of my festival remain until the morning. The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (Exodus 23:14-19, NRSV)

So does this mean we only have to go to worship and give 3 times a year?

No that is not what this means. What this means is that the Israelites were told by God that three times a year they were to forsake what they are ddoin gin their daily lives and gather together in Jerusalem and worship God for a set time. Everyone was to leave the world behind and focus all of their attention on God.

How many of us would do this?

Can we focus everything on God?

 

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Commandments to Honor Self

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17, NRSV)

It is one thing to see the wonders your neighbor has and want them because you are inspired by your neighbor. It is another to want what your neighbor has and try to get it from him by any means possible.

When wanting something that someone else has makes us break other commandments or do things we would not do that is when it is coveting. And that is not how we should live.

We should build up our neighbors and be inspired by what they have to go and do better ourselves. That is what living in relationships does. It helps us make others better and in turn that makes us want to be better.

How can you make the world better?

 

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