16 Moses

16.2 Moses 16, Day 2

It starts with me

Sin is everywhere.  When we open our eyes and look around, sin is permeating every part of our society.  It is glorified in music, on television, in magazines, in billboards.  It is in politics and journalism.  It is in our dress, our speech, our thoughts.  With open eyes, it feels like we are standing in the middle of an landfill that stretches for as far as we can see.  To make atonement for sin, where does God want us to start.

The temptation is to look to address the biggest areas of sin.  Maybe start by trying to change media channels.  Or maybe a better approach would be to sin of leaders, since they are leaders.  Or maybe the answer is to look to the low-hanging fruit – maybe start with trying to establish dress codes.

But, this isn’t something we need to figure out.  God gives us the answer in Leviticus 16.

When He calls Aaron to see the sin in the community and establish a day of atonement, the first area God directs Aaron to focus on is Aaron.  He starts simple.  Take a bath.  Change your clothes. Bring a bull.

So far so good.  I can do this.  I can start the day of atonement with me.  I can take a bath.  I can change my clothes.  I could even get a bull, at least figuratively, I could bring the stubborn bullheadedness of my sin nature.  I can recognize that I need forgiveness and atonement.

But the next step is the one that can trip us up.  (I apologize, but this is going to be a little gory).  The next step for Aaron was to slaughter the bull.  He wasn’t supposed to give it a pinprick.  He was supposed to kill it, slit its throat and let it totally bleed out.  According to Purdue.edu, blood would make up approximately 7% of the total body weight of the animal.  This comes out to about 6 gallons of blood.  I know that is gross sounding, but think about that in terms of our own confession of our sins in approaching God for forgiveness and atonement.

I’m o.k. bringing my sin before God.  I’m o.k. with a pinprick of bleeding my confession of my sin before God.  But God wants me to let it all drain out.  He wants me to completely abandon that old life and let it die.  Not because He needs it, but because I do.

Only by letting all my sin bleed out in confession to the Lord can I offer up prayers for forgiveness like incense so thick it is like a cloud before God’s eyes.  And only then can I be completely at-one-with (atonement) God, putting me in a position where I can truly make a difference in also praying for others’ sin life.

So where should I start: Start with me.  Do the basics to approach God.  Then let it all come out in confession.

 

My Answers:

3.
MHP: the inner sanctum in the tent of meeting, the area behind the curtain containing the ark of the covenant

AC: The mercy seat.  The lid over the ark of the covenant shaped with 2 cherubim angels, wings streched over it, facing the cover

ARK:

A box of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold inside and out, contains the 10 commandments

4.
a.
16:1 after the death of the 2 sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord, 16:2 or else he will die, 16:13 so that he will not die

b.
Honorable preparation is required.  A cleansing of my own thoughts when approaching things that are holy (work, worship)  Have I prepared myself to honor God?

5.
a.
one was to be sacrificed as a sin offering, the other was used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat

b.
For his own sin offering, to make atonement for himself and his household.  His sins needed sacrifice

c.
wash, change, bring  bull, slaughter bull, take censer of burning coals from the altar 2 handfuls finely ground fragrant incense, take behind the curtain, put  incense on fire,(smoke conceal), sprinkle blood with finger on front and 7 times before atonement cover

d.
Am I bringing everything before God.? Are my prayers like the incense smoke; so robust and thorough that it fills God’s most holy place with supplication?

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15.5 Moses 15, Day 5

Heart Attitudes

You can not see what is in my heart.  I cannot see what is in your heart.  We infer each other’s heart from the actions we perform.

But we know that is not always correct.  We know that people lie and deceive.  Even the high priests of Jesus’ time did lots to have a perception of holiness, but their hearts were far from the Lord.

But God does not have the same constraint that we have.  God knows our heart and that is where His care and judgement lies.  While our speech and actions are an outflowing of our heart – God’s focus is on the heart and soul.

With what do you fill your heart?  Does your heart overflow into charity and support for those who minister to you?  When others question your action, is your defense in actions or in the substance of your heart?

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
So you can distinguish between the holy and common, clean and unclean.  The kingdom of God is not a  matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy

b.
Receive power and a commissioning of work to do all of which spreads God’s word and brings glory to His name

11.
a.
Through the offerings of the community

b.
Tithing, special offerings, prayer, encouragement

12.
a.
1. He was sad over the loss of his sons and not feeling joyful, 2. Because he counted himself among those covered by the sin offering and burnt offering presented on that day.

b.
We can pray for one another

c.
varies  –  when truly worshiping my focus is only on God and pouring out my worship to Him

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15 Moses

15.4 Moses 15, Day 4

Then and there, Here and now, Things to come

In attempting to understand and apply the scriptures, biblical scholars, like you and me, must look at the context under three different lenses.

1. Exegesis: What did this mean then and there?  How did it apply to the people and times and social norms when it was written?

2. Hermeneutics: What does this mean here and now?  How are we being called to apply this message to ourselves in our times?

3. Proclamation: What does this mean for the things to come?  How is this a foreshadowing or revelation of things that have not yet occurred or places that are not yet open to mankind?

I think this is particularly helpful in looking at the story of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu.  We are not told much about these men or this event and it is important that we not over-postulate and either make assumptions or contrive explanations to make up for facts that we are not provided.  I’m of the belief that if those facts were crucial, they would be in the bible.

So, let’s look at what we do know.  For 7 days and 7 nights Aaron and his sons had sanctified themselves and this place for holy service.  The best illustration I could think of to put it into current terms would be if for 7 days and 7 nights a team had worked to disinfect, sterilize and sanitize an operating room clean room.  Then, after all of that was completed, 2 of the staff members brought in an infection from outside.  Leviticus says that Nadab and Abihu brought in “unauthorized fire” contrary to God’s command.  The NKJV translation calls it “profane fire”.  Profane derives from the word profanus which means “from outside of the temple.”  The response was immediate and severe.  “Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.”

In another part of the bible, Isaiah 6, we learn that when Isaiah came into the presence of the Lord he fell to the ground saying, I am doomed because I am a man of unclean lips.  One of the seraphim comes to Isaiah with a coal from the altar (in heaven) and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”  From this scripture we know there is an altar in heaven with burning coal.

We also know from Revelation 8 that after the 7th seal was broken,  “Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth.”

Basically, from the various scriptures, we see the tabernacle was a real place in the wilderness with the priests of Aaron and the people of Israel.  We also know the tabernacle was a representation and foreshadowing of a real place in heaven.  We also know that all of this is a physical representation of the spiritual gift of God through Jesus of forgiveness of sin and removal of guilt.

This triplicate meaning carries a far heavier burden than if this was simply a building or a tent in the desert.  Variance is not acceptable then and there, because it is so specifically tied to the things to come.  The fact that this is a reflection of both a physical place in heaven and a spiritual reality of forgiveness also creates a requirement of exactness.

Not only had the tabernacle been devoted to God, but it also was an image or reflection of so much more.  Think of it as a portrait or representation.  We would not expect God to look favorably on this portrait of His redeeming love and His heavenly palace to be repainted with inexactness or callousness.

Does God’s response seem harsh?  We need to think what steps we go to in protecting things which represent so much less:  How do we protect the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of our nation?  How do we protect the Mona Lisa?

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
The offered unauthorized fire (profane fire).  Profane comes from profanus which means “outside the temple.”  After 7 days of ordination and consecration – they brought in fire from “outside” – they were consumed by fire and died

b.
God’s holiness consumes that which is brought before Him unconsecrated.  Either our offering or we will be consumed (but Jesus paid this price)

9.
a.
He grieved, but did not have any worthy comments

b.
You have work today (for which they were ordained).  Do not mourn and slack in your responsibilities, however, find comfort that the whole community will mourn on your behalf

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15 Moses

15.3 Moses 15, Day 3

Listen and obey, come to the altar, and repent

I understand that the point of the question about the “first duty” of Aaron and his sons was that first they made the offering for their own sin.  Any one who has flown on an airplane has heard the direction to first put on your own breathing mask and then assist others.  We know the scriptural call to “first take the plank out of our own eye”.  In order to help others, we must first take repentant steps in our own life to remove the stain of sin.

But, when we peel back the steps leading up to that sin sacrifice, we receive even more insight.  The first thing they were called to do was to listen.  Moses called them and said…  Moses was talking, giving direction, but Aaron and his sons had the responsibility of hearing the words that God had given him.

Next, they obeyed.  Vs 5. they took the things Moses had commanded to the front of the tent.

Then they accepted the altar call in vs 7 and finally, they offered the sacrifice for their own sins.

This is the order of the calling each of us can receive as well.  First, God is calling to us.  He talks to us through His word, through others in our life, through events and circumstances, through the Spirit.  But how many refuse to listen?  He who has ears, let him hear.  Second, upon hearing the call of our Lord, we have free-will.  Sadly, many hear the call to salvation but choose to not obey.  Third, we approach the altar.  We are not called first to “go out”, but we are called first to “come home” to bring ourselves to the foot of the cross.  Finally, through repentance, we accept the gift of sacrifice that Jesus made to fully cover our sins for all eternity.

This is important because God’s love is so great for us that He doesn’t insist that we first repent and then receive the call from Him.  It is not that we are seeking Him, but like the Good Shepherd, He is out seeking His lost sheep.

This same pattern continues even after we have been saved.  We often will pray for “the direction of the Spirit.”  However, here is the truth:  The Spirit is not lacking in providing direction – we are lacking in reading, hearing and heeding that direction.  If you would like more blessing.  If you would like more joy.  If you would like more revelation of the glory of the Lord. Reading, Hearing and Heeding is a great place to start.  That path will lead you through obedience, repentance and into the presence of the glory of God.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
From Moses to God

b.
1. Listen, 2. Come to the Altar, 3. sacrifice a sin offereing

c.
They were commanded by the Lord so that the Glory so that the glory of the Lord may appear

d.
1. our order of tasks is the same. 2. The reason for the ministry must (a) come from God and (b) be only for the glory of God

7.
a.
They shouted for joy and fell facedown

b.
When I have felt the full redemption of God from my sins

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15 Moses

15.2 Moses 15, Day 2

Hectic vs. Peace

My wife is a fan of an author of a series of organization books called the FlyLady.  There are several very simple principles she offers that at first seem trivial but make a lot of difference.  She teaches the concept of forming simple routines, and executing them consistently.

For example, one of her main teaching points is to “shine your sink”.  Despite all the “bigger” things that “need to be done”, you have to have a starting point and emptying the sink of dirty dishes and making it clean is a great place to begin.  She also teaches to identify the “hotspots” in your home, the places that as soon as one thing is left there out of place that is a sign to everyone else to pile on.

I bring this up not to necessarily promote this author, but to reflect that many, if not the majority of people, are living a life that they readily admit is out-of-order and disconnected.

Fixing this state is the gift that God bestowed on the priests.  The word ordination comes from the root word meaning to put in order.  The word consecrate comes from the root words meaning to be joined with the sacred.

While there is nothing wrong with taking steps to get our home, work, time and finances in order, the bigger goal is to get our life in order.  The only way to do that is to place it in service to God and join our lives to Him.

Like the family of Aaron, when we accepted the calling of God, we became priests.  Our old lives and priorities are in the past.  Our new lives are not only our own, but we are called to put them into the service of our Lord.  But we are not yet living full-time in God’s temple.  We face temptation.  We continue to sin.

But the message of ordination and consecration is not simply a one-time ceremony, it is a daily walk with God.  What are the hot-spots of sin in your life?  What simple routines do you need to establish and then execute them consistently?

I love the model that Moses sets for us to do this every day.  Many of us rush through showering, dressing and running out the door in the morning.  What if we consistently execute this simple routine with an intentional heart directed to Him?  What if when we bathe, we focus our thoughts on not only the cleansing of our skin, but on the cleansing of our sin through God’s forgiveness?  What if when we dress we think not only about what we cover our selves with physically, but we also think about putting on our spiritual armor?  What if when we apply deodorant, cologne or perfume oils to make ourselves have a pleasing aroma to others we also applied a coating of the Spirit and asked His help to make all the activities of our day be a pleasing aroma to God?

When non-Christians look at your life, do they see a hectic life that is out-of-order and disconnected, or do they see someone who is on the path of peace and joy?

My Answers:

3.
a.
We are – believers – those who have been called

b.
W: Believers in Christ have been cleaned by His power, sacrifice and presence
D: Believers are clothed in the Lord, Dressed in while through the cleansing blood
A: Believers are anointed by the Spirit bringing gifts of the Spirit

4.
a.
Ordination comes from “putting in order, arranged.  This is being placed in a position of holy leadership.  Consecration comes from being joined with the sacred, dedicated or devoted as sacred

b.
The places they would go, the things they would do, the things they hear would be right and holy from God and for God:

c.
Dining and recreation purely for my pleasure and not (other than a prayer of grace) dedicated to God

5.
a.
staying there, purifying, sacrificing a bull each day

b.
Jesus is the one and done. high priest of heaven for all eternity

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14 Moses

14.5 Moses 14, Day 5

(Side Note: Before I begin – I was sad to look ahead and see that it does not appear that BSF will cover Leviticus 23.  I’m hopeful that it is included as background in the Revelation study because understanding the feasts is very useful as a prophecy/foreshadowing of God’s plan for the future of mankind.  I recommend taking a few minutes and reading the information on Feasts on Hebrew4Christians.com for a quick overview).

Defiling the Land

We think of land as, well, dirt and rocks.  It is not alive, inanimate.  It is neither good or evil, it is just land.

But then we turn around and have hold the consecration of places, rooms and buildings.  We pray over and annoint a church building to consecrate it, to literally join it “with sacred”.  We set it apart for holy use.

So if a place can be consecrated (joined with the sacred), it can also be desecrated (separated from the sacred).  This is not done by something the land does, it is done by the actions of those in the place.  They leave a stain, a mark on the land.  They take a sacred place and treat it with “violent disrepect and violation”.  They act of descrating a place is to defile it.

God warned the Israelite people about their sin.  He provided specific rules and laws concerning moral, civil and ceremonial behavior, but the moral code was the one with impact on the land.  Acts of immorality separate a place from God.

Many in our time like to believe “I can do whatever I want with my body as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.”  But God is very clear – (1) your body doesn’t belong to you, you didn’t make it, it was a gift from God and (2) immorality always does hurt someone else.  We may not see it, but the consequences of immorality permeate the very land we stand on, defiling it and separating it from being joined with God.

Too often the response of Christians is to simply ignore the immorality – live and let live.  But Leviticus 5:1 taught that if anyone is a witness and refuses to testify, that is a sin.

So, what should we do?  Organize pickets?  Hold up signs? Scream and shout?  I don’t see that as the model that is set forth for us to follow.

I think our appropriate response is in the instructions that God gave to both Abraham and Joshua about the promised land.  Walk through it.  Cover the breadth and width of the land.  Every where the sole of your foot steps will be given to you.  (See Genesis 13 and Joshua 1).  While we are walking we need to be praying.  Only God has the ability to make something sacred because only He is sacred.  Only God has the ability to renew a place.  Only God has the ability to redeem a place.

Where will you start?  Your home?  Your neighborhood? Your kid’s schools?  Your church?  What if we all showed up 5 or 15 minutes early this week to BSF and walked the halls and classrooms and sanctuary of the church in which we are meeting, asking God to reclaim the land we stand on from the consequences of sin.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of being “vomited out of the land” is really not appealing to me!

 

My Answers:

10.
The life of a creature is in its blood.  Blood is life.  Blood is required because loss of life is required.  The original gift of God in the first covenant between God and Adam was life – in return he required obedience of 1 law.  When mankind chose disobedience, we forfeited any rights to the gift.  Atonement is not possible without the return of what was given to us – life.

11.
a.
God has high standards about sexual relations

b.
Listen to God, not what they have observed others doing.  “I am the LORD your God.”  (my daughter said this sounded like me – “do it because I’m your parent – that is sufficient.”)  If you defile the land, it will voit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

12.
a.
Use honest scales – conduct self and staff not with an goal of maximizing possible gain but of being honest and fair and forthright in every business dealing

b.
God’s decrees for a consecrated people are very serious

 

 

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14 Moses

14.4 Moses 14, Day 4

Being Holy

In Leviticus 11:45 God says:, “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

Our word holy comes from the word whole.  God is whole.  He is complete.  He lacks nothing, He wants for nothing, He needs nothing.

But when we look at our own lives, we are not whole.  Our life looks jagged at the edges, missing in the middle.  We resemble something much more like a puzzle piece.

But we are a puzzle piece created by God.  God has made a place in Himself for us to fit exactly.  God doesn’t fill us in so that we are whole, He invites us to join Him in His wholeness.  Not because He needs us to complete us, but because it is only in a relationship with Him that we become part of the full and complete picture (what we were created to be).

If we are not connected to God, we still recognize that something is missing in our life and we try to fill it in.  We look around and try to see what we can connect with.  Our focus is on ourselves.  We experiment.  We try all kinds of different things, every matter of perversion, because nothing that we try to fill in with ever satisfies completely.  It can’t.

God’s laws in Leviticus are to help us restore our puzzle piece life back to the design God had intended, not to leave us lacking, but to join us to Him.  To be holy because He is holy.  This holiness is meant to permeate our lives, to touch everything about the way we live, eat, bathe, even use the restroom.  God wants all of us consecrated wholly to Him.

 

My Answers:

8.
a. Dietary – clean and unclean animals
b. After giving birth
c. Skin diseases
d. Mold
e. Making people clean from skin diseases
f. Making things clean from mold
g. Liquid body wastes

9.
a.
It isn’t what goes in that makes a person unclean, it is what they hold in their heart and comes out.

b.
That God is holy, they are to be holy and should consecrate themselves full to God

c.
Fasting, prayer, obedience

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