27 Moses

27.2 Moses 27, Day 2

Life Anchoring Experiences

I ran across a posting this past week that referenced a 2010 Cornell University study published by Thomas Gilovich and Travis J. Carter.  The study showed that over the long term experiences are more important and provide more lasting satisfaction than material things.  The study compared things such as buying a TV or a flashy car as opposed to investing the money in a vacation or training lessons.  It showed that the initial thrill of the possession faded rapidly, but the value of the experience started strong and continued growing over time.  It attributed part of this impact to the fact that our experiences are unique to us and personal whereas we tend to compare possessions to others.

I thought this was very fitting in the instructions and the relationship that God wanted to have with the people of Israel as they entered the promised land.  He is leading them into a physical place, through physical battles and difficulties, with physical rewards of food and shelter.  But, He wants their first thing in the new land to be an unique and memorable experience of obedience.  He calls on them to truly experience this event.  They would gather the stones, form the plaster, allow it to dry, write all the words of the law, build the altar, offer the burnt offering and shout the blessings and curses from the mountaintops.  Nothing like this had been done before or since.

This was in stark contrast to the gods of the people currently in the land whom they were to defeat and remove.  These people saw their gods as something to possess.  They formed them out of wood and clay and they carried them around with them.  They were gods of things, the god of the river, the god of the insects, the god of fertility.

Our God is a God of relationships.  He invites His people, then and now, to experience Him.  He doesn’t give us the law and commands as a rod to punish us with.  He gives them to us as loving directions so we know the right path that leads to a fully and deeper relationship with Him instead of getting lost in detours and wrong paths.

How are you experiencing God?  Are you investing your time and money in possessions that don’t last and don’t satisfy, or are you investing in experiences that change and redirect your life?  How are you creating experiences to share with others: such as family meals, spending time with missionaries, praying together, working in your church?  What intentional experiences do you want to plan for yourself and your loved ones in the next 90 days?  The experiences may just last forever!

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
large stones coated in plaster and write on them all the words of this law, also build there an altar with fieldstones

b.
To demonstrate their obedience, to create a lasting remind – to put the law first and foremost in their mind and to associate the Word with the burn offerings

4.
a.
Blessings from Mount Gerizim, Curses from Mount Ebal – shouted out by the tribes, 6 on each side

b.
Surgery reset the priorities of my life

Standard
24 Moses

24.4 Moses 24, Day 4

Subversion, perversion, aversion and reversion

What happens next in the story of the Moabites and the Israelites speaks volumes of both groups of people.

Subversion has always been and is today a common strategy used to overthrow an enemy.  Identify the weaknesses of your enemy and use that to weaken their positions of strength.  Weaken the walls.  Play to the things they want to keep hidden and secret.

For the Israelites, that weakness was a temptation of the pervisions offered by the Moabite women.  They quit thinking with their heads and began bowing down to the gods of Baal.

Their aversion (turning away from the correct path) and reversion (inability to maintain a higher state), resulted in dire sin and the wrath of a just God.

God had prepared this generation their entire lives to enter the promised land.  A people set apart, fed, clothed, cared for day and night.  Their enemies fell down in terror before them.  They enjoyed freedom to grow and multiply and look forward to the great gift and reward to come.  And, they were willing to sacrifice all of that for food and carnal lust.

But think about what that also says about the Moabites.  Balaam counsels them on the Israelite weakness, but the Moabites are the ones who willingly pimp out their mothers, wives and daughters for military gain.  Who does that?  Most societies protect women and children, not send them out to sleep with the enemy.

God could not allow this.  In every way it was wrong, destructive and undermined the very nature of a holy people.  Found guilty by multiple witnesses and by the judgment of God, a sentence of death was imposed by God and a plague began.

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
Sexual immorality with Moabite women, invited them to sacrifice to their gods, yoked themselves with Baal

b.
To reject God

c.
Chose to delay worship rather than putting God at the beginning of every day.  I also chose to trust in him for housing and care of mom/uncle : missed blessing of daily walk, frustration, trust and peace in things I have turned over to Him

9.
God said to – it is always wise to be obedient.  God also was teaching them through this, the consequences of yoking themselves to the heathen people and their gods

 

Standard
24 Moses

24.3 Moses 24, Day 3

Oracles and Other Locales

I was listening to a David Jeremiah podcast on the story of Job.  One of the things he brought up was an interesting question, “Do you have a big God or a little God?”  There is only one true God and His size doesn’t change, but peoples’ believes about the size of God can vary.

Balak had a little god.  If God keeps you from doing something over here, just move over there, where He can’t hear you any more.

Little gods are petty.  You are always in trouble with a little god.  You are always needing to do something to appease a little god – like building 7 altars.  Little gods are expensive, they want what is yours.

Our God, the God is the Israelites, is not a little god, He is the Big God.  He is everywhere in every dimension: height, width, depth, time, state of matter, speed.  He created everything, not just the physical elements, but the very laws of nature and physics and chemistry and biology across the universe.  He was before there was time and He will be after the linear progression of earthly time has ended.  He is in control of all things, thoughts, words and deeds.

Balaam was praised by Balak because what he blessed was blessed and what he cursed was cursed.  But God’s word through Balaam turns this around.  In regard to God’s people, anyone who blesses them is blessed and anyone who curses them is cursed.

God is not a man that he should lie or a son of man that he should change his mind.  God is God.  God’s people are the righteous, who live apart.  They live in beauty, spread out in garden’s well watered by the spirit and the word.  They are powerful like a lion because they serve the all-powerful King.

So, how big is your God?  Do you try to control Him?  Do you try to put Him in a box?  Do you try to buy-Him-off with acts or bribes?  Do you think He needs your time or your money or your devotion, instead of recognizing the creator of everything already has rights to all things and you are delusional to think it is “yours” to begin with?  If you don’t like the answer from the bible do you seek out some watered down message somewhere else?

If so, open your eyes.  There is an Angel of the Lord standing in your path with sword drawn, because the path you are on leads to death and destruction, curses and damnation.

If you continue to believe in a little god, you are not believing in the Big God.  You will continue to augment your little god with other things, other “religions”, the occult, spiritualism, self-help, sorcery, divination, wishful thinking. You will continue to try to buy favors or to buy your way out of problems.  You will continue to live in fear, a terrified life, filled with dread.

A belief in the The Big God does not need augmentation.  God created everything.  Jesus made full atonement. The Spirit is pure holiness.

Maybe its a good time to upgrade the size of your God!

 

My Answers:

5.
1st
Brought to curse, how can I curse what God has not cursed – I see people who live apart, very numerous, they are righteous

2nd
God is not a man, won’t change his mind – no misfortune for Israel, God is with them, like a lion

3rd
Beautiful tents, spread out like gardens well watered, God brought them, like a lion – those who bless you blessed, curse you..

4th
future – star will rise out of Israel, scepter, Moab, Sheth, Edom destroyed

5th, 6th, 7th
Amalek, Kenites, Ashur, Eber, all people destroyed

6.
a.
He believed God was constrained by physical space, going to a new location might change things.  He didn’t like the first response

b.
Sometimes it is to get confirmation of counsel and direction, but more commonly it is because I didn’t like what I heard.

7.
He knew the Lord, but still had repeatedly chosen to consort with demons

 

 

Standard
18 Moses

18.5 Moses 18, Day 5

Multi-Sensory Experience

I was struck in our lesson today about how God connects with us not only on every level but through all of our senses.  The sight of the cloud by day and fire by night.  The smell of the burnt offerings and incense.  The feel of hands upon the scape goat.  The sound of the trumpet.  The taste of the unleaven bread and roasted lamb of passover.

It reminded me of a Sunday school lesson on Daniel in the Lion’s den from Daniel 6.  After the angel closes the mouths of the lions and Daniel survives his night locked in their den, King Darius issues a decree recorded in Daniel 6:26, “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.””

Our God is alive.  He is not some talisman or good luck charm.  He is not a rock we rub for good luck or a piece of wood we wave about.  He is not your lucky pair of gym shorts (although those may be alive in a different, gross way).  God is living.  He hears, He smells, He gives, He looks, He wept, He is jealous, He created, He has a mighty hand, He breathes, He speaks and He loves.  (some related verses from the bible)

God’s wants to connect with us in every way, not only in every sense (literally), but even ultra-sensory.  He wants to dwell within us, to wash us clean of our sin and to tend to and grow the garden of our heart.  He wants to continue doing this.  With special days of celebration.  With sabbath days and years of peace and rest. But also in every moment.  Accepting God isn’t an event that is done and complete.  It is more like a wedding or even more so, a birth.  It is the start of a whole new life in every way, shape and form.

What dead charms do you put trust in instead of God?  How are you approaching the living God?  Are you doing it with a repentant and humble heart or with pride in the good works you’ve accomplished?  Do you seek a real relationship with Him?

My Answers:

11.
a.
1 year (it was the beginning of the second year, passover occurs on the 14th day of the new year, or at least it did at that time until the Jewish new year was changed after the time of Jesus when the temple was destroyed).

b.
It was a commandment of God.  It was a commemoration of a critical event.  It only happened once a year.  It was defining.

c.
Sometimes get distracted but ask God to continue to show that He is present in the worship

12.
a.
the cloud covered it when the tabernacle was set up and looked like fire at night, whenever it lifted they set out til stopped

b.
2 trumpets, all called to order, 1 only heads of clans, when blast east tribes set out, when 2nd blast south side, sons of A blow

c.
with sight and sound, by what I see and hear

Standard
18 Moses

18.4 Moses 18, Day 4

Missed Blessings

My mom relayed a conversation she had with the pastor at her church.  She was talking with him about attendance at church service.  She wanted him to know that there were some days that she just didn’t feel up to making it to church.  It wasn’t because she didn’t like the music or the liturgy of the service.  It wasn’t anything against his sermons.  It wasn’t because she was behind on tithing. To use her term, “some days I’m just old.”  I thought his words back to her were very wise and thoughtful.  He told her that if she could make it at all, come for the last 2 minutes of the service and if she couldn’t make that to call him.  The final part of the service is a benediction.  Most of the time, it is the exact same words that God told Moses to tell Aaron to say.  The pastor explained to her that this was a special blessing for her.  While it was said to everyone in attendance, it was an individual blessing, something special and specific for each individual.  If she wasn’t there to receive the blessing, she would miss out on it.  If she simply couldn’t physically be there, then she should call him and he could give her her blessing.

When we recite the blessing in Number 6:24-26 we forget verse 27. “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

These weren’t just words or good wishes.  While it is a “good word” or benediction, it is more than that.  God told Moses to tell Aaron to “put my name on the people”.  God didn’t say and I might bless them, He said “and I will bless them.”

Aaron didn’t originate the blessing.  Moses didn’t originate the blessing.  God originated the blessing.  But, like in many other things, He allowed the priests, who were brothers to the community, to participate.

When we think about church attendance we tend to focus on the sermon or prayers or communion or songs.  All of those are great and help us pour our heart out to God.  But the blessing – that is something special, a gift from God given through the minister, specifically for you.

What blessings are you missing out on because you aren’t showing up?  When you receive a blessing are you grabbing on to it and pasting it into your heart?  Do you accept the gift? Do you bow your head or raise your hand and receive His name being written on to you? Do you desire His radiance, His grace, His peace, His blessing?

My Answers:

8.
When parting friends, blessing to children

9.
It is for God’s glory not my own.  Give the required tithe plus more. – Tribe of Judah gave first 4th in line, Reuben, Simeon, Levi… But also the lineage of Jesus.

10.
a.
Given wholly to God who took them in place of the firstborn Israelites.  Given as a gift to Aaron and his sons to do the work

b.
1. God can do what He wants (He is God), 2. From the passover every firstborn belongs to God, set apart.  The Levites were taken in their place

c.
25-50

 

Standard
17 Moses

17.5 Moses 17, Day 5

Holy Heart not Holey Heart

God has tremendous blessings in store for all of His children.  Bounties of harvest so great that farmers would need to move the old crops out to make room for the new ones coming in.  They would not need to build larger store houses, because there was so much security in God’s promise they didn’t need to worry about storing up more.  God promised them peace and safety, from war, from wild animals, from enemies.  God promised might and victory.  Unprecedented might and victory, where 5 people could defeat 100.

Even more so God offered to dwell among His people.

But, that isn’t where this chapter starts.  This chapter starts with specific commands.  No idols, no graven images, observe the sabbaths, have reverence for the sanctuary.  How do these things go together?

This isn’t quite equivalent, but try this as an explanation:  You have been invited to the top artisan ice cream shop in the world.  You are given free access to every flavor, every topping ever accompaniment you can imagine.  But it is BYOB – Bring Your Own Bowl.  How would you feel if you showed up and your bowl was dirty, broken, cracked, with holes.

In this case, though, the bowl is your heart.

God wants you to enjoy the bounty He has in mind.  God has carefully prepared for you the things your heart craves.  He really doesn’t want you to show up with a bowl that is broken and full of holes.  If you don’t get the message from the promise of the blessing, then He will provide other forms of discipline.  If the carrot doesn’t work, then maybe the whip will.  God does not want to punish you, no more than a loving parent wants to punish a child, but if that is what it takes to get you to show up with a clean and ready bowl – that is up to you.

Leviticus 26:40-45 confirms this.  Repent.  Get your heart back in line, and God freely hands you the golden ticket to His ice cream shop.

What is the state of your bowl (your heart)?  Have you asked God to “create in me a clean heart”?  Have you asked God to help mend your broken heart?  Have you repented and showed the chips and holes to the one who can fix them. ?  Do you have a Holy Heart, or are you showing up with a Heart full of Holes?

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
1. do not make idols or bow down to carved stone, 2.observe the sabbaths and have reverence for sanctuary

b.
3-5: send rain in its season, ground will yield crops, trees fruit,… you’ll eat all the food you want and live in safety
6-8 peace and safety, remove wild animals, no wars at home, defeat military enemies (5 chase 100) 11-13 God dwell with them, safety and freedom – He would be their king

c.
14-17: Illness, famine and defeat
18-20: Drought and bad harvest
21-22: Multiplied afflictions and destructive wild animals
23-26: Diseases and destruction by enemies

11.
a.
If repent and approach with a humble heart, God will remember His covenant

b.
That the holy of holies is open, Jesus is my high priest and He is redeeming me daily, despite my sin

12.
a.
2. a person (child or otherwise), 9. an animal, 14.a house, 16. family land, 22. purchased land/fields

Standard
10 Moses

10.3 Moses 10, Day 3

It’s a map not an art project

My daughters are very talented artists.  One, in particular, can lose herself in the act of creativity.  There have been many a time that she had a school project for a class such as science or history that called for a visual representation of something.  Several hours into the project, which for most children probably took less than 1 hour, we would remind her, it is history homework, not an art project.

In today’s scripture we look at the clarity of God’s instructions, learn what it points to and remember that he repeatedly said, “make it exactly as patterned.” This reminded me, the tabernacle is a map, not an art project.  A map is exact and clear.  It provides direction.  It records and reveals the nature of things (such as nature).  It plots a specific course and/or points to a specific destination.  All of this is true of the tabernacle.

Each dimension, each object, each article used in its construction was part of a map.  It was a map that pointed to worship of God and it was a map pointing to the redemption provided through Jesus Christ.

 

My Answers:

5.
Bread Table:
The table was covered in gold, the plates and dishes, pitchers, bowls all gold.  The bread of the presence was before God at all times – Jesus at the last supper took the bread, broke it and said, this is my body given for you

Golden Lampstand:
Jesus is the light of the world,  In heaven, God is the light (no sun or moon)

Inner Curtain:
The curtain was separation from God.  When Jesus died on the cross the curtain was torn from top to bottom – the curtain represents his body

Altar:
redemption is through the precious blood of Jesus

6.
a.
make it exactly as planned/patterned

b.
It was a revelation of the temple in heaven, it also was a foreshadowing of Jesus.  Everything about God is connected.

Standard