22.3 Moses 22, Day 3

Law vs. Grace / Trust in the Word

Moses’ times were marked by “The Law.”  In particular, we see in our lesson today the challenge of the law.  Moses was a humble and faithful servant.  At this point in the scriptures he is probably well over 100 years old.  He has not been perfect, but he has been faithful in his God-appointed task of bringing the Israelites up out of Egypt and into the promised land.  But, he will now not be going into the promised land himself.  There is no gray-area in “the law”, there is either obedience or disobedience, adherence or rejection.  Moses disobeyed.  He did not honor God as holy.  Under the law, he was inadequate.  In tomorrow’s lesson, though, we also see God’s grace.

How often in my own life do I put my trust in something tangible over the sufficiency of the Word of God?  I can feel more comfortable and more secure with something I can touch or hold.  I’m often shaped more by the words of Theodore Roosevelt to “speak softly and carry a big stick”, putting my faith more in the stick than the speech.  But the scriptures teach the opposite.  By far, the Word of God is more powerful than any stick.  “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Heb 4:12

God, please give me the ears to hear the power of your word and the voice to speak it boldly!

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
Take the staff, speak to the rock in front of them and it will pour out its water

b.
took the staff, gathered the people, spoke to the people (chastising them – taking credit “must we”), struck the rock twice with his staff

7.
a.
took credit, disobeyed, put trust in the staff instead of in God – they wanted something physical, not just verbal

b.
physical connection with the rock instead of verbal – taking credit

c.
when I live in doubt and worry about a situation

8.
a.
“you will not bring this community into the land I give them”

b.
1. of anyone, they knew better, 2. They each had interceded repeatedly, the fact that neither objected or interceded shows they did not see it as unmerited, 3. They already knew they weren’t going in (God had already said only Joshua and Caleb – Ex 14:30)

20.5 Moses 20, Day 5

Consequences

Consequences and punishments are not the same things.  The word consequences comes from the root words meaning something that follows along closely.  For example, the consequence of bringing home a report card with straight A’s may be praise from your parents.

The picture I have is of being invited to God’s house for dinner, and, upon the way, coming upon a crystal clear body of water.  Instead of leaving it as it is and proceeding on, you wade out into the water, your feet disturb the mud and sediment and your motion through the water makes an after-current of cloudy water.

We may seek forgiveness and even though we are now wet and muddy, God will forgive us and give us new robes to wear and invite us in to His house for the banquet.  But, the mud and sediment is still floating through the water we disturbed.  Not only do we, but everyone else around us, lives with the muddied waters.

To me, that is the difference between consequences and forgiveness.

My Answers:

10.
a.
Yes, v20

b.
Nevertheless

c.
not one of those who saw God’s glory and signs in Egypt will see the land

11.
a.
No, they deny sin and expect others to accept it as “normal” which, unfortunately, it is normal since it is average behavior.  That does not mean it is not sin.

b.
Of course.  Not only is it a part of creation to do so, but it is also important for our own training and for others.  That doesn’t mean I like it.

12.
a.
All who went into the land as spies, except Joshua and Caleb, were struck down and died of a plague

b.
They ignored God’s command and said “now we are ready to go into the land”

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

13.2 Moses 13, Day 2

Reconnecting and a Willing Heart

Isn’t it interesting that the first command Moses gave the Israelites, before they began the work of building the tabernacle and beginning the next stage of their journey with God, was the command about the Sabbath.  The 7th day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord.

There are a lot of theological discussions about the sabbath and how it applies to believers today.  I am not going to get into a discussion about dispensationalism.  Instead, here is what I think is important:

If you are a photographer hired by a couple getting married, it is important to remember, the goal is not to take a lot of beautiful photos, the goal is bring those photos back to the bride and groom.  You have to bring the camera back into your home base, upload the photos and recharge the camera.

In our service for God, we sometimes forget that.  We get so focused on the activity, we don’t reconnect with God.  How much stronger and more focused would your service for the Lord be if every 7 days you stopped and plugged back in fully?  What would your life look like if every 7 days you spent the day uploading the prior 6 days activities to God?

The other part of our lesson today that I found interesting was God’s desire for a willing heart.  There are two ways of looking at the gifts the Israelites were giving:

  1. One perspecitive is to recognize that they will never see their gifts in use again.  The gold utensils are for use inside the Holy place, an area that the givers are restricted from going.  Many of us would have a hard time with this.  When we give money to an organization we want to see the results of our gift; a report back; photos; something.
  2. The other perspective is to recognize that the gold bracelets they had carried around for the past year are being crafted into the mercy seat of God.  What an absolutely amazing and honoring thing.  What would you be willing to give for use within the tabernacle of God?

The reality is that both perspectives are true, both then and now, in gifts from a willing heart.  We may never get to see how the donations we make from a willing heart are used to bring glory to God.  That isn’t important.  If it is what is important, then we need a heart check.  The key is that, while we don’t see the product of our giving, God does.  And isn’t the entire universe God’s rightful tabernacle and anything that furthers the church on this earth is a tool in the Holy of Holies.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
7th day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the LORD

b.
To be His people, a holy nation or priests, set apart

c.
I am called to be a part of His holy church and become holy, set apart, a priest in His service

4.
a.
The people of Israel, all who was willing and whose heart moved them, men and women alike

b.
God, the LORD – chose Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, tribe of Judah, filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills, work in gold, silver, bronze, cut/set stones, woodwork, artistic craft, Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others; engravers, designers, embroiderers, weavers

c.
every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary

d.
vs3-5, stopped work and told Moses the people are bringing more than enough

e.
That my gifts be viewed by God – the donations they brought were being used in such a way they would never see them again

5.
The details were important – each had a specific reason and each foreshadow Jesus and heaven

 

10.2 Moses 10, Day 2

Perfect Purpose

We know that God is all powerful.  The Creator of everything has the ability to do anything, any way He wants.

As we begin the study of the tabernacle, I think this point is important to keep in mind.  Every thing and every way that goes along with the tabernacle is God’s intentional plan.  He did not need the people of Israel to bring gifts.  He did not need the gold, precious stones and yarn that they had taken from Egypt.  He didn’t need them to build the table or lampstand or even the tabernacle.  He does not need a tent or building.  He didn’t even need their sacrifices.

God chose to do these things in these ways not for Himself but for the people.  He allowed them to be a part of this.  He enabled them to have the joy of sharing and giving.  He accepted the sacrifices and obedience that they offered.

God did all of this with purpose.  The stated purpose of the temple may have been for God.  He would dwell among the people.  But God was already everywhere and in everything.  The physical representation of the temple was for the people, so they could physically experience God with them.  It was a touch point, not unlike a favorite chair that you might have sat in and cuddled and read books with your mother.

Today we don’t have a tabernacle or temple.  We have something far superior.  God chose to fulfill the promises of the temple through Jesus.  When Jesus was born, Immanuel, God with us, He take on human flesh and walked and lived and ate and slept among His people.  Then, as the ultimate sacrifice, He gave up that human life so that His blood would pay the full price of our sin as a covering, sufficient for everyone for ever.

All of this that we are reading in Exodus was not just a specific design, it was a specific revelation of God’s plan done with purpose.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
everyone whose heart prompts them to give – not forced, but a joyful giving

b.
Remember Malachi 3:8-12

c.
A living sacrifice.  My heart, my time, my talent, my devotion, my order, my attention.

4.
a.
It is for God.  He will dwell among the people

b.
Christ was born “God with us”, He was made flesh, we are adopted as brothers/sisters to Christ, we will dwell with God forever.

c.
God would dwell in their midsts.  He would look down from above the mercy seat and see the laws (all that we broke) but in between is a covering of sacrificial blood

09.4 Moses 9, Day 4

Good Things to the Wicked

We know God is a just God.  We know that He is a jealous God.  We know that not only is He the creator of everyone and everything, but He also is the final judge of the covenant that calls all creation to obedience and holiness.

But we look around and we see things that don’t make sense.  We see the wicked prosper.  We see oppressors grow in power and strength.  We see sin magnified while those who attempt to abide by the law persecuted.

But our perspective is short and narrow.  We can see only the things around us, the here and now.  We are small picture, like the story of the blind men trying to describe an elephant based only on the tiny part they are able to touch.

Our lesson today gives us insight into a larger picture.  In addition to all the other attributes of God, He is also patient.  He promised to wipe out the enemies of Israel.  He could have done this in a single night, but he allowed them to continue as caretakers of the land that He would give to Israel.  To the people of that time it must have seemed as if the enemies of Israel were prospering.  They continued to live in the land of milk and honey.  But, little did they know they were simply the maintenance crew keeping the property up to date through their own expense and labor so it would be in the best of condition for when the Israelites were ready to occupy it.

Christianity does not have a principle of karma, that what goes around comes around or that good and evil must balance in a yin yang.  Christianity believes in God and His holiness and His love.  All else is sin and all else will be consumed in a righteous fire.  Equity and fairness do not come from the wicked being repaid with wickedness (even though in the end the wicked will perish).  Instead, the God who is over all creation has the power and authority to use even the wicked for His good.  Those in our time who seem to be prospering through evil may simply be accumulating wealth or power so that God can then use it, at the appropriate time, for His glorious plan.  We don’t know – but we should have faith.

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong – my yardstick of right and wrong is holiness, not the crowd

b.
Special days set aside for God

c.
God is just, merciful, holy and sacred

8.
Jesus: Phil 2:9; Mark 2:10; Ex 3:2-6; Isaiah 63:9

9.
a.
11 explicit, 13 counting implicit

b.
enemy 2 enemies, oppose oppose you, wipe out 6 nations, blessing  food/water, take sickness/fertility probs, full life, terror/confusiont, make enemies turn back, run, send hornet 3 tribes, drive out>1yr, little/little=increase, borders, give land to you

c.
21 pay attention, listen, do not rebel 22 listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say

10.
a.
He could wipe out their enemies in a single night, but He is building Israel while using their enemies as caretakers of the land

b.
I struggle to invest time studying bible daily but God keeps putting bible verses either in print or calling forth ones I’ve memorized daily

18 BSF Matthew Week 18, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Unveiled Glory:  In Exodus 34 we learn that after Moses would leave the sanctuary, from being in the presence of the glory of the Lord, he would veil His face because the Israelites could not handle the shine of his face.

In 2 Cor 3:13 Paul wrote: “We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.”

Jesus did not hide what was going to happen from His disciples or from us.  It wasn’t veiled in a parable.  It wasn’t disguised in code.  It was as plainly spoken as one could speak.  He would be put to death and then rise 3 days later.

It was not that Jesus had less shine than Moses.  Just the opposite.  But it was time for the glory to be unveiled.  Like a bride at marriage lifts her veil when joined to her spouse.  The bridegroom had arrived and the time had come and was coming for the veil to be removed.

My Answers

3.
a.
up a high mountain

b.
Peter James and John

c.
spending time with the disciples

4.
a.
transfomed into holy radiance.  He was in communion with the saints and prophets, His appearance and being reflected His soul, one free and clean of sin

b.
He was an eye-witness.  He saw and heard it as fact, not story

c.
Both

5.
Matt: coming on the clouds of heaven
John: seen the glory of the Son
John: Glorify your son that your Son may glorify you
Acts: a light, brighter than the sun – voice from heaven
Phil: exalted by God – given the name above all names
Rev: son of man, his face shining like the sun, hair white as snow and eyes blazing like fire

 

BSF Matthew Week 16, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal

Jews didn’t eat with gentiles, much less feed 4000 of them.  But that is the miracle Jesus performs.

We saw on similar before, with the feeding of the 5000.  So similar that it is easy to miss some of the differences.

The Jews sat of grass, the gentiles on the ground.  This reminded me of the parable of the sower.  The Jews were a field with existing growth, not to mention a number of weeds, but the gentile soil was barren and ready to be be planted.

The feeding of the 5000 had 12 baskets of food left over, the feeding of the 4000 had 7 baskets of food left over.  Interesting that there were 12 tribes of Israel and 7 tribes of Canaan.

But I think most interesting and applicable to my life was the response of the Apostles.  The apostles had not only been present at the feeding of the 5000, but they were in the middle of the whole thing.  Now, just a very short time later, when Jesus turns to them in verse 32 and says, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”  Not one of His disciples says, “no problem, we have some fish and loaves, let’s do that thing again.”  Not one of them asked Him what to do, even though they now recognized and knew that He was the Son of God.  Instead, their first response was totally self-reliant.  “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

Before I get too harsh on the apostles, I need to confess – this is me.  I know who Jesus is, but I don’t ask for miracles.  I see the way He has miraculously provided for me and my family, and then the next day I begin worrying about how I’m going to figure things out on my own.  I open my eyes and see limited resources instead of looking at things through the lens of faith and seeing unlimited possibilities.

There is a song I enjoy called, “Are you ready for a miracle?”  If I’m honest, though, I am too like the apostles – most of the days the answer to the question is no, not really.

How can I make the knowledge of these passages part of my life?  I can follow the example of the Canaanite mother.  I can pray for miracles for myself and for others.  I can not only pray, but I can pray with confidence in the One who has the power to perform those miracles.  When I don’t hear an answer, I can keep praying, in faith.  When I don’t understand something, I can be like Peter and ask.  When I don’t have the strength to carry on, lest I may collapse on the way, I can sit at the feet of Jesus and not only be fed, but be satisfied, knowing that when He provides that provision is magnified.  I can be ready for a miracle!

My Answers

13.
a.
Jews      Gentiles
grass              ground
5000               4000
started by apostle, started by Jesus
5 loaves, 7 loaves
2 fishes, some fishes
12 baskets, 7 baskets

b.
Better to get the left-overs, there is more left over than the first served

c.
trust and rely on Jesus alone, He has full power to provide for all my needs, I am blessed to help, not needed to help

 

08.2 BSF Matthew Week 8, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

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Flickr Creative Commons: stockmonkeys.com

1. Measure for Measure:  This reminded me of the days of the gold rush.  Miners would pan for gold and, hopefully, find nuggets.  They would then bring these in to town where someone would purchase them.,  The price was based on weight and the purchaser of the nuggets owned the scale.  It was often a simple balance and they used counter weights to determine the weight of an ounce of gold.  If their counter weight was a bit heavy, say 1.5 ounce or 2 ounces instead of 1 ounce, then when they put the gold on the other end of the scale, they would get that much extra for the price they paid.  But Jesus explains that this manipulation is all for nothing, because the same set of weights, the measure, they use for others will be the same set of weights used to evaluate their worth.  In this situation the only thing that makes sense for fairness to abound is to use weights that are true and accurate.  The only source of that measure that is true is the Word of God.

2. I just finished reading a book called Allegiant, and one of the lines in the book really stuck in my mind in regard to our lesson this week.  “Everyone has some evil (sin/fault) inside of them and the first step to loving anyone else is to recognize the same evil (sin/fault) in ourselves, so we are able to forgive them.”  We have spent 4 weeks on the Sermon on the Mount and it is easy sometimes to compartmentalize the lesson of three weeks ago and this week, but they are all the same sermon.  In Matt 5, Jesus explained this principle in the extreme.  You may not have murdered someone else, but have you been angry or thought of another as being a fool?  If so, it is the same thing, the same sin, the same evil, with the same just punishment (the fires of hell 5:22).  To minister, to love, to forgive another; we cannot do it from a position of superiority because that is a lie.  You cannot speak truth and lie at the same time.  It starts by seeing our own need for forgiveness.

3. Pearls to Swine: When thinking of unbelievers we often think of the Gospel as mad tasting medicine.  They don’t want it but it is good for them and they really should take it.  We know what is best for them.  Take your medicine and be grateful.  But, we forget or neglect the tremendous value and worth of the Word of God.  It is not something to be pushed on other people.  Would you force another against their will to take gold from you?  Would you force them to eat from an amazing banquet of the finest food?  Of course not.  You would recognize that as ridiculous.  You may invite them, offer, encourage, teach, prepare them for the gift, but if they don’t choose to take your gold, you wouldn’t force them.  But how much more valuable and precious is the gift of the Holy Spirit than gold or silver.  How much more nourishing is the Word of God than earthly food.  When we treat it as bad tasting medicine, we dishonor its true worth and value.

My Answers:

3.
a.
To put yourself in the position of being over another person, particularly a fellow believer, for the purpose of demeaning or disparaging them.  i.e., don’t have a “holier than thou” attitude

b.
same way judge others will be judged, measure for measure.  Focus on the plank in your own eye over the speck of sawdust in another (judge yourself first and foremost and right the situation).  Do not give dogs what is sacred, don’t throw pearls to swine

c.
forgive and you will be forgiven, give and it will be given to you (blessing of measure).  Can the blind lead the blind, will they not both fall into a pit, Student is not above the teacher, but everyone fully trained will be like their teacher

4.
a.
Matt: brother or sister within the church, but as a brother/sister, a confidant, friend
Gal 1: Preachers (people or angels) – that they stay true to the word of God
Gal 6:Someone who has been caught in a sin.  Also, yourself (test your own actions)
2 John: Deceivers, antichrist, false teachers

b.
Take the glaring sin out of your own life first ( hidden can be glaring).  Point out their sin to them with compassion and nurturing.  If ignore, join with 1-2 in the body privately to intervene, expand to church, remove from fellowship.

5.
Each of us is given our own free will and choice.  No one can force or coerce another into accepting the gift of salvation or force them to truly repent.  They must choose.  If they fail to choose or choose the wrong path, leave them be (although you can continue to pray for them). “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Prov 23:9

05.2 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Post Modern Man Thirsts for the Mercy of the Trinit-“P” =  PMMTMPPP = Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Thirst and Hunger, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

I loved that the description of these that BSF used was “Eight Characteristics of True Christians.”  Let me contrast that with the description “situation.”

As humans we blame situations and “stuff” a lot.  Stuff happens.  Bad karma (cringe!).  That’s life.  People mourn because something bad has happened.  People are meek because they lack power or strength.  People go hungry because of poverty or strife.

But in this sermon, these are situations or events or s**t that happens.  These are choices.  The one who is poor in spirit is the one who pours out their spirit, spending it for the benefit of others.  The one who mourns is the one who cares and comes along side those in trouble and need.  The one who is meek is the one who willingly lays down their power and bragging rights for the opportunity to lift up others.  The one who hungers and thirst for righteousness puts righteousness above even the most basic level on our human hierarchy of needs. Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemaker – all choices.  Persecuted because of Righteousness is the choice we share with the prophets of old, to stand on the Word of God even knowing the human hardship it will bring.

This isn’t a list of “bad things happen to people but God makes everything right in the end”.  This is a list of characteristics.  This is a list of choices.  It is Christ describing His mission and what he is calling His followers to do in kind.  We don’t need to ask WWJD – here’s the playbook.

My Answers:

3.
To receive something special, a gift.  To have some who looks after you and does good for you, as in a benefactor.  To be able to help or care for others with a willing and joyful heart

4.
a.
Poor:
One whose own spirit is spent, depleted or who recognizes their own spirit as insufficient

Mourn:
Sad or broken hearted.  To be moved by loss or grievance to the point ot pain.  To recognize ones own grievances as such.

Meek:
Humble, not boasting, not proud for owns sake

Thirst/Hunger:
One who is permeated by the desire for righteousness: emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically

Merciful:
To put others before self.  To seek good for others over gain for self.

Pure in Heart:Committed to God and God alone.  To trust only in Him

Peacemakers:
Peace with God through reconciliation, to be ambassadors to others on His behalf and to not discriminate in that work.

Persecuted:
One who is true to righteousness to point of suffering to maintain that position

b.
Post Modern Man Thirsts for the Mercy of the Trinit-“P” =  PMMTMPPP = Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Thirst and Hunger, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

c.
They are interlinked.  For me it is to hunger and thirst more for righteousness – there is so much wickedness surrounding us you begin to accept it as the way of the world instead of recognizing it as unrighteousness and offensive to God.