The Mis-used Gift
This last week I have been studying in the book of Exodus, preparing for our new ladies study of the Tabernacle of Moses. I NEVER get tired of the story of God delivering, guiding, providing and dwelling with His people. I am in chapter 32. I love the heading of this chapter, so to the point, tells of the whole sad scenario in 3 words… The Golden Calf.
While Moses is up top on the Mountain getting the instructions for the materials and the building of the Tabernacle, the children of Israel were down below… ‘playing’.
Chapter 25:1-3, 8 (NIV)
“The LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze… “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”
Fascinating! While God was telling Moses to have the people bring HIM their gold… the gold HE provided for them, when leaving Egypt:
And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth! (Ex. 12:35-36)
See what the people were doing with a portion of the GOLD. The gold they were to offer to HIM. GOD’s gold.
The people grew extremely impatient waiting for Moses. Moses was their leader, the spokesman for their God. No leader, no God was their mindset… we can’t see our God, we can’t touch our God… so what did they do … ‘make their God’. Isn’t that so true today! We want… we make to fill and feed our insecurities.
The people went to poor Aaron, (yes, I like this dude) telling him, ‘make us gods, who will go before us’. So Aaron told them ‘take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing and bring them to me.’
They did so, and the golden calf was made… Aaron built an altar in front of the calf, and sacrifices were presented by the people. They continued on as mentioned in verse 6 ‘they got up to indulge in revelry’. The King James says ‘they rose up to … play’. They were mocking, and as verse 25 says ‘they were running wild’. You can imagine what ‘running wild’ means – they were being ‘naughty’.
God sends Moses back down off the mountain, and Moses finds this MESS! In his anger AFTER he throws the tablets to the ground… he melts down the golden calf and grinds it into powder, then adds it to the water and makes the people drink it. It was the only way to ‘completely’ destroy the idol.
What a stinkin waste of good GOLD! Gold that was provided for the people for a specific purpose! The Tabernacle, a place God’s presence would dwell, a place of worship.
After I got over the chuckle of Aaron’s response to Moses… ‘I threw in the gold, and looky there, out came a calf’ – HA! The Lord spoke to me in this. We do the same thing today… God provides something, someone, even a circumstance intended to be used for HIM, His use… His presence – His glory… and what do we do with it… we make it into something for … US! Once it is made, we worship, we play, run wild…
May we seriously consider what the Lord has given us… gifts we have (are) mis-using, that is intended for HIM. To be direct and specific… do we have talents, skills, finances, time, relationships (the list goes on), are we taking those and making for US?
Personally, I don’t want God to make me ‘eat’ or drink something that was meant for a blessing, because I mis-used it! I get enough of humble pie! How about you?
Have God-loving, don’t mis-use the gift, week…
In Him, DeDe (You thrill me, LORD …) Ps. 92:4
The Tabernacle of Moses – The Light 6
You may wonder why I choose to focus on certain points of interest within this study of the Tabernacle and leave out others, or not go into great depth on certain topics, like … the Priesthood according the pattern of the Melchizedek, or the number 7 found in the candlestick lending to the number of perfection. Or the priestly garment of the ephod and breast piece which has stones representing all of Israel on it, as the priest carries the names of each tribe into the presence of God. These are for YOU to research and ponder. I purposely leave gaps, areas left to create an interest on your part, so you too would dig! So don’t grow frustrated, grow fascinated! God’s word is exciting!
From bronze to gold. From fine to … really fine! As we journey through the Tabernacle, we have encountered the lamb, the laver and now the light. We have stood outside the courtyard, admired from afar, sacrificed at the altar (the lamb), washed in the washbasin (the laver). Now we enter the Holy Place and see the lampstand (the light). Exodus chapter 25 describes the lampstand, and chapter 27 the oil for the lampstand.
It is the first piece of furniture noticed as we enter, sitting to the left of the entrance. Opposite it – is the Table of Shewbread, off to the right. And the Altar of Incense – directly ahead, sitting in front of the veil that separates the Holy Place from the MOST Holy Place, where there… dwells the ark of the covenant, the Mercy Seat.
The candelabra is the only source of light within the many layered coverings of the tent. There were no windows, or sky lights. Not even any portable Halogen lighting set up, aimed and highlighting each piece of furniture. Isn’t that how we would light it today, bring in all those bright yellow lights on a stand, so bright, there would be a need to cover your eyes. Nor did Aaron have a ‘head lamp’ strapped to his forehead. No, without the oil and fire creating the light it would be completely …. dark.
Up to this point the articles of furniture have been made of bronze (the altar and laver). Once inside the Holy Place, the closer we get to the presence of God, the materials are now made of gold – the scriptures are very careful to identify these as … pure gold. The lampstand alone is said to weigh up to 75 pounds, and worth a full talent of gold, this is estimated as being worth in today’s standard close to a million and a half dollars. WOW! One thing to remember, the Israelites were still wandering in the wilderness, the key word here… wandering. Meaning the Tabernacle was designed to be portable. Wouldn’t you like to be the one put in charge of lugging the 75 pound HIGHLY valuable candlestick from camp to camp?
Each day the priest was to come in and attend to the oil. The oil needing replenishing daily, I’ll say that again… daily… keeping the fire burning (how’s your oil supply?). There was a prescribed recipe of pressed olive oil to be used. The oil known for a healing agent, yet when combined with fire it becomes the element of light, (hm…think on that). I find it interesting that the daily requirements of the priesthood includes sacrifice, washing, keeping the oil filled, and the incense burning. Notice I made that statement ‘present tense’. WE are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5,9).
Light – I have been pondering this, rolling it around, carrying notes with me for a couple of weeks now. MUCH to consider! The lampstand the only source of light in the Tabernacle. A friend and I have been discussing ‘light’. He brought up that light was 1st in creation, love the word picture it gives (just as the priest entered the Holy Place he first encountered the light)
Genesis chapter 1 ‘In the beginning God created…’ (verse 3) God said let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness’. Amazing, the first recorded statement of God, is … light. It wouldn’t make for a great flannel graph lesson if the animals came first as they wandered around in the dark, doesn’t God think ahead! All the Sunday School teachers are waving their hands with a hardy ‘AMEN!’ (giggle)
Think for a moment what it would be like withOUT light. The brilliance of color would be dull, (if we could see it at all) detail would be diminished. A rainbow for instance, as the light captures moisture in the air, it creates the most beautiful array of color. A diamond would be seen just as another stone, even a piece of glass without the light sparkling through it.
Today you can have a cube shaped piece of crystal mounted on a lit spinning base, with an etched image inside it. This is known as 3D Laser Etching. The laser light is aimed and then disrupts the internal structure of the crystal, leaving an engraved imprint. The Lord showed me how light (a very intense HOT light) can penetrate our hearts and literally ‘etch’ HIM there. One website had this to say about their etched product … ‘individual works of art that are skillfully created by our master craftsman’. THAT is what I am seeking! That the Lord (the Master Craftsman) so penetrate my inner being, that I am disrupted and all that is left is … HIM… and He alone shining thru.
Light has been used as a symbol of the presence of God throughout the Bible. We find it as the Lord presented Himself to Abraham as the burning lamp (or pots) as it passed through the sacrifices. And Moses at the burning bush, and the Pillar of Fire to the Israelites. My favorite of all is … Jesus. He says “I am the Light of the World” (Jn. 8:12). As Jesus is seen stronger and stronger in our lives, we are a reflection of His light to others. As the sun reflects off the moon to give light to the night, so we too are to reflect His light to the darkened world. We are light-bearers. Matthew 5:14-16 speaks of this:
You (me and YOU!) are the light of the world. A city
on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light
a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they
put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone
in the house. In the same way, let your light
shine before men, that they may see your
good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Why are we shining our light? And for what reason are others to see it? That they praise the Father! It is for the glory of God that Jesus is seen in and through us! This attracting others to HIM.
God’s light is divine and definitely NOT made of any human resources, like that of the light bulb, or a flashlight. Both of which require a power source to run it. God is the power source.
It is the presence of God that illuminates our path, our lives, our hearts, minds … the list is vast! As Aaron performed his daily priestly duties, he NEEDED the light to do and BE the priest. God provides for this need, He provides HIMSELF!
May we too seek His presence, as He illuminates all over, in and through us! May He etch His character, name and love on our hearts. Let Jesus SHINE!
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD … thank you for Your light!)
The Tabernacle of Moses – 5
Our number one priority in life is our relationship with God. In every relationship there is the desire to please. Love should always be the motivator. Yet in our relationship with the Lord, we tend to think if we ‘do’, then that earns His love, and we have fulfilled our obligation to please Him.
We are a ‘do’ society. We write our ‘to do’ lists, and feel completely satisfied at the end of the day, seeing those hummers checked off. As a dear friend pointed out, ‘Satan wants us caught up in the “do” and not the love for Jesus’. We do – don’t do, say – don’t say. Yes these are all full of respect for God, but what He wants is our ….HEARTS!
Peter is a great example of this. Recently I revisited the ‘do you love Me?’ of Jesus. After Jesus was resurrected – He spent time with His disciples… remember the One on one He had with Peter… (Peter previously denied Him 3x) He asked Peter (3x) ‘do you love Me?’ He never once asked him, Peter do you love the ministry, Peter do you love the people, or Peter do you love the leadership? No… ‘Peter do you LOVE ME?’ All our doing stems from our love for HIM, and HIM alone. All we have to ‘do’ is be in love with Jesus, and everything with fall into play from there… and ‘seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you’.
The Tabernacle of Moses – 4
At the mall, we may stop and check it out. Before we leave the house, consider it at least more than twice. I would say (speaking to a few of my gal friends) the average home has between 3-5 of these, (or more). Some primitive cultures have never seen one. James uses this item in his analogy of not merely listening but ‘doing’ the word of God.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not
a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who
looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:23-25 ESV)
This is where we find ourselves – at the water basin, just prior to entering the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. OK, so I was a little dramatic in getting here, but got your attention didn’t I?
The Tabernacle of Moses ~ 3
Quiet ( ah…) – I got the family out of the house at record speed this morning, (slightly faster than a snail). The reports are created and ready to mail and the new account of 27 points of entry is now on line, ( I work from home). Now I take a deep breath and pray. Pray that the Holy Spirit massages His word, life and love in my heart, as I again turn and face the Tabernacle.
Ever go traveling and see many new sights, but come to one in particular and you say to yourself, ‘now this one I want to remember’, while you pull out that Canon digital camera and take a snap shot of it. We are at such a place. Traveling through the Word of God and here stands before us the Tabernacle of Moses. Let us too, take a mental picture.
AH join in ~ bible study! Reviewing first the structure in detail.
Let’s take an aerial view, as if looking down from a helicopter ride, hovering over the Tabernacle. We see a large cloth like fencing that surrounded the outer court, rectangle in shape, measuring approximately (in U.S. measurements) 150 ft long, and 75 ft wide, and have to mention 7.5 ft high, (no peeking over this fence). It was made of linen curtains stitched together. The structure sits east to west. There is only one entry way, and always faces east. Remembering this is a ‘portable’ structure, designed for travel.
Tabernacle of Moses – 2
Oh, the desire God has to be with us. See the progression… in Genesis, He first walked with Adam in the garden (3:8), He walked with Enoch (5:22-24) and Noah (6:9), and the Patriarchs (17:1 ~ 24:40 ~ 48:15) He was with Moses and the Israelites as He led them out of captivity… now He is to ‘dwell’ among them (Ex. 25:8, 29:44-46). But we can not stop there… that was not enough… ‘Jesus’ … John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…’, then in Ephesians 3:17 ‘Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith’.
Last week, we began an intimate journey into and through the Tabernacle. We considered the call to enter into God’s presence. When the Lord gave Moses the instructions, He began from the inside out. Chapter 25 of Exodus covers the furniture within the Holy of Holies, then the Holy Place. Yet, we will go all the way out and make our beginning outside the courtyard. Standing there, glance back in… through the gate we see the altar for sacrificing (we think Jesus!), further we see the water basin for cleansing (we think Jesus!). Further still in the Holy Place, the lamp, the bread and the incense (we think Jesus!). Then the veil…( we THANK JESUS! Ripped that hummer from top to bottom ! ) beyond that …the ark, the presence of God. Sense the intensity!
The Tabernacle of Moses ~ Study 1
Many of you may find this study familiar and rightly so. I began it last fall, but needed to set it aside to focus on the current studies with the gals I was involved in ministry with. Since then I have had my head and heart wrapped around the book of Luke, the life of David, the Patriarchs and of recent, the first 6 chapters of Daniel.
Revisiting this study has been such a wonder to me. I have books stashed everywhere (just about). I am found reading at T-ball games, while the attendant pumps my gas (those of you outside of Oregon, yes this is still done – hallelujah!), I have logged many hours at Starbucks, and IHOP with laptop open. Recently the brand new library has opened in our city, and it is fabulous! My first real visit consisted of a 4 hour stay in front of a large picture window, having the view of a pond and ducks gandering around. Those holy inspired in the design, even put a fireplace with stuffed chairs near by. Yes, it is moments like this, I KNOW God loves me!