Tag Archives: destruction

Matthew 7 – Understanding

I was going through this chapter, trying to understand and process all of this information in a relatively short period of time, and i was struck by this first couple of sections.  First off, Christ talks about not judging lest we be judged.  I was thinking about what that means.  I know that i do not want to be judged by God, but how does one go about not judging others?  Then we hit verse 6 that says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”  So, we are not to judge, but in order to not give what is holy to dogs and not cast our pearls before swine, we must judge and discern that they are dogs or swine.  How do we do that?  Do not judge lest you be judged, yet judge lest you cast truth before those who can not accept it.

So we need to judge whether someone is able to handle the truth, but we must be careful in judging as we will be judged in the same way.  Later on, Jesus talks about knowing a person by their fruits.  If you need to judge someone you can understand who they are, and the truth about them by looking at what they produce.  If they produce life, they are people of life.  If they leave a path of destruction behind them, chances are they are a bad tree.

Later in the chapter Jesus talks about how the road is broad that leads to destruction, and narrow that leads to life and many who seek it will not find it.  So many who pursue truth and life will never find it.  Those are pretty strong words in our “all inclusive” culture.  Yet, those are Christ’s words.

So in understanding all of these things, it is important to build a strong foundation.  When you do not have a strong foundation, the troubles of life WILL sweep you away.  The only way to remain strong is have a strong foundation and strong roots.

Do you understand?  I’m pretty sure i MIGHT understand…  “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

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Leviticus 14 – Cleansing

Leviticus 14 is another long chapter with almost 60 verses, but the subject matter is very important.  Chapter 13 was about leprosy and how to discern leprosy from not leprosy.  Meanwhile, this chapter is about cleansing.  It’s about overcoming the problems and being able to return to health and life.  It is about hope and the process of coming to cleansing.  Leprosy was considered to be one of the more incurable diseases of the time.  Once you had true leprosy, there was little hope of ever living a normal life again.  It was generally a death sentence.

But this chapter brings hope.  It brings the promise that a person can come out of it.  This is a chapter of cleansing.  In  this chapter the priests and people are given instructions on what to do when a person is shown to be clean.  What steps are necessary to allow them to return to the lives that they lost… their homes, their families.  It is a promise that there are no true lost causes.

When i look and think about this, i think about those who have been consumed by drug and alcohol abuse.  Those who lose their lives and purpose due to choices they have made over the years.  There is hope.  YHWH can bring cleansing and strength to those who need it.  But it’s not limited only to drug and alcohol abuse.  It is also for all other sins.

We are not without a way out.  God can make a way.  Not only can He, but He does time after time, day after day.  No situation… no life is hopeless.  We need simply to pursue Him.  He is the one who brings cleansing.

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Leviticus 13 – Leprosy

We are beginning to see more that God is not simply talking to Moses.  In the very first verse we see YHWH speaking to Moses AND Aaron.  As Aaron has begun to take on his new role as the high priest, we see God communicating with him as well as Moses.  There are more expectations of Aaron, while Moses continues to be the leader of the people.  He continues to lead and guide the masses, but Aaron begins to take on more and more important of a role in this infant nation.  That is a good thing.

As we move on from motherhood, we come to the next major topic for the law of the Levities.  So, who wants to talk about leprosy!?!  “Anyone, anyone?”  What, no takers?  You mean that leprosy isn’t an exciting, world changing subject?  Well, it certainly is to the one who has it!

Imagine being the person who wakes up one day to find the white mark in your hand or arm.  You wonder what it is, and you hope that it isn’t serious.  As the days go by you notice it more and more.  You try to ignore it, but there it is starting at you ominously.  Others begin to notice and tell you that you need to go see the priest.  You finally go, the priest looks at the mark and decides that you need to be isolated for a week.  So you are separated from your friends and family and everyone that you love waiting and hoping and praying for this mark to heal.  Meanwhile it is ever so slowly getting worse and you are stressed, panicked, and all alone.  You come before the priest, he looks over your wound and the rest of your body, and… you could be spending the rest of your days an outcast.  What do you do?

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Leviticus 10 – Strange Fire

I have been waiting for this chapter.  I knew that it was coming, and to some extent i have been dreading it.  After everything that has happened.  After all of the preparing and anointing and consecrating, the time comes for Aaron’s grown sons to step up and do their part, and what happens?  Immediately they mess it up.  It’s not even like they just forgot something.  It’s that they knew what they were supposed to do and purposely did the wrong thing.

We don’t know what they were thinking.  We don’t know their plans, or their purpose, or their intent.  All we know is what happened, and the response of YHWH God to their clear violation of his law.  They “offered strange fire before the LORD (YHWH)“.  Strong’s concordance describes this word “strange” as;

זוּר – zûr (zoor)
A primitive root; to turn aside (especially for lodging); hence to be a foreigner, strange, profane; specifically (active participle) to commit adultery: – (come from) another (man, place), fanner, go away, (e-) strange (-r, thing, woman).

So the word “strange” here is defined under the context of foreign (not natural), profane, and adulterous.  So we aren’t just talking about mixing up the spices differently than they were supposed to.  We are referring to a completely inappropriate and sinful offering given to YHWH, the one HOLY God.

Here are the priests, the ones who are to stand before YHWH and represent the people.  They are to be coming into God’s presence holy, bringing a holy sacrifice to cover the people and their sins, and what do they do on one of the first days of their job?  They offer a profane and adulterous offering to YHWH!  They insult YHWH and basically do their best to slap Him in the face.  YHWH’s response?  Fire comes out from His presence and consumes them!  They are destroyed on the spot.

When those who are supposed to be standing before the LORD and ministering to YHWH and the people are purposely rejecting and disobeying Him, what does it say about Him, and what does it mean for them?  Those who are leaders and ministers need to take His work seriously.  If we don’t, what will His response be to us.  Those who are leaders are held to a higher standard, but we also have the potential for a greater reward.  However, we MUST pursue the holiness of the LORD.

John Camiolo Jr.

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Leviticus 4 – Guilt Offering

I find it interesting that the chapter on the peace (or thanksgiving) offering immediately precedes the unintentional sin (or guilt) offering.  It almost seems like the priority is the peace offering, and as a counter to that, we have the guilt offering.  I don’t know how much significance there is in this, but i’m sure someone can make it very significant.

The chapter is split up into four sections.  The first talks about the offering that is required if the priest sins unintentionally.  Secondly, is the offering that is required for when the congregation as a whole sins unintentionally.  In that case the leaders are responsible and they are the ones that lay their hands on the head of the bull as it is sacrificed.  The leaders are responsible for the actions of the people.  The third sacrifice is the sacrifice when a leader sins unintentionally.  He has a greater responsibility thus his sacrifice is separate from those of the common people.  Then finally, the sacrifice for the common people.  Each sacrifice is different in type or sex of the animal.

It’s very significant to me that the sacrifice for the leaders of the congregation is different and of greater value than the common people.  It says so much about the expectations and demands placed on the leaders.  Being a leader is a double edged sword.  It means you have more authority and power, but it also means that you hold more responsibility, including responsibility for the actions of those you are leading.  That is a common theme throughout the Bible.  When the people go astray, the leaders are to blame.  Do our leaders live up to those expectations?  Do we?

Do we take sin seriously?  God does!  Do we even bring our intentional sins before YHWH in repentance, or do we just brush them aside?  Even if we do that, do we bring our unintentional sins to Him as well?  Even for those who are willing to say “yes”  about the first (intentional sins), chances are we don’t say “yes” in response to the second (unintentional).  I know i tend not to even bring my intentional sins to Him, let alone my unintentional.  That is something that needs to change.

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Exodus 32 – Sheep & Calf

Well, here is where it all hits the fan!  The people are tired of waiting for Moses to return from the mountain.  He has been there for 40 days and nights.  They are growing impatient with Moses and God taking their time, and they decide to do something about it.  So what do they do?  They decide to make their own god!  They convince Aaron to make them a god so that they can worship it.  Aaron makes them a golden calf and the people begin to worship it!

I have been trying to understand this.  I really have been.  I try to make it a point to understand the situations that the Israelites are going through.  I know that these are people just like you and i.  I can usually get some sort of grasp on some of the insane things that the Israelites do and make some sort of sense of it, but this one absolutely takes the cake!

God has done all of these amazing things for and with the people of Israel.  He has rescued them from Egypt.  He has done miracles and wonders to the Egyptians absolutely destroying their nation.  He brought them across the Red Sea.  He made water come out of the rock.  He even appeared in a cloud to the people and the leaders saw Him.   He spoke His 10 commandments out loud to them; the second of which was not to make for themselves a graven image!  They even agreed!  Yet here they are.  Moses has returned to the mountain, and is gone for only 40 days.  Now here they are doing one of  the most foolish and insane things they could possibly do.

I try to imagine myself in the situation.  I try to picture it and try to process what is going on in their minds, and i just don’t get it.  I mean, i can kind of get it.  When you are in that emotional high and you need a release… you need to release it some how, i can understand needing to be able to worship.  But wow!  I mean really!?!  WOW!  I think that that’s all I can say about that situation.

I look at YHWH’s response, and i am in no way surprised that He wants to destroy them all and start over.  My real amazement is in Moses response.  He sticks up for them and hold’s God’s fury at bay, but he also doesn’t really know what’s going on the time.  Once he finds out… it becomes a bloodbath.  What is a man of God to do?

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Exodus 21 – Treatment of Others

Yesterday was on the 10 commandments and the Israelite’s reaction to God, so i don’t know what i expected for chapter 21, but it certainly wasn’t this.  To put things in perspective a little bit; there were originally no chapters and verse in the scriptures.  They were added later on to help people study and reference the Bible better.  As a result when the text was originally written, there was no real division between what was commanded in 20 and then in 21.  So, God gave the people the 10 commandments / promises, then almost immediately we get into the topic that opens chapter 21: slavery!

Now i know that back in the day both supporters of and those opposed to slavery used the Bible to prove their point of view.  Ultimately though, it was those who understood that God’s view of humanity being created in His image and his redemption bringing equality to all that overcame and was a driving force in especially Great Britain’s move to make slavery illegal.  But when i started copying this chapter over it hit me.  Almost immediately after giving the 10 commandments / promises God begins the rest of the law and legal instructions with rules about slavery?  Isn’t that a huge piece of evidence that God is in SUPPORT of slavery?  Doesn’t that justify that abominable practice?

I was really struggling through this idea and concept for a good chunk of my writing this morning.  It was really bothering me.  Then, as i was writing, struggling with this, and questioning God about it; He brought an answer to my mind.  It’s not that He supported slavery.  It’s that He knew slavery was going to occur no matter what.  He set His 10 primary promises / commands then immediately He set the rules to protect those who would end up as slaves.  It wasn’t an attempt to encourage the mistreatment of His creation.  It was making it a priority to protect those least able to protect themselves.

The chapter continues by dealing with how to respond to murder / accidental deaths from other people as well as animals.  Obviously this is a very important aspect of the law to deal with.  This theme of protecting the innocent continues with the instruction that if two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is struck resulting in premature birth but no harm is done, then the husband may demand any fine he requests.  If there is an injury it is an eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burn for burn, hand for hand, etc.

If we call ourselves Christians, are we protecting those less able to protect themselves?  Do we live our lives taking responsibility for those around us?

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Exodus 17 – Life

So now, the people go from the wilderness of Sin where there was no food, to Rephidim where there is no water.  So what do the people do?  No big surprise, they complain and quarrel with Moses about the lack of water.  How tiresome!  Then again, water is life.  If you had to go without water for an extended time period wouldn’t you be complaining too.  Then when you consider that they were in a dry wilderness, and you have every reason to be upset.

But, by now i would expect that the people would understand the correct way of handling the problem.  Bring it to Moses and to God, and wait for the miraculous provision.  What do they do instead?  They complain and quarrel.  What does God do?  He provides miraculously, of course!  That was a silly question.

In the meantime, all this racket, complaining, and water coming from rocks in desolate places has stirred up the natives like taking a broom to a beehive.  All of a sudden, the Israelites are face to face with angry Amalekites.  If you remember, Amalek was the grandson of Esau, Jacob’s older brother.  So this was family that was attacking them.  It is also the first time that the Israelite people would come face to face with war.  So Moses sends out Joshua to lead the battle, and he stands on the rock with his brother Aaron and with Hur.  Together they hold up Moses hands, and as long as Moses hands are raised, the Israelites defeat this people experienced in the ways of war.  So yet again, YHWH provides life for the people of Israel.

Moses builds an alter / memorial to the LORD there and calls it, YHWH-Nissi, or the LORD my Banner.  Is He your banner today?

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Exodus 15 – Honor

I will sing to the LORD (YHWH) for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled in the sea…”  So begins the song of the MEN of Israel.  YHWH has done something amazing, and what is the response?  The MEN of Israel begin to sing and celebrate the wonders of God.  Why is that so different from today?  Why is it that instead of being the first to honor God, the men are usually the last?  Why is it that men are so hesitant to give glory to the One to whom it is due?  It has been in our nature to lead; that’s how we were created.  We were also created to bring YHWH honor and to show the glory of God.  Yet here we are.  Men are more likely to follow in worshiping God than we are to lead.  Men are less likely to honor God in how we express ourselves, yet we are responsible for leading in that.  Why is that, and how can we change it?

When the men worshiped, what did they do and say?  Moses and the men of Israel described God’s glory and His actions.  They expressed what YHWH did and how He did it.  The worship of men involved describing God, who He is and what He has done “The LORD (YHWH) is a warrior;  The LORD (YHWH) is His name.  Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;“.  The worship of men is about action and work “Your right hand, O LORD (YHWH), is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD (YHWH), shatters the enemy.  And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;“.  It is also about character and person; “In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.

Is this how we worship today?  Do we celebrate who God is, or how He makes us feel when we feel His presence?  Is our worship about events and what God is doing in our lives, or is it about love and our emotions towards Him?  Are we honoring and glorifying YHWH, or are we just singing songs?

One of the beautiful things about the Israelites in the old testament, and something that has been lost in our culture is this idea of truly celebrating the milestones and successes in our lives.  When was the last time any of us really, truly celebrated a real success in our lives.  When was the last time God did something amazing in your life and you had a party to celebrate it?  I know i can’t remember the last time i did anything like that.  Aside from graduating from high-school and getting married, i can’t remember anything that YHWH has done that we have celebrated (besides the anniversary of days of birth and marriage).  We seem to have lost the ability to truly Honor God for the things He has done.  What can we do to change that?

I also wanted to note here that this is the first time that we see the LORD described as YHWH-Rapha, the LORD our Healer.  So far, the Israelites have seen a God of destruction.  He was a God who destroyed the Egyptians in order to free the sons of Israel from their enemies.  He brought plagues, destruction, and death.  Here they begin to see God as a God who heals (the waters of Marah).  Thus He is also the God of life.  It is a step in a different direction… but i’m out of time, so i can’t go into it more.

Rev. John Camiolo

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Exodus 12-2 – Obedience

I split this chapter at the end of verse 27 due to the length of chapter overall.  Thus the first verse in today’s work was 28; “Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD (YHWH) had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.”  (NASB)  Opening this section with this verse really struck me.  If there is one thing that i have learned about the Hebrew people through most of  the old testament, it’s that they didn’t like doing what they were told.  They tended to be very stubborn people who took a whole lot of convincing to get them to follow simple instructions sometimes.  Even when they did follow directions, many times it also involved grumbling and complaining.  This was especially true of this particular generation.  Once they go out into the wilderness, Moses has all kinds of problems with them.  So much so that, apart from two people, none of them is allowed to actually enter the promised land.

Yet here we see a simple statement of profound importance.  “Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD (YHWH) had commanded…”  This and similar statements are made three times in this second half of Exodus 12 (vs. 28, 35, & 50).  Why is simple obedience such a difficult thing to do?  I know that the Hebrew people are not the only ones that have that difficulty.  Pharaoh had the same problem… and so do I.  I know that it would be better to do things God’s way.  I know that it would make my life better and easier.  I know that i can trust Him even when i don’t understand.  Yet time and time again the choice i make is the wrong one.  Then, i have the gall to get upset when things don’t go the way i expect them to.  I just don’t get it sometimes.

This section is where the exodus of the Hebrew people really begins.  The final miracle occurs; the firstborn of everyone from Pharaoh’s household to the prisoners in the dungeon lost their lives.  Pharaoh and the people of Egypt “urged” the Israelites to leave.  So exactly 430 years to the day after Israel and his family came to Egypt, the LORD (YHWH) brings them out again.

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