The seven days of anointing are over. Aaron, his sons, and the tabernacle have all been purified, anointed, and set apart for the work of service. So now the eighth day has come and Moses gathers the people. It is time to come before the LORD and for YHWH to reveal His presence upon that place.
Aaron and his sons offer the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offering, and the grain offering. All that needs to be done to prepare for this moment has been done. It’s so much hard work to do all of this. It requires so much dedication and effort to see the work to it’s end. In the end though, when YHWH shows up, nothing else matters. Nothing! “Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the LORD (YHWH) appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the LORD (YHWH) and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”
Do we pursue YHWH? I mean really pursue Him? Do we seek Him, and look for Him, and desire Him? Are we willing to put our whole heart into that pursuit, or do we just kind of look for him and hope that He shows up? We need to be willing to put the work and effort into pursuing God. If we are not willing to anoint, purify, and set ourselves and our situation apart for YHWH, we will find that we do not find God’s presence. And, we NEED to find His presence… His glory!
So the tabernacle and all that it will contain has been made. Now on to the court and the alter. If i thought that the ark of the covenant was small, the alter is HUGE! At 5 cubits long (~7 1/2 feet) and 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits (~4 1/2 feet) tall, this thing was not small at all. But then again, when sacrifices included bulls, size does matter!
So the court of the tabernacle is underway with its pillars and linen hangings. All around the tabernacle are these hangings of fine twisted linen connected to pillars of bronze with hooks of silver. The entryway was to the east, to the rising sun, and the work of making all of the tabernacle and its tools of worship is finished. All that’s left is the priestly garments, putting everything together, and… the results.
All of this came together with structure and a plan. It took time, and effort, and finances to make it happen. It wasn’t just God doing it because it would be faster and easier for Him to do it Himself than to rely on humans to do it. He gave us the work. He gave us the plan. He gave His people the desire to make it happen. Do we have a structure and plan for our spiritual growth? Are we willing to invest ourselves into that plan? Are we willing to put our time, effort, and finances into loving God and loving others, or are we only willing to do the absolute minimum in order to get away with the least we can. Are we giving our firstfruits or our leftovers? Do we want to enter the court of the King, or are we satisfied with just passing it by and knowing that it’s there if we need it?
Either i’ve become a faster writer, the verses are shorter or easier in this chapter some how, or both. It took me less than an hour and a half to copy over the 40 verses in this chapter. When i started this project it took me an hour and a half to do ~30 verses. If i was to gander a guess, i would say that it is probably a combination of things. Either way, its good to see this, as i will be starting an earlier class schedule today and i have less time to get prepped each day to teach.
Here we see God prepping Moses and Israel to build Him a sanctuary. He calls for the people to raise a contribution by asking for specific materials, and He gives Moses the plans for how to make the ark with the mercy seat, the table, the lamp stand, and other necessary tools and utensils. It’s funny, when i think of the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat, what i visualize is the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that’s very different from what is described here.
What i thought was interesting about this chapter is that YHWH initiates the first fund raiser for a church building project. He also doesn’t just ask for gold or money to purchase the right equipment to do the job, but He asks for the material itself. It’s an interesting and intriguing way of getting things done. It’s not just… “Write a check for this much money.” It’s about investing in the actual building and development. Then the people can turn around and say to their kids, “look, see the fine linen that is used in the ephod and breastpiece? We donated that.” Or, “See the red rams skins used in the curtains of the tabernacle, that’s from us and our family! See, we are a part of this place.” It gives the people some semblance of connection and identity with the project. The very building itself becomes a legacy. It’s much more personal than just writing a check.
Are we investing OURSELVES into the kingdom of God, or are we just writing a tithe check? Is the kingdom work about us doing the work, or us funding the work? Maybe that’s a key to helping people embrace the mission and work of the church and ministry?
Well it’s official, my first pen (black) has bitten the dust. Long live the pen (purple)! At this rate, i will be all out of my Pilot Varsitys after about Genesis 36. I may have to make an investment into a good quality pen with lots of refills. What kinds of pens do you guys like?
Genesis 13 brings Abram back to the bigger picture. I was writing this out, and i love that after sojourning in Egypt for a short time (due to famine), Abram returns back to where he started in Canaan. Not just the same area, but the same place. He returned to the land between Bethel, meaning “house (beth) of God (el)”, and Ai. One is a tribute to God, and the other is to become a city of mighty warriors that are strong and brave enough to rout the people of Israel (Joshua 7) even with the terror of Israel is covering the land and Israel’s God had just destroyed the great city of Jericho by having Israel march circles around it.
So while there was a time of temporarily being off course, Abram (and God) pick up where they left off. Abram, being blessed by God while in Egypt, has grown bigger. No longer can he and his nephew Lot be in the same place. It’s just not big enough for the two of them. So Lot goes to the lush Jordan valley while Abram stays in the plains of Canaan (i always want to spell it Cannan).
It is there that God expounds on His promise:
“Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” (NASB)
Wow, things just keep getting better and better! The promise defogs a little more, Abram sees more of the bigger picture, and it becomes even more amazing. However, more than the promise is a command. Abram is given instruction; “Go and walk the land.” How many of us attempt to claim and embrace the promises of God, yet we never walk the land. We want the blessing that God has promised us, but we never lay claim to it by following His instructions. We never fully understand what it is that He is promising to us because we never take the time to discover what it is that He is giving to us. Laying claim to something before even knowing what it is often results in disappointment and disillusionment when it does not result in what we expect of it. Also, how can we really appreciate or find value in anything if we don’t have to work for it. In order to understand what it is, what it means, and what it is worth. We must DO so… (it’s an action)