Everyone is unclean at some point in their lives. Some of us just more so than others. So what do you do when you have an unclean people and a holy God who can not stand uncleanness in His presence? You don’t want their uncleanness to cause their destruction. So how do you separate their uncleanness from YHWH’s tabernacle?
Well, the simplest and easiest way would be to set down some ground rules. Set up some basic rules and expectations of ways to keep the uncleanness away from the presence of the one whose holiness would consume the one with the uncleanness. Once that uncleanness is dealt with and accounted for, that should allow life to go on as needed.
Do we recognize our need to separate our sin from His holiness? Do we attempt to pursue Him while still being consumed by our sins, or do we come to Him with a repentant heart? Do we acknowledge our uncleanness emitted through our actions as sins, and do we come to Him for forgiveness; or do we just excuse them as “flaws” that give us character and personality? What is our attitude about our uncleanness and the “emissions” in our lives?
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!
After going through Exodus like this; i’ve come to understand it a little bit better. Exodus is more than just about YHWH bringing his people out of Egypt and rescuing them from Pharaoh. It’s more than about bringing them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai. It’s even more than about bringing the people of Israel face-to-face with God. The conclusion that i’ve come to is that Exodus is about fulfilling a promise and it’s about giving the people true worship.
YHWH had made a promise to Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob about their descendants; that he would make their descendants a great nation and that he would bring them out of Egypt. This is the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise. The people of Israel have become vast in number, yet they have turned against each other. In fact, they have united against Egypt and become a unified nation in spite of being 12 separate tribes. YHWH has led them out of Egypt and brought them to Himself. He made promises to Moses and to the people as well, and is fulfilling them.
What is worship, and what place does it have in our lives? The only understanding of God that the people of Israel had was that He was the God of their fathers, and what limited experience and information had been passed down through the generations. The people knew that there was a God of their fathers, but they had no understanding of who He was / is and what His purpose was for them. There was a need and a desire for God. There was a drive to know and worship Him. There was a pursuit of God, but there was no fulfillment. That, i believe, was YHWH’s greatest gift to the people of Israel in the book of Exodus. Not the parting of the Red Sea… not water from a rock… not manna… not the destruction of Egypt… not even freedom from slavery or the unification of a nation. No, the greatest gift that YHWH gave to the Israelites in Exodus, was the ability to worship Him. It was the fulfillment of their need and purpose. That’s the true jewel of the book of Exodus.
I’m beginning to understand more and more the qualities of a good pen. I have gone through probably 5 different pens already. Each of them has had a different work and feel to them. I started out with a three pack of Pilot’s Varsities. I had wanted to try out fountain pens for a while, but had never gotten around to it. They ran out of ink way too quickly, and the ink was so liquid that it would seep through the paper. On the other hand, writing with them was scratchy yet smooth, and the writing was bold and vibrant. That was a very good thing. Next i went on to an older gel pen that i had lying around. It was not nearly as bold or vibrant, but overall the flow was smooth and not at all scratchy. It was easy to write with, but the color definitely wasn’t strong enough. When that ran out, i moved on to a decent quality ball point. It was a bit more scratchy, the color was weaker, and writing with it was just a little bit more difficult, but overall it wasn’t overly uncomfortable to write with.
Now, I’m using what i can only describe as a cheap ball point pen that i picked up a while back. The pen stock seems to be decent quality (it advertises a small college), but the ink and writing process is horrible. At 32 i have hand and wrist problems that i suspect is from carpel tunnel ( i actually started noticing it at around 25). Ultimately, the rough working of this pen is definitely irritating it. The pen is not smooth at all. It requires heavy pressure to get a good line, and it is not really comfortable at all. I never really noticed just HOW different each pen is until i started on this project.
The Israelites had a different kind of body problem. While mine has to do with pain while writing or typing, the Israelites problem stems from much more important bodily factors. They were travelling through the wilderness and had no (or very little) food to eat. How does a man like Moses go about feeding a million plus people? The answer is that he can’t; so God has to do it. So what does God do? He provides them with bread from heaven. The instructions are simple. It shows up on the ground in the morning. Each person gathers what he needs for himself and their family for the day, and at the end of the day it needs to be eaten up. On the sixth day, gather enough for two days. Such a simple concept, yet the people just can’t seem to get a grip of it. Some try to hoard it. Others leave leftovers for the next day. Others don’t gather two days worth on the sixth day, and still others continue to complain.
It’s almost like this people have two things that they truly love; 1) complaining and 2) not listening. God is providing for their physical needs, yet it still just doesn’t seem to be enough. How about us? How do we react when God doesn’t supply what we are looking for?
Everything changes… again. God has taken the promise that He made to Abram and has taken it a step further. This is not God’s first promise, nor even His last. God has made many promises throughout the scriptures and in individual lives, and He always fulfills them. But this is a bit different.
A promise is something that you make to someone. It is a fact; “I will… to/for you.” The honoree honors his promise because he made it. It becomes valid due to the validity of the name and honor of the one who makes the promise. If it is broken, it destroys the honor, name, and respect towards the one who made the promise. Ultimately, a promise is a one-way street. Two people may make promises to one another, but those promises are both one-way.
A covenant, on the other hand, is something you make WITH someone. It is a relationship; “I desire… with you.” The covenant maker honors his covenant because of the relationship. It becomes valid due to the other person, and the validity of the relationship. If it is broken, it destroys not only the honor, name, and respect towards the one who made the promise, but also the trust and relationship between the people and thereby the relationship with the self. Ultimately, a covenant must be a two-way street. A covenant broken not only destroys the relationship with the other, it also destroys the relationship with the self.
Covenant’s should never be made lightly, and the breaking of a covenant will always do as much (if not more) damage to the self as to the other. At the same time, a covenant is the fulfillment of what it means to be a man (or woman). We were formed and created for relationship. We were designed for covenant. In our very nature and purpose is a desire and need for covenant. Covenant with God, but also with other people: “It is not good for man to be alone.”
Are we people of promise, or of covenant? Do we exist for our relationships, or do our relationships exist for us? God made covenant with Abram, and Abram with God. We are a people of that covenant when we pursue (and are pursued by) God. Have you pursued God today?