Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wed.’s Devo. - The Priestly Offerings

Read Ex. 29:10-35 The ceremony for sanctifying a priest consisted of 3 sacrifices. The first one was a bull sacrificed for the sin. The priest put his hand on the head of the bull transferring his sins to the bull. The second sacrifice was a ram that was to be totally burnt. This offering represented the total surrender of the priest to God. The third offering was the peace offering. Blood was applied to the extremities of the priest signifying that his whole body was atoned for. This was to give him peace with God. All of these offerings describe Jesus’ offering on the cross. Jesus as the sin offering became sin for us and our curse fell on him. As our burnt offering he gave everything and was totally burnt on the cross. He was our peace offering that brought us fellowship and right standing with God. Hebrews 7:26-28 says that Jesus was our high priest who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who doesn’t need to daily offer up sacrifices, as the Old Testament priests, because he did this once, when he offered up himself. For the law gave us high priests that had sin; but the Word, which was since the law, makes the Son our High Priest, who is consecrated for evermore. Next, the flesh of the sacrifice was to be divided between God and the priest. Part was to be waved up and down and side to side making the symbol of the cross which they had no way of knowing what it meant. This was his way of offering it up to God. This meat was burnt on the altar to God and the other part eaten by the priest. This feast was a picture of our fellowship with God. This ceremony was done everyday for 7 days. Since we know that a day to the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day (2 Pet. 3:8) then we know that Jesus sacrifice covers us till millennium is over. Thank you Jesus, for being our High Priest who offered his own blood to be our sin offering, our burnt offering and our peace offering.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Consecration of Priests

Read Ex. 29:1-9 The priests were to be consecrated or hallowed to minister to the Lord in the office of a priest. It involved great pomp and circumstance to show the people and the priests how important and holy the office of a priest was. It taught the priests that the service was for them as well as for the people because first they had to offer offerings to cleanse themselves before they could offer sin offerings for the people. Aaron and his sons were to come to the door of the tabernacle which was the space between the court where the people stood, and the dwelling- place of God. There the people witnessed the ceremony of inauguration. I thought it was interesting that they were to bring their offerings in a basket since Moses himself was put in a basket which saved his life. Being righteous before God saves our lives. Notice that they all had a covering over their head. Our covering over our head is the blood of Jesus. I am constantly needing that blood to cover the thoughts of my mind. I have never felt so out of my element trying to navigate my brother through the Social Security system and come out sane. I constantly need washing with the water or the word or fear will overwhelm me. I could use some of that Holy Spirit oil on my head also. The priest stood as the people’s mediator to God. Heb. 10:11, 12 says that “every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” Jesus became our High Priest who once and for all dealt with sin. Heb. 10:14 says that “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” So we, who are in the process of being made into the image of Jesus, are perfected forever… even if we don’t feel like it! The holy garments of the priests in Exodus signified their being clothed with righteousness (Re 19: 8) and equipped as men active and well- prepared for the service of God. Is. 61:19 says that Jesus has clothed us with the garments of salvation, and covered us with the robe of righteousness. Jesus, thank you for becoming our High Priest of a much better covenant.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - The Purpose of the Tabernacle

Read Ex. 28:22-43 Not only did the breastplate hold the stones with the names of the different tribes engraved on them, but it held the Urim and the Thummin. These were two stones that were kept in a pocket over Aaron’s heart. These were used in judgment if the priest didn’t know how to answer a situation. He would put his hand in the pocket and pull out one of these stone. One of them meant “no” and the other meant “yes”. On his head he was to wear a mitre which is like a turban. On the turban was a gold sign that said “holiness to the Lord” This head covering was to bear the sins of the people that brought the sacrifices to God. Aaron’s sons were to make all these articles of clothing, anoint them, consecrate, and sanctify them that they might minister to God in the office of priest. God was to be able to look down from heaven and only see righteousness in these priests. They were to offer to God a perfect sacrifice that would be acceptable to him. Hebrews 9 tells us that the Old Testament tabernacle and order of service was to show us that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for that time to show us that the gifts and sacrifices which were offered could not make the priest perfect in his conscience. But Christ came to be our High Priest of a better tabernacle not made with hands, but with the blood of his own son which is able to cleans our conscience and give us eternal life. The tabernacle of the Old Testament was to give us a picture of what God would one day bring through his son, Jesus. Lord, thank you for allowing us to live during the season of grace and freedom. Thank you for our forefathers who went ahead of us. May we walk worthy of the day we live in and honor the blood of your son, Jesus.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - The Stones on the Breastplate

Read Ex. 28:13-21 The breastplate was to be a vest with the stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel. God showed me about 10 years ago that we are all a member of a tribe of Israel spiritually. See if you can see yourself in one of these tribes. These stones were to be set in gold settings and arranged in 4 rows, 3 stones each row. They were arranged in birth order. So the first was sardius, which is a ruby, and represented Reuben and the blood of Jesus. Rueben was a leader of righteousness so members of his tribe would be the god-given leaders, evangelists, pastors. Just like Rueben, Jesus was God’s first son. The next was topaz which is the color of oil and gold. Simeon was the second son who began as an angry son and was refined by the Holy Spirit to become as gold. The next stone was carbuncle which was a bright yellow. It represented Levi and the anointed priests. They were given the ability to understand the deep things of God. They are the teachers who receive insight from God. On the second row the first stone was the emerald. It represented Judah and was green. They are the prosperous ones who fund the kingdom. Next was sapphire which was the tribe of Dan. They were the last in battle so they brought the victory. Next was the diamond which represented Naphtali. It stood for purity and redemption. These are those that have been redeemed from the devil’s strongholds like drugs, etc. On the third row was the ligure which is a orange/yellow stone. These are the warriors that are trained in spiritual warfare. They love a good fight with the devil. Next is the agate, which represents Asher. It is pink and stands for child-likeness. They are full of faith and break “religious spirits”. The last one on that row is the amethyst which is dark purple and represents Issachar. It stands for authority, royalty and describes those who are clothed in spiritual robes of favor everywhere they go. They also understand the times they live in prophetically. The last row is the beryl first which represents Zebulim and is aqua. These are those who bring us refreshment from God. These are the writers like Max Lucada; the nature-lovers, etc. Next to the beryl is the Onyx which is black. It represents Joseph who was a shadow of Jesus. These are the ones who bring mercy and new beginnings. They invoke repentance in those around them because of their presence. Last is the jasper which is white. It represents Benjamin and the bride of Christ. They are this who understand revelation. Hopefully, we found ourselves in several of these tribes but one should stand out above the rest. We march with our tribe and tend to network without trying. Lord, show us our tribe and our function in the army you are raising up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thurs’s Devo - Priestly Garments

Read Ex. 28:1-12 Who says God doesn’t love fashion? He adorned the High Priest in a garment like none other. The priest was the central figure of the Old Covenant system and the whole nation because he represented the nation before God. He wore 7 different pieces of clothing which means he was perfectly clothed for his position. His garments were made of fine linen and red, blue, purple, and gold. This garments was to reveal the character of the one wearing it. They all pointed to Jesus, our High Priest. First, he wore white linen breeches and a white linen coat over it that hung to the floor. This was what all the priests wore every day. They represented perfect righteousness. Over this, he wore a blue robe which hung down almost to the floor. Blue is a picture of heaven. Embroidered on the bottom of the hem were golden bells with pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet. Gold represents deity and purple and scarlet to royalty and blood sacrifice. The bells allow the people to hear the priest moving within the curtain to know that he is moving in their behalf. The pomegranate is a symbol of fruitfulness and the Torah, because of its many seeds. The pomegranate is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds to how many laws in the Torah. On top of this robe, the priest wore an ephod which was like a vest made of thing gold wires which were woven into the linen of blue, purple and scarlet. It consisted of two pieces that were joined at the shoulders with chains. Two onyx stones were set in gold and attached to the shoulders. On these stones were the 12 tribes of Israel, 6 on each stone. So the priest bore the children on his shoulders like a person would bear a burden. When he went into the Holy of Holies God could see the names of his children. A sash fastened around the ephod and held it in place. It reminded the priest that he was a servant to God and the people. Tomorrow we will talk about the breast plate. The High Priest was a token of the Hight Priest that was to come - Jesus who would not only be the Priest, but the sacrifice and our way to God. He would bear our names on his shoulders and ever live to make intercession for us. Thank you Lord, for being our High Priest.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - The outer curtain and the brazen altar

Read Ex. 27 I explained this yesterday but here is the description of the brazen altar. It was the bar-b-que spit on the platform where the priests would burn the animals. This altar was 7.5 feet square and 4.5 feet tall. It had 4 horns on the four corners. Horns in scripture stand for powers or kingdoms. When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God showed him a ram whose horns were stuck in the thicket, to sacrifice instead. That ram stood for the substitute for Jesus. I think these horns stood for the promise of a better sacrifice - Jesus. Whenever a person wanted mercy, he would run to the altar and take hold of the horns. This showed his repentance and cry for mercy. The priest would sprinkle these horns with blood during all sacrifices. These same horns were on the table of incense - only smaller. When the priests offered animals on the altar they would wring out the blood on the north side of the altar. The altar was the picture of Jesus on the cross. Golgotha was on the north side of Jerusalem. He was the lamb slain for our sins. His blood flowed from his right side when the soldier pierced his side. God had painted them a perfect picture of the cross so they would recognize it when it came. The last part of this chapter gives us the dimension and description of the curtains that went around the courtyard. The tabernacle itself was 810 sq. feet. The courtyard was 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. This tabernacle was where God would dwell among them. Through Christ we have a new and better way. Heb. 8 talks about the true tabernacle that God made that is so much better than the one he showed Moses to make. Moses was copying the one in heaven but now according to verse 6, “God has obtained a more excellent ministry, where he is the Mediator of a better covenant which was established on better promises.” Verse 10, “ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Amen! Lord, put your laws in our minds and write them on our hearts today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tues’s Devo - The Tabernacle in a Nutshell

Read Ex. 26:31-37 The curtain between the holy place and the most holy place (Holy of Holies) is to be made of blue, purple, and scarlet with cherubim’s woven into the fabric. These colors are important. The blue symbolizes heaven, purple is for royalty, and the scarlet is for the blood of Jesus. Inside the Holy of Holies is placed the mercy seat with the lid with the two cherubim’s on it. The candlestick, table of shewbread, and table of incense are placed in the middle room called the Holy Place. The laver and the bronze altar are placed on the outside platform. Around this tent was a wall of curtains. The people would enter into the courtyard and stand while they watched the priests on the raised platform perform the sacrifices and washings. These represent our passage to the throne. First we have to come into the courtyard - we have to be drawn to God. Then, we have to be crucified with Christ on the brazen altar and washed of our sins in the laver. We are invited to come and dine with the Lord at the table of shewbread as we eat the Word. The candlestick is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that gives us the revelation of what we are reading. The altar of incense is our prayers that we take into the Holy of Holies where we meet the presence of God. Jesus, as our High Priest offered himself on the altar as the sacrifice, washed us of our sins, became our light, our bread, and lives to make intercession for us before God. When Jesus died, the curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was rent so that we can be priests and enter into the throne room of God. Lord, you painted a beautiful picture of yourself in the tabernacle. You are wonderful!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - The Curtains

Read Ex. 26:41-24 I know that reading about curtains can’t be interesting reading, but since I do this for a living, it is pretty interesting to me. This linen had to be different than the linen I sew on that stretches and is so flimsy. This linen was finely twisted. Linen was made of flax and woven on looms. They dyed the flax blue and purple and scarlet and somehow wove it so that it had cherubim’s in it. It was described as “cunning work” which means well-thought out and artistically done work. What really amazes me and makes me glad I wasn’t living in that time and had to do this is that it was 42 feet long and 6 feet wide. My table is a little lacking for such a task. It was all one piece!!! It had to take some time to weave that linen. Not only did they have to do one curtain but 5! Then they had to put 50 blue loops on the edges to hold them up. Fifty gold knobs had to be made for the loops. When they finished that task, they had to make 11 curtains of goat’s hair and attach it all together with brass knobs so that it is one great big blanket to go over the top and hang down the sides to cover it. Over this they were to make a covering of ram’s skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers’ kins. Each covering was larger than the first to cover the more delicate fabrics. All these coverings represent the blood of Christ who covers us so that God sees us through the blood. God could accept their sacrifices through the blood of the skins that stood between him and the people. Lord, thank you that a new and living way has been made through the blood of your son. May you see us through that sacrifice and accept our worship of you today.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - The Candlestick

Read Ex. 25:31-40 The candlestick was made of one talent of pure gold (about 75 lb.) It was a menorah with 6 branches: 3 on each of the candlestick. Each branch will have a bowl at the top for oil and its wick and a knop and a flower. This knop is an ornamental round knob. The flower is the almond blossom. There are two kinds of olives: wild and sweet. The wild almonds contain cyanide and are deadly, but the sweet almonds are high in vitamins and minerals. Gen. 43:11 listed almonds among the “best fruits”. In Numbers 17 it was Aaron’s rod that blossomed with almonds. Tradition says that one side grew sweet and the other wild. This would definitely describe Israel. Many of their members were bitter and deadly. They murdered Jesus. The other half are tender to God and accepted Jesus as Messiah. The almond is a symbol of watchfulness and promise. It was usually the first tree to flower (Jan. or Feb.) giving the promise of all the other trees. This candlestick lit the room called the Holy Place. It stands for Jesus who is the light of the world and the illumination of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Without it the rest of the room looses its power. The Jews in modern-day Jerusalem have built a huge menorah. It is over 7 feet tall. The priests have to climb up steps to light it. I saw it when I went to Jerusalem and was amazed. In fact, they are reconstructing all of these pieces so that as soon as they get the temple mount and a red heifer, they can start sacrificing. Lord, you are our light that illumines the holy places of our heart. Shine so brightly that we leak your light everywhere we go today.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The Shewbread Table

Read Ex. 25:23-30 Next, God gave instructions about building the shewbread table. It was to be a 2 cubit x 1 cubit table one and a half cubits high (3 ‘ long 1.5’ wide 2.25’ tall) with a crown around it and over-layed in gold. It was also to have gold rings on the corners for the gold poles to be placed to carry it. (I wonder if all the pieces of gold in the tabernacle were things we will see when we get to heaven since they were types and the things made of bronze are only for this world.) This table was to always be set with eating utensils: dishes, spoons, bowls and covers. Shewbread was to be placed in the dishes everyday. This is the table that Jesus tells us to “come and dine” (John 21:12). We all have shewbread spread before us if we have a Bible. We are invited to come and dine with Jesus at his table every time we open up the Word of God and start reading. But we need the next piece of furniture to make this table of stone become bread that we can eat. The next piece is the candlestick. It is the illumination of the Holy Spirit so we can receive revelation of the Word we read. The Ark we read about yesterday was in the Holy of Holies where only the High Priest could enter once a year to offer sacrifices for himself and the nation. The shewbread table, the candlestick and the altar of incense were all placed in the room outside the Holy of Holies called the Holy Place. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in Matt. 4, his first temptation was to turn the stones to bread. The devil tempted Jesus in all the things God had promised to Jesus. Jesus was going to turn the stones to bread. His ministry was to take the words of God written on stone tablets and make them palpable and easy to swallow turning the stones to bread. He was the bread: the Word of God come to life. (John 1:1) He was the stone law turned to gracious bread. The temptation was to walk in this before God’s timing and thus bypassing the cross. God’s way was the way of suffering, as the lamb, slain from the foundation of the earth. Lord, thank you for your wisdom and your plan. It is perfect, converting the soul.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - The Mercy Seat

Read Ex. 25:1-22 God gave instructions on the making of the tabernacle. He was to tell the people they could build a sanctuary and God would live in it. They could give an offering toward this sanctuary if they gave with a willing heart. Then he told them what they would need for the tabernacle: gold, silver, brass, and blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen, red-dyed rams’ skins and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood; oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and for sweet incense, onyx stones, and other stones for the ephod and the breastplate. God showed Moses the pattern of how it should look like. First they were to make an ark (where’s Noah?) of shittim wood (acacia) two and a half cubits by one and a half cubits. This is about 3 and 3/4’ long x 2 and 1/4’ wide x 2 and 1/4’ tall. It was to be overlaid with pure gold on the inside and outside and a gold crown should go around the top. They were to attach pure gold rings for the corners so that the gold poles could go through them to carry it. Inside the ark was to be put the tablets that God wrote. On top of the ark was to be made a lid called the mercy seat. It was the exact measurement of the ark. On it was to have two golden cherubim’s facing one another with their wings spread toward each other. Their faces were to be bowed looking at the mercy seat. This lid with the cherubim’s on it was to be put on top of the ark and between the cherubim’s was where God would meet with them. This ark was a picture of the throne of heaven. This piece of furniture would go into the Holy of Holies and be the most holy of places on the earth. The gold stood for the glory and purity of God’s presence. This tabernacle was to be a picture what went on in heaven to the people. When Jesus died and was put in the tomb, Mary came to see him. When she got there his body was gone but she saw two angels: one at the head and one at the feet where he had be laid (John 20:12). This was the exact position of the angels on the tabernacle. So the tabernacle was the body of Jesus which embodied the Word of God. Lord, your Word never ceases to amaze me. You gave us pictures all through your word that all end up at the feet of Jesus. We worship you our King!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Blessings of Obedience

Read Ex. 23:20-33 God sent them an Angel (capital “A”) to not only lead them but make sure they stayed “in the way” and made it to the desired end. An angel has been assigned to each of us to do that very thing: keep us walking with God and make sure we make it to our destiny. Isn’t that comforting? This Angel is to bring them right to the enemy and cut them off so they can’t hurt them. While they are in the land of their enemies they are not to let them influence them in their idol worship, but they are to overthrow them and bring their gods down. If you serve the Lord then he will bless your bread and your water and take sickness away from you. Your women will not miscarry their babies or be infertile. You will live all your days. Your enemies will fear you and they will be destroyed before you. God will send hornets to drive the Hivites, Canaanites, and the Hittites out of the land little by little so they will be able to occupy the land as they leave. Don’t make any compacts or covenants with them or their gods. If you let them stay in the land they will cause you to sin and be a snare to you. All this is promised to us if we walk in God’s ways and choose to be holy. We have unseen enemies in our land like anger, jealousy, envy, unforgiveness, hatred, unbelief, and deceit. If we trust in the Lord, he will drive it out little by little so we can occupy our land (our minds). We want instant change, and sometimes God does that, but usually it is little by little. Now I know why. If he does it all at once then we have too much unoccupied land that the “beast of the field multiply against thee”. This means that if you are instantly delivered of a sin that occupies your thoughts most of the time then you have a huge gap in your thinking and you have to replace it with something. If you aren’t prepared for that you might be tempted to fill it with another vice just as bad, where if you are delivered little by little then you learn to replace the thoughts with scripture or good things till you are completely thinking godly thoughts. Lord, help us to walk in these blessings as we train our bodies to submit to your ways.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - The Next Four Feasts

From the time of the first group of feasts and the next feast there were 50 days. The next feast was Pentecost. It was when the harvest was over and they would come to the temple and celebrate God’s goodness in giving them a bountiful harvest. This was to represent the day God would pour out his spirit upon all men and give them the same power Jesus had to be witnesses and do the things he did on the earth. This happened in Acts 2. The third group of feasts occurred during the fall harvest. The first of them was called Roshashana or feast of trumpets. On this day they were to blow trumpets and celebrate the New Year. It looks forward to the day that the trump will sound and Jesus will come down to earth for his 2nd coming. It will truly be a new year! The 6th feast is Yom Kippor or the Days of Awe. That will be the days that the unrighteous on the earth will endure much tribulation and oppression. They will have a short time to repent and turn to God before the last feast which is Feast of Tabernacles. It will be the last great harvest. In that feast we will all come back to earth and live for 1,000 years of millennium where we will tabernacle with the Lord. This is a very condensed version of the seven feasts and what they represent. God gave them physical pictures of what was to come so they wouldn’t miss it when it came, but most of them have and will. Sadly. Lord, help us not to miss what you are doing now and in the future and what you have done in the past. May we live with eternity in our foremost thoughts.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The Feasts of Israel

Read Ex. 23:14-19 God reveals his total plan in pictures throughout the Bible, but I don’t know a more clearer precise picture than the feasts. They are the plan from beginning to end. There were three times a year that the children of Israel were to set aside for God. These were rehearsals for scheduled appointments God had with earth. The first time of feasting was the in the month Abib which was the same month they came out of Egypt. Abib means “green; a young ear of grain”. This would represent God’s people - young and green. They were to eat unleavened bread for 7 days. The second time would be a time of harvesting the first fruits, and the last would be the feast of ingathering at the end of the year. These three times the men of the house were to appear before the Lord for their families. During these feasts they were not to offer sacrifices with blood but with unleavened bread. All the fat was to be eaten and not left till the next day. Everyone should bring the first fruits of their land to God. These feasts are broken down in Levitcus 23. There are 7 of them in all. The first 3 have to do with what Jesus did for us on Calvary - unleavened bread, passover, and first fruits. In a nutshell: unleavened bread had to do with cleaning out their hearts and repenting of their sins to be able to receive the gift of Jesus’s blood. They were to clean their house and diet of all leaven. John the Baptist came preaching repentance before Jesus could come on the scene and show them the way to salvation. The next feast was the next day - passover. This looked back to when the children of Israel put blood on the doorposts so that they would be saved from the death the angel was bringing. It looked forward to when Jesus would hang on the cross and his blood would save us from eternal death. The third feast was two days later called the feast of first fruits. It was the day they were to bring their first fruits of their fields to the temple. It looked forward to when Jesus would be the first of the earth to raise from the dead and appear before God. These three feasts appear during the spring harvest. I’ll explain the rest tomorrow. Lord, thank you for always being faithful to your plan. You are dependable and true and we can always trust in your kindness and mercy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Practical Living

Read Ex. 23:1-13 I love how the Bible is a living book with practical daily living advice. Today’s chapter tells us not to lie about another person, not to follow the crowd if they are doing wrong. If you are on the witness stand, don’t change your testimony just because you feel sorry for the person because he is poor. Defend the innocent but convict the guilty. If you find something that doesn’t belong to you - return it. If someone needs help - help them. Don’t take bribes. Don’t be prejudice against a stranger because we are all strangers in a foreign land. For six years you will work this land, then you will let it lie still. The poor and the wild beasts will eat it. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” We will be on this earth for 6000 years and Jesus will come back. Then we will enter 1000 years of millennium. Rev. 20 says that the devil will be bound a thousand years then set free for a little while. This will be our time of refreshing and peace. After that, God will create a new heaven and a new earth. We are never to worship nor say the name of any god but the only true God. Lord, this sounds like Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Help us to honor you and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Miscellaneous Laws

Read Ex. 22:22-31 God is very compassionate towards the widow, the fatherless, and the poor. God protects and provides for them and hears them when they cry. James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” We are to lend to the poor and not ask interest. Verse 28 is interesting: we are not to make light of or curse the leader of our country… Ooooops! I would think that that means not to tell jokes about our president even if it seems appropriate or funny. God says that he places leaders in authority. 1 Tim. 2:1 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” So instead of complaining we are to be praying. God gives us the leader we deserve. Verse 29: our first fruits of our labor and our children are the Lord’s. Your first oxen are to stay with their mother till the 8th day then they are to be sacrificed to God. The number “eight” means “to put off ( as in putting off the old man). We stay with our mother, which in this case, would be our natural birth - the natural man - till it is time for us to put it off and give our lives to God. Then we are to be holy and not eat the blood of the deeds of darkness anymore. Lord, help us to be always aware of the ones who are hurting and in need. Help us to pray for the men and women who are in authority over us. Give them your wisdom.

Tues.’s Devo - The Laver, The Anointing Oil, and the Perfume

Read Ex. 30:17-38 The Lord told Moses to build a bronze laver (which is a basin) so the priests could wash their hands and feet as a sign of cleansing themselves before they approached God. According to Ex. 38:8 it was made from the bronze mirrors of the women. The Word is compared to a mirror that we use to see ourselves in. It reveals our hearts to us. If the priests didn’t wash they would die. Since we are under a much better covenant, we are all called priests and all can enter into God’s presence; but we too must be cleansed. James 4:7,8 says “7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” We don’t do this with natural water but by the water of the Word. (Eph. 5:26) God also gave Moses the recipe for making holy anointing oil. This oil described the Holy Spirit. It was invisible, sweet-smelling, soothing, and calming. The Holy Spirit is to be out Comforter, our invisible support and our peace-bringer. He is very sweet and sensitive. Every vessel, piece of furniture and priest had to be anointed with this oil. No one was to try to copy this recipe or make it themselves because the Holy Spirit cannot be duplicated; there is only one Holy Sprit. God also gave Moses the recipe for a special perfume to be put before the testimony in the tabernacle. It was not to be duplicated also. If we walk in the anointing of the Lord, we have a sweet fragrance that we extend to all who come in contact with us. This perfume and anointing oil covered the stench of the sacrifices just as the Holy Spirit make the cross a sweet fragrance to those who are saved by it. Lord, may your anointing be on us today that others might smell your sweetness and come to know you.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Laws of Warfare and Hospitality

Read Ex. 22:1-21 I am going to scan this chapter and pick out the things that catch my eye. These laws have to do with practical spiritual warfare. If the devil steals leaders from us through deceit or death then we can demand 5 leaders for the one he stole. We can demand 4 people for one. Let me give you an example of this. Stephen was a zealous Christian. He was reeking havoc in the devil’s kingdom, so he was stoned. The devil stole an ox. Paul was at the stoning of Stephen and watched Stephen die praising God. Paul was being used by Satan to kill many Christians. Satan took Stephen; God took Paul. Paul in turn, lead more Christians to the Lord than he killed during his killing days. Many “oxen” were raised up under Paul’s ministry like Timothy, Silvanus, Onesimus, Mark, and Barnabus. If the devil steals anything from you, you have the right to demand it back and more. The thing is: you have to identify him as being the thief. Many times we don’t understand that it is the devil who is stealing from us so we don’t demand he return it with interest. If you aren’t sure if its the devil or not then do what verse 9 says: bring it before the judges. In other words, bring it before God and ask him to show you. Verse 21 says that we are not to mistreat a stranger, nor oppress him because you were once strangers in Egypt. I think this has to do with non-Christians of any ethnicity. Once, we were not in Christ so we need to have patience and mercy for those who don’t know the truth yet. We need to treat them as we would want to be treated so that God’s kindness can bring them to repentance. Lord, help us to recognize our enemy and plunder his spoil. Restore back to us everything he has stolen from us with interest. You are our deliverer and strong tower!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - Empty Wells

Read Ex. 21:33-36 Today’s reading is a lot like yesterday’s only they are talking about an open pit left unmarked which is the cause of injury. I think of an open pit as being like an empty well. Empty cisterns were sometimes used as prisons back then. Joseph was thrown into one by his brothers. A cistern is suppose to be filled with water. I would think of opening a pit to be like opening a door to something evil. Left uncovered it becomes a place of harm for others and possibly a prison. If filled with clean water it can be redeemed as something useful and a source of life. Jesus can always redeem our mistakes and deliver us from evil. These laws, though technical, seem to all point to the same thing: you are responsible for your mess. Asking forgiveness doesn’t get you off the hook. You must own up to your mistake and make retribution. Even though God forgives our sins, we still reap the fruit of our deeds. These laws are great practical advise as well as spiritual. The last two verses have to do with someone who owns an ox that kills his neighbor’s ox. They are to sell the live ox and divide the money and the carcass of the dead ox. Very fair. Then, if the ox has a reputation of goring and the owner doesn’t pen him in and he kills his neighbors ox, he is to pay for the ox and his neighbor gets the dead ox. It is all about taking responsibility. Lord, help us to take responsibility for our words, our possessions, our children, and ourselves in every way. Discipline us by your merciful kindness and lead us to righteousness.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The Ox

Read Ex. 21:28-32 The laws for an ox are this: if an ox gores a person, then he will be stoned and the owner is not at fault unless the owner has been told that his ox is known for using his horn to hurt another person. If the ox has a history of being violent and the ox kills a person then the owner and the ox are put to death. If the injured party’s family allows him to buy back his life then he can. The same judgment is required if it is done to a child. I found an interesting verse in Is. 66:3 “He that kills an ox is as if he slew a man.” So Isaiah is comparing an ox at the same level as a man.” Horns have to do with power as in authority. When Nebucadnezer had his dream about the horns they stood for kings of kingdoms. I think this has to do with leaders once again. This time it has to do with piercing them to death. If the word of God has the power to pierce to the marrow, our words have the ability to gore. Notice that the ox is responsible himself if it is the first time, but after that it is the owner’s responsibility also. If you have someone in authority under you and he hurts another person by wielding his power or by his words, then he is responsible for the mess he made; but if you are his overseer, and you know he has done this in the past it is your job to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If it does then you are just as responsible as him. 1 Peter 5:1 says it like this: 1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Lord, whether we are in authority or under authority, help us to humble ourselves and do all for your glory.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Eyes and Teeth

Read Ex. 21:26-27 Today we read that if a man strikes one of his servants and destroys an eye or a tooth, then he must set that servant free. Symbolically , your eye is how you see and understand spiritually and you use your teeth to grind the truth down so you can “swallow it” or understand it and apply it. So if the one over you hinders that process, he needs to set you free to find someone else to follow. If an ox gores a person to death, then the ox must be stoned and its flesh not eaten for the owner to be acquitted. Isaiah 66:3 compares an ox to a man (“He who kills an ox is as if he slew a man.”) I think symbolically an ox stands for a spiritual leader. I think that this passage means that if a spiritual leader teaches doctrine that causes the spirit of one to die then he must be severely reprimanded (stoned) so that no one else will eat his doctrine and die by it. Then the owner, whoever is his spiritual leader or association, will not be held responsible for his teachings. But, if the man was known for teaching false doctrine and the association he is a member of doesn’t reprimand him then, they are responsible before God. If this “ox” has received money for his teachings, he should pay them back. If this same leader “pushes” a servant or deceives them, then he must pay a price. Lord, help us to take our responsibilities serious especially when it comes to leading other Christians.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - The Glory of God

Read Ex. 24:1-18 God called the leaders of Israel to come close to the mountain, but told them that only Moses could come near to God. Moses spoke before all the people and gave them all the laws and judgments of God and they agreed to follow them. Moses wrote them all down and built an altar to the Lord where he offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. He erected 12 pillars to stand for each of the tribes Moses took half of the blood of the slain oxen and put them on the basons and the altar then he took the book that he had written God’s words in and read it again and once again the people said they would obey it. Then he sprinkled the people with the rest of the blood to seal the covenant between God and them. (He probably sprinkled the 12 pillars which represented all the people.) Then Moses took Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu and the 70 elders up on the mountain and they got to see God from afar. He was standing on a pavement of sapphire that was clear because of its pureness. A few select other people got to see God and live. This time they weren’t scared to death… maybe it was because of the peace offering they had offered first. Then God called Moses up to the mountain to receive more tablets of stone where God had written laws and commandments. Joshua got to go half way up with him to wait for 6 days until God called him up to his presence. Notice the three places. The people were in the outer court (the furthest out), Joshua was in the inner court, and Moses was in the Holy of Holies where he stayed 40 days and 40 nights. Many people come to the outer courts and receive forgiveness of sins and receive salvation. Fewer come closer and offer up praise and worship before God and spend time to dine with him. Even fewer enter into the Holy of Holies and have an encounter with him where they see his manifested glory. Lord, we want to be the Moseses of our generation that draw near and see your glory.

Tues.’s Devo - Premature Births

Read Ex. 21:22-25 The laws God set up show the depravity of man and what was going on in the land. God is a parent with many children that need laws to live by. All I can say is, I’m glad I’m not God! Today’s law reads: if there is a quarrel between men and a pregnant woman gets hurt and gives birth prematurely, the man who is responsible must pay. The father of the child determines a punishment and the judge decides if it is fair. If there continues to be trouble, then whatever one does to the other the same will be done to him. How do we relate this to today? Every time there is strife between groups of people there is collateral damage. When a church splits over man’s opinions then many people are hurt. We are all pregnant with vision, hope, spiritual babies, etc. If we are in the midst of a conflict and someone else causes us to get ahead of God’s plan and give birth prematurely, the responsibility is on him. This might play out as a person who puts a new believer in a place he or she is not mature enough to handle. The mistakes that new believer does are the responsibility of the leader who put him there. The “father of the child” could be the actual father, a pastor, or a mentor. He is the one who covers the “pregnant woman” and decides what should be done to restore restitution but God is the judge who ultimately decides what will happen. Any thing after that is evenly decided: if you take a life, yours will be taken; if you gossip about another person, they will gossip about you, etc. Lord, I admit I don’t totally understand all you are saying in these verses. This is a stab, but I pray that you will lead us into greater truth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Under, Equal, Over

Read Ex. 21:17-21 Today we will read about 3 types of people that God set up laws for: the one under authority, the ones equal in authority, and the one in authority. The first on is for those under authority. God is serious about honoring authority, especially our parents. The word “curse” in the Hebrew means to “make light of”. That would be to make light of God’s set-up line of authority - otherwise called rebellion. God said in 1 Sam 15:23 that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” Ouch! So in the Old Testament to curse either of your parents was punishable by death which is why they had few rebellious teenagers. Verses 18 and 19 are interesting: if you are fighting with someone who is your equal and you hurt them with a stone or your fist, then you have to pay them for their days they can’t work and for any medical bills they may have. As long as you pay, you are not punished. (Old Testament Workman’s Comp!) We don’t tend to go around with a purse full of stones to throw, or swinging our fists, but we may go around throwing hurtful words and swinging our power and influence to hurt another’s reputation. When we realize we have actually injured someone we are suppose to do what it takes to make things right and heal the injured party. James put it like this: “With our tongue we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” So, when we hurt others, we are hurting God. The third type of person God deals with is the person who is over other people… the boss. If he kills one of his employees, then he will be punished. If he just wounds the worker then his punishment is the man’s lack of work he can do. So God takes care of us when we are being abused by someone over us. A disgruntled worker can cause all kinds of injury to a business. A boss can literally shoot himself in the foot by being unjust to a worker. Lord, we fill all of these rolls as a mother, father, wife, husband, and employee. Help us to honor you and those around us and be a blessing instead of a curse.