Monday, December 31, 2012
Read Luke 1:65-80 God did a great sign and wonder in front of the whole synagogue that day to prepare the people for what was coming. This was just the tip of the iceberg. God was going to invade earth with miracles, signs and wonders like the earth had never seen before. When Zaccariah’s speech was returned to him he was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave forth this prophecy (68-79) about his son John. This baby was the proof that God was once again visiting his people to fulfill the words of the prophets of old. They prophesied that God would save them from their enemies and pour out his mercy and remember his promises he spoke through Abraham. He said that one day they would serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness. This child will be called the prophet of the Highest for he would prepare the way for the Lord to come. John would explain the salvation the Lord would bring of taking their sins away. This salvation would give light to those who lived in darkness and a way to walk in peace. John grew and was empowered spiritually. He lived in the deserts till God was ready to reveal him to the world. This reminds me of Moses, who left Egypt the first time and went and dwelt in the wilderness till God had grown him up in his inner man to be able to stand when it was time to return and lead his people out of bondage. There are times God leads us away from all the business of church and friends just to grow us up so that we can enter back in with power and fortitude to stand the tests he has for us. It is tempting to feel unuseful and condemned during this time, but don’t. Let God draw you to himself, dig into his Word and let him feed you with spiritual food that will sustain you when the time comes that you will need it. We need to learn to rest in the Lord. Lord, help us to take moments of time during our business and get away with you and be still and know that you are God.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
It is Saturday, so I thought I would share something personal with my fellow Bible studiers. A week before Christmas, we found out that our oldest son, Josh and his wife, Charm, had lost their baby. Charm was four and a half months pregnant with a boy and since they had a daughter, they were so happy about having a son, esp. Josh. Our second son, Caleb and his wife, Katy were also pregnant with a son who would be 2 months older. Josh and Caleb and talked about raising their sons together and coaching them, etc. Needless to say, when I got the text that they had just found out their was no heartbeat and they had lost their son, I was devastated for them and us. We left the next day for Shreveport to be there for the DNC and to comfort them. God reminded me of my prayer the night before. Dave and I were praying and out of my mouth came, "I pray that this Christmas you would bond our hearts together more than they are now." We have always been a close family, so I thought it was a strange prayer, but I had no idea how God would use it to do just that. There is nothing more bonding for a family than to experience loss together in the Lord. It was a bittersweet visit full of thoughtful friends, sweet text messages, and much thankfulness for the children they do have. Josh and Charm decided to name their son Samuel Bruce (Bruce is my husband's middle name), which was not a name they had considered before. Charm came up with it because she said every time she touched her stomach she would call him Sam. My third son, Daniel, has a new girlfriend named Hannah. How appropriate for God to send us a girl who was named Hannah. Hannah in the Bible had prayed and prayed for a son and finally when God granted her request, she gave him to the Lord and he spend his life dedicated to the Lord and serving in the temple. We now have a grandson named Samuel who will spend the rest of his eternity, in the temple ministering to God. Hannah went on to have many other children because she dedicated Samuel to the Lord. The day after Samuel left us I was praying and I felt the Lord say he was going to give them 2 sons. Then he reminded me of a dream I had years ago. I dreamed I was in heaven and I was keeping these 2 twin boys. They were going to be sent to earth. I wonder if these were Josh's boys! God is so good and he does everything decent and in order. We have to trust him. Lord, you alone have the words of life!
Friday, December 28, 2012
Read Luke 1:57-64 Finally, Elisabeth has her baby and everyone in her family celebrates. Eight days later he is to be circumcised according to the law (Gen 17:12). It was their custom to pronounce its name for the first time at the circumcism. Just like Abraham and Sarai got a name change at their circumcism (Gen. 17:5, 15), Zaccariah’s baby got a name change. Everyone knew the baby would be named after his dad as was the custom, but this baby was named by God and God chose “John”. God has only named a few babies : John and Jesus. Is. 62:2 says that when God calls the Gentiles in, he will give them a new name. Rev. 2:17 says that those that overcome in the last days will be given a new name. Circumcism has to do with a cutting away of the flesh in a very sensitive area. When we have allowed the Lord to circumcise our hearts, we are given a new name. “John” means “God is a gracious giver”. John’s message would usher in the greatest gift of all - God’s son. At the circumcism, they asked Elisabeth the child’s name and when she said “John”, they wouldn’t believe it till he husband confirmed it. As soon as Zaccariah wrote John’s name on the tablet, his mouth that had been silenced was opened. What a picture of what God was about to do. John’s birth came with signs and wonders. The sign was the opening of his father’s mouth to be able to speak again and the wonder was that a barren woman who was past child-bearing age would have a child. John’s ministry would be to call Israel to repentance so that God through Jesus could bring the promise of life to a barren world. In turn, this would open their mouths to praise God once again. Jesus ministry would multiply many times over the signs and wonders started with John. What would have happened if Zaccharias had disobeyed the Lord and named his son after himself? Would he have messed it up for his son and would he have remained dumb? Probably, but God chose him because he knew he would equip him with the grace to obey. God never calls us to do things he doesn’t first equip us with the power and desire to obey. We are not powerful enough to mess up God’s plan. We have been predestined for greatness!
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Read Luke 1:46-56 Elisabeth has just confirmed to Mary the future of her child and she burst forth into praise. Mary’s words sound much like Hannah’s prayer after Samuel has been born. Both proclaim praise from their heart to God. They both talk of God’s grace to the humble and judgment to the proud. Mary’s words sound so mature for a young girl of 15ish because she was speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Everything she said would describe Jesus’ ministry. He would show mercy to those who fear him for ever. He would unseat the Pharasees and Sadducees with godly wisdom that put theirs to shame. He would lift up the demon-possessed, the poor, and the sick. He would feed the people both physically and spiritually. To those who were rich and in need of nothing - he had nothing to give. He would be the promised one who has been spoken of all through the Old Testament. Mary stayed with Elisabeth for 3 months before returning home. That leaves me with too many unanswered questions. What did Joseph think about his fiancé leaving for 3 months while she was pregnant with someone else’s baby. No wonder it took an angel to convince him she was still a virgin. She could have been spending 3 months with the baby’s dad for all he knew. Then, I want to know what Mary and Elisabeth talked about. They were both carrying the long-awaited promise to the whole world inside their bodies. How good of God to let them have each other to be able to talk to and plan how they were going to raise these two boys. Mary stayed till right before Elsabeth was to deliver and came home. (Strange time to leave.) Lord, we like Mary, carry the hope of the world in our bodies. That is the mystery of the gospel: Christ in us. ( Col. 1:27) Help us to share him with those who have been waiting to hear.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Read Luke 1:38-45 The angel came and gave Mary the news about her baby and Elisabeth’s. How comforting to know that Mary had someone in her own family she could talk to. She speedily went to visit with Elisabeth and when she greeted Elisabeth, the baby inside of Elisabeth jumped and was filled with the Holy Ghost. I wonder what that felt like and how she knew that that was what happened. The angel had told Zacharias in verse 15 that John would be filled with the Holy Ghost in her womb, so maybe when it happened she just knew this was it. However she knew, as soon as that happened she started prophesying. Elisabeth had no way of knowing Mary was pregnant but out of her mouth came this: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me , that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of these thing which were told her from the Lord.” That one speech is packed with usable information. She instantly knew Mary was pregnant and that she was carrying the Lord. She understood that her baby was not in distress, but leaping for joy. She also knew that because of Mary’s faith in the Lord, and that she believed what the angel told her, it would happen. That is a key we tend to overlook. God may make us a promise, but it will happen according to our faith. The Bible says of a prophet: “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet receives a prophet’s reward.” Matt. 10:41. In other words, if a prophet gives you a word and you believe it, then you will receive the reward of his word coming true. If you don’t believe him, then it is possible his word over you won’t come to pass. Although, there are some things that are decreed of God and they will come true no matter what we think. God is sovereign. Lord, give us discernment to know what you are saying and the words to speak at the right time.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Read Luke 1:35-37 I pray verse 35 over us, “that the Holy Ghost will come upon us, and the power of the Highest will overshadow us: also that the seed inside us will be the Son of God.” (paraphrased!) That was the tidings the angel brought to Mary, only the seed inside her would be the manifested, in-the-flesh Son of God. Before she could resist or faint with shock, the angel gave her something to build her faith. He told her that her barren cousin, Elisabeth was six months pregnant. Elisabeth and Mary were pictures of what God was doing. Elisabeth was barren just as Israel was spiritually barren but God was about to heal them and bring them life. Mary was not married, yet pregnant, which was another picture of Israel. Israel was not married to the Lord in her heart, yet God was going to bring her life - supernaturally. It has never been about our deserving what God is doing, but about his timing. It was time for Jesus to come to earth even though the earth was not ready for him. Today is Christmas, and even though few will even take time to think about Jesus, he is the reason for the holiday and he IS coming again. Like before, few will be ready, but the whole earth will be changed. Let’s let verse 37 be our theme for the next year: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” I pray that this word will speak to you over and over throughout the year when you are facing the “impossible”. Lord, prepare our hearts to receive Jesus when he comes again. Thank you for the promises of hope and resurrection in your Word. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Monday, December 24, 2012
Read Luke: 1:21-34 The people were outside the Temple waiting for the priest to come out and give the final benediction so they could go home with their sins atoned for for another year. When he didn’t come in the accepted time they began to wonder what kept him. Then, when he did finally emerge he was speechless. He used sign language to try to explain to the people what he saw. They realized he had had an experience and seen a vision from God. How frustrating not to be able to tell it or hear it. After his tour of duty in the Temple he went home, and his wife, Elisabeth became pregnant and kept it to herself for 5 months. It was their custom to not show they were pregnant. We have come a long way from that. It seems stylish now to wear shirts so your belly button shows as if going from an inny to an outy is a rite of passage. Back to Elisabeth… she is finally getting her hearts desire and having her curse of barrenhood lifted. In her sixth month the angel Gabriel makes another visit to earth, but this time to Mary, who was a teen-age girl engaged to Joseph. It is very likely they didn’t even know each other since marriages were arranged between parents. Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her that she is highly favored which means she has been chosen for a great honor. Before she could process this, he went on to tell her she would conceive a son whose name will be Jesus, and he will be great and be called the Son of the Highest. God will give him the throne of David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and his kingdom will last forever. I want to stop here and think about this. I can’t imagine what she thought about this then and especially later when he was beaten mercilessly and nailed to a cross. Did she think back to what the angel said, and think something had gone wrong? It is truly one of those things you file in the folder labeled: “God’s ways are higher”. Lord, when our plans don’t turn out as we thought they would remind us of today’s passage. Your ways truly are higher than ours and your will is what we want, even if it doesn’t look “right” to us. Tomorrow we celebrate this very birth and tell you that we are so thankful for your son, our Saviour, Jesus. I pray that all my readers have a very blessed Christmas with their friends and family. I love you!
Friday, December 21, 2012
Read Luke 1:5b-20 There was a priest whose name was Zacharias and whose wife was Elisabeth. His name means “remembered of Jehovah” and her name means “God of the oath”. God is going to make a promise to them that he will perform. They had no children and God was going to give them a child that would usher in the Messiah. They had faithfully served the Lord, even though they were now old and had never saw the blessing of children. God saw their hearts and chose them to raise Jesus’ forerunner. John was chosen by lot to go into the Holy of Holies with the incense this year. While the people were praying outside, he approached the incense altar and was met by an angel which scared him (obviously) and he fell to the ground. The angel spoke to Zacharias and told him not to fear but his wife would have a baby to be named John. His birth would bring joy and happiness to many and be great in the Lord. He was not to drink any wine or strong drink and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit in Elisabeth’s womb. He would be instrumental in turning many of Israel’s children back to the Lord. He would have the same anointing that Elijah had and his ministry would be to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, the disobedient to wisdom, and to prepare the people for the Lord’s coming. John questioned the angel about his prophecy because he and his wife were so old. Then the angel pulled out his rank. He was Gabriel who stands before God’s throne and was sent by God. Since John questioned the angel’s word he would be dumb and unable to speak until what he said happened. (In case you are visited by an angel who tells you anything - the only response is “Whatever you say, I believe”. It will save you a lot of humiliation. :) Lord, let this remind us that you have sent a generation, of which we are a part of, to be forerunners of your coming. May we be those who turn the hearts of fathers back to their children. May the wisdom you give us bring obedience in others and may our hearts be prepared to receive you.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Read Luke 1:1-5a I have a real desire to look into the Gospels and study the words of Jesus. I felt led to go to Luke and study his account of Jesus’ ministry so today we will start Luke. I’m excited to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us. Luke wrote this book and the book of Acts and dedicated both of them to Theophilus. His name means “friend of God”. In the 3rd verse he addresses Theophilus as “most excellent” which might mean he was a person of rank, perhaps a Roman officer. God has his people strategically placed in the enemies houses. This might come as a surprise to you, but their were believers in Hitler’s army. Luke was a doctor so he wanted a detailed, accurate account of what Jesus did. I’m sure he was careful to verify every fact and word correctly so that people who were not able to actually eye-witness Jesus life could read an accurate account. He starts at the beginning before Jesus arrives on the scene and sets the stage. Herod was the king of Judea. Herod was responsible for putting the apostle James to death, and casting Peter into prison (Luke 3: 1 Acts 12: 1 19). This is what the Eason Dictionary has to say about Herod: On the second day of a festival held in honor of the emperor Claudius, he appeared in the great theatre of Caesarea. "The king came in clothed in magnificent robes, of which silver was the costly brilliant material. It was early in the day, and the sun's rays fell on the king, so that the eyes of the beholders were dazzled with the brightness which surrounded him. Voices here and there from the crowd exclaimed that it was the apparition of something divine. And when he spoke and made an oration to them, they gave a shout, saying, 'It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.' But in the midst of this idolatrous ostentation an angel of God suddenly smote him. He was carried out of the theatre a dying man." He died AD (Acts 12) of the same loathsome malady which slew his grandfather (Acts 12: 21- 23), in the fifty- fourth year of his age, having reigned four years as tetrarch and three as king over the whole of Palestine. After his death his kingdom came under the control of the prefect of Syria, and Palestine was now fully incorporated with the empire. God chose to have Jesus come to earth in a time where the government was hostile to God and his laws, much like the time we are living in. God has chosen to send us to earth to live now which is a great privilege. We can shine brighter because the atmosphere is darker. Lord, let us never fear our government or the times we are living in. We choose to put our hope and faith in you.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Read Ex. 40:17-38 It looks to me like the first year they set the tabernacle up it was more like a trial run. The second year they set it up, the glory of God fell. A cloud covered the tent and the glory of God filled the tabernacle so thick that they couldn’t even enter the door. Amazing they went through the same motions both times. They reared the tent, posted the fence, put everything in place, prepared the priests… all the same way, but God showed up the second time. It just reminds me that God can show up at anytime and proclaim his glory. The same thing happened when Solomon dedicated the temple he built to the Lord. 2 Chron. 5:13-14 says, “then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; 14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.” In Numbers 12 Miriam and Aaron had a complaint against Moses because he married an Ethiopian woman. God came down in a cloud and spoke to them about the matter. Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the mountain and they saw God’s glory put on Jesus. As they looked they were covered in a deep cloud and God spoke from the cloud. (Mark 9). One day Jesus was speaking about the end of time and he said he would come in a cloud. ( Luke 21:27) The cloud is the vehicle God uses to come to earth. It was also the vehicle he used to leave the earth in Acts 1:9-11, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” This cloud led the children of Israel by day and a pillar of fire by night all through their journeys. Lord, may your glory come down and fill our earthly temples with your Holy Spirit.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Read Ex. 40:1-16 It is time to set up the tabernacle and get it running and God chose this to happen on the first day of the first month. If you remember in Ex. 12:1 God gave them a new first month. There first month used to be Nisan but God changed it to Tishri. So the 7th month became the 1st month and the 1st month became the 7th month. Confusing, but it makes sense. They were given a new month because they were being birthed into a new nation- a spiritual nation. If we are Christians, we have two birthdays, our literal birthday and our spiritual birthday. So it was for the children of Israel. The first day of the first month was Tishri 1. This is the day Christian scientists believe that God created the earth. This is the first day of the Feast of Trumpets. It is the time of initiation and renewal. Jesus will come back on that day and the trump will sound. Then he will start putting things in order for his new Millennium. On this day, the church will be raptured up to heaven to the marriage of the Lamb and spend the next 7 years in honeymoon with Jesus. Several books will be opened on that day( 2 Co. 5:10) . One is the book of remembrance (Mal. 3:16) and the other will be the Book of Life. On earth, the earth will experience Yom Kippor, or the Days of Awe, or the Great Tribulation (all terms describing the terrible things that will happen on earth). This will be a time of great tribulation and great repenting on earth. So it is fitting, that this would be the day that the tabernacle would be put into operation and there would be a great shift of activity. They went through the motions of what will go on that day in heaven. Everything is cleansed and sanctified with oil. The priests get a new robe to wear just as we will be given new garments. Heaven and earth will start going through a cleansing process. Verse 15 says that the new priests will be anointed just as their fathers so that they can forever be a priest. Aaron was a picture of Jesus as our High Priest. Heb. 8:1,2 says, “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Lord, help us to prepare and sanctify our earthly tabernacles now so that we might be part of the bride.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Read Ex. 39:28-43 The mitre was a tiara or diadem only not like the tiara’s nowadays studded with diamonds. This was made of linen and only worn by the High Priest. The other priests wore bonnets which resemble the kippas worn by devout Jews today. On the mitre they made a gold sign that said “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”. Eph. 6 describes all of these articles of clothing and tells us what they are and why we need them. Ephesians 6:11-17 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, in which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: The priests needed this armor because he is suppose to be ready to fight the enemies of God’s people as well as atone for the sins of the people. When everyone was finished with their assigned projects they brought them to Moses an he blessed them. Lord, you have given each of us a project to do in the kingdom. May we be equipped and ready to fight so that we might complete our assignments.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
A note from Ginny: It is Saturday and I usually don't post on the week-end, but I feel the need to respond to what happened yesterday morning in New Town, Connecticut. What a tragedy and a sad day. I came home early and spend hours sitting before my tv watching the news and praying. We no longer live in a nation of God's blessings and our walls of protection have come down due to our choice as a nation to turn away from God. In the midst of that tragedy, I heard the words "pray" and "faith", but never "God" or "Jesus", that just wouldn't have been politically correct. It is sad to have to say, but we are going to see more and more of these horrific crimes in our country. Woman trafficking happens every day in our country and we still go about our day concerned about the silliest things. I am guilty. So what is our response to all of this? Number one: we can not live in fear because we know God and he is perfect love. We cannot hide our families in a bubble of protection. We must teach our kids to love God with reckless abandon. What can mere men do to us. Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world. We all have a mission and we don't need to let the devil scare us from our destiny. Number two: we do not need to write more laws to outlaw guns. That is what the Saduccees and the Pharasees do and it doesn't work. The problem is not the law it's the heart. Evil people will find a way around the law no matter how strong it is. Number three: We need to know who our enemy is. Our enemy is not flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph 6 goes on to talk about our weapon which is the Word of God. We wield that for our kids and repent for our nation. Holy Spirit, I pray that you will cover this town, these parents and the nation with comfort and strength in you. Humble our hearts to see that our total dependence has to be on you. Turn our nation's heart back to God. Give us boldness and power to walk in these evil days. We love you with all our hearts.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Read Ex. 39:22-27 The robe of the priest was blue, the color of spiritual; divine revelation. It is the color of the heavens which is where we are suppose to be living- “in heavenly places”. It had a hole in the middle which sounds like it was a lot like a poncho. Along the hem were pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet. Pomegranates represent God’s laws since the number of seeds corresponds to the number of laws in the Torah. Bells were placed between the pomegranates to send forth a heavenly sound. Linen was used for all of the coats of the priests. Linen is a fabric that is not suppose to make you sweat. God chose linen because: the priest were not to sweat (they were to enter God’s rest where God does the work), linen is light-weight and not burdensome- God’s yoke is easy and his burden light, linen is used from taking flax and beating out the seeds which represents Jesus who was beaten for us, and who knows why else. All through the Bible there are these men in linen garments who just show up and watch, record, and sometimes get in the way, like the one who was caught in the garden where Jesus was arrested. He ran away naked and left his linen garment in the hand of the soldier. (Mark 14:51) I think these must be priests from heaven, maybe from the order of Melchizedek, who are sent down to watch and record what they see. Anyway, linen is a symbol of purity and righteousness as one set apart for service. Their linen was more like a silk. Jesus left his linen clothes on the stone when he went to heaven. He no longer needed his earthly linen, he was going to be given a heavenly linen garment. One day we will all be clothed in white linen. Lord, clothe us today in white linen and may we walk set apart in righteousness unto you.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Read Ex. 39:8- 21 Since I went into detail about the breastplate on 10-25 and 10-26, I’m not going to do it again. It is important for us Gentiles to realize that we are a member of a tribe also. We have been grafted in to this family of God, so this is pertinent to us as well as the Jew. If you don’t know what tribe you are a member of just ask God. I asked him for 3 confirmations and I was amazed at what he gave me. The first one was given to me while I was studying the tribes in the library. I found an article that said that the Levites changed their names to escape persecution to names like Levy, Levine, Levin. My middle name is Levine named after the last name of my grandmother. The next confirmation was given to me at a church meeting. That day I had come home from playing tennis and when my foot crossed over the threshold of my living room I felt the Holy Spirit so strong I had to squeeze into the room. It literally took my breath away and I had to sit down. I had no idea what was going on or what I was suppose to do so I cried. Then I got the thought that I should ask for something out loud. I had no idea what to ask for so I opened my mouth and this is what came out, “Lord, I just want to teach your Word and rightly divide it.” I waited for what seemed like a long time and the presence slowly left and I was able to go take a shower. Later that day a friend called and invited me to a little country church where a husband and wife from Israel would be speaking. After that encounter I knew I had to go. I got there and the first thing the lady said was, “we are all members of a tribe of Israel.” I knew that, but I had never heard anyone else say it. She talked on the different tribes and when she got to the tribe of Levite and described it, I knew that was my tribe. So that was #2 confirmation. The third one was even more exciting. She finished her talk and had these colored flags of the colors of the different tribes and said she was going to pass them out as God told her to. When she got to me she said, “You are from the tribe of Levite and you will teach my Word and rightly divide the Word of truth.” I was undone. God is so good and perfect. I would encourage you to ask God what tribe you are from…. he will tell you! Lord, I pray that you surprise everyone who prays this prayer and show them their tribe and their purpose in the body.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Read Ex. 39:1-7 Today we are going to begin to construct the priest’s garment. The colors are gold, blue, purple, and scarlet which we’ve learned gold stands for wisdom and glory; blue - spiritual, purple - royalty; scarlet - blood and passion. They would take gold and beat it till it was just strands and weave it into the textile threads. The blue color came from crushing snails and smearing them into the thread and the red came from crushing an insect and the purple was a combination of the snail and the insect. What a picture of what Jesus went through on the cross. Is. 53 says “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Jesus, like us, learned obedience by the things he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Heb. 5:8-10) Jesus was our high priest who rose to heaven to wear this robe and forever be our high priest. The ephod was the vest-like piece that was called the curious girdle. On the shoulder of this girdle was to be placed two onyx stones that have the children of Israel’s names engraged. The priest was to wear their representation before the Lord as intercession. When God looked down he saw them on the shoulders of the priest whose job it was to carry them as his burden before the Lord. I looked up the word “curious” in the Hebrew and it means to plot or contrive; value, compute; thing, consider, find out forecast, hold, imagine, invent, purpose. These were just a few of the adjectives for the word but we can get a picture of what the priest was to do. Jesus, as our high priest carries us on his shoulder and he values us so much he has considered us and plotted out and imagined our lives in a wonderful way that will bring us joy and him glory. Lord, I thank you that we have been grafted into your family and you live to intercede for us.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Read Ex. 38:25-31 More numbers. The silver that the people gave was a hundred, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels. “Hundred” means “fullness”; “thousand” means “maturity”; “seven hundred” means “complete fullness”; threescore means “conformed to holiness” and “fifteen” means “grace and liberty”. That describes what giving to the Lord will cause us to reap: full maturity, everything we need, holiness and freedom. (Where’s my checkbook!) They were all required to give a bekah if they were 20 years old and older. This was their tabernacle tax. The total people that gave were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred. Using the meaning of these numbers it describes them as complete and mature, fully conformed to God’s image, and full of grace. This was how God saw them and this is how God sees us. They took this money and used it to make the sockets, pins, pillars, brazen altar, and its grate. Everything was meted out exactly and precisely. See how meticulous God was in making the tabernacle which was a temporary dwelling place for his presence? He is that meticulous in building us into his image because we are his tabernacle that houses the presence of God. Everything about us, he planned strategically for his purposes. I am in the middle of a project that should have taken a day, but instead has taken all week and I’m still not through. Though it has been exasperating and time consuming (which is something I don’t have enough of) it has taught me several ways NOT to make this window treatment. It has helped me see how every measurement and every fold is strategically important and effects the whole look of the curtain. That is how it works in the body of Christ. We all need to be it the right place doing the right thing so that we will flow as one unit. Lord, thank you that we are wonderfully and fearfully made and you know our needs and our every thought. We praise you!
Monday, December 10, 2012
Read Ex. 38: 21-24 Today we have a list of the names of the people who were key players in constructing the tabernacle. We’ve already talked about these men in Ex. 36 but I’ll add a little more. Ithamar was Aaron’s youngest son of four. Aaron’s first two sons Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu were killed by the Lord when they offered strange fire (Lev. 10:1,2). That left Eleazar and Ithamar. Their family were ordinary priests until Eli who became a high priest. Ithamar’s name means “island of the palm trees”. Palm trees symbolized someone flourishing and upright. So, Ithamar was a God-fearing man who stayed righteous during prosperous times. Bezaleel means “the shadow of God; God’s protection”. He worked with the metal, wood, and stone. I would certainly need God’s protection if I worked with those mediums because I tend to hurt myself. He worked with the “weightier” things while Aholiab, who helped him and was under him, had the charge of engraving and the textile fabrics. If you are reading from the King James, which is the only way to really study, you’ll see that the cost of gold reads: “twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels” instead of 29 plus 730. It is because every number is important. “Twenty” means “holy”. “Nine” means “harvest”. This describes the talent. A talent is equal to about 3,000 shekels of silver but the word “talent” means a “circle”. It could describe anything that completes it’s orbit or mission. It could be your ministry or your life or just a project you are doing - It should be holy and reap a harvest. “Seven hundred” means “fullness of rest”. “Thirty” means “obedient”. This described the shekel. Everyone was to bring one shekel to the sanctuary so their obedience was required for them to enter into God’s rest. This was the amount of gold required. “Gold” stands for wisdom so God’s wisdom is holy; it brings a harvest of full rest to those who are obedient. Lord, may our obedient service to you be holy and reap fullness of rest.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Read Ex. 38:9-20 The court area was 100 cubits on the north and south side and 50 cubits on the east and west side. The north side of the court was to be filled with lots of twenties: twenty pillars, twenty brass sockets, etc. Twenty means separated and tried, or holy. The west and east side was filled with tens. Ten means something has been measured out for testing. This tabernacle was to be a holy structure to test their allegiance to Him. There were 15 hangings on either side of the gate. Fifteen means free; grace; sin covered. It had three pillars and three sockets. The number three means to conform to the image of the seed. (Read what God created on the 3rd day.) The brass signifies the Word of God, and silver - the knowledge of God. So all who entered into this place were to be conformed to God’s image and filled with the Word and knowledge of God. The curtains that hung in the gate were 20 by 5 cubits. Five is the number for “works”. So their works were to be holy. These beautifully crafted curtains had 4 pillars with brass sockets and silver hooks. Four means to rule and reign which God wanted to do forever for them. The pegs were made of brass. Everything about this structure had meaning - it all glorified God. Once the pin was put in the socket it looked like the cross. God thought of every clue he could give us. Lord, don’t let us neglect your signs to us. Let everything about us glorify you just as everything about the tabernacle glorified you.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Read Ex. 38:1-8 Next was the brazen altar which is where they burned the sacrifices. It was 7.5 feet by 7.5 feet by 4.5 feet. It had to be big to support the big animals that would be laid on it. This altar was the picture of the cross. It also had horns on it which the people could run to and take hold of when they needed mercy. Isn’t that what we do when we are being chased by conviction or condemnation; we run to the cross and appropriate Christ’s blood for our situation. This altar was like a big brass bar-b-que pit. There was nothing pretty about the crucifixion yet underneath all the blood and suffering was the silver lining of our salvation. I wonder if they polished this brass everyday because I know how quickly brass tarnishes. Maybe God chose brass because he knew how quickly the power of the cross would tarnish in our minds and hearts. All the vessels were made of brass also. It stood right in front of the laver which was also made of brass which came from the looking glasses of the women. Since this laver was where the priests would be washing their hands ceremonially as a picture of being cleansed within, I think seeing their reflection in this brass reminded them of who they were. 1 Co. 13:12 says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” We read the Bible and can see ourselves in it but we will never see ourselves as God sees us till we get to heaven or he gives us a divine revelation. James 1:23 says, ‘For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholds himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. 25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. So James, Jesus brother, tells us that if we meditate on God’s Word and obey it, then our ways will be blessed. That sounds like a good deal to me! Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you, for your Word and your Holy Spirit. Speak to us today and show us your ways.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Read Ex. 37:25-29 The incense altar is the place where prayers and intercession is made. I had a dream one night where I was looking down into this huge ancient room. It reminded me of an old cathedral. There was no furniture in this room but the floor was covered with different kinds of oil-burning lamps. They were made of different metals and all different sizes and shapes. Out of them was pouring incense and I could hear voices in every language praying. I woke up and knew I had visited the prayer room of heaven. Our prayers rise up to God mixed with sweet incense. David wrote in Ps. 141:2 “ Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” And Rev. 8:3-4 says, “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.” It is like we pray and the angels add the incense which makes our words pure and sweet to the Lord. They had to make their incense by a special formula; the angels make ours! The incense altar was square and had a crown and horns at the corners. Horns are emblems of power, dominion, glory, and fierceness, and are the chief means of attack and defence with the animals endowed with them. The expression "horn of salvation," applied to Christ, and means a salvation of strength, or a strong Saviour. Luke 1:69 says, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.” Amen! Blessed by the Lord!
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Read Ex. 37:17-24 Next they constructed the candlestick with was a menorah, beaten of pure gold. It had 6 branches and a 7th that was the main trunk for the branches. Three times in John, Jesus said that he was the light come to the world and as long as he was here the world would have light. In John 9 a man who had been blind since birth was brought to Jesus. The people that brought him wanted to know if he was blind as the result of the sin of his parents, and Jesus said no. He was born blind so that the works of God should be revealed through Jesus. He then said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Then he spat on the ground and made clay and anointed the man’s eyes. He told him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam and when he did he came back seeing. Why did Jesus go to such theatrics to heal when all he had to do was say, “be healed” and he would have been? He was giving us a picture. The people’s eyes were spiritually blind just as this man was physically blind. When Jesus took that dust from which man was first formed and mixed it with his own saliva he was mixing heaven with earth. Jesus came to invade earth with the presence of God. We are to invade heaven to get it to come down to earth. He sent the man to the pool of Siloam which means “the sent one”. Jesus was the sent one. Once he was baptized in Jesus, the earthly mud was washed away and he could see. In Matt. 5:14, Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Jesus has anointed us with his light so we should do the things he did. Lord, give us boldness to let your light shine through us that all may see our good works and glorify you.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Read Ex. 10:10-16 Next he made the table for the shewbread. This table is made of the same wood as the ark, with the same crown, rings, and poles all covered with gold. (My personal opinion is that all the furniture in the ark that is covered with gold is what we are going to see in heaven since these are copies of the real objects in heaven. (Heb. 8:5) The brazen altar and the laver were not covered with gold since there will not be a reason to cleanse ourselves from sin or atone for it in heaven. There were 12 plates set in rows of 6 where the shewbread was placed every Sabbath and the old eaten by the priests. The family of Kohath was in charge of the shewbread and the holy things in the tabernacle. Kohath means “obedient; waiting”. If we want God to entrust us with the deeper things then we must learn to wait and obey what he tells us to do. Back to the shewbread table: This constant display of bread was to remind the people that God always provides and never runs out and even deeper - his Word never grows old and is forever relevant. Remember when Joseph sat his brothers around the table in their birth order and fed then in the time of famine. This is a picture of that shewbread. Benjamin’s plate had 5 times as much. We are at that time in history. Benjamin was the youngest and last son of Jacob. He had not killed Joseph and was not guilty of that act. We are not living in the time of the law, but the time of grace. We are not guilty of killing the Lord because we have appropriated his grace that covers that sin. We will be abundantly supplied in times of need in these last days! That is so comforting when we look at the circumstances around us. Lord, thank you for your faithfulness! Thank you that you are so alive and active in our lives. May we be Kohathites that wait on you and obey your every whisper.