Wishing everyone a most wonderful Easter!
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where he lay.
Today, I was reading some comments from one of my previous posts on running. The comments were from readers of various posts. One reader had some nice things to say. I began to think what an appropriate post for January 1, 2018. Running for the Prize. OK, OK, yeah, I will be using an old post for a new post, again. The Blog Post Etiquette Police can advise me after the fact.
Let me start with saying I AM SO GLAD 2017 IS OVER! It has been a trying year, to say the least! I feel like I have been running and running and running all year. My family has gone through a great personal loss and my health has taken hit after hit after hit. I just know 2018 will be better.
I do feel, from time to time, that I am “Running for the Prize”. Sometimes it seems a spiritual prize and at other times, it’s just running for the prize to just finish the day and to get home to my quiet house with my father and my Zuckie (my standard dachshund). My home – my Solace .
If you know me at all, you know that I do love my home. I love to be at home and I love my family. So, with that said, I will tell you that I do long for the time when I finish this race that we call “life”. When that occurs for me, I will be home where my heart has always been. In the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But until that day, I will continue to run this race on earth. Striving to make the most of each moment in this race for the prize. Striving to forget the past and pressing on towards the future because that is where the prize is.
Philippians 3:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
So, with that said… I will continue with this old post made new, once again.
Have you ever seen a dachshund race? Oh My Goodness! It is the funniest thing I have ever seen! I follow a little dachshund on Facebook and he is quite the celebrity! His name is Crusoe and he is from Canada. He was in a “wiener dog race” and he finished 3rd and the prize was a squeaky ball! (see it here and if you still want more see his blog… here) It is so much fun and the funniest thing to watch! If you know me at all you know I L-O-V-E love dachshunds and everything about them! These races are so funny because these little guys are so excited at the starting line. They are so wound up to get going on that race and for what? To get a squeaky ball!? Not much of a prize as far as you and I are concerned… (or Zuckie – one of my dachshunds – for that matter. He does not like anything that squeaks! He doesn’t like noise… loud trucks, loud anything and especially sirens).
But let’s focus on how the dachshunds begin the race. These little guys are so excited and so ready to get going! Excitement, anticipation and readiness are the traits you see in them! They are full of joy and life! You know we run a race too! Every day! And we run the race for a far greater prize than any squeaky ball. We are running for the prize of an imperishable crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Striving for a Crown
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
We should be running for the prize daily! So shouldn’t we begin our daily race the way these little dachshunds begin their race? With excitement, anticipation and readiness? We as Christians, in our walk with the Lord, should be filled with excitement, anticipation and readiness. If we meet every day with that frame of mind we cannot loose!
Jesus left us a Helper which is the Holy Spirit, our closest friend! That means He can help us throughout each day! I have a friend at work that when she gets there and walks to her desk we speak the “Good Mornings”. Then we ask one another the usual “how are you doing?” We usually say…”Blessed and Highly Favored!” and yesterday I added “…because I am a child of the King!” If we truly believe this we can meet each day with an attitude of excitement for what God will do in our lives that day, anticipation of how it will change us or someone around us and readiness to be used for the Kingdom of Christ.
Try it out! When you first wake up in the morning, focus your mind on God and how He has blessed you by giving you another day to tell someone about Him. I love this scripture:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Therefore, thank Him for all the blessings you have whether it be a little heartbeat at your feet (human or animal) or a job, or a vehicle to drive, or a nice soft (or firm) bed to sleep in, or food on your table or any number of things! You choose! Focus on what blessings God has bestowed on you in your life and not the worries, problems and trials you face each day and THANK HIM FOR THOSE BLESSINGS! I know… I KNOW if you do this you will feel better and you will be ready to run the race for the day!
Psalm 95:2-3 tells us
“2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.”
The Song – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!
America. Land of the Free, Because of the Brave! Return to your Roots! Return to the One who gave us this great land we call America! Return America, Return.
Red, White and True Blue is a musical play by some local artists. It was held at the Artisan Theater in Hurst, Texas. I was invited to attend with my brother and sister-in-law last night. It was absolutely wonderful! The local talent was impressive. Ages from 10 (Jonathan – who made his debut last night) to around 70ish? It was so heartwarming and such a wonderful reminder that we live in a fantastic, phenomenal and special land. We need to remember – those of us that can – and those that cannot, need to read and study how it was and why it was. So many younger folks just don’t “get it”. How it used to be… not that I want to go back to every way of living in the 50’s but the attitude and the standards and the state of mind was so different than it is now. Women were modest, men were gentlemen, and businesses had integrity and government … well, for the most part, was better.
This play was a mix of young men and women and a few students and some older men and women. Many different walks of life and very excited to tell us, the audience, how excited they were to live in America! Reminding us through narration and song that God Blessed America and shed His Grace on us. We were so blessed with many things and now… well, now, it seems that many of those blessings are waning. A lot of the reason is because some folks in America have chosen to turn a blind eye to things happening in America. Others have just stuck their head in the sand and have no clue … and furthermore … don’t want to have a clue. They just want the world to drift by and they can stay in their little bubble with their head in the sand. WAKE UP AMERICA! Wake up and Return To Your Roots! Our Roots! Our Roots being God. The founders of our nation were rooted in God! God will not always bless us if we don’t bless Him. I found this scripture reference and comments on Timberline Baptist Church homepage. I think this states it quite clearly.
“- Our opening text from Jeremiah 18 teaches us there is hope for backslidden America. Look at verses 7-10, “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”
– Notice what these verses said in that God says “at what instant” a nation decides to repent, that nation can be restored by God.
– This is a very powerful passage, and it shows that God’s grace and blessings can be poured out on a wicked nation that returns to Him. A nation, who has denied God and murdered her innocent unborn and promoted Godlessness and immorality, can be restored in an instant if only that nation will repent and return to God.”
However, if …
“14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
I could say a lot about the play last night. I could elaborate on all of the messages and songs that they brought to us. However, that is really not what I want to tell you. My brother has a blog also and his blog said it so good and his words were quite on target. I feel led to refer you to his blog. It is a fantastic bunch of information that a lot of you may not know. I didn’t know some of it either.
Please read his blog and learn about the “Roots” of America. Return America! Return! So if you will allow me… this is my brother’s post from yesterday. I know you will love it too!
“Independence Day is the day that America sets aside to remember its beginning; the beginning of the greatest experiment in personal freedom that history has ever known. “Give me liberty, or give me death,” was the heart-felt cry of the forefathers that secured that freedom. With that tenacious attitude, they would affix their names to the Declaration of Independence; the document that affirmed their steadfastness and unity in mission. This action placed them, their families and their very subsistence in jeopardy in the face of the ruling nation, England.
Ben Franklin said it best at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Theirs was a resolve to break from tyrannical bonds and provide life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness for every citizen, no matter the cost. They understood that to take this stand for truth and demand fairness and equity in government meant the possibility of paying for their decision with their lives and well-being. Their decision would take its toll on the signers.
. 7 lost their lives
. 2 lost their health
. 5 were taken prisoners of war
. 4 lost their wives
. 17 lost entire fortunes
. 5 experienced huge debt resulting from financing the war effort
. 4 lost children
The Crown sent twenty-five thousand troops to track down and kill these fifty-six rebels. Abraham Clarke, a lawyer and surveyor, could not be found. The British found and captured his two sons and put them on the prison ship Jersey, referred to as the “Hell Hole Jersey”, a death camp from which no one ever returned alive. Then the offer came to Clarke that his sons would be released if he would surrender and recant his signature. Abraham Clarke refused to go back on his words of pledge to the cause of freedom alongside his companions.
These brave men were not professional politicians, but representatives from the thirteen colonies from every walk of life. This body was made up of two of the wealthiest men in America, Charles Carrolton (merchant and plantation owner) and Robert Morris (plantation owner) as well as one of the poorest, Samuel Adams, a merchant from Boston. (When Sam Adams was elected to Congress he did not own a suit. His neighbors took up a collection to purchase a suit of clothes for him to wear to Congress.) These were land owners, lawyers, physicians, ministers and merchants of every sort.
You will predominantly hear that all these men were deists, atheists or agnostics in their religious beliefs. Jefferson, Franklin and James Wilson, a Pennsylvania lawyer, are the only ones that are known to be deists.
The truth is, however, that the majority were men committed to the Christian faith. A few examples and facts include:
. 29 of them held seminary or Bible school degrees
. Dr John Witherspoon was one of the best known Gospel evangelists of that day, was a long time member of Congress, serving on 100 committees.
. Sam Adams, known as the Father of the American Revolution – “I rely on the merits of Jesus Christ for the pardon of all my sins.”
. Dr Benjamin Rush, physician, Presbyterian – considered 1 of 3 most notable of the Founding Fathers, started the first Sunday school and Bible society in America.
. Roger Sherman, lawyer, Congregationalist – He was the only one of the signers to sign all 4 founding documents – Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Articles of Federation, Anti-Federalist Papers.
“God has promised to bestow eternal blessings on all those who are willing to accept Him on the terms of the Gospel that is in the way of free grace in the Atonement,” Sherman declared.
. John Adams was well known as a strong Christian leader. He wrote to Abigail of the first meeting of the Continental Congress and explained how powerful it was to begin with a three-hour prayer service and Bible study from Psalm 35.
. Lyman Hall was a minister from Georgia.
John Adams would relate to his wife that all the prayers of these leaders were being answered after a fifteen-day time of prayer and fasting. He said they were witnessing the “direct intervention of God.”
Of course, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the odds heavily favored the British, especially on the water. The largest naval deployment to that date in New York Harbor was in 1776, when the British war ships’ masts were reported to “look like a forest in the harbor.” This was the most powerful navy in the world. The British Man-O-War was feared by rival navies on the high seas. They were undefeated for 300 years.
Enter the fledgling US Patriot Navy armed with small gunboats and the prayers of righteous men, pleading for their country. These small ships were no physical match for these powerful ships and experienced crews. But as the Congress worked and prayed they would realize the capture of 600 British ships. The US Navy began to take control and in 1778 John Paul Jones became a well-known naval hero as he captured the HMS Drake. The hand of God was with these dedicated patriots.
Sadly, how far we have drifted, as a nation, from our earliest moorings. We have weighed anchor and left the harbor of security and guidance from The Almighty and are attempting to prove that we can go it alone now. “Thanks for your help, God, but we can handle it from here.” This is a dangerous, dreadful and disastrous path to travel.
President Woodrow Wilson said, “The nation that does not remember what is was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do.” It seems that we are adrift now and we are told that we must trust people, who we know that we cannot trust, to guide us into the future.
In our current malaise of uncertainty, immorality and violence it is only logical to encourage our nation, leaders and citizens, to return to our safe harbor before all is lost and the death knell sounds for freedom and goodness. As President George Washington made his farewell address, September 17, 1796, he explained the foundations of America’s greatness. Thirty percent of his speech was laden with strong Christian admonition. He said, “Of all the habits and dispositions that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” We must return to our foundations and make them strong again.
How long can all the madness continue? How long can the freedoms we have enjoyed all our lives continue? Will the next generation understand what we are saying and why we are sounding alarms? Alexander Solzhenitsyn, writer, activist and critic of the Soviet Union, was imprisoned from 1945 to 1953 for speaking against the Russian government. Later in life, he spoke at Harvard University to the student body. He remembered the days of his youth under Communist control and oppression and he recounted hearing his grandfather and father speak of why the great Russian society had come to this dreariness. He remembered his grandfather commenting that it was because they had forgotten God. Solzhenitsyn then compared our situation and made the statement that we are experiencing these times because, “we have forgotten God.” He was promptly booed in masse by the Harvard student body.
America was founded on sound principles of freedom and righteousness and it has prospered for over 200 years as the greatest nation in history. The American experiment has been a success and it certainly could continue to succeed. All indications are that it will not. The alarm is sounding and the general attitude is to hit the snooze button and roll over, back in a deep slumber of apathy and self-indulgence.
But if the Church, the true people of God wake up and decide to pray and get serious again about what is true and important, America can return to the safe harbor and continue to stand as the light of freedom the world desperately needs. People still are risking everything to come to America to escape oppression and misery because of its open arms and promise of liberty and safe haven. If this ideal is lost, it will not be because God is unfaithful, but because America will have forgotten its moorings and safety in the God of blessing.
Are we ready, as our forefathers were, to take a stand for truth and our American way of life and freedom? I pray that we are and that a new army of rebels will be raised up to sound the alarm louder and encourage this country to return to the God of our fathers.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is The Lord.” Psalm 33:12″
As I sometimes do, I post great things that I get in emails. This particular post is a post from the “Question of the Week” from ReasonableFaith.org. I actually am in the process of a series, as you may know, entitled “PRAYER” and it is about various prayers throughout the Bible. Prayer is a conversation with God and I started at Genesis. I am in Exodus where the Tabernacle is being built. However, I have been redirected from time to time to other posts such as this one. Since it is about Prayer I wanted to post it today.
Today is the first day of a New Job for me, so I was a little pressed on time last evening and did not write anything … but now I know why … God wanted to share yet another wonderful post on the power of prayer. Prayer is NOT for God’s benefit but for the person that prays. Please read on and I hope you enjoy this “Question of the Week”.
Dear Dr Craig,
I have recently moved on from Christianity to agnosticism, but I regularly check out your Q and A section as much of the content there is more sensible and thought provoking than the kind of thing I hear from a lot of Evangelicals.
So I figured that if there even is a satisfactory answer to my enquiry, you’d know about it.
My question is this: what is the point of prayer? Here prayer is defined as an attempt to communicate with God.
God either can read our thoughts or he cannot. If he can read our thoughts, there is surely no need to try to transmit or broadcast them to him as he already knows what they are. If he cannot read our thoughts, then any thought-based effort to contact him is futile. It doesn’t matter what type of prayer it is (eg petition, thanksgiving, repentance), there is no point in making any effort to send it up to him.
Of course, Christianity generally holds that God is omniscient and therefore able to read our thoughts, so the first of these scenarios would be the applicable one. The characteristic of omniscience makes the concept of prayer all the more redundant as it means God already knows any information that might be communicated to him, and exactly what the best thing is to do about it, so prayer could not in any way influence his decisions.
I am well aware that the Bible commands us to pray in numerous instances, but in the light of this argument this strikes me as an incredibly arbitrary thing for a good God to command, and thus makes the reliability of the Bible all the more questionable to me.
Currently it seems to me that the idea of prayer is most sensibly explained as an addictive placebo that gives people a greater sense of control over their circumstances than they actually have.
But just maybe there’s something crucial I’ve missed, and if so I would be grateful if you could point out what that might be.
Dr. Craig responds:
Boy, Joe, the reasons you moved away from Christianity to agnosticism had better be a lot stronger than this, or you’re in real danger of backsliding!
Yes, God can read our thoughts. So how is that problematic for the spiritual discipline of prayer? You say, “there is surely no need to try to transmit or broadcast them to him as he already knows what they are.” Hold on, Joe! Seriously, do you think prayer is a matter of providing God information? You defined prayer as communication with God. You don’t communicate with another person through a third-person relationship. You enter into what has been called an “I-thou” relationship. You speak to another person, not just about that person. Your girlfriend or wife would be decidedly unimpressed if you rationalized never telling her “I love you” on the grounds that she already knows that! Anybody that obtuse is on his way to a break-up! Two people who are in love with each other want to speak to each other, to build an intimate relationship with each other.
So, sure, God reads my mind, and that enables me to pray to Him at any moment, even when audible prayers would be inappropriate. I can shoot up a thought-prayer, “Thank you, Lord!” or “God, give me wisdom!” at a moment’s notice. This is what people in a relationship do. Can you imagine anyone so obtuse as to say, “I don’t have to thank John for what he did for me because he already knows I’m grateful”? Or “I don’t have to apologize to Susan because she already knows I’m sorry”?
Moreover, did it not occur to you that such personal communication may be good for you? I-thou relationships open you up as a person, to make you a more loving, transparent, and vulnerable person. Prayer to God is the same way. God knows what is good for us and so wants us to talk to Him.
Of course, Joe, I’m talking about the prayers of someone who has experienced a spiritual rebirth and so is in a right relationship with God. I’m not talking about the rote or scripted prayer recited by an unbeliever. Doubtless, that sort of prayer is meaningless to you as an agnostic. Your prayer needs to be something like, “God, reveal yourself to me! I open my heart and life to you.”
You have a second, different objection to prayer: “omniscience makes the concept of prayer all the more redundant as it means God already knows any information that might be communicated to him, and exactly what the best thing is to do about it, so prayer could not in any way influence his decisions.” This is an objection to the efficacy of prayer. What the objection overlooks is that God can take prayers (or the lack thereof) into account in His providential planning of the world. Knowing that Joe would freely pray in a certain set of circumstances, God may actualize a world in which Joe’s prayers are answered; but had God known that Joe would not pray, God may have actualized something else instead. Prayers, then, are not an effort to change God’s mind. Rather God takes account of prayers in choosing which world to actualize. Prayers thus make a counterfactual difference: if I were not to pray, then something else would have been the case instead. Knowledge of this sort is called “middle knowledge,” and there’s a lot on this website about this fascinating topic.
Joe, on the basis of your question, I can’t help but suspect that while you may have been nominally a Christian, you never really experienced a true relationship with God. If that’s right, then walking away from a nominal, lifeless religion may be the first step toward finding a life-changing, spiritual relationship with God. Keep going!
These three songs are from a CD I have on Prayer. They are beautiful reminders about what prayer is and how powerful it is. Portions are narrated but the writings are from Oswald Chambers. Enjoy!
This post is quite long and very important. It will tell you a little… well, a lot of what has happened to me in the last 5 years and more. I have a new opportunity and I wanted to share it all with you, so you will understand why I have not been able to stay on task and write every day, as I had been doing. I believe I will get back to that eventually. Please read on.
One week from today I will be starting a new chapter in my life – A New Beginning. At this age it is a tiny bit unnerving. However, I keep hearing that so wonderfully familiar, still, small voice in my spirit… “You are a child of the King”
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
and “There is NO WEAPON formed against you can stand.”
No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.
and “Keep close to Me and I will see you through anything.”
4 Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple.
and “Trust Me for everything.”
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths.
And I am reminded that …
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
And other things that God whispers to my heart. You see this new chapter in my life is not really a “new” beginning in a way. I am finally getting back to a type of job that I have done most of my working life. To go forward, let me go back a bit and then I will explain.
I loved what I was doing. I was a Project Manager/Trainer for a bank software company and learning lots of great stuff. I was writing training manuals and developing classes and learning more about the proprietary bank software almost daily. January would mark two years that I had been with this particular company and I was thrilled to be working doing what I loved to do – almost back to what I had done previously.
You see … I had been working in the telecom industry as a Communications Specialist – which basically was a Project Manager/Trainer. I loved what I was doing and was so fulfilled every day with my work. It was not work to me, it was enjoyment and I felt fulfilled – which is a great combination. Not to mention it was pretty good money. Then the unspeakable happened.
One morning, I was headed to the conference room for our weekly staff meeting and I walked by the break room. There was a small TV on top of the refrigerator and it pointed out towards the hall. As I walked by, I saw a very unusual sight. It was an airplane flying into a very tall building. I thought, “Oh my… how odd that is” and didn’t think much more about it and continued on to the conference room. When I got there others were talking about the same thing and so the manager said “Let’s take care of some quick business and then turn the big TV on and see what it’s all about.” So that we did. We turned the big TV on just in time to see the 2nd plane go into the World Trade Center and we all just sat there in total silence. I just got chills just thinking of that morning and typing these words. It was so surreal. We sat there for what seemed like 10 minutes not saying a thing and all eyes glued to the huge TV screen. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Did that really happen? Did two planes actually just fly into the World Trade Center? What on earth could have happened to have caused that and why on earth would two large planes do that? As we sat there in silence and watched, it became all too clear what had really happened and who and why. A strange fear began to cover the room and each one of us there felt the uneasiness that blanketed the entire country. My manager broke the silence and said, “Those that need to go, GO. Go to your families. Go get your children and go home.” We all scurried around and got our belongings from our desks, turned our computers off and left. There were about 6 of us in the elevator and we all were totally silent all the way down to the parking lot level of the building. We said our goodbyes and looked at each other and didn’t know what else to say. It was such an odd feeling.
I called my husband and he said “Yes, I am watching the TV. Please take the back roads home. We don’t know what else can happen.” I agreed, said I love you and hung up the phone. It was about an hour’s drive home on the back roads. We lived in a small community South West of the Metroplex. It was a very scary drive home. At this point, most of us knew that America had been attacked! They came onto our own soil and used our own planes to do it! America seemed to be in shock! Everything … life as we knew it … changed that day in America.
OK, fast forward four months. January 2002, I am sitting in my Fort Worth office, carrying on business as usual. I used to split my time between the Fort Worth office and the Dallas office and this was Monday so I was in my office in Fort Worth. In walks my manager from Dallas. It was very unusual to have her come to the Fort Worth office but a nice surprise. She walked in and sat down in the chair on the other side of my desk. She had a box in her hand that she sat down on the floor. She very gently told me that things had changed so drastically and the company was having to lay folks off and I was one of the ones that had to be laid off. The 13 months with this company had been a wonderful time and I so loved my job. However, it was now coming to a screeching halt! I sat there in total shock … sort of like the feeling I had the day I watched two planes crash into the tall buildings in New York just a few short four months earlier. I felt my world come crashing down. I was speechless, which doesn’t happen very often. She simply laid it out and said “You can use this box to gather your things.” All I could say was “Ok then. OK…” And she stood there while I loaded up the box. It wasn’t too long after that that I realized that this was played out all across America after that fateful day on 9-11-2001. Hundreds, if not thousands, felt the sting of the change all across America.
The next several months proved to be a trying time for me. I could NOT find another job doing what I always had done – Project Management/Training. All the changes in such a short time in America caused companies to be so very cautious and so conservative. The job market that I was in was totally flat and there was no budging it. It was 16 months before I could land another job. The job was only part time and nothing like what I was doing but it was close to home and a reputable company. I was a teller at a branch bank for a large bank in the area. It was work with insurance. I was a little relieved and then 4 months later I landed another part time job. Now the pay for these jobs together didn’t equal the pay I had been making as a Project Manager/Trainer, but I was happy to be working again. A few months later something good happened. I was asked to come on board with another company that afforded me to use the training skills that I had acquired along the way and a bonus… I got to travel the United States! Wow! I loved that. Unfortunately, that only lasted seven months. Then it was back to the unemployment line. Luckily I was only in the unemployment line a few short months before I landed another training type job. Then about two years later another company wanted me to come on board with them. I finally was going to be with a company that I could use both Project Management and Training skills. Finally!
I was learning their software and writing training curriculum and training. I had arrived. Well… I thought so anyway. About 16 months into the job I approached my boss and told him I was going to be moving my folks up here and buying a house and wanted some assurance that my job was secure. He assured me that it was so we went through with all of our plans. Now this was in April and fast forward eight months – December 31, 2009. I am working at my desk as usual. I was planning the annual conference for the company and I was in my element! My desk phone rings at 10:20 a.m. and it was my boss. He asked me to come to his office. This usually meant he wanted an update on the progress of planning the convention. So I took all my notes and was ready to lay it out for him. When I walked up to his office, I saw the HR lady in there. Instantly, I thought “This is not going to be good.” Well, it wasn’t. I was given my walking papers, along with two other employees, that day. Once again, I was rendered speechless. So at 10:30 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, 2009, I have once again, for the third time, been laid off since 9-11. I was totally devastated. What was I going to do? My mom and dad were at home in our “new” home, how was I going to take care of them, this surely is a bad dream but I wasn’t waking up! Everyone in the office was shocked and speechless. Everyone seemed a bit confused and disheveled that day after the news. No one was expecting this. I regained my composure and gathered my things and made a couple of trips to my car and off I went.
When I arrived at home, I was so sad and mom and dad were confused as to why I was home so early. I told them the news and the first thing my dad did was say this. “Come here, all of us. We are going to pray.” We huddled there in the dining room, with arms around each other. He prayed a simple, yet powerful prayer. “Lord God, thank you for this day. We are here together not knowing what is going to happen with this latest news, but we do know one thing. I believe, Lord, that You would not have brought us this far to let us go. So … like King Jehoshaphat prayed, we may not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” As he prayed I felt a sweet peace settle amongst us. The Holy Spirit’s presence was powerful that day and I will say He got us through the next few days in a powerful way.
12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
The next 2 ½ years, again, proved to be quite trying. One night at choir rehearsal, at church, a new member joined. We made friends quickly and she told me about a job that she just acquired and she encouraged me to go and apply. I did, I got hired and it was the lowest paying job I had ever had since I was just starting my work life. However, the insurance was fabulous and I was covered from the first day I started. I was so grateful and felt revived once again.
Now, this job may have been different than anything I had ever done, after all, I was usually on the other side of the situation, training the folks to do what I was doing. You see, it was a call center. I had never dreamed I would ever work in a call center before, but here I was. After about 6 months of wrestling with many things, internally, I prayed to God about my attitude about what I was doing. He assured me that He was with me. I gave into my pride and felt that wonderful peace flood my soul.
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I knew He was trying to teach me something and that is exactly what began to occur. I was humbled in a major way and began to learn so much about myself. I began to also learn more about God. I began to walk closer to Him, because that is the only way I could feel peace and comfort. I searched the scriptures for peace and found exactly what I was looking for. He reassured me, all the time, of His presence.
This past 27 months have been one of the most rewarding times I can remember. Yes, it was low pay. Yes, it was a call center. Yes, it was nothing like I had ever done before. BUT! It was God’s plan. I began to see God’s hand move in my life and others, and basked in His wonderful presence. I had always heard of the daily walk with God but never had I ever experienced what I experienced while I was working in that job. I learned to walk with Him, not only every day, but every minute. I talked to Him all day, in between calls and sometimes while I was taking calls. He has brought me through this time with a gentle hand and His reassuring love. It has been an amazing growth time in my life.
All this time I had been sending out resumes, applying for jobs – for two years. My managers knew that I was overqualified for what I was doing and they kept encouraging me to keep looking. I did apply for 29 different jobs within the company but only received 3 face to face interviews. So I resolved to the fact that I was not to work for that company except for what I was doing.
I received a call, finally, from a company that wanted a personal interview. I went and the interview went great. I was told they would make a decision by the end of January. The next day, I was going to work and I told God that I didn’t think that I could do that job for various reasons and I didn’t want Him to open that door for me. Knowing all along that I probably wouldn’t get the job anyway. Well, it was about 3-4 days later and I went on my last break at work, and there was a voice mail message from the recruiter from that company and it said… “Hello Leah, this is Joe with ABC Company and James wants to extend an offer to you for the job” (actual names are changed). I was astounded! Really? Is this true? I listened again and again. Yep, that is what he said. So when I got off work, I got home and told mom and dad and told them of my concerns, but didn’t think I could really turn this job offer down. They agreed and I called the man back and well… that is what I will be doing in one week… starting that new job.
I voiced my concern to God and He keeps reassuring me that He will go with me no matter where I go and what I will be doing.
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
He also told me this… “Leah, you will have to lean on Me and trust Me for your strength.”
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
And “This will bring you even closer to Me.”
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Oh my goodness… once again, that familiar, wonderful peace flooded my soul.
So to say the least, I am so excited. This job is exactly what I have done before. It is a training job with so much new to learn. I am up for the task and I will lean on my Heavenly Father for strength for my New Beginning.
Now I know that is a lot of information and a very long post… but I will tell you this, that if you have doubts in your life and wonder how in the world you are going to make it… call out to Him! He is waiting to hear from you and HE will reassure you, comfort and sustain you in any situation you could be in. After all, He calls you His beloved.
The last time I posted about the Tabernacle was a few days ago. Here is the last post in the Payer series if you missed it “PRAYER- THE TABERNACLE, PART 4”. I have been confused about something and just have not posted until I read some more on the matter. In the scriptures below God’s instructions to Moses were to include “cherubim” in the making of the Mercy Seat on top of the Ark of the Covenant and to have them embroidered into the curtains that covered the Tabernacle. OK, to be quite honest with you, I always thought of a cherub (singular of cherubim), as probably most of you thought, that a cherub was some sort of beautiful angel. Not necessarily like the little fat childlike ones, but at least a beautiful angelic being. Well, all I can find on what cherubim is this:
“The Exodus account does not give details of the faces but this deficiency seems to be supplied by Ezekiel Chapters 1,10. The prophet describes the faces as those of a MAN, a LION, an OX, and an EAGLE. Ezekiel, furthermore, locates them in relation to each other. From the southward position that he occupied as he relates the details of the vision, he looked northwards (ep. Ezek. 1:4) and saw first the face of the MAN – that is on the SOUTH side facing Ezekiel. On the right hand, or FAST side, he saw the face of the LION. On the left hand or WEST side, that of the OX; finally, the face ~ the EAGLE which must have been located on the NORTH side. From the position he occupied, Ezekiel could not actually see the face of the Eagle in his vision.”
From the website The Tabernacle In The Wilderness by Keith Cook
Now there is quite a bit more to that article that I found the information about the cherubim and it is a good read for those that are interested. If you click on the Table of Contents on that particular page it will take you to the main home page. This lists a myriad of topics that he has written on and very interesting information. I suggest you take a peek anyway.
Now while this description above is quite unusual to me and I cannot imagine this being on the curtains of the Tabernacle and figures of them above the Mercy Seat, that is irrelevant, because that is what God wanted in those places. And, like I said, my thoughts were of some other kind of angelic being that was pleasing to look at … only because that is what we always think of, I guess… and that is what media feeds us, I guess again. Nonetheless, the cherubim described here are apparently what God instructed Moses to have the artisans weave into the curtains and have the metal worker beat them out of pure gold over the Mercy Seat whether we like the looks of them or not. So this is what has stumped me for a few days. I cannot find anything anywhere else that is to the contrary
of what is stated above. (if you click the picture to the left it will enlarge and you can read better) So… onward. Here is the scripture that states God’s instructions to Moses.
18 ”And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. 20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.”
“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them. 2 The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits. And every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements. 3 Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another. 4 And you shall make loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set, and likewise you shall do on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set.”
Now there is a lot of symbolism here, as you well imagined. I am going to include what Mr. Keith Cook says about the symbolism. However, this is just an excerpt from all that he says. Click the link to read the entire article (The Tabernacle In The Wilderness by Keith Cook).
“The four faces of the Cherubim pointed forward to four aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ, as depicted in the four Gospel records:
These characteristics of the Lord, displayed during his life and ministry, all united to draw attention to his function as the Mercy Seat. So much of Yahweh’s plans and designs, and His implementation of them, point towards, and lead to, the place and means whereby His creatures may be reconciled to Himself.”
Now that I have that particular thing out of the way, I can continue on with the items that make up the Holy Place. This will continue tomorrow and I do hope to have a much longer post tomorrow with all kinds of great information. I do hope you find time to read that article on that webpage. It tells much more about the Mercy Seat and the Cherubim and more. Thanks for your patience in all of this. Always remember, God loves you so much and He calls you His beloved.
The Song – Praise To The Lord
Yesterday’s post was “PRAYER – THE TABERNACLE, PART 3” and it was about the Brazen or Bronze Altar. The Altar was the first thing you saw as you walked through the Gate at the entrance of the Outer Court of the Tabernacle. This was the first place you had to go to offer your sacrifices. The video I include in yesterday’s post was very good in that it explained the process quite well. It is a video of Dr. Terry Harman and he is teaching a group of people about the entire process of the Tabernacle worship and sacrifice. If you did not view the video, I encourage you to do so.
Here is a quote from the website BibleHistory.com.
“The word “laver” means a bath or wash basin containing water for the purpose of washing. The Jewish priests were commanded to continually wash their hands and feet during tabernacle service.”
Let’s begin with the scripture.
17 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18 “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, 19 for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. 20 When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”
I would say that this step in the process is quite important for the priests. “…they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die.” Emphasis mine. This was a continual thing for the priests. The sacrificing was a continual thing so was the washing. The priests would begin with washing of the hands and then the sacrifices continually and they would return to the laver to wash before going into the Holy Place. The priests would enter the Holy Place regularly but the Holy of Holies was to be entered only once a year. That is another post, though, and I won’t go there right now. Here is another quote from BibleHistory.com.
“Certainly the hands of the priests would immediately get dirty after washing and then ministering at the altar. And so also their feet (since they were barefoot) would immediately get dirty the moment they touched the ground after washing (since there was no carpeting). Then what was the significance of just the feet and hands being washed?
The hands speak of what they did, their service, their work, everything they put their hands to was important and so their hands needed to be cleansed always, and daily. The initial cleansing was done only once, the daily cleansing was done continuously. (if you click on the picture above it will enlarge in separate window.)
The feet represented where they went, their lives and ways. Their walk had to be a holy walk, so their feet were washed always, everyday.”
And as far as the symbolism goes, the same website said it best…
“As the altar points to the death of Jesus, so the laver points to the life of Jesus. Blood speaks of a life taken and water speaks of life given. The water in the laver speaks of Jesus, the living Word of God that enters us and gives us eternal life. Jesus said that we are clean because of His Word and that the knowledge of God that comes through His Word is eternal life…”
I know you remember the story about the Woman At the Well. Jesus was there when she came to draw water and He told her about “Living Water”. Here is the scripture.
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Water is symbolic of life and Jesus certainly offers that. Have you received this Living Water? If you have not and want to know more about this Living Water, click on this link. It will take you to the website Bible.org and The Simple Plan of Salvation. This will help you understand what it means to be a Christ follower and help you receive the Living Water that I mentioned earlier. God loves you so much and is waiting to hear you call out to Him.
I am going to wrap this post up and I look forward to telling you about the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies next. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Remember, God Loves You and He calls you His beloved.
The Song – God So Loved The World – Charles Billingsley
The last post on the Tabernacle was about the Gate – “PRAYER – THE TABERNACLE, PART 2”. It mentioned the colors used in the screen or curtain and what they represented to the Israelites and to the Christian as well. I also included information about the surrounding curtain of white linen and the posts and all that they represent. It was a lot of good information that I learned myself as I studied it. This post is going to cover the Brazen Altar just inside the gate. Let’s get started and let’s start with the scripture.
“You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide—the altar shall be square—and its height shall be three cubits. 2 You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay it with bronze. 3 Also you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze. 4 You shall make a grate for it, a network of bronze; and on the network you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. 5 You shall put it under the rim of the altar beneath, that the network may be midway up the altar. 6 And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. 7 The poles shall be put in the rings, and the poles shall be on the two sides of the altar to bear it. 8 You shall make it hollow with boards; as it was shown you on the mountain, so shall they make it.
As you entered the Gate, the first thing you saw was the Brazen or Bronze Altar. It was quite large and you must stop at this alter to have the Priest examine your sacrifice that you brought that day. Now this was no small alter. This Bronze Altar was 7 ½ feet wide and 7 ½ feet long and 4 ½ feet tall. This alter was actually positioned probably on mounds of dirt so there was a space below it for the ashes to drop. The picture above does not show it that way. However, from what I have read it was probably this way. The acacia wood that the altar was made from was the wood that was plentiful for that region and used in making things that needed to last a long time. This wood was very strong and not prone to insects or rotting. It was a very dense wood and when it was covered with the bronze it was quite impervious to the elements.
One of the authors, speaking of the symbolism that the Bronze Altar, said it best in this quote.
“The altar itself was made from acacia wood but was completely covered in bronze. All of the utensils were bronze… even the wooden poles used to carry the altar were covered in bronze. All in all, you would have realised that this entire scene spoke of judgement. The fire that never went out… the continual sacrifices and shedding of blood… the use of bronze on everything… it spoke volumes of God’s hatred of sin. It spoke volumes of the continual judgement of God upon that sin.” From Jesus In The Tabernacle Bible Study, The Outer Court, I Gordon
I have also found a wonderful video that explains the Tabernacle and all the elements included in the Tabernacle area – The Bronze Altar, The Laver, The Tabernacle itself and much more (the video is at the end of this post). This video is narrated by Dr. Terry Harman and he has an altar and all the other elements in the room where he is teaching. It is quite informative and very good. I encourage you to watch it. The video is about 45 minutes but it is very good.
The Bronze Altar is a picture of the sacrifice for sin that Jesus accomplished at Calvary. The Bronze Altar at the Tabernacle in the Wilderness had unwilling sacrifices led to the alter and tied down waiting to die, unlike Jesus. He was the willing sacrifice that was not tied down but He gave His life willingly. The sacrifices at the Bronze Altar at the Tabernacle had to be continually done and the fire was never to go out. Jesus was the final sacrifice taking all of God’s judgment and the fire of God’s judgment burned out with Christ’s sacrifice. As the author of that same article mentioned above stated…
“That is not to say that the fire of God’s judgement no longer exists at all. Surely it does and for those that reject God’s offer of salvation in Christ then for them the text will be fulfilled that ‘it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God’. ‘Vengeance is mine says the Lord and I will repay.’”
Now there is so much more I could write about when it comes to symbolism of the Bronze Altar. There are the utensils used while performing the sacrifices and each with their own symbolism. There is the ashes and the fire pans that were used to take the coals to the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and much more. I do, however, want to include some … just some … of the things about the Bronze Altar that I found on a wonderful website that I have mentioned before – BibleHistory.com. There is a ton of information on this website about each item in the Tabernacle and it would be well worth your time to visit the website and read about each item. Not only is it about the Tabernacle but many other topics as well. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
The following is some of the information from BibleHistory.com about certain things about the Bronze Altar. Like I said, there is a lot more on that website, but I wanted to include these particular ones.
THE BRONZE ALTAR
Ex 20:24 `An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.
Ex 20:26 `Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.’
Ex 27:3-5 “Also you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze. “You shall make a grate for it, a network of bronze; and on the network you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. “You shall put it under the rim of the altar beneath, that the network may be midway up the altar.
(1) The Pans to receive the Ashes
(5) Fire pans
Lev 16:12 “Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil.
(6) The Bronze Grating
The sacrifice therefore was in the altar and not on it.
Ps 101:1 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. (KJV)
Rom 11:22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
The fire on the altar was originally kindled by God and was to never be put out:
Lev 9:24 and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings.A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.
Again, I know this is a lot of information but this is a huge topic and one that I am led to explore and share. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Tomorrow’s post will be about the Bronze Laver. Also, never forget, God loves you so much, after all, He calls you His beloved.
This is the video of Dr. Terry Harman in reference to The Tabernacle.
Yesterday’s post began the sub-series on the Tabernacle. If you missed it, click this link to get caught up to date – “PRAYER – THE TABERNACLE, PART 1”. It was actually the introduction to this sub-series. In this post I will begin to look at each part or element of the Tabernacle. Before we begin I want to include something that I should have included in the introduction post yesterday. The study materials that I am using are mostly from the website I mentioned yesterday “Jesus plus nothing” and the article that I quoted from was “Jesus in the Tabernacle Bible Study”. Here is a part of that article that should have been in yesterday’s post. The quote is from the author of that article I Gordon.
“Finally, as part of this overview, it is worth looking a bit closer at the three different areas within the tabernacle. These areas and the objects within each will be the focus of the coming studies but for now I want to draw your attention to what these areas represent.
The three areas and meanings of the tabernacle are as follows:
|Area||Dispensation or Age||Area/Volume||Jesus As||Aspect of Salvation|
|The Outer Court||Mosaic Law||1500 cubits (years)||Way||Justification|
|The Holy Place||Grace (Church age)||2000 cubits (years)||Truth||Sanctification|
|The Holy of Holies||Messianic Kingdom||1000 cubits (years)||Life||Glorification|
Each of these areas represents an ‘age’ or ‘dispensation’ of God’s dealings with mankind. This is evident in the objects constructed and the materials used.”
As I was reading another particular website, I came across a question that stated:
“Why Study the Tabernacle?”
The quote below that question is this…
“A) 50 Chapters Mention The Tabernacle
Because at least 50 chapters (13-Ex, 18-Lev, 13-Num, 2-Deut, 4-Heb) in the Bible tell of the construction, the ritual, the priesthood, the carrying of the tabernacle, and the meaning of it all. Also many other places in Scripture speak in figurative language concerning the tabernacle. In many Bible studies this subject is overlooked and considered insignificant.”
Then the last answer to that question is one I could not leave out. Here it is:
“G) Studying the Tabernacle will absolutely strengthen our faith in the Bible.
Be assured that anyone who has delved into the wonderful details of the tabernacle will confess that the Bible is more than just a book. No man could have thought of this. The Bible is the Word of God.
“all Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
Those particular quotes are from BibleHistory.com/tabernacle.
Those are just two of the reasons I want to learn more about the Tabernacle, but it first began as just a desire I had. Then, when my Journey Through Exodus brought me face to face with the Tabernacle in the scripture, I tried to go around it and stick to the events with the Israelites. I just couldn’t get past the very familiar voice in my heart that kept bringing up the Tabernacle. I kept wondering how I was going to “work around” it and not post about it, but when I heard that still, small voice in my heart and spirit, I knew… I KNEW … I had to write about it also. It is a very important part of this Journey Through Exodus and the Israelites history. This is how God was able to “dwell” with His chosen people. This is where God’s Presence was – in the Tabernacle. So how could I “skip” over it?! I couldn’t. I had to listen to the Holy Spirit and write about it. So that brings us up to date and now I believe I can begin this post about The Gate.
As some of you probably already know the Gate is a representation of Christ. There was only one entrance into the Tabernacle area (the Outer Court) and there is only One Way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said …
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Side note: If any of you read my “Good Shepherd” series, you may remember the part where I talked about how a shepherd brings the sheep into an enclosure at the end of the day and there is only one doorway into the enclosure. After all the sheep were in and settled down for the night, the shepherd would lay across the opening of the enclosure so as to protect the flock from anything that might try to get to them. This is a beautiful picture of Jesus being the Good Shepherd that lays across the doorway and protects His own.
There is no other way to God except through Jesus and the saving, precious blood that He shed at Calvary. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior we need not fear the judgment of God, that we so rightly deserve, because the blood that Jesus shed at the cross was shed for our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. We do not have to pay. So there is only one Gate into the Tabernacle area and only One Way to God and that is Jesus Christ.
Now once you get up to the Gate of the Tabernacle area, you will notice the beautiful colors that make up the Gate Curtains or Screen. Here is the scripture.
16 “For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four sockets. 17 All the pillars around the court shall have bands of silver; their hooks shall be of silver and their sockets of bronze.
Now in that website I mentioned – BibleHistory.com – it had a lot of information about the various colors found in The Gate. Here is what they had to say about the colors that God told Moses to use in creating The Gate.
Woven into or embroidered on the linen were blue, purple, and scarlet threads. The Hebrew word for blue means shellfish. A brilliant dye was excreted from this mollusk. This bright color is always mentioned first. Man needed something something to suggest the idea of heaven as a place from which God reveals Himself more fully than on earth. Therefore the color blue represents heaven, the color of the sky. We see the loveliness of the blue in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ who was not only heavenly in His origin but in His very nature and ways.
Jn 3:31 “He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. (yes I realize that there is a duplicate word in this quoted paragraph, but I cannot change a quote.)
Judg 8:26 ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks.
The color purple typifies Jesus as King of king’s and Lord of lord’s, but there is another important truth. The mixing of blue and scarlet. Blue speaks of someone who is heavenly-minded, and scarlet, as we shall see, represents blood and death, sacrifice, and manhood. Purple is a combination of both, which speaks of Christ as both God and man. In some mysterious way He combined both natures in His own when He took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh.
The scarlet was derived from an Eastern insect (worm) that infests certain trees. It was gathered, crushed, dried, and ground to a powder that produced a brilliant crimson hue. Scarlet speaks of sacrifice and typifies Christ in His sufferings. The crucifixion Psalm 22 quotes Jesus as saying – “I am a worm”. God somehow took upon Himself a body of flesh and blood and then died, giving His life as a ransom for us all.
Now, before I close this post, I must add information about the wall of white linen that formed the perimeter around the entire Tabernacle area. I could tell you in my words, but it makes more sense to just include what has already been typed up on the website BibleHistory.com. They cover all the bases and it will be better for you and me to just include their words. Here is the quote about the wall of white linen.
“The Curtains of Fine Linen (Ex 27:9-15)
The outer court was enclosed by massive curtains which were 5 cubits (7 1/2 feet) high all around. 150 feet long on the north and south sides, and 75 feet long on the west, and 45 feet long on the east, leaving room for the gate. The curtains were woven from fine linen and suspended from the pillars, which were also 5 cubits apart.
Five separate curtains were suspended round the courtyard. Two of them ran along the long side each being 100 cubits. The one at the west end was 50 cubits long while there were two short ones on either side of the front entrance each being 15 cubits in length.
The plain white linen screen formed a barrier around the House of God. No Israelite could casually wander around the Holy building or stroll into the courtyard.
The material that formed this barrier was fine white linen symbolizing righteousness. The symbolism is revealed in the Book of Revelation where, at the wedding of Christ with His bride (the church) who has made herself ready for the wedding. Her wedding dress will be made of fine linen:
Rev 19:8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
The wall of fine linen around the tabernacle presented a barrier to those whose acts were not ‘righteous before God’ making sure that they would not have access to the courtyard. And, symbolically, this would have excluded every person in Israel.”
Now this is a lot of information and I hope I have captured all of it that is needed to understand this beautiful setting for God’s Tabernacle. As I continue exploring all the elements that are within the beautiful linen walls you will see how it all is so symbolic of Jesus Christ and the finished work of the Cross.
I look forward to continuing this exploration of the Tabernacle. Thanks for joining me. I will close for now but never without saying God loves you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved.
The Video – I AM – Mark Schultz
The Song – I AM – Mark Schultz (Studio Version)
My post yesterday was about the magnificent meal that Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s two sons Nadab and Abihu, the 70 elders, and Joshua had on Mt. Sinai with God… yep, they enjoyed a meal with God! That is an incredible thing to me. Here is the link to the post if you missed it – “PRAYER – MEAL ON THE MOUNTAIN”. Today’s post will be a wrap up of Chapter 24 but it is an important one. There is a lot in this chapter about the ratification of the Covenant, however, that is not what I want to focus on. Mainly because this series is about Prayer… and it is hard for me to stay on that subject when there is so much I would love to share about other things that are mentioned or covered in the commentaries that I read about the scripture. I will include a link to one of the articles I read about the entire Chapter 24 if you are interested. It is a very good bunch of information but its main focus is not on prayer so I will not include it in this particular post. I may do a post on it someday but not now. This is the link to the article – ‘The Magnificent Meal on Mt. Sinai’ by Bob Deffinbaugh.
Another thing I want to make mention of is what they saw when they did see God. The scripture just says this…
9 Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank. (emphasis mine)
They only saw His feet. The author of the article mentioned above suggests that the reason the feet are mentioned is because of the angle that they were viewing Him from. Apparently they were looking up at God and could only see His feet. There are a couple other descriptions of “seeing God” in the Bible, one is Revelation 4:1-6 and Ezekiel 1:4, 22-28. There are some similarities of what they saw. Nonetheless, they saw God and did not perish. That is what is so wonderful.
Oh, to just see the feet of the One who died for me. I cannot imagine seeing His face. Finally face –to-face with the One who died for me. One day I will see His face and so will you if you are a believer and a Christ follower. As the old hymn says… “Oh that will be glory! Glory for me!” (If you are unsure if you will be able to see His face, here is a link to the Simple Plan of Salvation and it explains what it means to be a Christ follower – Bible.org.)
There is some suggestion that there is some time that has passed between the time of the meal and the time when God calls Moses up to give him the 10 Commandments, mainly because of what Moses tells the elders. Here is the scripture.
12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”
13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain.
So they were in the camp when God calls Moses back up to the mountain. Joshua arises to go with Moses. They ascend the mountain and disappear into the cloud that covers the mountain.
16 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Moses is now in the presence of God and is about to receive the tablets with the Law (The Ten Commandments) written by the finger of God Himself. This confused me at first because the Ten Commandments were given in Chapters 20-23. However, at that time (chapters 20-23) God spoke the Law so that the people could hear Him give the Law and also so it would give Moses authority in the people’s eyes. Now, this time He is going to write it out on the tablets of stone and give to Moses. God is also going to give Moses the blueprints for the tabernacle and all that is to go inside the tabernacle.
The remaining chapters of Exodus are the blueprints, in great detail, for the tabernacle. God gives very specific instructions on how He wants the tabernacle built, what is to go inside it and how it is to be treated and revered by the priests and the people. This is a quote from the article I mentioned earlier ‘The Magnificent Meal on Mt. Sinai’ by Bob Deffinbaugh.
“From chapter 25 to the end of the Book of Exodus, it is the tabernacle which is the principle subject. I believe that the tabernacle was designed of God to institutionalize, as it were, the manifestation of His presence among His people on an on-going basis, as the mountain had served on a one-time basis.”
The author of the same article suggests that the time spent on the mountain with God (40 days) was part and parcel a test for Israel – which they failed miserably (Chapter 32). There is another quote I would like to include from the same article mentioned above before I wrap this post up. This is in reference to the “wonder of the revelation of God”.
“The wonder of the revelation of God to the elders of Israel was that God did not strike them dead. The wonder of the revelation of God to Moses is that it is described from the perspective of the Israelites, at the base camp, rather than from Moses himself: “And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top” (Exod. 24:17, emphasis mine).”
In closing this post and this chapter and, I presume the book Exodus, I want to include one more quote from the author of the same article mentioned above. The reason I want to include this part of his “Conclusion” is because he says it much better than I could and it is important to understand what he is saying in conclusion to the book of Exodus and the Covenant that has been ratified by the people of Israel.
The ratification of the Mosaic Covenant had great meaning for the Israelite of that day. It meant that there was now a way for God to identify with Israel as His people. Because of this, the tabernacle could be constructed and the glory of God which once was manifested on Mt. Sinai could now come down to this dwelling place:
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34).
For the Israelites of a later time, it was a great comfort to know that God had established a unique relationship with the nation Israel, and that even when the nation sinned and suffered the discipline of God, their future was assured, for God had committed Himself to His people. Even in a few days, when the Israelites would worship a golden calf, Moses could appeal to God on the basis of His covenant promises.”
This has been quite a journey through the book of Exodus. I have learned so many wonderful things and I hope you have too. The love of God for his chosen people – Israel – is great. They will always be His chosen but we are all adopted into the family of God – if you know Jesus and call Him your Savior. God is such an awesome and loving God. He loves you so much and He always has called you His beloved.
The Song – He Is – Aaron and Jeoffry