Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 8 Feb 18:
1. Exodus 27 — Notice how detailed God’s instructions were, requiring very strict obedience. Some things God commands are very specific, and there is no room or interpretation. What would have happened if Noah didn’t strictly obey God’s instructions for building the ark? What happens when you don’t strictly obey God’s specific commands?
2. Exodus 28:2 — “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.” Aaron’s glory and honor came from his service to God. The garments were not intended to point to Aaron but rather to his position under God. God does not share glory and honor with people. All glory and honor goes to Him. Never let anyone point to you rather than Jesus.
3. Exodus 28:3 — “You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill.” Through the Spirit, God gives skills to serve Him. Our skills were not intended to serve self.
4. Exodus 28:35 — “And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.” Aaron could not be seen by the people while he performed his priestly role inside the Holy Place, but he could be heard. This likely served as a constant reminder to both Aaron and the people of the importance of his every move before God and on the behalf of the people. It likely also served as a reassurance to the people that Aaron was actively faithful before the Lord as their intermediary. Perhaps we should wear bells to remind us that we are always “before the face of God” (Coram Deo), that we should be “always faithful before the face of God” (Semper Fidelis Coram Deo) in our every deed, that our every action should be intentionally directed towards reconciliation — bring others closer to Jesus, and that others should have constant evidence of our ministry to them before the Lord, confidence that we are always praying for them.
5. Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” If you love God, you must hate evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech. Don’t hate the sinner; hate what is controlling them and what they represent.
6. Proverbs 8:14 – “I have strength.” Sinners are just weak.
7. Proverbs 8:17 – “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” You will get what you are really looking for. What are you looking for in life?
8. Proverbs 8:34 – “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” Spiritual growth requires daily, wholehearted diligence and includes watching and waiting.
9. Proverbs 8:35 – “For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.” Finding Jesus and knowing Jesus is eternal life. (see John 17)
10. Acts 1:2 — “…until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.” Christians received commands from Jesus daily through the Holy Spirit. Can you hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you today?
11. Acts 1:4 — “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father….” One of the hardest things to do is wait on the Lord and on His promises. Abram couldn’t wait for God to provide the son He promised, and we are still feeling the pain of Abraham’s sin. Jacob couldn’t wait for the inheritance promised by God, and we are still feeling the pain of his sin today. Be very careful not to get ahead of God. Wait on Him to provide in His timing. Until then, focus on being faithful with what God has provided.
12. Acts 1:7 — “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.'” How many times on a long car ride will the little kids say, “Are we there yet? When will we be there?” When they get more mature, they learn to wait patiently and make the most of the time. We spend too much time worrying about when God is going to do what He is going to do. The Bible is clear, the past is gone, and there is no sense mourning what could have been; the future is not in our control, and though we can plan to be prepared, we should not worry about it. The only thing we can influence is today. Today is where we must be faithful and make the most of every opportunity. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow but make the most of today. Constantly speculating about the future can be a form of escapism, distracting you from the thing right in front of you. Faith is trusting God enough to obey Him today. Hope is trusting Him with the future. Walk in faith and hope. Obey today, and trust God with the future.
13. Acts 1:8 — “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses….” Do you want more Holy Spirit? Then be a witness and understand that power is not about you or for you — it is about God, empowering you to make disciples.
14. Acts 1:11 — “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” What are you staring at? Start serving God. Jesus will return on God’s timing. Be ready today, and be faithful with today.
15. Acts 1:16 — “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David.” The Bible is God’s word provided through Spirit-filled men.
16. Acts 1:24, 25 — “And they prayed and said, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’” Only God knows the true heart of a person. Knowing a person’s heart is beyond our capability, but certainly not beyond God’s capability. God can reveal another person’s heart to us. How often do we ask God to do only what God can do when we are dealing with others? And what do we do when God doesn’t reveal? For example, suppose we are choosing between two options. Which to choose? First, you must obey the moral will of God as it is revealed in Scripture. If Scripture prohibits one option, the decision is easy. Similarly, if one of the options in your choice causes you to neglect something God specifically commands you to do, you are required to make the choice that will allow you to fulfill your biblical obligation. We must also immediately go to the Lord in prayer. If there is no clear answer and there is time to wait, then wait – don’t rush an important decision. What if still no answer? Then, using God’s word (revelation we already have), we should dig deeper to determine which option best conforms to God’s commands and direction. If the options are equally Biblically supportable, we should then go with our wisdom or preference, seeking guidance from other wise counsellors. (Proverbs 15:22) If still undecided, then use any method, flip a coin – God will honor your efforts to conform to His will and to choose with discretion. And if you still choose poorly, God will instruct you and guide you through the error.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 Feb: Resolve not to worry about the past or the future but rather to simply be faithful with every decision and action today, making the most of every opportunity to draw others closer to Jesus in some way.