Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 10 Feb 18:
1. Exodus 30:20, 21 — “When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the LORD, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.” God has always taken His own Holiness very seriously with and expectation that we remain holy as His servants. To the priest this is a matter of life and death. Holiness is the only attribute of God repeated in the Bible three times for highest emphasis — “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8) Of course, the Spirit is a Holy Spirit. By definition, unity with the Spirit is unity in holiness. God does not allow holy things to be used in an unholy way – “And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the LORD. Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.” What is unholy cannot be accepted with the holy. Of course, this truth is revealed throughout the New Testament (see examples below). God compares our spiritual union with Him to a marriage and label our unfaithfulness with the world as adulterous. Whenever we choose sin with the world over faithfulness to God, we are committing spiritual adultery, but we don’t see it that way – “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’” (Proverbs 30:20) Consider Proverbs 7 from the perspective of the adulterous sinner in a spiritual union with God; consider your sin from God’s perspective. Of course, God’s grace covers over our sin, but do we really intend to treat Him this way?
– Revelation 22:11 — Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.
– 1 Peter 3:15 — but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,
– 1 Peter 1:15, 16 — but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
– 1 Peter 2:5 — you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
– 1 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
– Hebrews 12:14 — Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
– 2 Timothy 2:21 — Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
– 1 Thessalonians 4:4 — that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
– 1 Thessalonians 4:7, 8 — For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:26 — Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
– 1 Timothy 2:8 — I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
– Colossians 3:12 — Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
– Ephesians 4:24 — and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
– Ephesians 4:30 — And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
– Ephesians 5:27 — so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
– 1 Corinthians 3:17 — If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
– 1 Corinthians 6:19 — Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
– Romans 12:1 — I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2. Exodus 31:1-6 — Oholiab and Bezalel – God uses and empowers artists to glorify Him. Oholiab and Bezalel used their talents to serve God, and their names are written in eternity.
3. Exodus 31:3 – Only God’s Spirit can empower someone to do God’s work. God gives people the skills and knowledge to do His work, and beyond their natural abilities, He gives them supernatural abilities through the Spirit.
4. Exodus 31:2-4 — “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” The word integrity doesn’t just mean truthfulness, it also means wholeness or holistic, integrated strength. For example, if a chair with all its parts has structural integrity, you can confidently put all of your weight on it without thinking twice. God wants you to be a person of two-fold integrity, both truthful and holistically strong in body, mind, and spirit; said another way, in MEPS – in mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual abilities. God gives you capacity in all your essential elements, but He also calls us to faithfully use and strengthen all are attributes for selfless service to Him — “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.” (Luke 10:27) Too often we neglect one, if not all, of these elements, sometimes overlooking that they are not only all essential, they are also all interdependent. If you neglect the body, for example, it will affect you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If you neglect your mental development, it will impact all of your other attributes, and the same interdependent relationships apply to your emotions and spirit. The whole you must be dedicated to God. Work to be excellent in all human attributes, and understand their interdependence.
5. Exodus 31:6 – “And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” We live out the Greatest Commandment by obeying all that God commands – “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5) God gives you abilities to serve Him. You walk in two-fold integrity when the whole of you is honestly and faithfully serving Him in strength.
6. Exodus 31:13-16 — “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you…. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.” How seriously does God feel about the Sabbath – “above all….” The Sabbath, beyond all of its MEPS benefits, is an act of holiness – it sets you apart from the rest of society. Notice also that the Sabbath is “a covenant forever”. What does forever mean?
7. Exodus 32:1 – “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us.” Waiting upon the Lord to lead is an essential act of faith. If you are not being led by God, you are being led by an idol. We become idolatrous when we lose patience and act on our own volition rather than by the Spirit’s counsel.
8. Exodus 32:4 – Idolatry gives credit for God’s blessings to something or someone else other than God Himself. The most common form of adultery is pride, giving credit to self – “I did [this]; I did [that].” God will not share His glory with another.
9. Exodus 32:8 – “They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them.” Moses was called to lead a spiritually weak people with hardly any faith, no self-control, and no discipline. As the leader, Moses provided external discipline to those who lacked internal discipline. As soon as he wasn’t there, the people displayed their immaturity and infidelity. Leaders are the leaders for a reason. If God calls you to lead, you must not lose sight of the fact that those who you lead will not, by definition, measure up to your standard (more importantly to God’s standard) – that is why they need you to be an example of fidelity and strength. Leaders must have incredible patience – “If you can’t stand the smell of sheep, don’t be a shepherd.” If you are frustrated by their weakness and immaturity, you are revealing your own weakness and immaturity – you are revealing your own self-centeredness.
10. Exodus 32:11 – “But Moses implored the Lord his God.” Leaders engage in intercessory prayer for those they lead because they have a genuine heart for the sinner and truly desire their reconciliation with God.
11. Exodus 32:25 – “And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose….)” Aaron failed as a leader because he failed to be strong while others were weak. He surrendered his integrity due to fear and lost his moral authority to lead. Leaders know where to go and are willing to lead others there (literally or figuratively, tangibly or ethically). Leaders often have to take people where they don’t want to go for all the right reasons – this takes moral courage. Aaron lacked the inner strength to lead, and his failure resulted in thousands of needless deaths. Had Moses been there, the people would not have gone astray because he would have given them external discipline, guidance, and direction. A leader must possess the strength needed by the led or they are not really the leader at all.
12. Proverbs 10:2 — “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.” The wicked may gain great treasure on earth but remain spiritually dead, missing the whole point of life on earth.
13. Proverbs 10:3 — “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.” Godly people are satisfied with what God has provided them, but the ungodly are never satisfied no matter how much they acquire for themselves and no matter how much they proclaim their happiness. Nothing on earth can fill a God-sized void in life.
14. Proverbs 10:4 — “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” We were created by God to love Him but also to work for Him. We are spiritual, but we were also intentionally created physical and placed in a physical world to translate God’s spiritual reality into the physical reality — “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” God’s first command was to “subdue the earth”. To bring His order into a world of disorder. God provides, but He expects us to work in accordance with His will. His provision is not meant to accommodate our irresponsibility (though in mercy and grace He often does). God’s “natural” principles still apply to us even though God empowers us with the “supernatural”. Decisions have predictable consequences, and actions produce predictable results. A fundamental life principle for everyone is you will reap what you sow. If you want a result in life, you will have to work for it using the abilities God has given you. Christians are responsible, hard workers who pursue excellence in all things.
15. Proverbs 10:8 — “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.” Someone once pointed out that “listen” and “silent” are spelled with the same letters. Read God’s word and receive. In prayer, don’t just talk. Listen. Spend less time pondering over what you think and want and more time asking what God thinks and wants.
16. Proverbs 10:12 — “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” The Greatest Commandment is love. Love and forgiveness are inseparable. Our mission is reconciliation. Forgiveness and reconciliation are inseparable. Resolve to burry all offenses. Cover them over with love and forgiveness.
17. Proverbs 10:18 — “The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.” Don’t hide your hatred, and don’t spew your hatred — just don’t hate! Love!
18. Proverbs 10:22 — “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” A person can be rich with sorrow, or rich without sorrow. When you are truly walking with Jesus, you are rich and joyful. Your richness and joy won’t be measured by currency.
19. Proverbs 10:24 — “What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.” The righteous want what God wants and live for what God wants. Therefore, when the righteous ask, they receive because they are only asking for what God wants. If you are frustrated with not getting what you want, you likely have a problem with your “wanter”.
20. Proverbs 10:25 — “When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.” Everyone goes through the storms of life, but the outcomes are not the same.
21. Proverbs 10:28 — “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Hope is trusting God with the future. God will not disappoint. The wicked trust themselves with the future though they have no control over it. This results in a terrible existence.
22. Proverbs 10:29 — “The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.” Like the old analogy of the ship and the lighthouse, the Lighthouse does not move for the ship but serves as a beacon of protection. A person will either be guided by the Light or destroyed on the unseen rocks of life.
23. Psalm 16:2 — “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” When the Lord becomes all you want out of life, you will get what you want and live a fulfilled life.
24. Psalm 16:3 – “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” Christians love to be around other devoted Christians and seek them out.
25. Psalm 16:11 – “In your presence there is fullness of joy.” Joy in life depends on your closeness to God. Distance from God is not a matter of time/space but rather agreement, surrender, and obedience. Draw near to God by denying yourself, taking up your cross, and walking with Jesus Christ. This is where joy and eternal life are found. It is not enough to know ‘about’ Jesus; joy is knowing Jesus personally.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 Feb: Evaluate your MEPS integrity today and consider how you are using it to lead others to Jesus. Renew your commitment to love God holistically and to strengthen what is weak. (see today’s readings)