Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 19 March 2022:
Exodus 26:1 — “Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them.”
“Today we return to our study of Old Testament themes fulfilled in the new covenant, our focus this month being the tabernacle and its furniture. Hebrews 9 tells us that just about every detail of this portable sanctuary and the priesthood is fulfilled in Christ, so we trust that our study will be rich indeed.
Exodus 26 records the plans God revealed to Moses for the architecture of the tabernacle, which was a portable tent wherein the Lord made Himself manifest in a special way in Israel. Just as the Israelites lived in booths or tents during their time in the wilderness (Lev. 23:42–43), God “lived” in a tent as He traveled with them. According to Exodus 26, the tabernacle complex was made in the shape of a rectangle with a flat roof, and it had three sections: an exterior courtyard surrounded by curtains of goat hair and ram skins stretched over a wooden frame (vv. 7–25), and the tabernacle proper made of beautifully woven curtains (vv. 1–6) and separated into two rooms — the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (vv. 31–33). Only the Levites could enter the courtyard (Num. 1:53), so most Israelites never saw the tabernacle proper.
There is much that could be said about the tabernacle’s design, but perhaps the most important thing to remember is that it was designed to be a copy of the Almighty’s heavenly throne room. The ark of the covenant sat within the Most Holy Place as the Lord’s footstool (Ex. 26:34), and the cherubim woven into the curtains of the tabernacle were depictions of the heavenly host that glorify God day and night in heaven (v. 1). Importantly, the inclusion of the cherubim shows us that the prohibition against idols and graven images (20:4–6) is not an absolute prohibition against all art in worship. If all art were banned in the worship setting, the Lord certainly would not have ordered Israel to include figures of the cherubim in the old covenant sanctuary.
Clearly, the stress on curtains and coverings in the tabernacle’s architecture was to be a sign that there is separation between our holy God and sinners. Entering His presence is no small matter, and His worship must be carefully guarded lest His name be profaned. John Calvin comments that “the Israelites were instructed by external figures how precious a thing is the worship of God, and therefore that they must diligently beware lest it should be polluted.”
The restricted access to God’s presence in Israel was to remind the people that even though He had chosen them, something more had to be done to overcome the wide chasm between His holiness and humanity’s impurity. This chasm was bridged in Christ, who now gives free access to the Father for all who take up their cross and follow Him (John 6:37). Because of the work of Jesus, we experience an intimacy with God that Israel never did.” (Ligonier Ministries)
- Matthew 27:50-51 – And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
Check out this video explaining why the Temple curtain was torn when Jesus died — https://www.gotquestions.org/temple-veil-torn.html
Psalm 31:1 – “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!”
The message of the Gospel is that we are saved by the righteous on Jesus (God), not our own righteousness, which is not righteous at all. A simple way to think of the meaning of righteousness is to think of it as being ‘right with God,’ to be reconciled, to have all matters or debts settled. Jesus paid our debts on the cross and made us eternally right with God, righteous. Of our own account, we are unworthy. Jesus made us worthy.
Psalm 31:5 – “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”
Redeem means to buy back, or to make something that was once bad good again. Note that the Psalmist says, God does the redeeming. Again, Jesus made us righteous, redeemed. God is faithful though we are not faithful, our salvation rests securely on His unconditional love for us, not on our imperfect, always failing love for Him. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.
Psalm 31:7, 8 – “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.”
Bible verses like this are here to remind us to rejoice when we don’t feel like it. These verses remind us during hard times that God’s love for us is unconditional, enduring, everlasting, and overpowering. God is the Creator. God is Sovereign and Almighty, and God is love. When the God who made and controls everything and who is love loves you, what does that say about what you are going through? God is loving you through your challenges, drawing you closer to His love, and using your circumstances for an ultimate good that exceeds your wildest imaginations. “…you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy….” Sometimes you might be tempted to think God has abandoned you, turned you over to your circumstances. No, He will never leave you or forsake you. Trust in Him.
- Romans 8:28-29 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Psalm 31:6 – “I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord.”
The more you love God, the more you hate what He hates.
Psalm 31:9 – “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress.”
Distress is inevitable in this broken world. But when hard times come, we should draw closer to the Lord who will guide, protect, comfort, and love us through them.
- Philippians 4:4-7 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 31:12 – “I have been forgotten like one who is dead.”
Your friends might abandon you, like the disciples abandoned Jesus during his darkest hour, but God will never abandon you.
Psalm 31:14, 15 – “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand….”
You can rest easy knowing your times are in God’s hands. Jesus rested in the boat while the disciples panicked in the great storm, fearing death. Jesus knew who was in control. We just read about how Paul remained confident through a shipwreck because he knew who was in control. Jesus said, “Peace I give you.” Rest easy, be confident, rejoice. Your God has you in the palm of His hand. He is in complete control and loves you immeasurably.
Psalm 31:24 – “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”
The strength of your courage is dependent upon your actual faith in God. Faith makes you courageous.
Proverbs 19:2 — “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”
A goal without a realistic plan is just a dream.
Proverbs 19:9 – “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.”
A false witness offers hope in something other than Jesus. We were not created to be ambassadors of organizations, philosophies, theories, morality, or bright ideas. We were created to be ambassadors of Jesus. People don’t need another self-help program, another positive motivational speaker, or a personal guru. They need Jesus.
Proverbs 19:11, 19 – “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense…. A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.”
Repeatedly, the Bible tells us to watch our tempers and to control our anger. However, many Christians are passive-aggressive. They don’t initially respond to an offense, believe themselves to be obedient to God’s commands, but they don’t immediately forgive either; so, they stew on what happened and let their internal anger fester, only to continue with a sinful heart. Then, their future encounters with that offender are always viewed in the light of that previous offense, wrecking hope of real peace and reconciliation. Unforgiveness often reveals in avoidance and withdrawal, failing to give the offender your very best. Is there anyone who would alter your joy if they walked unexpectantly into the room? If so, seek reconciliation with them.
God expects us to show mercy and grace to people as He has shown us mercy and grace. Mercy is not giving people the punishment they deserve, and grace is giving them the forgiveness they don’t deserve. Do you have good sense?
Proverbs 19:14 – “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Character is more valuable than riches, and it cannot be transferred from one person to another. It comes from a life that chooses to follow Jesus one day at a time over time. Noble character only comes from God.
Proverbs 19:15 — “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”
God expects you to be a hard worker. He does not bless laziness.
Proverbs 19:21 — Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
What matters is not what we desire. What matters is that we desire what God purposes. What God purposes will prevail. To be out of synch with God, out of “step” with the Spirit can only cause us heartache and pain. (Galatians 5:25) Today’s Proverbs tell us, “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:3) It is folly to get mad about the inevitable consequences incurred by self-induced problems brought about by our own sin, decisions made outside the counsel of the Holy Spirit. So often, Christians chase the consequences of sin, looking for solutions without addressing the root sin itself. Until the sin is addressed, seeking solutions is only working against God. It is folly. This is true for individuals, institutions, and nations. You reap what you sow. We must not get mad at God; we must get right with God. Until then, we labor in vein (and vote in vein).
- “To enjoy the things we ought to enjoy… has the greatest bearing on excellence of character.” Aristotle
- Psalm 127:1 — Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
- Philippians 2:15,16 — …be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Proverbs 19:23 – “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied.”
Godly people are satisfied with what God has given them and content. Ungodly people are never satisfied.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 March 22: Be at peace today. Demonstrate peace today. Explain your peace through Jesus today to anyone who asks why you are so different. (Psalm 31)