Day Two: The Golden Bull

Exodus 32:2-6 (NIV) – Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

In the distant past, there was a buffet nearby called “The Golden Bull”,  and, indeed, it had a giant golden bull statue on its roof. When we read Exodus 32, we are probably just as shocked by the appearance of the golden calf as the idol of choice for the Israelites. Yet, the worship of any idol – whether physical or of the heart – is equally out-of-place in the life of a child of God. One of the core themes of the Bible is the removal of idols from our lives.

“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give… A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would hardly be worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought.” [Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods]

To build the golden calf, the Israelites “yanked out” the gold earrings they had taken from Egypt without second thought. Today, may we heed Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:6, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” Let’s set our hearts on the Lord alone as we worship to O Come to the Altar performed by Elevation Worship.

– NB

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day One: Wait here … for FORTY DAYS?

Exodus 24:12-18 & 32:1 (NIV) – The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”

Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Exodus chapters 19-31 is a whirlwind sequence of God’s covenant pledge and the people’s response. In the middle of it all in 24:14, Moses gives a simple command: “Wait here for us until we come back to you.” However, after Moses’ absence of forty days and forty nights, there is a quick and unexpected attitude reversal among the people in 32:1.

“The longer the prophet was away, the more impatient the Israelites became. They started having doubts – not just about Moses, but also about God. Their doubts became murmurs, and their murmurs became complaints, until finally they decided to take matters into their own hands. They went to Aaron, who was second-in-command [like an overwhelmed substitute teacher! – NB] and said they wanted to make a few changes in their worship service. They told him to get busy making them a new deity. So Aaron very obediently made the only kind of god he knew how to make: a golden idol fashioned in the shape of a young bull.” [Ryken, Philip G. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory]

Waiting can be excruciating when we are focused on our own plans. But the Bible tells us in Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Today, how are you waiting? Let’s wait for the Lord in prayer and worship, because the Bible promises that he is on the way! Let’s worship to “Waiting Here for You performed by Christy Nockels.

– NB

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Five: Keeping the Heart of Worship

Exodus 31:12-13 (NIV) –  Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.

“Why make mention of the Sabbath at this point, within the section of Exodus that deals with the tabernacle? The answer is that the tabernacle was for worship; worship occurred weekly, on the Sabbath; and if the Sabbath were not properly observed, worship would not properly take place; so therefore the tabernacle would not be properly used.” [Douglas K. Stuart, The New American Commentary: Exodus, Vol. 2, 653]

“The implied point is that the commands to build the sanctuary and to make provision for it do not supersede the command to observe the Sabbath.  In short, despite everything that had to be done, construction work was not to be done on the Sabbath, and Israelites were not to violate Sabbath under the justification that their extra labor provided the income to help maintain the sanctuary.  Behind this is the greater theological point that God was the one who provided for Israel and the sanctuary.  The issue here is trust in God’s provision.” [Duane A. Garrett, A Commentary on Exodus, 613]

The heart behind the Sabbath is keeping or guarding the heart of worship unto the Lord. It was the Lord who instructed the people to build the tabernacle, but “doing” the “good work” of building it with seeming “good intentions” was not to precede the heart of worship, which trusts in the Lord God who alone who provides. Just as the Sabbath was to be kept holy for the Lord, it signified those who belonged and were set apart for the Lord.  Let’s not get so caught up in the “doing” of things, but rather how we are to worship the Lord.

Let’s pray that the Lord will help us to guard this heart of worship for him alone.  Let’s also pray that we would grow in our passion and desire for greater worship of him in our lives and as we grow together in the church.

Let’s close singing to Matt Redman’s song, Heart of Worship.’

– EK

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Four: Worship – Joyful Living

Exodus 29:42-46 (NIV) – “The Song of the Tent”

“For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly 
at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the Lord.
There I will meet you
and speak to you; 
there also I will meet with the Israelites,
and the place will be consecrated by my glory.
“So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar
and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 
Then I will dwell among the Israelites
and be their God. 
They will know that I am the Lord their God,
who brought them out of Egypt 
so that I might dwell among them.
I am the Lord their God.

“I believe that verses 29:42-46 are poetry. This song is a celebration of the Tent of Meeting as a place of constant communion between YHWH (Yahweh) and Israel via the sacrifices offered there daily. The significance of the act is brought out in the poem. The mood is positive and joyful, and it celebrates the significance of the Tent of Meeting: YHWH is present with Israel. He instructs them, sanctifies the sanctuary and its priests, and maintains the covenant relationship – that he is their God.  So understood, the ritual is not burdensome, but a realization of the promise that Israel will be unique among the nations, a treasured possession and holy people belonging to YHWH (Exod. 19:5)” [Duane A. Garrett, A Commentary on Exodus, pages 598, 600]

We are God’s temple. He is dwelling among us and what a great joy and privilege that we can live a life of worship un to the Lord. Worship in all its details and preparation is a joyful privilege.  As we are reminded of this wonderful reality in Christ, may the Holy Spirit fill our hearts afresh in joyful worship unto the Lord. Let’s pray that we will worship him in all that we do today.

Let’s close in prayer to this song, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman.

– EK

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Three: Worship – Exactly How He Intended It To Be

Exodus 25:8-9 (NIV) – Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

In what is to follow in the remainder of Exodus chapter 25 to 31, God gives careful and detailed instructions for the tabernacle that is to be built for him. Both the materials that are to be used and the process of building and being able to enter in reflect his holiness and his kingship over the people. It is clear that the primary focus is worship unto the Lord.

The privilege of being able to meet with God and have him dwell among them was no casual occasion at all. There was no compromising or negotiations on materials, patterns, budget, process and so forth. All things are to center on God who is holy who would be dwelling in there and the tabernacle would be constructed, exactly, to the detail, how the Lord patterned or designed it to be.

Worship is to be carried out in accordance with divine revelation.  Worship is on God’s terms, in his order, in his ways, in line with his desires and his character.

Our daily lives of worship matter to the Lord. And today, let’s ask the Lord – what is your order of worship for me?  How can I worship you today – in line with who you are as God in my life and according to what you desire?

As we prayerfully seek the Lord in this way, let’s follow along in this song of worship unto Him – Yes and Amen by Matt Redman,

 

– EK

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Two: God Moves In…Redefining

Exodus 25:8 (NIV) – Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV) – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Having God’s presence dwelling among the people would set them apart from any other people. Through the building of this tent of meeting (tabernacle) – God would make his presence known to them and to all. What we have been reading in Exodus has been building up to this point – God rescues and delivers his people and is setting them apart as a people for himself and what sets them apart or identifies them from all other people? His very presence is with them, dwelling with them.

Let’s also reflect on this from Gordon Fee, page 19, Paul, the Spirit and the People of God: “The gathered church is the place of God’s own personal presence, by the Spirit.  This is what marks off God’s new people from ‘all the other people on the face of the earth’ (Exodus 33:16). There is not a more important word in all the New Testament as to the nature of the local church than this one! The local church is God’s temple in the community where it is placed; and it is so by the presence of the Spirit alone, by whom God has now revisited his people.”

Let’s spend time thanking the Lord for how he has called us to be his church as his Spirit dwells with us. Let’s remember in thanksgiving the brothers and sisters that we have in the church and pray that together we will continue and in greater measure make known his presence to the places we are ministering – whether in our cities and campuses.

Let’s close in worship to this song, Hands to the Heavens by Kari Jobe.

– EK

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day One: God Moves In…Because He So Loved

Exodus 25:8 (NIV) – Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.

John 1:14 (NIV) – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 3:16-17 (NIV) – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

After making His covenant with the people, God’s plan is to move in, dwell among them through this tabernacle they are to build. God is displaying his faithful love to be with his people through the journey. He would not leave them alone, but make his presence known among them.

Ultimately, we see God’s heart as he sent his Son, Jesus, to come and dwell among the people. In the same way, neither did he leave us alone, but through Jesus coming, he made a way possible for us to be saved from death to life and be able to be reconciled in relationship with Him. We can know his presence daily with us through the Holy Spirit.

This is all because….God so loved…

As we start things off this week, let’s simply dwell on this, “God so loved the world…God so loved us…that he came to dwell.” Who are we that he would make known his love and presence to us in such a way? May we be undone by the amazing love God showed us through Jesus!

Let’s close in worship to this song, ‘How He Loves’ by John Mark Mcmillan.

– EK

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Five: The Most Important

Mark 12:28-33 (NLT) – One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

“When Jesus gave that reply, the teacher of the law who asked the question made an interesting response… Jesus immediately commended him for his answer. But it was not a sudden flash of some new idea. That teacher was simply echoing the way the Old Testament Scriptures also said that some things are far more important than others — even within God’s law. Think, for example, of the words of Samuel to Saul: ‘To obey is better than sacrifice’ (1 Sam 15:22); or the words of God to Israel through Hosea: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings’ (Hos 6:6); or of the voice of Proverbs: ‘To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice’ (Prov 21:3).” [Wright, Christopher J. H.. How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth]

There are many laws given to God’s people in Exodus but living out God’s culture eventually comes down to expressing this one command: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. God’s culture is not the way we look, the music we listen to, or the food we eat. God’s culture is the way we love God and others. Pray for a renewed filling of the Spirit to live out the greatest commandment today. Let’s worship to “Yes and Amen” by Housefires

– ES

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Four: Back to the Future

Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)
Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

“This inner redemption triangle of the Old Testament — of God, Israel, and the land — becomes a model, or paradigm, of God’s wider intention for the rest of the nations in all the earth (the outer creation triangle). Israel was meant to be ‘a light to the nations’…

“What took place within that inner triangle of God, Israel, and the land — including the gift of the law of Moses — can be drawn out, as it were, and considered in relation to our own context. That’s where we will find it ‘useful,’ as Paul said…

“We are not trying to enforce it literalistically — that is to say, thinking that we can ask people to do exactly what it says in the text, just as it stands. None of us now lives in ancient Israel… We live on the ‘bottom line’ of the outer triangle — living in one of the nations on God’s earth. What we need to do is to look for what God taught and required within that inner triangle (Old Testament Israel), and then ask how that still addresses and challenges the context in which we live in the outer triangle — wherever that may be. Old Testament law, by telling us what God required of that society at that time, can still challenge the church…” [Wright, Christopher J. H.. How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth]

Spend time thinking how “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor” and other commands in Exodus apply to your context today. Let’s worship to “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman.

– ES

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Three: The World’s Best Culture

Exodus 20:8-11 (NLT) – Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

Mark 2:23-27 (NLT) – One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”
Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God (during the days when Abiathar was high priest) and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.”
Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”

“What did Jesus mean when he said, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ (Mark 2:27)? He meant that the Sabbath law was supposed to be for human benefit. Jesus got angry because the leaders of his day had turned something good and beneficial into a burden that people had to submit to. It was as if the law was the master and humans were serving it, whereas, said Jesus, God’s idea was the other way round. He gave the law to serve human needs and help people live in better ways…

“When Jesus said that about the Sabbath, he could have been speaking about the whole law. God gave his law to Israel not to keep himself happy or to take pleasure in finding fault with Israel’s failures but for their own good… Keeping God’s law (living in God’s way) was the way to a life that was wise, healthy, satisfying, and productive — a blessing, in fact. Basically, obedience to God is good for you. And when you think about it, since God made us in the first place, the best way to make life work is to ‘follow the Maker’s instructions.’ God knows what will contribute most to human flourishing.” [Wright, Christopher J. H., How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth]

God’s culture is the best culture to live. As you live in God’s culture today, may the blessing of God flood your life. Let’s worship to the song “Build My Life” by Housefires.

– ES

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail