Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 15: Exodus 39 – 40; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12; Mark 1:1-28



Overview

            Exodus: As with the previous descriptions of making the tabernacle, this is a repeat description of making the priest’s garments. Bezalel is still the one credited with the work but it is obvious he didn’t work alone (Ex 39:1). There are a few more details. The gold thread used was actually pure gold made by hammering out gold into a fine leaf then cutting threads (Ex 39:3 wow!). They also made twisted chains of gold like cords (Ex 39:15). When everything was finished, they brought all the parts of the tabernacle and the garments to Moses. Moses checked it out then blessed the people because it was all done as the Lord commanded.
            The Lord tells Moses that on the first day of the first month, he is to erect the tabernacle and put everything in place. He is to anoint everything, including the priests with anointing oil. The altar of burnt offering will be made holy by the anointing oil. So Moses does everything the Lord commands and when he is finished, the cloud covers the tent and the glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle because the glory of the Lord filled it.
            When the cloud lifts, the people set out. When it stays, they stay. The Lord was in the sight of Israel throughout their journey.
            Psalm: David asks God to fight against his enemies. He doesn’t pull any punches but wants them put to shame, dishonored, scattered like chaff, and destroyed. He lists several reasons and they are all personal attacks against him. He tried to treat them kindly but they repaid him evil when he stumbled. He will rejoice when God whacks them.
            Proverbs: Wisdom adds years to our lives. You can’t get wisdom from another and scoffing hurts only yourself.
            Mark: Mark identifies Jesus as the Son of God and this is his good news. John the Baptist announced his coming in accordance with Isaiah’s (Isa 40:3) and  Malachi’s prophecy (Mal 3:1). John was very strange but baptized with water saying the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
            John baptizes Jesus and God affirms him. Jesus is tempted in the desert for forty days and then starts his ministry saying it the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe. He calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow him.
            On the Sabbath he teaches and casts a demon out of a man. His teaching and his actions puzzle people because of his authority. His fame spreads throughout Galilee.

What Stood Out

            Exodus: “The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Ex 40:34,35).
            Psalm: “But I, when they were sick—I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting” (Ps 35:13).
            Proverbs: “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it” (Prov 9:11).
            Mark: “Immediately” (Mark 1:10, 12, 18, 20, 21, 23).

Insight

            Exodus: It took Israel about three months to get to Mount Sinai (Ex 19:1-2). Moses spent two periods of forty days on the mountain and some undisclosed about of time in between. So it was about six months before they started construction on the tabernacle. Assuming they finished shortly before the Lord commanded Moses to erect the tabernacle, it means they took about six months to do all the work. This was accomplished by a bunch of people who were slaves and left Egypt in haste. Yet, they had with them enough equipment and material to build this ornate structure. It seems that God giving them wisdom and skills to do the work are an understatement.
            When God wants something done, it gets done. We aren’t always in control of the timing or other circumstances. However, when it is his plan, it is fulfilled. Just as the timing of his incarnation was perfect, so the tabernacle and the arrival of God dwelling among Israel occurred just when he wanted it to happen.
            The glory of the Lord filled the temple so that even Moses couldn’t enter in. Here is the man that talked with God face-to-face and now, even he can’t enter this sacred place. The message is simple, all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 6:23). But God’s timing is perfect. In Jesus, we have the redemption of our sins and this was made know to us and accomplished through Jesus in the “fullness of time” (Eph 1:7-10).
            Psalm: The scholars call this an Imprecatory Psalms or Cursing Psalms. Nothing in this section of the Psalm reflects any goodwill toward David’s enemies except where he recounts his concern for them when they were ill (Ps 35:13-14). That was in the past and now he wants God to whack them. I’m sure we’ve all felt the same at one time or another. It is hard to be treated unkindly when we’ve done everything we can to be nice to someone else. One thing is for sure, though, while we may pour out our feelings to the Lord, it is another matter to take things into our own hands.
            David had several opportunities in his life to repay evil for evil. He nearly destroyed Nabal and he admits that it would have been evil (1 Sam 25). He had two opportunities to kill King Saul, but restrained himself and his men (1 Sam 24:4-7; 26:8-9). He even wanted to spare his own son who rebelled against him and wanted to take his life (2 Sam 18:5). This may be a matter of do as I do, not as I say. His trust was in God taking care of the problem and not taking vengeance into his own hands. “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you” (Prov 20:22).
            Proverbs: Just like salvation, wisdom is something that each of us has to acquire on an individual basis. We can’t save another person and we can’t make them wise. We may influence them in one direction or another but the bottom line is each person is accountable for his own life. As much as we would like to see some people become wise and or saved, this is ultimately between them and God.
            Mark: Mark doesn’t pull any punches. He immediately declares that Jesus is the Son of God. If you were to look at this Gospel as a term paper, he has just given us his thesis or hypothesis that he will now try to prove. His first point is that John the Baptist fulfilled prophecy as the one who would announce the Messiah’s introduction to Israel.
            Then begins the immediatelies. (Not all translations use the word.) It’s as if Mark doesn’t want to waste any time proving that Jesus is the Son of God. Everything we need to know is contained in these introductory verses. Immediately, after his baptism, God declared Jesus to be his son and the Holy Spirit comes upon him. Immediately, Jesus is tempted. Immediately he has four followers. Immediately he begins teaching with authority. Immediately he has authority over demons. Immediately he heals (Mark 1:29-31).
            Right there is the message of salvation. There is undeniable proof that Jesus is God in the flesh and that we need to listen to him. We have proof of his deity by his authority in Scripture as well over demons and diseases. Our response it to know that the kingdom is here, we don’t have to wait, we can be saved now, if only we will repent and believe.

Application

            I always need to remember that God’s timing is perfect. It may not be what I think is best but it is always right. I also need to overlook offenses. If there really is a problem with someone coming against me for some reason, I don’t need to worry about it or ask God to vindicate me. I may have to work through that

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