Monday, February 6, 2017

February 6: Exodus 23:14-25:40; Psalm 30; Proverbs 7:24-27; Matthew 24:29-51



Overview

            Exodus: The Lord finishes giving regulations with the specification for the three major annual feasts, Passover, Feast of Harvest (Pentecost), Feast of Ingathering (Booths). When they gather to celebrate, they must bring a sacrifice.
            The Lord then promises to lead them to victory in Canaan. He will send his angel before them. They must obey him for the Lord’s “name is in him” (Ex 23:21). He specifies that they must break down all the Canaanite pillars (idols) and not worship their gods. He will make Israel prosperous but will not drive the enemies out all at once.
            Then the Lord calls Moses, Aaron two of his sons along with seventy elders up on the mountain. Before going up, Moses writes down all the words of the Lord and appoints some young men to offer sacrifices. He reads the word and sprinkles the sacrificial blood on the altar and people. The people agree to do everything written.
            The seventy-four go up the mountain, see God and have a feast there. A description of what they saw is provided. He then calls Moses to go up and get the stone tablet with the Law and Commandments. Moses and Joshua go up but the others stay behind. Moses stays on the mountain forty days and nights while the glory of the Lord is visible as a fire on the mountain in the sight of all the people.
            Moses is told to have people contribute to the sanctuary for the Lord. He then details building the Ark of the Covenant, the mercy seat, the table for bread of the Presences and the golden lampstand.
            Psalm: This is a Psalm of praise from David. He has had prosperity thinking he would never be moved (Ps 30:6) but was dismayed when God hid his face (Ps 30:7). He has pleaded with God to spare him from death because he could not praise him in death (Ps 30:9). He ends when his depression and mourning are turned to joy (Ps 30:11) affirming he will praise God forever (Ps 30:12).
            Proverbs: This appears to be the final revelation on the warnings about adultery. The end is Sheol or hell.
            Matthew: Jesus continues to tell his disciples about the end times. Only now, it is more specific of his return. Immediately after the tribulation there will be cosmic changes, his sign will appear, everyone on earth will see him and mourn. The angels will gather the elect.
            Referring back to the signs, Jesus warns that when the signs appear, that generation will see it happen. However, no one will know the day or hour when he will come back. It will be just like the days of Noah. People will be going about their business. One will be taken and another left behind.
            We must also be alert and watching like a man guarding his house from a thief, or a servant waiting for his master to come home. The one doing what the master directed when he left will be the one rewarded when he comes back. The one not doing what the master directed will be cut into pieces and thrown in with the hypocrites where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

What Stood Out

            Exodus: “Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel” (Ex 24:9).
            Psalm: “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved’” (Ps 30:6).
            Proverbs: “Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death” (Prov 7:27).
            Matthew: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days … he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect” (Matt 24:29, 31).

Insight

            Exodus: We often read past the fact that seventy-four people saw God and lived to tell about it. This is remarkable because we often think that we cannot see God and live. This comes because we distort Scripture. I could only find one verse that says we cannot see God and live, but it is very specific. We cannot see God’s face and live (Ex 33:20). Paul says of God, “No one has ever seen or can see [God]” (1 Tim 6:16). Yet here in Exodus is this account of the people seeing God (Ex 24:10). Jesus said to his disciples, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7).
            What does this mean, except that God does invite us to look upon him. No, we don’t see him in his full glory or see his face, but there are many theophanies (physical manifestation of God) in the Old Testament. They are not all preincarnate appearances of Jesus either, as in this case. People thought they would die afterwards. But God came down in the person of Jesus so we could see him. Hebrews 12:14 says that without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Indeed, it is only because of Jesus’ imputed righteousness and holiness that we will be able to see God in all his glory when he lives among us in the new heaven and earth or we reach heaven.
            Psalm: When I read the Psalms, many time David appears to be a manic-depressive. One verse he is praising God and the next he is in distress crying out for mercy and salvation. This Psalm is an example. It is also a warning for us. Right in the middle, David says that when he was prospering, he thought he would never be shaken (Ps 30:6). That is just too much like our world today. Few of us consider trouble and affliction to be God’s will for us but only health and wealth. But then, trouble comes and David cries out to God that he is about to die and that won’t bring glory to God. However, he later declares, “I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant” (Ps 119:75-76). We always need to look at the big picture and see that testing and trials are probably more important in our spiritual development than health and wealth.
            Proverbs: This is the bottom line of adultery. It leads to hell. However, we also have the promise that when we repent and turn to Jesus, we are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Our repentance won’t undo all the problems caused by our sins, but our eternity will be changed when we repent.
            Matthew: I’ll have to stick to what Jesus says. Why did he say immediately after the tribulation three things would happen? There would be signs in the skies, all the people on the earth would mourn when they see Jesus coming back, and the elect would be gathered together. I can only imagine he said that because that is what is going to happen immediately after the tribulation. Jesus didn’t go into too much detail, but that is the same with all accounts of the end times. The Book of Revelation is the longest account but even there, the same thing is revealed.
            However, Jesus revels this not so we can argue about pre-trib or post-trib rapture. He reveals this to tell us how to live while we are waiting. He spends more time telling us that no one will know when he comes back. He spends more time telling us that we need to be doing what he wants while he is away. And he also tells us what will happen to those who aren’t watching or doing what he wants.
            Why would people mourn when Jesus comes back? We find this reoccurring theme in the Bible. First in Zechariah 12:10, “When they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him.” The second is here in Matthew 24:30 and the last is in Revelation 1:7, “All the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him” (NASU). There may be more than one reason:
1.      In the case of Zechariah it is because God has just poured out a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy on Jerusalem. The promise to Israel has been fulfilled and they turn to their Messiah and mourn for him because they ignored and killed him.
2.      The tribes of the earth that don’t know him will possibly be mourning for the opposite reason. They will now recognize Jesus as the Messiah but it will be too late. These will mourn because of him, not for him.
            We can’t be sure when Jesus comes back and none of us should presume that we will be given grace just before he appears. So, we need to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior now.
           

Application

             I want to see God. I want to see Jesus face to face when he returns or I go to be with him. That means doing what he directed before he left. That means making more and better disciples (Matt 28:19-20). (Don’t read salvation by works into this.)

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