What are You Waiting For?

Hebrews 9

Hebrews 9_27 28

Good morning!

Today’s chapter starts off with some details about how the tabernacle was set up.  It gives some great descriptions of exactly what it would look like and makes it very tangible for readers.  I love the little aside that the author gives at the end of verse 5 when they write “But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.”  It makes me smile because I imagine someone who is so excited about sharing everything they have with the Hebrews, but has to contain themselves because they know they have more important things to discuss.

Now on to the “more important” things!  At this point people would’ve known what priests had to do when going into the Most Holy Place and recognized the sacrifice that was required.  The author here is giving the background information for the rest of the message to show the significance of Christ.  It is explained that priests no longer had to go to a place made by humans that required continuing sacrifice of animals for forgiveness; Christ was able to enter the Most Holy Place by one sacrifice to obtain eternal redemption (vs. 11-12).  This would’ve been a big deal in this time!

Verse 14 and 15 are great verses to meditate on for this chapter!  “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ… cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” What a great verse to give us some perspective!  We have a Savior who offered himself as a completely perfect sacrifice ONE TIME for the redemption of our sins that should’ve led to death.  And why? So that we can not only serve the living God, but also so that we can be set free from our sins and receive eternal inheritance (vs. 15).  That is simply amazing, friends!

There is so much more in this chapter that we could really unpack, but I don’t need to write a whole book so we’ll finish off with the final verses 😊

When we look at verse 27 there are two really big pieces that we need to recognize.  The first is in verse 27 which reads “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” This key factor on the morality of humans is one of the many reasons Christianity differs from other religions.  Here it says that people get one life to live, they die one time, and after will face judgment.  The second piece shows me that people have a lifetime to seek forgiveness for their sins.  It doesn’t say that we will face judgement after we do that one really bad sin, or that by the time we reach a certain age, etc.  We will face judgment after death.  With that in mind, we aren’t all guaranteed a long lifetime to seek that forgiveness.  Are you living each day as if you could be judged the next moment?  Are you continually serving the living God and asking for forgiveness when you fall short?  Those can be some sobering questions to ask yourself.

Finally, in verse 28, we get a glimpse of that hope we have.  “…And he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”  Jesus is coming again!  I want to be one of those who are waiting for him, and I hope you all do too!  Today, how can your actions, thoughts, words, and choices reflect that you are waiting on Jesus’ return?  Or, how can you encourage a brother or sister in Christ and remind them of his second coming?

-Sarah Blanchard

 

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Finding Your Place (I Chronicles 6-7)

Wednesday, November 16

levite_musicians

Chapter 6 starts with listing the descendants of Levi.  The tribe of Levi is set aside to be the priests, workers in the tabernacle and temple, and things like that.  In verse 11, it says “These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there.”  This is the list of men who had a specific job because of their genealogy.

In verses 48 and 49, it says “Their fellow Levites were assigned to all the other duties of the tabernacle, the house of God.  But Aaron and his descendants were the ones who presented offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense…”  Again, these other Levites had specific jobs or duties because of their genealogy.

As we move into chapter 7, we see lists of other groups of people, and for each one, it lists their number of fighting men or warriors.  Each of these also had a duty as warriors, both in defense and offense.

As I was reading this, I thought about how this could relate to us.  We each have special roles in the church.  If we look at the genealogy of the church, where do each of us fit in it?  Would you be listed as having “priestly duties”, the spiritual leaders in the church?  This could be as a pastor, elder, or a scholar possibly.  Would you be listed as a musician, giving praise to the LORD?  Would you be listed as a warrior, standing up for your faith on the defense and/or evangelizing and spreading the word on offense?

We are not cast into a certain position based on the tribe we belong to, but there is a place where each of us fit.   I encourage you to examine what roles God is leading you to, and follow God’s plans for you.

-Andrew Hamilton

“Curtains, I don’t want to carry curtains!” (Numbers 3-4)

Wednesday, August 31

At the Lord’s command through Moses, each was assigned his work and told what to carry. Numbers 4:49

rebeca wed 

By Rebecca Dauksas

Being a child of God and a follower of Christ is the most incredible privilege in the world.  How amazing that we are called to serve the Creator of the universe and His Son! But sometimes the jobs that we do for the LORD can seem insignificant, unpleasant or down right gross. Let me explain.  I am a youth worker and I love it.  The time I have spent with youth has been amazing.  But no one told me that there would be tasks involved like unclogging the youth room toilet.  Not my favorite task and probably no one else wants that one either.  But it is necessary.

In Numbers 3 the tribe of Levi was given to assist Aaron the priest and his sons. They were to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. They were to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. The Levite clans were counted and then they were given their specific tasks that they were to carryout.  Literally to “CARRY OUT”.  They were physically carrying, taking care and showing proper respect for the furnishings and the tabernacle itself.  This is where a person’s attitude toward their acts of service is so important.  Imagine what enters the mind of a Levite Gershonite when he is told about carrying curtains.  He can think, “Curtains, I don’t want to carry curtains along with all that other stuff to load on carts. The other clans have much easier jobs than this.”  Or he can think, “I am thankful that I can help move the tabernacle so we can have the LORD’s place of worship to be the focal point everywhere we travel.”

We should be thankful for the opportunity to carry out God’s work and have a positive attitude while we perform that work. We have this chance every time we serve God and others.  Remembering that whether our acts of service are big or small, if they are performed because we love God and others, those tasks have real meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Sounds Vaguely Familiar (Exodus 38-40)

Saturday, August 20

20-holiness-to-the-lord

We have made it to the end of the book of Exodus!  Even if this is your first time reading through the book of Exodus (and CONGRATULATIONS to you, if it is!), several parts of these final chapters should sound quite familiar – because we have read nearly the SAME thing just a few chapters back?  What is the difference?  Why the repetition?

In Exodus 27 & 28 God is giving explicit directions to Moses on how the priestly garments, the altar and the tabernacle courtyard are to be made – materials to be used, precise dimensions, and the exact designs God desires for His Holy Place and His Holy People.  And, in Exodus 38 & 39 we read that it WAS done exactly the SAME way – including once again all the materials, dimensions and exact designs.  In chapter 39 it says at least 8 times that the work was done “-as the Lord commanded Moses”.  At the end of the chapter (vs. 43-43) is says, “The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord commanded Moses.  Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded.  So Moses blessed them.”  It seems that details are pretty important to God.  He didn’t just want it done.  He wanted it done correctly.  He wanted it done HIS way.  Sometimes I think we are quick to pat ourselves on the back if we can just cross a job off the list.  But, have we done it correctly?  Have we done it God’s Way?  Is there a job that needs some more of your attention to do it correctly?  To get it done God’s Way?

Another related phrase that caught my attention was a saying that was to be engraved on a gold plate and attached to the priest’s clothing with a blue cord:  “HOLY TO THE LORD”.   Holiness – to be set apart – total devotion  – unlike any other.   As a member of the royal priesthood (as explained in 1 Peter 2), how is your holiness quotient looking today?  Are you set apart – or blending in?  Are you totally devoted – or only when convenient?  Is there a visual reminder (like the priest’s gold engraved plate on their clothes) that will help you remember to be HOLY TO THE LORD?

    “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy , but now you have received mercy.  Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and aliens in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, thought they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”         I Peter 2:9-12

  Live Today

HOLY TO THE LORD!

And All Your Tomorrows Too!

(Thank you to Josiah Cain who wrote this week.  Since he was working so hard serving in Louisiana the devotion for today (Saturday) was written by Marcia Railton.  Keep praying for Louisiana – and let’s jump into Leviticus next!)

 

It’s Time to Build …Finally (Exodus 35-37)

By Josiah Cain

holy of holies

After many chapters of instructions it is finally time for the people to craft these objects and put the tabernacle together. Not just any old person built things for God; only the ones filled with His spirit were builders. It says that these people were filled with craftsmanship and intelligence this way they could accurately build all that God commanded them.

I also liked how God provided for his tabernacle by having the people give but only if they wanted to give. God didn’t force people to give like He did with the flat tax rather He only wanted those who really cared to give. So many people were moved that Moses had to command the people to stop bringing stuff because they had more than enough to finish the project.

I always enjoy seeing God interact with His people and how He provides for what needs to be done. If we trust God with everything we won’t be disappointed by Him, I promise.

Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark

By Josiah Cain

josiah ark

Well if there is one thing you probably noticed about today’s reading, that is, it was repetitive. The amount of instructions were so long because every other sentence was like, do this exact same thing again on the other side. Besides all of the long winded instructions, what else was there? I actually think there is a lot of value hidden in these words.

The first thing I noticed was how specific the instructions got; it was just like yesterday’s reading where the situations that were described got really specific. I think this shows us that God really does have an exact way that He wants us to do things sometimes.

Also what a cool job it would be to build God’s tabernacle and His ark. The ark is such a historically important object that Hollywood even decided to make a movie about it. Also the tabernacle was the first place that God really calls His dwelling place, the first time we see God dwelling amongst His people since the Garden of Eden.

Another thought I had was how everything the ark and tabernacle were built out of was expensive. I think that material doesn’t really change the holiness points of structures but I think it did impact the Israelite’s view of the whole ordeal. The Israelites had to put some skin in the game if they wanted to really build the ark and tabernacle. All of the materials mentioned did not come cheap and easily, especially in the middle of the desert.

All in all, this might not have been the most thrilling section to read but it is still important because God put it there. I hope you did learn something about the tabernacle and the ark. It might have also made you appreciate the fact that God hasn’t asked you to build Him a giant tent in your back yard. Once again thanks for reading!