Friday, February 11, 2022

Wow. Just. Wow

I'm on another round through the Bible, which, honestly, is about the only time I spend in books like Leviticus and Numbers.

Curiosity got the best of me, so I made a list of what God required for each festival. If you don't receive our Christmas letter (!), you may not know that our family had a funeral and two weddings this year. Based on the forethought, cleaning, planning and preparation, my mind was spinning as I considered God's idea of a festival.

My takeaways? Sin is always there. The goat was a regular, daily reminder of our need for forgiveness. The price is great. There is no easy way out. There are no excuses. God sees and knows all. Death is the price. 

But God is greater. The celebration of God, His goodness, His holiness, His righteousness, His grace and mercy is to be celebrated, honored, revered. We are far too flippant, too easily satisfied, with our worship.

The idea of everyone ceasing from labor, gathering for a sacred assembly and presenting offerings--the priests, the labor, the cost--all point to the God they serve-!

And Jesus is our sacrifice. One sacrifice for all time. One sacrifice for all. The sufficient one. I stand amazed in the presence... of Jesus the Nazarene. And wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.

How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior's love for me.

Daily

-        2 lambs, male, unblemished, a year old

o   1 in the morning

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with

§  1 quart of olive oil

o   1 at twilight

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with

§  1 quart of olive oil

Sabbath

-        2 male lambs a year old, unblemished

o   4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

-        In addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering

Monthly, at the beginning of your month

-        2 young bulls

o   6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 quarts of wine for each bull

-        1 ram

o   4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   1 1/3 quarts of wine

-        7 male lambs a year old

o   2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil with each lamb

o   1 quart of wine for each lamb

-        1 male goat

-        In addition to the regular burnt offering with its drink offering

1st month, 14th day= Passover

-        Festival on the 15th day

-        Unleavened bread for 7 days

-        1st day= sacred assembly, no daily work

-        Offering in addition to the daily burnt offering for 7 days:

o   2 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   1 ram

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   7 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   1 male goat for a sin offering

-        7th day, hold a sacred assembly, do no work

Festival of Weeks= sacred assembly

o   2 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   1 ram

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   7 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   1 male goat for a sin offering

-        In addition to regular burnt offerings and grain offerings

7th month, 1st day= Festival of trumpet blasts, offering:  do not do any daily work

-        1 young bull,

o   6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

-        1 ram

o   4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

-        7 male lambs a year old

o   2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil with each lamb

-        1 male goat

7th month, 10th day= Day of Atonement: do not do any work

-        1 young bull,

o   6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

-        1 ram

o   4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

-        7 male lambs a year old

o   2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil with each lamb

-        1 male goat

7th month, 15th day= Festival of Shelters: do not do any daily work, 7-day festival

-        Day 1

o   13 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 rams

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram

o   14 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

-        Day 2

o   12 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 rams

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram

o   14 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

-        Day 3

o   11 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 rams

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram

o   14 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

-        Day 4

o   10 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 rams

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram

o   14 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

-        Day 5

o   9 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 rams

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram

o   14 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

-        Day 6

o   8 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 rams

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram

o   14 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

-        Day 7

o   7 young bulls

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull

o   2 rams

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram

o   14 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

-        Day 8: solemn assembly; do no daily work

o   1 bull

§  6 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   1 ram

§  4 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   7 male lambs a year old

§  2 quarts of fine flour mixed with oil

o   1 male goat as a sin offering

o   In addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings

 


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Response to a Hardened Heart

This blog is my place to be brutally honest. Here it is: One of my greatest struggles this last year has been with (generally) men in positions of leadership who have a hard heart, or stopped up ears, to women and their suffering. 

In the past, I have been put off by women whose desire to help (specifically in the area of abuse) comes across as brash, disrespectful, and demanding. I avoid their writing, teaching, and communication because their person and message feel so charged with anger and bitterness.

However, I have to admit that I have struggled with those same feelings and frustrations.

Recently, I have been blessed by the book of Exodus--specifically Pharaoh's hardened heart. Sometimes Pharaoh chose to harden his heart* (חָזַק "to be or grow firm or strong, strengthen"). He determined not to free Israel from his bond.

The majority of the time, the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart or it was done to him--his heart was hardened.**

Over and over and over Moses repeated the message, to free God's people from bondage and servitude for the purpose of worship. Over and over, Pharaoh said, "No"--after gaslighting, posturing, blame-shifting, intimidating, using tactics we can see and refer to in contemporary terms.

Why?
But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. (7:3)

“Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, so that I may perform these signs of Mine among them..." (10:1)

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” (14:4)

And as for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. (14:17)

God does His work, not in spite of hardened hearts, but through them, in them, because of them. The work is not ours. It is His.

Moses experienced rejection after rejection. He was demeaned, belittled, and rebuffed. But, because God had given a command and God enabled him to persevere, Moses went back over and over again regardless of Pharaoh's response. He didn't need Pharaoh's approval. He served God alone. He didn't need Pharaoh's permission. But God did an amazing work and revealed Himself in ways never seen.

The example of God freeing Israel from Egypt was a sign of His might, power, goodness, and provision to this day. Generation after generation recalled the escape from Egypt. It is a picture of Jesus purchasing our freedom from sin and death.

In and through it all, what was Israel's job? First, they cried out and God heard them. Then He sent Moses. And it was theirs to listen. Trust God. And obey. Regardless of desperate circumstances--as slaves, through the plagues, as the firstborn were slain, with their backs against the Red Sea. Cry out. Listen. Trust. Obey.

When God allows people to say, "No" to a good thing, to living out the image of God in worship and freedom, we can be downhearted and disheartened. But I have been encouraged that God uses even this for His glory. In fact, He is behind it all for a greater purpose. God is God. He is working. I can trust Him. I am simply called to obey in the tasks He puts before me. I am not to give in to despair, hatred, or reviling. My words and behavior need only reflect our Lord Jesus Christ whether they are appreciated or not; listened to or not; respected or not. Pharaoh did not listen. And that was God's doing. For His purpose. For His glory. And the deliverance of His people.

As Pharaoh approached, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were coming after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord.  Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?  Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness!”

But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will perform for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again, ever. The Lord will fight for you, while you keep silent.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and reach out with your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. And as for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots, and through his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:10-18)

*Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:34--and in this verse it is referred to as sin

**Exodus 4:21, 7:3, 7:13, 7:22, 8:19, 9:7, 9:12, 9:35, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:4, 14:8, 14:17

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Access

 "...through Him [Jesus] we...have our access in one Spirit to the Father." (Ephesians 2:18)

From where I sit in my home office in podunk America, I have a hard time imagining myself walking into a high rise office of a powerful CEO. Thoughts of metal detectors, armed men and women in suits, click-clacking shoes on marble floors, elevator banks with escorts, and lots of glass come to mind.

Walking into a corner office for an appointment seems ludicrous. Being invited or welcomed--feeling comfortable in such--beyond comprehension. I don't wear heels or a suit on a special day, let alone a normal one.

But the Bible says that through Jesus, we have access to God the Father. And we don't go alone. We have the Holy Spirit to accompany us. We are in our element--and we are welcomed!

God, the Creator of the Universe, calls us children. He has chosen to be our Father. Our good, perfect, generous, giving, kind, giving of Himself, Father. And He wants us to to come. He wants us to realize our access to His face, His throne, His hand, His kingdom, His eternity. 

What does that mean? It  means I don't have to live life on my own. I don't have to accomplish or prove myself  by myself. I have access to God! I have access to His armory, His banquet table, His hallways, His lap. He wants to be part of my decisions. He wants to meet my needs. He wants to show Himself faithful through my circumstances and responses. He made Himself accessible for a reason. He has given me supernatural, open access that I might live with the resources and gifts only He can give--through Jesus.

So, then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death. He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22 CSB)