Then Moses said, "Dedicate yourselves to the Lord- for every man has been against his son and against his brother- in order He may bestow a blessing upon you today."
The thought here may be one of dedication or perhaps rededication. We have seen much in this chapter' the out and out sin of the people, the lie of Aaron, and even the anger of Moses. God's desire for His people was for much more than a life of separation caused by sin. His desire for close fellowship and communion with the children of Israel would be facilitated by His great mercy, grace and forgiving nature, A call to dedication and repentance on behalf of the people would help facilitate an outpouring of spiritual blessings that the Lord had always desired. The thought for us today, a life dedicated in love and service to the Lord, helps maintain the fullness of spiritual blessings for the child of God.
"So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant."
The Lord's heart desire was not to make His people take a break or a day off once a week, but His hope was that they would enter into a rest or cessation from trying to do all on their own. Not striving to earn a living and accumulating wealth, or doing good to earn favor with God or man, but in faith entering into a place of rest and trust, hoping in God alone who provides all things. Ephesians 2:8 tells us "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God." It's this same gift that He desired to impart to all who would enter into the rest found only in Him.
"And another came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angels hand."
We saw there was silence in heaven as the incense and the prayers of the saints went up before God. Combined with the fragrance of the burning incense, and the prayers of the saints, these must have been a sweet offering of worship to the Lord. Think of your prayers of adoration, praise and thanksgiving, a sweet sacrifice, coupled with believers past, present and future, like a great choir singing the hallelujah chorus, giving glory, honor and praise unto Him, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
"And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him"
Many of us are familiar with the Damascus road experience that Saul was involved in, and yet we often overlook those who came along side of him. There were the un-named who took him by the hand into Damascus, there was a man named Judas whom Saul stayed with in the city, also the reluctant disciple named Ananias who the Lord would send to pray for Sauls healing. All these, along with Barnabas who would come alongside to mentor and encourage the fledgling Christian. As we've watched the Olympic team sports like rugby, we see six coming to assist the one who makes the big play and score. As Paul would go on to do much for the Lord, we may not remember the un-named, the reluctant, those who provided for him, the unsung heroes, yet the blessings are for all as the Lord accomplishes His work and is glorified.
And they all left Him and fled. And a certain young man was following Him, wearing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he left the linen sheet behind, and escaped naked.
This young man is thought to be Mark himself, the author of the gospel of Mark. Though conventional wisdom had told the others to leave in haste, this young man, maybe a bit impetuous, possibly emboldened by child-like faith, or filled with curiosity, he followed along, and then was snatched by Jesus' captors. His narrow escape, alludes to the thought that God had a plan other than capture for this young man. For us today, we might face challenges that that want to impede us or hinder from what God has for us, yet the Lord is so gracious to make that way for us, or our loved ones. Mark would go on to live his life for the Lord, to love Him and serve Him. Whatever or wherever we are at, don't discount the fact that God has a plan for all of us.
"Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. So Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul took Silas and departed…..”
We see the two men of God in a passionate discussion, strong words like insisted and contention marking the passage. Though not in total agreement, the ministry continued with ongoing works which would have eternal ramifications. Without gossip or slander, the effect of men like Barnabas, the son of encouragement, was to continue to build up those like Mark who was in the midst. The New Testament world would forever be touched by men like these who put aside hurt feelings and ill will, to move forward with the gospel message.
“And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be consecrated, and his sons and his sons garments with him.”
Like the cleansing and washing of the blood of the Lamb of God, and the pouring out of His Spirit for the life of the child of God, so too like Aaron and his sons, we, who have become the children of God in Christ, set apart for Him. Washed by His blood, the Spirit poured upon and into us, His promise and pledge for us of blessings and eternal life in Him.
"And you shall slaughter the ram, and take some of the blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron's right ear and on the lobe of his son's right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around on the altar."
In the act of consecrating, anointing and ordination of Aaron and his sons, we see the instruction in regards to the application of the lamb's blood upon the priests. In the application of the blood to the right ear lobes, thumbs and big toes, we see key elements of God' s call for believers lives today. This attests to the fact of our ears opened and listening for the Lord's call and words for our lives, our hands placed to and filled with His work, our feet, always walking in His path. Called by Peter, a royal priesthood, we are now set apart for God's work in this world.
"And you shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And you shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all on its hem, and bells of gold all around them."
We've seen much of the tabernacle and its contents, ripe with symbolism, all pointing to Jesus Christ. Its much the same as we now look at the priest's garments. The robe of blue, a reminder to look up heavenward, as if to be reminded and recall the magnificence of God's creation. The pomegranates, a luscious fruit, fragrant in smell, a refreshing fruit and with delicious seeds, a poignant reminder of the Lord's divine word, encouraging the soul and bringing gladness to the heart. Much spiritual blessing to be gleaned for the student of the word.
"Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be made of one piece with it."
The lampstand, made of one talent of gold or about 75 pounds was of quite large in Its scale. Jewish tradition tells us that the lamp stood 5 feet tall, and about 3 1/2 feet across. Its seven bulbs holding finely beaten olive oil, would light the dark confines of the holy place. The golden lampstand represents Christ as our light as we are told in John, "There was the true Light which coming into the world, enlightens every man." (1:9) For its He who brings us to the fulness of the glory of divine life in Him.
"Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them."
As the sons of Israel exited Egypt, led by the Lord, He first brought deliverance, then gave them His word, the covenant. He now asked for contributions for the building of a sanctuary, so He would be able to dwell in their midst. You see for all time, the Lord sought to be among His people. So true it is today, that as we receive His message of salvation, the forgiveness of sin in Christ Jesus and make our hearts open for His sanctuary, He comes in and dwells with us. As simple as it sounds, the Lord for all time desired fellowship and communion with His people. For you and I, the relationship is ongoing, for others, it's His heart's desire that they would open their hearts to Him. Continue to let your light shine, pray for those outside of the fellowship of believers, that they might open their hearts to Him.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient."
As the children of Israel drew near to ratify the covenant of the Lord, they were more than willing to pledge their intentions to obey God's word. Yet the reality that in of themselves, their good intent and heart's desire to live right in the flesh before the Lord was easier said than done. Some would be quick to realize that without God's help and faith in Him, the task was impossible. Much as we today call upon the name of Jesus, it's always been faith in the Lord and His love and grace and mercy, to make the way for us.
"I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you."
Taking a look at even at the simplest of maps, we see that the land mass promised to the sons of Israel was sizeable. For their love and worship, with obedience, much were the promises of God. Since the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948, much dissension deals with the right to the land, and Israels right to live on the land. Surrounding nations and people groups, with many wanting peace, while others want to deny the Jews right to live. Within the hearts of the sons of disobedience, works an ominous view that the Jews have no right to live. Land and right to the land becomes a reason for them to pursue the eventual annihilation of an entire race of people. This has been attempted before, but the Lord continues to shelter His people. Look up people, see the signs of the times, know that our Redeemer draws near.