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.

Pastor Russell

"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.

Pastor Russell

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.

Pastor Russell

“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.

Pastor Russell

"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.

Pastor Russell

"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.

Pastor Russell

"But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, which being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed."

As we've gone through a portion of the book of Exodus that contained the ordinances for the children of Israel, we see the tedious list of laws along with the Ten Commandants, that were brought to govern the daily lives of the people. This custody guarding us or keeping us safe, really from ourselves, were meant to bring us to the realization that the task was really impossible in of ourselves.

"Therefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith."  Galatians 3:24

Pastor Russell

"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.

Pastor Russell

"Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently."

The Lord has a way, for believer and nonbeliever alike, to shake things up. For we, the children of God, it may a call, a reminder for us to keep our eyes on Him. So often, we look away, looking at a situation. It may be a relationship, a work situation, health or financial related or the uncertainty of the future. Whatever it may be, the Lord would have us with our focus on Him. Much of the time we have no control over any of the previously mentioned, and this is where our faith is tested. Uncomfortable as it is, it's much better than an almost hopeless resolve that this is how it is, as for the one without the expectation of good things to come in Christ. In 1 Peter 5:7, we find the assurance "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

Pastor Russell

 "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.

Pastor Russell

"So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said."

Jethro, the priest of Midian, spoke into Moses' heart, as if the oracle of God. Moses received the counsel, took heed the words spoken, and put into motion God's wisdom. From a family of seventy, to a people now numbering in the millions, careful follow through of the Lord's word was key to survival in the world. A key example for us is this of Moses, hearing and heeding God's word and His will for our lives. Listen up carefully child of God, and follow through with His words spoken to us. "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Proverbs 25:11

Pastor Russell

"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.

Pastor Russell

"Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israels sake, all the hardship that had befallen them on the journey, and how the Lord had delivered them."

With Pharaoh and his troops decimated in the midst of the sea, we saw in the following passages Moses having to deal with much grumbling and quarrel along with contention from the sons of Israel. It came even to a point of Moses feeling threatened by talks of stoning him by the people. Yet as he spoke to Jethro, not a word is mentioned of the unhappy people. Moses said yes, we had much hardship along the way, but the Lord has been faithful, and brought us each and every step of the way. Our own lives can be filled with complaint and spewing misery, or we can instead choose to recount to others of His faithfulness even in hardship. As Jethro rejoiced with Moses' testimony, seed fell on good ground that spoke of God's faithful dealings, he would come eventually to a place of worshiping the true and living God. Our lives should reflect much the same of Moses heart to those around us.

Pastor Russell