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Exodus 32

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

SCRIPTURE:  EXODUS 32

BY: Jeremy Witt

God demands our worship.  This world (our culture, man’s ideas, our selfishness, others’ selfishness, enemies of God, etc) throws things at us and says, “Worship this!”  God says worship only Me!  Ultimately Satan wants us to only worship him.  Herein lies the conflict we face daily.  Will we worship the LORD God or something else?  Every day, in every place we face this civil war of  . . . will I worship God or will I worship what I want or what they want?

Our chapter teaches us this quite clearly.  The Israelites grew impatient which shows us who was most important to them.  They didn’t know what happened to Moses, they were tired of waiting, and they wanted action.  We see that they were more important and essentially wanted a god of their liking.  So they did and coerced Aaron to shape them a golden calf out of the abundance that God had caused the Egyptians to give to them when they left.  This is the great temptation for us today.  They wanted convenience.  They wanted control.  They ignored what God had said.  You can see how we do the exact same thing as a culture, and as individuals right? 

Not only did the people coerce Aaron, read verse 2-5, Aaron tried to make it okay by celebrating a festival to the LORD.  We could talk about Aaron and how he caved to peer pressure, but our focus will be on something else we do as well.  Aaron tries to take something sinful or disobedient to God and spiritualize it to make it okay with God.  We would never try to do anything like that, now would we?

So how does God respond?  Read verses 7-10.  In great anger, God responds because the people have ignored all that He has done.  They have walked over His mercy as well as His provision and protection.  They made an image of a calf!  This goes back to Egypt because the Egyptians had gods that were shaped in the image of a bull and a calf (Hapi and Hathor).  The people around the Israelites worshipped Baal who was in the image of a bull and a calf.  God is ready to wipe them out as verse 10 says.

Application for us here in 2018:  maybe we are not making idols today.  What we are guilty of trying to make God into our image or our way of thinking.  We make worshipping Him when it is convenient for us or fits our work/vacation/sleep schedules.  We obey the Scriptures that don’t convict us.   We ignore the Bible when it affects our daily living or totally neglect it altogether.  You see how we are just like the Israelites.  I have done this and I must and we must stop and repent! 

God has every right to wipe us out.  He had every right with the nation of Israel.  But Moses intervenes on behalf of the people to God.  Read verses 11-14.  Moses stood in the gap.  He reminded God of what He has done.  Moses could have taken God’s offer to start it all with himself, but he did not take the selfish route.  Moses pleaded for mercy and God gave mercy.  God will offer forgiveness if we will go to Him.  God is merciful!

Maybe you are a parent and have a wayward child so you are praying for mercy.  Maybe you are praying for mercy for a group of people that God has given you a burden for.  Moses’ heart was for the Israelites.  The question for us is, who are you going to the Father and begging for mercy?  Will you stand in the gap for them?

Let’s understand that even though God relented and showed mercy, He still judged and disciplined.  Moses and Joshua went down from the mountain and we discover the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say.  Read verses 15-28.  We see the lack of leadership in Aaron in verses 21-26.  We see why God chose the Levites to be the priests to the nation of Israel as they acted on God’s behalf in 27-29.

Read verses 30-35.  Do you see the burden Moses had for the people?  He was willing to give up his salvation and blessings for the people in verse 32.  Moses was a special leader who loved his people.  Keep this in mind for tomorrow’s devotion as Moses is blessed with something special for his faithfulness and leadership.

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Exodus 30-31

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

 

SCRIPTURE:  EXODUS 30-31

BY: Jeremy Witt

We continue reading of specifics for the construction of altars and how to make preparations for worship in the Tabernacle.  This theme will take a break for our next devotion or two.

Verse 6 jumps out to me as we hear of the “place of atonement with the tablets with the terms of the covenant.  I will meet with you there.” (New Living Translation)  The Day of Atonement was a once-a-year ceremony where the high priest would make a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins for the entire nation.  The high priest would purify himself, wear the proper clothes after confessing all of his own sins and would go into the Most Holy Place to confess the sins of the people.  It was a reminder that the sacrifices were temporary, so the people needed to come to God throughout the year and make confession of sins with a blood sacrifice.  It points us to Jesus, who was the perfect, pure and holy sacrifice that would not be a temporary sacrifice like before, but the perfect and complete sacrifice, once for all.

Notice in verse 10 that the altar itself would need to be purified.  God intended everything involved in worship to be pure and holy, even the altars had to be purified!  This was so different from other forms of worship of the nations around Israel.  God was intending for their worship to be drastically different so that others would take notice and come to Him. 

Verses 11-16 introduce us to a census tax, which essentially taught the people that they belonged to the LORD and needed to be redeemed by sacrifice.  Everyone was required to pay this regardless of economic status.  All are equal in the eyes of God, and each one of us need mercy, forgiveness, and grace because of our sins.  In the Jewish human mind, the rich were blessed and closer to God, yet this disproved that idea.  The rich could not buy God’s favor and were in need of redemption just as the poor were.

Verse 17-21 tells us of a wash basin for the priest to cleanse themselves before they went into the Tabernacle.  Again, God was teaching the people to be pure and set apart, and the priests were to lead in this as they approached God. 

We read of the preparations for the anointing oil in verse 22-33 and also the incense in verses 34-38.  This incense was a visual picture of the prayers of the people going up to the LORD.  It was a sweet smell to the people.  This was a vital part of the Day of Atonement.  It was forbidden to be used for personal use. 

We come to chapter 31 and discover two men who God had given special talents.  Notice verse 3 stating that His Spirit was in Bezalel.  God gave him an assistant Oholiab to help design and craft the articles for worship.  Why is this important?  Some people think that the “out in front” jobs are most important.  Moses was that guy, but God specifically gave these two men gifts to be used for Him.  God does that still today.  God calls some to be priests or pastors.  God calls some to protect such as police, fire, army, etc. God calls some to teach. God calls some to be design and build as we see here.  God gives each one of us who are called according to His purpose and glory, special gifts and talents.  We call those spiritual gifts.  They are to be used to help others.  They are not to be hoarded for ourselves.  They are to bring God glory and honor. 

Our last section involves the Sabbath in verses 12-18.  It all boils down to why God separated the Sabbath.  It was to be kept holy for two purposes:  for the people to remember what the LORD has done and simply for rest.  A day of rest was to help restore man and to remember the big picture, which is for God and His glory.  We could use a reminder of that ourselves, couldn’t we!

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