Today’s readings are Exodus 30-32
FYI I found a really neat reference Bible that I’ve been using to get a better grasp on what we are studying. It has lots of footnotes with dimensions of artifacts being given (in our measurements), archaeological finds that lend more insight into our readings, etc. It’s the Archaeology Study Bible. About half of most pages are archaeology study notes. It’s just something I’m using as an additional reference. Here is the link if you’d like to check it out.
Exodus 30:1-5 We begin with details on how to construct the altar of incense. This measured about 18 inches square and 36 inches high.
Exodus 30:9 is a reminder to Aaron and his sons. The Father gave specific and detailed instructions to them with a reminder of don’t just start doing whatever you want to do. They had His instructions on how He wanted these offerings carried out and He went out of His way to remind them NOT to do it any other way. The same goes for us in His word. We have every instruction we need, there is no need for us to go off the path and start forging our own.
In Exodus 30:13 we find one of the few places where we are commanded to give money in which everyone age 20 and up were commanded to give 1/2 shekel according to the sanctuary shekel. There were different shekel weights being used at the time so this is why the specific standard of “according to the sanctuary shekel” is used here.
Exodus 30:20-21 are plain statements that end with reminders to take this seriously and with great reverence. The Father is not playing. There is a time to rejoice before the Father and there is a time to sit up straight and take notes.
Exodus 31 shows us an indwelling of the Holy Spirit within Bezalel. Read Exodus 31:2-5
2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.
We often hear “The Holy Spirit came in the New Testament.” But a sound reading of the Word shows that the Father has been sending His Holy Spirit to indwell in people of His choosing since the beginning. Although He did send it in a mighty way later on, for a very special purpose.
We read that purpose in Ezekiel 36:27 I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you.
Here are some of the verses in which YHWH put His spirit into people in the biggest part of the Bible that the world has declared “old”:
- Exodus 31:1-3
- Numbers 11:17
- Numbers 27:18
- Deuteronomy 34:9
- Psalm 51:11
- Judges 3:10
- Judges 6:34
- Judges 13:25
- Judges 14:6
- 1 Samuel 10:9
- 1 Samuel 10:10
Exodus 31:12-17 has one of countless exhortations to keep the Father’s Sabbath. An interesting note is that it is the only commandment that begins with “Remember”. The Father knows us well. Just as in earlier readings of Exodus we see Him using the term “Forever”. Note again that He is speaking specifically to Israel, His chosen, called out, set apart people. These rules and commandments have been given exclusively to those who join themselves to Him, to be in covenant with Him. While we know that eventually every knee shall bow and obey, what a triple blessing to choose to willingly be in covenant with Him now! Remember, if looking for who is Israel now, check out Isaiah 56, Romans 11, and dig into how olive trees are grafted and just who those rascaly sojourners are = along with all of the commandments on how they are to be treated.
Exodus 31:18 Did you catch who wrote the commandments on the tablet of stone? Wow!
As I’ve said before, I LOVE these parts of the Bible because we see how every little detail matters to YHWH.
Throughout my life I’ve heard (and said) “Oh, as long as you mean well, God doesn’t mind” or something to that effect, essentially saying that God doesn’t really mind if we don’t do things His way.
But it is impossible to think that details don’t matter to Him when we read his Word – especially when we step back and realize that these words are ones that were actually spoken by Him.
I used to dismiss the possibility that YHWH might care about details – until it came to my life and then I wanted Him to take notice of every little issue, infraction, grievance, and stressor.
So here is the good news: He always pays attention to details.
And here is the wake up call : He always pays attention to details.
And this leads us right into the golden calf. Oh mercy! Mercy, mercy, mercy!
Exodus 32:1-6 Think about this: As Moses was up on the mountain making the covenant with YHWH, his people were down below simultaneously breaking it. Not only that, but they built the golden calf, declared it to BE YHWH (whom they had seen in more mighty ways than any other people at this point) and declared this calf worship a festival TO YHWH! May He have mercy on us for doing the very same thing, in His name, today.
And Aaron, their remaining leader and high priest, had gone along with it because that is what the people wanted. Not only that, but He declared that worshipping this calf was to be a Holy Day unto YHWH. Whoa. I’ve lost track of how many lines he has crossed so far.
What on earth would lead them to do this?
It’s simple: culture, habit, and comfort. This is how they had always worshiped other gods and how the Egyptians had always worshipped other gods.
It was familiar.
It was what they were used to.
It was their comfort zone.
But hadn’t the one true God called them away from all of that? Yes, He had, and He had proven himself in countless ways, sustained them, nourished them, rescued them time and again, preserved them while calamity was falling all around them and they stood in the midst watching it. He had prospered them both in wealth and in children and yet, despite all of this, they still chose their culture, habit, and comfort over obedience to Him.
YHWH was calling them out to a new way of life, one which held untold blessings for anyone who was obedient to Him. He had called them to be a special, set apart people, but after all that He had done, they could have easily blended right in with Egypt to anyone who didn’t know any better.
Today’s scripture calls us to seriously consider this in our own lives.
In what ways are we choosing our culture, habit, and comfort over obedience to YHWH? Speaking for myself, this is something I have to examine every day and I’ve had to make some big changes in my life in order to get in line. I know there will be many more still to come. It’s all part of the journey and what a blessing to have the Father’s attentive guidance on this path through His love, His direction, and His Word.
He really is so good to us – and patient beyond comprehension as we stumble around and find our way. I thank our Father for bringing such wonderful brothers and sisters into my life along the way!
Bonus round, Exodus 32:20 What did Moses do with the golden calf?
In Exodus 32:32 we see a Messianic pattern of Moses offering Himself as a sacrifice for the Israelites. We also see a very important point on 32:33 wherein the Father says that whoever has sinned against Him He will blot out of His book. Note that in order to be blocked out of a book one must first appear in that book. Therefore, the person was saved, written in the book of life, and then removed. That is something to turn over in our minds today because it contradicts a popular and beloved church doctrine but wholly lines up with the rest of the Bible.
Great addition about this section from Barbara Miller in our Facebook group: Moses’ prayer did not change God, but it did change the standing of the people in God’s sight – the people were now in a place of mercy, when before they were in a place of judgment. God did not destroy Israel, and He knew that He would not destroy Israel. Yet He deliberately put Moses into this crucial place of intercession, so that Moses would display and develop God’s heart for the people, a heart of love and compassion. Moses prayed just as God wanted him to – as if heaven and earth, salvation or destruction, depended on his prayer. This is how God waits for us to pray.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!