Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 5 March 2019

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV).

As with yesterday’s verse, here Paul is talking primarily about wealth, about Timothy instructing wealthy believers to share with others.   As with yesterday’s verse, let’s construe how it goes deeper than that.

This past Sunday I taught the “tweeners” at our church, the kids in 3-6th grade.   Our lesson was on building the Tabernacle in the Sinai desert, how God instructed the Israelites to give of what they had to complete His work, in this case building the tabernacle tent where God Himself could tabernacle with them (meaning He would abide and go with His people).   God asked them to give in ways that hurt their pride, giving up the gold and wealth they had plundered from Egypt so that it could be dedicated to Him.   He didn’t do it out of vanity.   He did it as a lesson for their hearts.   “I’m your God.   I love you.  Your wealth isn’t your god.   It doesn’t love anything.   Provide these small things as I provide for you.”

Boom.  That’s bigger than some bar of gold, or your 401K, or any of my possessions.  It’s not the economy:  He’s our God.  That’s the message Paul gives his protégé to teach.   Our God provides for us in all ways, including the Savior to save us from ourselves.   Those to whom He has given extra blessings should willingly share those with those blessed in less monetary ways as a gesture of love and respect for Jesus.

Jesus our God, whose whole ministry was about how He could give 100% of Himself to others, how He taught love and justice to the world through the example of serving, of giving completely even up to His own life.   He who gave everything for people who would murder Him still gives Himself up for our sins.   He calls us to a better way, beginning with our hearts.   When so many things draw our hearts away from Him, He still searches for us and wants us to love our sisters and brothers that same way.

Those who have material wealth have worldly opportunities to do this in ways that those without it don’t.  If you have it, what will you do?   If you won’t, you can do other things.   Will you?

Having wealth is a blessing from God, just like having health, having talent, having passion.   They’re gifts from Him; even elementary schoolers know that.   My friend, let’s each do something, for Him, with our gifts today.

For further reading:   Romans 12:8, Ephesians 4:28, 1 Timothy 6:13-21.

Blessing Lord, You are holy and good.   You save us, please forgive us today for the wrongs we do.  Teach us to give and share the wealth, the talents, the everything You give to us for the good of Your Kingdom

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Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 20 November 2017

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp.  Hebrews 13, verse 11.

Word came out today that Charles Manson died over the weekend.  Charlie masterminded the 1969 grisly Tate-LaBianca killing spree, convincing his young, drug-addicted followers to savagely murder for him.  Manson had lived a tortured life of abuse and crime, and the late 1960s counter-culture was a petri dish in which he enthusiastically grew the bacillus of true hatred.  Charlie didn’t kill anyone himself:   he directed others to do it for him.  Originally sentenced to death, Manson’s sentence was commuted to life in prison after California changed its death penalty laws.  In the (over) 45 years since, Manson gave no sign that he repented of his heinous crimes, and there’s no reason to believe he did so at his end.   Hell may very well be one soul richer this morning.

Do you think Jesus is grieved at that?   I do.  I’ve talked about how Jesus loved Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, and the most notorious people in history.  He created each of us as “very good” and loves us unconditionally.  Even mass murderers, criminals, and people who do the worst things we can imagine.   So if Charlie checked into a hellish eternity yesterday, it happened in spite of Jesus love and that must sadden our Savior.   It’s as if His sacrifice was burned up for nothing.

The verses associated with this one talk about sin offerings.   During the time after the Ten Commandments, God revealed to Moses how He wanted His people to recognize their need for atonement.  The Israelites could no more atone for their own sins than we can, so God provided them with a system of animal sacrifices that would remind them of their spiritual dependency on Him.  Once a year, a Levite high priest would slay an animal, sprinkle it’s blood in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle, and ‘make atonement’ for all the peoples’ sins.   Afterwards, what was left of the animal would be taken outside the camp and burned to ashes, then the ashes would be sprinkled in a place that had been made ceremonially ‘clean.’   All this was done to remind Israel that it was sinful and that it should depend completely on God for its salvation as much as it did for it’s three squares, air, shelter, and safety.

You know where this is going:  Jesus was our sin offering.   Jesus was the ultimate offering to God Almighty to atone for our myriad sins and appease His holy, righteous anger.  His blood sprinkles on all of us.   He was executed outside the city, buried outside the city, even rose outside the city.  Jesus Christ did for mankind the most important thing that mankind couldn’t do for itself.

When we turn our backs on this truth, we are keeping Jesus outside our camp.  “I’d never do that.   I’d never act like the Manson Family” you or I would say.  But have we considered how we do it every day?   Every time we embrace even petty evil, we side with what defined Charlie Manson.   I’ve never killed anyone but I’ve harbored deep grudges and hatred.   I’ve followed idols.   I’ve hurt and destroyed things Jesus commanded me not too.   I’ve done evil just as you have, and when I have I have sided with the evil that drove Manson.   What do we make of Charlie?

In-between drugs, sex, violence, and helter skelter, Manson once declared himself to be Jesus.   His followers believed it and did his bidding.  I was only a small child when all this happened, and I grew up learning about the things the “Manson Family” did in its savage killing spree.   It was confusing and hard to understand, how someone could orchestrate such unspeakable evil and convince others to follow.  But now that I’m an adult, I look back and realize it really isn’t very hard to understand.   Evil is as old as Eden and as common as the air we breathe.   Charlie kept Jesus outside the camp of his life for all his life.   He rejected God’s invitation to be at peace, and in doing so he led astray other equally confused people.   In rejecting Jesus, there could be no sin offering for Charlie but himself, and all that’s left now are worthless ashes.  I believe that must grieve Jesus.   I picture Him today, sitting alone and contemplating the loss.   We walk up to Him and say “is everything ok Lord?”  “Yes,” He might reply, “but I’m a little sad right now because one of my dear people has gone.”   He might even have real tears in his eyes for Charles Manson and everybody else who goes astray forever.

Mass killing has become common place in our society; that’s a legacy of the Manson Family.  None of his followers has ever been released from prison (though one is up for parole at this time).   One of his acolytes even tried to a president.  Yet the evil Charles Manson came to represent is his legacy.  Manson was consumed by it.   That evil tries to permeate everything we do, and it works on us daily to separate us from God because evil is lonely and desires bad company.  It rages at all that is good in the world.   Will you let it overtake you?  For those of us left behind, this message is clear.   Don’t be Charlie.

For further reading:  Leviticus 16:15, Exodus 29:14, Leviticus 4:12, Leviticus 4:21.

Lord, bless You for Your deep mercy, for Your sacrifice, for Your unending love.   Help me to turn away evil in my life today by relying fully on You.

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 12 October 2017

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.  Hebrews 12, verses 22-24.

One of my favorite Christian songs is “Days of Elijah.”   There’s a particularly good version of it by Twila Paris that’s not saccharin, not too rock & roll, not too corny.   It’s just uplifting, and one of the verses in the song says “out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.”  Look up the geography of Jerusalem and you see that Zion is the hill on which the first and second temple’s were built.   It was literally God’s home address on terra firma.  It’s where the Temple was located, where King David reigned and is buried, where the Last Supper was held, and it’s not far from Calvary.   In contemporary usage, Zion refers to the land of Israel itself, and to the cause of establishing the modern nation of Israel.  Yet in days of old it was where God lived.

That’s a lot to draw from just a few verses.  Then again, Jerusalem has been ground zero for most of human history, and Zion is the spiritual heart of Jerusalem.   There’s a lot to consider with it.

The writer of Hebrews invoked Zion to symbolize heaven made possible by Jesus.   It is the new heaven, the new dwelling place of the living God.   You and I get to go there, to worship in His true temple, to make our home with Him (to tabernacle with Him).   Where Sinai symbolizes our need for Jesus before heaven, Zion symbolizes our heaven with Jesus both here in this world and in the next.  Sinai was a place of power and fear:   Zion is a place where the greatest power in the universe – God’s love – took root and grew.   Sinai was law:  Zion is love.   Sinai was remote:   Zion is connection.

I can hear Twila singing about “righteousness being restored.”

Read, too, about Abel.   The writer recalls Abel, invoking that the sacrifice of Christ means more than the sacrifice of Abel (both the blood of the animal Abel sacrificed as well as his own as the victim of history’s first murder).  Abel gave a representation of divine blood in a sacrifice about his personal faith; Jesus actually gave His own blood as the faith sacrifice for all persons.

Read, too (again) about the firstborn.   Recall the story of Esau and Jacob (or, for that matter, Cain and Abel, or any of the first-born sons of the patriarchs).   Jesus makes us all as if we are first-born.   We ALL get to inherit the best of the family.   We all get to be treated as special because of what Jesus did in dying on that rugged cross.

“These are the days of Elijah declaring the word of the Lord.”   Elijah declared God’s word to an unbelieving world.   You and I get to do the same, thousands of years after Elijah, thousands of years after the Word of the Lord Himself.

Finally, there is the new covenant.   We’ve discussed how a covenant is more than just a contract or an agreement.   It’s a blood oath, a God-affirming vow made in faith and justice.  God had made covenants with humanity all through the age of the patriarchs yet all of them were made to point us to our need for His redemption.   When Jesus came, He delivered that redemption and made it possible for men to speak directly with God.   He restored balance by making the perfect atonement.   He made a path for us to spend both now and eternity in God’s presence.  The Old Testament covenants pointed us to our need for God, yet the covenant made by Jesus points us to God in our lives.  God has always judged all people yet now we get to see His judgment more clearly, more as an act of loving justice instead of punishing vengeance.   We get to see that God’s holy law from Sinai was made perfect by His holy sacrifice from Zion.   That the covenant Jesus made by Zion is one to which we can still be bound today.

Go download Twila’s song.   I guarantee you’ll like it.

For further reading:  Isaiah 24:23, Revelation 14:1, Galatians 4:26, Exodus 4:22, Revelation 20:12, Genesis 18:25, Psalm 94:2, Philippians 3:12,Galatians 3:20, 1 Peter 1:2, Genesis 4:20, Hebrews 11:4.

Lord, thank You for so many messages in so few words.   In these days of Elijah, help me to declare Your Words to those around me.

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 6 April 2017

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.  Hebrews 9, verse 24.

There is a line from “The Shack” that I continue to ponder.   When Mack (the protagonist) is talking with “Papa” (the Father character), they talk about Jesus and how He died on the cross.   Mack says he doesn’t understand how the Father could abandon the Son.  Papa reveals to Mack that he (Mack) truly doesn’t understand, but not how he thinks.   “I was with him there all along,” says Papa.   On its face, that statement seems to be contrary to much Christian doctrine which states that Jesus died a full and human death and that God the Father turned His holy face from His Son.   Who knows if the statement is true, either that the Father abandoned the Son, or that the Father was with the Son even through death.   Only they know, and we are only left to believe.

But think about that for a second, then consider verse 24.   When Jesus died, He did something that nobody else could do; this you know.  Jesus, being fully God and holy and having lived a life without sin, took ALL sin on Himself and wiped it out.   He erased the consequences of it from ever touching sinners who believe in Him.   When He did that, He took on that sin yet remained holy and perfect.   It’s a mystery, perhaps the greatest mystery of all time.  How could God actually do this?   When you figure that out, call me.   Better yet, call me, Franklin Graham, the Pope, and the Dalai Lama.   Come to Paris and I’ll buy you all dinner.  Invite Bill Young, the author of “The Shack,” too.

Yet there’s something undeniable about it all.   Jesus died the death we deserve and then entered God’s holy presence again.   He who had given up being in His Father’s presence for a time re-entered it fully, righteously, and having made all things new again.  He didn’t need to go to the Temple and offer a sacrifice for sins:   He had been the sacrifice.   That Temple, and before it the desert tabernacle, had been made to represent the Holy Temple in heaven where God resides in person.  Now came back Jesus to the original Temple – the presence of God – and He had been made all sin yet made all pure on our behalf to stand in His Father’s presence again and proclaim “Abba, we did it!”

I don’t know if the Father abandoned the Son during the time He forsook Him.   I don’t know (and neither does your pastor) whether or not the Father was there in Spirit or in person, and I don’t know exactly how the miracle was fully completed.  Like the transaction of actually requiring blood, I don’t fully understand the mystery.  In the end, I also don’t know if that really even matters.   To me, it seems like a fine point of theology ripe for navel gazing.

Bill Young is on to something, namely that it doesn’t matter how God accomplished our redemption.   Yes, I said that.   It doesn’t matter how God did it, but it does matter THAT He did it.  It isn’t for us to fully understand the mechanism through which God made right what we could not.  It doesn’t matter whether the Father was present throughout the Son’s passion or whether He turned His holy face away.  What matters is that, however it happened, God accomplished our salvation.   We know it required blood – meaning it required submitting life to God – and we know that it required the full submission of a sacrifice.   And we know that Jesus gave both of those, taking all our filth onto His pristine Spirit to make us righteous again.   He did this for our benefit, and He then ascended back into heaven to regain His place at the Father’s side.

When He did that, Jesus re-entered the heaven to which we aspire.   It was the same place He had left years before when He became incarnate here on the Third Rock…and yet it wasn’t.   Something had changed.   It wasn’t less perfect; it wasn’t even more perfect, as if that were possible.   Instead, the fact of man’s condition had changed because of what He Himself had done.   When that happened, the representation of heaven was no longer needed because He who would live through each of us could fully reside once again in the true heaven where perfection remained perfect.    And He did it for us, to intercede for us when we couldn’t.

For further reading:  Hebrews 8:2, Hebrews 4:14, Romans 8:34.

Lord, You are magnificent, worthy of all praise, and fully perfect in every way.   Thank You for all You have done!

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 5 April 2017

It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Hebrews 9, verse 23.

My wife and I have taken to attending Tuesday night Bible studies at a church in Paris. We haven’t joined the church but we attend 2-3 times per month, and have started taking part in activities like these studies, dinners, small groups, and the like.  It’s a great way to worship with fellow believers as well as a way to meet like-minded folks here in a new place.   Without kids living at home, that can be a difficult thing to do.

During last night’s study, a thought hit me particularly hard:   this is for our benefit.  No, Calvary Paris isn’t sponsoring weekly men’s Bible studies just for Dave Terry.  No, the world really doesn’t revolve around me.   But all this here on the Third Rock was done by God for us.   Creation, redemption, salvation, even discipline and correction and rebuke, are all done for our benefit.   They’re gifts of love from a loving God who loves us fully all the time.  He didn’t need to do them, but He wanted to do them, give them, for us so that we might be closer to Him.

Take the earthly tabernacle, which we’ve discussed before.   God directed Moses to have the Israelites build His tabernacle according to specific directions.  He didn’t do it because He was OCD or a neat freak:   God directed it for our benefit.  He, being holy, wanted to tabernacle – to dwell – with His people in a way they could understand and appreciate.   He wanted to share with them – and us – a glimpse of heaven, a representation of it while we were still bound here by the limits of our earthly existence.   God wanted to give His people a way they could worship Him so that they would be built up through Him and would grow His love in the world.  Building the tabernacle would represent what God’s temple in heaven looks like.  It would give His people an ordered place in which to conduct that worship and a way to know that they were special in His eyes.

It wasn’t for Him:   it was for them.  It was for the people to better know their God.  It was a way for God to bless them and now us.  Four thousand years later, it is still for us.  That description of the tabernacle is for our benefit.   That Sunday worship, your time in the Bible, that time you spend holding the door for strangers and listening to friends:   they’re for our benefit.   They bring praise and glory to Jesus in ways pleasing to Him and He inspires us to do them because they’re for our benefit.   It’s more selfless love from Him.

And it just keeps going. Have you ever considered that beauty is a glimpse of heaven?   Or when you look at someone in real love, say when you see a baby sleeping, that’s a glimpse of heaven, looking at a terrestrial something through heaven’s eyes?   Have you ever thought that the times when we do good works for Jesus’ glory – which really should be every time – we’re sharing a glimpse of heaven with others?   A walk in the forest, a sunset on the beach, an hour of conversation with a good friend, working a job well done, the majesty of the mountains, doing things for other people:   those things are for our benefit.   They’re ways God dwells His love and His loving feelings within our terrestrial boundaries.

The focus of last night’s Bible study was on ways men can better manage their lives in praise of God.   We discussed Godly roles for men as fathers, husbands, leaders, and more.  And then we broke into smaller groups to continue the discussion and continue to get to know each other better.   Yet that thought stayed with me:   this is for our benefit.  It’s for our benefit that God first directed His people to build a dwelling place for Him in their midst.   It’s for our benefit, still, that He continues to do the same thing here and now.

For further reading: Hebrews 8:5.

My Lord, dwell in me. Live out Your life through mine.  Act through me, speak through me, work through me, and let it all be to Your glory.

 

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 15 March 2017

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  Hebrews 9, verse 12.

Blood again.   This verse continues the ones from earlier in chapter 9, the ones that talk about how blood is needed for the sacrifice.  How do I put this?   I don’t understand why all this happened.   Logically speaking, I don’t understand the connection between Jesus’ blood and eternal salvation.  I really don’t.  He who could not die died.   He who could not sin took on all sin.   He who could do no wrong became wrong incarnate, through and through.   He who was completely innocent became completely guilty.  Why was blood required to make all that happened?   Yes, I know the history of it, the ties to animal sacrifices, the ancient Hebrew rituals commanded by God.   I understand the symbolism, and the physiological connection of blood and life.  I get all that.   I simply don’t understand WHY.  It’s lost on me.

That’s ok.   Love is illogical.  Love defies reason, logic, and process.   It’s simply the divine gift and there may be no fully explaining it in ways we’d understand this side of eternity.  The way out of this self-manufactured conundrum is to understand that I don’t need to understand it completely.   You don’t need to understand it completely.   It’s just fine that the finer points of ecclesiastical doctrine and Divine intention remain unknown when you get down to brass tacks.

Hint:   they were unknown to the high priest.   He could tell you, second by second, how to do everything he was doing and the history of it going all the way back to the first priest to enter the Most Holy Place.   I assume that would be Aaron, somewhere in the desert of Sinai, walking gingerly into God’s dwelling among men.  But the why?   Why did God require blood?   Why blood alone would make atonement?   I’m betting it was lost on him too.   I imagine that, if you had a long discussion with Aaron, his bottom line response would end up being “because God said so.”

That’s the ticket!   That’s the reason.   It’s reason enough.

It’s reason enough to know that God commanded it.  If you truly submit to God, you don’t need reason beyond that.  What’s more, it’s enough to know that God made it so for Jesus’ blood to be the only true sacrifice that would ever be needed to gain eternal salvation of mankind.   He who didn’t need to shed His own blood gave all of it up willingly, from the heart, from His soul.   He who was without sin and didn’t deserve to die, who hadn’t earned the death penalty for sin, willingly died for people who wouldn’t be willing to die for Him.   Why?   Because God said so.

Because God said so and predicted the need for it going all the way back to the fall of man.  Before He even spoke to Eve or Adam about their sin, He cursed Satan the tempter and laid out the penalty that Satan would pay.   “Cursed are you…He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”   Sin would be separate from God, intolerable and cursed.  There would be blood – and there weren’t even animal sacrifices yet; there wouldn’t be for hundreds of years – and it would forever vanquish sin.  It would then forever re-establish communion between men and their creator.  But it would require blood, first to represent and teach, then to actually do all that was necessary.

Why?   Because even way back in Eden, just before God expelled men from that paradise, God said so.   And then, because God shed His own blood to restore that communion between His favored beings and Himself, He, Jesus His Son, was fully able to re-enter heaven and present full atonement for all of mankind’s sin.   From Eve and Adam all the way down to Dave Terry, you, and everyone else here on Earth, Jesus entered the Most Holy Place of the presence of God and presented Himself in our place.   Nothing more is required; nothing more is necessary.   Indeed, nothing more could ever make it better or more complete.   Indeed, pursuing more would itself be an act of vain sin.   Best to turn away from that.

We don’t need to understand God’s motivation beyond knowing that He did it and that He loves us.   When all reason and logic fail, these will endure.  When you consider God’s ‘why’ in that light, ‘because He said so’ isn’t some response to a petulant child.  In that light, it’s the greatest gift He could ever give.

For further reading:  Leviticus 16:6, Hebrews 10:4, Hebrews 10:24-28, Genesis 3:14-15.

Lord, thank You for Your sacrifice of Your blood, for how You love us that much.

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 8 March 2017

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. Hebrews 9, verses 1-5.

Here is more information on the ancient tabernacle.   It’s nice to know; it’s good to know; it’s great to know since it is a representation of the place in which God approached man.   It’s valid history that can increase your understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus; thank you Chad Bird for that bit of teaching.  Understanding the tabernacle and what was done there can greatly increase your perception of the beauty of God.

It’s also irrelevant.

Yes, irrelevant.   There’s nothing today that requires you to build your worship life around the kind of worship that the ancient Israelites conducted in the desert 4000 years ago.  YOU are God’s tabernacle now.  Believe in Jesus and you are the place where God Himself comes to dwell with men.   You, me, and millions like us.  He built His church on our hearts.   He lives, works, breathes, sees, feels actively through you.   God will not be bound by the confines of a tent, temple, or sanctuary.   Instead, He constructs His temple in you and lives as His church through you.   You’re the successor to God’s tabernacle.

Now, that’s not to say that tradition is a bad thing; it isn’t.  If you think about it, many modern churches are still set up in a similar, though not identical, pattern.  Medieval cathedrals were, for the most part, built to reflect the shape of a cross.  Most of today’s churches have a place for the masses to sit or stand, an area down front with an altar that is segregated from where the congregation, well, congregates.   That isn’t much different from the tabernacle, which was segregated into sections for man’s protection and man’s benefit.

In truth, this side of heaven, we won’t fully understand all the implications of just why God determined that His tabernacle must have the dimensions it did.   Or how He fully occupies our hearts with His presence.   It’s a vision of heaven given for our understanding even as we don’t fully see what it will look like there.  Here on the Third Rock, it’s our lot to simply accept it as just the way it is.  If you think about it, that’s the foundation of faith.   “Put your trust in me,” says God.  “I’ve told you all you need to know.   Some of it you won’t understand, just trust me anyway.”   Religion teaches us to be skeptical of this, but that doesn’t change the basic fact and premise of it:   trust God anyway.  Trust God because He came to you, entered your life, became not just your Savior, but your partner, your friend, your guide, your observer.   When you choose to do what He asks, you benefit.   When you choose otherwise, He is there to remind you that He is there and working to turn things around for you.   Whatever you choose, God is with you.   Immanuel ‘immanueling’ with you as an active participant in your life.

THAT was the central point of the ancient tabernacle.   It wasn’t given to Israel as a way for a vain god to steal glory.   It was given to them as a way to see how God had come to them and would always work for them, working to turn things around for them.   In my daily devotions, I’m reading through 2 Kings (having already gone through 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings).  Ancient Israel was brutal.   It was divided and lived under the thumb of many more evil tyrants than good leaders.   The time of 2 Kings was long past the years of the tabernacle in the desert.  God had long ago kept His promise to make Israel a great nation, yet Israel missed the intention of God’s promise.   He would make them great not because of political power or wealth.  No, they would be great because God would be with them.   He would live through them, work through them, demonstrate His beautiful love through them.   He gave them the tabernacle, then the Temple, then the synagogues, to reach them where they were.   Their reaction?   “Who are you, God, to talk to me?”   Isn’t it amazing how little things have changed?

For further reading:  Exodus 25, 26 and 30; Leviticus 24:5-8, Numbers 17:10.

Lord, I thank You for Your tabernacle, for coming to us through this place.   Help me to ponder it, to study it, to understand more of You through understanding it.   And help me to always sense how You are always with me and in me.