“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”
DAY 4: JULY 26
EXODUS 32 – LEVITICUS 17:16
OK – hands up if you skipped through parts of this reading!
Be honest, now. (Don’t be shy!)
My hand is up. In fact, both of my hands are up (lots of skipping going on here!). To make up for it, though, I read through the non-skipped parts twice, which I’m glad I did. As I’ve mentioned previously, no matter how many times I read the Bible, something always pops up that I hadn’t noticed before. I love those parts. That’s God highlighting things for me in invisible yellow ink, and saying: “Take note of this. It’s going to be useful for you.”
- Still can’t get a handle on Moses’ brother, Aaron, and why he caved so quickly to the pressure to make a golden calf. I’m guessing he was a bit of an honest politician in his role as go-between and spokesperson for Moses. But dang, he sure gave in double-time to the people’s demands. Maybe he just wanted to keep the peace and avoid a riot. Whatever the reason, it didn’t take long for the people involved in the golden calf worship to forget everything God had done for them in getting them out of Egypt, though they did pay the ultimate price in the end. Aaron’s own sons later fell for the same temptation and were immediately killed. God didn’t mess around in those days.
- I like how Moses was able to prevent God from destroying the Israelites for their sin by reminding him of his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You kinda have the feeling that God wasn’t actually going to destroy them, but he needed to hear the plea from Moses. It was a test; God had told Moses that if he destroyed the children of Israel, he would then make Moses’ lineage great, but Moses turned down the offer. He pleaded instead for all the children of Israel and for God to keep his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (which, by the way, God has done to this very day).
- As a reward for Moses’ selflessness, God promised Moses that his (that is, God’s) presence would remain with his people throughout their journey and for all time, and that in fact his presence would be the sign that separated them from the rest of the world. God’s promise to Moses, like the ones he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, also continues to this day. We are God’s people, if we’re born-again followers of Jesus, and God’s presence is still with us. It’s what differentiates us from the rest of the world.
- The description of the tabernacle (the actual first temple, when you think about it) and all the beautiful things that were made for it was a little bit skip-over territory for me, as were the laws on sin offerings, burnt offerings, peace offerings, etc. I read these sections enough to get a general idea of them, but I didn’t focus too closely on the details. How about you? Some believers who are more artistically inclined may have found the description of the tabernacle fascinating. The details were obviously important to God at the time and the people were expected to follow them to the letter, but that tabernacle is long gone now, replaced by the temples of the bodies of true believers. We are the tabernacles of God’s Spirit, if we’re born again.
- The sin offerings and burnt offerings and peace offerings, etc., I also mostly skipped over, as I mentioned above. Even so, I read them enough to see which ones are referred to by Jesus later on. This is good background material and we should have a general idea of the rituals, but they’re no longer required of God’s people. Jesus was the final sacrifice once for all. No more are needed.
- There’s a little bit more skip-over territory coming up in the next days, and then we’re back into the meat of things. But maybe you’re more diligent in your Bible reading than I am and you don’t skip over. I have to admit that I was much more interested in the details about the tabernacle this time around than in previous read-throughs. Like I said before, every time you read through the Bible, God draws your attention to something else.
- I was particularly struck this time by how only the people who felt called to contribute to the materials for building the tabernacle were tasked with doing it. They were, of their own free will, asked to provide the gold, silver, wood, fabric, labour, skills, and so on. There were no pressure sales tactics; only those who felt drawn to do it and called to do it were tasked with doing it.
- This is a stark contrast to today’s church obligations, where people are expected to “volunteer” to help with this or that activity or are pressured to donate, even if they don’t want to. A completely different project emerges from a group effort where all the people involved wholeheartedly want to do it compared to a group effort where only a few or even none want to do it, but are only going through the motions out of a sense of obligation. Jesus says that God is looking for people to worship him in spirit and in truth, not out of obligation. This proto-temple group effort showed what God meant by that. Scripture calls these people who willingly stepped forward “wise”. We would be wise to take note of that.
So what jumped out at you in this reading? Did you skip over anything, or did you put me to shame and read every last word?
God loves it when his kids read his Word, especially when they read it together like we’re doing now. He wants us to respect his Word (obviously), but he doesn’t want us to worship it and to feel that we have to speak in hushed tones and walk on eggshells around it. He wants us to come to his Word exactly as we come to him – face bared, soul bared, and with no pretenses. He knows what’s in our hearts, anyway, so we might as well be open about it.
The BIBLE READ-THROUGH SCHEDULE on PDF is directly below: