108.) Exodus 35:1 – 36:7

September 30, 2009

35. Renoir girl with flowers

Not in a silver casket cool with pearls
Or rich with red corundum or with blue,
Locked, and the key withheld, as other girls
Have given their loves, I give my love to you;
Not in a lovers’-knot, not in a ring
Worked in such fashion, and the legend plain—
Semper fidelis, where a secret spring
Kennels a drop of mischief for the brain:
Love in the open hand, no thing but that,
Ungemmed, unhidden, wishing not to hurt,
As one should bring you cowslips in a hat
Swung from the hand, or apples in her skirt,
I bring you, calling out as children do:
“Look what I have!—And these are all for you.”

–Edna St. Vincent Millay

Exodus 35:1 – 36:7   (NRSV)

Sabbath Regulations

35)  Moses assembled all the congregation of the Israelites and said to them: These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do: 2Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. 3You shall kindle no fire in all your dwellings on the sabbath day.

Preparations for Making the Tabernacle

4Moses said to all the congregation of the Israelites: This is the thing that the Lord has commanded: 5Take from among you an offering to the Lord;

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Music:

“Offering”  by Paul Balouche.

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let whoever is of a generous heart

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Love in the open hand . . .

Exodus 35:5 (New American Standard Bible)

. . . whoever is of a willing heart . . .

Exodus 35:5 (Contemporary English Version)

. . . anyone who wants to give something . . .

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35. hard-boiled-egg-with-yellow-yolk

“Don’t forget that people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions.  You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.”

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bring the Lord’s offering: gold, silver, and bronze; 6blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine linen; goats’ hair, 7tanned rams’ skins, and fine leather; acacia wood, 8oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 9and onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and the breastpiece.

10All who are skillful among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded: the tabernacle, 11its tent and its covering, its clasps and its frames, its bars, its pillars, and its bases; 12the ark with its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain for the screen; 13the table with its poles and all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 14the lampstand also for the light, with its utensils and its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15and the altar of incense, with its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the entrance, the entrance of the tabernacle; 16the altar of burnt offering, with its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin with its stand; 17the hangings of the court, its pillars and its bases, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court, and their cords; 19the finely worked vestments for ministering in the holy place, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron, and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests.

Offerings for the Tabernacle

20Then all the congregation of the Israelites withdrew from the presence of Moses. 21And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the Lord’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments. 22So they came, both men and women; all who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and pendants, all sorts of gold objects, everyone bringing an offering of gold to the Lord. 23And everyone who possessed blue or purple or crimson yarn or fine linen or goats’ hair or tanned rams’ skins or fine leather, brought them. 24Everyone who could make an offering of silver or bronze brought it as the Lord’s offering; and everyone who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work, brought it.

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35. silver and gold

Where did these former slaves get all this gold, silver, jewelry, linen, and skins?  Remember — from the Egyptians!

Exodus 12:35-36 (Contemporary English Version)

The Israelites had already done what Moses had told them to do. They had gone to their Egyptian neighbors and asked for gold and silver and for clothes. The LORD had made the Egyptians friendly toward the people of Israel, and they gave them whatever they asked for. In this way they carried away the wealth of the Egyptians when they left Egypt.

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25All the skillful women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun in blue and purple and crimson yarns and fine linen; 26all the women whose hearts moved them to use their skill spun the goats’ hair. 27And the leaders brought onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and the breastpiece, 28and spices and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense. 29All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.

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35. giving heart

2 Corinthians 9:7 (New Living Translation)

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

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Bezalel and Oholiab

30Then Moses said to the Israelites: See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31he has filled him with divine spirit, with skill, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, 32to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 33in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. 34And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35He has filled them with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of artisan or skilled designer.

36)  Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the Lord has given skill and understanding to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded. 2Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the the Lord had given skill, everyone whose heart was stirred to come to do the work; 3and they received from Moses all the freewill offerings that the Israelites had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4so that all the artisans who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task being performed, 5and said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.”

6So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing; 7for what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.

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36. generosity

“Look what I have!–And these are all for You!”

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 (New Living Translation)

Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.  They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.

For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Renoir.  http://www.augusterenoir.com/images/art/mcglf8.jpg

hard-boiled egg.  http://monsterguide.net/files/2009/04/hard-boiled-egg-with-yellow-yolk.jpg

silver and gold bracelet by David Yurman.  http://i2.iofferphoto.com/img/item/944/554/11/sXdILCRMCQspOj4.jpg

giving heart.    http://pinkbiz.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/aa-es305uplifted-heart-posters.jpg

generosity.  http://www.avrameisengallery.com/admin/gallery/generosity1.jpg


107.) Exodus 34:1 – 35

September 29, 2009

"The shining face of Moses"

"The shining face of Moses"

Exodus 34:1 – 35   (NRSV)

Moses Makes New Tablets

34) The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke. 2Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain. 3No one shall come up with you, and do not let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; and do not let flocks or herds graze in front of that mountain.”

4So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the former ones; and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone.

5The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” 6The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

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34. east west

Psalm 103:8-12 (New International Version)

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

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8And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. 9He said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

The Covenant Renewed

34. To Do list

10He said: I hereby make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform marvels, such as have not been performed in all the earth or in any nation; and all the people among whom you live shall see the work of the Lord; for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. 11Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you. 13You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles 14(for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).

15You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice. 16And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods.

17You shall not make cast idols.

18You shall keep the festival of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

19All that first opens the womb is mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. No one shall appear before me empty-handed.

21Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in plowing time and in harvest time you shall rest.

22You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year. 23Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.

25You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, and the sacrifice of the festival of the passover shall not be left until the morning.

26The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.

You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

27The Lord said to Moses: Write these words; in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. 28He was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

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Music:

Moses was with the Lord on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.  News flash:  Being transformed into the likeness of Christ and thereby reflecting his glory does not happen overnight!  The old song says it well — “Take Time to be Holy.” Sung by the Biola University Chorale, 1986, at the Crystal Cathedral in California.  (Hear the birds and fountains at the end?)

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The Shining Face of Moses

34. Moses facing God

29Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

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Psalm 34:4-5 (English Standard Version)

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Matthew 17:1-3 (New Living Translation)

Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone.  As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.  Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.

Acts 6:15 (New Living Translation)

At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.

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30When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. 31But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. 32Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

34. Moses shining face cartoon

33When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; 34but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

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2 Corinthians 3:7-18 (New Living Translation)

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.  Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?  If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!  In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way.  So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.  But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.  Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

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WALKING IN THE GLORY

One thing that can keep us going in the coming hard times is an understanding of God’s glory. Now, this may sound like a high, lofty concept to you, one that’s best left to theologians. But I’m convinced the subject of God’s glory has very real, practical value for every true believer. By grasping it, we unlock the door to an overcoming life!

The glory of God is a revelation of our Lord’s nature and being. You may recall from the Old Testament that Moses got a literal glimpse of God’s glory. Before then, the Lord had sent out Moses with no explanation of himself other than the words, “I AM.” But Moses wanted to know something more of God. So he pleaded with him, “Lord, show me your glory.”

God responded by taking Moses aside and putting him in the cleft of a rock. Then, Scripture says, he revealed himself to Moses in all his glory (see Exodus 34:6–7). The way God wants us to know his glory is through the revelation of his great love toward humankind. And that’s just what he revealed to Moses.

I believe this passage is absolutely essential to our understanding of who our Lord is. Often when we think about the glory of God, we think of his majesty and splendor, his power and dominion, or some manifestation in his people. All such things can be a result of seeing God’s glory. But this isn’t the glory he wants us to know him by. The Lord is forever waiting to show us his love, to forgive us, to shower us with his mercy and to restore us to himself.

The revelation of God’s glory has powerful effects on those who receive it and pray for an understanding of it. Up to this point, Moses had viewed the Lord as a God of law and wrath. He trembled with terror in the Lord’s presence, petitioning him, crying out to him, pleading with him on behalf of Israel. This had been the basis of his face-to-face relationship with the Lord.

Yet now, at the first sight of God’s glory, Moses was no longer fearful of the Lord. Instead, he was moved to worship: “Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped” (Exodus 34:8). He saw that God wasn’t just the thunder, lightning and piercing trumpet that had made him shrivel in fear. On the contrary, God was love and his nature was one of kindness and tender mercy!

Do you see the incredible truth Scripture is showing us here? True worship arises from hearts that are overcome by a vision of God’s unmerited love for us. It’s based on the revelation that God gives us of himself, of his goodness, his mercy, his readiness to forgive. So, if we’re to praise God both in spirit and in truth, our worship must be based on this awesome truth about him.

Once we receive a revelation of God’s glory, our worship can’t help but change. Why? Seeing his glory changes the way we live! It affects our countenance and behavior, changing us from “glory to glory,” making us more like him. Each new revelation of his love and mercy brings supernatural change.

–David Wilkerson

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Moses with a shining face.   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3240/2429813694_8b8c1e6f18.jpg?v=0

note from God.  http://www.vinylattraction.com/shop/files/t_4480.jpg

To Do list.     http://www.scientificamerican.com/media/inline/procrastinating-again_1.jpg

Moses down from the mountain.  http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pharseas.world/Moses_small.jpg

cartoon.  http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/cw/humor/cartoons/bulletoon.jpg


106.) Exodus 33:1 – 23

September 28, 2009
"The Cleft of the Rock"  painting by Josiah King

“The Cleft of the Rock” painting by Josiah King

Exodus 33:1 – 23   (NRSV)

The Command to Leave Sinai

33) The Lord said to Moses, “Go, leave this place, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, and go to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ 2I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 3Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, or I would consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”

4When the people heard these harsh words, they mourned, and no one put on ornaments. 5For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, and I will decide what to do to you.’“ 6Therefore the Israelites stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.

The Tent outside the Camp

the "tent of meeting" outside the camp

the “tent of meeting” outside the camp

7Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. 8Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each of them, at the entrance of their tents and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. 9When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down, all of them, at the entrance of their tent. 11Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent.

Moses’ Intercession

12Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

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Psalm 94:14 (English Standard Version)

For the LORD will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage.

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14He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here.

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from Whispers of His Power, by Amy Carmichael:

Exodus 33:14-15:  And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.  And he said unto Him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

Let us take these words not so much for a sketch of unknown months, but just for today.  Are they not wonderful?  If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence — for indeed I cannot think of even one hour without.  My presence shall go with thee — with thee through this day. And I will give thee rest.

The disciples were full of fear when Jesus Himself came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you (John 20:19).  He will stand in the midst of this day, of this month, and say to you, “Peace.”

The God of Hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing that in very truth His presence will go with us throughout this day.

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Music:

Avalon and “I Don’t Want to Go”

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16For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”

17The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

18Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.”

33. v.18

19And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”

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Matthew 13:17 (New International Version)

For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

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21And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

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A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
And filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God
For such a Redeemer as mine!

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

–Fanny Crosby

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

King.  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3396/3275867013_7f58d164a4.jpg?v=0

Tent of Meeting.  http://www.biblical-art.com/extra/ownpub/children/047.jpg

Show me your glory.  http://media.photobucket.com/image/Exodus%2033/golgol777/Exodus33_1818ljm-1-1.jpg


105.) Exodus 32:1 – 35

September 25, 2009

"The Golden Calf Incident"  digital art by Ted Larson

"The Golden Calf Incident" digital art by Ted Larson

Exodus 32:1 – 35   (NRSV)

The Golden Calf

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Music:

Alan Jackson is one of the biggest names in country music.  Here he sings a song that I remember my mother singing as we said prayers at bedtime — “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.”  It is easy for us to lose focus, as the Israelites will do in this chapter.  What “golden calves” shine out for your attention?  What do you do to keep your eyes on Jesus?

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32)  When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”

32. cow_eating_grass

Psalm 106:20 (English Standard Version)

They exchanged the glory of God
for the image of an ox that eats grass.

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5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” 6They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

7The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”

9The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. 10Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”

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Acts 7:38-42 (New Living Translation)

And Stephen said, “Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God’s people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us.

But our ancestors refused to listen to Moses. They rejected him and wanted to return to Egypt.  They told Aaron, ‘Make us some gods who can lead us, for we don’t know what has become of this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.’  So they made an idol shaped like a calf, and they sacrificed to it and celebrated over this thing they had made.  Then God turned away from them and abandoned them to serve the stars of heaven as their gods!”

_________________________

11But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’“ 14And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

15Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain, carrying the two tablets of the covenant in his hands, tablets that were written on both sides, written on the front and on the back. 16The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved upon the tablets.

17When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.”

18But he said, “It is not the sound made by victors, or the sound made by losers; it is the sound of revelers that I hear.”

19As soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets from his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.

"Moses Smashing the Tablets of the Law"  oil on canvas by Rembrandt, 1659  (Gemaldegalerie, Berlin)

"Moses Smashing the Tablets of the Law" oil on canvas by Rembrandt, 1659 (Gemaldegalerie, Berlin)

20He took the calf that they had made, burned it with fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on the water, and made the Israelites drink it.

21Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?”

22And Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord burn hot; you know the people, that they are bent on evil. 23They said to me, ‘Make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, take it off’; so they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

32. Golden_Calf of leg

25When Moses saw that the people were running wild (for Aaron had let them run wild, to the derision of their enemies), 26then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.

_________________________

Luke 16:13 (New International Version)

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

_________________________

27He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.’“ 28The sons of Levi did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand of the people fell on that day. 29Moses said, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of a son or a brother, and so have brought a blessing on yourselves this day.”

30On the next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”

31So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold.

_________________________

Acts 19:26 (English Standard Version)

Gods made with hands are not gods.

_________________________

32But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written.”

33But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; see, my angel shall go in front of you. Nevertheless, when the day comes for punishment, I will punish them for their sin.”

35Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf—the one that Aaron made.

_________________________

32. goldencalf

Gone, but not forgotten!

The idea of a golden calf persisted in the nation of Israel.  Hundreds of years later, King Jereboam repeated the identical sin, sounding a lot like Aaron:

1 Kings 12:28-30 (Contemporary English Version)

Jeroboam asked for advice and then made two gold statues of calves. He showed them to the people and said, “Listen everyone! You won’t have to go to Jerusalem to worship anymore. Here are your gods  who rescued you from Egypt.” Then he put one of the gold calves in the town of Bethel. He put the other one in the town of Dan, and the crowd walked out in front as the calf was taken there.  What Jeroboam did was a terrible sin.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Larson.  http://home.earthlink.net/~moshe120/The%20Golden%20Calf%20Incident.htm

Rembrandt.  http://www.abcgallery.com/R/rembrandt/rembrandt132.html

Golden Calf cartoon.    http://www.michnews.com/artman/images/Golden_Calf.jpg

golden calf idol.   http://scatt.bilegrip.com/goldencalf.jpg


104.) Exodus 31:1 – 18

September 24, 2009

31, stone tablets

Exodus 31:1 – 18   (NRSV)

Bezalel and Oholiab

31) The Lord spoke to Moses: 2See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, 4to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. 6Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7the tent of meeting, and the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand, 10and the finely worked vestments, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the holy place. They shall do just as I have commanded you.

_________________________

31. Clay Hands

Psalm 90:17 (New International Version)

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

_________________________

The Sabbath Law

12The Lord said to Moses: 13You yourself are to speak to the Israelites: “You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.

14You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people. 15Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. 16Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. 17It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

_________________________

Mark 2:27 (New Living Translation)

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”

_________________________

The Two Tablets of the Covenant

31. Ratner tablets

18When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

_________________________

Proverbs 7:1-3 (English Standard Version)

My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.

_________________________

Music:

“We need to hear, hear from you, ’cause if we don’t hear, we won’t know what we should do . . . “ The Brooklyn Tabernacle Deliverance Mass Choir sings “Speak, Lord, and We Will Obey,” featuring Rhonda Copeland.  Get ready!

___________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Two tablets at Mt. Sinai.  http://www.arachimusa.org/_Uploads/227shavuos-ten.jpg

hands working with clay.   http://www.brighamcity.utah.gov/Heritage%20Arts%20Festival/Clay%20Hands%20-%202008.JPG

Ratner.  http://www.ratnermuseum.com/includes/images/photos/bible/bible-25.jpg


103.) Exodus 30:1 – 38

September 23, 2009

burning incense -- another pleasing aroma to the Lord

Burning incense -- another pleasing aroma to the Lord. Incense was a Jewish picture of prayer.

Exodus 30:1 – 38   (NRSV)

The Altar of Incense

"Aaron and the Incense Altar" digital art by Ted Larson

"Aaron and the Incense Altar" digital art by Ted Larson

30) You shall make an altar on which to offer incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. 2It shall be one cubit long, and one cubit wide; it shall be square, and shall be two cubits high; its horns shall be of one piece with it. 3You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around and its horns; and you shall make for it a molding of gold all around. 4And you shall make two golden rings for it; under its molding on two opposite sides of it you shall make them, and they shall hold the poles with which to carry it. 5You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. 6You shall place it in front of the curtain that is above the ark of the covenant, in front of the mercy seat that is over the covenant, where I will meet with you.

7Aaron shall offer fragrant incense on it; every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall offer it, 8and when Aaron sets up the lamps in the evening, he shall offer it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations.

_________________________

About:  the Altar of Incense

  • an altar in the Holy Place in front of the curtain
  • used for burning God’s special incense and symbolic of acceptable prayer

( from Life Application Bible, Tyndale and Zondervan, 1991)

_________________________

30. incense burner

Psalm 141:1-2 (King James Version)

Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

_________________________

Reflection:

Would you consider adding the burning of incense to your prayer time?  What might be the the added visual and olfactory benefits?

_________________________

Music:

Russian composer Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944) put Psalm 141:1-4 (see partial passage above) to music.  Here it is sung by the Moscow Boy’s Choir and the Cathedral Choir.

_________________________

9You shall not offer unholy incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. 10Once a year Aaron shall perform the rite of atonement on its horns. Throughout your generations he shall perform the atonement for it once a year with the blood of the atoning sin offering. It is most holy to the Lord.

The Half-Shekel for the Sanctuary

11The Lord spoke to Moses: 12When you take a census of the Israelites to register them, at registration all of them shall give a ransom for their lives to the Lord, so that no plague may come upon them for being registered. 13This is what each one who is registered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. 14Each one who is registered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering. 15The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you bring this offering to the Lord to make atonement for your lives.

_________________________

30. Luke_16_Rich_Man_And_Lazarus

Proverbs 22:2 (New American Standard Bible)

The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The LORD is the maker of them all.

_________________________

16You shall take the atonement money from the Israelites and shall designate it for the service of the tent of meeting; before the Lord it will be a reminder to the Israelites of the ransom given for your lives.

The Bronze Basin

"The Bronze Laver"  digital art by Ted Larson

"The Bronze Laver" digital art by Ted Larson

17The Lord spoke to Moses: 18You shall make a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it; 19with the water Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. 20When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to make an offering by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. 21They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die: it shall be a perpetual ordinance for them, for him and for his descendants throughout their generations.

_________________________

About:  the Basin

  • a large wash basin outside the tabernacle used by the priests to cleanse themselves before performing their duties
  • symbolized the need for spiritual cleansing

(from Life Application Bible, Tyndale and Zondervan, 1991)

_________________________

30. hand-wash

Psalm 26:6-7 (English Standard Version)

I wash my hands in innocence
and go around your altar, O LORD,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.

_________________________

The Anointing Oil and Incense

22The Lord spoke to Moses: 23Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, two hundred fifty, and two hundred fifty of aromatic cane, 24and five hundred of cassia—measured by the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil; 25and you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. 26With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the covenant, 27and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, 28and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand; 29you shall consecrate them, so that they may be most holy; whatever touches them will become holy.

30You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, in order that they may serve me as priests. 31You shall say to the Israelites, “This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. 32It shall not be used in any ordinary anointing of the body, and you shall make no other like it in composition; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an unqualified person shall be cut off from the people.”

_________________________

About:  the Anointing Oil

  • a special oil used to anoint the priests and all the pieces in the tabernacle
  • a sign of being set apart for God

(from Life Application Bible, Tyndale and Zondervan, 1991)

_________________________

30. Joy perfume

Psalm 45:7-8 (New International Version)

You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.

All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
from palaces adorned with ivory
the music of the strings makes you glad.

_________________________

34The Lord said to Moses: Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (an equal part of each), 35and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy; 36and you shall beat some of it into powder, and put part of it before the covenant in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you; it shall be for you most holy. 37When you make incense according to this composition, you shall not make it for yourselves; it shall be regarded by you as holy to the Lord. 38Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from the people.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

burning incense.  http://photodiarist.com/Galleries/Misc/Blog%20Pics/2005%2010%2011/05.JPG

Larson, incense altar.  http://home.earthlink.net/~moshe120/Aaron%20and%20the%20Incense%20Altar.htm

incense burner.  http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/religiousimages/D012_Incense039.jpg

Rich man and Lazarus.  http://journeywithjesus.net/Essays/Luke_16_Rich_Man_And_Lazarus.jpg

Larson, laver.   http://home.earthlink.net/~moshe120/The%20Bronze%20Laver.htm

wash hands.    http://www.zoomars.com/HealthAndSafety/Contents_HealthAndSafety/hand-wash.jpg

Joy — one of the world’s most expensive perfumes.  http://img2.timeinc.net/instyle/images/v2/products/november/101805_jeanpatou_01a.jpg


102.) Exodus 29:1 – 46

September 22, 2009

"Moses Consecrates Aaron"  by Darlene Slavujac, 1994

"Moses Consecrates Aaron" by Darlene Slavujac, 1994

Exodus 29:1 – 46   (NRSV)

The Ordination of the Priests

29)  Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them, so that they may serve me as priests. Take one young bull and two rams without blemish, 2and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil. You shall make them of choice wheat flour. 3You shall put them in one basket and bring them in the basket, and bring the bull and the two rams. 4You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting, and wash them with water. 5Then you shall take the vestments, and put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastpiece, and gird him with the decorated band of the ephod; 6and you shall set the turban on his head, and put the holy diadem on the turban. 7You shall take the anointing oil, and pour it on his head and anoint him.

29. brothers laughing

Psalm 133:1-2 (New International Version)

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down upon the collar of his robes.

_________________________

8Then you shall bring his sons, and put tunics on them, 9and you shall gird them with sashes and tie headdresses on them; and the priesthood shall be theirs by a perpetual ordinance. You shall then ordain Aaron and his sons.

verse 10:  Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head.

verse 10: Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head.

10You shall bring the bull in front of the tent of meeting. Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull, 11and you shall slaughter the bull before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 12and shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and all the rest of the blood you shall pour out at the base of the altar. 13You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, and the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and turn them into smoke on the altar. 14But the flesh of the bull, and its skin, and its dung, you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering.

_________________________

Hebrews 13:11 (English Standard Version)

For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.

_________________________

verse 18:  a burnt offering to the Lord

verse 18: it is a burnt offering to the Lord.

15Then you shall take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram, 16and you shall slaughter the ram, and shall take its blood and dash it against all sides of the altar. 17Then you shall cut the ram into its parts, and wash its entrails and its legs, and put them with its parts and its head, 18and turn the whole ram into smoke on the altar; it is a burnt offering to the Lord; it is a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord.

19You shall take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram, 20and you shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of the right ears of his sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet, and dash the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. 21Then you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his vestments and on his sons and his sons’ vestments with him; then he and his vestments shall be holy, as well as his sons and his sons’ vestments.

_________________________

Music:

“Holiness, holiness, is what I long for — holiness is what I need — holiness is what You want from me.”

_________________________

22You shall also take the fat of the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the appendage of the liver, the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination), 23and one loaf of bread, one cake of bread made with oil, and one wafer, out of the basket of unleavened bread that is before the Lord; 24and you shall place all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons, and raise them as an elevation offering before the Lord. 25Then you shall take them from their hands, and turn them into smoke on the altar on top of the burnt offering of pleasing odor before the Lord; it is an offering by fire to the Lord. 26You shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s ordination and raise it as an elevation offering before the Lord; and it shall be your portion.

27You shall consecrate the breast that was raised as an elevation offering and the thigh that was raised as an elevation offering from the ram of ordination, from that which belonged to Aaron and his sons. 28These things shall be a perpetual ordinance for Aaron and his sons from the Israelites, for this is an offering; and it shall be an offering by the Israelites from their sacrifice of offerings of well-being, their offering to the Lord.

29The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed on to his sons after him; they shall be anointed in them and ordained in them. 30The son who is priest in his place shall wear them seven days, when he comes into the tent of meeting to minister in the holy place.

31You shall take the ram of ordination, and boil its flesh in a holy place; 32and Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 33They themselves shall eat the food by which atonement is made, to ordain and consecrate them, but no one else shall eat of them, because they are holy. 34If any of the flesh for the ordination, or of the bread, remains until the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire; it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.

35Thus you shall do to Aaron and to his sons, just as I have commanded you; through seven days you shall ordain them. 36Also every day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement. Also you shall offer a sin offering for the altar, when you make atonement for it, and shall anoint it, to consecrate it. 37Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar, and consecrate it, and the altar shall be most holy; whatever touches the altar shall become holy.

The Daily Offerings

verse 39:  Offer one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight.

verse 39: Offer one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight.

38Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old regularly each day. 39One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer in the evening; 40and with the first lamb one-tenth of a measure of choice flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering. 41And the other lamb you shall offer in the evening, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord.

42It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. 43I will meet with the Israelites there, and it shall be sanctified by my glory; 44I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate, to serve me as priests. 45I will dwell among the Israelites, and I will be their God. 46And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God.

29. Cross-&-Dove

John 14:15-17 (New American Standard Bible)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Slavujac.  http://www.biblicalartist.net/originaloils.html

baby brothers laughing.  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3533/3231733553_c31bea559a.jpg?v=0

young bull.  http://www.lakecountrylonghorns.com/images/POC209.jpg

two rams.  http://mac.2trak.com/walls/pic49.jpg

two lambs.  http://www.hedweb.com/animimag/lambs.jpg

cross and dove.  http://www.cowtownceramics.com/images/Cross-&-Dove-No-2-Glazed-Blue.jpg