1518.) Exodus 37

February 25, 2015

Ex37 ark

Exodus 37   (NRSV)

Making the Ark of the Covenant

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood; it was two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 2He overlaid it with pure gold inside and outside, and made a molding of gold around it. 3He cast for it four rings of gold for its four feet, two rings on its one side and two rings on its other side. 4He made poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold, 5and put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark.

The ark was a chest made of wood and overlaid with pure gold.  It pointed to the humanity and deity of our Lord.  It contained the tablets of the law, the golden jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded.  If applied to Christ, these things speak of Him as the One who said, “Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8); as the bread of God come down from heaven (John 6:33); and as the Priest of God’s choosing, risen from the dead (Hebrews 7:24-26).  If applied to the people of Israel, they were all memorials of failure and rebellion.

–all comments in red are by William MacDonald

6He made a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half was its length, and a cubit and a half its width. 7He made two cherubim of hammered gold; at the two ends of the mercy seat he made them, 8one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim at its two ends. 9The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They faced one another; the faces of the cherubim were turned toward the mercy seat.

The mercy seat was the lid of the ark.  It was also God’s throne, the place of His dwelling on earth.  When the cherubim looked down upon it, they did not see the Law or the jar of manna or the rod, all of which were reminders of Israel’s rebellions.  Rather, they saw the sprinkled blood, which enabled God to be merciful to rebellious sinners.

Ex37 crucifix-

Romans 3:21-26 (New Living Translation)

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.  We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.  For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,  for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Making the Table for the Bread of the Presence

10He also made the table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. 11He overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold around it. 12He made around it a rim a handbreadth wide, and made a molding of gold around the rim. 13He cast for it four rings of gold, and fastened the rings to the four corners at its four legs. 14The rings that held the poles used for carrying the table were close to the rim. 15He made the poles of acacia wood to carry the table, and overlaid them with gold. 16And he made the vessels of pure gold that were to be on the table, its plates and dishes for incense, and its bowls and flagons with which to pour drink offerings.

37.  bread

John 6:35 (New International Version)

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.”

Making the Lampstand

17He also made the lampstand of pure gold. The base and the shaft of the lampstand were made of hammered work; its cups, its calyxes, and its petals were of one piece with it. 18There were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; 19three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on one branch, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. 20On the lampstand itself there were four cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with its calyxes and petals. 21There was a calyx of one piece with it under the first pair of branches, a calyx of one piece with it under the next pair of branches, and a calyx of one piece with it under the last pair of branches. 22Their calyxes and their branches were of one piece with it, the whole of it one hammered piece of pure gold.

23He made its seven lamps and its snuffers and its trays of pure gold. 24He made it and all its utensils of a talent of pure gold.

37. light bulb

John 8:12 (New International Version)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Making the Altar of Incense

25He made the altar of incense of acacia wood, one cubit long, and one cubit wide; it was square, and was two cubits high; its horns were of one piece with it. 26He overlaid it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around, and its horns; and he made for it a molding of gold all around, 27and made two golden rings for it under its molding, on two opposite sides of it, to hold the poles with which to carry it. 28And he made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold.

The altar of incense speaks of Christ being a perpetual sweet aroma of God.  It also suggests the present ministry of the Lord Jesus, interceding for us in heaven.

29He made the holy anointing oil also, and the pure fragrant incense, blended as by the perfumer.

37. Jesus-praying

Hebrews 7:23-25 (New International Version)

Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

_________________________

Music:

All this careful preparation for the tabernacle — first in God’s mind, then told to Moses, and now being executed in physical form — so that people could be forgiven and be able to say, “I am Yours.” Such love for us from God Almighty!   HERE   we join with Casting Crowns singing “Who Am I.”

_________________________

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:
ark of the covenant.    http://biblestudyoutlines.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Arca_de_la_Alianza_1.jpg
Jesus on the cross.   http://bustedhalo.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/crucifix-2-flash.jpg
bread.  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/files/2008/09/img_7844.JPG
light.    http://www.webdesign.org/img_articles/16839/final.jpg
Jesus praying.  http://lovehopefaith.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/jesus-praying.jpg

1517.) Exodus 36

February 24, 2015

37. Tabernacle schematic

Exodus 36   (NRSV)

“God created the whole world in six days, but he used forty to instruct Moses about the tabernacle. Little over one chapter was needed to describe the structure of the world, but six were used for the tabernacle.”

–Dutch theologian Herman Witsius (1636 – 1708)

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.

Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the Lord had given skill, everyone whose heart was stirred to come to do the work; and 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, so that all the artisans who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task being performed, and said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” So 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; for what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.

This follows the pattern of God’s giving to us. God gives us much more than we ever need, and our giving is simply a response to His.

Compare the story of the anointing at Bethany (Matthew 26:7), and the generosity of the Philippian church (Philippians 4:14-19).

–David Guzik

Construction of the Tabernacle

8All those with skill among the workers made the tabernacle with ten curtains; they were made of fine twisted linen, and blue, purple, and crimson yarns, with cherubim skillfully worked into them.

36. blue-purple-red

9The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains were of the same size. 10He joined five curtains to one another, and the other five curtains he joined to one another. 11He made loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain of the first set; likewise he made them on the edge of the outermost curtain of the second set; 12he made fifty loops on the one curtain, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was in the second set; the loops were opposite one another. 13And he made fifty clasps of gold, and joined the curtains one to the other with clasps; so the tabernacle was one whole.

14He also made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains. 15The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the eleven curtains were of the same size. 16He joined five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. 17He made fifty loops on the edge of the outermost curtain of the one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the other connecting curtain. 18He made fifty clasps of bronze to join the tent together so that it might be one whole. 19And he made for the tent a covering of tanned rams’ skins and an outer covering of fine leather.

20Then he made the upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood.

chest made of acacia wood

chest made of acacia wood

21Ten cubits was the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the width of each frame. 22Each frame had two pegs for fitting together; he did this for all the frames of the tabernacle. 23The frames for the tabernacle he made in this way: twenty frames for the south side; 24and he made forty bases of silver under the twenty frames, two bases under the first frame for its two pegs, and two bases under the next frame for its two pegs. 25For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made twenty frames 26and their forty bases of silver, two bases under the first frame and two bases under the next frame. 27For the rear of the tabernacle westward he made six frames. 28He made two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear. 29They were separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring; he made two of them in this way, for the two corners. 30There were eight frames with their bases of silver: sixteen bases, under every frame two bases.

31He made bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, 32and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the tabernacle at the rear westward. 33He made the middle bar to pass through from end to end halfway up the frames. 34And he overlaid the frames with gold, and made rings of gold for them to hold the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

35He made the curtain of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine twisted linen, with cherubim skillfully worked into it. 36For it he made four pillars of acacia, and overlaid them with gold; their hooks were of gold, and he cast for them four bases of silver. 37He also made a screen for the entrance to the tent, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine twisted linen, embroidered with needlework; 38and its five pillars with their hooks. He overlaid their capitals and their bases with gold, but their five bases were of bronze.

The repetition of so much detail reminds us that God never tires of those things which speak to Him about His beloved Son.

–William MacDonald

–for just as the tabernacle dwelt in the midst of the people, so Christ came and dwelt among us.

_________________________

Music:

For all you choir members out there — and all you choir listeners!  HERE  is “Behold I Build You a House”  composed by David Reznick. Sacred/SATB. Text from II Chronicles 2:4, 5; 6:10.

This piece is sung by East/West Symphonic Choir software.  What is that? you ask.  According to a Keyboard review:  “Symphonic Choirs is an ambitious and powerful instrument capable of recreating the sound of a real choir with an incredible degree of realism. Nothing else quite delivers the control, sonic quality, and flexibility that SC offers. If you absolutely, positively must have the most natural and realistic choir (and you can’t afford to hire one), Symphonic Choirs is really the only choice, a clear Key Buy.”

So this is a choir number sung by a computer program!  Enjoy!

_________________________

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:
diagram of tabernacle.  http://www.preceptaustin.org/Tabernacle%20schematic2.GIF
blue, purple, and red yarns.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/36-blue-purple-red.jpg?w=450
acacia wood chest.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/36-acacia-wood.jpg

1516.) Exodus 35

February 23, 2015

Ex35 Renoir
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

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

This entire section (Exodus 35:4-39:43) is based on chs. 25-31 but follows a different order.  Whereas the earlier chapters gave the instructions for the tabernacle, this section describes its construction.  Beginning with the reiteration of the instructions for the gathering of offerings and artisans (35:4-19), the narrative then moves logically to the gathering of materials and the recognition of artisans (35:20-36:7), the construction of the tabernacle parts and contents (36:8-38:31), the preparation of sacred vestments (39:1-31), the erection of the tabernacle (39:32-40:33), and finally to the climactic arrival of the glory of the Lord in the tabernacle (40:34-38).  (The Reformation Bible)

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;

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Offering”  by Paul Balouche.

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let whoever is of a generous heart

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 . . .

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.”

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;

Women are mentioned for the first time.  Their involvement includes both the donation and the preparation of the materials.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

Ex35 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.

_________________________

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://www.blogcdn.com/www.slashfood.com/media/2006/01/050114_rfoster_mp_dt_food_eggs5.jpg
silver and gold bracelet by David Yurman.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/35-silver-and-gold1.jpg?w=450
giving heart.    http://pinkbiz.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/aa-es305uplifted-heart-posters.jpg
2 Corinthians 9:6.   http://heyletsmakestuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Cultivate-Verse-Generosity.jpg

1515.) Exodus 34

February 20, 2015
"The shining face of Moses"

“The shining face of Moses”

Exodus 34   (NRSV)

Moses Makes New Tablets

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.”

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.

This revelation of the character of God to Moses forever puts away the idea that there is a bad God of the Old Testament which is in contrast to the good God of the New Testament. God’s character of love and mercy and grace is present in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament.

–David Guzik

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.

_________________________

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.”  HERE  it is sung by the Dallas Christian Adult Concert Choir.  Let these words be the true prayer of our hearts today.

_________________________

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.

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.

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.

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

1514.) Exodus 33

February 19, 2015
"The Cleft of the Rock"  painting by Josiah King

“The Cleft of the Rock” painting by Josiah King

Exodus 33   (NRSV)

The Command to Leave Sinai

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.

This was not the tabernacle, which had yet to be built.  Rather, this was a temporary structure which served as a meeting place for God and Moses. 

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

Again Moses faithfully intercedes for the people.

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.”

Psalm 94:14 (English Standard Version)

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

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.

Ex33 go

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:

HERE  is 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.”

The Transfiguration, by Duccio, active 1278-1319.  Moses sees the glory of God  face to face!

The Transfiguration, by Duccio, active 1278-1319.

Mark 9:2-4   (NIV)

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

John 14:9 (NIV)

 Jesus answered: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

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.”

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.

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.”

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

_________________________

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.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/33-tent-of-meeting.jpg?w=450
If you don’t go.    http://srp.alldigital.net/B5B1FC01/48859086/artworks/6382186_22371.jpg
Duccio.   http://www.rcdomeducation.org.uk/uploads/1/0/5/4/10541428/2296077_orig.jpg?400

1513.) Exodus 32

February 18, 2015
"The Golden Calf Incident"  digital art by Ted Larson

“The Golden Ox” — digital art by Ted Larson

Exodus 32   (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?

_________________________

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.

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.”

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.’“

Moses intercedes for the people, and God shows his grace.

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!”

Ex32 golden calf cartoon
25
When 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.”

The heroic loyalty of the Levites may be why theirs was chosen to be the priestly tribe.

–William MacDonald

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.”

   Moses intercedes again for the people.

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://www.digitalartbytedlarson.com/EXODUS%20GALLERY.dwt
Rembrandt.  http://www.abcgallery.com/R/rembrandt/rembrandt132.html
Golden Calf cartoon.    http://www.reverendfun.com/add_toon_info.php?date=19990519&language=en
golden calf idol.   http://mattstone.blogs.com/photos/christian_art_exodus/goldencalfidol.jpg

1512.) Exodus 31

February 17, 2015

31, stone tablets

Exodus 31   (NRSV)

Bezalel and Oholiab

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.

God supernaturally enabled Bezalel to do the work of building the tabernacle. God saw this work as just as spiritual, and just as dependent on the Holy Spirit’s power, as the work Moses and Aaron did.  I love that!  God sees no distinction between “secular” and “sacred” when the work is done for Him!  So my making dinner at night is just as important as my getting the daily blog posting out — all is to be done as unto the Lord and for the glory of God.  As Martin Luther said (I am quoting loosely) — God is milking the cows through the vocation of the milkmaid.

Ex31 potter

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.”

Autumn Sunset on a little Lake in Bavaria, Germany

TAKE THE TIME to observe a Sabbath regularly, to worship, to turn your eyes to Christ and what he has said and done, to read and study and meditate on the Word of God, to pray prayers of praise and thanksgiving and intercession for others and for the work of the Kingdom of God.  Do not get so involved in your own busy-ness that, as David Guzik says, you let the work you are doing for Jesus seem more important than the work Jesus did for you.

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

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.

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.

Some suggest that these were two identical copies.  Consistent with ancient Near Eastern suzerainty treaties, one copy belonged to each treaty partner and the copies were housed in the respective sanctuaries. The ark was both the focal point of Israel’s sanctuary and the special dwelling place of God.  Hence, both copies were placed in the ark.  (The Reformation Bible)

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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.  HERE  it is.  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.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/31-stone-tablets.jpg
hands working with clay.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/9ef36-potter.jpg
call the sabbath a delight.    http://avirtuouswoman.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sabbath.jpg
Ratner.  http://www.ratnermuseum.com/includes/images/photos/bible/bible-25.jpg

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