What a ride we have had through the pages of Scripture since January 1st! I mean we’ve gone from the Garden of Eden and the fall of mankind through the flood, tower of Babel, Abraham’s covenant with God, the birth of hundreds of generations of people and now we are smack dab in the middle of the desert with Moses as he receives the plans for building the temple. As a matter of fact, Exodus 37 starts out with the building of the Ark of the Covenant! We are being taken step by step through the exquisite detail of the fashioning and the buidling of the outercourts, the tabernacle, and the most holy place – the inner sanctuary of God. The place where God would rest among the Israelites – IN THEIR MIDST – a cover of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Their God was with them the entire journey – even when they cried out against Him, even when they fell apart while Moses was on the mountain talking to God because they wouldn’t go up.
We see the Israelites through the commendation of the building of the Tabernacle – and WE. WATCH. THEM. SHOW. UP. BIG. in providing what is required for the work. And as we walk out of the Exodus experience and into the literal Book of the Law – Leviticus – we find our bandying troup of Abraham’s kin trusting in God’s protection. This just stopped me in my tracks:
“The Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling. Moses couldn’t enter the Ten of Meeting because the cloud was upon it, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling. Whenever the Cloud lifted from The Dwelling, the People of Israel set out on their travels, but if the Cloud did not lift, they wouldn’t set out until it did lift. The Cloud of God was over The Dwelling during the day and the fire was in it at night, visible to all the Israelites in all their travels.” Exodus 40:34-38 (MSG)
YES! YES! Can you picture it? The nation of Israel encamped around the tent of meeting – Ps. Zac Neese of Gateway Church actually teaches about this in the first series of Equip classes for Worship – they literally appear in the shape of the cross. By day the tent of meeting is emitting a thick and heavy Cloud. A. GLORY. CLOUD. This really represents a picture of the Shekinah Glory of God. The shekinah glory is used to describe the MANIFEST. PRESENCE. OF. GOD. Literally, the shekinah glory says – “Our God Is In The House!”
Okay, back to the picture. A thick heavy Cloud not only settles over the tabernacle, the outer courts, but over all the tribes of Israel and their encampment. He covered them. God literally provided a covering of protection for Israel in the desert. And, can you imagine that the Israelites did not miss the reality of this Glory Cloud resting upon them. They did not dare move their camp unless the Cloud lifted. Makes me think of when Moses said, “Lord, if You don’t go with us, then don’t send us up from this place.” Amen? Amen.
AND… Now get this picture – when that Cloud did lift – a pillar of fire came a blazing out of that tent. That same fire that burned the bush but did not consume. Come over the hill and watch this … A million people moving in orderly prossesion through the desert carrying an ark with golden angels on it’s cover – and a pillar of fire shooting up from it into the heavens as far as the eye could see. You would fall down and say – WHAT. ON. EARTH? Have you ever seen the distant smoke of fire wafting across the afternoon sky and started to ask, “What is going on? Something must be on fire.” Yeah, that is pretty much the picture, but better! 🙂
So, as I consider all of this I think when the Glory of the Lord manifests in my life am I paying attention? I mean really…
Am I waiting for the Glory to show when and where to move or am I moving along at my own pace, failing to heed to His presence in my life. Do people see a Glory Cloud all over me when I’m still and a pillar of fire shooting out of me when I’m moving? Well… These are important questions.
Okay… so we’re moving on. The first six chapters of the Law are about OFFERINGS. Now, I’m going to be honest – tithing came hard to us. I grew up and had been taught about “grace giving” a heart that gives to God in response to His blessings in their lives. And, I had heard many times that the tithe was law and we were no longer under law. But, my goodness gracious – there is very near an offering for any and every circumstance – and each of those offerings point to one thing: The Atonement Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I think my favorite part of this whole deal is the “Scape-Goat.” I don’t know why that picture of tacking our sins on a goat in the form of a scarlet ribbon tickles me so, but it does. It is so like God – I mean Christ – the unblemished Lamb of God – became our literal scape-goat.
The ordination of the Priests is a particularly beautiful picture of the set-apart work of the priesthood of God. We are His priesthood now, and we are set apart. Can you picture Christ Himself washing you with water, puting a fresh robe on you, an ornamental breastplate that identifies you as His priest and a covering of a turban with a gold plate fixed as a holy crown upon your head… Can you picture this? Then He goes through your house and He anoints and consecrates it with oil, the anointing oil, which represents the Holy Spirit. He sprinkled the articles of worship, but He pours that oil on your head.
And finally we come upon all the rules about how to keep a clean house and personal hygeine. RULES, RULES, RULES. That is the entire book of Leviticus, but in it is the reason we needed to be atoned for – all those rules were impossible to keep unless you were indeed perfect. Each a rite of passage marking God’s people as set apart and different from those who did not follow God. For a girl that once said, “I think I’ve been rebellious since birth.” This book is hard to get through. But, still – It is the heart of God laid bare before us. What is He saying to you tonight?
Don’t forget to add this HTML code to your post to add the link back here! Leave me a comment and let me know how you are doing. Don’t be afraid to share what you’re reading with us. God speaks to each of us in an individual way, unique and specific to our relationship with Him. I think if He is speaking on it to YOU, it might bless me, too. Jump in, the water is fine! 🙂