Friday, January 22, 2016

"Visions of the glory of God!"

Day #23

Scripture Reading:  Exodus 37 - 40 ...

God was with Israel in Egypt.  I'm sure it didn't seem like it to the people who were being treated as slaves, but God was there.  Perhaps they felt abandoned, betrayed, forgotten, but God was with those who trusted in Him, even if it didn't FEEL like it.  That was His promise and in spite of the circumstances of their lives there were still some, at least a few, who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who had promised that He would take them out of this land of slavery and bring them back to the land of Canaan - the promised land.  We don’t actually know when Moses wrote Genesis and Exodus.  These things must have been passed down through the generations.  How many had heard the promise God gave to Abram in Genesis 15:13-14?  “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.  BUT, I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

God kept His promise.  God always keeps His promises.  As it must have seemed to the people of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt, it seems like ... feels like God isn't with you and me sometimes.  If it were always easy to believe God's promises it wouldn't require faith.  Listen to the words of the writer of Hebrews as he speaks about those who lived by faith:  "All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance" (11:13).  "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised" (11:39).  Why?  Because "God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect" (11:40).

God had planned something better for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, too.  Slavery in Egypt was not their final destination.  But like so many today, they thought once they left Egypt everything should be easy.  We are not the first to have an “entitlement mentality!”  As they moved on from Mt. Sinai God showed them His glory and His presence in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. In the building of the tabernacle God showed them that what they really needed was HIM.  And in order to have God present with them, they needed to confess their sin and put their trust in the Savior who would come, who would be the perfect sacrifice for sin.  The same is true for you and me as we live TODAY!!!  And we have the joy of knowing the Savior!!  We know who He is and what He did on the cross.  Their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the need for priests and sacrifices, and the display of God’s presence all pointed to Jesus Christ!

The design of the tabernacle was, as we have seen previously, a copy of that which is seen in heaven (Hebrews 9:23-24).  And when the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  So it will be in eternity!  "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp" (Revelation 21:22-23).  What a sight that will be!  We didn't see the tabernacle, but it was only a type, a copy of what lies ahead.  Through the tabernacle God made His presence known to the Israelites.  Through all their travels God was with them.  He repeatedly promised that He would never leave them or forsake them, and though at times He brought judgment on them as a nation for their disobedience and rebellion, He never left those who put their trust in Him, and He continued to fulfill His purposes through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, now the people of Israel.

As we move into the book of Leviticus we will find God revealing details about approaching Him through sacrifices and offerings and the feast days.  What Paul wrote to the Corinthians explains so much:  "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come" (I Corinthians 10:11).  We have been living in what GOD calls the time of the fulfillment of all things for nearly 2,000 years.  Throughout His Word God has promised to establish His kingdom on the earth.  He promised a King who would reign over His people the nations of the world.  That was the theme of Jesus' preaching and is the theme of the entire Bible.  You and I are here for this purpose: the establishment of God’s kingdom on the earth - and you are either one of His people through faith in Jesus Christ or you will, in the end, not be part of His kingdom.

As you read these Bible “stories,” remember that these were real people and these were real events and they all pointed to TODAY.  Too many people read Genesis and Exodus as though they were simply “Sunday School stories” and they forget that God was revealing His plan for our day, for the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the gathering of His people from all nations.  The time in which you and I are living today is the time when God is going to fulfill His promises to those who trust in Him through faith in Jesus, the Christ.  In His Word God gives us glimpses of His glory ... visions of the glory of our God, the Creator of all things ... OUR Creator, your Creator and mine.  Can you SEE Him?  When you read these things, can you hear His voice?  Does God speak to you when read His Word?  Do you pray for His Spirit to open your eyes?  Do you ask Him for wisdom to understand these things?

Some people want some extra-biblical revelation, believing that some "experience" may make them feel closer to God, but such experiences often cause people to want more "mountaintop experiences," wanting to live by their feelings rather than drawing near to God and seeking Him through His Word.  In His Word you will find ALL you need to know God, to love God and to serve God.  Your life will be found in Him as you come to Him through faith in Jesus.  And in knowing Him, you will find joy unspeakable!!!

"O Lord, my God, Your glory is beyond my comprehension and in You there is satisfaction beyond anything this world offers.  Move me, Father, to seek You daily and to find in You my greatest joy.  You ARE my light and my salvation!  Give me grace to follow You as You lead me to the promised land.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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