|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||Kingdom of Priests...Unfortunately NOT!||Lesson 5|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|July 22 2001||Bible Lessons
Our lesson begins about two months after the night that the Death Angel "passed-over" and killed all the firstborn of those who DID NOT have the blood of the lamb applied. Two plus months and several events had passed since God had delivered the nation of Israel from the bondage of Egypt.
During those two months, there were times when the people rejoiced for what God had done. In that rejoicing for what God had DONE, there had even been some adoration for WHO God was. However at that point, the nation of Israel, like many churches, were far more impressed with what God could do, than Who God was. That's a Spiritual lesson we all need to learn.
Before God gave Moses the plans for the Tabernacle, the Law, and the instructions for the service of both, He made an offer to ALL of Israel, BUT they rejected it. Look at what God offered.
He offered the entire nation the opportunity to be a "KINGDOM OF PRIESTS", and a "HOLY NATION". As we know and will see later in our series, only the tribe of Levi had any active part in the ministry of the Tabernacle and the Law. The priesthood, itself, was limited to those who were descendants of Aaron, and even then there were some restrictions.
So...., whatever happened to the "Kingdom of Priests"????
There were two conditions to be met before Israel could become a "Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation". They had to:
Keep in mind the progression of events. The Law, with it many precepts,
commands and rituals, had not YET been
given. This offer by God to the Nation of
Israel was not conditioned on the
nation fulfilling the Law, or even "keeping it". We must understand the
true nature of this "Covenant", referred to
The Covenant of God was first given to Adam and Eve in the Garden, after their sin. God's Covenant is further developed and explained through many other covenants that followed. God promised, or contracted with the human race through Adam and Eve that He, God, would provide a Redeemer, Who would break the power and bondage of Satan. This Redeemer would come as the unique and singular "Seed" of the Woman. Those promises, in this Covenant of God, can be further understood through covenants made with Noah and Abraham.
Then there was the New Covenant referred to
The ultimate understanding of God's Covenant is found in the total fulfillment of the New Covenant. The ultimate and complete fulfillment of God's Covenant will be seen when Christ restores all things in the New Heaven and New Earth.
For a summary study of these covenants may I suggest a review of the "Walk-Through". If you have never taken the "Walk-Through" classes, may I recommend asking for the videos. If you only need a refresher course, you might listen to the cassette tapes of the "Walk-Through".
Please, look back at the definitions for "Obey" and "Keep". These will aid in more clearly seeing what God was asking of Israel. God wanted to talk, or communicate directly with the people of Israel. He would do so if they would "hear" what He said with careful intelligent attention, with the intent of obeying His voice.
Please note that God was not asking them to live a perfect life. God was asking for a faithful life. It is ever so. God still expects us to be faithful to Him and His Word.
Next, God was asking that, as a nation, they "guard" or keep His Covenant. Never once does God ask mankind to fulfill the Covenant of God. ONLY God can fulfill the covenant. No human, nor any group of humans is capable of fulfilling any aspect of the Covenant of God. In this case, God was asking Israel to protect the covenant by, in a sense, hedging it about with thorns. They were to be the custodians of God's Covenant with mankind.
God's Covenant would be amplified and illustrated by the Mosaic Covenant or Law given later through Moses. God wanted to Personally communicate those truths of the Law to each Israelite. BUT the nation refused such personal contact with God. Instead, they ask Moses to be their "go-between".
If Israel would agree to obey His voice and keep His Covenant, then God would make them a "whole" NATION of priests. They didn't agree to God's conditions, and as a result only a few out of that whole nation became priests. However, as Believers under the New Covenant, we become exactly that "in Christ", a royal priesthood. We will see more on this subject later in the series.
Into the third month after God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, God made this grand offer. At first, it seems as though the people were willing to go along with God's offer.
The people said that they would do all that God spoke to them. If the story stopped there, it would be a very good ending. BUT as we will see in just a few minutes, even in this statement, they didn't do the very first thing God ask of them. They did not "hear intelligently, giving careful attention with implication of obedience", as per definition.
God gave instruction as to how the people should prepare and
where the people should be so He could talk with them. Then in
I'm sure this experience was one not soon forgotten! Imagine 1,000,000+/- people standing at the base of a mountain that seemed to be on fire. They heard a deafening sound like a trumpet. THEN it happened!!! The voice of God.
After this first exchange of God with the people, Moses was told, by God, to go up into the mountain for a private conversation. Follow the text of the passage carefully. What happened next has a great deal to do with our understanding of the order of the priesthood and the service of the Tabernacle, etc. We'll pick up the text right where we left off.
Without getting bogged down in details, let's establish some facts. In
When God and Moses had finished with whatever they were talking about,
Moses didn't want to leave the presence of God to take care of things which SHOULD have already been taken care of. I can understand Moses' problem. Nonetheless, if we are to minister for God, we must minister in the manner and in the place of God's direction.
Moses made the mistake that many preachers still do. After all, God had set the boundaries. If God said it, then the people will obey it. RIGHT?!?!? WRONG!!!!
Even if God says it "person to person", someone STILL has to see that it's carried out as God directed. That was true in the wilderness, and it is true in the church. At times, it is hard to tell the difference between the wilderness and the church. Sometimes the church is as dry and barren as any wilderness. On the other hand, the wilderness can become alive with the voice and person of God.
As great a person as Moses was, he had some chronic failings. We see one of those chronic failings here. Moses was not timid about arguing with God. Moses returned to this failing several times throughout his lifetime.
Two classic examples of this failing are: at the "burning bush", and here on the "burning mountain". Both times, he was in the presence of God receiving instructions. Both times the "anger" of the Lord was needed to put a stop to his foolishness.
Those accounts make a pretty good "profile" of many of us, in our walk with Christ. A lesson we need to be learned from these accounts is: EVEN if you are "deep" in the study of God's Word and receiving instructions from God, your 'ol sin nature is just as alive as when you're you sitting at a stop light, far too long. At all times and in all places, we must be under the control of the Holy Spirit, or we will bad mouth God (even if our name is Moses).
At the "burning bush", Moses gave God several reasons why he should not do what God had told him. Each time, God reasoned with him, and each time, Moses brought up another excuse.
We need to understand that "God's Spirit will not always strive with mankind". There is a limit to how far you can "push" God. God gives the offer, over and over again in the Bible, to come learn and reason. BUT after you know the facts, then judgment will come if you continue to harden your heart or neck.
Even though these passages had not been penned when Moses argued with God, the truth of these passages were just as real in Moses' day as in ours. I fear that sometimes..., oft' times we have the clear word of God, and we too, give pleasing and proper excuses as to why we are exempt from God's command.
How many times have you given God and others a very polished and rehearsed reason why you are not following His instructions? Maybe you've never found yourself in that predicament, but I find myself there too often.
Let's look at those two events in Moses' life. First at the "burning bush", then we'll go back to the "burning mountain". We will not read the whole account of the "burning bush". However, in that conversation with God, Moses made several "lame" excuses, and finally God "had enough"!
Once again, God gave some very clear
instructions to Moses. In
God says, "Away! Get down!!"
When used in this manner, God said in modern vernacular, "That's it!! I've had it. Get out of here!! NOW!!!!!!" That's also a lesson we should learn. Isn't it amazing how many practical and very up to date applications we see (if we look). Many of us act as though we know more than God does. After all, He lives way up there, and doesn't understand my situation way down here. Let's move on to the "good stuff". Enough of that preaching. It's starting to get personal.
BEFORE we see what words God spoke, let's see WHERE and to WHOM He spoke those words??????
He spoke the words, of
Well..., blow me down!! What are these words that God spoke to the whole congregation, while Moses was off the mountain???? You're right!! They are the TEN COMMANDMENTS.
But, BUT, BUT... I thought God gave the 10 Commandment to Moses in private while he was up on the mountain?!?!!? You've got to stop using the movie, "The 10 Commandments", as your Bible.
God gave the 10 Commandments to the WHOLE CONGREGATION...., personally!! It is important to see this! It will make a great deal of difference in your understanding of the teachings from the Tabernacle and its service.
Later, Moses went up on the mountain to receive those God inscribed tables of stone containing the 10 Commandments. BUT those commandments were first spoken by God for the whole congregation to hear. The account of receiving the tables of stone is given to us four chapters later.
It was a nice effect, in the
movie, to have Moses dodging and ducking as the fire wrote the
commandments on the stones. Sorry!!! The tables of stone were already
engraved BEFORE Moses went up to the
mountain. Notice in
As Paul Harvey says, "Now, for the rest of the story." Let's move a
little further in
Forty years later, after the wandering in the wilderness, Moses repeats this account to a new generation. In this re-accounting, he adds some information that is of interest, and beneficial to our understanding.
God wanted to make the whole nation priests. God wanted to communicate His truth to all the people. BUT the people did not want a personalized relationship with God.
They heard the covenant or the 10 Commandments, they experienced the awesomeness of God, and the people realized that if they were to be in the presence of God, there had to be some changes.
God requires holiness to enter His presence. To be in His presence would require change on their part. They wanted to have things just like they were, BUT still have God as a good luck charm..., or something. You know! Somewhat like it is with many of us. They said, "Moses! You speak to God, and tell us what He says. We don't want a personal relationship with Him."
God did not want them to simply have a form. He wanted them to have the power of His person.
It hasn't change much!! Most Christians run from form to form. When one form loses it new excitement, they will be off to another form. BUT they will never know the real power of a personal God, Who can change and transform a life into His Own likeness. God does not want to just excite the emotions for a few minutes. He want to transform a life for eternity.
For a while in the Christian herd, the form was the "Temperaments". Then the form jumped to "Spiritual Gifts". When the emotion of that form died down, then the form moved to the "Praise Services" with worship teams (bands). Close on the heels of the "Praise Service" was an old form somewhat revived, the "Seeker Services". And the list goes on without end, and without the real power. May I hasten to say that these forms are not wrong in themselves. A form is only wrong when that form becomes an end in itself, and therefore denies the real power of Spiritual life, which is a transformed life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
No person has ever obtained Spiritual Life from a form. The form is only a sign post or picture to point to the Real Thing.
The Israelites forgot so quickly what God could do personally with unholy people who were willing to obey and keep His Word. Don't be too hard on the Israelites, because we probably have forgotten the same thing during this lesson. Let's refresh our memory with the very first passage of this lesson.
The Israelites were afraid of God's holiness, because they looked at their own lack and weakness, instead of remembering God's greatness and power. Anytime we are fixed on our own insufficiency instead of God All-sufficiency, we will turn from God to some manmade form of religious practice.
Israel forgot that God took them as slaves, and unholy slaves at that, AND bore them on eagles' wings and brought them to Himself . They forgot that God destroyed the armies of Egypt, supplied them with water, food, etc.
A God Who could do that,can and will keep His promises!! God promised that if they would obey his voice and keep his covenant, then God WOULD make them a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS.
They didn't need to fear God's holiness. They needed only to surrender to God holiness and God would do the rest. However, IF they (we) try to present, to God, a form of holiness, they (we) can only expect the judgment of God.
My friend!!! Where are you today?? Do you just have a form of godliness that looks good to others, BUT you know it will not stand in the presence of God? Therefore, are you running from one religious fad to another, looking for some excitement that will substitute for the Real Thing!?!
Please stop your searching! Surrender yourself to the One Who can and will bear you on eagle wings, and give you reality. God wants to make you a active priest in His service. YET He is able to do so only if you will obey and keep His word.
God has made us "able" or sufficient ministers of the New Covenant. Are you ministering in that New Covenant, OR in some manmade form of religion?
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001|