|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||Spiritual Relationships||Lesson 6|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|July 26 2001||Bible Lessons
God wanted a personal relationship with the people of Israel. This proposed personal relationship of God with the nation of Israel would result in three things. Israel would have been:
Later, we will see the grace and mercy of God even in the failure of Israel in these matters.
For two or more people to have a close relationship, each must "bend" and "change" so that all parties will "relate", or there is NO relationship. This was also true in this proposed relationship of God and Israel.
God would not, nor could not change His Character or Eternal Purpose. However, He would change His "location" and tabernacle among them, make them His special people, and many many other things.
Close relationships will EITHER bring each to common ground equal to the lowest level of both. OR Through setting goals and a purpose for the relationship, each will assist the other in striving to reach the pinnacle of the declared purpose.
Sad to say, most human relationships have no purpose or goals, they just happen. This is tragically true of many marriages, and most church memberships.
When a relationship has Biblical goals and purpose, then each can edify the other to reach Spiritual heights even above the goals. However, just being in a relationship does not guarantee Spiritually beneficial results.
If a relationship is to be Spiritually beneficial:
The whole aspect of the Jewish nation, the Tabernacle and its service had to do with relationships with God and others in the nation. These Old Testament relationships serve as shadows or examples for the many relationships within the Church, the Body of Christ. It is this type of relationship spoken of in.....
However, all relationships - even many in the Church - do not have a beneficial effect on the participants. This "non-benefit" usually happens because the relationship was entered into for the wrong reasons. This is true of friendships, marriages and church memberships.
I hear from parents, who may be doing less that a perfect job of parenting, but are looking to find the perfect solution for a perfect child. Therefore, they say that they want their kids to hang-out with other church kids. That's a good move, BUT just "hanging-out" won't cut it. A relationship will sink to the lowest level of those in that relationship, unless:
NOTICE!! Once again..., these New Testament Spiritual truths of
This should come as no surprise to us. The Holy Spirit has so declared that through Old Testament "shadows" and "examples", we can learn to live Spiritually in the present, and understand the future.
Since GOD GAVE these as shadows of things to come and examples of things we should do and not do, we had better take some time and see the shadows and the teachings from these examples. The truths taught by these shadows and examples, in this passage, are far too vast and complicated to teach each one in any real detail, at least not in a series of this nature.
Nonetheless, the truths taught by these
shadows and examples are equal to, or more important than the shadow or example, itself.
Please allow me to remind you again that the New Testament
Before we look again at
Basically, morality has to do with proper or improper actions in relationship with:
The Ten Commandments
The Moral Relationship with God
The Moral Relationship with Humans
Notice HOW negative God is!! I constantly hear, "Can't we make Bible Study more 'up-beat'? You know, something that will help my self-image?" The answer to that is, NO!! There is no way to teach in that manner, and still teach the Word of God.
When we see ourselves as totally depraved humans (not a very good self-image), and accept God's offer to become a Child of God, THEN we can have a very good image of the person God has made of us. If a person tries to find something good in a totally depraved human, that person is either Spiritually dead, or blinded by self-righteousness.
The Ten Commandments, which themselves are the "outline" or foundation of all the Mosaic Law, are divided according to proper relationships with God and/or mankind. Basically, the first part of the Ten Commandments have to do with a relationship with God. The last part of that list of "Ten" has to do with a relationship with mankind. Therefore, as we study the Tabernacle and its service, we will be brought face to face with an evaluation of our own relationships with God and other humans.
The "shadows" and "examples" upon which these truths of
There are many truths taught in the first two verses of this passage,
most of which we will not look into at this time. Our concentration will be
We see here and in other Scriptures that our relationship with humans has a real effect on our relationship with God. The opposite is true also.
The two things that should be absent in every relationship of the Believer are:
We will not take the time, in our present study, to carefully look at the Greek word for "malice". Our concentration will be on this very special type of "wickedness" that SHOULD NOT be a part of any Believer's relationship.
As we will see, this "wickedness" is one of the favorite tools used by the imitators of Spiritual living. The imitators use this tool in order to control others in the relationship, rather than allowing the goals and purpose of the relationship to be the directing factor. "Control" is one of the most important factors in these pseudo Spiritual relationships.
Please keep in mind, there is a vast difference between the role of a individual in a personal relationship, and the role of a leader. This is true whether that leader be of a tribe of Israel, a Sunday School class, a church, etc. All of these aspects will be seen, to some extent, as we study the Tabernacle and its service.
Even though we will not examine "malice" at this time, I have given several passages, dealing with this subject, to be used in your private study. Plus, "malice" (as per definition) is one of the "key" components of this special type of "wickedness" used by Spiritual imitators.
The Greek word for this type of wickedness is used only 7 times in the New Testament. This is not just your regular run-of-the-mill wickedness. Look at some of the examples of this Greek word in the Scriptures. It is a wickedness that is used often by those who claim to be Spiritual, BUT ARE NOT. If this type of wickedness is part of your actions and motive, you have NO claim to Spirituality, only carnality.
Every time, except once, that this Greek word is used, it is used in connection with those who claim to be Spiritual. That one exception is found in....
I'm sure you've noticed that a child, before they are trained differently, will "plot" actions that are hurtful and bring anguish to other children, and sometimes parents. These actions are designed, by the untrained child, to allow them to control by intimidation, and therefore get their own selfish way.
Hey!! When done right, this action works!! (It works, BUT it is sinful and against God's clear command.) It is used in business, government, among friends(?), by parents, etc.
By the way, children need to be taught that there is a purpose for relationships other than self-gratification. Of course parents need to learn that fact before becoming the teachers of their children. Children need to be taught that there is a difference between a proper relationship on the play ground, and the proper relationship within the church building. A needed subject for another time.
Some adults have never grown out of this childishness. OR they have seen the control value of this wickedness that plots to hurt and bring anguish, and have adopted this method of operation for their own relationships.
This "wickedness" will demonstrate itself in many ways, BUT it will always be planned to hurt, and bring anguish so that personal control can be theirs, and the relationship will accomplish their personal whims, instead of following the goals and purpose of the relationship for the benefit of all involved.
The shadows and examples emanating from the Tabernacle and its service will teach us much concerning personal relationships, as well as collective or church relationships. We will also see the vast difference between relationships and leadership.
This difference can be applied to
marriage, child raising, the church, etc. For now, we had better get back
This Greek word for sincerity is used only 3 times in the New Testament. If we are to have a Spiritual relationship with anyone, human or God, then what we say and do MUST be genuine and pure!
If that relationship is to be of a Spiritual nature, we must be able and willing to have our motive, and actions placed in and examined by the sunlight of God's Word, NOT by our well plotted selfish "spin".
Those motives and actions MUST BE "clear" of any selfish whims, IF we are to claim our relationships as Spiritual. Please, for your own sake and the honor of God, DON'T claim to have a Spiritual relationship or a Spiritual life, IF malice and wickedness are present in your motive and actions. Nor make that claim, IF sincerity and truth are NOT a part of your motive and actions.
We will see more on this subject as we look at the offer God made Israel at Mount Sinai, and the examples of Spiritual relationships found in the Tabernacle and its service. For right now, please answer this question being honest with yourself, others and God. HOW do your relationships stack up??? Are your relationships truly Spiritual or are they simply carnal????
Our relationship must be of SINCERITY and TRUTH. Truth, as per definition, is the second quality needed in any Spiritual relationship.
Once again, we can learn much from the actions of an untrained child. A young child will deny an act while still holding the evidence in their hands. As the child gets a little older and more sophisticated;
They try to hide the evidence or blame someone else. When they have really arrived..., they attempt to show that the wrong they did, was really right.
God wanted a personal relationship with Israel, based on HIS COVENANT. God made the offer, BUT as we saw in the last lesson, the people valued life more than a relationship with God. Once anything has greater value in our lives than the person of God, THEN that "thing" becomes our god, and there is NO way we can worship the true God.
Hearing the voice of God, and seeing the effect of the presence of God on the mountain, caused the people to realize that NO person could stand in the presence of God without holiness. They knew that they had no holiness within themselves.
That always happens!!! When a person sees God for Who He is, that person will see himself for what he is not.
Many of us need to see Who God is, BECAUSE we have a very high opinion of our Spiritual qualities. As long as we compare ourselves with ourselves, we look pretty good, BUT along side Christ, our "goodness" has far less glamour.
The Israelites saw the reality of God's person, and they knew that they could NEVER measure up. God did not ask or expect them to measure up. God simply asked them to receive, obey and keep His word and covenant.., THEN God would do the rest. That's called grace in any age.
The tragedy of this refusal of God's offer, was that they could have had life and a relationship. God was not interested in destroying their physical life, God wanted to transform them into a Spiritually alive nation. For God to be able to do so, mankind MUST turn lose of physical life, material things, self-image, etc. Paul, many years later, expressed the truth of those facts, in this way.....
If these Israelites had just remembered and understood their history, they would have come to a different conclusion. God called Abram to go to a land not known to him, and there God would make him a great nation, and through that nation would come a blessing to both that nation and the whole world.
They knew that the father of their nation had talked with God and lived. Would God do less for them? They knew that Abram had believed God, and God put His Own righteousness to Abram's account, even though he did not deserve it. Would God do less for them?
They had seen what God had done for them personally in bringing them out of Egypt, and providing their needs, etc. Yet, they were not willing to trust God for a personal relationship.
What a sad story!!! They were so close. They witnessed the thunder, the lightning, the sound of the trumpet and the smoking mountain.
They could have been in the presence of God. God had come to them. Oh, so very near!! BUT the people "stood afar off"!!
"The people stood afar off." What an awful phrase!!!!!!!!!! They did not need to be afraid. God had come so they would not sin. God did not come to kill them. God had come to them. All they had to do was stand there, and God would do the rest.
BUT they "stood afar off"
They missed God's presence while Moses "drew near". They, like some of us, missed God's blessing. They missed God's BEST for them, BECAUSE they wanted what they thought was best for themselves, at the time.
Let's bring the message home. Some of you have been in church All your lives, some MOST our your lives and some are NEW at this thing called Christianity. But all have witnessed God's working, have heard His word, yet some of you still stand afar off. You are so close. Don't draw back, and stand afar off.
Some of you moms and dads are content to have God on the mountain, as long as you can keep your distance. Young person. God wants to be an active part of your life. Will you draw near OR stand afar off?
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001|