|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||Choices and Consequences||Lesson 7|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|August 5 2001||Bible Lessons
Hold on to your seats, because this is first of several passages we need for this lesson. How would you like to cover all that.., in detail..., during one lesson?? Don't pass out, yet. In this series, we will cover all of that and MUCH MORE!
For this lesson, we will see only a few highlights from several passages. By seeing an overview in this manner, it will aid us when we come back for the details, and will allow us to see several truths that can be life changing, IF we choose to apply them to our own lives.
If you listen to the new theologians of today, you would think that God could have, and possibly should have given the information we need to live the Christian life in a few short phrases that can be repeated over and over again. Then by repeating those phrases often enough, the "joy of the Lord" will fill your life, and you can leave the service "walking on a cloud of pleasure".
According to some, it is a waste of time to study all these lengthy passages, and "useless" details. After all, they say, "The understanding of Scriptures is a very personal matter. Plus, you can't really understand the Bible anyway. Therefore, we need to stick with the few basics that all can agree upon."
According to some, it's not what you know about God that matters, it's how you feel about yourself that's the key factor. Of course, as some indicate, that feeling about yourself MUST be good and positive. There is far too much bad in the world as it is, they say. Therefore, you certainly should not walk away from a church service feeling "bad" about yourself or your sins.
I would challenge those that say such things, and those who accept them to look at EVERY passage of Scripture that tells us about some person experiencing the presence of God. After carefully reading each passage, THEN count how many times those who experienced God's presence went away from such a meeting FEELING GOOD about themselves.
I may be out of step with the times, but IF we want to be in step with God, I think we need to stick with God's Word, as God gave it!! We must NOT settle for the new revised condensed version that leaves out all the (so called) useless and unnecessary information that has no application for a truly "happy" life.
God certainly wants us to know the joy of the Lord, but that joy can only be ours, after our lives have been transformed, and we are experiencing a life of holiness. I'm here to tell you, that transformation process is not pleasant, but it does produce "pleasant" results, in those who have been transformed by it.
I feel sorry for those of the "feel good religious persuasion" when they stand before God's judgment, and try to explain that "feel-good" religious philosophy to God. At that point, their worship service might seem a little lacking in Spiritual quality and power. For you see, the Holy Spirit said in.....
WHAT MORE COULD A PERSON ASK ?!?! I believe the "ALL Scripture" mentioned here, refers to passages that deal with the details of the Tabernacle, as well as passages that tell us that Jesus came so we might have "All joy". By the way, if you will study "all Scripture", you will see that the "All Joy" enters our life and life-style as we know and apply "All Scriptures".
My friend, there are no unimportant Scripture passages, period!!!! The problem comes when we are in such a hurry that we refuse to compare all Scripture with all Scripture, in order to see its importance and gain its understanding.
Instead, we often just pick out (and out of context) a few verses, or even phrases that seem to support our lifestyle, and say that those isolated verses are the "heart" of what God wanted to say, and the rest are just "filler". Let's look at some of that (so called) "filler", and see if we can find some very relevant and personal messages for our lives today and for eternity.
We need to see a few details as we "fly-over" this passage. Some of these details, are absolutely necessary, if we are to understand God's eternal plan, AND therefore, God's design for us in our small part of that eternal plan.
The use of the term, the "first" covenant, is not an indication that there were no other covenants before this covenant given to Moses for Israel. Instead, it is "first" in reference to the New Covenant that comes after and replaces the Mosaic Covenant or Law.
The writer is comparing the "Mosaic Covenant" (given first) with the "New Covenant" (given later). We can see that fact not only from a comparison of all Scripture, but from the immediate context of our passage in chapter 9. Let's back up a few verses into chapter 8.
In context, the "first" covenant is the Mosaic Covenant or Law, and the "second" is the New Covenant, that was not established until the death of Christ. Moving down a few verses and leading right into the passage before us in chapter 9.
Over the span of time, there are several covenants established by God with mankind in general or with segments of mankind. Each covenant is a part of, extension of or a clarification of the overall covenant made by God before the foundations of the earth.
Some of these covenants have components that extend into eternity. Some covenants are only for a period of time or a special event. The Mosaic Covenant was fulfilled by Christ in His first coming, and terminates with the beginning of the New Covenant. More on this subject in later lessons.
It is also important to see that the writer never intended to state or indicate that the Mosaic Covenant was the first covenant God ever made, or that it was first in importance.
It is important to see that the Mosaic Covenant HAD ordinances of divine service and HAD an earthly sanctuary. We will see later that the New Covenant also has ordinances and sanctuaries. However, the Mosaic Covenant WAS NOT ordinances and a sanctuary. Belonging to and associated with this Mosaic Covenant were ordinances and a sanctuary.
That fact may seem unimportant at this stage of our study. But as we move along, it will become all important to our understanding of the keeping of, or our participation in the Mosaic Covenant or Law.
For now, please see that the writer of Hebrews is making a distinction between the Covenant, and the ordinances and sanctuary. Follow along as the writer describes the Tabernacle, its furnishings and in general its service. We will be back, later, to a more detailed study of these ordinances, statutes, etc.
I can sympathize with the writer of Hebrews, for he also had difficulty with the clock when it came to teaching these things, in detail. The writer of Hebrews gives us a quick tour of the tent building called the Tabernacle and its furnishings. I hate to keep saying this, but we will be back for more details on each of these items.
For this lesson, we want to have, in the back of our minds, the general features of the structure, and we will build on those features later. The first room called the Sanctuary, otherwise known as the Holy Place had three articles of furniture in it. Those articles were the Lampstand, the Table of Showbread, and the Altar of Incense.
As pointed out in this passage, the Altar of Incense was associated with the ministry of the Holy of Holies, even though it resided in the first room. In the second room, called the Holiest of All or the Holy of Holies, was the Ark of the Covenant covered by the Mercy Seat.
The priests ministered daily in the Courtyard and the first room of the Tabernacle. Once a year, the High Priest performed a service. That service began in the Courtyard, moved into the Holy Place and finally into the Holy of Holies. This service was performed only once a year, and only by the High Priest.
Only the priests, who came through the line of Aaron, could minister in the Tabernacle. Only the tribe of Levi could have any part in the service of the Tabernacle through upkeep, moving the Tabernacle from place to place, etc. Only at the Tabernacle could sacrifices be made for the sins of the people, and only in the Tabernacle could the presence of God be experienced for the nation.
This was the form of worship available to the Israelites. However, this form of worship was not God's FIRST choice for Israel, but was a result of a very poor choice made by the nation in general. We want to look at that choice, and some of its consequences.
I hope this study will bring a clearer understand to the order of Jewish worship, AND a Spiritual application that:
ALL CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES!!
On our way to see the consequences of this choice by Israel, I want to quickly scan a portion we looked at in the last lesson. Several of you made some very gracious comments concerning the past few lessons. Thank you! Such honest comments are always helpful and appreciated.
Look especially at
As we know and will see in this lesson, they refused the offer, and only part of one tribe became priests. I don't know how God would have worked out the worship and service details, if all the people were a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS. That was God's problem, and I'm sure He had it all planned. This we do know! Each of those Israelites would have had the privilege to minister in the presence of God and see His glory,
If they had chosen to accept God's first offer.
If they had accepted the offer, would there have been a Tabernacle??? I don't know!! The point is that each person in that nation would have been able to minister, serve and fellowship in the presence of God.
In the God given record of these events, only one chapter passes before we see the nation, as a whole, refusing to obey God's voice. As a matter of fact, they would not even LISTEN to His voice, to say nothing of obeying.
Please pardon my constant reference to the "voice" of God. However, if you miss these little (so called) "filler" items, you will probably miss God's message and have to make up your own message. NOT a good idea!!!! Once again, let's review a passage from the last lesson.
Before we look again at their refusal to obey God, look at another factor in God's offer. Moses reminds them of what God intended to do for them, if they would stay in His presence.
First, there need not be any "fear", or literally panic. Along with other things, by being in God's presence they would be tested, and then they would have a proper "fear", or respect of God.
When a person stands outside of God's presence, their respect or opinion of God will usually be that His is a God of Judgment, OR that His is a God of mushy-non-just love.
The Israelites, like so many of us, did not choose to abide in
These facts have always been true in lives, since Adam and Eve to this
very day. We MUST abide in Him. Only there
will we find our lives properly tested
and transformed so we will have proper fear and not sin, as stated in
we may have confidence
and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
NOTICE!!!! The constant reference to the "voice" of God in these passages. In these passages that "voice" is not direct, as it was on Mount Sinai, but it is the "voice" or Word of God, none the less.
There is no way of abiding in Christ, apart from the Word of God becoming an active part of our entire life-style. If we want to know the life of less sin here on earth, and experience real confidence when we appear before Him in heaven, THEN we need to abide in Him, by having "all Scripture" (the Word of God) applied to and living in our lives.
What a sad, sad story!!! Both then, as well as now. They were so close and we are so close.
So close to being in The Testing Laboratory of God's Presence. It was in that The Testing Laboratory, that they could have been purified from sin, and energized with Spiritual life from God.
Instead, they were content to have someone else experience the presence of God, in their place. Then they wanted that substitute to come before them, and perform or restate what God said.
Most of our so called worship is just that, so called. A performance by a few..., while the rest watch from afar. NO! I do not question the sincerity or motive. But the reality still remains ---- sinful mankind DOES NOT feel comfortable in the presence of God.
We would much rather hear the experience of someone who thinks they have experienced God's presence. Or worse, we would rather hear and see someone demonstrate what they THINK the presence of God might be like.., if they ever found that presence.
Oh, yes! Through such demonstrations, we may see the lightning, hear the thunder.. and IF you don't hear the thunder.., we'll turn the amps up a little. BUT how many have PERSONALLY experience the presence of God, and receive His cleansing, so they will not sin?????
By the way, the thundering and lightening are not wrong, UNLESS, they becomes a substitute for the personal presence of God, AND IF we are not content to stand afar off, and experience only the external demonstration of God's presence.
The Israelites, like us, could have been in the presence of God. God had come to them. God is here today!! Oh, so very near!! BUT the people then "stood afar off". Where will you stand???? They "stood afar off", out of the presence of God-- by choice! They missed that glorious presence, while Moses "drew near". By the way, Moses was changed by the presence of God. Even his face glowed when he came away from God's presence. (Yes, more on that later.)
Let's follow the results of this choice, by Israel, a little further. Please be aware!! The results we look at today are only a small portion of the full scale results brought about by this wrong choice.
God wanted to make them a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS. IF they had EACH been a priest, serving in the presence of God, there would not have been the idle time to engage in these sins.
There are many lessons and applications here. We could linger here for several lessons and never exhaust those truths. But for this lesson, see that only 40+ days have passed since seeing the results of God's presence, BUT never experiencing that presence.
The outward evidences of God's person can cause a dramatic experience, but ONLY the personal presence of God can bring personal transformation in a human life. The "natural" human is FAR more impressed and desires "drama", rather than transformation. Drama is performed by another, while we watch. Transformation takes place within the life. It is a personal experience.
In that short time, only about 40 days from experiencing the outward evidences of God, the Israelites had not only engaged in sins of the lowest degree, they have totally turned from their God. In this event, we see one of the results of that very bad choice made by Israel, earlier.
We've all experienced it. You know, a person was just in church two weeks ago, BUT look at them NOW!!! How could a person go to church, then turn around and do such awful things???? If we are not constantly walking in the light as He is in the light, we WILL be walking in sin.
By the way, it isn't the preaching or the type of service that changes lives. These people at Mount Sinai had a pretty good preacher, Moses. That service was awesome, loud AND it had lighting effects unknown to mankind! None the less, even though they were close to the presence of God, they missed it by just a little, but a miss is as good as a mile. You are either in the presence of God, OR you are not. It is the presence of God that changes lives. BUT we resist change.
God told Moses to "step aside", and let Him kill all those Israelites, but Moses interceded for them. By the way, the fact that others intercede for us, very possibly, keeps the hand of God from destroying us, also.
This account is FULL of shadows and examples of real Spiritual value to us!! Maybe later. We must move on, because we are being pushed by the clock. Let's pick up the story after Moses came down from the Mount, and had his conference with the "Assistant Pastor", Aaron
More consequences of that very bad choice. This account points out the consequences of some proper choices, also. We can't take the time to read all the account at this time, but that act of dedication by the tribe of Levi was one of the factors in God's appointing that tribe as the caretakers of the Tabernacle, and choosing from of their midst the priests.
It would be good, if each of you would read the entire account in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy as well as the other references to this account throughout the Scriptures. For the sake of time, we must move on to the next consequence of this bad choice.
These were not BAD men. They were the community-type -- the bankers, lawyers, doctors, business men -- the hard working men of the community. However, they were not satisfied with the "position" given them by God.
They wanted the "PRIESTHOOD"................, ALSO! BUT they were not willing to give up their lifestyle, and accept the responsibility and make the sacrifice.
This was the very thing God had offered them in the first place. However, they refused to pay the price to become what God wanted for them, EVEN though it was what each of them wanted, deep down in their hearts.
Aaron and his descendants had received the priesthood. They received this honor, not because they were BETTER than the rest of people. It was because of God's appointment, their willingness to accept the responsibility and pay the price.
I'm sure it's never happens here at MBF, but at some of those other churches, it happens regularly. There are those who say something like, "I don't know why he has a right to do that, or who does she think she is. Just because he's the pastor and she is his wife, doesn't mean that they are better than the rest of us!"
It's not a matter of being better or worse. It's a matter of God's calling and appointment, along with the willingness to accept the responsibility and pay the price.
If you want to be the pastor of MBF or a pastor anywhere,
If you want to be a pastor's wife, here or anywhere.... Well.., I guess you had better marry a pastor. All kidding aside, there needs to be the same willingness on the part of a pastor's wife, as the pastor. Without an equal willingness of the wife, the pastor will be anything but effective in the ministry of the New Covenant. My wife is as much a part of the ministry, as I am.
By the way, there are also requirement for a deacon, as well as his wife. We could launch a very profitable study in this area, but I hope this short mention has given you some direction for your private study.
The point we want to see from this is:
If God makes an offer and you refuse it, DON'T try to "force" Him to give you the "benefits" of the offer, EVEN though you rejected it.
There is much more in these accounts. I'm sure you will see many other applications that you can eagerly apply to your life, if you will go back and carefully read them over and over again, AND allow the Holy Spirit to teach from them, by comparing Spiritual with Spiritual.
41 On the next day
all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, "You have killed the people of the LORD."
Will we NEVER learn?!?!?!?!?
I'm glad God said that the things that happened to them were for our examples, so we would not repeat their transgressions. If God used this method of correction every time someone in the church tried to "get" a position given by God to someone else, well...., the church would probably be quite empty.
Even if there is no such dramatic type of response to poor choices, you must remember.... "that whatever a person sows, that is what they will reap" -- Now and in eternity.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001|