Chapter-a-Day Exodus 25

The ark.

Let them construct a Sanctuary for me so that I can live among them. You are to construct it following the plans I've given you, the design for The Dwelling and the design for all its furnishings. Exodus 25:9 (MSG)

As I read through the instructions that God gave Moses for constructing this amazing portable tent of God's "Dwelling," the Ark of the Covenant, and all the items to be used in worship, I'm reminded that I am God's dwelling on earth. Since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, our bodies are become the temple of God. I find it interesting that we constantly want to associate God's presence with a church building, a temple, or a sanctuary – when God makes it clear in His message to us that old things have passed away, new things have come. He no longer dwells in a building made with hands, but in the bodies and lives of those who believe.

And, as I read through these exacting instructions, I'm reminded of what a special place is required for God's presence. In Exodus, the tent of meeting (a.k.a. Tabernacle or Dwelling) required time, work, construction, craftsmanship, sweat, toil, dedication, and obedience to make this place suitable for God's dwelling.

Today, I'm reminded that my body is God's place of dwelling. The same time, work, sweat, toil, dedication and obedience is required to make my body a special place for God's presence, and I should care for it as such.

I guess I'm finding time to work out today 🙂

Long Working Weekend in Maine

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Wendy and I returned yesterday from a long weekend just outside of Portland, Maine. Our company is doing customer surveys for a client and, at the last minute, we needed some extra hands to get them done. So, Wendy and I spent about 11 hours on Friday and Saturday and an additional 8 hours on Sunday standing by the doors of a store asking people to take a survey about their visit. The survey took 10-20 minutes each (depending on how much the customer wanted to talk). We were two tired puppies by the end of it all.

People asked us if we were enjoying Maine. The truth is, other than the inside of the store, we hardly saw any of it. When we arrived Thursday night we drove down to the harbor and walked around a bit. What we saw was beautiful. We hope to go back there some day when we can just enjoy the area.

 

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Chapter-a-Day Exodus 24

O'hare nightmares.

Then Moses climbed the mountain. The Cloud covered the mountain. The Glory of God settled over Mount Sinai. The Cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day he called out of the Cloud to Moses. Exodus 24:15-16 (MSG)

Wendy and I made our way back from the east coast yesterday. We'd been there for four days on business and we were tired. We'd already extended our stay by a day. United gouged us on price for changing our itinerary.  Then, it was just one of those days. I spilled scalding hot coffee on myself. Wendy left her iPod on the plane. We had to scurry around the bowels of O'Hare airport to file a lost article report. The more tired we felt, the more impatient we got.

Upon reflection, it is still a wonder that we could wake up looking over the Atlantic ocean and walk through our back door, fourteen hundred miiles away, in a matter of a few hours. How discontent, how impatient we've become.

I found it interesting that for all the pomp and fireworks on the mountain, God did not call out to Moses for seven days, and Moses was up there on the mountain for forty days and nights. I can't imagine how impatient people got waiting for him to come down.

Today, I'm reminded that God exists and operates beyond linear human timelines. His purposes are far greater than my modern day impatience, lack of contentment, and petty demands. God, help me let go of my self-centered impatience, and find rest in your perfect will.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and paytonc

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Chapter-a-Day Exodus 23

"Bring the choice first produce of the year to the house of your God." Exodus 23:19a (MSG)

It's good for me to regularly contemplate who, or what, is getting the "choice first produce" of my life.  I think about my time, my energy, my income, and my attention. How am I budgeting life? Where is it all going? It's easy for me to immediately think that God is getting my very best, but if you lay out the evidence – what does it say?

Today, I'm taking stock and asking God to help me discern those places in my life where I am not giving Him my best. Then comes the hard part – making the necessary changes.

Chapter-a-Day Exodus 22

Offender rights.

"A thief must make full restitution for what is stolen." Exodus 22:3 (MSG)

As I read through todays chapter, which is a list of some of the first laws recorded in human history, it struck me how much of it was plain common sense. It was a victim-centric system of justice. The offender had to make sure that the victim was not out anything because of their sin or crime. If you steal something you have to pay the victim for what was stolen. If your livestock eat your neighbors grain, you have to pay so that his livestock can eat. That's not rocket science.

I thought about Bernie Madoff as I read through today's chapter. What about all the people whose life savings and retirement accountts were wiped out by his scam? While he was under house arrest in his posh New York apartment, his victims were out finding jobs to replace the money he stole. Something is not right with that picture.

The code of human justice originally prescribed by God made sure that the power did not take advantage of the weak and powerless, and that victims received restitution. As I sit and mull it over my first cup of coffee this morning, it seems to me we have abandoned the victim-centric code of justice originally prescribed by God and evolved into an offender-centric society.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and sabeth718

Chapter-a-Day Exodus 21

Playground rules.

"These are the laws that you are to place before them:" Exodus 21:1 (MSG)

Do you remember the law of the playground? When I think back on it, the playground was a vicious place. There might have been an adult or two standing by the school door casually making sure no one died, but once you got out by the jungle him it was a whole new world. It was survival of the fittest, baby. The older, bigger and meaner you were the more clout you carried and the more scared followers you had in your herd. It was mob mentality to the core. The weak and defenseless were easy targets while the herd moved in unison behind the playground leaders out of self-defense.

Now, expand those rules and mentality to a regional level. Expand it to a national level.

We can scarce imagine a world without laws. Life without a well-defined set of civic rules, prescribed authority, and clearly laid out legal system is almost beyond our comprehension. But, for Moses and the millions of Israelites wandering through the desert behind him, there is no formal set of rules. The law of the playground is at work in the daily lives of a nation of people who have suddenly become nomads. The chaos between the lines of the chapters passed down to us must have been mind-boggling.

It's easy as modern readers to scratch our heads at these chapters of rules and laws, but I'm trying to wrap my brain around what this must have meant for them. As I read through the chapters yesterday and today, I think about the weight of responsibility on Moses to help God define a set of laws and a legal system for an entire nation of people who find themselves homeless wanderers.

It's pretty impressive to think that the legal system we take for granted traces its' roots all the way back to these very chapters of Exodus and to these people wandering in the desert 10,000 years ago.

creative commons photo courtesy of flickr and funkybug