Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Tabernacle: Altar of Incense

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God.” Revelation 8:4 KJV
Have you ever smelled something really nasty and wanted to get that smell out of your nose as quickly as possible? I spend a lot of time in rural Iowa and am very familiar with the sweet aroma of hog manure. In Iowa we say, “That’s the smell of money.” But I don’t like the fragrance sticking to my clothes so that I always smell that way. Walking into the kitchen and smelling a fresh baked pie is a pleasant change.
The priests who came into the tabernacle had just been in the outer court where animals were constantly being slaughtered. The smell of death is unpleasant. In the tabernacle there was an altar of incense that refreshed the senses of the priests. But that wasn’t the real purpose for the altar. It was placed right in front of the second area of the tabernacle, the holy of holies. This veiled off area was where the shekinah glory of God dwelt. The incense altar in front of the veil pictures a place to offer up praise and prayer to God. 
Our prayers are still a fragrant aroma to God. They are the incense offering that we make to Him. As the incense was to be constantly refreshed we are to constantly be in communication with God. It is pleasing to Him to hear the prayers and praise of His children.

Dear Father, Thank You for hearing us when we pray and for loving to hear us pray. Amen.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Tabernacle: Table of Showbread

And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life’.” John 6:35 NKJV
Bread, good whole grain bread, is a staple food of life. Whole grains provide multiple vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients for life. When Jesus said that He was the bread of life He meant that we are sustained by Him. The bread of heaven, manna, fed the millions of Israelites in the wilderness for forty years. Elijah was sustained by the bread brought to him by ravens. Bread was in the tabernacle.
Across the room from the lampstand was a golden table containing twelve loaves of bread. Again we find Christ in the tabernacle caring for His people. Not only is Christ the living bread that we need to live spiritually, His word is viewed as bread that we need to feast on to live spiritually as well. The great hymn, “Break, Thou, the Bread of Life” was meant to be sung with Bible study and was not written for communion. In the light and the bread we find Christ reflected in means that we can use for our daily lives. Every day we need to eat and every day we need to feed on the bread of God.

Dear Father, Thank You for giving us true bread in Christ and His word. Amen. 

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Tabernacle: Golden Lampstand

For the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.” Rev. 21:23-24 NLT
From Genesis to Revelation light is an important teaching in Scripture. Since mankind can’t do without it there is every reason to expect it to be the focus of many important passages. Light is symbolic of power, glory, heaven, truth, the scriptures, God the Father, Christ and the law to name a short list. In the tabernacle that God gave the directions on how to build and what to install in it, light plays an important role.
The tent of meeting was enclosed in multiple layers of embroidered fabrics and skins. The entrance was heavily veiled. Stepping into it from the bright desert sun the priest would have stumbled on nearly total darkness if not for the light of the lampstand. Seven little bowls of light fueled by special oil reflected off solid golden walls. The priest could easily see to do his work.
Christ is our tabernacle. He is also our light and the word He has given us is called the light. Christ is the golden walls that reflect the light so that we can see. All that the priest, the believer, needs to have or know to do God’s work is found in that light. Daily the light was to be trimmed and kept fresh. Daily we are to come to God’s word and get our oil renewed and be given light for the new day. This is how we can be prepared to serve our Lord with fresh light and fresh oil every day.

Dear Father, Thank You for giving us the light to guide our way. Amen.  

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Monday, June 19, 2017

The Tabernacle: The Tent of Meeting (Interlude)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV
Have you ever been really hot and looked forward to going into some place cool and be revived and refreshed? In the desert where the Israelites wandered for 40 years it was hot. It was dirty. The wind blew the sand into eyes and mouths and tents. In the tabernacle area it was dirty with the offal of the sacrifices and the smell of death was all around. But there was a refreshing place where the priest had to go every day. It was into the tabernacle tent proper. Here layers of coverings kept out the hot sun and the noise and smells. Here it was cool and the light was soft. Behind one more veil was where God dwelt.
The New Testament tells all believers that they are priests. It calls for all of us to go into the tabernacle tent and come before God. There is no longer a veil of separation. That was ripped apart by God when Christ died for us. Now we can meet directly with Him. We can come into His presence and be refreshed. The heat of this world’s woes can be left outside. The smell of this world’s sins can be left outside. Inside we find the pure bread of life, the true light of life, the blessed access of prayer and the mercy seat open to us.
To get here we had to come through the blood of the sacrifice. We had to come through the laver of cleansing of confession. Now we can come to feed on the bread, the word of God. We can come to see the light of our way, the Christ of God. We can come to offer up our prayers as fragrant incense to the Father who is right there before us welcoming us to His throne.  This is our place of private worship with Him. O the refreshment and renewal we find here every day.

Dear Father, Thank You for inviting us into Your presence to meet with you each day. Amen. 

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Tabernacle: Laver of Washing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9-10 NKJV
If a guest comes to our kitchen they will first see the oak table. The next place their eyes are apt to go is to the window at the end of the room. Under that window is the sink. My beloved Bride keeps the sink area very clean. If the eye is naturally drawn to it, it shouldn’t look dirty. In God’s tabernacle the same would be true.
Just beyond the bronze altar was the laver of washing. It gleamed in the sun. It had been made from the mirrors of the Israelite women. The eye would naturally go to it. It was a needed item and not merely for decoration. Beyond the laver was a tent where God dwelt. Before the priest who had gotten dirty in his labors could enter that tent, he had to wash. It isn’t that he hadn’t washed yesterday, but he was dirty again.
So it is with us. Each day we sin. Each day we need to confess our sin. God’s word is the mirror that lets us see what we have done. Then in confession we make known to God our repentant heart and receive from Him the cleansing that lets us go into His tent to receive all the blessings He has for us there.

Dear Father, Thank You for the opportunity to confess our sins and the certainty of Your forgiveness and cleansing. Amen. 

  The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend.  Amen 

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tabernacle: Bronze Altar

And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” Hebrews 9:22 NIV
What do you notice first when entering someone’s home? At our house we live “country style”. That means everyone uses the backdoor and enters the kitchen first. You can’t miss the big oak table in the middle of the room. Its “much used” appearance speaks of family, a lot of family, over a long time. It sends a message about our home, not just our house.
In the Old Testament God told Moses to build a tabernacle where God would dwell among His people. There were seven items of furniture in this tabernacle. Only two of the items could be seen by all the people, three by the priestly family and two by the high priest alone. The first item was the bronze altar. That was where the sacrifices were made.
This is singularly important. When we come to God we must come through His Son who is the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus said, “I Am the Way . . . no one comes to the Father but by Me.”  Our entrance to God is only one way, through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. God placed for everyone to see what was of singular importance to His home – the sacrifice of His Son. Without the blood of Christ there is no admission to the home of God.

Dear Father, Thank You for providing the only way for me to come to You. Amen. 

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Creation: Day of Rest: Day Seven

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27 NKJV
If you are a parent then you have heard this over and over again, “But I don’t want to go to bed; I’m not tired.” We know that our children need proper rest to be healthy and so we make sure they do go to bed. But then we turn right around and ignore the same rule for ourselves. Our mantra is, “I’ve just got too many things to do so I can’t rest.” We have a loving heavenly Father who knows best, however. He said, “Six days you shall labor and on the seventh day you shall rest.”
Why do we make our two year olds take a nap? Why do we make our ten year olds go to bed at a decent hour? We do it for them because we love them. The bed isn’t their master; it’s there to serve their need. The Sabbath isn’t our master. God didn’t intend us to be slaves to a day and suffer from it. God made the command to take a day off from the hecticness of life so that we could be re-energized and have special time of fellowship with Him. Let’s look at our children’s tired eyes and then at our busy schedules and remember that God knows best – we need rest.

Dear Father, Thank you for creating a day of rest for me. Amen. 

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