Monday, January 24, 2011

Exodus 29-31

I am writing this to you from beautiful (and warm) Palm Desert California.  It is shirt sleeve weather here and Patty and I have a tee time tomorrow.  But I will not neglect my reading and I hope to keep up on my blog as well.....I hope you are keeping up to.   Even if you are not, do your best.  I know how busy some of you are and you might miss a day, now and again.   You'll catch up!!  These next couple of chapters and books will be some of the most difficult.  Stay with us and you will be rewarded.

My thoughts regarding our current reading:  You can see where some of our modern practices have their formation in God's directions to the Israelites as they built the Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle), adorned the church and consecrated their priests.  Ordination of our clergy, which happens at annual Conference for the United Methodist Church (ask Ken Howard about it), has its roots in these instructions to Moses as they related to Aaron and his sons.  Later, when we get to the story of Elijah and Elisha, you will see where the idea of the stole ( I where a stole when I robe) came from.  Also, note that the laying on of hands, sprinkling and anointing with oil all come from these passages.  All of these are still practiced and our use of sprinkling in Baptism is supported by this and other Old Testament passages.  The practice of anointing with oil is used to consecrate, bless and make holy and is still used in the Methodist Church.

When the text speaks of God's glory it is speaking of something called the Shekinah.  The Shekinah glory was God's presence with the people.  It was in the cloud and the column of fire that led the Israelites in the wilderness.  It was in the fire when God spoke to Moses.  When you hear me pray for the palpable presence of God, I am asking that God appear to us and my prayer is always that God will show up in a way that someone in our congregation will know, without a doubt, that God was here in our worship.....the Shekinah Glory.....God's presence.

The blood sacrifice for atonement of sins to be offered each year is the price of our sin in the Old Testament....for Christians that blood sacrifice is no longer necessary because of the blood sacrifice made by Jesus on the Cross.  The perfect lamb is the final blood sacrifice for the sins of the world!!

The 1/2 shekel tax on the people who cross the Jordan was maintained later as the Temple tax.  You can read about it in the New Testament in the miracle of the coin in the fishes mouth which Peter caught and used to pay the temple tax for the Apostles.

Finally, the notion of being Spirit Filled as talked about in 31:3 is proof that the Holy Spirit is not just something that was given to the New Testament Christian at Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit is mentioned on multiple occasions in the Old Testament and this is one of them.

Blessings on each of you as you persist faithfully in your reading.

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