Thanksgiving Memories and Traditions…

Hey all!

I wanted to do something different this week to honor God and to celebrate Thanksgiving which is this week here in the US.  Thanksgiving is a day to thank God for our blessings.  This was the original intent back in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday.  Somehow it has gotten squeezed between Halloween (a waste of time, energy, and money in my opinion) and the commercialism that is replacing “Christ” in Christmas.

I invite you all to comment below with your favorite Thanksgiving memories or traditions or to list your prayers to God and your thankgivings to Him for what you have.  We are all blessed whether we feel like it or not.  If you are breathing, it is because of God…

I wish you all a joyous Thanksgiving, full of warmth and laughter and family and friends and praise to Him who made it all possible.

I would like to personally say thank you to each and every one of you.  I am truly blessed to have this forum and to have amazing readers who find something here every week.  It gives me a purpose that I only recently have come to appreciate, and I pray I will appreciate more.  I wish I could give each and every one of you a big hug and invite you over for coffee to praise Him!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

God bless you all!

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Summary of Exodus…

God chose the Israelites out of pure grace alone.  They didn’t deserve it any more than any other group of people.  They were all sinners as the incident with the golden calf clearly pointed out.  He chooses a mediator, Moses, a man who had killed another to lead his people out of Egypt.  Once out of Egypt, God continues to lead His people in a cloud or by fire through the desert to the Promised Land with Moses as the communicator with the people.

God orders the people to build Him a tabernacle to exact specifications, which takes up one-third of Exodus.  Every detail reveals God’s character and the rituals described means God must be taken seriously.  We will continue to see this in the next three books of the Bible (the rest of our study).

The furnishings are sparse compared to most temples to gods of that day.  Each had a purpose in approaching God and nothing extra.  The tabernacle was not a gathering place–it served one purpose only namely to worship God.

And so God moves in in only five verses at the end of Exodus.  He cannot be experienced directly; yet, He is near, visible over the tabernacle, guiding and protecting His people, for no other reason than He wants to be near them–and us.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 5: Exodus 40:34-38

Summary of passage: The cloud and glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle once it was completed and no one could enter. Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites would continue their journey. If the cloud stayed, they stayed. The cloud was over the tabernacle by day and fire by night during all the Israelites travels.

Questions:

11a)  The cloud controlled when the Israelites moved and when they camped.  When the cloud covered the tabernacle, the Israelites stayed put.  When the cloud lifted, the Israelites broke camp and moved towards the Promised Land.

b)  It provided shade for the people in the hot, desert climate.  It kept them from moving when their enemies may have been moving about so they didn’t run into anyone.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many times we have moved, always with a purpose.  I complied although begrudgingly.  We were protected and we served Him.  Now as we move from rental to rental it’s with a purpose as well.

12a)  He promises to guide us in His truth.  To have the light of the world (Jesus) to follow.  He guides us through His word.  He guides us when we ask Him through prayer.  He gives us the Holy Spirit within which guides us.  He anoints pastors and other Bible leaders to provide leadership and guidance as well in our lives.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He guides me continually when I read His word with sound advice and things I need to pray about.  It’s constant for me.

c)  He uses other people to guide others through Godly-advice or wisdom.  He performs miracles in answer to prayer. He closes doors when it’s not His will and opens them when it is His will.

Conclusions:  The Numbers passage only expounds on this passage.

My take away:  God is always with us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He is just a prayer away.  He is always there when no one else is.  Take advantage of God’s closeness and use Him. That’s what He wants us to do!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 4: Exodus 40:34-38

Summary of passage:  The cloud and glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle once it was completed and no one could enter.  Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites would continue their journey.  If the cloud stayed, they stayed.  The cloud was over the tabernacle by day and fire by night during all the Israelites travels.

Questions:

9a)  “The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

b)  That He would dwell amongst His people

c)  When the Holy Spirit filled the early Christians.

d)  Acts 2:38:  “Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

10a)  Moses could no longer enter the Tent of Meeting.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Moses couldn’t enter the Tent of Meeting because God’s glory was too powerful to be near.  He did not have the Holy Spirit within.  As a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, I have the Holy Spirit within and I can be next to God.  I can use God’s power and guidance to serve Him in His ways.

Conclusions:  Short and sweet.  When we obey God, we are blessed.  He is pleased with us and He dwells with us and walks with us.  He does anyways if we are believers but when we do His will, He rewards us.

We should feel immensely blessed that we live on this side of heaven and have the Holy Spirit to help us through this rough and turbulent life we lead.  It’s something we should thank God for daily–for His Son, Jesus Christ, who saved us so we can be with God.  Amazing and wonderful and compassionate and inspiring!

End Notes:  The same thing happened to Solomon when the Temple was completed (1 Kings 8:10-11).  Without God, it was just a tent.  With God, it’s holy.

God kept His promise to stay with the Israelites and the book of Exodus ends with such hope and obedience. Awesome!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 3: Exodus 39:32-40:33

Summary of passage:  The Israelites did just as God commanded and built the tabernacle and all of its furnishings.  When they had completed the work, they showed Moses who blessed them.  Then God told Moses to set up the tabernacle and arrange all the furnishings.  Then anoint the tabernacle and make it holy and Aaron and his sons so that they would be the priesthood to come.  Moses obeyed and finished the work.

Questions:

6a)  “As the Lord commanded”

b)  Had a critical eye to make sure everything was just as the Lord had commanded.  Had the Spirit to guide him as well.  He was the overseer, the supervisor, the one in charge.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To have the Lord’s heart and eyes when I am overseeing others’ work.

7a)  It was the beginning of Passover

b)  They would have remembered how God had rescued them from Egypt and His greatness and faithfulness.

8a)  The Ark of the Testimony

b)  It is the place God would dwell.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God and His purpose in my life.  It’s what He wants for all of us.

Conclusions:  Anyone else close their Bible upon seeing MORE reading.  I know it’s only one more chapter, but it is ONE MORE CHAPTER.  Persevere.  Refill your coffee.  And keep going!!  Plus, the good thing is that this is also a repeat of previous chapters so it made the reading easy.

There was no meat to any of these questions, especially 8c.  We all know the answer should be “God” and if it’s not then you just feel bad.  7b is a duh and 6b and c are really interpretive.  Was disappointed to say the least.

End Notes:  The opening of Exodus 40 tells us it has been one year since the Israelites have left Egypt.

Leviticus 8 & 9 tells the full details of Moses consecrating Aaron and the priests.

“As the Lord commanded” is repeated at least 19 times.

The tabernacle was an earthly model of a heavenly reality.

This whole section is here to show how the Israelites obeyed.  God would dwell here for 300 years until the Temple would be built.

Pictures of Tabernacle:  http://www.theologyinsneakers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Tabernacle.png

Interesting comparison of the Early Tabernacle with the Heavenly Tabernacle:  http://ichthys.com/Jewish-tabernacle.htm

Layout of Tabernacle:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tabernacle.png

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 13, Day 2: Exodus 35:1-39:31

Note:  This is the last lesson in Exodus.  We will be finishing the book and will start Leviticus after the Christmas break.

Also, most of this reading is a repetition of Exodus 25-31, which was Lesson 10.  See links here for detailed summaries:  Exodus 25, Exodus 26-27, Exodus 28-29, Exodus 30-31

Summary of passage:  Exodus 35:  Moses is giving more regulations to the people, saying the Sabbath must be holy and no work is to be done or face the penalty of death.  No fire is to be lit on the Sabbath.  All are to take an offering to the Lord of what they have in order to furnish the tabernacle or to use their skills to make all the furnishings such as the altar of incense, the table, the ark, the lamp stand, the curtains, the priests’ robes, etc.

All who were willing did as bidded–brought offerings of all kinds to furnish the Tent of Meeting.  Bezalel and Oholiab have been gifted with the Spirit of God to make such items for the Tent and they are to teach others as well.

Exodus 36:  All the items brought were given to the craftsmen and they discovered that the people were brining more than enough.  So Moses ordered the people to stop bringing offerings.  So the workers set about making all the items from the curtains to the frame for the tabernacle to the ark (Exodus 37), table, lamp stand, and altar of incense to (Exodus 38) the altar of burnt offering, basin for washing, and the courtyard.  All the materials used were recorded by the Levites at Moses’s command.

Exodus 39:  All the garments were made for the priests which were made sacred by the Lord.  The ephod, breast piece, tunics, sashes, etc were woven.

Questions:

3a)  To work for six days and rest on the Sabbath.

b)  So that the Israelites may have time to worship the Lord.  Furthermore, it was the best way to ensure continued obedience of His people.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Our lives should revolve around worshipping God and we do that through our calling (our work, our purpose) and dedicating our days to His glory by setting aside time to come to Him and be with Him.  Doing His work such as my writings and this blog is resting in Him.  When I do His will, I worship Him.  When I go to church I worship Him.  When I open His word, I worship Him.  We need to remember the importance of resting in Him and in His finished work.  God wanted to make sure the Israelites realized the importance of this command.

4a)  The people themselves.

b)  The Lord chose Bezalel, son of Uri and Oholiab son of Ahisamach.  Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God with the skill, ability, and knowledge of all kinds of crafts to make artistic designs for the work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work the wood, and to engage in all kind of artistic craftsmanship.  Oholiab was gifted with the ability to teach others the skills to do all kinds of work as craftsman, designers, and embroiderers, etc.

c)  “Every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work.”

d)  Yes.  They received more than enough (Exodus 36:5).

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The people gave more than they had to and as they were able.  God chose the leaders and gifted them.  My prayers would be for God to imbibe His people with the talents He needs for the church.  To imbibe me and my family with talents to fulfill His purposes for our lives.

5)  God gave the commands to Moses in chapters 25-31 and Moses is repeating the commands to the Israelites in chapters 35-39.  God told Moses to write down the commands twice when Moses was divinely inspired when he was writing the book of Exodus in which case God thought the details important enough to record twice so they wouldn’t be lost.  Repetition in the Bible is because we humans need to hear things more than once to “get it”.  Here, we get how important the tabernacle is to God when the instructions are recorded twice for our benefit.

Also, this demonstrates Moses faithfulness to us (those who came after Moses) so we see his faithfulness to God’s instructions and commands.  It strengthens our faith when God gives us commands and gives us a great role model.

Conclusions:  BSF combined all these chapters because they are a repetition of Chapters 25-31.  Good emphasis on faithfulness to God, praying for His gifts in our lives and to use them for His purpose, and for the importance again of resting in Him.

End Notes:  God could have created all the materials for the tabernacle Himself but the purpose was to teach His people to be cheerful givers and develop in them the quality of giving and generosity.  And the people were asked to give according to what they were able–great lesson for us as well.  What they were able to give and where God had moved their hearts to give.  Some gave work as well.

The need was presented–Moses led the people in the need, which is what we need today.  We need to be told the needs since often we don’t know them.  Then we need to respond.

Note when the need was met, the giving stopped.  As it should be today.  We should expect organization and management of our resources given and not asked to give and give.  Prudence reigned here.

Note how women gave up their mirrors to make the basin for ceremonial washing.  They gave up what looking at themselves to look at God.  Awesome!

The exact count of the money teaches us how accuracy is important when involving money and God’s work.  Prudence again.

Fun Fact:  Some commentators estimate that descriptions of the tabernacle make up the largest single subject covered in the Bible.

Read Lesson 10 Notes!!

Unlike Lesson 9 Notes where there was not a lot to glean, Lesson 10 Notes will inspire you and motivate you to improve something in your life whether it be prayer, work for God and His enabling, or the belief that you are holy, etc.  Great job by BSF in capturing the essence of Exodus 25-31 that is hard for most of us to get because it is buried in such legalism.