Vs. 10, “When the altar was anointed, the leaders brought their offerings for its dedication and presented them before the altar.” For all intense and purposes; this was the equivalent of a house-warming party! Each tribe came forth with their offerings to present to the Lord at the new Tabernacle. It’s pretty awesome how God instructed the tribes to give quite a practical gift; six covered carts and twelve oxen (vs. 3) from each tribe to the Levites (vs. 6). You may recall that the Levite clans were instructed to help transport the items of the tabernacle in our previous chapters, so these gifts would help them tremendously. This was one of the last events before their departure from Mount Sinai. Scholars are quick to point out that this particular chapter is not in chronological order, for it should fall in between chapters 8 & 9. While it may seem redundant, you will notice that each of the gifts from the tribes is the same (vs. 12-84). Question: Why list all of them out? The recognition of each gift was important and by this we see the thankfulness.
Regarding application…God Speaks. Vs. 89, “When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the Lord spoke to him.” Question: What enabled Moses to hear the voice of God? Moses and the Israelites were fellowshipping with the Lord. They were relying on God. They were obeying God. They were giving of themselves to others. These things enabled them to be able to hear from the Lord. They were able to hear God speak to them because their relationship was pleasing to Him. Many of us went to church today to present a sacrifice of praise. May our ears and heart be open to hear God speak to us not just on Sunday, but each day of this new week!
Vs. 4, “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.” It’s safe to say we live in a very sexually driven culture. The Israelites were instructed not to be sexually perverted like the nations around them. The LORD outlined sixteen very clear ways they were to not act like others, most of them under the category of incest. Even today, many nations have laws against incest relationships. And we also are reminded of the controversial topic of homosexuality (vs. 22). It’s important to remember that the act of the sexual sin is punished, not the weakness of having a tendency.
Regarding application…Controversy. Perhaps nothing can rival controversy more than the topic of sex. I’m not just alluding to the sex industry and subsequent opinions, but also the topic of sex in the church. One of the most noted controversies today is the topic of allowing people who act upon their homosexual tendencies to take the pulpit. No matter your opinion, scripture is clear on this topic of what is not acceptable to the Lord. Any of these sexual sins acted upon publicly even to this day would be unacceptable for the ordination of a pastor. Let’s not forget, we are all sinners saved by the grace of God. Only the Lord knows our hearts. Don’t forget the original intention of all of these laws; to keep God’s people holy! Let us live lives that don’t reflect the way the world lives.
Vs. 13, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him...” Again, we see Jesus on the Sabbath healing a person (vs. 1-6)…I’ll expound on this passage in the application. Many crowds would naturally flock to Jesus who was preaching, teaching and healing (vs. 7-12). We also see Jesus call the twelve apostles (one who is sent with a commission)…when Jesus calls, we better be ready to come (vs. 13-19). We see a great sin from the teachers of the law as they accuse Jesus of being Beelzebub (another name for Satan) (vs. 20-30). And lasty, we are reminded that family isn’t dictated by bloodline, it is dictated by faith (vs. 31-34).
Regarding application….Stubborn Hearts. Vs. 5, ”He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…” How sad. The people were more concerned about the letter of the law than they were for someone who needed help. Question: How does that look today? There are many in the chuch that love to criticize the way churches do things. They go to church with a critical eye rather than see the hurting people around them. Open your heart and look inside. Be honest to Jesus and when you go to church this week, let’s reach out an encouraging hand and help heal the hearts of others!
Vs. 4, “I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you.” Johanan and the rest of the remaining remnant came with what seemed a very sincere request to Jeremiah. Jeremiah responded with a nice little caveat (addition) to the end with reminding them he will hold nothing back. But, there request was with the intent that Jeremiah would agree with them. Jeremiah would make them wait ten days to finalize an answer. Perhaps, God was patient to see if anyone would reconsider in their own mind their true intent they had. Jeremiah comes back with a wonderful promise that they can stay in the Promised Land! They don’t have to leave and there was no fear from the Babylonians, because God would protect them. But they feared the Babylonians more than they feared God.
Regarding application…Revealed Hearts. Vs. 21, “I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you.” Their words sounded good, but their actions contradicted their own promises. Oh, how I wish this were only a problem for God’s people during Jeremiah’s time. Our actions or lack of actions really does show us a reflection of our revealed hearts. I can’t help but think that Jeremiah already knew their true intentions. But, it’s very encouraging to me that Jeremiah would still press on and do God’s work despite the hard hearts of the people. Ask God today that He would open your eyes of your heart to see what is inside. Are you just giving God lip service every time you to church? It’s time to stop running from problems and start facing in faith the places God leads you!
Vs. 11, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” God promised “rest” for His people of Israel, but they failed to enter that rest due to disobedience. We are not just talking about the literal “Sabbath Rest”…we are talking about a spiritual rest. A rest that can be peaceful even in times of turmoil and struggle. Question: How do we enter that rest? By turning in faith to His Word (Vs. 12) and approaching the throne of Grace (Vs. 16)! Wonderful biblical passages that we see here in this chapter! We are also reminded that Jesus was the final great High Priest who knows all of our struggles because He went through it too.
Regarding application…God Know’s Our Hearts. Vs. 12, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.“ I love this verse! All of us should have this verse memorized! God knows the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts! Question: Isn’t that great? We don’t have to put on a facade with God…He already knows. We can hide our thoughts from others…but we can’t hide from God. Adam & Eve would learn that lesson about trying to hide. There’s almost a peace in knowing that we don’t have to hide and pretend to be someone else. And if you are not feeling right with God…you can either run or let God heal your wounded heart. Speaking of wounded hearts, don’t forget to pray for the tornado victims! What a sad unexpected tragedy for them!