Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #6

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

The LORD God had Israel save (in chronological order): the golden pot of manna, the stone tables or tablets of the Ten Commandments, and Aaron’s rod that budded. By having them stored in the Ark of the Covenant for safekeeping, JEHOVAH God used them as teaching aids: despite Israel’s sin and rebellion, He would be faithful in keeping His promises to them!

Firstly, her people questioned whether God had their best interests in mind, so He rained down manna from Heaven. A sample of that bread was to be kept in a container. Secondly, Moses had not yet descended the mount with the Ten Commandments when the Jews fashioned a golden-calf idol to worship! Moses broke the stone tablets, but God had him hew out two new ones and God re-wrote those tables. Lastly, the nation defied Moses and Aaron, doubting they were God’s chosen leaders. Hence, Aaron’s rod that budded was a sign the priesthood belonged to the tribe of Levi—particularly Aaron and his sons.

On top of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, where God’s “Shekinah” glory abode. Literally, the only thing that was between God’s presence and these objects/souvenirs of rebellion was the animals blood applied once a year! Hebrews 9:7,11,12,14 reveals the type/antitype: “[7] But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:… [11] But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; [12] Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #5

Monday, May 24, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

Manna was God’s bread for Israel to eat. An “omer”—roughly half-gallon (2 liters)—of manna was stored in a jar. Exodus 16:36, “Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.” Likewise, although God would consume Israel, scattering her idolatrous people worldwide, He would reserve one-tenth to Himself and bring it back into the Promised Land: “But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof” (Isaiah 6:13).

The stone tablets of the Ten Commandments represented God’s covenant with Israel made at Mount Sinai. Under penalty of curses, they were required to obey Him. The lid of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, where God’s presence was: “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:22). Israel’s high priest annually applied animal blood on the Mercy Seat to cover the nation’s sins (Leviticus chapter 16).

Aaron’s rod that budded, a dead stick severed from a tree, miraculously blossomed and bore fruit. Likewise, God will resurrect lifeless Israel: “…Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #7

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Upon examining the contexts of the verses wherein spiritual cardiosclerosis appears, we conclude the affliction arises once the human soul (heart) refuses God’s words. Whether Pharaoh declining to let God’s people Israel go, or the Egyptians themselves refusing to release the Jews, or other unbelieving Gentiles in the Old Testament economy, or apostate Judaean King Zedekiah, or unbelieving Israelites wandering in the wilderness under Moses, or apostate religious Jews lacking compassion on a disabled man Jesus healed, or unbelieving disciples concerning Jesus feeding the multitudes, or callous people vehemently endeavoring to divorce, or national Israel blinded for not believing Christ during His earthly ministry, or unbelieving Apostles post-resurrection, or unbelievers in the Dispensation of Grace, or Jewish unbelievers during Daniel’s 70th Week, they all deliberately reject the Divine revelation given them. They are now insensitive (hardened) to the truth!

God’s Word tells us what to believe (doctrine), what we are doing wrong (reproof), and how we should think to do right (correction): “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). If we are unwilling to hear and trust its counsel, however, Proverbs 29:1 will be our lot: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck [stubborn!], shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

Ephesians 4:18,19 speaks of those “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” First Timothy 4:2 references those who “speak lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” We avoid spiritual cardiosclerosis by believing God’s words to us upon immediately hearing them. Let us pay special attention to Romans through Philemon, or face spiritual destruction!

Shoeless Moses #8

Saturday, June 20, 2020

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:4-6 KJV).

Why did the LORD God order Moses to remove his shoes, and why was Moses “afraid to look upon God?”

Once he met the LORD in the burning bush, Moses—although corrected—reluctantly confronts Pharaoh. After intentionally delaying even more to judge sinful Egypt, God finally frees Israel with a mighty hand. For the final 40 years of his life, Moses leads Israel from Egypt to the eastern edge of the Promised Land. (The trip that would have lasted a few weeks was greatly lengthened after Israel’s unfaithfulness and subsequent wilderness wanderings!) Upon Moses’ decease, Joshua becomes Israel’s new leader and brings them westward across the Jordan River. Through a series of victorious wars, God enables them to conquer Palestine’s Gentile inhabitants.

Almost three decades later, aged and dying Joshua counsels Israel in Joshua chapter 23: “[4] Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. [5] And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you. [6] Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;….” Alas, Israel forsook the LORD once she settled Canaan—worshipping and serving idols, and ultimately being scattered around the world!

Where Moses failed, God was faithful; where Israel was unreliable, God will be reliable. She will return to the land of her fathers in due time!

As Ye Have Spoken, So Will I Do

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

“Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you” (Numbers 14:28 KJV).

Dear friend, be careful what you wish for—God will give it you!

The 12 Jewish spies have returned from scouting the Promised Land (chapter 13). However, 10 spies offer an evil report, thereby disputing God’s Word: “[27] And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. [28] Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great….” Israel disheartened, doubting God will give them success, says, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we(verse 31).

Chapter 14 opens with Israel’s further complaints: “[1] And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. [2] And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” They would rather die in the wilderness than enter God’s land! Not long after, they tempt the LORD the tenth time.

Today’s Scripture with its context: “[26] And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, [27] How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. [28] Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: [29] Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me, [30] Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” Indeed, dear friends, God gave them their wish!

A Heart Transplant for Israel #2

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

Nearly 500 years after the Abrahamic Covenant was given, JEHOVAH God delivered the nation Israel from Egyptian slavery. He gave them a series of tests in the wilderness: Exodus 15:25 says, “he proved them.” God miraculously converted bitter water into potable water for “murmuring” (grumbling/ungrateful) Israel (Exodus 15:22-26). A month later, in Exodus chapter 16, Israel complained that they had no food to eat: they were ungrateful and they again “murmured” against God. Nevertheless, as Exodus 16:11-36 says, God provided Israel with manna (bread) and quail (meat)—they wound up eating that manna for 40 years! Israel even disobeyed God’s instructions when collecting the manna. In Exodus chapter 17, Israel again complained against God that they had no water to drink. Again, God faithfully and miraculously provided water for Israel (verses 1-7). He even gave them a miraculous military victory when the Amalekites fought them for that water (verses 8-16)!

When the LORD through Moses told Israel they would have to keep His commandments to be His nation, Israel replied, “All that the LORD hath spoken, we will do” (Exodus 19:8). After Moses received the Law and came down Mount Sinai to deliver it to Israel, he was angered to see Israel dancing naked around an idol, the golden calf. Israel had not even heard God’s commandments, and yet they had already broken them! They forsook JEHOVAH, their deliverer and caregiver, and preferred to worship a stupid, lifeless idol.

As the centuries passed, Israel fell into greater and greater sins. From Moses to Malachi, a period of about 1,100 years, Israel waxed worse and worse. Her kings and people grew increasingly corrupt and apostate. Consequently, she lost her economy, her monarchy, her God-given religion (Temple, priesthood, animal sacrifices, et cetera), her real estate, her blessings from God, her God’s presence, everything.

The Great Physician diagnosed Israel’s condition—she needed a new heart….