“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

God's Instructions for the Table of Bread

“You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold and make a molding of gold around it. And you shall make a rim around it a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. Close to the frame the rings shall lie, as holders for the poles to carry the table. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. And you shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour drink offerings; you shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly."
Exodus 25:23-30

This passage describes the specifications for the table for the bread of the Presence in the tabernacle. While this passage may seem pretty insignificant to New Covenant believers, the meaning goes beyond tabernacle specifications. 

The Lord commanded the people of Israel to create the table from the wood of the Acacia Tree. The table’s dimensions were to be very specific. By converting the height, length, and width from cubits to inches, the table was 27 inches tall, 26 inches long, and 18 inches wide. The table was to be coated in pure gold on top and around it. The people also were to fashion a 3 inch wide rim of pure molded gold to place on top of the table. This precision was necessary because an object that would be kept so close to God had to be made of the exact specifications and of only the finest materials. Four gold rings were to be fashioned to the sides of the table so that poles could be inserted as a way to transport the table without having to touch it. The poles were also to be made of Acacia wood and molded with gold. These poles were built so that the priests would not have to directly touch the table. Sinners must be very careful about touching what the Lord calls holy. The dishes used for serving the bread to the Lord had to be made of pure gold. The priests had to replace the bread each week, ensuring that the offering was always new and fresh for the Lord.

Just as the dimensions of the table had to be made to God’s exact specifications, so also must the people of God live according to His commands as prescribed by His word. If the people of Israel did not create the furniture of the tabernacle in the manner God had commanded, they would surely risk death. So also, the Lord’s people must strive to live according to the commands of His word. If we refuse to heed the instructions of the Lord, we are risking the wrath of the Lord (Romans 1:18).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stand Up For the Weak and Helpless

“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless."
Exodus 22:21-24
 After the Lord gave Moses and the Israelites the Ten Commandments while on top of Mt. Sinai, the Lord then gave them rules, regulations, and procedures about other things, including laws about slaves, restitution, and laws about social justice.
Because the Israelites were strangers in the land of Egypt, the Lord wanted them to be reminded of how they were treated in that land. Thus, the Israelites were to treat foreigners better than how they were treated in Egypt. Therefore, the Israelites were not to make slaves of foreigners or seek to do evil against them on the basis of their race. The Israelites were also not to take advantage of widows or orphans. These people were not only to be treated with respect, but also to be cared for.

The Lord gives a strict warning, in verses 23-24, to those who abuse foreigners, widows, and orphans. When those who have been mistreated cry out to the Lord, as the Israelites had done in Egypt, the Lord will respond to their prayers with destructive punishment.
God is always on the side of those who are weak, helpless, and downtrodden. He sent His own Son into the world to save those who were weak and helpless in their own sinful condition. We should use this example to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves and have no voice in society. We should not mistreat someone on the basis of their race, but should strive to show the love of Christ to this person, who most likely has come from an idolatrous culture. We should not look down on the elderly, but should strive to minister to them and to help them in their everyday activities. We should not mock or frown upon those who have been born with mental or physical disabilities, but should strive to help them live functional, God-pleasing lives. We should strive to care for those children whose parents cannot, and should stand up for those unborn babies who are systematically murdered by abortion every day. If we do not stand up for the weak and helpless in our society, the wrath of God is upon us, and that is something that no one should desire.