|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||Allowing His Work to be Done||Lesson 13|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|25 November 2002||Bible Lessons
Starting next week, we will take a break form this series, and make way for the holiday lessons. For today's lesson, we want to spend most of our time in review and then add some facts to our growing collection of information concerning the Tabernacle, and Israel in the wilderness. We also want to establish more of the protocol for teaching this very detailed and massive amount of information.
The Holy Spirit devoted more space in the Bible to the story and facts of the Tabernacle, than He devoted to the actual story of, and the direct references to Christ's first coming.
There are only 4 chapters devoted to the account of Christ's birth. Even then, some of those 4 chapters deal with other things. Such as, 17 of the 25 verses of Matthew 1 are not devoted to the birth. In like manner, 25 of the 80 verses of Luke 1 , and 12 of the 52 verses of Luke 2 are not devoted to the birth. Only a shade over 100 verses are directly devoted to the events and the birth of Christ.
On the other hand, the Bible devotes 50+ chapters to the description and building of the Tabernacle. There are also hundreds of reference to its use, and its value as shadows and examples of God's person and His plan.
Does that mean that the accounts of the Birth of Christ are not important, or of less eternal value?? NO!!!
We must remember the purpose of God for giving the written Word of God. The facts of God's purpose MUST be kept in mind when studying prophecy, doctrine, history, etc. The Holy Spirit did NOT give details, events, etc. that are contrary to God's purpose.
Without going into a long search of the Scriptures to look at each passage where a reason is given for the written Word, please allow me to summarize and capsulate the declared purpose of God for giving the written Word of God.
In a "nut shell", God's purpose for His inspiration of Holy Scripture was twofold:
Once again, putting it in a "nut shell", the revealed purpose of God for His Word was to make redemption understandable and available to mankind.
God's plan of redemption includes BOTH mankind and the physical creation. The "price" of redemption was the same for BOTH. However, the "process" of consummation and the ultimate fulfillment of the redemptive program for mankind and the physical creation is different. Yet, the one is dependent on the other as we see in...
Romans 8:19-25 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
It is impossible for the human mind to comprehend such vast and intricate SPIRITUAL truths. Therefore, the Holy Spirit gave us a "visual manual", of sorts, in the Tabernacle. In that way, we can see physical examples and shadows of BOTH God's person and His plan. Let's look, once again, at a few of the passages in which the Holy Spirit states that the Tabernacle, as well as the recorded events of the Israelites in the wilderness are to be viewed as examples and shadows for our Spiritual benefit and understanding.
Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
All the things and events mentioned to in verse 16 have reference to some aspect of the service or ritual of the Tabernacle. The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that these are shadows of the REAL substance in and of Christ.
Hebrews 8:4-5 For if He (Christ) were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
These and other passages clearly declare that the Tabernacle and its service had a twofold purpose even from the beginning. This twofold purpose was not an afterthought with God. That twofold purpose can be summed up as:
1 Corinthians 10:5-12 But with most of them (Israelites in the wilderness) God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Not only did God give the Tabernacle and its service a twofold purpose, the things that happened to the Israelites and were recorded also had a twofold purpose. For the Believer, the purpose and recording of those events are to help us avoid sinning in a similar manner.
The subject of Spiritual redemption is vast, detailed and has many components. It might help to think of the subject of redemption as a cluster of Islands. Our job is to find all the islands, and build bridges so that all islands are connected.
Then we must explore, and become familiar with each island. As we explore, we need to see how each discovery relates to and interrelates with all of the islands and with all things on each island.
To help us in this exploration, God has given us a "pictorial map". That map is the Tabernacle and the nation of Israel in the wilderness.
What I want to do, in the first part of this series, is to "fly-over" some of those islands using our "pictorial map". In that way, we will get a "bird's eye" view of a few things and events that make those islands unique. As we continue this "fly-over", we also want to see how each relates to the whole cluster of Islands.
We will also discover that these many islands are the visible projection of a much larger land mass not seen by a simple surface view. To accomplish this first phase of our series, I have chosen to use, what I call, the "snap shot" method. As we "fly-over" and circle these many islands over and over again, we will take a "snap shot" here and there to gain an overall familiarity of the islands.
As we study these "snap shots", we will see features that are familiar, because we have seen similar features in some other "snap shop". Then we can place those "snap shots" side by side, and see their relationship. Thereby, building "bridges" from on to another.
As we study these many different but sometimes very similar features, we will begin to gain an understanding of the much deeper truths of the overall plan of redemption and the person of God. These Spiritual truths can not be understood without a careful and constant comparison of all these facts.
This process will take some time, and constant review of the facts gained. This process, even though often distasteful to the human mind, is, none the less, the very manner in which these truths were presented to us by the Holy Spirit in the Bible.
If you have, and most have read the Old Testament books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, you have noticed that the facts of the Tabernacle and its worship are given over and over again. Sometime those repetitions are almost word for word. Other times, we see the same facts from a different perspective with new or related information given.
Obviously, the Holy Spirit thought this was a good method of presenting these facts, and we might do well to heed His method. As a matter of fact, if you continue reading the Old Testament, you will find some of these facts and events referred to over and over again throughout the entire Old Testament.
Let's look again at one of our "snap-shots". This one was a panoramic view of the "BIG" picture. From the Passover and deliverance of Israel from Egypt to their conquest of the promised Land, we saw some general and very broad examples and shadows.
We will be looking at several "snap-shots" of Israel as they were freed from slavery in Egypt until they built the Tabernacle. These "snap-shots" will be beneficial as we look at the need for and the preparation to build the Tabernacle. These "snap-shots" will be especially helpful even further down the road in our study, and are vital examples to Believers in this church age. Let's review a few things from the last lesson, and add to that review some additional information.
Exodus 1:8-10 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, "Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; 10 "come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land."
Joseph was sold by his brother, and was taken to Egypt where he became 2nd in power over all of Egypt. We can't take the time to look at all the details of those events, but they show Joseph as a type of Christ. Those events also show the sovereignty of God, and how God can use the foolishness of mankind to bring about His Own purpose and plan. Jacob with his whole family moved to Egypt, and there things seemed to be going, oh so very good. All of these events and many more are "examples" and "shadows" so we can better understand, and learn to live the Spiritual life in Christ.
Let's quickly review the parallels of the "example" with the reality. Just as when the Jews first came to Egypt, likewise when the human race was first placed on the earth, all was "very good".
In the example, a different king entered the scene, the type of Satan, who did not know or give proper honor and recognition to Joseph. Joseph being the type of Christ.
In reality, Satan entered the Garden. He, likewise, did not give Christ the honor and recognition He deserved. The Jews, because of Joseph (type of Christ) were honored by the former king of Egypt when they first arrived. Likewise, the human race in Adam and Eve were honored by God when they first came to the Garden.
The new king of Egypt stripped the Jews of their honor and made them slaves, and through his craftiness attempted to make it impossible for them to leave that place of slavery. From the very outset, the purpose and plan of king of Egypt was to make it impossible for the Israelites, on their own, to "go up out of the land" v.10.
In similar manner, Satan took the human race captive through their sin, and placed them in slavery where it is impossible for them to escape, on their own. It is in this hopeless scene, that the story of redemption is brought to light, by examples andshadows, through the deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt.
Exodus 1:13-14 So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage-- in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.
Look at a very important lesson that is taught from this example. It is so very easy to become content with our life of sin. So content, that we do not want deliverance from the works of unrighteousness. Sometimes, in God's grace, He must allow us to have lives of bitter and hard bondage, before freedom is even a desire.
This is tragically true of Believers, just as it is of the unsaved. The physical cost of holiness seems too great. Therefore, we are content to live a life somewhere between mediocrity and causal sin.
To create the desire for holiness, God often allows us to enter a time of bitterness and rigor. When the slavery to sin is unpleasant enough, then we are open to hear about God's freedom.
Where you live, and what you have to live with are not solely for your comfort and satisfaction. God allows you to have what you have for a reason. One of those reasons is so you may reach out to God for the life He provided on the cross. By the way, what you have to live with and where you live can change at the drop of a hat.
Acts 17:26-27 "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
God has put you where you are, with what you have so you will seek the Lord. You see, God can cause the place and type of your habitation to change. OR He can leave your habitation as is, and change the circumstances of life within that place of living. That change can come through many sources such as; layoffs, sickness, war, prosperity, etc., etc.
These things are not always allowed by God as pure punishment, even though they can be a Spiritual "spanking". As a general rule, events of "good' or "bad" are allowed by God to come into our lives to bring us into a closer and closer fellowship with God.
Don't waste those events, whether good or bad, by blaming someone else for your fortune or misfortune. Instead, allow that pressure to bring you closer to God, AND thank Him for what He allows into your life.
Whatever you have and wherever you might be, you are there by the appointment of God, SO you will seek Him. Are you fulfilling the purpose for which God placed you in your habitation???? Are you living the life to which God called you?
In this review, let me briefly answer a question that came from the last lesson. The question was asked, "Are we supposed to just sit idly by, and not attempt to change bad circumstance?" A very good question! The answer is, "NO! We are not be a 'do nothing' Christian."
However, in the process of attempting to better the situation, we are to allow the pressure to purify us, and carefully seek God's timing so we are not presumptively operating in a carnal manner, just for our own comfort and pleasure.
Paul prayed for the removal of "the thorn in the flesh", but was content in Christ no matter what the circumstance might be. Christ prayed for the "cup" to pass from Him, but was careful to add not My will but Your will, Father. We must remember that God often uses the "bad" things of life to work His will, and we must be willing to accept His will.
1 Corinthians 10:11-14 Now all these things happened to them (Israel in the wilderness) as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but
God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved,
flee from idolatry.
Folks!! You can't afford to miss this!!!!! I know there is shopping that needs to done, and it occupies your minds. After all, uncle Joe might leave you $100.00 in his will. Therefore, you have to get just the right gift, and this is a nice quiet time to ponder that transaction.
I know you missed breakfast, and your mind is turning to where and what you are going to eat. That was a good late night movie, therefore your eye lids are getting heavy. It is true, football games and sermons are some of the best sleep aids invented by mankind.
BUT none of that is worth missing a minute of what is to come. Even if you starve to death (which after looking at most of us, I doubt), you can't afford to miss this Holy Spirit inspired Biblical example. Like the commercial for Katz's, " I can't help it, but I have to tell you..." This passage was written in the context of the Tabernacle and its service.
As a matter of fact, the first couple of verses should be extremely familiar, because we have see them over and over again in this series, already. However, I have deliberately not placed the last part of the passage on the overhead, because I wanted you to see it in light of its context.
We don't have time to give this passage the presentation it really needs, BUT this is a "snap-shot" we will be back to. Verse 12 applies to most of us. We feel that we are pretty solid in all we do, and have.
The emphasis here is us and our opinion of our solid "spiritual" condition. I'm pretty Spiritual! I don't swear..., except when it's really needed. I pray..., when I'm not too busy with other things, and I'm in trouble. I read my Bible.., well at least I read the overheads on Sunday. You know how it goes, a listing of all the good deeds that have brought us to our high level of spiritual "excellence".
TAKE HEED lest you fall... "Fall into what????"
The last verse of our passages tells us what many of us are just about ready to fall into. It is....
Not me! I don't have any idols in my house!! BUT do you have any idols in your MIND????
Remember, anything that replaces God is an idol. OR if we ascribe to some person or thing the office, provision, etc. of God, that thing or person becomes an idol to us.
Now lets see, according to this context, do we have ANY idols in our lives? To answer that question, let's start with..:
Do you have "temptations", pressures, testing, etc. in your life today?? Pressure in your life will EITHER turn you towards God, or away from God... to idols.
First.., realize that every pressure or test that comes your way is as common as an "ol' shoe". You are not the only one, or the first one to suffer in such a manner. You're not being picked on by God!! When you have the attitude that you, alone, suffer in such a manner, you become self-centered (carnal). We need to know and apply that fact, SO our attention will be turned to God's provision, instead of focusing on MY martyr status.
In all of these situations, we can either give our attention to self and therefore Spiritual defeat, OR to God and His provision and therefore Spiritual victory... EVEN IF the pressure continues.
Now we're getting into the good stuff!! God is faithful!!!!!! He is the same every time, and all the time. He is true to Himself.
Before we get to the idols, let's see God's purpose in allowing these tests to come our way. That purpose is found in the last of verse 13. "that you may be able to bear it".
That's God purpose for allowing the test into you life. Remember!!! God knows exactly how much you can handle, and He promised that He will not allow anything into your life that is beyond your ability to handle.
Remember, "Who" allowed the test into your life in the first place?? No. No! NO!! We're not talking about whose fault it is, or who caused the problem in the first place. That has nothing to do with this......... WELL..., yes it has a little to do with it. We'll see that a little later. Right now, we need to see "Who" allowed that test into your life???
It was God who allowed that test into your life, for the purpose of you "bearing" it.., OR to become able to bear it. In just a minute or two, we are going back to the example and see the proper way of handling these tests or pressures etc. But let's stay with this passage for just a little while.
When that test or temptation comes into your life, the proper response is to accept it as something that GOD allowed, for a purpose. Stick with me, now.
If God allowed it, for a purpose, and you ascribe the blame to some other person or thing, and you see the function of that test as a disaster or harm in your life, you have ascribed to some person or thing the act of God, and have disallowed God's purpose in your life. (Read that again and again)
Therefore, you have made that person or thing an idol, and you have indicated that what they did, is greater than what God wants to do. God wants to use that test to strengthen you, so you will be able to bear it. That is God's stated purpose.
When we blame others for the tests in our lives, and indicate that those tests brought disaster into our lives, we have said in effect, that the evil of some person or thing is greater than the purpose of God.
We could go a long way in this passage. This should take hours to properly lay the Biblical ground work. Let's review just a few things and then we'll compare it to the God given example.
Let's take a quick look at the God given example.
Hebrews 11:23-27 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king;
for he endured
That's God's purpose. He wants us to endure, BECAUSE our focus of living is on Christ and His provision. We can only bear the test WHEN we see the Invisible God as the central fact of the test.
If anyone had the "right" to blame others, things and circumstances for their dilemmas or temptations, Moses would have had a very good and logical reason for blaming.
Instead, Moses accepted the tests as allowed by God, and saw God in and through those test. Therefore, he was able to refuse to become a slave to the circumstances. Nor did he allow the king to supercede God, and God's purpose.
Simple logic tell us that Moses made a mistake when he traded in the kingly crown for a shepherd's staff. After all, it was relief from suffering and slavery that the people of Israel wanted and were praying for, and Moses had been placed in this position by a providential act, like no other.
Could it not be assumed that Moses should have occupied the throne and used his kingly influence on behalf of his people?? IF Moses had stayed in his position as the son of the kings daughter, he might have risen to power, and might have decreed their slavery over.
Such a solution would have taken care of a lot of problems. After all, it was "providence" that placed him in the kingly line. It was not his choice to be there. So... he should have stayed there and taken advantage of his blessings. That's the way it looks to human logic and reason. Therefore, God gave us an example SO we can KNOW and USE Spiritual logic, and live within God's plan and purpose. When we surrender to God's will, He will give us the "desire" of our hearts, but not always the "request" of our lips.
So many lessons to be learn from this, not the least...,
Providential happenings are not a guide to faith.
Popular teaching says that experience is the "key" to faith. Experience can validate faith. Experience can even strengthen faith. BUT only the Word of God, taught by the Holy Spirit can produce faith.
Faith deals with things not seen, and actions not based on human rationale. Faith is based on "God said it. I believe it. Therefore, I act on it!"
No, the god of this world can never be engaged as the provider for God's people. Nor can we ascribe to others, even Satan, the fact of allowing tests and pressures into our lives. That is the philosophy of this age. God's purpose is so "that we may be able to bear it".
Don't let these lessons slip from your mind!! I will try to keep these lesson in our minds by way of review.
We can not use the philosophy of this age, to prepare for the ages to come. We should not, nor cannot accept the protection of this worldly system in the place of God's sheltering wings. Faith has God as its object, and it must be identified with God's plan, person and word, only. Any coalition with the worldly system can only bring Spiritual disaster, at the very best. If Moses was to be a servant of God, and if he was to be of any Spiritual benefit to the people of Israel, then he had to act on faith alone, and be separate from the world.
Moses, operating by the energy of flesh and through the influence of the world, might have been able to affect some relief for the people, and possibly have brought grandeur and status to the nation. In so doing, Israel would not have been granted deliverance, and would not have received the promise of God to become the greatest nation of all times
Moses could have stayed, and he might have spared himself and his people much affliction, but BOTH would have lost their true and eternal glory. Israel might have had relief, BUT their dependence would still have been centered in Pharaoh's provision and protection. They would have learned to lean on Pharaoh INSTEAD of leaning on the everlasting arms. That reliance on the "god of the world" would have led to even greater slavery and dependence on Pharaoh.
Let's learn from this lesson, and not sin in the same manner as Israel.
Moses learned something that not many Believers have learned. Therefore, he placed a prominence on and had a desire for the "reproach" of Christ's greater riches, instead of the treasures in Egypt (ill. human opinion, status, etc.).
Please allow me to close this lesson with still another bit of review. There are two value systems:
Moses had his value system in proper order. My question to you and to me, is still:
When faced with a life changing choice... which value system drives your decision? When faced with any choice of life... which value system drives your decision? When you talk about other Believers... which value system directs your words? Relief from suffering and slavery is not the greatest need!!! Are your needs being met? OR Are you satisfied with physical comfort?
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001|