Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 7

Exodus 26:1-27:21; Matthew 25:1-30; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 8:1-11

Well, we've come through all the excitement of Genesis and the plagues and the exodus from Egypt.  What a ride!  And hooray for us to be 10% through our goal of reading through the Bible in one year - great job!  It's possible, though, that as we've moved into the giving of the law (and we know that Leviticus is still ahead) that some of the enthusiasm for this one-year commitment may be waning a bit.  Be encouraged: God has many wonderful things still to reveal about himself and so much love to lavish on us as we remain faithful.

Our reading in Exodus today could be one of those "read-it-to-get-through-it" kinds of days.  I have often wondered why God was so specific about his tabernacle - and why we'll see the step-by-step instructions followed in just a few days' time.  Was it because God is really picky and didn't want to leave too much to chance?  Doubtful - God isn't petty.  Was it because of the years in Egypt and the possible effect of Egypt's idolatry on Israel's worship practices?  Maybe - we do know, however, that various practices, such as circumcision, were still maintained by Jacob's descendants.  Was it because God wanted to see how well Israel would obey?  Possibly - they have already revealed a tendency to mistrust and self-deceive.

I was struck today, though, by the idea that all this detail reveals that God is vitally and essentially and completely interested in the worship of his people.  There is no aspect too small for his concern; there is no area where "good enough" slides by.  Perhaps all this detail reveals how seriously God takes worship.  He's attentive to its form; notice how everything God describes is both symmetrical (see Ex. 27:12-15 for an example) and beautifully adorned (see Ex. 26:31-32 for an example).  How the place of worship looks is important!  In future readings, God will describe the function of worship, too - the how-to aspects of sacrifice and offering.  Both are valuable to God, and therefore both are valuable to His people.  I'm lead to consider how seriously I take God's worship.

Due to my husband's ministry job, we changed churches in the recent past.  One of the most significant things I learned during this move was to begin to understand how much of "worship" is a choice.  Will we worship, regardless?  Will we give, even if we don't approve of the church's budget?  Will we sing, even if we don't like the song or the style of music?  Will we engage in the sermon, even if we don't like the preacher?  Will we invest in getting to know the people around us, even if we've already got our friends or we're introverted?  I'm ashamed to confess that I have frequently expected service on Sunday to be about me, for me.  Truly, though, it - like the tabernacle's decoration - is about God, for God.  Just as Israel needed the reminders to see God's beauty and glory in the way they worshipped, so too do I need to be reoriented toward God in any worship I encounter.

- Sarah Marsh

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 


  1. I'm just joining into your blog as I too am using the OYB this year. I've used it in years past but not for awhile. Thank you for such good thoughts today. As I read today all the detail God gave concerning the Tabernacle, I began thinking about how we sometimes rent out our home when we are traveling. I spent days & hours producing a Manual that describes every single thing in our home & how to use it! I give them pictures & detailed instructions and I have many labels around the rooms to give direction.
    My adult children have often teased me for being so obsessive with my details, saying that some of my guests might think that I believe them to be idiots! However, I have passionately explained to them that my desire for every person who stays in my home is that they will feel welcomed, cared for, and know that I want them to get the full enjoyment of everything in my home to delight themselves in all that I have to offer & they can relax knowing what's expected of them & how everything works!
    This passage shows me that God cares about every aspect of my worship of Him! He wants us to delight in Him for an entire lifetime knowing who He is and what He desires for us as His people.
    Maybe this is a weak illustration, but I believe all His detail makes me know how important my worship is to Him, just like all my detail for my guests is for them to know that I care about them having a great experience in my home.
    Sorry to ramble! I will not always make such long comments��

  2. Becky, we're so glad you've joined - and we love long comments! Ramble away!