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30 July 2012

Worship - 30 July

Welcome back! I pray that you are finding this study enjoyable and rewarding. I am in awe at God’s planning – each piece of furniture in Israel’s tabernacle foreshadowed Jesus Christ. Through study of what some see as dusty and boring passages of Scripture, we see God’s plan for us as we truly worship the Son.

The Tabernacle had an Outer Court and The Tent of Meeting (inside court). The Tent of Meeting contained the holy place and the Holy of Holies. In our last studies we were reminded that there was only one way into the tabernacle, which points to Jesus as the only way to God. The tabernacle door had to face east – toward the rising sun. The cleansing of our sins can only be accomplished through a blood sacrifice, so the bronze altar is our picture of Jesus Christ. This week we will look at what God commanded to be placed in the holy place – the table of showbread (showbread), the lampstand, and the altar of incense.

When the priest entered the holy place, he would encounter the table of showbread to his right. Showbread comes from a Hebrew word meaning “bread of the presence”. The showbread was set on the table before the face, or presence, of God, who was dwelling in the Holy of Holies.

“You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. 6 And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. 7 And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord. 8  Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the Lord regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. 9 And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the Lord’s food offerings, a perpetual due.”  Lev 24:5-9 (ESV)


And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly. Ex 25:30 (ESV)

So we see that even in the placement of the bread, God has set regulations. Why? And did you notice who was to eat it? Aaron and his sons – the priests – were to eat the bread in the presence of God. So what does this mean? Are we to take communion on a weekly basis? Is there something else that we need to notice? I think so! Who called Himself the bread of life?

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  John 6:35 (ESV)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48  I am the bread of life. 49  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:47-51 (ESV)

Jesus spoke of manna in this passage. Do you see parallels or contrasts between Jesus and manna? What promises did Jesus make regarding the bread of life? And what does one need to do to obtain the bread of life?

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matt 4:1-4 (ESV)

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deut 8:3 (ESV)

Satan tried to tempt Jesus when he was at his lowest point – hungry after being in the wilderness for 40 days. But Jesus didn’t rise to Satan’s temptation. Instead, He quoted scripture.  Jesus could have easily changed the stones into bread, but He didn’t. Why do you think He chose to quote that old passage to Satan?

We see that bread is not just bodily nourishment. The bread of life is spiritual nourishment. When the priests ate the showbread, they were taking life in two ways: physically, and through eating the bread in the Presence of the Holy God.

How does this relate to our worship? Starting with our church service, we see that worship includes eating of the bread of life – the word of God. So worship isn’t just the three or four songs we sing. It’s a process. First we are to accept the offering of Jesus’ blood (bronze laver), then we ask forgiveness, cleansing us from sin (basin). Once we are clean and holy, we enter the church to eat the showbread with our fellow priests in the presence of the Holy One. He gives us not only physical but spiritual nourishment.

I pray that this study is making your Sunday worship more vibrant! I trust you see that worship isn’t just the music (or lack of it), but that worship is something that God has set forth for His children as the way to bind us to Him. On Wednesday, we will look at the lampstand – the holy place’s only source of light.

I cherish your comments! Please feel free to email me or leave a comment in the box below. See you next time.

27 July 2012

Worship - 27 July

“You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, 19 with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. 20 When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die.  Ex 30:18-20 (ESV)

25 July 2012

Worship - 25 July

We’ve talked about the tabernacle. Did you know that there was only one entrance, called the gateway of the court? The entrance was always facing east. There is a parallel for us, of course – only one way for salvation, through Jesus Christ. “East” parallels our need to come to Him and worship in a specific way.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  John 10:9 (KJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (ESV)

If Jesus is the only way to God, is it possible to worship God without Jesus? For example, is the unsaved church attender actually worshiping God?

23 July 2012

Worship - 23 July

Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2  And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 3 You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. 4 These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. Ex 28:1-4 (ESV)

20 July 2012

Worship - 20 July

Where did God go? His presence left the temple and even though Herod enlarged and refurbished the second temple, God’s presence was not there.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:1, 2,14 (ESV)

Jesus was God’s glory in the flesh, and He came to live on the earth. Just before He died, He ate a final meal with His disciples and told them that He was going to leave them, but that He would provide a comforter – the Holy Spirit – to dwell inside them.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[2] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:1-7 (ESV)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 (ESV)

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26 (ESV)

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.  John 15:26 (ESV)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Cor 3:16-17 (ESV)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor 6:19-20 (ESV)

God’s glory went from the tabernacle, with its precisely placed furnishings, to Solomon’s Temple, with its precisely placed furnishings. Jesus was God’s representative on this earth and promised the Holy Spirit would come and represent God – IN US. I find myself convicted of certain sins… and my question to you is, what are YOU doing to your body that would show disrespect to the glory of God? Yikes!

If you have accepted God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, God calls you His temple – what life changes do you need to make to reflect the honor God has given you?

How does this week’s study change your perception of “worship”?

Next week we will find out what the tabernacle furnishings meant – and how they relate to Christians in 2012.

Let me know what you think of this study – is the word “worship” taking on new meaning?

I will see you on Monday.

18 July 2012

Worship - 18 July

In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. 18 Moses erected the tabernacle. He laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars. 19 And he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it, as the Lord had commanded Moses. 20 He took the testimony and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark and set the mercy seat above on the ark. 21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony, as the Lord had commanded Moses. 22  He put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil, 23 and arranged the bread on it before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. 24  He put the lampstand in the tent of meeting, opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle, 25  and set up the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. 26  He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the veil, 27 and burned fragrant incense on it, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
28  He put in place the screen for the door of the tabernacle. 29  And he set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
30  He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, 31 with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. 32 When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the Lord commanded Moses. 33  And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work. Ex 40:17-33 (ESV)

Once Moses finished the work of the temple, God settled into His earthly home.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.  Ex 40:34-38 (ESV)

Remember, the tabernacle was created while God was ushering more than half a million people through the desert from Egypt to the Promised Land. It was not only God’s dwelling, but it was also His way of showing His people when to pitch camp and when to start moving again.

God used this tabernacle for almost 500 years. He then “moved” into the temple built by Solomon (using God’s plans as well). In 586 BC, during the final Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, God’s Presence left the temple. Solomon’s temple was destroyed. When the Jews returned from captivity, they rebuilt the temple. When Jerusalem was occupied by Rome, Herod enlarged and refurbished the temple, but God never lived there…

On Friday, we will see where God’s presence next appeared. Stay tuned!

16 July 2012

Worship - 16 July

One of the most unique aspects of the Christian faith is the relationship between the people and their God. No other group of people can call their God father. No other god has died for the sins of its people. Because of our unique relationship, we have unique worship as well. But exactly how are we to worship? Can we take license with Father God and worship as we please, when we please? Is worship the three or four songs we sing before the main event – the sermon? Can we commune with God while fishing, or do we need to wear Sunday best and worship in a building? Does our music matter? Is it important to have fog machines and lights, or a pipe organ, or a worship band, or a 100 voice choir?

Last week we read about God’s instructions to Abraham regarding worship – he was to fear and obey God and withhold nothing, including his only son.

God gave another patriarch, Moses, specific instructions as well. Not only did Moses find out how to worship, but he also received the blueprint for a tabernacle – where to worship. We know the Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God; He made sure to put the stuff in His Word that we would need for every aspect of our life, so we know that the detailed plans for the tabernacle were placed there for a reason. How can the tabernacle teach us about worship today?

Everything in the Bible points to one major event – the virgin birth, sinless life and voluntary death of Jesus Christ. Everything has to focus on that act of atonement because we are all sinners. The tabernacle was the dwelling place of God. God met and communicated with man at the tabernacle, and before Jesus, the sacrifices made at the tabernacle were the only way for man to atone for sins. The tabernacle’s detailed layout points to the way a sinful people were to approach the holy God before Jesus’ sacrifice. You will never look at the tabernacle the same way again.

And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9  Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. Ex 25:8-9 (ESV)

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” Heb 8:1-5 (ESV)

We see that God told Moses to erect a tabernacle so God could come close to man – God wanted to come close to us even though we are sinners! After Christ’s death, we find that the tabernacle is merely a type and shadow of what is waiting for us in heaven.

Our God, the One who created the universe and everything in it, chose to come close to us and offer us the opportunity to commune with him. Have you ever noticed the astounding love God showed in that passage from Exodus? I usually begin to get a little glossy eyed when I get to the tabernacle design.

If you have the opportunity, read Exodus 40:17-38. I think you will be amazed to see how the tabernacle’s layout points to the way we should worship today (hint: it’s not about the music!)

See you Wednesday.