Friday, February 05, 2016

More than just words

Detail of "Moses and the Tables of the Law" (1481-1482) 
by Cosimo Rosselli.
View entire painting and information at Art and the Bible.

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 34:19-35

"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words, I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." Exodus 34:27

In the first part of Exodus 34, God warns the people about compromising with and adopting the religious practices of the idol-worshiping tribes of Canaan. In today's reading God gives specific things His people can do to guard against such syncretism and assimilation.

1. Keep the feasts and in this way remember what God has done for them in the past - Exodus 34:19,20.

2. Give God a portion of their possessions and in this way acknowledge that their stuff is really all His - Exodus 34:19,20.

3. Take off one day in seven from work as a day of rest to give life a healthy balance and remind them of their ultimate dependence on God - Exodus 34:21.

4. Obey God's instructions down to the detail. God's instructions about not offering a blood sacrifice with leaven had to do with the spiritual symbolism of blood (life) and leaven (sin). Whether they understood the connection or not, they were to follow these details that illustrated spiritual truths - Exodus 34:25

Though we don't observe the same rituals today, I would submit that doing some of these things could also be faith-building practices that might serve as preventative medicine against backsliding for us.  We too could:
  • Remember our history with God, commemorating not only the Bible events (like Christmas and Easter) but remembering and retelling the stories of God at work in our lives.
  • Give regularly to kingdom projects—our church, missions, the poor. Where we put our money is, after all, a good indication of what we truly value - Matthew 6:21.
  • Rest one day in seven from our work. Besides giving us the needed physical break, this practice reminds us that our ultimate trust is in God for the success of our work.
  • Obey God's instructions about how to live and conduct ourselves. No, we don't struggle with whether there is leaven in the house or how to handle the blood of a sacrifice.  But every day we do make choices that have spiritual implications. One area  we do this is in our family relationships, where our lifestyle is a testimony to the spiritual realm - Ephesians 5:22-6:12.

As it was for the Israelites so it is for us. Belief isn't just assent and words. We need to affirm, solidify, and protect what we say we believe with our actions.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to give You not only lip service but demonstrate my loyalty to You with my life. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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