Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wear Me Down

So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor.” Exodus 1:11

I read this verse recently and these words struck me in such a profound way. Isn’t it strange when something you have read a handful of times and tend to skim over, will at another time jump off the page? God’s word truly is “living and active, sharper than any double-edge sword” Heb 4:12

Anyway, the part that was so relevant to me was realizing what a powerful tactic it is to wear someone down. Any parent can relate to finally giving in to something after being begged and pleaded with about 20 times because it’s just not worth the fight. Even more convicting, I wondered how many times I wear my husband down to get something I want. Ouch.

Just as our children study us from the time they are born and learn how to push our buttons, we have an enemy who has studied us our whole lives and knows all of your weak points. He knows how to wear you down to the point that you give up fighting. He knows when we have our defenses down and when we are too distracted by other cares to put up the fight.

It is scary to realize how well Satan knows us. He knows what makes us tick. Thankfully, we have Someone who knows us even better than we know ourselves, for he created us, his name is Jesus. When we are weak, he is strong; when we are tempted, he makes a way out. When we are overwhelmed, he knows and is offering to save us before we even know we need to be saved.

It is my prayer that God wears me down much more that this world or it's powers do.

Set Apart as Boring

Once again I had a trying time today reading my bible. It does not come easy most days. I have to force myself to stop and take the time to open up the good book. Especially right now though, I have an even harder time. I am in the book of Exodus, towards the end, and I am dreading the looongest book of the bible (Leviticus). At least it seems that way. It’s all about rules and regulations and it gets so monotonous that I have to stop myself from skimming and try to soak in the words. For I know that “all scripture is God-breathed” and “useful for teaching…” but some of it is absolutely boring. Anyway, I am in Exodus chapter 28 and God is giving all the instructions for building the tabernacle. I don’t comprehend yards, much less cubits so this is really hard for me. Next he goes into the description of the priest’s clothing. I guess God really does care about what we wear in his presence.

He starts by making sure Moses knows that the clothing they are to make for Aaron, who is God’s designated priest, must show his separation to God. It is to consist of fine cloth, pure gold, and beautiful embroidery, made by skilled workers. The details that I found so odd, interesting, mysterious, and wonderful all at the same time, was when he instructed them to engraves stones with the 12 tribes of Israel to be worn to remind the LORD of his people continually and later in verse 30 he is told to insert certain stones to be worn over the priest’s heart when entering the tabernacle and says, “If he wears it he will not die”. Next he is told to make a medallion of pure gold and engrave the words “Set Apart As Holy” and this is to be worn on a turban on the priest’s forehead to bear the guilt of the people.

Ok, at this point my head is spinning trying to understand all the symbolism attached to these very specific instructions. While a person could research the internet all day and find some very off the wall reasoning, I am going to stick to what I got out of this. First of all (v38), Jesus is now our Priest. He is the one who intercedes for us and bears the guilt in our place, he paid the price of our sin fully on the cross. Second (v36), obviously Jesus is the only one who is truly “set apart as holy”, but in the book of Revelation, God’s people have the LORD’s name written on their foreheads. That means that Christ’s followers have been engraved with “set apart as holy” by God because of Jesus. We should act accordingly. Third (v30), I found it truly interesting that the priest was instructed to wear certain stones over his heart when in the LORD’s presence, for it is Jesus that knows my true heart and makes it clean and presentable before God. Lastly (v15-29), the representation of the tribes of Israel, reminding the LORD of his people, Jesus is in God’s presence continually reminding him of me, and you. Representing and reminding God to hold back his wrath on this world, wanting all to be saved.

So, I guess bible reading isn’t always boring. At times it can almost seem like something out of a fiction book. Thankfully, this is not fiction. This is as real as the air you and I breathe. Someday it will all be laid out for us to understand fully, and I am positive that day won’t be boring!