January 25

Read Exodus 23 -- 25

In Today's Reading:

Laws instituted; three feasts which must be kept; angel promised for a guide; instructions for tabernacle furnishings.

The Israelites were commanded: Serve the LORD your God (Exodus 23:25). This was followed by 14 blessings which God promised the Israelites for their obedience, including the assurance: I will place the inhabitants of the land under your control, and you will drive them out before you (23:31). Then a warning concerning the Canaanites followed: You must not make a covenant with them or their gods (23:32). The people responded, saying: We will do everything that the LORD has commanded (24:3).

God alone determines what is acceptable conduct as well as worship to Him Thus, He gave Moses detailed instructions for building the tabernacle where He would accept their worship.

The tabernacle provided a way for man to maintain a right relationship with God and a place for man to worship the Lord. But, most importantly, it was a place for God to dwell among His people. In outward appearance, covered with rams' skins (26:14), it was unattractive, like Jesus, of whom Isaiah prophesied: He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2). But, like Jesus, nothing could be more inspiring from within, for it was the only place on earth where God met with His people. The court of the tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure with only one entrance through which sinful man could approach God (Exodus 26:36; 27:16-18).

The white linen wall of separation was symbolic of the holiness of God and excluded all Gentiles. Consequently, they could not so much as look over the curtain fence to observe what was going on inside the courtyard, or they would be put to death (Numbers 1:51). This linen curtain illustrates that sin has separated sinful man from the holy presence of God.

The Bible says: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. . . . Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Our Lord Jesus said: I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved (John 1:17,29; 10:9).

Christ Portrayed:

As the Ark of the Testimony (Covenant). The wood demonstrates His humanity; the gold overlay His deity; only through His blood sprinkled on it could one receive forgiveness; God dwelt above the Mercy Seat (Exodus 25:10-22). He entered the Holy of Holies once for all, not be the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. Conrad Burns (MT) and Rep. William Pascrell (NJ) · Country: Moldova (4 million) southeastern Europe · Major languages: Rumanian and Russian · Limited religious freedom · 66% Romanian/Russian/Bulgarian Orthodox; 3% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 2% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Sing praises to God, for He hears your prayers and delivers you (Psalms 40:1-3).

Optional Reading: Matthew 25

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:5