January 30

Read Exodus 38 -- 39

In Today's Reading:

Bronze altar of burnt offering; tabernacle courtyard; priest's garments.

At Mount Sinai, the tabernacle was completed according to the instructions theLord commanded Moses: All the work for the tabernacle . . . was finished. . . . with all its furnishings . . . the ark of the testimony . . . and the mercy seat (Exodus 39:32-35). The ark of the testimony (25:22; Numbers 10:33) contained the covenant between God and His people Israel. It was a wooden chest overlaid with gold, both inside and out. The ark was a type of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, who alone can atone for sin. The wood represented His human nature, as foretold by Isaiah: He grew up like a young plant before Him, and like a root out of dry ground (Isaiah 53:2). The gold represented His divine nature, for He is both fully God and fully man. The ark was made from the wood of the acacia tree which grew in the deserts, symbols of the world system of things.

The "lid" of the ark was made of pure gold and was called the mercy seat. It covered the law that had been placed in the ark. All men are sinners, but Christ, the perfect, sinless Son of God became our High Priest. By His perfect atonement for our sins, He provided us with mercy and salvation represented by the mercy seat.

The ark was behind the veil, inside the holy of holies. Without the Presence of the Lord above the ark, all the services of the tabernacle would have been meaningless. You can be sure that, as you prayerfully read the word of God daily and worship the Lord, His indwelling presence will bring meaning to your life.

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest sprinkled the blood of an innocent goat on the mercy seat and then in front of it seven times (Leviticus 16:14). The number seven is symbolic of the perfect and complete salvation and forgiveness of sins which would be made possible by Jesus Christ.

The law provides the "knowledge" of sin, but not the "forgiveness" of sin (Galatians 2:16; 3:11). The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Jesus is the One in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14).

Christ Revealed:

Through the golden altar and the incense — representing prayers going up to heaven — we see Christ praying for us (Exodus 39:38; also John 17:9).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. John Baldacci (ME), Vice President Dick Cheney, Gov. Frank O'Bannon (IN), and Rep. Frank Wolf (VA) · Country: Myanmar (formerly Burma) (48 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Burmese and ethnic languages · Limited religious freedom · 87% Buddhist; 5% Protestant; 4% Muslim; 3% spirit worship, Hindu, and other Asian religions; 1% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that the Lord is always ready to help you in times of trouble (Psalms 46:1).

Optional Reading: Mark 2

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:6