Day 51: Israel's Worship of God
Psalm 83 The call for divine protection in this psalm is very specific. Several regional enemies had conspired against the people of God and were bent on destroying Israel forever. These enemies included the Edomites, descendants of Esau, son of Isaac; the Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham by his maid Hagar; Amelekits, who violently opposed Israel’s entry into the Promised Land; the Philistines; the Assyrians; the Moabites, and others. The psalmist asked God to punish these evildoers as he had destroyed other enemies in the past. The Church enjoys divine protection and the promise that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, NO MATTER HOW POWERFUL OR EVIL, will ever prevail against her.
That they may seek your name, O Lord: Ideally, the psalmist wanted these pagan nations to embrace the God of Israel or at least to acknowledge the truth of the one God.
Let them know...all the earth: If God were to show these nations his power and glory, then surely they would acclaim him as the eternal God. (CCC 552)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
The Tabernacle and God’s Presence Israel rejoices at the news of their second chance, and the people enthusiastically support the construction of the tabernacle and all its accompanying liturgical materials (Ex 35-39, much of which repeats the instructions Moses received concerning the tabernacle in Exodus 25-31).
The completion of the tabernacle’s construction is a pivotal moment for Israel, and it is described in a manner strikingly similar to how the first chapter of Genesis described the completion and goodness of God’s work of creation: According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work.
And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. And Moses blessed them. (Ex 39:42-43)
This summary sets the work of building the tabernacle in parallel to the work of creation, and Moses is cast in the role of God, seeing that all is good and giving a concluding benediction, or blessing.
This is just one of many subtle echoes to the story of creation made throughout the tabernacle instructions.
For example, the Spirit of God that hovers over the waters in creation is found filling the workmen who will build and decorate the tabernacle.
The gold and precious stones mentioned in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 are found adorning the tabernacle and many of its liturgical instruments. Most significantly, the mercy seat set over the Ark of the Covenant is adorned with two cherubim.
The only other place two cherubim are mentioned is in Genesis, in which they guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden after the Fall.
Thus, the imagery used to describe the creation of the tabernacle evokes the imagery of the original creation and of Eden—which is the first place where God dwelt with his people.
Why evoke the story of creation and Eden at the end of the Exodus? Because God, in calling Israel into the covenant at Sinai, seeks to usher in a new creation.
The tabernacle is a portable Garden of Eden where God dwells with his people.
After creation, God gave Adam and Eve a law, but they rebelled against him and fell by taking the forbidden fruit.
Israel follows in Adam’s footsteps; after receiving the law, Israel transgresses it by worshiping the golden calf.
But this is not the end of the story.
God is merciful and forgiving, a program of restoration and hope is given, and God promises to dwell in the midst of his sinful people.
Thus, the story takes a familiar pattern: CREATION, FALL, AND RESTORATION.
This is the storyline that will be repeated again and again in Israel’s history. What matters now is how Exodus ends.
With the tabernacle built and consecrated and with Aaron and his sons consecrated as priests, the cloud covers the tent and the glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle.
God is present with his people, but it has come at a great cost to Moses.
However, with God in the movable tabernacle, the presence of God on Sinai can remain with Israel wherever she goes.
Israel is free from Egypt, and that freedom has set Israel free for a covenant relationship with Yahweh.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
The end of Exodus, Leviticus and Era 3!!!!!
Congratulations! If you’re like me, this is your first time getting through this part of the Old Testament :)
Tomorrow, we start Era 4: Desert Wanderings
The longer that we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, it changes how we think, changes how we see, it changes how we love
METANOIA means to have your mind transformed
NOTHING LIKE GOD’S GRACE and NOTHING LIKE HIS WORD PROCLAIMED does that to us
It’s pretty incredible isn’t it?
Don’t you feel different yet?
Exodus 40:34: the cloud and the fire, that is the GLORY, are ways of representing at the same time the presence and the transcendence of God (*Great Adventure Catholic Study Bible RSV-CE 2nd ed)
We are done with Exodus and Leviticus!
What does this journey end with?
It ends with the Tabernacle in Exodus
Exodus carries the narrative
There have been several chapters where we paused in the narrative and we focused on the minutiae
The priestly garments
The building of the laver (bowl for washing)
The altar of incense
Because of the priority of place of worship
This is so important for all of us going through The Bible
God’s Word is so important
But more important than that is the WORSHIP OF GOD
God’s Word shapes our minds and our hearts
It informs us of who God really is
But how does God shape His people in the Old Covenant?
How does God shape His people in the New Covenant?
GETTING THE WORSHIP RIGHT is so absolutely CRITICAL
This isn’t the last we have heard of the Tabernacle or God’s Law
We will hear more about how God will reveal Himself
We will NEVER be able to replace WORSHIP OF GOD with just HEARING ABOUT GOD
Don’t forget that
As men and women who have been made in His image and likeness, and we have been consecrated to God through Baptism, we are called 100% to WORSHIP HIM
The last words of Exodus talk about the CLOUD COVER of the TENT OF MEETING
The Israelites arranged ordinary, yet good things, UNTIL THEY WERE CONSECRATED
UNTIL THEY WERE SET APART
UNTIL THEY WERE MADE HOLY
Moses anointed these things, and GOD MADE THEM HOLY
Then, the Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and THE GLORY OF GOD FILLED THE TABERNACLE
So these ordinary things i.e. furniture, lamps, etc. WERE NOW CONSECRATED
And now, GOD IS PRESENT
There is something about all this that should remind each one of us that when it comes to not only HOLY PLACES and HOLY THINGS, but also OURSELVES who are pretty ordinary
We are now CONSECRATED and now we are EXTRAORDINARY
When we have God’s presence with us, THAT IS EXTRAORDINARY
This is so remarkable
Exodus 40:36-37 “Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would go onward; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not go onward till the day that it was taken up.”
We realize now that WE WAIT ON THE LORD
When He is ready to move, we move
When He tells us to stay, we stay
Leviticus 27: Votive Offerings
These are some things that were commanded
“You MUST offer this”
Guilt offerings etc
Some Israelites were SO MOVED BY THE LORD that they wanted to give MORE DONATIONS
That’s what these special VOTIVE OFFERINGS were
Only a Levite could work in the Temple
If a person wanted to SERVE THE LORD in the Temple, but they couldn’t, what they COULD DO was offer their work, which would be valued at 60 shekels (age 20-60 male) or 30 shekels (age 20-60 female)
They could even offer an extra animal that wasn’t already dedicated to God
The first born male of every flock or herd already belonged to God, so that would not count as a VOTIVE OFFERING
But if they wanted to offer another animal, that was great and would still be HOLY TO THE LORD
The realness of the dedication of ANYTHING to the Lord is a great thing
How many times can you and I get to the place where we think, “Ok I’m going to give this to the Lord.” ?
Even at the beginning of our day, “God, this is yours and I want to dedicate the beginning of this day to you.”
Then we may have another opportunity to give something else to God
We might feel like we want to take that donation back
But no, IT BELONGS TO GOD and we can’t just take it back
There are some things that ALWAYS belong to the Lord because He asked us to do them
There are other things that we get to do because GOD HAS MOVED OUR HEARTS to offer these things with love
And yet, sometimes we want to take back our hearts
There are so many times where we want to say, “I want to offer X” and we might want to take it back
But God knows our hearts
When and if that happens, God will take our offering and it can’t be taken back from Him
Tomorrow, we start Era 4: Desert Wanderings
We will see how the Israelites are transferred from the Exodus into journeying through the wilderness in Numbers and Deuteronomy
Jeff Cavins will pay us a visit to go deeper
Today, rejoice because you HAVE dedicated this time to the Lord
You have offered this time to Him and IT IS HIS
NOTHING EVER GIVEN TO THE LORD IS EVER WASTED
Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven, thank you so much. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for leading us on this journey. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, because you enlighten us with your Word. You shape our minds, our hearts, you fill them with your goodness when we open ourselves to you. So we ask you to please help us to trust in you. Help us to continue to be open to you. Help us to have inquisitive minds, but not skeptical minds. Help us to have hearts that are wise, but not hearts that are cynical. Lord God, we trust in you and WE LOVE YOU and we thank you. Please receive our thanks this day. Receive our thanks through the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Moses filling the Bronze laver with water so he could wash the hands and feet of Aaron and his sons, as part of ordaining them as priests, recalled the Last Supper when Christ filled a basin and washed the feet of his Apostles- ordaining them as priests in His priesthood of the New Covenant.
The layout of the main furnishings can be found and identified throughout the Book of Revelation in the Temple and Throne Room of God, one appeared to be missing: the Table for the Bread of the Presence. I've been looking up for any research that might identify the table in Revelation but haven't found much. There's only one match I can think of, which is simply my personal exegesis- The marriage supper of the Lamb refers to the Bread of the Presence:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church identifies the marriage supper of the Lamb as the Eucharist, the Bread of the Life (Jn 6:35, C.C.C 1329, 1244), which the Bread of the Presence prefigures. Aaron, the high priest was instructed to set it before the LORD every sabbath and eat it with the priests in a holy place. (Lev 24:8-9). Christ as the eternal high priest (Heb 4:14, 5:5) offers himself as the sacrficial Lamb (Heb 7:27) before the Father for the forgiveness of our sins, (Heb 5:1) and gives it in the form of bread and wine (Hebrews 6:20) for all his kingdom of priests to partake of (1 Pet 2:9)
When we look at the placement of each piece of furniture in the Tabernacle, they appear to loosely form the figure of the cross.
The specs and details of the Ark of the Covenant foreshadow the Ark of the New Covenant- The Blessed Virgin.