March 4, 2014
Exodus 30-Part 1
The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. Exodus 30:15
LET IT GLOW
When it comes to prayer, does it matter if we are rich or poor? In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us we would be blessed for being poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). We come to Him as a needy, poor beggar. Our spiritual cup is empty and in need of filled. We will receive heaven when we do. Prayer is communication with God-listening and speaking. Do I pray often enough? How much is enough?Do I ever do enough praying? Shouldn't it be never ending? His love and mercy are unending, forever mine.
God wanted the Israelites, His people, to be a kingdom of priests. (Ex. 19:6) In the Old Testament, the priest would represent the people before God. Today, a Christians, believer in Jesus, is a priest (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6).
What kind of people make up "a kingdom of priests?" Wiersbe says they are:
- a praying people,
- a grateful people,
- a cleansed people,
- an anointed people.
The golden altar was made of wood, covered with gold, about 18 inches square, and stood about waist high. They transported the golden altar using golden staves placed in its golden rings. This altar was placed in front of the veil by the Ark of the testimony or covenant. Incense pictures the prayers of the saints (Rev. 5:8, 8:3-4), which was to continually burn upon this altar. (Falwell)
Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament explains :
- The burning of incense pictures the offering up of our prayers (Ps. 141:2; Luke 1:10).
- The fire that consumes the incense reminds us of the Holy Spirit, for without His aid we cannot truly pray (Rom. 8:26-27; Jude 20).
- The golden altar stood before the veil, outside the Holy of Holies, but we are privileged to come boldly into God's presence and bring out requests to Him (Heb.4:14-16; 10:19-22).
- The high priest burned the incense each morning and evening, a reminder that we should open and close the day with prayer and during the day "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). The priest carried the fragrance of the incense with him all the day.
- The special composition of the incense is given in verses 34-38, and this formula was not to be used for common purposes. Likewise, prayer is special, and God dictates what the requirements are for effective praying.
- Strange incense (verse 9) and strange fire (Lev. 10:1) were not to be used on God's altar. No matter how fervent a prayer might be, if it is not according to God's will, it will not be answered.
Do we carry the fragrance of our morning prayer time with the Lord throughout our day?
Do we pray all day long?
Are we teaching our children and grandchildren that prayer is important to us, and that God answers our prayers?
Jesus calls His house a House of Prayer in Luke 19:46 and Isaiah 56:6-8. Is our house of worship His House of Prayer?
LET IT GROW
I forgot that Moses was up on the mountain, receiving all of this (Ex. 24:18-32:7) from God as part of the forty days spent there.
Verses 12-14 speaks about the census to be taken. All males of military age were numbered (verse 14). Every man was to give a ransom for his soul. Every male 20 years old and older were required to give half a shekel of silver as a ransom for his soul.(1 Chron. 21) A shekel weighed about 4/10 of an ounce (Lev. 5:15; 27:3, 25;Num. 3:47; 7:13)
A ransom, kopher (ko'fer) in Hebrew, means a redemption-price; bribe, satisfaction, sum of money.
The rich and poor were to give an equal amount (verse 14). No boasting would be tolerated. All are equally in need of God's provision. The atonement money was appointed for the service of the Tabernacle (38:25-28), and was used primarily for making the sockets of silver, the foundation of the entire Tabernacle. (Falwell)
In Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45, Jesus said, Even as the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Jesus gave His life as a ransom in our place, so we don't have to pay for our sins. Can we ever thank Him enough? It was a price that He didn't have to pay, He didn't owe. Such love!
Do we willingly give up our life, deny our self, take up our cross, and follow Jesus each day?
How willing are we to give our life for another?
- of my will to do God's will;
- of my life to glorify Jesus,
- of my things and money to be used to meet the needs of others,
- of my time so my Savior is pleased,
- of everything I am holding too tightly so when He requires it, I can give it easily.