Remember the story of how God fed the Israelites quail – tons of quail – in the wilderness? It takes up one chapter in the Bible but seems to be just another incident in the litany of complaints the Israelites brought against God and Moses.
How was it different from the other incidents? Why was God so angry? Why so many quail? The story almost raises more questions than it answers. Yet there are a few hints that create intrigue as to its deeper meaning. Contrary to my first impressions, I believe it holds some (almost) hidden lessons about God’s mercy and desire to dwell with us and bless us. (more…)
Have you ever had someone give you a scripture saying they believe the Lord wants to use it to speak to you, yet it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere in your life? Hold it. I mean literally hold onto it – write it down, log it, memorize it.
I have a wonderful friend who has often done this for me. At times, the scripture or insight exactly fits with what I’m facing. Other times we talk through it and can’t seem to connect the dots. But I know she is a woman of God gifted in intercession and speaking into my life and others’. So I hold on to it.
One such scripture was Isaiah 30:21:
With your ears you will hear a word from behind you: “This is the way; stay on it, whether you go to the right or the left.”
Wait a minute – I thought that was Abraham! Well, actually the verse is about Abraham, but it could well be about Joseph. Abraham has the well-earned reputation of being a faith giant. After all, it’s his faith that God is rewarding us for even to this day. No doubt, he deserves high honor for his life of faith.
Joseph, on the other hand, is known for his wisdom in the gift of administration. It’s him we have to thank that the Israelites – and in fact the entire population — were spared in the great famine of his day. With a reputation of saving the known world from starvation, it’s easy for people to overlook the great gift of faith he had.
We know that God enabled Joseph to interpret dreams from an early age – his own as well as others’. We read the story of how he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream when all the magicians and wise men of Egypt could not. That’s faith enough – being called up from a dungeon after several years to stand in front of one of the most powerful leaders in the world and trusting God to give the ruler of Egypt an interpretation that no one else could. But what comes next is even more impressive. (more…)
Upheaval sweeping through country after country, global financial instability, impending and seemingly unavoidable wars, an increase in natural disasters and manmade dangers – the headlines bombard us. The low level hum of a looming turmoil grows louder. Thank goodness for The Feast of Tabernacles!
The Feast of Tabernacles, called Sukkot in Hebrew, is the seventh and last Feast in God’s holy days. This year it takes place from sundown October 9 through sundown October 16, 2014. It looks back to God’s unlimited provision for the Israelites as they sojourned 40 years in the wilderness. During the seven days of Sukkot, we spend time in our flimsy, homemade shelters to remind us of our complete dependence on God. Sukkot also looks forward to the Millennial Age where we will “tabernacle” with Yeshua eternally.
But there’s an often overlooked aspect to this Feast. (more…)
“…and forgive us our debts as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matt. 6:12)
…”Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Forgiveness: Relinquishing our desire to punish another for their offenses. (Dr. Jerry Cook)
Easy to understand, hard to apply. But Yom Kippur is all about forgiveness – God’s forgiveness of man, and man’s forgiveness of others. Yom Kippur (translated the Day of Atonements) begins at sunset on October 4, 2014 and is the sixth in the seven Biblical Feasts. It commemorates God’s annual forgiveness of the Israelites as a nation and God’s forgiveness of all through Yeshua’s death. Likewise, it’s a time when we are to forgive others. (more…)
This year the Feast of Trumpets (also called Rosh Hashanah) begins on the evening of September 25, 2014. We put aside our work and gather with other believers, share a meal, blow our shofar, present an offering and worship just as the Lord commanded us in Leviticus 23.
But Leviticus 23:24 also tells us this is to be “a day of complete rest for remembering.” Remembering what, it doesn’t say. In fact none of the references to the Feast of Trumpets tell us what we’re remembering.
To get some perspective, let’s go back in time about 3,500 years when the observance of this day was first commanded. (more…)
I had been reading the five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) every year for five years and observing the Sabbath, Feasts and Festivals for five years. But as many times as I’ve read the Bible and practiced the Feasts, God never fails to show me new insights every time. This year has been no exception.
I had signed up to speak on the portion of scripture called “Phineas,” Numbers 25-30. Not knowing what I would speak about, I figured there was plenty to choose from. Numbers 28-29 are commonly referred to for teachings on observing God’s appointed times or Holy Days.
As I came to those chapters, I read quickly through the list: The daily offerings, the Sabbath, the New Moon, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost… Wait, the New Moon? When did they start that? Is that one of God’s appointed times? Why have I never observed this day? I decided I had to look into this. (more…)
Reflecting on the topic of my recent blog series about our spiritual journey through the tabernacle, I find it impossible to overlook Yeshua’s portrayal of Himself. The parallels between His identity and the tabernacle are no coincidence.
The tabernacle the Israelites built and carried through the wilderness before entering the Promised Land includes ten pieces that God instructed Moses to arrange inside the courtyard – seven created by man with God’s specific blueprints, and three pieces created by God alone. The first thing we understand from this is that the tabernacle is a combination of God and man, a place where God and man come together, a foreshadowing of both God and man on earth – a foreshadowing of the Messiah, Yeshua. (more…)
To this point in our journey, we’ve progressed from a casual recipient of God’s gift of faith, just barely inside the fence surrounding the tabernacle, to a partner in his business functioning as His very presence on earth, just as the Ark of the Covenant did in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle.
If we are now functioning as the Ark did, what can we learn from the Ark about what God considers representative of His presence on earth? What’s inside the Ark provides us great insight in answering this question.
To this point in this series we’ve see how YHWH has gone to great lengths to create a path for sinful man to approach His holiness – all with the goal of having His children dwell with Him continually. This path has led us through the fence surrounding the courtyard, progressing past each piece of furniture in the tabernacle, into the Holy Place and even beyond the thick, heavy curtain that separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
In this spiritual journey, we’ve entered into a special partnership with YHWH to bring about His will on earth. Now we’re ready to receive new revelation of our role with Him. We’re ready to approach His very presence – the Ark of the Covenant. (more…)
To this point in our series we have progressed through the tabernacle courtyard into the Holy Place. We stand in front of the Altar of Incense participating in the spiritual realm to bring about God’s purposes on earth through intercession.
In the Hebrew scriptures intercession was the role of the prophets and priests. This is a lofty position and a wonderful place to be. But YHWH wants us even closer. However, there’s an elephant in the room: (more…)
Having come through the entrance of the courtyard of the tabernacle, progressing from the bronze altar, to the bronze basin, to the menorah, and then the table of showbread, our spirit and our mind are continually being transformed to be more closely aligned to God’s. We begin to desire more and more of Him.
As we see with His eyes into the spiritual realm, we begin to desire the same things He does. Our heart becomes more compassionate, our mind more discerning. We are filled with faith and want to participate in bringing about His will. (more…)
So far in this series, we’ve seen that through the functions of the tabernacle’s fence, the bronze altar, the bronze basin and the menorah behind the veil of the Holy Place, God has provided us with faith to believe, the payment for our sin, cleansing with the blood of His righteous Son and a transformed mind, illuminated with a spiritual perspective.
Once we get to this point and begin seeing the world around us from our new spiritual perspective, we realize all that’s available to us in the Spirit. We realize God is much bigger than we thought. The world and life in general is not what we thought. It’s a whole new paradigm. (more…)
So far we’ve seen that God has given us faith to enter through the fence of the tabernacle courtyard into His glorious kingdom. We’ve found forgiveness through God’s own Son offered on the Bronze Altar. We’ve taken a good look at ourselves in the Bronze Basin and committed to a new life with God. And now we want more. (more…)
In Parts 2 and 3, we’ve looked at God’s gift of faith that enables us to enter through the fence enclosing the tabernacle, representing His kingdom. We’ve been forgiven because He offered His own Son at the Bronze Altar.
Saved and forgiven – this is a great place to be. Some people stay at this place for years, maybe forever. But God has so many other gifts He wants to provide us to bring us into deeper intimacy with Himself. (more…)
In Part 2 of this blog series, we looked at the first obstacle that separates mankind from a holy God – represented by the fence enclosing the courtyard of the tabernacle. The fence reminds us of how God gives us the faith to believe in Yeshua as the only entrance into God’s kingdom, so that we can accept His invitation of communion with Him.
But our sin keeps us from dwelling in his kingdom, keeps us from living in full relationship with Him. Once we’ve entered into relationship with Him through faith, we become aware of our sinfulness as compared to His righteousness. (more…)
As I stated in Part 1 of this blog series, the tabernacle is a physical representation of the spiritual process that God has created for mankind to draw near to Him and for Him to dwell with us. However, there are several things that separate mankind from a holy God. The first thing that comes between God and man is faith. Until we have faith, we cannot know God. However, what we see as a barrier, God sees as an opportunity for blessing. (more…)
I find that the more I study God’s character, the better He gets. He is awesome, holy and righteous, yet loving and patient with us at the same time. He never stops pursuing us; He desires for us to be in His presence continuously, so that He can reveal more and more of Himself to us. The tabernacle in the wilderness described in Exodus is a place where we see this character in God.
I had always received things from God in terms of their value for others, not fully embracing their value for myself. There had to be a practical reason for everything, including the talents and desires God gave me. As an example, although I wanted to take voice lessons, I found it difficult to get motivated, because I didn’t know what I would do with the singing once I learned how. It wasn’t enough that I just wanted to learn to sing.
One day in casual conversation, I found that a friend of mine spent a lot of time growing bamboo. My first question was, “What’s the commercial market for bamboo?” (more…)
Whenever I heard, “Jesus died for your sins,” I often thought, “What sin did I commit that would deserve death?” I’m a good person; I keep the 10 commandments; I try to love God and love my neighbors as myself. Then I heard, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). So I asked, “Which sins can I die from?”
For a long time I understood this to mean that if I live sinfully, I will live separate from God, not enjoy His abundant life, and maybe eventually die from a destructive lifestyle. All of those are true, but later I asked, “What did it mean to those who first heard it shortly after Yeshua’s death?” (more…)
The Day of Pentecost – we remember the supernatural flames appearing in the room where Yeshua’s followers were gathered. Inside the room, there was the sound of a “mighty rushing wind” and the speaking of other languages they’d never learned. It’s the pouring out of God’s very spirit into mere humans (Acts 2). That’s plenty to celebrate and remember right there. But what’s the purpose in our noting it every year? (more…)
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
I found this verse repeating in my head, so I posted it in a place where I’d see it every day, a place where I typically pray for my friends and family as I’m starting my day. I continued my routine of praying for various people, and the verse stayed on my wall for probably three weeks.
I came to understand the power of this statement: (more…)
On a recent vacation, I decided to try rock climbing on the simulated rock wall. I had never done it, but watched several people in front of me, some succeeding to the top and some quitting part way up. With each one I could, I asked how they did it or what stopped them from finishing, trying to learn whatever might help me make it high enough to ring the little bell at the top, announcing my success.
When it was my turn, the attendant, Alex, roped me up and gave me climbing shoes to help me hold on. I took my first few steps on the holds and knobs. “This is pretty easy,” I thought. But like anything else physical, it got harder as I went along. (more…)