(Exodus 28, John 7; Optional Psalm 52, Proverbs 14:24-27)
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EXODUS 28 – God gives Moses instructions for the priest’s CLOTHES when they were ministering in the Tabernacle.
Ex 28:2 – The word “holy” keeps appearing all through these sections, meaning “set apart.” These were NOT what you’d wear when weeding your garden, etc. They were SPECIAL.
Ex 28:11-12, 21, 29 – The names of the 12 sons of Israel (which became the 12 tribes) inscribed, so that they were always being represented before Yahweh God. Not that God would ever forget – see the vivid language in Isa 49:15-16 where Yahweh says that even if a nursing mother could ever forget her child (unimaginable), He would never forsake His people. Then God says that He has their names engraved on the palms of His hands. In a very physical way, when Jesus received all the wounds on the cross for the sins of His people (see Isa 53:4-7) the names of those who would trust in Him are inscribed in those wounds that He took so we could be His.
Ex 28:30 – “Urim and the Thummim” – two objects which somehow (we’re never given much detail) were used by God to give guidance to His people [see them in use in 1 Sam 14:41-42, 1 Sam 30:7-8).
Ex 28:35 – “so that he does not die” – also see v 43. This gave great weight to the priest’s calling! All throughout these chapters we see both beauty and seriousness. Still needed in worship today – yes, there is to be a beautiful humble boldness (Heb 10:19-22) while still remembering that “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29). Remember the BALANCE of Ps 2:11 – “…rejoice with trembling.”
Ex 28:36-38 – God made a way for the sacrifices of a sinful people (including sinful priests) to be ACCEPTABLE in His perfectly holy presence! We should be keenly aware that ON OUR OWN, our very best efforts are as filthy rags in God’s sight. BUT, when clothed in the righteousness of Christ, we are a holy priesthood called to bring our lives as living sacrifices that are ACCEPTED by God (see 1 Pet 2:4-5, Heb 12:1).
JOHN 7 – There are so many different reactions to Jesus in this chapter, along with many misunderstandings of who He is. And a beautiful invitation to come to Jesus and have our deepest thirsts satisfied by entrusting our lives to Him (v 37).
Jn 7:5 – Contrary to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, after the virgin conception then birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph began normal marital relations – see Matt 1:25, Lk 2:7, Mk 6:3. His unbelieving half-brothers convinced even Mary at one point in Jesus’ ministry to try to influence Jesus to step back from the public focus (see Mark 3:20-21, 31-36). Here they’re advising Jesus to be MORE public and to be more clear about who He claimed to be. Compare the crowd in Jn 6 telling Jesus how He should be if they were to stay interested in Him. But Jesus never feels constrained to do what lost people want Him to do! The church today needs to take a lesson. Thankfully, Jesus’ half-brothers don’t STAY unbelievers – after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension we find them waiting for God’s Holy Spirit to come on them in the fullness that Jesus had promised (Acts 1:14).
Jn 7:17 – A KEY VERSE in understanding why many can’t decide for sure if Jesus is really who He said. Jesus makes clear that an important stumbling block keeping people from being sure about Jesus is that they are NOT WILLING to obey God’s will. This doesn’t undo the fundamental importance of Jn 6:44, 65, but it IS a HUGE reminder of the responsibility of people (so I’ve written “R!” in my Bible margin). I’ve talked to some who are honest enough to realize that they won’t come to Jesus because it would take a complete re-alignment of their lives. If you come to Jesus EVERY area of life belongs to God. So many are unwilling for that, and Jesus says that they won’t really know for sure if Jesus is who He said.
How does this fit with Jn 6:44, 65? Something like this… If we DO come to Jesus, Jn 6:44, 65 should keep us from pride and bring eternal grateful praise. For those who do NOT come to Jesus, verses like Jn 7:17 I think will be used at the final Judgment as evidence that their own willful disobedience will be judged by eternal torment in hell. There will be NONE who really wanted to come to Jesus but were kept back by God! There will be many who would like eternity in heaven AND living life on their own terms, but there’s a very real choice and each person will be held accountable for that choice.
Jn 7:21-23 – Almost certainly referring to Jn 5:1-18.
Jn 7:27 – SOME thought this, but others (correctly) knew that the Messiah’s birth was prophesied in Micah 5:2 to be in Bethlehem (see Jn 7:42). Ironically, they’re ALL missing part of the truth – Jesus WAS born in Bethlehem, but since He’d grown up in Galilee, that’s where many assumed He was born.
Jn 7:28 – “You know me, and you know where I come from.” – I suspect this was sarcastic, because there were LOTS of conflicting ideas, but several contrasting views seemed pretty confident that they had Jesus all figured out. In v 28-29 Jesus is bluntly telling them that ULTIMATELY He comes directly from God the Father and that those that don’t fully receive Jesus for ALL He claimed to be don’t know God the Father (also see Jn 5:23, 5:37-38, 6:44, 6:65).
Jn 7:37 – Also see Jn 4:14, 6:35. From the hymn Satisfied: “All my life I had a longing for a drink from some clear spring That I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst I felt within. Hallelujah! I have found Him Whom my soul so long has craved! Jesus SATISFIES my longings; Through His blood I now am saved. Well of water, ever springing, Bread of Life so rich and free, Untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me!”
Jn 7:50-52 – Nicodemus had come to Jesus very secretly in Jn 3. He’s taking a little stronger stand here and in Jn 19:38-39. Sometimes folks do come to Jesus over time, but the end is the same – full entrusting of our lives to Jesus as the all-satisfying Bread of Life and Living Water!
Optional Psalm 52 – Another psalm for when evil SEEMS to be winning. The historical setting is when David, fleeing from king Saul’s unreasonable rage, talks Ahimelech the priest into giving him and his men some necessities (1 Sam 21:1-8). Doeg the Edomite was there and curried favor with Saul by tattling, then butchering the community of priests (including their families and animals) that were there when David got a little help (1 Sam 22:7-23). This Psalm is David’s inspired-by-God reminder that God WILL bring justice one day. Again, we’re reminded that the end of the story for each believer is ETERNALLY enjoying the presence of God (Ps 52:8-9), while the end of the story for every person who does NOT make God their refuge (see v 6) is destroyed forever (see v 5; compare 2 Thess 1:9). From the hymn This Is My Father’s World: “This is my Father’s world and let me ne’er forget that though the wrong SEEMS oft’ so strong, God is the Ruler yet.”
Optional Proverbs 14:24-27 – Pr 14:26,27 – Since I’m tracing the important (and often misunderstood) theme of the proper “Fear of God” through Scripture, I’ve written “F” by both these verses. Notice three benefits of fearing Yahweh, and one of them is “strong confidence” (or “secure fortress”). Though OTHER fears make us run AWAY from what we fear, proper fear of God is different – there is CONFIDENCE and multi-generational help, and LIFE associated with fearing God.