Mar 19, 2022

(Exodus 30, John 9; Optional Psalm 54, Proverbs 14:32-35)

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EXODUS 30 – Ex 30:1-10 – Instructions for making the altar of incense (one of few furnishings in the Holy Place where the priests would minister daily. It was 1.5’ long x 1.5’ wide x 3’ tall. As everything actually in the Tabernacle near the presence of Yahweh was to be, it was covered in gold. Incense represents the prayers of and for God’s people (Rev 5:8, Lk 1:8-11, Ps 141:2). Pointer here to Jesus who is the ever-living priest who intercedes for His people (Heb 7:25, Rom 8:34).

Ex 30:6 – The altar of incense was just in front of the veil separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, and God links it with meeting with Him. The fragrant incense would have wafted in to the Most Holy Place, representing the prayers of and for God’s people constantly being in God’s Presence.

Ex 30:9 – God means what He says! Not long after this, Nadab and Abihu (two of Aaron’s sons) were executed by God because of doing this – Lev 10:1-3. We do NOT approach the Lord in the way that seems best to us, but humbly grateful that He has made a way to meet with us (see v 6).

Ex 30:11-16 – A reminder that each life belongs to Yahweh. Compare to 1 Pet 1:18-19 – Christians are ransomed / redeemed not with money, but with the precious blood of Jesus.

Ex 30:17-21 – One of only two items in the Tabernacle courtyard (the other was the large bronze alter for sacrifices). The priests (since they themselves were sinners and living in a fallen world dirtied by sin) needed to cleanse before offering sacrifices on the bronze altar and then proceed into the Holy Place to minister. Note the two sober warnings in v 20, 21 about death. Drawing near to God’s Presence is joyful, but not to be taken lightly (Heb 12:28-29 and Ps 2:11 – “rejoice with trembling”).

Ex 30:22-38 – Special (“sacred” / “holy” / “consecrate”) anointing oil ONLY to be used for priestly ministry with dire consequences threatened (v 32-33, 36-38). Again, beauty AND weighty – God is NOT our buddy to be comfortable with. When one of Jesus’ very closest followers (John the beloved apostle) sees the glorified Jesus in heaven (see Rev 1:9-19) in His glory, he does NOT run up and hug Him like a buddy you haven’t seen in a long time. He fell at His feet like a dead man (Rev 1:17). The proper balance for Christians today is Heb 12:28-29.

JOHN 9 – This chapter is all about SEEING and believing in Jesus. Though it’s started by Jesus healing a PHYSICALLY blind man (Jn 9:1-12), the Pharisees try to use it to trap Jesus (it was of course a Sabbath when Jesus healed the blind man – see v 14-34) and Jesus wraps up the chapter talking about the blindness that has eternal consequences – SPIRITUAL blindness for those that don’t entrust their lives to Jesus.

Jn 9:1-3 – Don’t be too quick to judge the disciples. Sometimes God DOES punish sin physically (see Ps 32:1-5, 1 Cor 11:29-32). But don’t be like Job’s friends and the disciples here and think that EVERY illness/disability/hardship must be punishment for a specific sin. This story (and Ex 4:11, the book of Job, and 2 Cor 12:7-10) reminds us that God has good and wise purposes for our suffering. For years God hadn’t revealed those purposes for this man (and Job didn’t get the answer until heaven), but now he was a showcase for God’s glorious kindness. And when we compare v 35-39 to Eph 2:4-7 we see that this man became an ETERNAL display of God’s amazing kindness in Jesus!

Jn 9:6-7 – A surprising way to heal! The blind man would have heard some interesting sounds, then a pause, then felt mud being placed by Jesus on his eyes. Then, rather than being offended (see Matt 11:6), he obeys Jesus’ command. He grows in his understanding of who Jesus is and his faith in Jesus all through the chapter; I’m guessing at this point he’s thinking “What do I have to lose?”

Jn 9:8, 13 – God has the sovereign authority to change what we WERE known by into a new identity! See also Lk 1:6-37 – “Elizabeth…who HAD been barren…” And 1 Cor 6:11 – after listing sins, “…and such WERE some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…”

Jn 9:17 – “He is a prophet” – Step 1 in the formerly blind man trusting in Jesus. This statement is true, but not the whole story. But he keeps growing in understanding and faith in Jesus.

Jn 9:22 – And see v 34. There’s a COST to following Jesus, but He’s worth it (v 35-41)!

Jn 9:25-34 – Step 2 in trusting in Jesus.

Jn 9:35-38 – Step 3 – FULLY TRUSTING Jesus!

Jn 9:39-41 – Physical blindness is not NEARLY as serious as spiritual blindness and pride so that you don’t even realize you need sight. Compare folks in Laodicea (a very wealthy area known for their eye salve) that said “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing…” Jesus responded that though that was their prideful PERCEPTION, the REALITY was “that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:17)

Optional Psalm 54 – The title gives the historic context as the events in 1 Sam 23. While running for his life from the unreasonable jealous anger of king Saul, David does NOT just survive, but actively helps others in danger. He leads his men to rescue a town who then betrays his hiding place to king Saul. David AGAIN shows believers who are overwhelmed and under attack how to respond – take our problems to the living God our helper!

Ps 54:4-7 – The END of the story for every believer – full and complete deliverance and joyful thanksgiving to Yahweh forever!

Optional Proverbs 14:32-35 – Even though believers are PRIMARILY citizens of heaven (Eph 2:19, Phil 3:20), we ALSO are to be wisely and actively involved in the physical country where God has placed us (also see Jer 29:4-7).