Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Glimpse As To Why Ministry Is a 24/7 Calling

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Exodus 27: The Tabernacle’s Altar of Burnt Offering, The Court, & The Use of the Lamp

Exodus 27:1-21: In chapter 27 of Exodus, God gives detailed instructions for each of the items listed in our heading. Please read your preferred version of Scripture in parallel. Below we simply highlight some of the key features of the chapter for our study. 
In the first few verses (eight to be exact) of this chapter, God describes how He wants the altar to be constructed. I found verse 3 to be of significant interest. There we read, “And you shall make its pails for removing its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its fire pans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze.” Now if we ever needed evidence that God cares for the details in our lives (beside the reminder elsewhere in Scripture and in song that ‘His eye is on the sparrow, how much more does He care for us’), this is it. Here is the Almighty God giving instructions to His people about building an altar and He bothers to mention all the ‘maintenance’ tools required for this altar to operate properly – tools to prepare sacrifices and offerings, as well tools for its cleaning. One would have thought that the children of Israel didn’t need to be told what was required to keep an altar going and clean.  So, yes indeed, I can safely say with a lot of assurance that He cares about all the details of our circumstances and lives.
In the next section of this chapter (verses 9 to 19) God describes the courtyard He would like the tabernacle to be set in and subsequently the “hangings” that are to go around the edge of the courtyard.  You will remember when we were studying the previous chapter (Chapter 26) we indicated there was some confusion as to ‘what was what’ especially with respect to “boards” vs. “curtains”.  Well, the plot thickens in this chapter, as it appears that God has given instructions that involve curtains and boards and ‘hangings’, the latter for the periphery of the courtyard.  If we stick with Him in this regard, we would then have to rethink our position on what the ‘boards’ were, or more precisely where they were used.  We will leave this to others to figure out.
The most important part of the chapter in my thinking is found in the last two verses, 20 and 21, which read:
“And you shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually.  In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the Lord; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout their generations for the sons of Israel.”

These verses carry for us a most symbolic message as I see it. God charges us to offer Him clean lives as a continuous light to the world. It is interesting that NASB uses the term “beaten olives” in verse 20, as does the KJV, the ESV, and the RSV.  We note, however, that the NKJV, as well as the NIV and NLT have utilized the phrase “pressed olives” instead. Commentator David Guzik prefers the latter saying that believers are not beaten but we are – “hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed (2 Corinthias 4:8) - and God uses our times of pressing for His glory.”

Our pastors and priests and ministers are charged with a 24/7 responsibility to keep that light (the congregation or people that God has put in their charge) in good working order before the Lord, so they can be that light to the world. And part of that responsibility is that those who are appointed as official priests and pastors and ministers are to help us keep that command of God’s from generation to generation.

So there you have it. We can well ask ourselves several questions:
1.     Am I doing my part to see that this responsibility is indeed being met as God commanded?
2.     Is my church (and I as part of it) ‘burning continually’ as a light to the world?
3.     Do my spiritual leaders understand that their calling and job is a 24/7 one, not a 40-hour or even 60-hour week, fighting hard for their vacations and times off in lieu?
4.     Will the generation that comes after me keep this statute as God commanded?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, then we must ask ourselves “Why not?” and “What can/should we do about it?” Then we must pray for God’s discernment and direction to make things right.

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

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