The Story…a random journal from my pen…(week 5)
We’re into Week 6, but before we finish, here are my notes on Week 5. This week God gives Moses the 10 Commandments – twice! Rules are tricky things for us “children”. We say we don’t want them; yet, deep inside, when we grow up being taught them, grow up being disciplined by them, we have this deep appreciation for such order…such love! I know, because I had a time of growing up without such things; and though it may seem like a person’s dream to have no “limitations,” it is quickly your own nightmare! I have come to see “rules,” “regulations,” “commands” not as limitations that take away my freedom, but as boundaries that protect it. The world promises freedom of speech, choice, and the like, but with every slippery step I take into it (the world), I find it is the “abusive boyfriend” – promising great things, but instead leading me into greater slavery. The more I get entangled in the world – the Lower Story – the more my eyes are truly opened. Maybe just like Adam and Eve’s? I see freedom truly for the first time, and it’s in the “garden” that I left.
Chapter 5…Sunday and Wednesday of week 5:
The Ten Commandments: Three things God wanted them to know…
1. Commands for How to Treat God and Each Other: the Lower Story is all about me and my way; the Upper Story – no matter what it costs me, think of God and others over myself (Phil. 2)
Treat God and man (God’s greatest creation) with utmost respect
Matthew 22 – The Greatest Commandment…Jesus is just telling us to do what God had originally wanted
Our problem: our Lower Story perspective resists the Upper Story…we see God’s guidelines as getting in the way of our abundance (If we could only see as Upper Story people – we would see the great treasures He is protecting with His guidelines!)
The true purpose of the commands was not to be perfect before God, but to reveal our sin. They were to remind us that we can’t get it right with God on our own! For there is none righteous! Romans 3:10-20
**The behavior of God’s people needed to reflect His original plan! (Eden! A life in His presence! Holiness!)
2. A Place for God to Dwell! Exodus 25:8-9
Why did God need or want the tabernacle?
Seems that an aspect of its building was a test of the Israelites’ faithfulness and willingness
God desires to be close to us! (This, unlike any other religion I am aware of, is the difference! It is one of the reasons why other religions that have been posed to me have no appeal! They aren’t about pursuing a God Who pursued you first but about becoming god-like yourself. Kind of where this whole mess got started!)
God has an appreciation for the physical – He made us physical beings. He sent His Son as a physical Being! God didn’t need to be physically present with us – He is omnipresent (all present) – but knowing our Lower Story perspective, God knew we needed it. The Israelites had been surrounded by the Egyptian gods for over 400 years! The tabernacle was a way for them to know God was with them. (But if you’ll notice, He gave no consent to anything being made into forms of man or beast. God alone was to be worshipped – not anything within or about the tabernacle!)
3. The Issue of Sin That Kept Us From Communing With God
God offers us life in His Upper Story, but in our Lower one there is death. There is a gap between God’s perfection and our imperfection…God holiness and our unholiness!
The animal sacrifices never took away our sin; they just covered it until the redemptive blood of The Perfect Lamb! What they did allow, though, was us a chance to get as close to God as we could before Christ.
It is completely unfair that an “innocent” pays what I owe, but God allows it because He wants to be with me. Amazing! Grace! (Though Leviticus is often the book that people skip reading or try to get through as fast as they can, if given the time, it will bring you to a greater realization of the holiness of God and His desire to be close to us before a Way was made.)
So what is all this to me now?
Jesus is our sacrifice Who doesn’t “cover” but completely takes away sin! Hebrews 10:1-18
Now, instead of offering sacrifices every week, we take communion! We commune with the Creator of Heaven and Earth! We commune with God Almighty! We don’t “come into His presence” – His presence has come to dwell within us! After Christ, we became the tabernacle where God dwells! (I Corinthians 3:16-17)
When we live in proper community with The Bride of Christ – The Church – we are the place God dwells! God didn’t tell the people to make their own, individual tabernacle to take home so they could live secluded…on their own terms…without the inconvenience of time and energy to come together. He didn’t promise Abraham just one son but many! He didn’t bring a few through the dessert for 40 years but thousands! God is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, and He says live life together, gather together, serve together, cry together, laugh together, bring your kids together, fight together (and do not sin:)), forgive together, grow and mature together, fail together, be victorious together…be TOGETHER! The lambs were slain so that God could be TOGETHER with His people. Christ died once and for all to be TOGETHER with His people. Let us make every effort to live in this TOGETHER-WAY because He gave the ONE AND ONLY WAY for us to be together with Him…in His Kingdom…full of His people…who are now…always…TOGETHER!
Sin – we still build idols. Materialism, entertainment, addictions, people, ourselves! Just like the Israelites, we value our own way, familiarity, and instant gratification over FREEDOM!
Sin leads to our separation from God and man and places of freedom/pleasure.
Those who are separated by sin need an Intercessor: Moses interceeded on behalf of the Israelites to God; Christ became our Intercessor; and when given the opportunity, we can intercede for the souls of others!
Restoration comes from intercession of a righteous person and ultimately through the Intercession of Christ on our behalf! This restoration is not that we are made “good little girls and boys”, but that we are given the presence of God to dwell within us! The Holiness of Christ now makes us holy, and we are given the same honor as Queen Esther was given…a scepter of favor extended to us, that we may be in His presence and live!