Posts Tagged ‘Israelites’

Easter Thursday, April 16, 2020

Exodus 16:15-20

Sharing in the Desert

mannaThis is the bread which the Lord has given you.

When we read the Exodus story we know its beginning, middle and end.  We linger over the portions that intrigue us and skim through the verses that no longer call us.  Believing that we know this story well, we forget to listen to each word.  We spend time today with just a few verses in this story of rescue and transformation.

Each one is to be given as much as he needs.

We worry over the details and fuss with constraints.  We calculate needs and risks.  We measure out, we store up, and we plan ahead.  We look back to what we left behind and we look forward to what is to come and we try to predict how much we will need for our journey, just as the Israelites did.

Some gathered a large and some gathered a small amount.

We arise each day to collect the manna of our labor, just as the Israelites did.  This work is sometimes arduous.  At other times the burden of toil seems lighter. We volunteer our time and talent to ease the lives of those who have less than we do.  We receive gifts of time and talent from others when we suffer.  We look to see if we have gathered as much as our neighbor.  We wonder if others work as hard as we do.  Still, we gather, just like the Israelites in the desert.

But when they measured it out by the omer, he who gathered a large amount did not have too much, and he who had gathered a small amount did not have too little.

We gauge pensions and look at payroll deductions.  We pay taxes and claim exemptions.  We struggle with what we render to authorities and what we render to God, always hoping that the promise of having enough is not false.  We trust in the Living God, just like the Israelites in the desert.

They so gathered that everyone had enough to eat.

We have a new measurement today that supersedes the omer yet still we measure.  We budget our resources and hope that catastrophe does not wipe us out.  We pace ourselves and look over our shoulders to see if the enemy is still behind.  We look forward and gauge the strength of any invader.  We fiddle with the details of our small economy and try to predict the future, just like the Israelites in the desert.

This is the bread which the Lord has given you.

When we read the Exodus story we know its beginning, middle and end.  We linger over the portions that intrigue us and skim through the verses that no longer call us.  Believing that we know this story well, we forget to listen to each word.  Let us spend time today with just a few verses in this story of rescue and transformation.

And let us give thanks to the Living God who teaches us how to share in the desert.

Tomorrow, I will not be silent . . .

A re-post from Easter 2013. 

Image from: http://lamont-uphill.blogspot.com/2010/11/swb-manna-for-desert.html

To convert a measurement to omers, go to: http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/volume/bibomer.html

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Deuteronomy 31:24-30: Alive Among You

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Ark of the Covenant

We have spent the past few days looking at how the Israelites struggle to remain faithful to Yahweh, the Living God who led them from slavery to freedom, from the desert to a land of promise.  We can see ourselves in these stiff-necked people as we turn to and away from God as the season suits us.  We read the story of how an unassailable enemy eventually falls once the Israelites turn themselves over to Yahweh’s ways.  And we can see ourselves being delivered from adversaries we once thought unbeatable.  The Israelites are such simple and predictable people that Moses knows they will fall away from the covenant they have entered into; and so he tries to prepare them for the days when they will yield to temptation. We too, know that we will be lured by the many attractions the world holds for us . . . and so in our Lenten journey we may want to spend a bit of time reflecting on how to best cleave to the promises we make to this amazing God who persists in loving us into goodness.

Take this scroll of the law and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord, your God, that there it may be a witness against you.  The Law of the New Covenant, the New Testament, is not complicated.  It is brief, universal and compelling: Love one another as I have loved you.  Perhaps this weekend we can write out a simple promise to love God by loving others – even and especially our enemies – and put it in a special place that we will see each day as a reminder . . . a witness to ourselves.  A new ark of a new promise made in a new hope of conversion.

I already know how rebellious and stiff-necked you will beAnd the Living God loves us despite these faults.

Even now, while I am alive among you, you have been rebels against the LordAnd the Living God who loves us so fiercely has returned as the Christ to save us.

Assemble all your tribal elders and your officials before me, that I may speak these words for them to hear, and so may call heaven and earth to witness against you.  Perhaps we can gather our family or a group of trusted friends and agree together to turn ourselves toward the goal of living the law of love.  Perhaps we can support one another in our hope of softening our stiff necks, in our Lenten journey of conversion.

We are blessed to have the Lord always among us each day, all day.  As New Testament people we experience Eucharist with Christ, the indwelling of the Spirit, and the abiding protection and love of the Living God.  Let us take a moment today to think about the passage we make from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, the passage that we call Lent.  And let us pause to give thanks to the God who loves us so well . . . and who is always alive among us.

A re-post from March 16, 2012. 

If you are able, spend some time today with the  A Journey of Return – Repentance reflection on this blog.  Tomorrow we will ponder the words of Moses’ prayer: The Song of Moses

For more on The Ark of the Covenant click the image above or go to: http://bible-blog.org/what-is-the-significance-of-the-ark-of-the-covenant.php

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Ezra 6: 19-23: Marvels – Part V

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dedication of the Temple

Dedication of the Temple

God had changed the mind of the king of Assyria to the Israelites in rebuilding The Temple of God, the God of Israel.

God says: My faithful celebrated when the Emperor of Syria released them from bondage, for they saw my hand in that marvel. My faithful returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple where they and I communed. Today I invite you to open hour own heart to me so that I might build my New Temple within.

Then the Israelites who had returned from exile, along with everyone who had removed themselves from the abuses of the nations to join them and seek God, the God of Israel, ate the Passover. With great joy they celebrated.

neither-is-new-wine-putGod says: My faithful returned from exile to celebrate with me in great joy for the marvel of their return. They believed that I lived only in their Temple but I have come to walk among you to reveal greater marvels than you even imagined. I come as one of you to live with you, to eat and drink with you, to pray and play with you. I have come to write a New Covenant with you and to write in on your heart. 

With joy they celebrated . . .

newcovenantGod says: I know that there are many days and many nights when my marvels and miracles fade from your memory but despite this dwindling, I urge you to remain in me. For I will always remain in you. Exchange your old wine skins for new ones so that I might live in you forever. 

With joy they celebrated the marvels their God had done for them.

For more on Darius, the King of Assyria, click on the Temple image above, or visit: http://bibleencyclopedia.com/pictures/Ezra_6_Dedication_of_the_temple.htm

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