Exodus 34:1-35:9, Matthew 27:15-31, Psalms 33:12-22, Proverbs 9:1-6
Today is the 12th day of February, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it’s great to be here with you as we move through the center of the week and toward the back half. And we will continue in the book of Exodus today with the drama that is taking place in the desert - God giving the laws, people building golden calves and worshiping them and claiming they were there Redeemer, broken covenants, all kinds of stuff happening as we watch the turmoil of something new being created. And that something new is the culture surrounding God’s chosen people. So, today Exodus chapter 34 verse 1 through 35 verse 9.
Okay. We have a really interesting contrast between old and new Testaments today that will help us understand the Bible, the story that we’re telling here, but will also help us look at our own lives and understand some things. So, Moses has been a top Mount Sinai he’s come back down with some newly freshly hewn tablets of stone with the covenant upon them and when the people see Moses his face is glowing, it’s radiant. He’s been in God’s presence and his face is radiant. So, the people are kind of freaked out about that and he puts a veil over his face because of this radiance. This veil, this particular one in this particular story is a really important piece for the apostle Paul. He talks about it and essentially his conclusion is that God gave a perfect law that subsequently was read through a veil, which is how the people much later in the New Testament times could miss that God incarnate, was among us and miss it to the point of killing him. So, let’s pause here for second. We’re reading through the book of Exodus, lots of rules and regulations and stipulations and instructions. All this kinda stuff is going on. And, so, we can read some of these instructions ago, like “I don’t like. I don’t even…how do you…I don’t even know how I can obey that command. It’s such a strange thing.” And that’s us kind of reading our modern culture into an ancient text. These people all understood what was going on. But what we often miss and what the apostle Paul claimed that the Hebrew people were missing, this veil, is that underneath the rules, underneath the law, is the spirit of the law - a reason that the stipulation should exist and that way for that stipulation to point back to why it exists, right? So, that’s sort of confusing but let’s just take a stop sign because this applies today. The spirit of the law of a stop sign is that if you indiscriminately drive through intersections you will one day kill somebody or yourself. If everybody just knew and paid attention to that then we would always slow down and we wouldn’t need the law or the sign. But since we drive all kinds of places that we don’t necessarily know or understand we know that a stop sign is informing us for our own safety and everyone else’s safety to stop. If you forgot that or if you forgot the reason or if you were never told the reason, then you would question the rule and maybe ignore the stop sign to your own peril. What God is doing in the book of Exodus as He begins to lay out these instructions and organize his people in a certain way is to initiate in every rule and regulation something that points back to who they are and who He is. It’s being woven into the culture so that all that they do is centered around being the chosen people of God, a nation of priests to minister to the world to show all of the nations who have given themselves to the lesser lower false gods who the most high is. And, so, all of the things that they’re being instructed to do is baking this into their culture so that they are constantly reminded. Okay. So, that’s this spirit of the thing. But if we ignore the spirit…the reason for these things and just look at these rules, yeah, we can look at them and go, “what…like what…what a strange rule for an ancient people”, but we can see that over time they lose this plot and it becomes about focusing upon and deciphering and dissecting exactly how to obey these rules. This is the veil that Paul’s talking about - the letter of the law, obey the rules, find the perfect way to obey the rules as opposed to the spirit of the law, why these rules exist and what their purpose is, because their purpose is to order life in such a way that everything reminds us of who we are because the world will take that away from us. And these rules are here to show us who God is because there are many competitors.
Okay. Now we zoom forward into the book of Matthew today and what do we see besides Jesus on trial, instigated by the religious leaders, the keepers of the law. And, indeed, Paul’s analogy would be right. They were veiled, they were worshiping the law. They were worshiping the rules and the power that came from that and missing that God was before them in person. Okay. So, you can go, “that’s pretty cool. That…like…that’s…that’s an understanding that connects some dots. That’s helpful. What does that actually mean for like my life though besides just a…like an understanding?” I mean when you think about your faith, certainly yes, more of God’s presence and…and a deeper…deeper relationship. But how is it that we often think that that could be achieved? Don’t we look for the rules to follow? Don’t we look for somebody who…who appears to know what they’re talking about to tell us what we’re supposed to do to get God on our side? And then often we’ll get into communities like that and we’ll find that there’s differing opinions about different ways of obeying these rules. And, so, we get doctrine wars because it would be much too scary if we have something wrong. We’ve gotta defend what we think we’ve got right when underneath it all, no matter what rules we’re trying to obey, when underneath it all, there’s the spirit of why they exist. And they exist to remind us who we are and to who the most-high God is. When we lose the plot here then we’ll go to battle with one another over the rules and then we’ll start resembling Pharisees and Sadducees. And we can get so enmeshed in this that all we’re focusing on is everybody else’s sin and wrong and maybe missing that God is standing right in front of us, or maybe even worse, criticizing what God is doing in somebody else’s life because it doesn’t measure up, or fall in line with our own lives. It’s a pretty start picture we’re looking at in Matthew today. Jesus, God incarnate, stripped, wrapped in a purple robe and beaten senseless. If humanity can do that to God then, yeah, there’s a veil. We’re not seeing clearly. And isn’t that what Jesus kept saying throughout the book of Matthew, “I’m looking for those with eyes to see.” And what our eyes are seeing in the book of Matthew is humanity doing the lowest, lowest, basest animal thing we will ever see described in the Bible, an attempt to kill God. So, we need to practice grace and mercy toward each other to love each other as ourselves to begin to remove this veil. We need to understand that the rules that God would give us are there to lead us to Him and they flow from wisdom. They are wise. But it’s not about the rule, it’s about the reason for it. The reason is to bring us and remind us in everything in every way who we are and who God is because if you hadn’t noticed it gets confusing in the world. These rules are not because God needs control of your or anyone else’s life. God is most high. He is all powerful. Everything flows from Him. He doesn’t need control, He has control. And often the rules or the disciplines of our lives are intended to show us that, that we aren’t in control. That’s an illusion. The religious leaders of Jesus time were a little freaked out that Jesus could get too much momentum and upset this tenuous power share that was going on between Rome and the Hebrew people. They didn’t surrender to God. They crucified him. And the sad thing is you can read it and go like, “I would never do that”, but we are all capable, especially when we lose the plot.
Father we’re trying our…our very, very best to stay focused in here and really, really receive from You the instructions that Your word gives us because we need that. It’s murky to live in the world but try to not be of it. It’s complicated as You well know. And we confess we lose the plot every day. We forget who we are and who You are all of the time. It can happen many times in a day because so often we’re just reacting, we’re just reacting to whatever comes our way, as opposed to this deep sense of abiding wisdom and the guidance of Your Holy Spirit, which helps us to not be reactive. Come Holy Spirit. May we see the voice of wisdom crying out from every corner of the globe at every intersection. May the veil be removed from our eyes so that we might see clearly Your kingdom in this world and our place in it. And we ask this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
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What is immediately going on around here is that the tomorrow is departure day. Tomorrow we will get on the big plane and start flying across oceans making our way into the land of the Bible where we will be meeting for the first time as…as the group in a few days in Ashdod by the sea in ancient Philistine, a fortress city by the Mediterranean Sea that’s now a modern city in Israel. And that’s where it all begins for the pilgrimage. And, so, as I’ve been saying for a couple of days, we’re raising the canopy a prayer over this and we’re not gonna. I mean, I’m doing the asking and I’m asking you to pray for us. We’re gonna be praying for us too and we’re gonna be praying for you too because that’s just part of the rhythm of…this community is a community of prayer and man, we do that…we do that well. We do that well. And, so, I’m asking to raise a canopy a prayer over everything about this that has to happen to pull off an adventure like the one we’re gonna be on. So, we want to pray specifically for travel, vehicles, stamina, health, jetlag, technology, patience, long-suffering, everything that we would need to go across the world and travel together as a family for a couple weeks. That’s what we’ll need. So, thank you for your prayers over that.
I’ve mentioned several days this is a virtual community and this is…even though we will physically be there in the land of the Bible and many of us will be there physically, we’re taking you along. I don’t go anywhere without the Daily Audio Bible. It’s like attached to…to my life. So, we go everywhere together and that helps me, especially when I have to travel alone to not be lonely, but we’re going together. And, so, if you haven't…if you’re not following say for example the Daily Audio Bible Facebook page or Instagram, this is a good time to do that, you can find all of the links in the Community section at dailyaudiobible.com because we’re gonna posting things and posting pictures and videos and stuff as they happen. And, of course, I’ll be sharing what we’re doing each day on the Daily Audio Bible. You can be there as it’s happening to just see the different places that we’re talking about as we move through the Bible. And then next Saturday, it’s the…it’s the 22nd of February we’ll be doing a live broadcast from the Sea of Galilee. Kinda gets us near the halfway point of the trip and we just debrief, we get together, but turn the cameras on for about an hour and…and just…and go live. And it just allows us interaction. The time difference is weird because we’ll be doing that at night and back in the United States it will be…it will be daytime. So, for example, we’ll be doing our live broadcast at 7:30 PM on the 22nd but back in Nashville here where I live, that’ll be 12:30 PM. So, just like lunchtime or that would be like 1:30 on the East Coast and 10:30 AM on the West Coast of the United States. And I don’t have a time difference calendar in front of me right now, but all you have to do is just kinda Google the difference between where you are and Tel Aviv, Israel and find the hour difference and then you can kinda work it from there and that’s when we’ll be going live. So, make plans for that.
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And that is it for today. I am Brian I got a lot of packing to do so I’m gonna go do that. I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.