Exodus 30:11-31:18, Matthew 26:47-68, Psalms 32:1-11, Proverbs 8:27-32
Today is the 10th day of February welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it is wonderful to be here with you coming to you today from the land of the Bible. And in particular coming to you from the Dead Sea. And although the Dead Sea may be dead, but we are quite alive and enjoying our time here. It’s been quite a magnificent journey through the wilderness, which is where we still find ourselves. We’ll be navigating out of the wilderness today, but we definitely spent yesterday in the wilderness, but we’ll talk about that in a bit. We are here to take the next step forward in the Scriptures together and that next step leads us back into the book of Exodus. Today we will read chapters 30 verse 11 through 31 verse 18.
Okay. So, as we continue our journey through Proverbs 8 and the voice of wisdom comes forth to speak on her own behalf, she has given us plenty to consider and plenty to describe herself and plenty of opportunity for us to examine ourselves. She has told us that she is at every crossroads, that she is calling out at the crossroads. So, like at that at every point of decision she is there calling out at the intersection where we’re going to choose to go this way or that based on the choice that we make. She is there calling out. She has told us that acquiring her, acquiring wisdom, is the most valuable thing that we could acquire in our lives because wisdom and using wisdom will draw everything else, we need to us. And then in today’s reading she tells us she was there with the Lord when He established the heavens, when He created the sky, when He created the earth, when He created the waters. In fact, I quote, she says, “I was beside Him as a master craftsman. I was His joy day after day.” So, the claim here is that through wisdom God created the cosmos and wisdom is available calling to us at every crossroads. So, why would we ignore her when she is delighted in us as well. She says, “I rejoiced in His presence at all times. I rejoiced in His inhabited world. I was delighted with the children of Adam. So now you children listen to me because those who keep my ways are blessed.” So, I’m not trying to overly personify wisdom other than that we’re reading it out of the Bible and the Bible is reading it first person as if wisdom is speaking and that she is calling to us and that she delights in all that God has made and that she is here for God’s people. And I’m just inviting us to consider the question that we’ve been asking. Why is this not a category in our lives? Like, why is this not something paramount that we are actually seeking diligently and truly paying attention to? And it’s easy enough to say, well we are because by our very lives and our life experience we are accumulating wisdom. And that’s true. But what about slowing down at the crossroads like we were talking about yesterday? What about slowing down? What about reducing the pace of life? Understanding that reducing the pace of life will actually increase productivity. Reducing the pace of life so that wisdom can be a category so that we’re not blowing through every decision without weighing it out, without considering what wisdom would say? Then we are missing out on something that is available to us and is also the most valuable thing that we could acquire in our lives. So, let’s think about that. Let’s continue to think about that. Let’s make wisdom an actual category, something that we seek even if we don’t know what we’re doing, just slowing down and not blasting through our choices, that would be a good beginning, slowing down and weighing out the paths and inviting the Holy Spirit. Understanding that wisdom is present, and it will become clear to us. This would radically change how we live, which means it would change our lives. And, so, it’s worth our consideration.
And then flipping back into the book of Matthew we are moving through the last days of Jesus. I…man…it’s just…I love the story, but I also find it to be difficult. I see things in the story that just make me sad. Like there’s such a sad little line in in the Gospel of Matthew today. It’s not even a verse. It’s like a half a verse, one sentence. “Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.” I hate that line. I don’t like it because…I mean it’s easy enough for any of us to look at the story and go, how can they do that, I would never do such a thing. But they had claimed the same thing. Peter’s like, I would rather die than deny you. And they’re all saying the same thing. And then we get to this point in Matthew, “then all the disciples deserted Him and fled. It means Jesus was abandoned. He was left alone to do the heavy lifting by Himself. And I could never say that that wouldn’t be me because it has been me in my life. Likely it’s been all of us. We’ve all run away. We’ve all abandoned. We’ve all denied. I guess part of it is so sad that God reduced Himself, incarnated Himself and became human and dwelt among us, and lived a life among us, and modeled for us what life could look like and gave us vision for the kingdom of heaven and its advancement and what it will look like and what God is like. I mean Jesus is showing us what God is like because we believe Jesus to be one with the Father. This is God in the flesh. This is what God is like. Jesus is what God is like. And, so, God comes in person and then all of His followers deserted Him and fled. That is heart breaking. That God created us to know Him and to be known by Him and then came in person and was utterly rejected by His creation. That is sad. And then Jesus is betrayed with a kiss. That is sad. Betrayed with a kiss. That is heartbreaking stuff. And then Jesus is arrested and bound up and that was the end of His freedom. He can’t go where He wants to go now. All of His opportunity to flee and He could’ve done it. They could’ve had the Passover meal. They could have done all of that and then He could’ve just said I’m getting out of Jerusalem. Let’s get out of here and just disappear. But he went into the garden of Gethsemane and waited for His arrest and then He was taken into custody and is brought before the high priest Caiaphas. So, the high priest. This is the top person. This is a person who represents so much to the people about God. And before the questioning that we were able to witness in the Gospel of Matthew today is over this high priest is tearing his robes and accusing Jesus of blasphemy and the Council has affirmed that He deserves to die. And then they spit in His face. That…ahh…that is so sad. They spit in God’s face. And Jesus is bound. He can’t even wipe the spit off his face. It’s got a just rolled down His cheek into His beard. It’s terrible. This is what is being done to God. This is what God is allowing to be done. And then they punch Him and slap Him and just, they verbally abuse and physically abuse Jesus. And this is just the appetizer. And, so, let us embrace this story. As I suggested yesterday, this is the first encounter with the passion narrative for this year in the first gospel that we are reading. May we embrace this story. May we see the profound love of God because we’re looking right now at a love that is almost incomprehensible and is totally self-sacrificial. It’s the story that has changed all of our lives. May we embrace that story and allow it to go to new depths of awareness in our hearts and allow just the picture of a love so deep that literally it’s incomprehensible, it's…it’s too big, it’s too fast and it is bestowed upon all who believe. That should also change everything about what we do. And, so, the Scriptures have given us a couple of reasons to consider some things that would change everything. Let it be so.
Holy Spirit, we invite You into this. Draw us deeper into the story of Jesus final days on our behalf, and may we come face-to-face with this kind of love and may it transform us and lead us on the paths of wisdom. Help us to slow down and listen for her voice as we’re making our decisions. Change us, transform us we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Okay. So, our journey yesterday began in Eilat at the Red Sea at the southernmost tip of modern-day Israel and we had worked our way all the way from Ashdod to the southernmost point of Israel and then we began to work our way north. That’s all you can do. There’s no more land to go South. You have hit the Red Sea. That’s the end of it. And, so, we began working our way north. Our first stop was at a place called Temne, which is…is archaeologically famous for its mining going all the way back to pre-Israelite, back to Egyptian times, but also it is believed that Solomon did mining there in Temne as well. Mining copper and other…other minerals. But there is a tabernacle, a replica of the tabernacle that we read about in the book of Leviticus, how it should be constructed - what color thread, everything, like all of the particulars, how everything should be. And it’s set up there in the wilderness. And, so, it’s quite a striking thing to see first of all, just to see in the wilderness and really situate yourself with the children of Israel in the wilderness. Well then to kind of go through it all in the wilderness and just see all the moving parts of it really snaps what we read in the Scriptures into place because you have a visual representation as you kinda walk through the process. And, so, that’s always just a really expanding kind of thing to…to experience. And it was no different this time than any other time. So, that is a beautiful thing to do. And when we finished doing that, we ended up back having a bathroom break at __ dairy \, the kibbutz that is dairy farmers in the desert. So, we stopped and of course, I had my second batch of ice cream that I like so much. Get to have it twice a year, once or twice a year. So, splurge on that a little bit. And then we had a drive of a couple of hours through the desert continuing foreword to our next destination which was Masada which is really a gem of an archaeological site, dating back to the times of Herod the great. And of course, Herod built a lot of things throughout ancient Israel that are still standing until today. One of the things that he constructed that is not still standing today was the second Temple in Jerusalem. But Herod had a number of fortresses, many of which are still viewable to today, Masada being one of them. And Masada has a very deep connection to the Israeli people now because of the revolt that ultimately led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple of God many of the Israeli rebels who were rebelling against the Roman Empire ended up on Masada. And the Roman Empire was making a statement to those people and everyone else who wished to defy Rome that there’s nowhere to hide. And, so, they built a siege ramp to capture Masada. And rather than being captured, abused, tortured and then put into slavery if they weren’t killed, they decided it was better to die. It was better to die at each other’s hand. It was better for them to choose death than then to allow what was going to happen to them, to happen to their families. And, so, that…that piece of the story is definitely rooted there in Masada as well. And it’s just also unbelievable views of the Dead Sea and the entire wilderness region there along the Jordan rift. And of course, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. And, so, we spent some time in Masada and then came back to the Dead Sea and just had some time to reflect upon the wilderness journey that we’ve taken so far and some time to reflect on owning…owning are part of the wilderness and owning our part of our relationship with God. And then we made it to our hotel and went out and floated in the Dead Sea. Many people floated in the Dead Sea because that’s a beautiful thing to do when you’re at the Dead Sea. It’s a little cold. It’s a little colder than it normally…than it normally is when I have come to the Dead Sea, but many people were braving it and it was very beautiful day. And, so, we had a mud party where you spread mud from the Dead Sea over your body and then go float in the Dead Sea. And that is a relaxing way to end things before dinner and just some rest and recuperation for the journey ahead. Today, we will finally exit the wilderness and end up in the Galilee, but that’s a story for tomorrow because that is out in front of us still. So, thank you for your continued prayers over stamina over technology. We’ve had some challenges in all kinds of different areas and that’s just part of…part of it. Thank you for your continued prayers.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise: