The other day my daily reading brought me to the “ho-hum” part of Exodus. At least, that’s what I feared it would be—instructions about the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture, details of the priests’ wardrobe and that sort of thing. So I asked God to give me new perspective on it. Here’s what He showed me:
Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh—we all know where these fit in the Bible, right? Gifts brought to baby Jesus, acknowledging His Highness.
What I didn’t realize before was that these three precious items also appear prominently in the Tabernacle that God instructed Moses to build.
Gold—The cover of the Ark of the Covenant, where God would meet man, was made of solid gold. In Jesus, God has come to mankind to be with us. (Exodus 25:17-22)
Frankincense—This was a major ingredient of the special incense that was to be specially concocted and placed in front of the Ark of the Covenant. (Exodus 30:37)
Myrrh—The major ingredient of the holy anointing oil applied to the Ark of the Covenant and other parts of the Tabernacle as well as the priests themselves. (Exodus 30:23-33)
So what do you think? Is it mere coincidence? If not, what does this say about the meaning of the Tabernacle? What does it say about Jesus as He came to earth?
The Carnival Triumph was one non-triumphant ship. But we are hearing amazing stories of how the passengers bonded together during their ordeal, how the crew stayed calm and served graciously under such difficult situations, and how some gathered for Bible studies during those dreary days. How delightful to be reminded how God can turn tragedy into triumph for His own glory!
In my Bible reading I’m just up to the story (Acts 27) of another nautical nail-biter. A ship full of people driven by a crazy storm for two weeks, so sick they couldn’t eat and despairing of ever seeing land again. But God was there, too. He assured Paul that he and all the other passengers would make it safely to land—and they did!
This same God is in my break-downs and storms as well as in the days of smooth sailing. Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you—neither terrified by the tempest nor drifting complacently into dangerous waters.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
“All I need for an overnight trip is my towel and flip-flops. Put them in a bag and I’m complete!” Words of contentment from a young man in a remote community. On another occasion, an older woman of that community told us that she’s content as long as she has a toothbrush and a couple of other things (which I unfortunately forgot). And me? What-all do I consider essential?
Contentment is focused three times in the letters of the New Testament.
Contentment enables us to focus on the tasks that God has for us to do.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT Written from prison!)
Contentment protects us from sin.
Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)
Contentment is based on God’s presence and protection. If God is with me, that’s all I need.
Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never forsake you.”
That is why we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
so I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
Today we’re packing and tomorrow we fly to the other side of the world for another two or three years to continue with the work God has given us to help provide His Word for people groups that still need it.
A few years ago we were in this same situation. We were flying out of LA the next morning. But I could hardly face the idea of going for how many years, leaving all our family behind and whatever kind of “security” I might feel in my home country.
At that very time, God gave me this verse from Psalm 139.9:
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. (NIV)
This is just what I needed, and it fit our situation exactly—wings…dawn…far side of the sea…! The reassurance of God’s presence, guidance and protection is my security no matter where He takes me and what He allows to happen.