The Ark of the Testimony

Exodus 25 had me looking up many things to find more detail. First of all, acacia wood. Much of the ark was made out of acacia wood. Seems like it was a wood that was resistant to decay and may have been available to the Israelites in the wilderness. Seems like the acacia tree grows fairly easily and can spread like a weed.

Second, the almond blossom. What a beautiful flower! The ornamental decoration on the lampstand was almond branches. The almond tree grows well in warmers climates. It’s also nice to know that there is a difference between a sweet almond and a non-sweet almond. The latter contains cyanide and can be poisonous.

Finally, the cherubim. There are so many fascinating interpretations of who they are and what they would have looked like. Very interesting that they were chosen to be on the ark for covering.

“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall  be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall  be on one side, and two rings on the other side. And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall  be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of  one  piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall  be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of  one  piece.  And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall  be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls shall  be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. And there  shall  be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Exodus 25:10‭-‬22‭, ‬31‭-‬35 NKJV

The Devils Tempts Jesus

This is one of the most fascinating passages of the bible to me – the confrontation of Jesus and Satan while Jesus is a man. With each temptation, Jesus is able to rebuke Satan by knowledge of the word of God. When the temptaion had passed, angels came to minister to Jesus.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. Matthew 4:1‭-‬11 NKJV

Humility, Righteousness & Understanding

Proverbs 11 has great one liners that remind us of key values: humility, honesty, righteousness, understanding, discretion, etc.

Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord , But a just weight is His delight. When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust. When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope of the unjust perishes. The righteous is delivered from trouble, And it comes to the wicked instead. The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the wicked perish, there  is jubilation. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, But a man of understanding holds his peace. A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. Where there  is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there  is safety. He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure. A gracious woman retains honor, But ruthless men retain riches. The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he  who  is cruel troubles his own flesh. The wicked man does deceptive work, But he who sows righteousness will  have a sure reward. As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues  it to his own death. Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord , But the blameless in their ways are His delight. Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered. As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So  is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath. There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will  be on the head of him who sells it. He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil. He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will  be  servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is  a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise. If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.
Proverbs 11:1‭-‬31 NKJV

John the Baptist & The Pharisees

One of the most famous passages of John the Baptist is when he baptizes Jesus. John knows his place and asks that Jesus baptize him because he is not worthy. Jesus persists so that the Father’s will can be fulfilled.

There were a few other things that stood out to me today when reading this passage. First, John was clothed in Camel’s hair. He also ate locusts and wild honey.

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Matthew 3:4 NKJV

It was also interesting to me how he responds to the Pharisees and the Sadducees coming out to him. His message is of needing to bear good fruit worthy of repentance.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:7‭-‬12 NKJV