The original “eternal flame”

“And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 27:20, 21 NKJV)

As the LORD details the building of the tabernacle, the first positional work detail he assigns is for Aaron and his sons to tend the lamp stand and make sure it stays lit.  Make sure the lamp never goes out.  It is to be lit 24x7x365.   Always on.I wonder why?

I have my opinion – which is why I have a blog. 🙂  Honestly though, I wonder if I fully comprehend all God was (and is)  trying to communicate with the “eternal flame”.If you remember when the Israelites first left Egypt, we see the LORD continually before them in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  I have to thing that was one of the most amazing things to see in human history.  This grand, enormous pillar that would lead from the front and them move to the back to protect them.   This amazing phenomenon that would morph from a cloud to fire.  I wonder if it made any sound as it burned or transitioned from cloud to fire or fire to cloud?

But I also wonder – beyond the literal guiding and protecting – if it was to keep a constant reminder before the Israelites that God, the LORD himself, was ever present and constantly guiding and protecting.

See, here’s what I know.  I am a very forgetful creature and I live among a host of very forgetful creatures.  We see it all through the great exodus of Israel from Egypt and actually all through the Old Testament that Israel continually – and quickly – forgets the goodness, the love, the greatness and the authority of our great God.  I wonder if God ordained and established the eternal flame to not only be a visible and constant reminder to Israel (and me) that He is always present with guidance and protection.  I wonder if He created it to be tended so that Israel (and I) would constantly remember that and that they had vowed to obey his statutes, covenants and ordinances.

This leads me to ask myself the question, what do I have before me – that I need to continually tend – to continually remind me that Christ is IN me and WITH me to provide me with guidance and protection?

Running After Papa…

What are YOU looking at?

Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. (Exodus 14:12, 13 NKJV)

The Israelites had just witnessed the greatest amazing miracles of God. The miracles they witnessed weren’t because of anything the Israelites had done, but solely because the God of the universe pursued them to rescue them because He wanted to.

But at the first sign of trouble – fear set in and ran rampant. The people immediately cry out in fear and blame Moses for their seemingly impending death. (I find this humorous because Pharaoh was coming to get them back to keep working in Egypt – he wouldn’t dare kill the lifeblood and workforce that kept Egypt growing!)

Unfortunately I relate much too closely with the Israelites. I immediately look at the situation as it appears.

Therein lies my problem.   I look at the situation and not at my faithful God

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14 NKJV)

Moses, on the other hand, views the exact same situation but from a completely opposite viewpoint. In fact, he doesn’t look at the situation.  He looks at God.  He views it in confidence that this same God, who just rescued the nation from Egypt, who was the one that hardened Pharaoh’s heart each time to show His glory, would be faithful. He viewed it with a sort of excitement to see how – not if – God would prove faithful again.

God help me be more like Moses and trust in your compete deliverance in the face of trouble.

Running After Papa…

Molded Images

Why did God command Israel not to make any molded images for themselves?

Isreal has been freed from Egypt.  God has met wth Moses and given him what we call the Ten Commandments.  While he’s gone, the Isrealites go back to what they know – remember they’ve spent 400 years in Egypt where there were gods-o-plenty and graven images everywhere.  They have Aaron make a golden calf and start worshipping it as if it was God.  Moses comes down after convincing the LORD not to destroy them all and breaks the stone tables God had written in. Here we see the LORD renewing his covenant with Isreal where he makes the following statement:

Ex 34:17 (NKJV) “You shall make no molded gods for yourselves.”

Exodus 20:3 – one of the ten commandments – commands Israel to have no other gods before the LORD.  Perhaps they were just making an image of what they would call the LORD so they could see it and worship it.  This time the LORD is a bit more specific.  He didn’t want them to make ANY image – of him or otherwise – to bow down to and worship.

Why?

The Lord put in my heart when I read this passage that He doesn’t want any image of him, because he doesn’t want you or me or Israel to put him in a box.  When I define God by the finite things I know, I limit Him in what I can receive from him or what He wants to do either IN me or THROUGH me.  He wants to remain “undefined” (sort of) in that I cannot imagine his form or ability.  He wants me to understand his nature and his character because he wants me to trust him and know that He loves me and is for me, even though I can’t get the my feeble, finite mind around his unlimited, unimaginable, unconceivable-by-the-human-mind essence and power.

So Papa I repent of every imagination and conception I have of you.  Forgive me for trying to define who you are and what you will do.  Open my eyes to see your hand at work in my life and in the lives of those around me and enlargen my faith to walk more obediently to your beckoning.  I believe Lord, help my unbelief.  I don’t want to serve a God I can understand.  I want to worship the God who AWES me with his mighty, miraculous works and displays of greatness that are “exceedingly abundantly more than I can think or imagine.”  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Running After Papa…

Famous Moses

What if God did something for you because he thought you were famous and renown? Read on….

Exodus 33:12-17 (NKJV)
12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

This is an interesting dialogue between God and Moses. Moses is entirely focused on this group of people he’s led out of Egypt. Moses tries to dovetail the nation into the relationship and grace he has received from the Lord. He wants them to receive the same benefits, blessings, and to experience the same relationship he’s experiencing with the Lord. Moses wants this for the people – even after the whole Golden Calf incident… in fact, that has JUST happened and Moses is about to go get the replacement commandments made in the next chapter.

Again, Moses wants this for the people… “And consider that this nation is Your people.

The LORD’s response is always in reference to Moses’s relationship with him – not mentioning the nation’s relationship. “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (v14)

Moses’s immediate response is repeating and emphasizing “…with us”.   Again, focused on the benefits and the relationship of the people.

The LORD acquiesces and says that he will bless THEM simply because MOSES has found grace in His sight and because the LORD knows MOSES by name. (v17) God is going to grant Moses’s request, simply based on Moses, not the people.

Question: Does this imply that there are some the LORD doesn’t know?

“by name” is the word shem and it literally could say “I know you because of your fame and renown and reputation...” it means as a memorial or a monument.

Wow! To have the LORD say he knows you because of your fame? That’s crazy!

Back to verse 16, I love this verse! I’m putting it in my “Verses to Memorize” document – (yes, I actually have one!)

16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

The idea behind “found favor” is that of falling upon, encountering, getting – but by no merit of my own. “Favor” is “grace, charm, elegance, acceptance, wellfavoured”.  Moses is saying “God – how will other know that you decided to love us, to give us favor and see us as elegant – cause we certainly didn’t do anything to deserve it!”

That word distinct means “to be distinct, be separated, be distinguished. to be wonderful.

Take Aways:

  1. What is my reputation with God? Would God grant special favor to other people – because they are with me and I asked him to – because He knows me “by name”?
  2. Who am I trying to bring along with me in my walk with the Lord? Is my walk worth bringing others along with? Who am I bringing up in the LORD? Am I continually looking and watching over others or am I continually focused just “me” when it comes to God’s blessing, annointing and relationship?

I don’t think I quite really get and understand what kind of man Moses was….

Running After Papa….

Choices

“Choices, Choices, Choices…” They have costs. What really happened when Aaron made the golden calf?

Exodus 32:25-26 (NKJV)

25 Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

The scene is that while Moses is up on the mountain getting the 10 commandments from the Lord, the people of Israel begin to fall back on what they knew, instead of waiting on the Lord.

Remember, these people had spent 400 years in Egypt where there were gods-o-plenty and all in graven form. We’re pretty quick to judge the Israelites in how quickly they worshiped a golden calf, but reading the text, they wanted a graven image of the Lord so they could worship it.

Think about it, they’ve been summoned to this mountain and told not to touch it lest they die (Ex 19:12) and Moses has been up there for who knows how long. Moses had been their leader and their visible picture or pointer to the Lord. Verse 1 says that the people did not know what had become of Moses, so naturally, they want and are looking for that visible pointer, that image, so they can worship the Lord.

I’m not justifying what happened, I’m just believing that I’m not that different. When I’m in a dry place, I go back to what I know – back to what’s worked before – back to what’s familiar.

The word translated as “unrestrained” in the NKJV (v25) is the Hebrew word ‘para‘ (pay-rah). While it is clearly defined as “be out of control, i.e. have a mob or group have no restraint in activities, implying open defiance of a known standard or authority,” another one of its definitions means “ignore, disregard, i.e. pay no attention or give no serious thought to proper actions or response.

OK. That second definition got me. I’m not normally an “out of control” kind of guy, but I certainly have been guilty of paying no attention or given no serious thought to proper actions or response… and much more frequently that I probably can remember…

God clearly said “make no graven images of me.” (Ex 20:4) The mob clearly chose to disregard that command when they asked Aaron to make them an image of the Lord. Aaron clearly chose to ignore that command when he fed and enabled the mob’s mentality. That was a bad choice – in both cases. These were costly choices. They caused all of Israel to sin against the Lord. Ultimately it caused great sorrow to the Lord and Israel; as well as death of over 3000 men; and a plague on the entire nation of Israel.

Moses, after interceding for their very existence with the Lord, then goes down to straighten out the matter. He asks a simple question. “Who is on the Lord’s side?” From that nation, only one tribe comes forward – the tribe of Levi. Each was faced with a choice.

At this point, the Levites have not been named as the priests or keepers of the Tabernacle. That doesn’t come until Numbers 1. These are just a group of men who chose to stand against the crowd and stand with the Lord. It was a costly choice. They were then called on to kill their own brothers and relatives in judgment and upholding of God’s commands.

I wonder if this is why the Levitical tribe was chosen to be the priests in Israel?

I guess in summary,

  1. I cannot be so quick to fault the Israelites. I too have been guilty of going back to what I know. God wants and is taking me continually to new places; new places of trusting Him, new places of waiting on Him, new places of seeking Him. I have to choose to keep moving forward – into the fresh – into the new – into the unknown.
  2. I have been too often guilty of reacting and not giving serious consideration to what the proper and Godly response to a given situation should be. I have to choose to respond with proper, Godly responses and not react in the midst of the moment.
  3. Sometimes choosing to be on the Lord’s side is lonely, gut-wrenching, and bloody. “Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” (Josh 24:15) begins to carry a little more weight. I choose to serve Him… whatever the cost.

Daddy, help me to make good choices – even when they are hard and result of the choice could mean standing alone, or getting bloody. Give me strength each moment to choose to be on Your side. Help me to walk in being the son you have created me and adopted me to be – standing for everything that represents You and Your goodness and character. Help me to choose to respond. Give me the fortitude to consider how You want me to respond and not how I want to respond. Give me strength today to choose the fresh, the new, the unknown in my relationship with You today.

Running After Papa…

Sacred Perfume

God was very specific about the Altar of Incense – it was a very special and holy thing to Him. Exodus 30:10 says “… it is most holy to the Lord.” What is it’s significance?

The Altar of Incense

In the set of instructions the Lord is giving Moses and the children of Israel for the Tabernacle, The Lord has them make an altar of incense.  This altar is to be used ONLY for incense, twice a day, perpetually (Ex 30:7-8).  He also is specific about only HIS incense will be burned on it, and only incense is burned on it.  No sacrifices… no other offerings. (Ex 30:9).  Of the Altar of Incense…

Exodus 30:10 “… It is most holy to the Lord.”

I did a search and discovered that this phrase, “most holy” is in the NKJV only 3 times before this verse.  Twice it references that place in the tabernacle where God will reside – the Most Holy (Ex 26:33, 34) – and the only other reference is to the Altar of Burnt Offering where the offerings of atonement are made (Ex 29:37).

This is the first reference I found to the “most holy to the Lord,” and to me it implies that this burning of the incense is very special to God, thus He wants to keep it sacred, set apart, and undiluted and continual… remember twice a day… perpetually…

So what’s the significance of incense?

Interestingly enough, the word “incense” is only in two books of the New Testament – at least in the New King James Version – Luke and Revelation.  Three references in Luke all refer to the act, time or place of burning incense in the temple under the Law. (Luke 1:9, 10, 11)

The next four references are in the book of Revelation.  In three of the four references, incense is associated with and equated with the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 5:8 “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints

Revelation 8:3-5 “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.

Just in case it hasn’t hit you yet, you and I – if we are in Christ – are the saints who are praying…

I think God established early- as he was establishing the Tabernacle, His dwelling place –  that our prayers, our earnest and honest communication and communion with Him; our multiple times a day interaction and relationship with Him is sacred, set apart, and special to Him. I’m not talking about religious dronings and chants and repeated phrases over and over.  I’m talking about sitting down and having coffee with your best friend conversation… real, authentic, genuine talking and listening. He doesn’t want it polluted with other relationships or polluted by the religious machine.  He is our Daddy and he wants to spend time with his children.  The very first commandment:

Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me. “

Exodus 20:5 “… For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, …”

Deuteronomy 4:24For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”

Doesn’t that excite you just a little bit, that the God of the Universe is anxiously awaiting some time with you?  That He deems is sacred?  He thinks it is special?  He keeps it holy?  Frankly, it overwhelms me a little bit.

Thank you Daddy that you cherish spending time with me. I’m am so sorry to have let the worries of today cloud and crowd my time with you.  I give you this day, this time to just sit and be with you.  I ask for your grace to strengthen me to make time for this most important relationship, this son with his Daddy.

Running After Papa…

The Artist

We all know that if 3 artists paint the same picture, they will all 3 look very different, because of the natural giftings and interpretation of the artists.

Exodus 26

The Walls of the Tabernacle

It’s interesting as you read Exodus 26 that God has a very specific structure – or architecture, if you like – on HOW the tabernacle was to be built, but yet He left room for the creativity of the individual – the artisan – in places of the construction. For example, God very specifically defines the length, width, type and colors of materials, numbers of panels, connective and mounting procedures for the various walls – as well as how many layers of walls and in what order, but left the interpretation of “with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.” (Ex 26:2 and Ex 26:31)

We all know that if 3 artists paint the same picture, they will all 3 look very different, because of the natural giftings and interpretation of the artists.

God’s tabernacle was very specifc in design. God’s tabernacle was very specific in structure. God’s tabernacle was very specific in function. But God left the “interface” to the community – how it was viewed and presented – to the creativity He instilled in its artisans.

You are an artist.

I have to believe God has used the Mosaic Tabernacle as a picture for our lives. He has defined a structure, an “architecture” for our lives, but has left the interface to our community to the creativity He instilled in us. This is the beauty of our individual testimonies. No two stories are the same… on purpose! Our job is to weave the tapestry with our story. God’s responsibilty is to use that tapestry to engage others and minister to others.

The Mercy Seat

Exodus 16:34 “You shall put the mercy seat upon the ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy.”

I love the way the Hebrew word is translated as the “mercy seat”. In looking up the origin of the word, it means “atonement cover” or “a central place where sins are forgiven.”

The connotation is that it is a separate place, a place specific for the purposes of atonement. Atonement is just a $2 word that means (according to Webster’s) “the reconciliation (to restore to harmony) of God and mankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.”

Some of the walls of the tabernacle were made with fibers and woven. Some of the walls were made from animals. Ex 26:7 says to use goat’s hair. It is unclear if that’s the skin of the goat with the hair intact, or if that’s the goat’s hair woven into cloth. But Ex 26:14 is very clear that two other layers are made by the skin of rams dyed red, and the skin of badgers. That implies that there were LOTS of animals killed in order to fashion together coverings for the tents. With the death of those animals, much blood was shed – I suspect that’s one of the reasons the rams skins were dyed red – to remind the Isrealites of the blood that was shed to make the covering.

Back to the “mercy seat”. One of the definitions is “atonement cover”. Are you starting to get draw a connection here? This mercy seat – this atonement cover – was a foreshadowing of what Christ’s blood would do for us… cover our sins. The death of Jesus – the sacrifice of the Lamb of God (John 1:29) – covered our sins and reconciled us back to the Father; back to right standing as Sons and Daughters of the Most High.

The cross is the central place where sins are forgiven (our other definition of the mercy seat.) Only the cross covers the sins of my past, my present and my future in order to reconcile – to restore back to harmony – my life with God. Salvation – willingly yielding control of every part of my life to the lordship of Jesus Christ – is a one-time event. When my submission is authentic, I only need to do this once. However, transformation is an ongoing process. I have, I do, and I will screw up – hopefully it will become fewer and fewer times as I journey. Regardless, when I screw up, it doesn’t take long for Daddy to draw that to my attention and I am quick to repent. This is where I go to the mercy seat again, not for salvation, but to ask forgiveness. Remember, the mercy seat is the central place where sins are forgiven. 1 John 1:9 tells me that God is faithful to forgive me if I ask him and James 5:16 tells me that I can be healed of my sin in the confidence and prayer of another brother in Christ.

The mercy seat in the Mosaic temple was a physical and literal place. It was a place where animals were sacrificed to atone for the sins of individuals, families and the nation. When Christ died for all those sins and so many more, the temple walls were ripped from top to bottom by God himself to signify that the mercy seat was no longer behind the veil. Jesus is the mercy seat. Jesus is in my life. However, I still like visible remembrances. So in my life, I draw on a physical mercy seat – sometimes its over the phone with a brother, sometimes its in my room with my wife, sometimes it’s at a table at the local diner.

How do both these relate?

When I am free from the bondages of sin in my life – because I go to the mercy seat – I am free to be the artistic interface to my community presenting – in my own unique perspective and my own unique testimony – all that God has done,  is doing, and will do IN  me because of the mercy seat!

Running After Papa…

Be Different

I would say we’ve come full circle, but my real guess is that left to our own devices, we’ve never really changed.

Exodus 21:12-22:31

In reading the last half of Ex 21 and all of Ex 22, its apparent that God’s way of doing things is so much different than what we’ve morphed into over the last few thousand years since Moses first gave the law.  It’s fairly simple to boil down… take responsibility…. period.  Take responsibility for yourself, your family, your actions, your animals, whatever.  If your ox kills someone, make restitution, if you accidentally break something of your neighbors, fix it or replace it.  An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. If you know your Ox gores people and you don’t restrain it, you are more responsible and restore the infraction with more.  If you steal it, restore it with more.

Why don’t we live that way now?  Every day we see people finagling their way out of promises, commitments, contractual obligations, etc.  People get in and out of marriages like they get in and out of their cars.  Employment contracts mean nothing, sports players “hold out” of their contracts because they want a better deal all the time.  People abandon their kids, abandon their debts, abandon their families with no second thoughts.  Our prisons are full of people on vacation for committing some crime and not really having any real consequences for their actions – unless watching TV, getting college degrees, writing books, etc. is considered “consequences”…  No one is accountable for anything anymore and while it would be easy to digress into a social or political statement, that’s not my intent.

What captures my mind here is “Why did Moses have to be so explicit in these commands?”  Answer?  Because society was very likely exactly the way it is today.  I would say we’ve come full circle, but my real guess is that left to our own devices, we’ve never really changed.

In the context of the Law (the 10 commandments) having JUST been delivered, God is saying, “Look!  I have rescued you as a people and you are now going to be My people.  Because you’re going to be called My people, we’re going to do things differently. You are going to be different.  When others see you, I want them to know you are Mine.”

That’s the call.  Be different.

When people see me living life, what will they immediately know about me?

Will my life today scream that I am God’s son?

Be different.

Running After Papa…

Command #1…

Do we ever not put some other “god” before God?

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

I’m taking a survey of the Old Testament class and as a part of that class, I’m reading through the Old Testament in chronological order.  I can’t get over this statement today.  For those that know me, you know I love God with my whole heart.  I am passionately sold out to Jesus and will spend the rest of my days worshiping and honoring and serving Him – the one who saved my soul from destruction.  But I am mesmerized by Ex 20:3 today.

Do we ever not put some other “god” before God?

When I examine my own life, at any given moment, I usually have something there – in that place of honor – that shouldn’t be.  I’m not talking about allah, or budda, or some other named “god” that other faiths are based on. I’m talkin about the little things…. those little attention grabbers that snap my attention from this to that… from here to there… those volitional choices I make to do one thing over another; the decisions to put off doing the “best” thing to do something “good”; the time wasters that eat up my day and get me off onto some tangent course and keep me distracted until – before I know it – its bedtime and I’ve gotten no time with the very one I am starving for.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

This is the first commandment.  God has just performed the greatest miracles known to man to date in freeing the Israelites from the bondages of Egypt.  Plagues of flies, grasshoppers, fleas, darkness, blood, death;  the parting of the Red Sea; the total annihilation of the Egyptian army; the pillar of fire by night; the pillar of cloud by day; water from the rock; the list goes on and on…

And God’s first words that He wrote in the stone?  “You shall have no other gods before me.”

God knows we are forgetful people.  All through the Old Testament memorials are built to remember great moves of God.  God wants us to remember.  At the last supper, Jesus wanted them to remember him every time they got together and ate, every time they took a drink of something… “As often as you do this… (eat or drink) Remember me,”  “You shall have no other gods before me.”  We are a forgetful people.

So what’s at the root of our forgetfulness?  Why is it so stinkin’ easy to put things in the God chair that don’t belong there?

Ultimately?  For me?  My guess is that it’s my own pride.  It is my nemesis.  It’s the reason I have to remind myself of Gal 2:20 every day.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It is my life verse and for me, I end up here often.

I choose to remember.  I shall have no other gods before You.  Amen.

Running After Papa…

Fear God… nothing else…

Exodus 20:18-21 (NKJV) 18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

God’s really working on me in His holiness and what the fear of the Lord means, and in the process, I’ve gotten really ticked at how the enemy has taken everything that God has created – remember that God created everything for good – and twisted it into some sort of shackle to restrain, control, and manipulate mankind with.

There have been times during my children’s lives that they have expressed a fear of something, be it a roller coaster or a bully or a new situation, and I almost always respond with the same thing. “Fear God and nothing else.” I don’t mean that as a trite quip  just to satisfy giving them some sort of response, I want that repetitive statement to sink deep into the core of who they are and resonate within their spirit. I want it to sink deep into the core of who I am and resonate within my spirit too! It’s just as much for me as it is for them. I struggle with fear for them as much as any parent who loves their children.

Here were the Israelites who feared that God would kill them right after they had seen all the miracles God performed to free them from their bondage and slavery.  He chose them.  He saved them.  Yet, they feared He would kill them because they witnessed his amazing power, majesty and glory on the mountain.  He gave clear instruction on what was going to happen and how to prepare and respond to it (see Exodus 19), yet they still walked in fear.  They walked the wrong kind of fear of the Lord, the kind of fear that cripples and paralyzes us in our journey with and toward God.  Holy Fear is a fear of respect and humility – knowing that God can AND has every right to zap me off the face of the earth.  I deserve nothing that He affords me.  That is Holy fear.  Holy fear is NOT being afraid to enter into his presence or approach his throne if you are a believer (Eph 3:12, Heb 4:6, 1 John 5:14).

They were living a picture of Psalms 23.  Verse 6 says “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Interesting word in that verse is the Hebrew word hesed which means “a love or affection that is steadfast based on a prior relationship.”

For Israel, it was based on the promise and relationship God made with Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  For you and me it’s based on the prior relationship God the Father has with God the Son (Jesus).  His redemptive power through my submission to His lordship is the basis of God’s hesed in my life.

Fear God… nothing else.

Running After Papa…