Saturday, November 16, 2013

Exodus 29

Today's reading in our daily plan is Exodus 29. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • This chapter begins with God's instructions for "consecrating" Aaron and his sons, who were to serve as priests. Consecration was a process through which Jewish leaders would "purify" themselves of things from the world: in order to talk directly to God, the priests of that time had to ceremonially cleanse themselves of sin, dirt, and other elements that were considered unclean. Verses 1 through 34 detail the specific (and complex) steps Aaron and his sons must take before they can be considered worthy of being priests. 
  • After they go through all that, the Israelites are told (in verses 35 through 43) that they must use particular methods to sacrifice certain types of animals. Future generations are supposed to follow these rules about sacrifice.
  • God says that, once the Israelites fulfill all of these instructions, he will "dwell among the Israelites and be their God."

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Because our culture is so far removed from that of the Jewish people in the Old Testament, these procedures sound crazy to us. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about tedious animal sacrifices or drawn out cleansing procedures.
  • One of the main reasons God enforced these picky and seemingly frivolous requirements was to set the stage for Jesus. Animal sacrifices were the means through which people in the Old Testament would seek forgiveness from God for their sins.
  • Jesus came to serve as the ultimate sacrifice; because he was willing to die on the Cross for us and our sin, we are no longer expected to kill animals and give them to God.
  • Likewise, we no longer have to rely on priests to serve as a middleman between us and God. Because of what Jesus did, we can all have a personal relationship with God, just as priests did in the Old Testament.
  • As we've seen in previous chapters in Exodus, God is obsessed with "dwelling among" his people. He loves us and craves personal relationship with us.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Have you invited God to "dwell among" your life? If you've recently decided to give your life to God but haven't been baptized, next month is your chance to do just that. We are doing baptisms at Verve on December 14th and 15th.
  • Baptism is kind of like a wedding ceremony; it's a chance for you to go public with your relationship with God. It represents the end of your old life without God and the beginning of a new life with him. You can learn more about baptism by listening to this message we did about it. If you're interested in being baptized next month, or if you have questions, let us know.