The Gospel According to Moses
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READINGS BY KIM HARRINGTON
WeekXXV: Various Teachings from Exodus & Leviticus
Day 169: Tablets of the Heart
And when He had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.
The two stone tablets of the Law we mentioned in the last segment are also symbolic types of New Testament truths, just like so many other aspects of the Law of Moses. Think of it, the old covenant itself, written on stone tablets, a type of the new covenant! And again, like so many other of the types, the interpretation is not just the imagination of modern Bible scholars, but is given in the New Testament itself.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts...and they shall not teach every one his fellow-citizen, and every one his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord.’
The reference here to writing the law on our hearts is obviously an allusion to the first law that was written on stone tablets (incidentally, Paul also compares stone tablets to human hearts in 2 Corinthians 3:3). God gave Moses the Law written on stone, but He gives it to us written on our hearts.
That’s why the Scripture goes on to say, both in Hebrews eight, and in Jeremiah 33 which Paul is quoting, that "they shall not teach every one his fellow-citizen...saying, ‘Know the Lord’" anymore, "for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them," (vs 11). We have God’s Law written in our hearts. That doesn’t mean we disregard the plain writing of Scripture, but it means that our hearts, as they’re sanctified by rebirth and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, bear witness with the Law of God. In fact, we instinctively know the ways of God as New Testament saints, without knowing perhaps an actual chapter and verse reference—because He has put His Spirit in our hearts, He has written His law in our inner man.
Of course, even in the New Testament there are preachers and teachers ordained of God, but their function is somewhat different than the Old Testament prophets and priests. Back then the leaders of the people were mediators between God and mankind, middle men who knew the Lord and could pass messages both ways. The New Testament leaders also teach, but the congregation has a built-in knowledge of God that bears witness; they aren’t totally dependant on the leaders for their revelation of the Lord.
We should also say that due to prejudice, the indoctrination of man, and the deceitfulness of sin, our inner tablets of the heart are not always accurate—in other words, your conscience can be wrong. But the Law is there, nevertheless. Make it your goal in life to get rid of anything that obscures the clear voice of the Spirit within.
Day 170: The Bit Players
Now Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.
Bezalel and Oholiab were skilled workmen who were specially anointed by the Lord to build the tabernacle. All of the delicate artistry in the various articles of furniture called for exceptional craftsmanship, and God already had decided who would do the work. These two men were the best, and more than that, the Lord Himself anointed them further to see what He saw and to reproduce it in the tabernacle.
There are many important tasks in the body of Christ besides standing in the pulpit and preaching, but it seems so many desire only the limelight. They’re not interested in ministering to individuals, in witnessing, in prayer ministries, or in physical tasks around the church that are so important, like Bezalel and Oholiab here in our text. A friend of mine was approached by a so-called evangelist who wanted to preach in his church in New York City. They were standing on a busy street-corner, so my friend said, "There you go—start evangelizing! Everybody in my church is already saved—this is the place for an evangelist!" The would-be limelighter was not interested in so menial a task, and walked away frustrated and muttering under his breath.
Some people see the smaller jobs as "supporting roles" to the star of the show... as if Moses was the star, Aaron the co-star, Joshua the understudy, and Bezalel and Oholiab were just the bit parts. In a sense that is true, from an earthly perspective, but from another perspective, the craftsmen were big players. They built the tabernacle, the greatest type of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament! Were Isaiah and Jeremiah stars? Yes, but their prophecies were not as in depth and accurate as the prophetic work that Bezalel and Oholiab did in the tent of meeting. The importance of each job in the church depends upon your perspective.
The of two most important ministries today are considered to be the ushers and the nursery workers. A visitor’s first impression is usually based on these. If you have an unfriendly usher, you just made a bad first impression, and first impressions are hard to reverse. If a parent gets the impression, rightly or wrongly, that their children are receiving substandard care in the nursery, you’ve just lost them to the church down the street. So the least become the greatest, the first is last, and the last is first. Whatever your ministry is, your job is important. Don’t seek to get in the limelight—that’s only the greatest if you’re looking from the perspective of personal vanity.
Day 171: The Glory Fills the Tabernacle
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
The final incident recorded in the book of Exodus is the completion of the tabernacle and the glory of God covering and filling it. This is the ultimate purpose of any structure built to the glory of God—that He should bless and honor it with his manifest blessing, presence, and anointing. It doesn’t matter how awesome the structure is if God doesn’t fill it with Himself. Church buildings are not made to admired for their own beauty but for the sake of the One dwells within, the Lord.
Many great structures are built to honor a particular denomination or church. Our church is built upon the highest point of the city, someone said. So what? Is God inside? did the glory fall and fill it? Some modern edifices are built as a monument to an individual’s ministry—look what Brother or Sister So-and-So has done! My, my, how successful he’s been! How God uses him! Hey must be the greatest preacher of our time, perhaps even of all time! Whenever you hear that kind of talk you know the glory of God is not going to fill the place—it’s man that’s being glorified there, my friends.
Moses was among the greatest of men who ever walked on this planet. Long after any 20th Century evangelists or preachers are forgotten, people will still be honoring the memory of Moses. But he was not allowed to share this moment with the Lord... "And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle," (vs 35). Some things God doesn’t share: "no flesh should glory in His presence," and "let him that glorieth glory in the Lord." This was God’s moment. In any case Moses could not have stood the strain of standing with a tornado of fire—it must have been an awesome sight.
The tabernacle was important because of Who entered it. The temple of Zerubbabel and Herod was more glorious than the temple of Solomon, the Bible says, because of the One who walked into it and taught on the porch—Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us, incarnate in the flesh. A church building is only as great as the God who indwells it. If there is no presence of the Holy Spirit, or worse yet, the actual presence of demonic religious spirits, the building is nothing.
The most beautiful building I’ve ever seen, and perhaps the most beautiful in the world, is the Taj Mahal—it’s tomb, not a temple; it was a husband’s last gift to the wife he loved most of all. But the smallest closet, the tiniest storefront church, the humblest hut, can be incomparably more glorious than any tomb or temple if two or three are gathered there in the name of Jesus, and He honors them with His presence and glory.
Day 172: The Book of Leviticus
In our continuing study of "The Gospel According To Moses" we’re taking a major step today—we’re moving from the book of Exodus to the book of Leviticus. Roughly translated, the name means "The Book of the Levites," or the rules and regulations surrounding the priestly duties of Aaron and the rest of the Levitical priesthood. Levi, you’ll remember, was the son of Jacob, and the forefather of Moses and Aaron; his descendants became the priests and temple attendants.
This book may be one of the least exciting portions of the Bible to the New Testament believer, but it was very important to the Israelites, because it spelled out some of the most important parts of the temple worship: the various sacrifices offered to obtain peace with God, the feast days when all Israel gathered, and the sabbaths and jubilees, as well as other laws of everyday life and conduct. But Leviticus is important to Christians, too. As with the tabernacle, these laws and feast days are types, or foreshadows, of important spiritual truths. And the laws are just and fair, with considerably more insight and wisdom than many modern critics (even Christians) realize—certainly better than any man-made laws, for these were ordained of the Lord Himself.
It is amazing to me how people can approach the Word of God so lightly. The skeptic and unbeliever treat it like a collection of old myths and half-truths passed down by the ancient Hebrews—if there is anything of interest at all, it’s merely as a comparison with Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures and legal systems. They don’t seem to notice that this book has continued to be an inspiration and a force of change and reformation down through all the centuries to this present day, while the Mesopotamian culture is long since forgotten. There is something supernatural just in the existence of a people for that long, often without a land; and in the impact that their holy book has had on history.
Sadder still is the attitude of many a professing Christian. "Hey, that’s Old Testament—it doesn’t have anything to do with me... that’s God trying to deal with a bunch of idolaters... I’m completely free through Jesus Christ... Moses has nothing to tell me." Are you really wiser than Moses? Who told you that? Have you been up on the Mount conversing with God personally for an eighty-day stretch? Is that where He told you that you didn’t need to pay attention to the Law and the Prophets? Then you have a greater revelation than Jesus and the Apostle Paul, too, for the Old Testament was all they had. When Paul said "All scripture is inspired by God..." (2 Tim.3:16) he was talking about the Old Testament. And Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law and the Prophets" and he went on to make the laws even more stringent and demanding upon us New Testament believers.
As we go into the book of Leviticus I hope you’ll pay close attention, and learn and grow with us. The Lord has some precious and wonderful things to show and teach anyone who has ears to hear.
Day 173: The Burnt Offering
"Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord...if his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord.’"
Leviticus is a guidebook for the Levites and the priests of the Old Testament. The first subject covered is that of the various offerings that could be given in the tabernacle. There are five kinds, and each is a type of some aspect of the spiritual life of the believer, not just in Old Testament times, but even more to the New Testament follower of Christ, who fulfilled the offerings Himself by dying on the cross for us.
The first offering is the burnt offering. There were various regulations, depending upon whether the animal was a bull, a ram, or a dove, but the one thing in common was that they were totally burned on the altar after being killed. In other offerings, the priests could have portions for their own tables after the offering was made, but in the burnt offering the entire sacrifice went to the Lord.
This symbolizes consecration to God. The children of Israel offered themselves and their possessions—through the burnt offering—completely to God. Nothing saved for anyone else, not even the Lord’s servants—everything they were and everything they had belonged to the Lord; that’s what this offering speaks of. Fire is a purifier in the Bible, too. It burns up the impurities, leaving only that which is acceptable to God, only the gold, silver, and precious stones.
Jesus fulfilled the Law admirably in this respect. His life was totally offered up to the Father at all times: "I always do those things that please Him," "In the volume of the book it is written of Me, I am come to do Thy will," and "Not My will, but thine, be done."
We, too, are expected to offer ourselves as a burnt offering to the Lord. "Know ye not that ye are not your own? You are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit..." We are to be totally consecrated to God and His purposes and ways. We are not allowed an independent attitude; "doing your own thing" is not a scriptural concept, but is birthed in rebellion and self-will. The true Christian seeks to conform himself and give his entire life—spirit, mind, attitudes, emotions, body, family, possessions, everything—to God.
"It’s all Yours, Father, to do with as You please... I am nothing without You, for in me dwelleth no good thing... I can do nothing without You. Burn away the wood, hay, and stubble on your altar, God, that I may be pure before you, a burnt offering to your glory."
Day 174: The Grain Offering
Now when anyone presents a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.
The second kind of offering in the tabernacle worship was called the grain offering or meal offering. As you can see above, it consisted of grain, mixed with small amounts of oil and frankincense. It could be offered raw, or offered in a cake or loaf. Leaven, or yeast, was not to be used at all. Salt was a requirement. A portion of it was offered on the altar and burned before the Lord. The remainder could be kept by the priests for their own sustenance.
The grain offering represents thanksgiving. Of course, in a sense all of the offerings have an element of thanks in them, for there would be nothing to offer had not the Lord provided in the first place. But grain, or bread, is the staff of life. It represents the ability to feed yourself and your family. Meat and other items may be a luxury when times are tough, but grain is a necessity. This offering says, "I thank you Lord for giving us our daily bread."
It’s also a type of willing service for the King of Kings, for the bread itself is a symbol of us, the church, as we saw in the table of showbread. Here the bread is offered up to God for His use. The truly thankful person wants to be of service; he or she wants to know what they can do to help. Once you’re on your own feet, if you truly know the Savior you wish to help others to get on their feet, too. You don’t just want to receive, you want to be a giver, as well.
The various ingredients in the grain offering illustrate the aspects of successful service or ministry for the Lord. The oil is a type of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus sent his disciples into the world to preach the Gospel, he told them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit before going out: "tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." You cannot do the works of a supernatural kingdom, you cannot impact people’s spirits and put to flight spiritual enemies unless you are empowered by the supernatural—in the person of the Holy Spirit.
The incense, as we saw in the tabernacle, is a type of prayer. Don’t pretend to go out and do the works of the Lord unless you’ve spent enough time with Him to know what He’s sending you out to do, unless you know Him well enough to truly represent Him. This only comes through prayer.
There was to be no leaven in the offering—leaven represents sin, and even a little is enough to leaven the whole; nothing is more devastating to Christian service than to be leavened by personal sin.
Finally, there was to be salt in every grain offering. Salt was a symbol of covenant back in the days of Moses and the patriarchs. When you entered a covenant with someone you’d often partake in salt together to seal the agreement. You cannot serve God unless you are in covenant with Him, unless you have become one with Him through Jesus Christ, and share His values and purposes.
And so we need to be filled with the Spirit, saturated in prayer, free from sin, and true to our covenant with God—then and only then will we be able to serve Him effectively.
Day 175: Salting Your Offerings
Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.
We’re told nowadays that salt isn’t good for us: it makes us retain unnecessary water-weight, increases the risk of high blood pressure, and should be avoided at all costs. The Lord knows what’s good for our bodies, and I’m sure he doesn’t want us overdoing our salt intake, but He wants salt in every offering. Don’t let your offerings to the Lord be without salt.
It’s not that God is a saltaholic and craves it for Himself, but salt is an important symbol in both the Old and New Testaments. People used to make a "covenant of salt" together, in which they would make a solemn and binding agreement and seal it by partaking in salt. So over the years salt became representative of a covenant. Israel was in covenant with God, as are we New Testament believers—we have entered into a solemn and binding agreement with Him, an offering (Jesus Christ’s own blood) has been made, we are one with the Father and the Son, we may use the name of Jesus as covenant-partners with Him, we will inherit all things because He owns all things. That is covenant.
In the offerings of the tabernacle salt represented faithfulness to one’s covenant with God. It represented coming before Him in Spirit and in truth, remembering the covenant. The salt reminded the Israelites to put away all hypocrisy: no memorized prayers and chants were to be rattled off by rote while the mind wandered. No offerings were to be made while there were still things that needed to be addressed in the person’s life—Jesus said, "If you bring your offering before the Lord and remember that you have anything against anybody, leave your offering there, and go make peace with your brother." No room for hypocrisy—that’s what the salt means when added to the offering.
Salt is also a preservative. Before the days of refrigeration, meat was often salted to keep it from rotting—that’s how we’ve come to have things like ham, bacon, and various sausages. We are the salt of the world, the Lord said, and that means that we are to be an instrument of salvation and preservation to those around us—if we’re not He’ll throw us out.
Too much salt kills life, of course. The salt sea of the holy land has no life, and is called the Dead Sea. When a city was destroyed by an invading army in biblical days they would sometimes salt the ruins so that it would not grow up again—too much salt was believed to make a person, a city, or a lake sterile.
Finally, as we all know, salt makes things taste better. If we want to be effective in our ministry to each other, the Apostle suggests in Colossians 4:6 we should season our speech with salt, make it easier to receive, more pleasant. We’d all do well to be a little more pleasant and tasty to those around us, wouldn’t we?
Salt. Don’t leave it out of your offerings—or your life.
All Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Version unless marked otherwise.
Copyright © 2005 Kim Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries. All rights reserved.