Getting stuck in all the details of the Old Testament
by Shelley Hitz
Okay, I have to admit that many times I've either skimmed or skipped over the list of God's instructions to the Israelites when it lists all the "laws." Honestly, it just seems dry, boring and irrelevant to me.
I mean, as New Testament Christians, we live under grace now and not under the law. So all these instructions about the law don't really apply to me. Or do they?
Wow...my reading this week really surprised me.
Here I am in the midst of Exodus 25-31 where God is laying out all the details of the tabernacle and the offerings to be made. It seemed to go on and on. I thought, okay, this is going to be boring, let's just get this over with.
And then God surprised me! As He often does through His Word :)
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
As I was reading all the details that God was giving to Moses, it was almost too much to read. Kind of like reading word for word through the instruction manual for your cell phone or other new item.
Then it hit me....this is revealing part of God's character to me. I know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8) and so if He took the time to explain every last detail of what he wanted Moses to do, He can do the same with me.
Ooohh...this is starting to get good now!!
Application Point: If God wants me to do something, He will find a way to give me all the details I need.
Wow, that takes some pressure off of me to have to figure it out. There are certain things in my life right now that I need some detailed instructions from God. Therefore, I want to come to my time with God expecting that He can and will speak to me and reveal to me what to do next. Just like He did with Moses.
How about you? Do you need God to share some details with you? Are you willing to be still and listen?
Okay, back to God's instructions to the Israelites...
These weren't instructions to have "just in case you can't figure it out on your own" like my cell phone instruction manual. These were the blueprints and the pattern for God's plan to connect and dwell with His people.
Exodus 29:42-43, 45 (AMP), "This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the Tent of Meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you to speak there to you. 43There I will meet with the Israelites, and the Tent of Meeting shall be sanctified by My glory the Shekinah, God's visible presence. 45And I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. "
A pattern for the future?
Exodus 25:40 (AMP), "And see to it that you copy exactly their pattern which was shown you on the mountain."
Could it be that this was not just for the Israelites and their tabernacle, but also a copy and pattern for how God would connect to all of us through Jesus?
Maybe just maybe. And if so....simply amazing.
I encourage you to read Hebrews chapters 8 & 9 to really get the idea, but here are a few verses:
The high priests, "serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." 6But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. 7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another." Hebrews 8:5-7
Sure, when Jesus came, he fufilled the law and therefore it no longer applies in the same way to us as it did to the Israelites. But, the law gives us a copy or pattern of how Jesus would bring complete fulfillment to it.
It connects back to Jesus who is our "sin offering"
Exodus 29:14 (AMP), "But the flesh of the bull, its hide, and the contents of its entrails you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering."
Hebrews 13:11-13, "The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore."
As Exodus describes all the requirements for the high priest, it was good for me to remember that Jesus became our high priest (Hebrews 8:1-2). It helps me better understand what Jesus did for me and why a blood sacrifice was required for my sins through Jesus Christ.
It never ceases to amaze me how perfectly the Old and New Testament fit together. Simply Amazing!!