Not a Big Deal

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By Nate Champneys

The book of Exodus is one of my favorite books in the Bible and I’m constantly going back to it. The reason I love it so much is that I love getting to know God through the intimate relationship He had with Moses. Moses was known as “a friend of God.” Wow. Now that is something I want to understand!

One of my favorite passages in Exodus is chapter 33. The golden calf incident (where the Israelites made and worshiped an idol) has just taken place and God tells Moses to get ready to take the Israelites to the Promised Land. God says He will not be going with them. In verse 12, Moses begins to plead with God and basically says that he doesn’t want to lead the people if God doesn’t go with him. I love God’s response to him in verse 17: “I will do what you have asked, because I am your friend and I am pleased with you.”

Now in the next chapter, God tells Moses to cut two new tablets to replace the ones Moses broke. We don’t know how much time has passed since the last story as it just says, “one day,” but it seems that Moses is reminding God of their previous conversation when he says in verse 9, “Lord, if You are really pleased with me, I pray that You will go with us. It is true that these people are sinful and rebellious, but forgive our sin and let us be Your people.”

And here is God’s response: “I promise to perform miracles for you that have never been seen anywhere on earth. Neighboring nations will stand in fear and know that I was the one who did these marvelous things. I will force out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, BUT YOU MUST DO WHAT I COMMAND.” God tells Moses that He is going to be with him and do amazing things, but Moses just needs to obey.

The crazy thing is that disobedience is exactly the thing that would be Moses’s downfall later in the book of Numbers. It’s almost as though God is telling Moses to obey knowing that Moses would struggle with obedience later on. But it wasn’t obedience in the big things that Moses had trouble with; it was obedience in the little things. In Numbers chapter 20, God commands Moses to speak to a rock to get water for the Israelites, and instead Moses hits the rock with his staff. This “little” disobedience cost Moses the privilege of entering the Promised Land!

We tend to rank sin in terms of severity, but it is clear in Scripture that the sins that we don’t take seriously are just as grievous to God as the “serious” ones. Take a moment to examine your own life. What are the small things in your life that you have written off as, “not a big deal?”

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Beauty

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by Jeff Foerster

Reading in the book of Exodus I came upon preparations for the tabernacle: tools and implements, rings and curtains, tables and altars. Intricate instruction and specific detail laid out by the Lord, to Moses, for its construction and operation. In the midst of this I found, “You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.”

I was caught by the latter half. I read on, but it wasn’t finished with me. By the end of chapter 28 there it was again: “…for glory and for beauty.” Like the knockout punch in a bare-knuckle brawl, I couldn’t shake off its effect. Beauty. Huh? In my ignorant mind most of the description read more like a manual than something befitting of that word. Why “beauty” amongst all the many details written in the book of Exodus?

True, God is concerned with glorifying Himself, and rightly so. I get this. Glory is due our great God. Mighty in power. Absolute in purity. Wholly righteous and just. Perfect in every way. But … what is this “beauty” thing? What does it do? How does it work with justification, propitiation, and expiation? How does it promote, enable, or further sanctification?

Beauty.

I sat with this for a time.

In all the grind and grit of life beauty can get lost. But beauty is as much a part of who God is as His power, His purity, His perfection. I think Moses understood this when he petitioned God: “… show me Your glory!” Moses wanted more of God. He wanted to bask in the presence of the Almighty. Moses wanted to be surrounded with God’s beauty.

I myself see God’s beauty in Revelation 3 and 4. The Lord of Heaven and Earth promises me (and you too, Christian) that I will not only be in His presence, but that I will be granted the right to sit upon the throne with Jesus! Wow!! If you don’t have in mind what this means, read Revelation 4:1-11.

Some of you see beauty through Jesus’ sacrifice in spite of the horror and shame of the cross. Look. Look deeply. Delve into the word and seek out the beauty of God.

All the bits and pieces of beauty we have around us in this life are a sampling, a precursor, a mere aroma of the glorious beauty we have in our Savior Jesus Christ. I think the Westminster Catechism gets it right when identifying the chief end of man: to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever. This, is the essence of beauty.

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