Exodus 12:50 “Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.”
Many of us, when we get to reading Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and parts of Deuteronomy, we glance over the words and really don’t seek to gain anything from their placement in the Word of God. But think with me for a moment…
If God took the time to tell Moses these things and write them for the children of Israel to do, there must be some significance and importance for us today. I will be honest, I have had to ask God to open my eyes as I read to find something of use for today and something I can hold onto as we do not utilize the way of sacrifice any longer.
That point alone: ‘the way of sacrifice’, ought to make us rejoice. You see, we no longer need to kill oxen, sheep and goats; the precious Lamb of God was sacrificed once for all and sat down at the right hand of the Father; signifying it – our salvation – was finished.
But today, I was struck with that statement, “as the Lord commanded Moses“. It appears forty times throughout the Old Testament. Thirty seven of those times are in the books we seem to skim through – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But three times in the book of Joshua.
When we try to motivate people to do something, it usually takes a bit of cajoling and coddling to get a majority moving. But at times, we need to invoke the authority that gave us the task of leading that group to do a great work for God. In the church, God anointed the pastor, the undershepherd, the bishop of the congregation.
Under those pastors are deacons; who by the way, are not to rule the pastor, but be an extension in the work of the ministry – specifically the widows and the fatherless. These are godly men who follow the pastor as he is led of God. It is that which God challenged me today.
Often, there are a general populous in the church who follow the preacher. They accept his methods, enjoy his preaching and offer their gifts and talents to serve alongside. There are others who live on the outskirts; observing.
Among this crowd are some, skeptical because they are unfamiliar. Others sit in judgment, wondering why someone hasn’t seen them and asked them to serve. Still others are the scoffers that find fault in everything and aren’t afraid to tell anyone with a listening ear just how they feel it could be done better.
I feel for these because some have been wounded, genuinely. But some of those wounded stay there and fester not reaching out to make it right with the ones who offended them. I have heard those who have let the wound become their badge of honor that they wear; never failing to let everyone know how the pastor, or the assistant or the deacons let them down.
Interestingly enough, they tell everyone except those who can truly make a difference. They truly do not realize what hatred, what division they are sowing in the hearts of simple and innocent ones; when all their seeking is relief from their hurting and the open wound that festers daily. The only winner in all of this is the devil – whose gotten brother to go against brother; sister against sister and a church against its leader.
The Israelites were a murmuring and complaining people. The very reason they were in the wilderness was their stiff neck and rebelliousness. As Moses led them, they had times where they came together and worked. They followed the instructions that Moses gave and created a replica of the tabernacle in Heaven. Each instruction was specific and needed to be followed implicitly.
So, today, when the pastor comes and asks something of us, do we relegate that duty to “Somebody’? Somebody – meaning anybody but us. The inner workings of a church are such that no one person can fill all the duties that are needed to run properly. We must operate as a body – each part doing their part.
In the making of the tabernacle, God gave certain men talents in engraving, working with metals, woodworking and construction so all could benefit from their craft. Each in their contribution, became a part of the whole. Everyone benefited from the tabernacle for its place where atonement was made through sacrifice.
Now those three times that mention the statement “as the Lord commanded Moses” appear in the book of Joshua. It speaks to me that the obedience to the man of God was passed from one generation to the next. They took and lifted up the truth that as God told Moses and he obeyed, we will take up the same obedience and do the same.
If we are to become a revived church; a church alive and on fire for God, we must address just what it is that causes division and put it under the blood as quickly as possible, lest Satan should get an advantage. If the enemy has found a weakness in us, it is our responsibility to make it right, shore up our defenses and make God strong in the area we are weak.
When I realize my own weaknesses, I can more easily forgive the weakness in others. To take sides because of offense invites the enemy to be the leader of your cause and not the Father. Selfishness surrounds the wounded but can never comfort like the Holy Spirit and true forgiveness can. We need to do as the Lord commanded:
Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.“