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114 - No Swimming Allowed!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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October 1, 2022 1:00 pm

114 - No Swimming Allowed!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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October 1, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 114 - No Swimming Allowed! (1 Oct 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink.

Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, today we're going to talk about fragrances. Oh yeah, fragrances.

And here's one I love. At Christmas time, when you come into somebody's house and you smell the pine tree. Oh yeah, it's a wonderful smell. Don't you love that? It tells you something really special is coming.

And it's very unique to Christmas. Well, today we're going to have a fragrance that's very unique to the tabernacle, and we'll talk about that today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. I hope you're having a great morning. This is Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And you've joined us on More Than Ink, and we are walking our way through Exodus. Marvelous passage of coming out of Egypt and going to the land of promise. And we are, how far through are we on Exodus? Well, we're like three quarters of the way through. Three quarters of the way. We're almost to the completion of all the instruction that Moses receives on the mountain.

Right. And in a couple of weeks, we get to that famous scene when he comes down the mountain and finds the people worshipping the golden calf. Plot spoiler. But we've been on the mountain on the show now for weeks and weeks and weeks. Well, yeah, we came out of Egypt. We crossed the Red Sea. We got to Mount Sinai. Moses went to the top of Mount Sinai. Everyone else stayed down except Joshua.

He was kind of halfway up, kind of hard to tell. And he's been up there ever since, and we're still up there, but we're coming right to the end of that now. Well, God invited him up there back in chapter 24, if you remember, after that covenant ceremony where they slaughtered the ox and they made the offering, and Moses sprinkled the blood, and the people all said, yep, we will. We'll obey.

We're in. We believe you, God. And then God invites Moses and the elders up on the mountain, and we have that crazy passage where it says, and they saw God. Had that dinner supper up there. And they ate in his presence.

Yeah, fascinating. And then Moses stays on the mountain to receive the tablets from God. Yeah, so we're coming to the end of Moses. We've been there for a long time. Moses stayed on the top of the mountain, and it's been dominated in the last several weeks with God's instructions about God's tent, which is meant to be in their midst as they travel and what it's going to look like, how it's decorated, everything that's fitting and instructional about heaven and God. And who serves in it.

What they wear and what they do. And we wrapped up last week with the discussion about the incense. The incense. The altar of incense.

Yeah, yeah. Picturing our prayers to God. So today we kind of pick up the last few pieces of the tabernacle instructions. Last few pieces. Next week we'll get to God's final words to us from the top of the mountain. But this is really the last stuff about the tabernacle proper. So last few details. We're in chapter 30 if you're following with us.

We're using the English Standard Version if you want to read along with us. But we are going to pick up in the middle of chapter 30 because the incense talk we had last time did the first 10 verses and the last handful of verses. So we're right in the middle.

So we're looking at the census text in the middle of chapter 30 verse 11. So should we just jump? Well, yeah, but does it strike you that this is a funny place to insert this?

Seems like it. Like wouldn't you put this kind of at the very end now after everything else is done, here's how you got to pay for it, right? Yeah. But this, yeah, we'll see.

This does have an interesting connection to the tabernacle. Okay. So that's why I think he's including it somewhere. But this is a funny place to do it. But here we go. We'll talk about that as we go. Okay, let's read. Verse 11 of chapter 30 you want to read? Sure. I can drink my coffee while you're doing that.

Okay. I'm starting verse 11. The Lord said to Moses, when you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the Lord when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel is 20 garas, half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. Everyone who's numbered in the census from 20 years old and upward shall give the Lord's offering. The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than the half shekel when they give the Lord's offering to make atonement for your lives. You shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the Lord so as to make atonement for your lives.

So a census tax. That's such an interesting combination of practical money matters and profound spiritual reality. Yeah, so I mean let's talk about the practicality of it.

I mean this is a way in which, I mean just very obviously you pay for the expense of what it's going to take to run God's tent, his tabernacle, and that makes a lot of sense. But it's interesting, it's not a proportional tax. It's not like someone who has more money pays more for it.

It's like the same price for every hit. And it's a puny amount. It's tiny.

It's tiny. It's a half a shekel. Well, you know a few years ago when we were in Israel a shekel was worth what, like 24 cents.

Maybe. So a half a shekel is 12 cents. This is small.

So don't misread this. Although he says that this is how you should give a ransom for his life. You say well is that all it costs, like a dime? If I give a dime when they count the heads? Well you're not actually purchasing your salvation.

It's not about the money. However, what it does do, he says it at the end. It says that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the Lord. It's an interesting kind of, like a tokenized connection between their connection with the tabernacle and what it's all about.

And there's another important thing here too. Not just kind of symbolically ties them to the tabernacle. But it says basically as a ransom for your life there's something about the tabernacle that this little tiny piece of money is telling you is responsible for you being alive. Right.

That's the connection. Well that word ransom, right? You pay a ransom to save a life or to redeem a life. And I was attracted by that phrase that we just read in verse 11 about that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the Lord. Now on first reading you might think that's to remind the Lord. It's not.

It's not. It may bring the people to remembrance when they come before the Lord. People of Israel to remembrance before the Lord. So there's something about the giving of this really a token. It's a token.

Offering. It's a token. It's to remind them that they are God's ransomed ones. Yeah.

Each and every one of them. It's not about how much they're worth. Right. But it's about the fact that God ransomed them.

Yeah. And so as you look at the larger camping of the tents of Israel with God in the middle in his tent, you could look at this token that you give and say there's something about my very existence that is owed to the presence of this God in this tent in our midst. So it's this life connection. And although the amount seems trivial, what is purchased is not trivial. Their lives have been purchased by God himself. And this is the reminder that there was a price paid on their behalf.

That's why they're doing this. But it's silly to think that the actual shekel, half shekel really does it. No, it's a button. No, it's not at all. It's just a token.

And I looked around a little bit. If you look in Psalm 49, he says, truly no man can ransom another or give to God the price of his life for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice. He's talking about rich people can't buy their way out. So this really is a tokenized connection about a price that was paid for them. And we go fast forward in the New Testament and the price that was paid for us was the blood of Christ himself. Right. And in the Old Testament, God proclaims himself as being the redeemer and redeem always means to pay the price of the ransom. And he's the one that does that. So this is the constant reminder when they're counted about the fact that their lives are theirs because of what God has done for them.

Yeah. There's another interesting connection and we miss this many times and that's the fact that in ancient times, you only numbered what belonged to you as a possession kind of thing. So if you had a flock of sheep, you count your sheep, you don't count someone else's sheep.

You count your sheep in that sense. And here, God wanted to make sure that when the people's heads were counted, that they didn't misrepresent this and think, well, Moses is counting us. So Moses must own us like shepherd in cheek. So it's emphasized again and again and again, this is given to the Lord. This is given to the Lord. So when they are counted and this half shekel is given, they'll say, this isn't because Moses owns me, but because in a real sense, I belong to God himself. So that's a connection. Okay. So let's just limit it back in verse 12, when it says that to give the ransom for his life to the Lord, when you number them, that there be no plague. Yeah.

What's that about? So there's something protective happening here or a reference to something else in another place in numbers, when it's describing the Levites camping around and says that there would be no wrath among them. Right? And this money goes to the Levites for the actual cost of the service of the tabernacle. But the presence of the Levites encamped around the tabernacle serves as a reminder to the people, they're guardians of the holiness.

Right? And if you transgress the holiness of God, God responds in wrath. And there are a couple of biblical accounts of that.

We won't take the time to go into these here, but it's worth thinking about. It says it right here. And in their most recent memory, when were their plagues? Well, in Egypt. And that's when Egypt was defying God himself. So it's a larger statement of the fact that life that's lived in concert with God's plan for us is life. Life lived apart from God is a plague.

So that's how it is. Well, according to Romans, we live under the wrath of God. We live under the wrath of God.

So this is, it's his way of saying, don't ever forget that in your midst, I camp in your midst, I'm in your midst and I'm the one that got you out of Egypt and I'm the one that gives you life. So remember, you are my ransomed people. Remember. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, it occurs to me as well, much later on King David's reign, late in his reign, he numbers the people, even his chief commander Joab says, do you really want to do this? Okay. So why does he ask that question?

Well, yeah. Because why is David counting the people? That's right. He's counting people again, you know, like I was saying, it implies the fact that he owns them and he's counting his strength and stuff like that. But in that particular case, I'm thinking of, he never takes a ransom. I mean, he never takes a hat shackle.

No, he's counting his soldiers to make sure he has enough to go to war. Yeah. And so in a way he's saying, I'm a king. I own you.

You're mine. You're my show of power. And I'm strong because look how mighty my army is. Yeah. But I'll just point out even in that whole process, and that's a bad motivation because God says, don't count your strength, you know, count on the Lord.

But he says, even that motivation, he never actually asked for this census tax in that. Oh, David didn't? No. Yeah.

So it's kind of interesting. Well, no, because what the Lord judges him for was for relying on his own strength. Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Makes me wonder if he'd done that counting and had he taken this half shackle tax to remind people that their life comes from God, then maybe his motivations would have been so twisted. But that's speculation. But Joab, his commander says, David, you don't really want to do this. So they knew.

They knew that was wrong. Well should we push on to the bronze basin? I think we have to because we just don't want to run out of time, especially when we get to the anointing oil at the end of the chapter. We're cleaning up the last specified things in the tabernacle. So we go to this new item that's found in the courtyard outside, you know, outside this is very late in the list, right? Why wasn't this included earlier when we're talking about the other stuff in the courtyard?

Well let me read this for us. We're at the bronze basin, verse 17, so the Lord said to Moses, you shall also make a basin of bronze and with its stand of bronze for washing and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar and you shall put water in it and with which Aaron and his son shall wash their hands and their feet and when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to minister or to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet so that they may not die.

It says it again, it shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations. So there's a big wash basin there between the altar where they burned animals and the entry into the tabernacle proper, there was a big basin of water. So from a very practical point of view, the slaughtering of animals is messy work. So very practically there needs to be a place for washing. There would be blood all over the priests.

All over the place. But also symbolically, the work of the priests is offering the sacrifice to make atonement for the people, the cleansing of sin. And so there's a symbolic thing going on. Very symbolic, very symbolic, yeah, very symbolic. But does it strike you that it says that they shall wash their hands and their feet, in verse 19, when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near to the altar to minister, so they're going on their feet and here they're coming near to minister with their hands.

And then it's reiterated again in verse 21, wash their hands and their feet so that they may not die. Yeah, it's very specific. Yeah. So maybe that connects back to the census tax here to the kind of the wrapping up of all things, this warning against transgressing the holiness of God deserves a death penalty. Yeah. Right? The plague among them here, wash so that you may not die.

And then even when we get to the anointing oil, anybody who uses it in any other fashion will be cut off from their people. Yeah. Because it's peculiar just to this purpose that's the holy, that's the set apart for this purpose. This is serious business. Yep, yep. And just out of curiosity, Jim's into trivia. I know this well. Well, I look for, you know, from here on out in the book, actually, we're going to start making this stuff in a couple chapters, and that'll dominate the book to the end of Exodus. But in the part where they're making this, I flip forward to see about the actual narrative when they're actually making this bronze basin.

And you know where they got the source of the bronze to make the basin? The hand mirrors of the women. Right. There's something in that.

I don't know quite what that means. Isn't that interesting? The Egyptian women that they plundered, the Egyptian women, they brought those bronze mirrors out of the desert.

Because they didn't make them themselves. And they were being used by the women who ministered, it said, but it was those bronze mirrors. And it's an interesting sense that they gave up their ability to look at themselves in order to make this bronze basin for washing.

I think that's fantastic. Well, okay. So let's track that for just a minute as long as we're into the trivia, because this is a big open basin and a basin full of clear water that's smooth on the top could serve as a mirror. But what's it looking at? It's looking at God. It's looking at God. It's looking straight up to heaven. Yeah. This also reminded me in the Psalm 24, it says, who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, who shall stand in his presence, like here, he who has clean hands and a pure heart. So this imagery here is not lost on Israel from this point forward.

You cannot come into the presence of God all messed up like that. Well, and clean hands symbolic of cleansed of what you are doing. Yeah. Clean actions. Yeah.

The work of your hands. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, it's worth noting before we leave the bronze basin, since we're short on time, it's only used to cleanse the hands and feet of the priests. Right. It's not a general washing station.

It's not a general washing station, and there are no baptisms here. So I just want to be clear about the fact that this has a peculiar use and it's specified right here very clearly. Okay.

And that's only important right here in the culture where we live. Yes. But just in case you were wondering about it. So there you go.

That's what this is for. So should we move, let's move on to the anointing oil. Yeah. Let's go on to the anointing oil. One of the last details about the tabernacle.

There's some beautiful stuff here. Yeah. Why don't you read for us. Okay. And it said to Moses, take the finest spices of liquid myrrh, 500 shekels, of sweet smelling cinnamon, half as much, that is 250, and 250 of aromatic cane and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary and a hint of olive oil. So again, we have a recipe.

A recipe. Just like we did with the incense. For the anointing oil.

Yeah. And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the arc of the testimony and the table and all its utensils and the lampstand and its utensils and the altar of incense and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils and the basin and its stand. You shall consecrate them that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them will become holy and you shall anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them that they may serve me as priests. And you shall say to the people of Israel, this shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person and you shall make no other like it in composition. It is holy and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off to these people.

So this is a very exclusive formula used for one purpose. But it's sweet. Oh my, it's very heavy sweetness. Heavy sweet.

Yeah. Myrrh is not particularly sweet smelling, but cinnamon is. Cinnamon. Aromatic cane and cassia. Those are sweet smelling things. Isn't cassia kind of cinnamon?

It is. Yeah, and I'm not sure how those terms are used interchangeably in scripture, but here they seem to be two different things, but we can buy cassia cinnamon today. But the point is, is this is a formula that God does not want used for any other purpose.

That's why he calls it holy. That means set apart for a purpose. You'll only use it for this anointing and it's anointing not only people and priests, but it's anointing everything.

All this stuff that we've been talking about building. Everything that is most holy that is used in the service of the holy God. And so in the imagery right here, this anointing oil in a sense is a way of God sort of putting his fingerprint on everything, saying, this is mine and being used for me. This is mine and being used for me.

This is mine. So everything he's putting his thumbprint on with this anointing oil is something that he has established and it's for his purposes. That's why it's holy. It's set apart for him. And that fragrance clings.

It clings. Exactly. So, and you know, if you think about that, a smell can evoke in us a tremendous sense of memory and association and emotion. Right. And I could illustrate that in a number of ways, but you know, we have certain seasons of the year where when you smell something, you smell evergreen and you go, ah, Christmas.

You smell turkey in the oven and you think, ah, Thanksgiving. Right. So that this touches us at a sensual sensory level. So God's connecting us to his tabernacle more than just visually, but it's invisible sensory. But it's in a sensory way.

Yeah. And I have to believe that as you walk through the camp of Israel, when they camped and God's tent is in the center of it, if you walked around the edges of the camp, you'd smell a little people cooking stuff. But when you got to the center, the smell would come up and say something, get to the center.

Something different is going on here. It smells stronger and stronger and stronger. And when his priests would walk past you going between the tents, you could smell that they've been doing something important in terms of intercessory for the people themselves.

So it would remind them constantly whether they saw him or not remind them that something's going on for their benefit. This is not the only smell you would smell, right? You would smell the scent of burning flesh or cooking meat, depending on whether it was a whole burnt offering or an offering that was meant to be eaten. All of those things mingled. And that may be some of the significance of the myrrh here, which was a spice that was used in burials.

So it's fascinating. Or in the birth of Jesus. Well he was given as a gift.

He was given as a gift. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's a particular fragrance. And it goes on everything and it says, when you smell this, this is holy. Yeah.

And it's actually a very stable recipe. So as they go on from generation to generation to generation, they will smell the same thing. They'll associate it.

Right. And your kids will associate it and your grandchildren will associate it. This is all connected in the presence of God in our midst.

And what the priests do on our behalf in order to allow us to have life with God in our midst. And so that's why he's saying this is very exclusive. I don't want you to associate this with anything else you do.

So if you go out to a fancy dinner, you know, and you decide to smell really good, don't use this perfume. Right. This is not your aftershave. Yeah. This is not for you.

And that's what he's trying to say. This smell is not for you. This is for me. This glorifies who I am and you're not going to use it for anything else to glorify anything else. Okay. And it gets poured on or rubbed on or applied to those who are being consecrated to serve the Lord God as priests. That they may serve me as priests.

Yeah. This is God. That's why I say it's like God's thumbprint on them.

He's put his thumbprint on them, anointing oil with a particular smell and says this one is serving me. That's their purpose. That's why they're holy.

That's why they're set apart for something else. And this won't be associated with any other actions or any other purpose except for serving me. And I think it's a great picture. So if you take your concordance and you look for fragrance or aroma and look at the New Testament references, it will take you straight to 2 Corinthians 2.

That's exactly right. It's pretty profound. We've been saying all along that everything about this tabernacle points to God in the person of Jesus Christ, his son. So let me just read this to you because Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2, I'm going to read 14 to 16, thanks be to God who always leads us in his triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of what, the knowledge of him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing to the one, an aroma from death to death, to the other, an aroma from life to life.

Who's doing the sniffing? God is, it smells good to God that we, his people who are called to be priests, as Peter says, we're a kingdom of priests to serve God. We smell like something to God. We smell like Jesus. And yet people pick up this fragrance and for some it's very good news and for some it's very bad news.

The imminence of judgment comes in that smell as well. So yeah, I was thinking when you were quoting that, I was thinking, but we're not Aaronic priests, we're not related to Aaron and yet we have this fragrance that here it says, if you put this fragrance on anyone but the priests, they're going to die, but you mentioned it. We are all priests.

That's right. Peter says we are a royal priesthood that we might declare the excellency of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. There it is, we're a ransomed people and we smell like the one who ransomed us. So just like these priests right here who have a knowledge of the presence of God, we do too and that fragrance envelops us as well and communicates to a world that we've been in contact with a living God. And it only can be applied to those who are designated by God and devoted to God. Set apart as holy for his purpose. So we probably can't finish without saying that the New Testament explains to us that the oil, this fragrance is the Holy Spirit, that God himself applies, indwells us and smells through us that way, brings the fragrance to life in us. And that indeed is the newness of the new covenant, the pouring out of his Spirit. We're going to talk about that more next week. We'll talk a lot more about that. Well we're coming short on time and we're also coming short to Moses' time on the top of Mount Sinai and next time we'll actually get some closing words from God as he closes out this dialogue with Moses, more like a monologue than anything else, as he closes out on the top of the mountain and he'll pick up a few topics that are, they're not trivial at all.

I mean they're great emphasis. But I ask you this before we get to that. If God was going to have a closing comment about something he wanted to doubly emphasize before Moses turned around and went back down the bottom mountain, what would he emphasize? And we'll see what he does next week when we go into chapter 31 and find out what's God's closing words before Moses goes down to the bottom mountain and everything falls apart. And lugging the stone tablets. And lugging the stone tablets and the whole nine yards, yeah. So that'll come up next week.

You don't want to miss. That's really the exciting conclusion of Moses with God at the top of the mountain. You'll go up again. We'll see why later.

But this is the end of this large section of God telling him how to build a tabernacle and how to support God's presence. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us. We hope you're enjoying us. I am. I'm just having a blast. So as we come down from the mountain next week, join us here on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, Oh, options. I like options.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-29 00:34:49 / 2022-12-29 00:47:27 / 13

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