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108 - Not a Tennis Court

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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August 20, 2022 1:00 pm

108 - Not a Tennis Court

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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August 20, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 108 - Not a Tennis Court (20 Aug 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. You know, most people have a favorite place. They'd rather be than anywhere else.

Well, yeah, we just came back from one of ours, the Oregon coast. Yeah. So the psalmist in Psalm 84 though says, better is one day in your courts.

What is that? Yeah, what is that all about? Where are the courts of God? Well, we're going to find out today as we read Exodus on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. This is Jim.

And this is Dorothy. And we are delighted you're with us. And we are studying our way in Exodus right now. And we're glad that you're joining with us. We're getting a real close view of everything tabernacle oriented right now in Exodus.

Well, yeah. How long do we sit still long enough to really digest these descriptions? Most people just kind of skim over them.

They look like throwaway stuff kind of. You know, it's well, you know, size of the tabernacle. Everything's measured. But what we have to remind ourselves is that in God's very specific instructions about how the tabernacle is supposed to look. And the tabernacle, remember, is God's tent among the tents of Israel as they wander through the desert. That it's meant to actually say something.

Right. It's meant to instruct us about something. It's meant to take us into an understanding of a heavenly realm of the reality of where God is in that sense.

It's supposed to tell us something instructionally. So that's what we're doing. And there's no real, I won't say there's no right answers. But when you look at the imagery that's here, there are right answers. And God's steering in a particular direction about telling us who He is and what He's all about.

His nature, His character as He lives amongst us. And so that's why He's so careful in these instructions about exactly what this should look like. So we're in the middle of all this very exact kind of stuff. And we started in this section from the inside of the Holy of Holies.

Right. And we sort of worked our way out. We came into the holy area in the tabernacle. And then we came out of the tabernacle proper into the courtyard around the tabernacle. And we hit last time the bronze altar that's right outside, you know, when you come into the court. So we're moving from the inside to the outside of the tabernacle and the courtyard of the tabernacle. And so today, that's where we are. We're in the court of the tabernacle. Well, and the court is dominated by that bronze altar.

Exactly. That's when you come in the entrance. That is the thing you encounter. And when we were wrapping up last week's conversation, we talked just a little bit about that verse in Hebrews 13 that says, it's good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, right, that we have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. And we talked about the eating of the sacrifices and becoming a participant in what was taking place at the altar, that substitutionary sacrifice. But what we might not have made real clear when we talked about that is that you, by participating in those old temple rituals, were participating in the symbol, the shadow, according to the law. But the New Testament, especially the book of Hebrews, opens that up and says that was all a symbol.

It was all a shadow. And it was all fulfilled in Christ. And so those who are still serving the law depending on themselves for righteousness based on their observation of the law have no right to eat.

We have a right to eat by faith at the altar of the sacrifice of Jesus for us. So I don't know that we said that clearly last week, so I thought maybe we should circle back to that. And it could take many episodes to explain that fully.

Well, just take it at face value. That's what Hebrews does. That's what's behind our comments about why we say as we look at this tabernacle from so long ago, it's pointing to Jesus at almost every turn.

Every turn. And that's deliberate. Okay, and when you say there's no right answers, well, there are some very clear right answers. We have not decoded 100% everything that is present in this image of the tabernacle. But we're pointing out to the obvious stuff.

And you can learn the obvious stuff by reading it yourself. Yeah, you're going to think this is silly, but the correlation I made, the kind of example I made when I was thinking about this, because this is all very visual. You know, you've got chair beams on big pieces of linen and stuff like that. I was thinking about when I was in grade school and I would sit in my classroom in grade school and we'd be learning stuff and the teacher would be telling us stuff. But all around the edges of the classroom were pictures of things that were meant to start teaching us almost just by absorption of being in the middle of them.

Right. And that's kind of what the tabernacle is doing here. Visually and through your sense of smell and all these things, it's telling you something very important about the character and nature of God.

Well, and I'm glad you said that because teaching happens in a lot of ways, not just the verbal communication of information. And so as you would be approaching the tabernacle, everything about it says, this place is different. It says something.

And arouses in you this sense of, oh, I'm coming to meet with the person who lives here. Right. And they're different than me.

And they're different. And so that approach on our part to God, who's in the tabernacle, comes through the court. There's an outer court around the tabernacle. That court was there during the temple times as well. And that was the place where most Jews got their closest contact to God. Because you could not go inside the temple or the tabernacle. That was just for the priest. But when you went to meet with God, you went to the court.

Better as one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere. That courts in the Matt Redman song is this. So we're going to look at that today, this court. And where we are, we're in chapter 27 if you want to follow this. We're reading in the ESV. And we're picking up in verse 9 to talk about the court around the tabernacle itself, which is super important. So you want to pick it up or in verse 9?

Yeah, no, I'll read. I'll read, starting in verse 9. You shall make the court of the tabernacle. On the south side of the court shall have hangings of fine linen, a hundred cubits long for one side. Okay, so that's pretty long.

That's pretty long. Its twenty pillars and their twenty bases shall be of bronze. But the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver.

And likewise for its length on the north side. There shall be hangings a hundred cubits long. Its pillars twenty and their bases twenty of bronze.

But the hooks and the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. And for the breadth of the court on the west side there shall be hangings for fifty cubits with ten pillars and ten bases. The breadth of the court on the front, to the east, shall be fifty cubits. The hangings for the one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits with their three pillars and three bases.

And on the other side the hangings shall be fifteen cubits with their three pillars and three bases. For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen embroidered with needlework. It shall have four pillars with them four bases, and all the pillars around the court shall be filleted with silver. Their hooks shall be of silver and their bases of bronze. The length of the court shall be a hundred cubits, the breadth fifty. The height five cubits with hangings of fine twined linen and the bases of bronze.

All the utensils of the tabernacle for every use and all its pegs and all the pegs of the court shall be of bronze. So there's the court. This is a larger rectangle around the tabernacle proper. It's like a screen court. It's like an enclosed surround that tells you you're entering the holy precinct.

Right, you're coming into God's presence. And it was big. I mean, being the nerd that I am, I figured out that the tabernacle itself only occupied about seven percent of the size of this courtyard. So it was in the center rear of that. So this is a very large area. It's meant to be able to accommodate a lot of people. This is where the people of Israel would go in and come near to God.

This was as close as they could get. And it's in this courtyard that you would see this bronze altar where you'd sacrifice animals. I mean, it was a meeting place with God.

This is where you met with God. But it was big. It says right here it's a rectangle 75 feet by 150 feet. So it's a very large thing. And the gate itself to go in is 30 feet wide.

So it's meant for a lot of people. So this is God's way of saying you can come near to me and you can come here and I've made accommodation for a lot of you to be here. I want you to be in my presence. You can't come into my house proper because sin's a problem. We talked about that before. But I do want you in my courts. And that's why I mentioned Matt Redman's song, Better is One Day. He was reading Psalm 84.

Right, better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. So all the time in your Old Testament readings or your Psalms you hear about the courts. This is it. This is it. This is the area around the tabernacle itself where you could go in and come close to God. It's kind of like the fenced front yard of the house.

That's what I've always thought of it as. And when you are visiting a town for the first time and you come across a particularly large or elaborate home, don't you know, well, who lives there, right? And we just read this description of the entry gate, the curtain that was on the gate. And it utilized all of the same colors and the rich fabrics that were used farther in.

So the rest of the outer wall was just plain linen. But when you came around to the east side and came to this curtain hanging, the colors told you, this is the way in and it's beautiful. It's beautiful, yeah. This is meant to be unlike anything else that you're seeing.

Think about this for a second. They're in the middle of a desert. I mean, everything is brown and sandy colored. And here are these just vibrant colors, the life and the beauty and the glory of who God is all very visibly there on purpose. And as well as this courtyard, what do you want to call this? I don't want to call it sheets, but I mean, it's the material that makes the courtyard. Oh, the linen hangings. They're curtains, but they're walls. They're stretched taut and they function as walls.

And we know that they're only five cubits tall, you know, one and a half times five cubits is seven and a half feet. So it's a large wall that just kind of makes a rectangle around it. Okay, you couldn't see over it.

Couldn't see over it. Yeah, that's important. That's probably important to remember. But it was like when you came to someone's house, the courtyard was first.

That was your first taste of the person. That's your first idea of who this person is and what they're like is their courtyard as you come to the entry into their house. That's God's idea too. So where we live in our little town, they have a front porch contest every so often. Oh, that's right. And people decorate their front porches and then somebody gets an award based on how lovely their front porch was.

We've never participated in ourselves. But the whole idea is your front porch is the entryway into your home. It's really kind of the first room you come to.

That's the beginning. And it's still outside the house, but it says something about you. And so that I think is a helpful idea here that this beautiful curtain says there's something going on in here.

There's a person living in here that you want to meet, you want to enter. The entry is beautiful. And the entry courtyard itself, the colors of the linens around the edge also are kind of enticing to tell you what's on the inside, what it's going to be like on the inside. However, you can't go inside. And again, we talked about that that's a priest job. And because of sin, we can't enter into there. But the courtyard itself is a great foretaste in a sense of what the inside of the house of God is all about.

And you can participate in that. So did it strike you that the entry both to the holy place and to the whole tabernacle enclosure is on the east? On the east, both of them. Yeah. Yeah.

And I looked at that a little bit and I thought, you know, why might that be? Well, God has constructed the earth that the sun rises in the east, right? And when we see the sun come up, what do we think? It's a new day. Yeah. It's a new beginning. And possibly that's one element here of the facing, entering God is a way to begin again. It's a new day of fellowship with God.

Yeah. And it's the opposite, I was thinking if the entrance is on the west side, that's where the sun sets, it would be like, this is the end of the day, this is the end of things. But on the east side is the beginning of things. And yet we know that they were offering sacrifices at sunrise, and again at sunset.

So all day, every day, there was sacrifice going on just inside the entry of this enclosure. But I don't know, it's significant to me, you know, we know that when the Lord Jesus comes back, he will be coming from the east. From the east.

The New Testament tells us that very clearly. And will actually enter into the temple on its east side. And if you don't know your geography, well, in Jerusalem, the Kidron Valley is east of the temple area, and then up the Kidron Valley is the Mount of Olives, that's east of the temple area. And that's where Jesus ascended into heaven, east of the temple area. Interestingly enough, the entrance to the Garden of Eden, yes, was to the east to the east.

So God is telling us something, we may not have decoded it completely, but God is telling us something. Well, it also speaks to the fact if again, if you're camping, and it's dark, you can't wait for the sunrise. Right? Where does the light come from? Right. It comes from the east. So when you're living in a dark place, that's where we are right now, you always look to where the sun rises. And so that's what he's trying to tell us is that this is where life, this is where the new day comes from. There's a lot of metaphor. That's what I mean that there's no, there's no, there's no right answer.

These are all right answers. These are ways in which God wants us to wonder about the design. Why on the east? What does it mean? That's where the sun rises.

What does he communicate? Yeah, that's what's really fascinating about it. So anyway, so that's the Court of the Tabernacle. It's big and it can accommodate a lot of people. It's dominated by the bronze altar where sacrifices are going to take place. People would bring their sacrifices to God, they'd come into this courtyard with all this beautiful linen around it.

It was as near as it could get to God. But according to the psalmist in Psalm 84, I'd rather spend a day here than a thousand anywhere else. So it's really a very joyous place in that sense too. Or Psalm 100, enter into his courts of thanksgiving. Okay, but you know, if you think of a regular human royal court, if you are admitted to the outer court, it means you're in the place of access to the king, right?

You are in line to get in to see the king. So I think that also is a helpful image. Yeah, it's an exciting place. And we've talked about before how the tabernacle was constructed to teach us, to put us in a particular mindset. And earlier this week, for another reason, I was reading Psalm 73.

And it talks about the anguish and the discouragement of comparing my life to other people's lives and they're fat and happy and rich and wealthy and things are rotten with me. And it puzzled me. The psalmist says, I pondered this to understand and it was troublesome in my sight. And verse 17 stopped me in my tracks. This is Psalm 73, 17 says, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God. There it is.

Right? When I came in to that holy place, oh, it set me straight. God reigns, God is in our midst, God is in control. And then as he works through the Psalm, he comes down to his conclusion at the very end, he says, as for me, the nearness of God is my good, defines good for me. So the tabernacle enclosure leading into the holy place is designed to bring us to that place. I can come in here and get set straight. This is the nearness of God, this courtyard. This is it.

It's a great thing. Well, let's push on. We're running low on time here. We move on to the oil of the lampstand. Remember that lampstand that's inside the tabernacle?

It has to be lit. Let me just read this for us. We're in verse 20 of chapter 27. So you shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. And in the tent of meeting outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord.

It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout the generations by the people of Israel. So we already know about the lampstand. We saw that as we were working our way from the inside out in the tabernacle.

But here he's saying, I want you to put oil in it and I want that to burn constantly. I want that light to be in there constantly. Now it wasn't burning when the tabernacle was being moved.

No, not when it was being moved. But when they set up the camp, once that thing was lit, it needed constant tending so that it would stay lit. We still use the expression keeper of the light to indicate a constant devotion to a purpose of maintaining the light.

That persists, yeah. And that's what we're to do here is to keep that light going. And the oil is supposed to come from the people, which is interesting. And it's supposed to be the best oil. The best oil. The best oil from the olive.

So that's a pretty good deal. And this triggers so many parallels when you think about, especially from the New Testament, about, well, in the Beatitudes, Jesus says that you're the light of the world. You're a city set on a hill. So in a sense, that light that's in there is not only us, but it's also God himself because Jesus says, I'm the light of the world as long as I'm here. So there is a real sense in which God's presence in his people, whether it's Israel or us or Jesus himself, brings light to a dark place. And that's just a very important thing. Light very simply gives you an understanding of the way things really are.

And so as the creator, as the designer, he's saying that through you, through Jesus, through anyone who is one of mine, I can shine. So the whole idea of them contributing everybody oil kind of says that to me. There's just so many connections between the light and the oil. The oil is almost a universal symbol of the Holy Spirit.

I mean, there's just, there's a lot of imagery tied up right here. And the fact that the people know that this light is going 24 seven, but it's from the oil that they contributed. That's a fascinating thing. Well and oil, you know, here's a little study tip for you who are wanting to track this down on your own. Take your concordance and search on oil. Look, if you turn it, you'll turn up a ton of Old Testament references, but concentrate on the New Testament references. And you'll find that the oil is associated with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit. Yeah. It happens over and over.

Over and over and over again. So even in the Old Testament, we have the anointing oil. Oil is associated with fuel, with fragrance, with anointing, with food, with luxury, right? So you know, all of those things speak to the oil. We're going to read a little bit later in Exodus about the making of the fragrant anointing oil. Yeah, it had a great smell. So all of that, the fuel, the food, the anointing, it's medicinal, all of that actually speaks to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Yeah. So in this lampstand and the oil that's used to make it go, it evokes several very strong themes throughout the entire Bible. Themes about the oil and the Holy Spirit, themes about light and you're the light of the world.

I mean over and over these are all highly coupled. So this lampstand isn't just a light bulb so you can see in the dark in this first room in the tabernacle. It means something quite profound. And here we have Moses instructing the people from God that they need to be the ones that provide that oil for that to keep it going.

It's nice. And the location of that lampstand, I mean we're told very specifically, it's outside the veil, that's before the testimony, right? So it's very closely associated with that mercy seat, the place where God speaks, there I'll meet with you over the mercy seat. And when Jesus said, I'm the light of the world, right? He who walks with me will have the light of life. And then later on he says, the light's only with you for a little while, walk while you have the light, that you may become sons of light. So there is that reflective quality about those who are walking in the light of God. Yeah, that's a very strong theme, very strong. So again, along with your concordance search on oil, do a concordance search on light. Yes. And even lamp.

You will be amazed. In the New Testament. Because what's fascinating to me is that we've said all along this lampstand points to Jesus as the light of the world. But go to Revelation 21 and read where it says, we'll have no more need of the sun or the moon because God himself will be the light and its lamp will be the lamb. There it is, decoded.

Decoded for us. That's what's great about the New Testament. It decodes what this is all meant to be symbolically of the reality. Well we just got a couple minutes left and I want us to step just a little bit into the next chapter.

In the next chapter we're going to talk a lot about the high priest's garments and there's a lot of information on what he's supposed to look like, which kind of makes me think that the high priest might be sort of important as a visual symbol. You think? He's a representative. Yeah, so let's just introduce that and then we'll get into it deep next time. This will all cause us to ask some questions, but in chapter 28, you want to read for us starting in verse 1? Well yeah, let me turn my page. No, turn your page. There we go. Let's just take a look at it. This will be our preview the next week.

Oh, okay. Then bring near to you Aaron your brother and his sons with him from among the people of Israel to serve me as priests. Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nedab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother for glory and for beauty.

I forgot we were going to cover this. And you shall speak to all the skillful whom I have filled with the spirit of skill that they make Aaron's garments to consecrate him from my priesthood. These are the garments they shall make, a breast piece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. They shall receive gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen."

The same fibers and fabrics that are used throughout the tabernacle. Which the colors speak of God himself. So this high priest, how he dresses is very important.

And we don't catch this in modern thinking but dress always reflected the person back in ancient times. And so in this particular case dress reflects something extraordinarily important about the high priest and his role. But what you might make notice of here before we finish is the fact that God says here two to three times, he says, this priest serves me. Serves me God says. They're my priests and they serve me.

So that's a question we get asked next time when we come back. In what way does the high priest serve God and why is he even needed in this picture at all? He's the one that can, you know, the high priest is the only one who can walk from outside the court of the tabernacle, go right past the bronze altar, go right in the entry into the tabernacle, go into the holy area, and then if he's a high priest once you're into the holy of holies, he's the only one that can go all the way from where man is to where God is. So he has a very important role and as a result his clothing is very important. Well and we're going to read next week about the representative nature of his clothing. A couple of those parts of his garments completely bearing the names of the sons of Israel before God. But I will circle back to this passage next week because there are some very important things to think about in terms of how clothing figures in the scriptures, right?

It's an indication of identity, an indication of your inner condition. And since God's trying to teach us something very important in how things look here, at least at this point we can say there's something very extraordinarily heaven-like and important about this high priest. And of course if you fast forward into the book of Hebrews, which spends more than half the book on Jesus as our high priest, you realize it's because Jesus is our high priest.

He's the one that goes from man to God himself and bridges the gap that keeps us out of the tabernacle or the temple in the presence of God. Well we'll talk a lot about that more next time. There's just so much more to talk about so we'll get into the high priest and his garments next time.

But we do know there's six elements here of the high priest's garb. And if you heard those and said, what in the world is that? What's an ephod?

What's a breastfeed? Well I'll talk about that. We'll get to that. It's really kind of cool. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us and we hope that in the process of looking at these incredibly rich pictures that what happens with you is what he just mentioned here in verse two. That these images are meant for glory and for beauty.

They're meant to direct our attention to this God who loves us tremendously and wants us to be near and who provides a way for us to come into his presence. So we hope you join us next time. We'll be in chapter 28 if you want to pre-read it and see what's there. And we'll have a great time when we come back and bring your coffee.

Yeah, thanks. Glad you were with us today. Okay, well this is Jim and Dorothy and this is 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, morethanink.org. Okay, so here we go. I'll say hello. Okay. See you guys next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-07 21:14:47 / 2023-03-07 21:28:07 / 13

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