14th July: Exodus 27:20-29:9
The ‘lamp’ was ‘set up to burn continually‘ (27:20) – ‘May we be a shining light…Let the flame burn brighter…’ (Songs of Fellowship 389; Mission Praise, 743). A ‘royal priesthood’, we have been called by God – to let His light shine (1 Peter 2:9). He has called us to serve Him (28:1 John 15:16; Acts 20:28; 13:2; 9:15; Hebrews 5:4). The divine call is accompanied by a divine empowering – ‘the Holy Spirit sent from heaven’ (1 Peter 1:12). We are precious to God – Our ‘names’ are written on His heart (9-12,21,29-30; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; John 10:3). In Christ we are cleansed (29:4 1 John 1:7), anointed (29:7; 1 John 2:27) and robed (29:5-6,8-9; Isaiah 61:10). In Christ, we have ‘the best robe’ (28:2; Luke 15:22; Revelation 7:9-10,13-14). In Him, we are ‘consecrated’ by the Word and ‘anointed’ by the Spirit (28:3,41; John 17:17; 14:16-17, 26; 16:13-14).
15th July: Exodus 29:10-46
There is a great contrast between the many sacrifices of the Old Testament and the one sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9:25-28; 10:1-4, 10-14). Looking to Christ, we focus attention on verses 42-46. For God’s people, ‘the tent of meeting’ was a special place concerning which God said, ‘I will meet with you, to speak there to you. There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by My glory’ (42-43). Let us pray that, in both the pulpit and the pew, there will be the glory of God. Aaron and his sons were ‘consecrated to serve’ (44). We look beyond them to Christ who ‘came …to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45). He dwells among us (45; John 1:14). He has provided for us a ‘better’ redemption than the redemption of Israel from Egypt – He is ‘much more excellent’ (46; Hebrews 8:6; 9:23-24).
16th July: Exodus 30:1-38
The Word of God (‘the testimony’) declares the mercy of God, leading to our meeting with God (6). We highlight several features of our worship: (a) ‘the blood of the sin offering of atonement‘ (10) – This points to the ‘how much more’ sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for us (Hebrews 9:13-14); (b) ‘washing‘ (18) – Christ ‘has washed us from our sins in His blood’ (Revelation 1:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-6); (c) ‘holy anointing oil‘ (25) – We are to be ‘consecrated’, ‘most holy’, servants of the Lord, ‘making holiness perfect in the fear of God’, living in the power of the Holy Spirit (29-30; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Zechariah 4:6); (d) ‘incense‘ (35) – We are to be ‘the aroma of Christ’, spreading His ‘fragrance’ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Christlike living is grounded in prayer (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4; Luke 18:1; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
17th July: Mark 14:1-25
Jesus was surrounded by enemies, ‘seeking to kill Him’ (1). There was also a hypocrite, preparing ‘to betray Him’ (10-11). What a joy it was to find a woman with such heartfelt love for Him (3-9). Her love for Christ must never be forgotten (9). There is something else which must never be forgotten – His love for us. Our love for Him can never begin to compare with His love for us. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper (22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26), we rejoice in His love. Think little of your love for Him. Think much of His love for you. ‘Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise? He can never be forgotten throughout heaven’s eternal days’ (Songs of Fellowship, 168). Remember Christ, and let your remembering be filled with worship (25; Ephesians 5:19-20; Colossians 3:16-17).
18th July: Exodus 31:1-32:14
‘Called‘ by God and ‘filled‘ with His Spirit (31:1-3), Bezalel had the support of Oholiab and ‘all able men‘ (31:6). Few may be called and equipped to lead, but many are required for God’s work to be done – effectively (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). ‘All’ of us receive our strength from the ‘Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:11). We offer ourselves in service with this faith, ‘Jesus is Lord’. Faith is God’s gift: ‘no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’. There are many gifts. They are varied expressions of one gift: the faith which confesses that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). The people fell into idolatry and immorality (32:6): a ‘warning’ to us (1 Corinthians 10:6-12). We have God’s help – to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10: 13). Moses sets for us a godly example: he spent time with God, hearing His voice and prevailing in prayer (32:1,7-14).
19th July: Exodus 32:15-33:23
In Moses, we see the holiness and love of God: a deep hatred of sin (32:19), an intense longing for sinners to be forgiven (32). Filled with ‘the fear of the Lord’, Moses was fearless before men. God’s Word to sinners is clear: He warns them (Proverbs 29:1); He calls them to repent (Acts 2:38); He invites them to return to Him (Hosea 6:1). Moses’ faithful and fearless preaching emerged from his closeness to God: ‘The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’ (11). Moses prayed; God heard; God answered (33:17). Moses prayed for a revelation of God’s glory (33:18). God revealed Himself as the good God, the God of grace and mercy (32:19). Let us go up to God and bring down all that is needed to build the Body of Christ that God may take pleasure in it and that He may appear in His glory (Haggai 1:8).
20th July: Exodus 34:1-35
God gives His promise (33:19). God keeps His promise (5-7). The glory of Christ is revealed to those who are learning to love Him (John 14:21). We are not yet ready for the full glory (33:20). When Christ returns, ‘we shall see Him as He is‘ (1 John 3:2). There is to be ‘no other god’ but the Lord (14). We are not to be squeezed into the world’s mould (Romans 12:2). ‘No molten gods’, ‘no graven image’ – We are to be remoulded by God, ‘conformed to the image of His Son’ (17; 20:4; Romans 12:2; 8:29). Moses’ face was shining – Other people noticed (29)! Let others see Christ in you. Never take pride in your own spirituality – ‘If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not know (the Lord) as he ought to know (Him)’ (1 Corinthians 8:2). Keep your eyes on Jesus. The glory comes from Him. No glory for me – All glory to Him (2 Corinthians 3:18)!
21st July: Mark 14:26-52
After ‘they had sung a hymn’ (26), Peter showed that there was a great deal of ‘self’ in him (29). All of us can be like this – ‘they all said the same’ (31). We attend Communion (22-24), we sing hymns (26) – yet still the wrong attitudes persist! We ‘enjoy’ praise, prayer, and preaching – Remember: God is concerned with the whole of life, not just the ‘spiritual’ activities! Christ looked ahead to the Cross – ‘the hour’, ‘this cup’ (35-36). He was far removed from an ‘enjoyable atmosphere’ within which prayer is ‘easy’. Sorely tempted, He prayed, ‘not what I will but what You will’ (36). This was no easy road – the ‘betrayer’ was waiting for Him (42). It was a lonely road – ‘they all forsook Him, and fled’ (50). ‘The gate is narrow, the way is hard’ (Matthew 7:14). May God help us to follow Jesus.
22nd July: Exodus 35:1-36:7
The work of God is shared by many different people with many different gifts. The work is done according to (a) the Lord’s command (35:1,4,10; 36:1,5); (b) heartfelt obedience (21; 36:3,5-7); (c) the God-given abilities (24-25; 36:2,4,8). There is something for ‘everyone’ to do – everyone ‘whose heart is stirred whose spirit is moved’ (21). Many gifts are needed (31-35). Underlying them all, there is this: ‘filled with the Spirit of God’ (31). In God’s work, there is to be ‘full’ obedience. When we are fully obedient, there will be ‘an overflowing blessing’ (Malachi 3:10). ‘The people bring much more than enough…’. There ‘was sufficient to do all the work, and more‘ (36:5,7). God is ready to bless. Are we ready to obey? ‘If my people…I will…'(2 Chronicles 7:14). ‘Always abounding in the work of the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 15:58)!
23rd July: Exodus 36:8-38
Moses may have been the leader among God’s people, but he could not do all the work by himself! Two of his helpers – Bezalel and Oholiab – are named (1-2). Most – ‘all the able men’ – remain anonymous (8). Anonymous yet indispensable – Without them, the work of God would have been left undone! To those who are full of their own importance, God says, ‘No-one is indispensable. I will find someone else to do My work’. To those who, without fuss, get on with doing His work, God says, ‘You are my servants, through whom My work will make good progress’. Building Christ’s Church is a long process, involving suffering and disappointments as well as hard-fought victories. In so many ways, the tabernacle pointed to Christ: ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). May God help us to lead many people to Christ!
24th July: Mark 14:53-15:5
Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of the Blessed’. He is ‘seated at the right hand of Power’. He is ‘coming with the clouds of heaven’ (61-62). He is ‘the King of the Jews’: His Kingdom is greater than Herod imagined – it is ‘not of this world’ (2; John 18:36). Why, then, did He remain silent when false charges were brought against Him? He was bearing our sin – That is why ‘He did not open His mouth’ (Isaiah 53:4-7; 1 Peter 2:22-24; 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21). He knew that He was going to the Cross – for us (John 10:11,15,17-18). Jesus did not deny us: His silence was a godly silence – ‘He bore the sin of many’, making ‘Himself an offering for sin’ (Isaiah 53:12,10). Will we deny Him? Our silence is a guilty silence (66-71). May Christ’s Word, and His look of love, cause us to weep – and repent (72; Luke 22:61-62; 2 Corinthians 7:10).
25th July: Exodus 37:1-29
Pure gold (2,6,11,16-17,22-24, 26); Jesus Christ is ‘pure gold’. He is ‘God with us’. His body was broken for us. We feed on Him, the living Bread. His light is shining. He spreads the fragrance of His holiness, and the aroma of His love (Matthew 1:23; Luke 22:19; John 6:35; 8:12; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Read about the ark, the mercy seat, the table, the lampstand, the altar of incense, the holy anointing oil…Think of Christ: He is the ‘mercy seat of pure gold’ (6). ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious…’: In mercy, He withholds His judgment from us – He is ‘slow to anger’. In grace, He pours His blessing on us – He is ‘abounding in steadfast love’ (Psalm 103:8). We deserve judgment. We receive salvation. Why? Christ took our judgment that we might receive His salvation. This is the Gospel – and it is ‘pure gold’!
26th July: Exodus 38:1-31
We read, in verse 8, of ‘the ministering women…’. See also 35:25-26,29 – ‘all women …all the women… All the men and women…’. Male and female – We need each other. We are ‘one in Christ Jesus’. In Him, ‘there is neither male nor female’ (Galatians 3:28). There should never be a competitive spirit. We are to complement each other. In verse 25, we read of ‘the silver from those of the congregation’. God’s work does not depend entirely on those who have been called to be leaders. Each of us must play our part. There should be no pulling in different directions. We belong together. We are to work together. Let’s pull together, pooling our resources, pulling our weight. Among God’s people, there is ‘gold’ – but it must be ‘used for the work’ (24). Will you be worth your weight in gold – for God?
27th July: Mark 15 6-41
Jesus did not ‘save Himself’. ‘He saved others’ (31). He sacrificed Himself for our salvation. His was the sacrifice. Ours is the salvation. He ‘put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself’ (Hebrews 9:26). Barabbas was ‘released’. Jesus was ‘crucified’ (15). This is the Gospel – He took my place, He died for me. He was ‘forsaken’ by God (34). We are reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:19,21). We rejoice that Christ ignored the mocking call from ‘the chief priests’ and ‘scribes’: ‘come down now from the Cross’ (32). He paid the full price of our salvation. For us now, there is full salvation. His suffering was complete: ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30) was not a whimper of defeat. It was the declaration of victory. All that was needed – He has done for us. Now, He invites us to receive salvation: ‘Come; for all is now ready’ (Luke 14:17).
28th July: Exodus 39:1-43
‘As the Lord had commanded…’ (1,5,7,21,26,29,31-32,42-43): Obedience to God – this is the most important thing. ‘And Moses blessed them’ (43): Where there is obedience, there is blessing – there’s a vital connection between the two. In Jesus, we see perfect obedience: ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work’ (John 4:34). Jesus was fully obedient to the Father’s will: ‘He became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross’ (Philippians 2:8). Through His obedience, there is blessing for us: ‘by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous’ (Romans 5:19). We look beyond the Old Testament priesthood to Christ, the ‘High Priest of the good things that have come’ – By ‘His own blood’, He has secured for us ‘an eternal redemption’ (Hebrews 9:11-12).
29th July: Exodus 40:1-38
Here, we highlight three lessons: (a) The work of God begins with the Word of God: ‘The Lord said to Moses…’ (1). Before we can do anything for God, we must be taught by God. (b) The work of God must proceed in the way of God: ‘Thus did Moses; according to all that the Lord commanded him, so he did’ (16). If we are to accomplish anything for God, we must do God’s work in God’s way. (c) The work of God must lead to the worship of God: ‘The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle’ (34). If we are really seeking to work for God, we must seek to give Him the glory for all that is accomplished. Making these our priorities – the Word, way and worship of God – , we will look for ‘the cloud and fire’, the presence and power of God among us: He will be our Guide ‘throughout all our journeys’ (38).
30th July: Mark 15:42-16:20
Dead and buried (44-46) – ‘The End’? No! There is more. An ‘Appendix’? No! A whole new beginning – For Jesus, for us! He is ‘the first fruits (1 Corinthians 15:20,23). The full glory is still to come (1 Corinthians 15:24). He has risen (6). ‘At His coming, those who belong to Christ’ will be raised – with Him and by Him – to everlasting life (1 Corinthians 15:23). This is the glory of the resurrection. It is not simply a thing of the past. It is our glorious future – we ‘will be raised imperishable’ (1 Corinthians 15:52). There is a Gospel to be preached – the Gospel of salvation (15-16). May God help us to preach the Gospel ‘everywhere’ – This will involve all of us, not just a few of us! May He give us the joy of seeing Him at work, confirming the message by the signs that attend it (20).
31st July: Psalm 10:1-18
Wickedness seems to be so prevalent. Many ‘renounce the Lord’, saying ‘There is no God’ (3-4). It seems that the wicked ‘prosper at all times’, while the innocent victims of oppression feel that ‘God has forgotten’ (5-11). When it appears that God ‘has hidden His face’, when we feel that He has forgotten us, we must remember this: ‘The Lord is King for ever and ever’ (11,16). Do not judge by appearances. Do not trust your feelings. Everything changes. Nothing remains the same. Everything changes – except God. He is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable in His faithful love for us. We rejoice in this: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:5). Whatever circumstances and feelings may suggest, never forget this: ‘He loved us from the first of time, He loves us to the last’ (Church Hymnary, 293).