Devo 14

“So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron, and he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.“ Exodus 32:3,4

About the time of Abraham who was called out from the moon worshippers of Ur, there lived a man named Job of Uz. He looked upon the same moon and spoke these words:

“If I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above.”

What is it inside a man that causes the one to look at the sun or the moon and know that it is the Creator alone that must be worshipped and one to look at the splendor of the moon and make it an idol? Is it not the Holy Spirit who guides us into worship of the one and only True God?

Abraham was a moon worshipper by birth. But God called him out of his idolatry and promised that through one of his descendants, numbered as many as the stars of heaven, his sin of idolatry would be atoned for.

In Genesis 32 those very descendants turned back to idolatry, worshipping a golden calf fashioned by their own hands. God’s response to their sin is severe,

“I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them.” But Moses intercedes on behalf of the idolators. “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven…And the Lord relented from His wrath.”

But it doesn’t take long for them to return to their whoring. By the time the prophet Ezekiel is on the scene God’s own holy temple has been filled with idols and the priests themselves are worshipping every image under and in the heavens.

“Between the porch and the alter, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east, worshipping the sun.”

How did that happen?

In Acts 7 Stephen takes the high-priest and other synagogue members on a little walk down memory lane. Starting with Abraham’s call out of Ur, the promises he was given, the rescue and rise of Joseph in Egypt, the calling and ministry of Moses, and the Israelites’ rejection of the living oracles of God and turning of their hearts back to Egypt.

This stroll is starting to go south for Stephen’s listeners. Especially when he brings up the those reoccurring instances of idolatry: the golden calf, the host of heaven, the star of Rephan. Why? What caused these people, beloved of God, to be false to Him? The same thing that turns our own hearts to idols. Stephen’s answer to that question cost him his life.

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.”

Except for the merciful invasion of the Holy Spirit in our hearts through the miracle of new birth we all have the same propensity: our hearts are turned to Egypt, to the slavery of sin. We are all idol factories, worshipping the creation and murdering the Creator.

But from the cross. From the cross, the one through whom, and for whom we and everything else was created, the Lord Jesus Christ breathes out final words of forgiveness. Like Moses and Stephen, He intercedes on behalf of the ones who cost Him His life. But because He is our perfect High Priest forever, His is a perfect intercession. There really is forgiveness for our idolatry through faith in Jesus Christ. What a God to be Worshipped!

Friday Factoid Week 13

The boys have been deep into studying Mars this week but you’ll have to wait for their report until January because I’m hijacking today’s post to remind everyone that starting tomorrow we’ll be blogging from our other site Come, Lord Jesus thru December.  So click on the this link and be sure to sign up to follow Come, Lord Jesus.

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In the meantime check out these Flashbacks from our Hawaiian Homeschool 6 years ago here, here, and here.

 

Devo 13

“Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.  But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Her held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side.  So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.  And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.”   Exodus 17:8-13

When we were living in Hawaii it was part of our daily routine to gather with the neighbors on the shore and watch the sunset.  Every evening.  It was just part of the rhythm of life and I seldom missed it.  Here’s a slideshow of some of those spectacular Hawaiian sunsets to whet your appetite. 

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My husband, on the other hand is an early riser and is quite familiar with the phenomenon called sunrise.  I have to admit that the few times I have dragged myself out of bed to witness this display have been wonderful to behold.  Here’s a much, much shorter slideshow just to prove how seldom it happens.

Mauna KeaSunrise 9.29.12

Now the point I want to make is this:  “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!”  (Psalm 113:3)

I love how our reading in Exodus 17:8-16 gives us ample reason to praise His name.  Was it really Moses’ puny arms that were turning the tides of battle? No!  Was it the strength of the rock upon which he rested?  Or the brothers on either side of him who held his hands steady?  No!  It was the Lord!  That’s why the alter Moses built was called “The Lord is My Banner.”  It is the Lord who fought the battle till the sun went down.  And the Lord who won the victory.

And Hezekiah.  This king was sick to the point of death.  But he cries out to the Lord to remember him.  What kind of God was Hezekiah crying out to?  Don’t you think it’s interesting that the sign of lengthened longevity the Lord gives is a celestial one?  God literally turns back the clock.  The sun goes backward on the sundial and Hezekiah isn’t just granted days or weeks or months.  He’s granted 15 more years!  Of course the One who determines the rising and the setting of the sun can determine a man’s length of days! 

Next time you’re watching a sunrise or a sunset have Psalm 65 at your fingertips.  Here are just a few reasons listed in those passages to be praising the name of our Lord from the rising of the sun to it’s setting:

  • He hears our prayer
  • He atones for our transgression
  • He chooses us and brings us near to dwell in His courts
  • He satisfies us with the goodness of His house and the holiness of His temple
  • He answers us with awesome, righteous deed
  • He is the God of our salvation
  • He is the hope of the ends of the earth
  • He made the mountains by His strength
  • He stills the waves
  • He stills the tumult of the peoples
  • He makes the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy!
  • He waters and enriches the earth
  • He prepares, provides, waters and blesses the growth of grain
  • He crowns the year with His bounty

Isn’t it just reasonable to conclude from that list that God loves us?  I find it remarkable then, that in Malachi 1 when the Lord says to Israel, “I have loved you,” their response is “How?”  It seems that the Lord could have just pulled Psalm 65 out of His back pocket and read them the above list.  Or He could have simply pointed to the sun in its course as evidence, or the fact that they were alive.  It seems an ignorant question, right?  “How have you loved us?”  But how does God choose to answer them?  “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord.  “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated.”  What?  I don’t remember that one listed in The 5 Love Languages.  Is God really saying that the way He’s shown His love for Jacob is by hating Esau?  That’s really hard for me to wrap my mind around.  

But that’s not the only dumb question the Israelites ask.  Let’s read further to verses 6 and 7.  “How have we despised your name?”  “How have we polluted you?”  And God answers with a list.  Which they “snort at”  and conclude in verse 13, “What a weariness this is.” 

Oh friend.  Has that been the attitude of your own heart?  It has been of mine.  Out of God’s great love for me, He has chosen me to come near and dwell in His courts to be part of a holy priesthood.  And yet sometimes, I “snort” and find the worship of my Father, Master, and King a wearisome task.  May it not be!  “For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.”

Go back to that slide show.  Better yet, step outside sometime and watch a sunrise or sunset with Psalm 65 in your hand.  And think of Hezekiah on his deathbed.  The sun was going down and it stopped and went backward.  And Hezekiah lived.  The same God who causes the sun to rise and set on the righteous and the ungodly has your life and breath in His hand.  And He loves you.  That’s nothing to snort at friends.  That’s reason for worship!

From the rising of the sun to its setting, my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering.  For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)