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February 23, Day #54 – How and What God Forgets

Today in our readings we come to Exodus 31-32. In chapter 31, the LORD informs Moses that He has “chosen Bezalel son of Uri ... to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” (verses 2-5). God chose Oholiab “to help him” (verse 6). Here we see that our God, Who “has made everything beautiful in its time,” adds His blessing to beauty and man’s creation of it. God desires beauty for His creation; He wanted the tabernacle and its environs to reflect His beauty to the Israelites. The Spirit of God endowed these artists and craftsmen with the “skill, ability, and knowledge” to bring beauty into the lives of the Israelites and into their worship. God also told Moses that the people “must observe” the Sabbath as a testament to their knowledge of the LORD - because He is holy, because He makes them holy, and because the Sabbath is holy. It was to be an everlasting sign between God and the Israelites. God considers rest to be so important that He required the death penalty for any desecration of the Sabbath. Today, our culture completely overlooks or ignores any requirement for rest, but God will hold modern man accountable. The chapter ends with God giving to Moses the two stone tablets on which He inscribed the law by His own hand.

In Exodus 32, “Moses was long in coming down from the mountain” (verse 1). The people grew restless and impatient. They demanded that Aaron the priest “make” them gods (verse 1). This is one of the most heartbreaking chapters in the Old Testament. Aaron and the people were both willing participants in this nonsense, and both should have known better. Aaron made the idol and the altar; the people bowed down to it; and later, Aaron had the audacity to tell Moses, “I threw [the gold] into the fire, and out came this calf!” (verse 24). How utterly absurd is that? The whole camp was “running wild … out of control … and a laughingstock to their enemies” (verse 25). These foolish actions produced two tragic results: (1) “that day about three thousand people died for committing a great sin” (verses 28-30); and (2) this generation of Israelites forfeited their opportunity to become a kingdom of priests (cf., Exodus 19:6). This section teaches us that thoughtless impatience quickly leads to sin and the influences of gross sin get quickly out of hand. Sin spreads extensively. Today, people are still the same - followers of bad ideas. And as to our basically sinful human nature - we haven’t changed at all.

In Psalm 25:1-7 we see David’s complete trust in the LORD - “He is good” (verse 7). If we hope and trust in Him, “we will never be put to shame” but the opposite will happen to those “who are treacherous” (verse 3). If we ask, God will “show us His ways; He will teach us His paths; and He will guide us in His truth. Yesterday, we mentioned that God never forgets. Today, we read David’s request of the LORD to “remember His great mercy and love, and according to His love, to remember not the sins of his youth” (verse 7). This is exactly how and what God forgets.

Today’s reading in Mark 6:30-56 shows us two events in the life of Christ – the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on water. In the first example, the apostles were tired “because so many people were coming and they didn’t even have a chance to eat” (verse 31). Notice Jesus’ invitation to them: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (verse 31). This is what Jesus offers us. Rest in a quiet place – from all the hustle and bustle of the world. We need to remember that Jesus is our Refuge. In Him, there is rest and peace for our weary souls. Jesus told His disciples to “give the people something to eat,” but they could not (verse 37). In the second example, after Jesus fed the five thousand (with “twelve basketfuls” left over), He “made His disciples get into” a boat, “while He left them to pray” (verse 46). Later, as the disciples were “straining at the oars,” Jesus came “walking on the lake” to them (verses 47-48). These events reveal Christ’s authority, power, and sufficiency over nature and over man’s natural appetites, weaknesses, and insufficiencies.

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