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February 27, Day #58 – Living Blamelessly or Aimlessly?

We come now to Exodus 39-40 where we see the creation of the priestly garments for Aaron and his sons “as the LORD commanded Moses” (Exodus 39:1). This expression, “as the LORD commanded Moses,” is extremely important; it is repeated fifteen times in chapters 39 and 40 (cf., Exodus 39:1; 39:5; 39:7; 39:21; 39:26; 39:29; 39:31; 39:42; 40:16; 40:19; 40:21; 40:23; 40:25; 40:29; and 40:32). This repetition serves to emphasize that God Himself specified the creation of these garments, and it informs us of His interest in their beauty. It also serves to establish the obedience and personal integrity of Moses who “did everything” that God commanded Him to do. An ephod was a type of skirt or apron which the high priest wore. Notice that it was made of “blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, fine linen, and strands of gold worked into the blue” (verses 2-3). It must have been beautiful. The breast-piece gemstones named in Exodus 39:10-13 are almost identical to the foundation stones presented in Revelation 21:19 – indicating that these stones constitute the basis for some things to come in the future. When the craftsmen finished all the work on the tabernacle and its worship elements, they brought it all to Moses who “inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded, so Moses blessed them” (verse 43). In chapter 40, we read the conclusion of the book of Exodus which describes the placement and setup of the tabernacle. We read twice that “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (verses 34-35). God’s presence – revealed by a "cloud over the tabernacle by day and a fire by night” (verse 38) - represented the blessing of the LORD on Moses and the Israelites for their faithfulness in completing all this work. Looking ahead to the fascinating book of Leviticus, God will reveal His rules and regulations for the Israelites as they trust Him, learn to worship Him, and contemplate moving into the promised land.

As we come to Psalm 26, we see that David gives us the pattern for living a “blameless” life. Living “blamelessly” does not mean living sinlessly. One cannot live a blameless life by living an aimless life. A blameless life is one lived deliberately and characterized by the two spiritual virtues that Moses possessed - obedience and integrity. These virtues require us to “rely on His faithfulness by trusting the LORD [exclusively] (verse 1); to be mindful of His unfailing love (verse 3); to refuse to associate with “deceitful hypocrites” (verse 4); and “to abhor evil, evildoers, and the wicked” (verses 3-5). We notice that blamelessness includes “proclaiming God’s praise and telling of His wonderful deeds” (verse 7), as well as recognizing our own need for God’s “deliverance and mercy” (verses 7 and 11). To live blamelessly, we should pursue and practice these virtues. In our readings from Mark’s gospel, we see an example of someone who practiced these virtues.

Yesterday, in Mark 8:27-38, we saw Peter’s confession of Christ as the Messiah – the “anointed One” (verse 29). Peter’s confession is followed almost immediately by his rebuke of Christ for teaching about His forthcoming death. As we have seen before, Peter’s behavior often mirrors our own in that, on the one hand, he swings from a high and lofty confession of Christ to a lowdown, satanic rebuke of the Lord on the other hand. Classically, we saw that Peter didn’t know himself very well, and I think this is true of us all. What Peter did, I am just as likely to do. How thankful we ought to be that God is compassionate and forgiving. In Mark 9, we read about the transfiguration of Christ with Moses and Elijah before Peter, James, and John. We mentioned earlier (on Day 25, cf., Matthew 17), that this is a special, prophetic event, in which we see a miniature form of the kingdom of heaven. In verses 14-32, we see the healing of a boy with an evil spirit, and an example of a man – his father - who practiced the virtues of Psalm 26. Like that man, we must believe, but we must trust God to “help” our pervasive and fleshly “unbelief” (cf., verse 24). Our spirits are often “willing,” but our flesh is “weak” (cf., Matthew 26:41). The disciples were spiritually eager to learn, but their flesh lagged behind. To live blamelessly, we must practice the principles we see in our readings both today and tomorrow.

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