Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, August 26, 2012

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In most of this chapter, it’s interesting to note how specific God’s instructions are regarding sacrificial offerings and other rituals. This careful instruction by God is repeated all throughout the Old Testament. The Israelites had been slaves for over 400 years, living in sub-human conditions and being treated no better than animals. They’d had no formal education, and needed the most elemental training. The God of the Universe, who holds billions of stars in place, took it upon Himself to personally train them with the utmost patience and care in hygiene, behavior, and worship. He was teaching them—and us—that details matter to Him.

 

Just like he told them to “make tassels on the corners of your garments with a blue cord on each tassel” to look at and remember the Lord’s commands, He tells us today that he sees the sparrow fall and knows the number of hairs on our head.  He cared for them back then, and He cares for us today.

 

This chapter also mentions the incident of the Sabbath-breaker who was found gathering wood on the Sabbath and was stoned to death. The Bible doesn’t always explain the “why” of a certain apparently harsh punishment, and that’s where trust comes in—do we trust God to be just and yet merciful in all His dealings? That is the very issue of the great controversy between Christ and Satan—the love and fairness of God.

 

In this instance, however, we have clarification from the writings of E.G. White:  This man “was angry at being excluded from Canaan, and determined to show his defiance of God’s law by venturing upon the open transgression of the fourth commandment” (PP 409).  Lighting a fire in the cold climate of Canaan was often necessary on the Sabbath, but not in the wilderness. Despite every week being reminded of the Sabbath by the miracle of the manna, he, and the whole congregation, would have expressed open contempt for the authority of God had he been allowed to continue in his stubborn defiance of God.

 

How is our Sabbath-keeping? Do we sometimes forget that God is interested in the little things as well as the big things and will not accept a careless worship?

 

Nancy Costa

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