I told my baby story at my shower – I didn’t know if I’d every have a baby shower, and I’m so thankful to God that I did. I hope you find the story of my journey through infertility encouraging to you no matter if you face infertility or not. We will all face something that feels crippling or overwhelming at some point in our life. We are all busy with the building of our household whether it has children in it or not – who will you trust with the building?
Yesterday I posted about staying faithful to God in the wilderness, even a wilderness that comes upon us because of the sins of others. We are to fully follow God–whether He tells us to go back into a wilderness or to go forward into the Promised Land. Not every wilderness is the result of another’s sin. I’ve suffered in the wilderness because of my own sins (see my post But, there is a Redeemer) and I’ve suffered in the wilderness simply because we live in a fallen world and there is a curse of death upon our bodies (see my blog series starting with 5 Years). No matter how we end up in a wilderness though, if we humble ourselves before the Lord and recognize His authority by submitting to Him then God will provide for us in the midst of the suffering.
Think about Elijah, when Ahab and Jezebel brought suffering upon Israel because of their sin. The land was parched with drought, and on top of that Ahab and Jezebel were out to kill Elijah. Jezebel was out to kill all of the prophets of God in fact. It was a dangerous and perilous time to be a prophet of God–but God provided for Elijah. Elijah was faithful to God in the “wilderness” season of his life and God in turn transformed the actual wilderness into a safe haven for Elijah:
“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” I Kings 17:2-6
One of my favorite verses in Exodus is chapter 15 verse 27:
“Then they [the Israelites during the Exodus in the wilderness] came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.”
God had created these 12 springs of water, one for each of the tribes of Israel, way before the Exodus. In His providence He created a safe haven for them, a place to camp at. Interestingly, and importantly they were tested directly before this provision with a time of wondering where there was no water, and a time where there was only bitter, unfit water.
Whether we’ve brought the consequences of sin upon ourselves, or whether we are suffering because of others or even because of the way we were born–God longs to be tender and affectionate towards us in the wilderness. He longs to provide for us supernaturally and providentially. God is able. Sometimes we find ourselves in a wilderness all of a sudden, and sometimes, just like Caleb, Joshua and Elijah, we need to obey God when he tells us to enter into the wilderness.
It is in the wilderness where God can teach us and refine us. It is in the wilderness where God chooses often to show Himself mighty and strong. It is in the wilderness where God delights in magnifying His love and His provision to His faithful ones. It is in the wilderness where you suddenly become aware of how much you have to rely upon Him. It is in the wilderness where He opens up the Rock and nourishes us with Living Water.
He is all that we need.
God, the master artist and designer of the universe, was very specific with the pattern for the ark. Artists and designers do tend to be detail oriented! In fact before laying out the pattern God commands Moses in verse 9 saying:
“Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”
Then in verse 40 God repeats:
“See that you make them according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain.”
When God says something once we’d better listen, when He says something twice…well it is really important! (:
- Made of acacia wood
- 2.5 cubits long / about 3.75 feet
- 1.5 cubits wide / about 2.25 feet
- 1.5 cuts high / about 2.25 feet
- Overlaid with pure gold inside and out
- Inside: put the Testimony that God was going to give Moses
- Gold Crown:
(rim/border) around the top
- 4 Golden Rings:
attached to the four feet
- 2 Poles:
made of acacia wood
overlain with pure gold
inserted into ring to carry ark with
never to be removed
- A Mercy Seat
overlain with pure gold
2.5 cubits long / about 3.75 feet
1.5 cubits wide / about 2.25 feet
- 2 Cherubim:
(winged angelic figures)
solid hammered gold
on the two ends of the mercy seat
cherubim to be made of one piece with the cover
wings spread upward, overshadowing the mercy seat
facing each other
looking toward the mercy seat
A quite simple observation is that God has exact patterns, plans and results in mind. Since God is perfect, His plans our perfect. This reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11, of Romans 8:29 and the many other verses throughout scripture where God tells us that He has plans for each one of us. The many verses where God speaks of those plans come to mind too. The plans of His desire for us to know Him, where He commands us to seek Him, to live for Him. He is very specific in the “how” as well: Romans 12, Matthew 16:24, Matthew 5, 6, and 7, John 15, Psalm 119, I Peter 3:1…so many more! That is why it is so important to read and study the word, so we will read of God’s plan for us and then read and apply how to live for Him. Not only that but be literally transformed by God’s truth and spirit living within us. God is detail oriented about your life, if you let Him be your Shepherd then He will lead you according to His will in your life and you will never be more satisfied than when you are living in obedience to God!
The Mercy Seat
The most astounding and amazing application that God touched my heart with from this passage is in Exodus 25:22:
“There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim, I will speak intimately with you of all which I will give you in commandment to the Israelites”
God commands us intimately.
The implication of that sentence should blow us away. It stirs awe in my heart before the Almighty God. That the King of Kings and Lord of Lords does not stand afar and command us like a stranger. Even though He has the complete right to command us that way and the power to make us obey. Although we don’t deserve and literally cannot be in His presence without instantly dying (apart from Christ) because of our sin. In spite of all of this, He chooses instead to command us to come to Him. His desire is to teach us His commands in a very loving, affectionate and intimate manner. God through the sacrifice of His Son Christ longs to meet with us from the Seat of Mercy….not the seat of judgement which is what we deserve. He, Who ALONE has the right to judge – no one else has that right cause we have all failed. He Has come in mercy…how beautiful…how wonderful is that?
Come to the mercy seat today, do not delay. There is a day coming for each of us when this window of opportunity will be no more. The day we draw our last breath will be the day our fate is sealed based on this critical decision, will you repent before the mercy seat and let God command you intimately? God desires for you to come to Him now.
I find humor in the fact that when I first read Exodus 25:9-22 it wasn’t until six days later during my time with God that He revealed to me the wonder for verse 22. It just goes to show how blind I am to God’s truth apart from the illumination of the Holy Spirit! (: It is so exciting when God shows us a nugget of truth too, it is like pure gold, it is Him, He is truth, God is THE treasure!
God commands for an offering to be taken in order for the sanctuary to be built.
1. Is that He commands for it only to be collected from those who give it willingly and ungrudgingly:
“And the Lord said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites, that they take for Me an offering. From every man who gives it willingly and ungrudgingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”
The key point is that God only would accept an offering from those who gave it willingly. He did not want it from those who would give with the wrong attitude in their heart. He did not want an offering of legalism or with any resentment attached, but one of worship, with a true desire to give. Today the same applies, no matter if we give 10, 15, 30, 50 or 70% to God we need to make sure our hearts our free from any resentment and that we are with willing heart, actually desiring to give to God. Trusting Him and worshiping him with our tithe and our offering. When resentment or greed rear their ugly heads we should be quick to confess and repent, asking for God to create a clean heart within us.
2. The offering was to be of gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, scarlet, fine twined linen, goat’s air, rams’ skins tanned red, goat skins, dolphin/porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil, spices, onyx and other stones.
I wonder how many people today would give God some gold, silver or bronze with a willing heart or without any resentment. Not too many of us possess these types of articles, but what would the equivalent be? Our money, our TV, our piano, our nice clothing, our possessions of value and quality. How many of us without any resentment would willingly give of our own personal possessions? Seriously consider what your reaction would be in the event God asked you to give an offering like this. What does the outcome reveal, do we value our things, our money, our possessions more? Do we trust in what we have more than God to provide for us? Matthew 6:31-34 says:
So do not worry, asking, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
Right before this passage Jesus commands us by saying:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destory and where theives to not break in and steal. For where your treasure is , there you heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
This conviction hits me particularly hard today. Even this past week I happened to be shopping for winter clothes since I didn’t have any snow boots and no heavy coat. We just moved somewhere where shoveling snow is a part of life and going anywhere requires facing extreme cold. I couldn’t find anything that fit me or that was affordable and time was running out before the snow started falling. Instead of trusting in the Lord, praying about it and seeking His kingdom first I gave into worry, even frustration and impatience. I hate to admit that I sinned in my frustration and anger towards God and my husband. It is the clarity of God’s Word and the strength of His promises that I should be relying on instead of being so short sighted and consumed in my own selfishness…
Lord please help me to give willingly and without grudge or resentment. Heavenly Father please help me to remember that you are Jehovah-jireh, my Provider. Please open my eyes to recognize opportunities for generousity. Please open my ears to recognize when you are commanding me to give an offering. Lord please also burden my heart in response to and open my eyes to recoginze my greed, selfishness and worry.