Good morning! We close out the month of January today with the final three chapters of Exodus. Earlier we’ve read God’s instruction to Moses about each part of the tabernacle, then read about it being built. Here we have the actual setting up of the tabernacle, which is a great accomplishment for the Hebrew people and a “guarantee” of God’s presence among them for the decades of wilderness time still to come.
Good morning! I’ve been thinking of you each day as I write, and wonder how the reading is going for you. Have you heard the phrase, “After the ecstasy, the laundry”? I suspect that following our initial euphoria at Genesis and the start of a new resolution, many of us are now feeling the “laundry” portion of just getting through the daily readings. Let me encourage you to do what you can as you have time, and to recognize that this is a marathon endeavor. So just do what you can to get a taste of each day’s reading, and I recommend skimming or listening to an audio edition if that makes it easier to stay caught up. Free yourself of the burden that you must read each verse, plus everything that I or others write, if it gets in your way. Giving some of your finite attention each day to this effort is a lovely demonstration of your desire, and the “perfect” need not get in the way of your “personal best”. Many of us have already read more of the Bible in a faster and deeper way than ever before, and this is a huge accomplishment all on its own!
Good morning! In today’s passage (Exodus 33-35) God, Moses and the Hebrew people must figure out what they’re going to do to repair their breach. After chapters of God’s rhapsodic descriptions of the beautiful tabernacle, the people lost patience and decided to create other gods, which evoked slaughter and divine plague in response. The relationship between God and people is sometimes described in the Bible as like a marriage, so what to do now when one’s vows have been betrayed?
Good morning! Today in Exodus 30-32 we finish the description of the tabernacle’s furnishings, then run into the story of idolatry and retribution which is known by the Golden Calf.
Good morning! Today’s passage (Exodus 27-29) continues yesterday’s instructions for the outfitting of the tabernacle and its items, then describes the appearance and preparation of Hebrew priests. You might get either glassy-eyed or grossed out at the details here, but I’ll do what I can to help us find contemporary significance in this ancient haberdashery.
Good morning! Today’s reading from Exodus 24-26 describes the ascent of Moses and other leaders on Mount Sinai, plus detailed instructions from God for what sacred artifacts are to be built as symbols of God’s presence in the wilderness. It’s odd to get architectural blueprints from the Divine, so let’s look for the meaning behind these instructions to see what purpose they serve in the Hebrew community. Throughout, these chapters emphasize holiness through hierarchy.
Good morning! Expanding from the Ten Commandments yesterday, today’s chapters (Exodus 21-23) describe a framework of moral and legal practice which is both utterly foreign and yet perhaps still understandable. I find it fascinating to imagine the human dynamics by which these laws came about. These situations came about often enough that ancient Hebrews established patterns for dealing with them in a fair manner. I invite us to bracket our inclination to measure these laws against today’s morality as much as possible, and instead read them with a sense of curiosity for what they teach us of early Jewish life.