>You don’t get anything for 3 days and then…BAM! 2 days of blogging just like that! The waiting of the blog is a lot like the waiting that we’ve been learning about in the…
People of Promise our theme for Tuesday!
The story of the people of promise begins oddly enough with Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel where humanity is so high on themselves that they’ve forgotten God. God scatters the people but in His unrelenting love plans to bless all the families of the earth. Once again we find God responding to our rebellion with steadfast love and acts of mercy. What a God!
So on Tuesday morning we listened, as if we were hearing the story for the first time, the story of Abram and Sarai. We noted the long wait of Abram and his wife as God promised a son, but month after month, nothing. We saw the challenge that Abram had in leaving his homeland at the age of 70. The tests of faith that he sometimes passed and sometimes failed. Tom Ghena had the insight of the morning when he said that “This story shows that sometimes when you’re doing the right thing, it doesn’t always make things better in your life right away.” Sometimes, there’s just waiting.
The next scene was passover, the leaving of Egypt. Here again, the theme of waiting pops up. God’s people were enslaved for 400 years! And as Pharoah takes the male children and drowns them, the people of Israel cry for deliverance! God rescues Moses. But again, it’s not until Moses is 80 years old, that the people of Israel are delivered from Pharoah’s hand.
Waiting and waiting! As we heard the story of the plagues and the passover, we pictured the fear that Israelite families may have had about the death angel. In our mind’s eye we saw the hope, the wonder and the expectation of the hebrew slaves as God was fighting against Pharoah through the plagues.
And the theme of separation emerged again. Abram left his land, Israel was to leave Egypt, and the beautiful image of the red sea escape is this: after Israel escaped through the path in the red sea, that path closed up.
The road to Egypt is closed. New life in a new land. Never to return to slavery. This is rescue. And this is how God intends for us to live our own rescue–Don’t go back to your old life of slavery. You’ve been separated from it!
Ok, sorry. I just really like that picture.
And that was just the morning! Ok, now in the afternoon, while we were REALLY hungry, we had to go on a hike with our lunches. We were wandering, and we were hungry, just like the Israelites in the wilderness! And it was long, and a bit painful, but I really think we learned a lot about what God expects of his covenant people. One great lesson from the book of Exodus was that God rescued us to be a “Kingdom of priests.” We broke that down and understood that a kingdom has a King, people that are subject to the King, and laws. And that priests mediate between God and others. So we are to be a people under God, who obey His laws and somehow show others what this God is like. It’s our new identity. Our new role: royal priests. And this was God’s plan way back under Moses’ leadership and in the promise made to Abram. God’s plan is unrelenting even in the face of our sin and rebellion. His plan is in motion.
After the wanderings we had a tabernacle experience which was very cool. It was a walk through of each station of the tabernacle. Perhaps some of the most significant stations/lessons were the following: 1) Again, God made a way for our sin to be taken care of…through the death of another, in this case-an animal. 2) We felt the separation of being outside of the gate of the tabernacle. On one hand there’s a sense of guilt, here I am again offering a sacrifice for my sin. On the other hand there’s gratitude that God has made a way for guilt to be gone! We experienced the guilt of our sin as we dipped our hands in red paint symbolizing the blood that needed to be spilled for our sin. We saw clean water turn red because of our sin. We saw white towels become stained because of our sin. Powerful images. We entered the holy of holies and noted the symbols of sin in the ark of the covenant: Aaron’s staff that represented the time the Israelites grumbled against his priesthood. A jar of manna representing the grumbling about the food God provided in the desert. And the law representing Israel’s failure to keep it. Yet, these sins are covered by the top of the ark, the mercy seat where God dwells between the cherubim. Our sins of rebellion are covered. God’s love always comes into play after we sin. AMAZING!
A quick word about worship: Great singing and sharing. No teaching, just a time for students to respond to God and what they’ve learned through art (charcoal drawing, paints, poetry, etc) or they can pray or be a part of further study of the Scriptures. Also, they’ve got different prayer stations set up that have been so powerful for me. A wailing wall like in Jerusalem where you can write your intercession and tuck it into the wall.
Also, there’s a cross with a number of prayer mats for reflection. A wall of promises from God’s word for reflection and thanksgiving and huge areas for drawing and writing out your requests or thanksgiving.
I’m running late for Wednesday night worship now; I’ve got to run! Thanks for reading and praying!