February 4

Matthew 23:1-22


In chapter 22 we see where the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to debate and fault Jesus, but they gave up trying. In chapter 23, Jesus speaks to the crowds and to the disciples about the religiously proud. They can talk about what is right in God’s eyes, but they can’t live it themselves. Why? Because they aren’t living by a reliant faith; they are attempting to live by a fake faith, a self-reliant, self-exalting, self-serving religious position. They were also preparing to put Him to death. 


In verse 37, Jesus knows the time is getting close to when He will face the cross. Jesus longs over Jerusalem, having lived several years trying to gather his countrymen into His kingdom, but they would not come or they would not stay committed to Him. Jesus is thinking about the cross, quoting the same phrase used at the Triumphal Entry, saying, “The next time you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’ will be at His second coming. In chapter 24 we see Jesus is also thinking about what happens in the future for Jerusalem, not just in the decades to come after His ascension, but in chapter 24, He’s thinking about the end of the world as we know it and the millennial reign. 


We have to get the big picture. Jesus looked beyond the cross, and He saw millions of people being reconciled to the Father. He counted the cost, and he valued us highly enough to pay the cost. 


Exodus 34-36


God is teaching Israel about Himself. In verse 6, He speaks of His mercy, truth, grace, goodness, longsuffering, and forgiveness. He also speaks of His justice, not compromising His holiness, but extending His grace. 


Israel did not deserve forgiveness, but God, by His grace, forgave Israel when they repented. He also renewed the covenant and made new stone tablets to replace the ones Moses had broken. This story shows us that when we repent, or turn away, from our sinful and imperfect ways, we can run TO God, not AWAY from God. Aren’t you glad our Father is merciful to us? 


When Moses returned with the new tablets, His face was shining. It was concerning to the people, so Moses put a veil over his face. This happened whenever Moses would meet with the Lord. 


In chapter 35, Moses received and gives more instruction, after the interruption of the calf incident, including Sabbath regulations, offerings, articles, and artisans. 


In chapter 36, we see that the people brought in more than enough for the tabernacle. This wasn’t just a tent in the wilderness, this was their place of worship. The people valued their place of worship, so they gave towards it. Construction begins. 


The same should be true today. One, when we give to our local church, we should do so willingly, not out of obligation or without heart. Two, we should value our place of worship and want to be generous in meeting the needs of the church. God sees our hearts as we give, honoring Him and the work He wants to do in the earth. It is a privilege to serve Him and give to His purpose. Amen!


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