Exodus 28:1-43 ~ Matthew 25:31-26:13 ~ Psalm 31:9-18 ~ Proverbs 8:12-13
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Old Testament - Today in Exodus chapter 28 we read about the ephod for the priests! The ephod was a sleeveless outer vest that typically extended down to the hips and had a waistband to hold the front and back of the ephod to the priest's body. The ephod is the blue cloth in this image below, and the chestpiece you'll see has the four rows of gemstones:
The high priest wearing the ephod and chestpiece:
Exodus chapter 28 verse 1 stood out to me in today's readings: "Your brother, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, will be set apart from the common people. They will be my priests and will minister to me." Here we see that the priests are being set apart as mediators between the people of Israel and God. And this role is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ as our high priest. Jesus is now the mediator between God and us. Personally, I still do see so much value in pastors and clergy in our lives and churches today. We'll study more about these important roles in Paul's writings in the New Testament. However, I also personally believe that we can approach the throne of God through Jesus Christ as our mediator - and that we don't need another human mediator here on earth to approach God. Jesus is more than enough. Do you believe that Jesus is our high priest today? Do you believe that Jesus is the mediator between you and God?
More information on the Urim and Thummim we read about today is online at this link.
New Testament - Today in Matthew chapter 25 we read about the Final Judgment. Verses 34 is an amazing thing to imagine coming in the future: "`Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." What a beautiful thought - come and inherit the Kingdom prepared for YOU from the foundation of the world! Do you believe in this inheritance? Do you look forward to this inheritance?
Verses 37 through 40 are so powerful for each of us to consider while we are still here on earth: "Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" Whatever we do for one of the least among us, we do for Jesus. And - what we do not do for the least among us, we do not do for Jesus. Is God calling you in any way to give food, give water, show hospitality, give clothing, visit the sick, or visit those in prison for the least among us? Will you do this for Jesus?
In Matthew chapter 26 today we read the beautiful story of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Mark 14 identifies Mary), who anoints Jesus, and as he tells us in verse 12: "She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial." An interesting insight from the NIV Study Bible's commentary - In Jesus' day it was a normal Jewish custom to anoint a dead body with aromatic oils in preparing for burial. Jesus seems to be anticipating suffering a "criminal's" death, for only in that circumstance was there no anointing of the dead body...
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Matthew chapter 25 titled "The Sheep and The Goats" is at this link.
Psalms - Have you ever felt like Psalm 31 verse 10... "I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within." Do you believe that God can rescue you from this? Will you pray to God to save you from this?
Proverbs - Proverbs 8 verse 13 is a powerful look at what Wisdom hates! "That is why I hate pride, arrogance, corruption, and perverted speech." When you look at your own life - do you hate pride, arrogance, corruption and perverted speech in your own behavior?
Worship God: Psalm 31 verse 10 reminded me of the MercyMe song "Jesus, Bring the Rain:"
Are you in a rainstorm? Click here for Shelter!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on three verses of Scripture today: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'" Matthew 25:34-36
Prayer Point: Pray that you will be on Jesus' right hand side when He comes again to judge the living and the dead. Pray that you will feed, clothe, visit in prison, care for and provide hospitality to the "least of these" here on Earth today, in Jesus' name.
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: Back to Psalm 31 verse 10 above. I recently read C.S. Lewis' book "A Grief Observed". Has anyone read this? It is a very short book. But, wow, it is a powerful short book! It is a memoir C.S. Lewis wrote after the death of his wife and it is so incredibly thoughtful and moving as C.S. Lewis works through his grief and his questions for and about God. Psalm 31:10 reminds me of this book... though not really... it seems like C.S. Lewis didn't quite get as down as the level of this verse. Anyhow - great book I think for any Christian who has lost a loved one. Let me know reviews in the Comments section below if you've read A Grief Observed, or know others who have? Has it been consoling for you during a time of loss? Do you have any other book recommendations for people who might be going through grief? Books that were helpful to you when you went through a time of grief? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!