Crystal Writes A Blog

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As You Wish


So who among my readers is a fan of The Princess Bride? If you have seen it, then you already know what the line “As you wish” actually means. If you haven’t seen it, or if you have forgotten, watch the provided YouTube clip for understanding. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, go get it right away because it’s one of those movies everyone should see at least once. 🙂

In today’s reading from Exodus 39:22 through Exodus 39:43 (the end of the chapter), we get the details for the final pieces of the vestments to be worn by Aaron and his sons for their services as priests to God. At the end of the description for each new piece, we get the same statement: “As Adonai had ordered Moses.” That statement could also be said like this: “As the Lord wished.”

From verse 33 to verse 41, we read that the tabernacle is now complete, and the craftsmen bring all the pieces to Moses. There is a list of all the pieces that have been created to make the project complete. And then, in verses 42 and 43, it all culminates with a statement of victory which I will let you read for yourselves…

42 The people of Isra’el did all the work just as Adonai had ordered Moshe. 43 Moshe saw all the work, and — there it was! — they had done it! Exactly as Adonai had ordered, they had done it. And Moshe blessed them.

Yes, they had done it! Each piece of furniture; every utensil; all the priest’s garments; the finely woven linen; the artistically embroidered curtains; and every bit of gold, silver, and bronze; all used and put together exactly as Adonai had ordered Moses. Moses carried the instructions to the people, and the people carried out the instructions from God. They had done it exactly as God had ordered.

Imagine the whole thing going something like the movie. The people, like the princess, make their request. They cry out, “Yahveh, save us!” And Yahveh Almighty answers them from His heart, making a plan of deliverance and mercy and grace. They may not have heard Him say the words, but everything He does for them is the same as if He had answered, “As you wish.” Though they struggled with doubts and human weaknesses, and–like Princess Buttercup did to Wesley–they pushed God away at times, when they realized who He was and began to walk in obedience, their actions returned the answer of “As you wish” back to God.

And now, that completed tabernacle is more real than ever for Behold, The Tabernacle of God is among men. When we find ourselves in bondage to sin and paying the price of sinful behavior, we cry out to God for deliverance. He answers, “As you wish” and offers mercy and grace in the blood of Yahshua our Messiah. We may not always accept it right away, and we may struggle even after we realize what that means to us, but He knows we long for His righteousness in our hearts. The struggle continues, and maybe there are times when we reject Him and push Him away completely. But one day, we will find ourselves on our knees–ready to surrender to Him. He will knock on our heart’s door, and we will answer, “As you wish, Lord.”

February 27, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Vested Interest in Israel


Cute Vests by Flickr User TheUglySweaterShop, CC License = Attribution

Cute Vests by Flickr User TheUglySweaterShop, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I love when a title can be seen in multiple ways, and even more when all the ways can be true. Based on the definitions of the word vest, it can be a garment worn to the waist, and the priest in the camp of Israel will wear the garment. It means to bestow power or authority on someone, and God definitely bestowed a lot on the priests of the tribe of Levi. And, it can mean to have a personal stake in something or someone. Both God and the priests have a vested interest in Israel and in the mercy and grace that are represented by the priesthood and the tabernacle practices.

In today’s reading from Exodus 39:2 through Exodus 39:21, we get to see the details of the vest that the artisans are making for the high priest. The parts of the vest, such as the breastplate, are made from gold; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; and finely-woven linen. And, yes, the first item in that list is actually gold, not just gold yarn. The reading says that they hammered the gold into thin sheets and then cut the sheets into threads in order to work them into the yarns and linen.

Can you imagine gold thread that is actually made from gold? Elvis Presley could imagine something close since he had a famous suit made from gold lame’ which was a yarn made with metallic ingredients. A famous tailor to the stars named Nudie Cohn created that suit, and many other famously outrageous outfits. You can read about him at Wikipedia, but since there are no pictures, I found a Pinterest page with lots of fun images, including Elvis’ suit and Nudie’s famous car. I actually got to see the car in person when I was a little girl living in Southern California. There were coins in the dashboard, the doors opened by pulling triggers on pistols, and there was a huge set of bull horns on the front of the car.

So, getting back to the original celebrity designer, God issued detailed instructions for the designs that would cover the priests in His service, and then He anointed skilled men to create them. He did all of this to represent the value of Israel to Him since the high priest was a representation of God Himself. And the part I find the most moving in this story is that God wanted the breastplate fastened down with gold chains, so it would ALWAYS be over the heart of the priest. Need I say more?

February 26, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Heart of a Righteous Judge


Torah Breastplate by Flickr User MagnesMuseum aka The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Torah Breastplate by Flickr User MagnesMuseum aka The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been greatly affected by the admonition from Romans 12:1 to not judge because when we do, we must beware of doing the same thing. Even when directing my nephews for the short time I raised them, I always thought about how I could be accused of doing the same things I was now disciplining them for, so I would try to tell them that discipline did not mean I was judging them. People who do not serve God might call it “karma” or some other word, but I guess I’ve always felt that if I passed judgment over others, I was risking putting myself in a position to be tested by that very thing.

Unfortunately, what I’ve just described is not the effect God wanted that admonition to create. To the contrary, He actually wants us to judge, but to do so in righteousness and not with pride as if we’re better than others, or as if we don’t commit our own sins in our own ways. In today’s reading from Exodus 28:13 through Exodus 28:30, we read about an important piece of the garment for the High Priest of God. This piece is called “the breastplate of judgment” and it has some pretty cool aspects to it that can help us avoid the condemnation that follows in the other verses in Romans 2.

First, the design of the piece includes twelve beautiful stones. The artists are told to engrave one name of each tribe of Israel into each stone. Basically, these are the children of Israel’s birthstones. These stones, sewn into the breastplate and laying over the top of the vest of the high priest’s garment, will always be above the heart of the priest when he goes into the holy of holies to minister to God. This will keep the tribes of Israel over his heart, so he will judge with righteousness.

Beyond the breastplate, we have a couple extra pieces called the urim and tumim that will be covered in detail later, but these stones that rest on the shoulder of the high priest will help him in determining the truth for God’s children, so he can judge correctly.

As with the priests, it is God’s will that we judge, and that we do so correctly in righteousness. If we seek His help and direction, we can keep the right thoughts on our hearts when we are required to pass judgment. God has to judge between good and evil because evil cannot dwell with Him. We must judge between good and evil if we want to keep ourselves from evil, so we can dwell in the presence of God. That is why judgment begins at the house of God–our house/temple of God’s Holy Spirit. May God place His heart–the heart of a righteous judge–within us all that none of us would judge in pride or arrogance but only in obedience and righteousness in Christ.

February 9, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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