A very special box

Do you have a special box where you keep treasures?  I remember my mother’s special box.  It was a place where she kept two $2 bills (one for me and one for my twin sister), some coins from other countries that she had collected, and other things.  This special treasure box also contained a charm bracelet that I loved to admire any chance I could.

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I loved looking at the interesting charms and the people or events they were associated with.  My mom wouldn’t wear the charm bracelet everyday.  She saved it for special times.

There was a special box in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle (that tent of worship they built in the wilderness of Sinai) called the Ark of the Covenant.  It had been designed by God and crafted by the artists who made the items that were to be placed in the Tabernacle. (see Exodus 25:10-22) It was box covered with a lid, called the Mercy Seat.  On top of the lid were cherubim with wings outstretched to cover the ark.

Eventually the Ark of the Covenant would contain the two tablets on which God had carved the 10 Commandments, also a jar of manna and Aaron’s rod which had been used by Aaron and Moses back in Egypt when  plagues devastated the land of Egypt. These items couldn’t be taken out and admired anytime someone wanted to.  Only the High Priest could go in the room where it was kept, and even he didn’t dare to disturb the contents. God’s people knew the ark was there in that room and they knew it was to be kept holy.

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The Ark of the Covenant wasn’t just a treasure box of special items that Moses wanted to keep.  It was where God’s Spirit dwelled in the Tabernacle.  Each year, on the Day of  Atonement, it would be sprinkled with blood to atone for the sins of God’s people. Without blood there was no atonement for sin.

We are not sure what happened to the Ark of the Covenant.  The Tabernacle was replaced by the Temple during the reign of King Solomon.  The Ark was placed in that Temple.  Eventually that temple was destroyed and another built.

God’s Spirit dwells among His people today, not in a special box, but in the hearts of those who have trusted in His Son, Jesus, for their salvation.  Jesus came, as a baby, to dwell among us.  We celebrate that coming at Christmas each year. On Good Friday Jesus atoned for our sins when he died on the cross.  His blood shed for all who could not save themselves.

Thankfully, we can celebrate God’s presence with us each and every day as we walk by faith with Him. Praise God!

On Sunday we’ll talk more about that wonderful salvation!

Love you!

Mrs. Bess

 

The Sights and Smells of the Holy Place

Put on your imagination cap again this week.  Pretend you are a child who is camping out in the wilderness with your family and thousands of other people.  You are at the base of a big mountain where you have heard thunder and trumpet blasts sound.  You’ve seen lightening and this big cloud come down over the mountain.  You’ve felt the earth shaking as the mountain rumbles.

Your family is from one of the 12 tribes that all together are known as the Hebrew nation.  Depending on which tribe you are in you will have a designated place to camp.  In the middle of the camp a big tent has been constructed.  But it’s not like the tent your family is camped out in.  This is a tent where God dwells.

It is surrounded by cloth walls made from linen that are over 7 feet tall- too high to look over.  When you walk through the purple, blue and red curtain you come into the courtyard where there is a big altar for the sacrifices.  Off to the side is a very large bronze basin where priests wash their hands.  Only they (the priests) are allowed entry inside the tent. In this tent there is the golden lampstand and table with the bread and the altar of incense.

These pieces all were placed in the larger room of the Tabernacle tent called The Holy Place. The Holy Place was where the priests offered daily offerings.

They kept the seven lamps on the golden lampstand burning constantly because this was the only source of light inside the tent.

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Oil for the Lamps

They also kept twelve loaves of bread on the golden table.

Bread for the Table

Bread for the Table

Always noticeable was the fragrant smell from the incense that was offered on the smaller golden altar.

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Incense for the Altar

God had told Moses that these things were to be kept in order each and every day.  It was a way God’s people honored Him by bringing these offerings before Him.

Here’s what someone today imagined the Tabernacle must have looked like.  Quite a special place, wouldn’t you agree?

Tabernacle of Moses

On Sunday we’ll talk more about how these offerings compare to the worship we offer to the Lord each time we gather.  Can’t wait to tell you more about it!

Love,

Mrs. Bess

Tabernacle

We’re going to take a few weeks to look at more details of the Tabernacle. It wasn’t your ordinary, camp-in-the-wilderness-kind-of tent. They didn’t have cots in the Tabernacle. They did have a lamp and a table for special bread. They didn’t play board games in the tent, but they did offer incense and other offerings.

This song, “Tabernacle” relates how God gave the instructions to this special tent and how God’s people had to work together to build it. It took dedication and commitment on the part of the people, doing it God’s way. God’s people didn’t have cranes. They didn’t wear hard hats or drive dump trucks. But the people really did work together to create something that was an outward indication of their love and devotion to their God.

I pray your devotion to God shows in the things you do and the way you spend your time and money.  We’ll be talking about that more in the coming weeks!

With love,

Mrs. Bess

Moses in the Cloud

At Mt. Sinai, Moses and the people of Israel were all bathed, in fresh clothes, ready to hear what the Lord said. They said in a loud voice, “All the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient. (Exodus 24: 7)

Continuing in Exodus 24:12-18, we find out that Moses asks Joshua (his assistant) to go up to Mt. Sinai with him. The elders were to wait with Aaron (Moses’ brother) and Hur (another one of the leaders of Israel) until Moses came back down. Moses went up the mountain and the cloud covered the mountain. On the seventh day, Moses was called up into the cloud and went higher up on the mountain. Moses was there for 40 days and 40 nights!

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During those 40 days and 40 nights Moses received instructions about the tabernacle. It was a special tent that God wanted Moses and the people of Israel to build. It was to be their place of worship, different from any place of worship that had ever been. In Exodus 25-30 there are very specific instructions about this tent of worship. There were specific instructions about how big it was to be, what materials were to be used to construct it, what furnishings it would contain, and how it was to be treated.

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We’ll be learning lots about this special tent and how God designed it to help His people understand His grace and mercy and our need for a Savior.

Grateful for His love!
Mrs. Bess

PS- Just for fun- see if you can solve this maze : )

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Rumblings and Flashes

Let’s take time to imagine something. Imagine an extremely large group of people on a journey through the desert. They have all their belongings, their animals, their families with them. We’re talking about hundred of thousands of people.

As they are walking, they are reminded that God is with them showing them where to go in that enormous cloud up in the sky. They are thankful for the warmth of the pillar of fire at night. They’ve been given food and water to sustain them. They have on sturdy shoes that protect their feet. They know they are headed to their homeland—the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Then they come to a big mountain. You can read about this in Exodus 19. The cloud rises up and hovers over this mountain called Mt. Sinai. The people camp around the mountain and God talks to them there. He tells them wash up and to be ready because He has something to say to them. On the third day God’s presence is made known to them through thunder and lightening. There was a loud sounding of a trumpet. All the people in the camp trembled—they knew God was there!

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God called Moses to the mountain and Moses obeys. While Moses is up on this mountain, God gives him the 10 Commandments. Can you remember all of them? Here’s a video to help you.

God’s law was for the good of His people and all people. But we know the law wasn’t the perfect solution. It would be broken before Moses could come down the mountain with the two tablets that God inscribed with His own finger. That’s why God had a better plan. His plan was Messiah. His plan was to send His Son, Jesus, who did keep God’s law perfectly, yet who would end up giving himself for us who could not keep the law. Where the law could not save us, Jesus could!

Hebrews 7:22, 25-26 says,

Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant… Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

Love-

Mrs. Bess

 

Food and Water in the Wilderness

God’s people have a long way to go to get to Canaan.  But God was leading the way showing them where to go.  He would also provide for all their needs from the beginning of the journey to the end.  He would give them manna in the morning.  It was little flakes of bread that would gather from the ground each day.  He would rain down quail from heaven in the evening.  He would cause water to gush from the rocks.  You can read about it in Exodus 15,16 and 17.  Their shoes didn’t even wear out on the journey!  God knew exactly what they people needed.  They just needed to trust that He would take care of them.

Here’s a word puzzle for you to solve…

One of God’s names is Jehovah-Jireh—God our Provider! Take time today to think of ways God has provided for you!  I think when you start making a list you will come up with a long one!

Jehovah-Jireh!

I miss you and I love you and I hope to see you back in Sunday School soon!

Mrs. Bess

Cloud by Day, Fire by Night

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We’re going to pick back up with our Journey to the Promised Land! When we left off a couple weeks ago Moses and the people of Israel had crossed the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his army were thrown into the deep. Do you remember how they were led to cross the Red Sea? God was leading them by a big cloud in the sky. At night that cloud became a pillar of fire. It was an impressive sight to behold!

The cloud provided help as they journeyed across the desert. The cloud cooled things during the day and the fire provided warmth and light at night. Whenever the cloud moved, the people moved! Everyone could look up and know whether to stay camped or to pack up their belongings and continue on their way.

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Were you able to find the way to the Promised Land from Egypt?

God promises us that He will watch over us wherever we go.  Psalm 121 is a beautiful Song of Ascent that is often used in our Sunday worship.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.

 

AMEN!  That’s such a wonderful reminder God gives us in His Word.

Sending you lots of love!

Mrs. Bess