Re:Verse reading–Matthew 26:36-46 (day six)

Often, the last thing we want to hear when we face any kind of suffering is “it must be God’s will.” Although it is meant to console, it often never does. Remember Job’s friends, they were far better off just listening or grieving with him, but they just had to try to make sense of his suffering by offering all the reasons God would allow it. Just listen is certainly good advice for us too when consoling a friend, but notice Jesus’ words leading up to his darkest hour, “not my will, but yours be done.” In his great distress (more than we can possibly imagine) it was confidence in His Father’s will that gave him hope; it sustained him. The writer of Hebrews would even declare, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” That kind of joy, in the face of great suffering, could only come to Jesus if he could see through it to behold the purpose’s of his Father on the other side of it. His suffering wasn’t the result of faithlessness, nor was it arbitrary (for no reason at all); no, it was heavy with purpose.

We live in a world broken by the corruption of sin, and we feel it, some of us more than others, but we can be certain of this, that just as Jesus’ suffering (and resurrection) brought new life to the world, so our suffering can yield the same in lives around us. Purpose.

Real Image

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 35:4-10; 20-35; 36:2-7 (day six)

And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. Exodus 35:21

God’s all-sufficiency is not in question. At first glance it would seem that God is in need; that He needs their stuff, along with their time and energy in order to build the tabernacle and its furnishings. This simply isn’t true, after all God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. God was quite able to fashion a tabernacle of his liking in the blink of an eye. So what was God doing if he didn’t need anything from the people?

I think we find the answer all throughout Exodus 35-36. Moses reminds us over and over that the people gave because their hearts were stirred to do so, and they were able to do the work only after the filling of the Holy Spirit. I believe God was calling them back to their deepest nature, being fashioned in the image of God. God not only was invested in establishing a symbolic and tangible presence among His people, but also was doing the work of restoration. This whole business of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the new covenant with an enslaved people has everything to do with God restoring all things unto himself. This restorative work began in the earliest days after the Fall and ends with Jesus’ return, but God is clearly working towards that end in building the tabernacle.

Could it be that the giving of ourselves, whether things or time or skill, taps into our truest nature? Could it be that both the inspiration to create with artistic skill, and the work itself is the reflecting of God’s image in us? After all who gives like our God? Or who creates like Him? When we give out of the stirring of our hearts, or create with our hands by the power of the Holy Spirit we begin to realize what it truly means to be human, men and woman made in the image of God.