Summary: Communion Meditation for October 7, 2007
Slide 1 This past week I took a step back from the Bible as I prepared for this communion meditation and as I did so, I believe that the Holy Spirit began to show me some patterns in scripture regarding how the Lord related to humankind throughout the course of Biblical history. Slide 2
Slide 2b One theme that was revealed to me is that the Bible begins and ends with perfection. Just beyond the creation account we see a perfect world and just before the curtain closes on John’s deep and marvelous revelation, we see the new heaven and new earth that is perfect and peaceful.
Slide 2c I also noticed that in God’s working with humanity there is a balanced emphasis between the individual and the group. Early on God speaks to individuals such as Adam and Eve, then Cain, followed by Noah, then onto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Then as we move into the story of Moses, God hears the cries of the Israelites, a group, and eventually frees them and leads them out of bondage and slavery in Egypt which brings us our Exodus 25 text.
Please notice what the Lord said to Moses in verse 8, ‘I want the people of Israel to build me a sacred residence where I can live among them.’ Slide 3
Around 430 years after Abraham was given the promise of becoming the father of a great nation, God seeks to live among that great nation, His people.
So, He tells Moses to tell the people to build Him a Tabernacle, a portable place of worship that would be moved as the people moved back to the Promise Land. The slide shows one artistic representation what the Most Holy Place may have looked like as the High Priest, the only one who could rightfully enter the Most Holy Place, made a sacrifice for the sins of the nation.
Then, following the idea of the emphasis between group and individual, the story of Moses transitions to the story of Joshua. Key to this story is the Ark of the Covenant leading the way across the Jordan as they returned to the Promise Land because it served as a reminder of God’s presence in their midst leading them across the Jordan.
As Joshua and the Judges of Israel pass on and off the stage of both Biblical and world history, we come to a new chapter in the life of Israel as it develops into a monarchy. First there is Saul and then David to whom plans for a new place of worship, a Temple, are first made but because of the bloodshed that David had created his son, Solomon, would be the king that would build the temple and this brings us to the 1 Kings 5 passage in which we read, (Slide 4) ‘So I [Solomon] am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he instructed my father that I should do.’ (Here we see a cross section of what the Temple may have looked like.)
Israel has now been established as a nation, is at peace with her enemies, and a more permanent place of worship, where God still meets the people through the High Priest, is established. God still seeks to live among his people and the Temple is visible evidence of that. But as we continue to read the Biblical story, Solomon’s story includes a long, slow decline in the relationship between God and the Israelites.
It affects the leadership first as we read of the Kings and Queens who decide to make the Temple a place of worship for something else that the Lord. The result of the decline is first the split of Israel into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms and then the eventual conquering of both Kingdoms and exile of key leaders and persons to foreign lands.
During this decline and exile, God calls forth prophets named Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel as well as others, to tell the people to “come home, come back to me!” God seeks for the re-establishment of a relationship with His people.
Listen to Isaiah 51:4 and 5: “Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations. My mercy and justice are coming soon. Your salvation is on the way.”
Then a few chapters later we read in chapter 53, “Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal his saving power? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care.