Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Job Well-Done

Good morning.  Today is the middle of our seventh week, reading the Bible through together in a year.  Our scripture today is Exodus 38-40; Hebrews 1.

Everybody likes to get the blessing of their boss when they've done a job well.  You might know that you performed well, but there's just something about the affirmation you get when your employer, parent, teacher, or mentor tells you that you've done good work.  Exodus 39:42 says:

42 The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 43 Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.

Making the Tabernacle was a monumental task.  Just in the writing of the plans alone, it took several chapters (we've been reading about it now for days).  Imagine how much labor went into its actual construction!  Imagine the physical and emotional investment the people had in its completion.  It was a team effort involving seamstresses, metal workers, carpenters, tent makers, hunters, weavers, jewelers, priests, and more.  The tabernacle represented the efforts of the whole people, as the bronze implements were made from the contributions of the people (Exodus 38:8).  The people also made financial contributions to the work (Exodus 28:25-26).  When Moses inspected the final product and found everything complete, he gave his blessing for a job well-done.

Who do you need to give your blessing to today?  It means so much to hear that you've done well, that you're good enough, that your efforts have been fruitful.  God may have put you into someone's life today, just so that you could be a voice of affirmation and blessing to them.  In James 3, the brother of Jesus reminds us that our tongues can be instruments of great good or great evil.  I pray that you'll use yours as a tool of righteousness, of blessing, and of peace.  I pray that your words will build up, rather than tear down.

After Moses recognized their good work, God also imparted a divine blessing to the people by settling His shining presence among them.  Exodus 40:33-38 says:

33 Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
36 In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; 37 but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. 38 So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

Israel had a tangible reminder of God's blessing in the presence of the Shekinah glory of God, a shining cloud that filled the Tabernacle and led the people in the wilderness.  God's blessing remained with them as they were faithful, but departed when they were faithless (Ezekiel 9-10).  

Every one of us wants God's approval.  Just as you might crave the blessing of a parent or boss for a job well-done, you also want God to recognize your successes in life.  You need to understand that salvation (God's acceptance) is one thing, and blessing (God's approval) is quite another thing.  Your salvation is a gift, not because you are good enough to earn it but because God is good enough to give it.  God's blessing, however, is something that you can earn by a job well-done.  When you're faithful in the small things, God will put you in charge of greater things (Matthew 25:23). 

We receive God's acceptance simply by trusting Him.  We earn God's approval by doing our best.  As in the Parable of the Bags of Gold (Matthew 25:14-30), God wants to see His people succeed.  He wants to see them grow in their faithfulness to Him and in their good deeds.  Just as others might need your blessing, so you may need to know God's blessing for a job well-done.  The best way to receive this blessing is to be obedient to Him.  As the Israelites followed God's instructions to a T, so God calls you to obey His commands.  Then watch as God settles His glory into your life and leads you each day.

No comments: