To say I have enjoyed this week of reading would be quite an understatement. I have enjoyed reading Genesis and Exodus as a story, with continuity, as I would a novel I couldn't put down. More than once I wanted to keep reading, and I did when I had the time. One day I had a really hard time focusing, but it was the one time the kids were awake and in the room for all of it. (Won't do that again!) But every day I enjoyed it and the Lord has given fruit in the time I've given Him.
All of Genesis and Exodus ~ It's always a good reminder that the heroes of the faith were really as screwed up as I am! They made as many mistakes as I do and God still used them to lead tribes of people, be High Priests and actually let Moses be in His presence! So I suppose that means I really can't make so many mistakes that He'll stop using me.
Exodus 18:13-27 ~ Moses was exhausted after trying to adjudicate all of the Israelite's troubles. He had a visit with his father-in-law, Jethro, who was living somewhere else. Jethro immediately had a wise suggestion for Moses (implement a team and delegate!) that gave Moses some immediate relief. How often do I stay involved in some situation where I'm just spinning my wheels when there really is a better way? And do I have relationships with wise people who will point out my unfruitful behaviors in love and share their wise thoughts with me? The Lord has given me several people like this in my life that I'm so thankful for! I love intergenerational small groups for this exact reason.
Exodus 20: 25 ~ If they were going to build an altar, God wanted it only built out of uncut stones. He said if they cut them they would be defiled. I wonder if God knew they'd spend time carving and then waste pride on their work? And would they begin to worship the altar itself as opposed to the Person to whom the altar was built to acknowledge? Either way, it was a reminder that God wants me just with what I've got in my natural state. I don't have to pretty myself up to come to him. He'll take me with all the bumps, holes, imperfections and jagged edges I've got. He's the one who can smooth them all out and heal them anyway. And praise Him for that!!
Exodus 29-30 ~ I couldn't help but notice all of the responsibilties that came along with Aaron's assignment as High Priest, and that Aaron (from what I could see) didn't really ask to be assigned to that ministry. It was a large load to bear, failure had tremendous ramifications that affected a lot of people, yet God didn't really ask him if he wanted the position! I think God does that with us. He gives us ministries, positions, loads to bear that can negatively affect a lot of people if we bear them poorly or lead them all toward Him if we carry it out right. Our challenges and troubles in life determine many of the ministries we have, whether or not we want them. He gives us stories to steward and we have a choice as to how we do that. We can do it poorly while complaining in bitterness, grumbling loudly and consistently (most definitely prolonging our misery and that of the people around us) and grieving Him in the process. Or we can do it well, trusting Him and His understanding of the big picture, clinging to Him in our darkest hour, taking our thoughts captive and begging Him to help us in those times of unbelief, and therefore blessing our Maker by bringing glory to Him. I want to steward my stories in the latter manner. Oh may it be so!
Exodus 39:10-13 ~ On a trivial note, I noticed the twelve gemstones places in Aaron's breastplate and wondered if they were the origins of birthstones. Though they've changed through the years to stones more available, that is where birthstones are said to have originated. The twelve stones were meant to represent the twelve tribes of Israel of course, but also corresponded with the twelve months of the year. Who knew? :)
So this week it's Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. I know from my reading in the past these are challenging (read: boring) books to stick with. I'm praying the Lord reveals something to me besides a list of things I'm thankful I don't have to do anymore to stay in His good graces. :) Be praying for me and all of use reading. I'm reading with over 1000 people who signed up on Mom's Toolbox, and 4 others I'm encouraging along the way.