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PROTECTION

EVIDENCE OF GOD’S PROTECTION

EVIDENCE OF GOD’S PROTECTION: 

King Hezekiah began his independent reign when he broke the treaty which his father Ahaz made with the Assyrians (2 Kgs. 16:7), probably during the reign of Sargon II (722-705 B.C.). Sargon’s successor Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) decided to bring Judah into line, and he led a campaign against Hezekiah in the king’s 14th year (2 Kgs. 18:13). Hoping to prevent Jerusalem’s capture, Hezekiah hid the city by concealing the outside water supplies (2 Chron. 32:3-4).

He also repaired any weak spots in the wall and built towers around it (1 Kgs. 9:24), and added to the weapon supply. He also mobilized the people under army officers. He encouraged them not to feat, but to trust the Lord — a power far superior to a nation like Assyria. Hezekiah assured the people that the Lord was with them to help them.

What was Hezekiah doing in the previous chapter? (Protection)

He was securing the tithes of the people and also making sure the priests are provided for and encouraging people to be consistent about their giving.

He took care of the priests — God’s workers. As a result, God protected Hezekiah’s reign and gave him victory.

In 2 Chronicles 32:9-15, Sennacherib boasted that no other god had been able to protect his people from the Assyrians. He was mocking the God of the Israelites, saying He was just another God. After his taunting through letters and addresses through his messengers, he would send delegates to speak in Hebrew on the wall to demoralize the people about their God.

Hezekiah took care of the provision for the priest. In return, the Lord protected him and his kingdom.

Hezekiah turned to the Lord with the Prophet Isaiah. With the help of the prophet, they prayed for divine deliverance. God gave the king assurance through the prophet (2 Kgs. 19:20-34). God sent an angel to destroy the Assyrian host forcing Sennacherib to retreat in humility (2 Chron. 32:20-21a). Hezekiah took care of the provision for the priest. In return, the Lord protected him and his kingdom. He upheld Hezekiah’s throne against the Assyrian army. This protection only comes from God.

 

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PROTECTION

PLAGUE

THE PLAGUE

THE PLAGUE:  “Require each of the men to pay money to me in order to keep him safe from danger while you are doing this [counting].”

In Exodus 30, if a person does not give a ransom for himself to the Lord, thus declaring himself to be separate from God and putting oneself outside God’s protective care, this person becomes stricken by a plague. There will be no plague among them who would give an offering. The word plague means “blow” or “affliction.”

In any case, this word implies a disaster in the Today’s English Version (TEV), and danger in the Contemporary English Version (CEV) that God would bring upon people who do not bring in an offering. It is also possible to combine the final two sentences of the passage to get a better context of it. Doing so, we can read it like this.

“Require each of the men to pay money to me in order to keep him safe from danger while you are doing this [counting].

Are you experiencing disasters or turbulence in your life right now? May I ask how are you handling your finances? Are you bringing in your tithe? If so, maybe it’s because you are not bringing in your târumah. When you are failing to do any of these things, in your actions you are saying you do not belong to God, therefore His hedge of protection cannot be around you. God is a gentle God. He basically lets you be when you reject Him, along with that His protection and favor can also be withheld.

The money offering received served as a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord. In the Bible, there are different kinds of memorials. When the people gave as they were numbered, the children are a witness to this act. As the Israelites obeyed, they are also teaching their children to obey. The parents’ act of obedience also serves as a blessing and inheritance to the next generation.  The next generation would know that they also belong to the Almighty God.

The parents’ act of obedience also serves as a blessing and inheritance to the next generation. 

 

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PLAGUE

The-Tarumah-and-The-Protection-of-God

The Tărūmāh and The Protection of God

The Tărūmāh and The Protection of God: 

“With time you can learn where to go for nourishment, where to hide for protection, where to turn for guidance. Just as your earthly house is a place of refuge, so God’s house is a place of peace.”

– Max Lucado

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing, he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NRSV

Exodus 30 shows us another interesting purpose for the offering and how it is made for atonement. It is an offering that is used to save people’s lives. First, let’s examine the passage below:

11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 12 “Make a list of the Israelites and count them. When you do, each one must pay the Lord for his life at the time he is counted. Then a plague will not come on them when you count them.

13 Each one counted must pay a fifth of an ounce of silver. It must be weighed out in keeping with the standard weights that are used in the sacred tent. The payment is an offering to the Lord.

14 Each one counted must be 20 years old or more. He must give an offering to the Lord.

15 When you make the offering, rich people must not give more than a fifth of an ounce of silver. And poor people must not give less. The offering you give to the Lord will pay for your lives.

16 Receive the money from the people of Israel. Use it for any purpose in the tent of meeting. It will remind the people that they are paying me for their lives.” (Exodus 30:11-16)

The context of the passage above took place at the numbering of people for the purpose of enrolling them in the arm of Jehovah (Num. 1:3, Exo. 7:4, 12:41). Everyone who passed over to those that were numbered was to pay half a shekel to the sanctuary as atonement money. Both the rich and the poor paid the same amount 1/5 of an ounce of silver.

Both the rich and the poor both paid the same amount 1/5 of an ounce of silver.

We are all equal in the sight of Jehovah. This payment was to be a târumah (Exo. 25:2) for Jehovah for the expiation of souls.

If we relate it to today’s context, the tithes are the same for both the rich and the poor, it is the first 10%. In terms of the târumah, it is 1/40th for the generous person.

The shekel of the sanctuary, which contained 20 s, can be considered as the original shekel of full weight. There was a lighter shekel which was currently in ordinary use. The sacred shekel, according to the present valuation is worth 26 groschens. One Euro is equivalent to 13.76 groschens. In dollar former, one sacred shekel is about $2.14.

During this time, it was a huge task to take a census. However, this is what Israel will undergo. If you have ever done an inventory, you know that the only one who can order this is the one in authority. Only the person who owns whatever is counted can order an inventory. We only have the authority to count things that are rightfully ours. We cannot put our numbers on other people’s stuff. The census declares that the Israelites who were numbered are God’s.

They were His people, and He alone had the authority to count them.

Who had the right to number the Israelites? It was only God who has the authority to do this. They were His people, and He alone had the authority to count them.  According to the commentary of A. W. Pink “When God numbers or orders anything to be numbered, taking the sum of them denotes that they belong to Him and that He has the sovereign right to do with them as He pleases. The action itself says of the things numbered, ‘These are Mine, and I assign them their place as I will.” The only way to properly count the Israelites was for God’s glory alone.

There is a risk that whenever the Israelites took a census, they are in danger of forgetting this. After all, they are the ones physically doing the counting. Thus, they would be tempted to think that their great numbers were a credit to them, rather than to God. They would be tempted to think that their great numbers were a credit to them, rather than to God. It’s not a sin to take a census, but it is a sin to rob God of His glory.

They would be tempted to think that their great numbers were a credit to them, rather than to God.

King David experienced this downfall. He started saying and feeling pride about how big his army was, without attributing its number to the Lord. David got caught up in the numbers game. This boasting can be a temptation for everyone, even a temptation for churches. Pastors always want to see the latest church attendance figures, especially based on the tithes and offering. This information is indeed useful since we want to measure if what we are doing is productive. However, we cannot use it to keep score and to compare our ministry with that of another senior pastor. We are not in a competition. We are on the same team, with the desire to advance God’s Kingdom.

In this context, to make sure the Israelites remembered that they did not belong to themselves but to God, God required a târumah. He required a ransom for every man in Israel. By paying half a shekel, they were acknowledging that they did not belong to themselves, but to God. In the same way, our tithes and offering declare that we belong to the Lord, and we (as well as our finances) are therefore protected.

In the same way, our tithes and offering declare that we belong to the Lord, and we (as well as our finances) are therefore protected.

 

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RECEIVING THE PROPHETIC MANTLE

THE RESPONSE FOR THE CONTRIBUTIONS (EXODUS 35:21–29)

THE RESPONSE FOR THE CONTRIBUTIONS (EXODUS 35:21–29):

The response was excellent. The people immediately began bringing their contributions to Moses. Exodus 35 shows us that their hearts were stirred up, they were willing-hearted (Exo. 35:21-22, 26, 29). There were no gimmicks required. The instructions of God moved their hearts.

Târumah is given from nothing. God already provides what we are to give.

Like the Israelites, we are to give as we are enabled. Târumah is not given anything. God already provides what we are to give. God gives us the ability to give. You do not need to give anything that you do not already possess.

23-26  They came, both men and women, all the willing spirits among them, offering brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces—anything made of gold—offering up their gold jewelry to God.

Anyone who had blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics; fine linen; goats’ hair; tanned leather; and dolphin skins brought them.

Everyone who wanted to offer up silver or bronze as a gift to God brought it. Everyone who had acacia wood that could be used in the work brought it. All the women skilled at weaving brought their weavings of blue and purple and scarlet fabrics and they’re fine linens. And all the women who were gifted in spinning spun the goats’ hair. (Exodus 35: 23-26)

They already have these objects in their possession. God prepared them for the act of giving.

If you notice the verse above, they already had what they offered. They did not take the time to gather or save up for it first and did not have to go on an expedition to get these things. They already have these objects in their possession. God prepared them for the act of giving. They offered what God supplied.

 

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GIVING WHAT YOU HAVE

GIVING WHAT YOU HAVE: In order to make a holy dwelling for God, the Israelites had to give the right materials for the work of the Lord. Exodus 35 depicts how they gathered what they needed for this huge project. They all had a contribution to make. What is so wonderful is, God, blessed the community so that they had something to contribute.

From their example, we learn what it means to have a unified heart forgiving. One person could not have provided for the whole project. It took the Israelite community to give an offering of what they have, and what they can do for the glorious work of the Lord.

Exodus 35 begins with Moses telling the Israelites once more to honor God’s holy day (v. 1-3).

Each of what the people gave was needed somewhere in the tabernacle.  The gold, silver, and bronze were used to make the altar, ark, pillars, furniture, and utensils. The linen and yarn were used for the coverings, curtains, and veils. The animal skins covered the tabernacle itself, while the acacia wood was used to construct its framework. The oil, incense, and spices were used by the priests who served inside, with the precious stones adorning the sacred garments of the high priest. The people’s gifts were ordinary things, but they became sacred because they offered them to the Lord.

The people’s gifts were ordinary things, but they became sacred because they offered them to the Lord.

All of the materials that built the tabernacle came from the Israelites. The people gave from what they had, and in this way, they participated in God’s work. God could have made a tabernacle magically appear. However, He was working on the hearts of the people. God had a process. God made plans, but the people did the work. They experienced what it was like to be used to accomplish God’s purposes. They also experienced how God provided so that they can contribute.

God is intentional. God would not give you something that you do not need or that He does not need for you to give.

The people gave the right materials, giving God what they had. Everything they had come from God in the first place.

However, it is the grace of the Lord that allows you to receive what you can contribute so that you are part of the big picture.

The people were willing to give. God only accepts offerings that are freely given, otherwise, the curse is on the giver. Paul restated how God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). Thus, the collection for the tabernacle — the contribution of the people, is a freewill offering.

Even today, we have a similar opportunity to give something to God. Everything we have comes from God in the first place. Sometimes, it is literally a building project so that the church can have a venue to meet at. However, most times, God wants you to contribute to keep the church running and to provide for His ministers. When we bring in our tithes and offerings, we are supporting God’s work through the Gospel.

The Lord is sovereign, He can deal with His ministers, as well as He can deal with anyone. Your duty is to obey and to worship the Lord.

Some of the offerings go to the pastor, so he can fully devote his life to prayer and the ministry of God’s Word. Some of it goes to the other ministry and support staff who help us grow in grace and serve Christ. Few of it goes to outreach among the poor and the lost in the community. Some of it goes to support the work of missions around the world. When you give to the church, do not allow the enemy to plant lies in your mind accusing your pastor and church of using the money inappropriately. The Lord is sovereign, He can deal with His ministers, as well as He can deal with anyone. Your duty is to obey and to worship the Lord.

 

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SUPPORTING THE WORSHIP OF THE LORD

SUPPORTING THE WORSHIP OF THE LORD

Leviticus 7 reveals final directives for the ongoing support of the ministry at the tabernacle. If there is a worship service with offerings that are overseen by God-called ministers, then there is also the responsibility on the part of the worshipper to contribute to the material aspects of the worship service.

Using the specific word “portion” means the author is attributing the portion of the gift exclusively to ordained ministers.

The meat from the peace offerings is one of the main means for supporting the work of the Lord. As an Israelite who is making his offering, he gave the breast and thigh of the animal to the priest as their portion of the celebration. In Leviticus 10:35, the word “portion” occurs only in this passage in the whole Testament. “Portion” is directly translated to mishchah; the same term also means “anointing oil”.

The word is carefully selected by the author because it is translated as “anointed” in verse 36.

This verse pertains to the ordination service of the priests who received an anointing oil as a sign of their unique role. Using the specific word “portion” means the author is attributing the portion of the gift exclusively to ordained ministers.

The order of distribution of the gifts communicated the divine means by which they practice aspects of the worship is provided.

In Leviticus 10, the worshipper by “his own hands” brought the gifts to the Lord (v. 30).

The worshipper sets apart the fat with the breast and lifting up the breast heavenward and this motion represents the declaration that these gifts were transferred from earth to the divine realm.

The distribution of the animal’s parts communicated the way by which God supported operation of the sanctuary, which we can relate to the famous Christian saying, “if it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill.”

The Lord described burning up the fat, which was the portion that was reserved exclusively. The worshipper personally hands over the breast part to the priestly family for their portion. The worshipper also took the right thigh and gave it directly to the officiating priest for his personal portion.

The distribution of the animal’s parts communicated the way by which God supported the operation of the sanctuary, which we can relate to the famous Christian saying, “if it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill.”

The layperson was offering contributions to the Lord, not to the priest per se. However, it was the Lord who reassigned the select portions for his ministers so that they can obtain their daily livelihood.

 This provision for the servants at the tabernacle was continually supplied by the Lord (vv. 34, 36).

The truth of the matter is the priests had no other means of income. As most pastors today, they were totally dependent upon the Lord to provide for their needs. How did the Lord provide for them? He used the contributions to Him to be shared with His ministers.

The New Testament Scripture supports this pattern of ministry support in the pragmatic aspect of sharing the Gospel. Paul acknowledged that Christians in the New Testament church must give to the Lord all they are and all they have. They give out of the means as the Lord has provided for us (2 Cor. 8:3-5; 9:9-11).                                       These gifts to the lord would be used to sustain His ministers and to enable the church’s mission.

Paul’s epistles showed how he taught his churches to give liberally from their resources (1 Cor. 9:13, 14)

As believers, we benefit from the bodily sacrifice of Christ and from the worship of the Lord by His church. We have the duty to make a contribution to the work of the Lord. However, some church members are simply disobedient to this call and neglect the work of the Lord. It’s a heart issue that each individual Christian must deal with.

How can we say we have truly given ourselves, our families, and our destinies into the hands of the Lord if we cannot entrust the Lord with our finances. Is money even an issue to the God of the Universe?

 

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Deuteronomy.

DEUTERONOMY 12:11-12

The next chapter talks about the importance of bringing in the offerings that the Lord prescribed, where He commanded it to be brought, and how the people would be filled with joy, as a result. In Deuteronomy,  God places His name in the place He commands people to bring their offering to.

11 The Lord your God will choose a special place. He will put his Name there. That’s where you must bring everything I command you to bring. That includes your burnt offerings and sacrifices. It includes your special gifts and a tenth of everything you produce. It also includes all the things of value that you promised to give to the Lord.

12 Be filled with joy there in the sight of the Lord your God. Your children should also be joyful. So should your male and female servants. And so should the Levites from your towns. The Levites won’t receive any part of the land as their share. (Deuteronomy 12:11-12)

Correct worship brings a joy the world cannot replicate. Worship is for everyone. The Levite is especially noted because he is not given a place of inheritance like others, but he must still worship in the place God designated.

 

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chutzpah

Chutzpah “How To GIVE”

Chutzpah “How To GIVE”

Chutzpah is a Yiddish term meaning “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, sheer guts plus arrogance. English words cannot do real justice to this word. Instead, here’s a story that allows us to understand this word to use its message in our giving.

A little old lady sold pretzels on a street corner for 25 cents each. Every day a young man would leave his office building at lunchtime and as he passed the pretzel stand he would leave her a quarter, but never take a pretzel.
And this went on for more than three years. The two of them never spoke. One day as the young man passed the old lady’s stand and left his quarter as usual, the pretzel lady spoke to him. Without blinking an eye she said: “They’re 35 cents now.”

With present-day Christians who are supposed to have an encounter with Jesus Christ, generosity is such a struggle.

This story captures one definition of chutzpah, but because it also how generosity and duty are so intertwined with each other and deeply ingrained in the Jewish culture. With present-day Christians who are supposed to have an encounter with Jesus Christ, generosity is such a struggle.

When giving the tzedakah, it is essential that the recipient is not shamed in any way.  The best form of giving is when the identity of the donor is unknown. In ancient Israel, there were schemes that were invented to keep the anonymity of the donation.

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