Margin Notes: My Journey Through the Bible in 2020 // Weeks 2 + 3

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This year one of my goals is to read my Bible everyday. I’ve always thought a chronological Bible would be cool to read and I’ve been curious to try the Christian Standard Bible (CSB version), so November-ish of last year, I bought one. For the beginning of 2020, I’m starting in EXODUS. And while, 16 days out of 25 isn’t perfect, it’s way better than I’ve done in past years.

Along those same lines though, I’ve wanted a way to record things I’ve learned along the way–fun, random, interesting, etc. The detailed-me is cringing that I didn’t think of this the very first day of 2020 (or when I first started reading this chronological Bible), but that’s okay! Another one of my goals is to write here more, so I’m going to start with Weeks 2 and 3.

I might even include thoughts from Devo night (basically a small group), Bible Studies, and the sermon.

Notes:

  • I’m defining week’s as Wednesday through the following Tuesday, because 2020 started on a Wednesday
  • While the Bible is in the Christian Standard Version (CSB), some verses could be typed from the English Standard Version (ESV). I’ll do my best to note them as they come up for people who aren’t regualar Bible readers 🙂

Week 2 //

Chronological Bible readings:

Leviticus 33:19-23

God is telling Moses how he’s going to be able to “see” Him: “. . . ‘You cannot see my face, for humans cannot see me and live.’ The LORD said, ‘Here is a place near me. You are to stand on the rock, and when my glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover your with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.'” (CSB)

This makes me think of the hymn “Rock of Ages”, which starts with: “Rock of ages, cleft for me / Let me hide myself in Thee . . .” After we studied this in our mid-week Bible study, this lyric made more sense to me.

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Leviticus 34:29-35

Where Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the tablets a second time and his face is shining. To read Acts 2:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 2:12-13, 18 after this sections compares and contrasts the old and new covenants so well:

Acts 2:1-4: “When the day of Pentecost arrived they [the apostles] were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house . . . and divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit . . .” (ESV).

2 Corinthians 2:18: “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory of another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (ESV).

My face doesn’t shine because I hid in a crevice of a rock on Mount Sinai and God passed in front of me, but because I’ve accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and put him on baptism, His Spirit lives in me. The Holy Spirit is one of the “things” I’m still foggy on, but to just read that at face value right now, is incredible.

Week 3 //

Chronological Bible:

Leviticus 35

The instructions for the tabernacle have been given at this point already and then Moses tells the Israelites: “This is what the LORD has commanded: Take up an offering among you for the LORD. Let everyone whose heart is willing to bring this as the LORD’s offering . . .” (vs. 4-5). He goes on to list gold, silver, bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linens, goat hair, dyed-red rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil, onyx with gemstones. All the skilled artisans were asked to make the building materials needed–the tent and coverings, clasps and supports, crossbars, pillars, bases, etc.

“Then the entire Israelite community left Moses’s presence. Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work of the tent of meeting, for all its services, and for the holy garments. Both men and women came; all who had willing hearts . . . So the Israelites brought a freewill offering to the LORD, all the men and women whose hearts prompted them to bring something for all that the LORD, through Moses, had commanded to be done” (vs. 20-22, 29).

I love that the tent of meeting and the priests’ clothing were made by the Israelites. It was all made from what they already had. Simple materials to build a holy meeting place for their God, the God who brought them out of Egypt, out of slavery. What are the simple materials I can bring to God, who delivered me from my own version of Egypt, my sins. I see, meet, talk to, and understand God better when I journal prayers and take notes during Bible studies and my own personal Bible reading. So, I need to keep writing and allow myself to process the things that stick out to me.

Leviticus 36

The Israelites were bringing more than enough materials to complete the construction. Moses sent a proclamation throughout the camp: “Let no man or woman make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ So the people stopped. The materials were sufficient for them to do all the work. There was more than enough” (vs. 6-7). That word “sufficient” made me think of a popular two verses in Ephesians 3:

“Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us–to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (CSB).

The English Standard Version (ESV) phrases it: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly . . . “

But the New International Version (NIV) phrases it best in my opinion: “Now to him who is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine . . .” In fact, there’s a beautiful 4-part harmony of this song sung by Keith Lancaster’s a cappella group. You can listen to it here. So. Good.

It was cool to read about the Israelites pull together to serve God.

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At the end of this chapter, I wondered if the Israelites felt like they had a purpose during this time of constructing the tent of meeting and the tabernacle. Their journey to here has been a roller-coaster at best. They wanted the slavery to end, but then they’re free and “trapped” between the pursuing Egyptian army and the Red Sea, the take their fright and channel it into anger at Moses for leading them out of slavery. When Moses was on Mount Sinai the first time for like 40 days, the made a golden calf–a nod to one of the gods the Egyptians served–and worshiped it as the one who brought them out of Egypt because “Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain” and declared they didn’t know what had happened to him! (Exodus 32:1). But this–this time of coming together and building the place of worship for their God–I can just imagine that it was a big deal to them. Maybe it felt important and it gave them a sense of purpose? Maybe they felt closer to God this way? Their hearts were stirred and they over-contributed to the building of the tabernacle. I imagine a new hustle-and-bustle to their steps, laughing, talking about their projects they worked on during the day, just good ol’ fashioned fellowship.

Leviticus 40

Verses 1-6 are God instructing Moses how to set up the tabernacle and the tent of meeting on the first day of the month. Verse 16 starts out like this:

“Moses did everything just as the LORD had commanded him. The tabernacle was set up in the first of the second year, on the first day of the month. Moses set up the tabernacle: He laid its bases, positioned its supports, inserted its crossbars, and set up the pillars. Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent on top of it, just as the LORD had commanded Moses . . .” (vs. 16-18). The rest of this section, through verse 33, reads in complete detail exactly what Moses did: what he placed on the table, how he arranged the bread, where he set the lampstand and how he set up the lamps before the LORD, where and how he installed the altar, putting up the screen, and where he puts the basin.

It’s literally holy work. Just like all those years before before this, when Moses sees the burning bush in Midian as a shepherd. God spoke from the burning bush and tells him to remove his shoes because he is on holy ground (Exodus 5:6).

I ordered a hat once from the now-closed store All Goods Thing collective, once run by @jessconnolly. Written across the front of it is “holy ground.” Because I want to believe this idea that my life, where my feet are right now, is holy ground and work for the Kingdom of God here on earth–and because I don’t remember growing up learning this idea–I bought the hat. (Side note: I also want to be a hat person, so I bought it.)

I wonder if it ever became mundane or tedious for Moses. I wonder if there were months were he ever tried to rush through the setting-up process. In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes that we–our bodies are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19.) The Message Bible writes it this way: “. . . Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let the people see God in and through your body.”

This includes my heart, soul, mind, emotions and feelings. Moses’s example of laying down the bases, positioning the supports, inserting the crossbars, setting up the pillars, setting out the table, hanging the curtain . . . this is a reminder for me to strive for the daily habit of being in God’s word and praying, being grateful for my days, and staying faithful when it’s rough. In a sense, laying down my own bases, positioning my own supports, hanging my own curtain, etc. because I am God’s temple and his Spirit lives in me.

Leviticus 40:34-38

“The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” And the Israelites would set out whenever the cloud left the tabernacle; they stayed while the cloud stayed. “For the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and there was a fire inside the cloud by night, visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey” (vs. 38).

As a 21st Century human, this seems incredible to me. Maybe it’s my love for fantasy and magic, the fact that clouds don’t descend on earth to represent God’s presence in my life, I don’t know, but I wonder at what point this lost its wonder to the Israelites?

The Bible is full of really cool, interesting, and weird things. I hope to do this every week, just to remind me that it’s full of wonder and still relevant to my life today.

What are some interesting things you’ve learned or read about God recently? Either in church or a Bible study, your small group, or from a podcast or sermon you’ve listened to recently? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Writing Notes for the Writers out there, or anyone interested in one writer’s creative process 🙂
// 1771 words. approx 1.5 hours. first 24 mins on the couch, Hobbit Hole noises. 1 hour, 10 mins = Writing Desk, “Write” Spotify playlist and Ant watching The Good Place S2, ep 6 + 7 in the background
// Revision 1: 7 mins. 6:07pm. Shawrex DnD make dinner break.
// Revision 2: 17 mins. stopped at 9:11pm. Shawrex campaign break, while Ember gets put down for bed.
// Revision 3: 19 mins. 11-11:19pm. Home after DnD, pink rocking chair.
// Revision 4: 20 mins. Writing desk. added photos. set-up post specifics, link in Instagram/FB. final overall word count: 2,072. final essay word count: 1,976.

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