05 August 2008

Waste – 4.29.08

Exodus 16 records God's provision of and instruction regarding the "bread from heaven" He sent to feed the children of Israel in the wilderness. In reading that chapter this morning I saw a name given to our Lord I hadn't noticed before. Beginning in verse 33, And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony to be kept. Here the Lord calls Himself "The Testimony."

There are 3 reasons I believe this to be so:

  1. It fits the context of verse 33, where Aaron was told to lay the pot of manna before the Lord.

  2. This is the only time of the 110 occurrences of "testimony" or "testimonies" that the word is capitalized.

  3. "The testimony" in the OT has reference to the tables of stone on which God wrote His law (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15; Exodus 34:29). These were not yet in existence.

Here are 2 interesting points that came to mind as I then ran the word throughout the Bible:

  1. "The testimony" formed the centerpiece of Israel's relationship with Jehovah. "The testimony" was placed in the ark, beneath the mercy seat, where God communed with Israel (Exodus 25:22; Leviticus 16:13). The ark was known as the ark of testimony (Exodus 26:33, others). The holy place was referred to as the testimony, its location within the veil (Exodus 27:21, others). The tabernacle was called the tabernacle of testimony (Exodus 38:21, others) and the tent of testimony (Numbers 9:15). So the Bible forms the basis of our understanding of and fellowship with God.

  2. What is the significance of "The Testimony" being a name attributed to God? This situation is similar to that of the written word (the Bible; Hebrews 4;12) and the incarnate Word (Jesus Christ; John 1). You've heard it said that a man is no better than His word. And the testimonies of the Testimony are sure. They've never failed. We can stand firm upon them and Him.

But that's not what I intended to write about. There's another phrase in chapter 16 that caught my attention and I believe would be worthy a couple moment's thought. Verse 19, And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Wouldn't you concede it'd be safe to say that God is opposed to waste.

This is true in a practical sense. We ought to do our best not waste food. We ought to do our best not to waste money. We ought to take care of the material things God has blessed us with.

But even more importantly, this is true in a spiritual sense. What talent do you have that's not being employed in the service of the Lord? It's a waste. What spiritual gift have you been given that you've failed to use for the glory of God? It's a waste. How do you make use of the 24 hours God gives you every day? Ephesians instructs us to Redeem the time because the days are evil. Has God given you breath? Psalm 150 says, Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord: praise ye the Lord. Do you waste God's air?

Let's not squander the life, and breath, and time, and gifts, and abilities, and opportunities God gives us. Let's strive to use all we have been given to its fullest potential for God's maximum glory. Because He's worthy.

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