Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 40

Friday, July 22, 2011
Read: Exodus 40, Deuteronomy 34

You have finally come to the end of God’s detailed instructions for Tabernacle construction! And you have made it to the end of RevoDevos. Well done.

At the end of Exodus 39 a very touching passage is shared: “The Israelites had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded. So Moses blessed them.” (vs.42-43).

And in Exodus 40 we see God rewarding faithfulness with the blessing of His presence. “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. 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 house of Israel during all their travels.” (vs.34-38).

Isn’t it interesting that when God’s glory entered the Tabernacle they had just finished building that there was no room for anyone else (v.35)? Not even Moses could squeeze in there!

And then in Deuteronomy 34 we witness the death of God’s Revolutionary. Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful portions of scripture that I know. At 120 years old Moses climbs to the top of a mountain and God shows him all the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deuteronomy 34:4). The land that Moses had started a Revolution to possess.

“And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” (vs.5-7). Wait a second, who buried Moses? That’s right, God buried him. Isn’t that insane? God was faithful to Moses from birth to death even going so far as to bury His Revolutionary. But the Revolution doesn’t die with Moses.

The Revolution continues in verse nine: “Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.” Joshua was mentored and discipled by Moses for exactly this purpose: to continue the work of the Lord, to continue the Revolution. Every good Revolutionary makes sure that there are other Revolutionaries to fight with them and replace them when needed.

Process:

God honors those who are faithful. But through thick and thin he loves us. He showed his love to Moses by calling him, leading him, fulfilling his promises to him, and later at the end of it all, burying him. What have you learned this summer about the way God loves? Do you still want a Revolution? What are you going to do about it?

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 36-39

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Read: Exodus 36-39

We are coming to the end of Exodus and have encountered very specific instructions from the Lord. Exodus 36 begins with the most skilled workers agreeing to construct the sanctuary (v.1). Admitting that these workers are skilled at their craft is important to note. God has equipped them with these skills to fulfill His purposes.

God appointing these skilled people to construct the Tabernacle is not most miraculous part of these chapters. It is what God does through the least skilled people that should be noted.

In verse 3 Moses gives the skilled workers all the offerings the Israelites (the non-skilled) brought to construct the temple. “…And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work and said to Moses, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.” (v.3-5).

Did you catch that? The people were giving too much! They had to be commanded to stop! “Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” (vs.6-7).

Wouldn’t that be nice? Shouldn’t that be the case today? Imagine planning a food drive for your Corps pantry and having to stop everyone from your congregation from giving because you have run out of room! Try to picture a soup kitchen stocked with good food that the homeless people that eat in it have to say, “Please, no more food! I am full. I don’t think I’ll ever be hungry again!” Or during your Christmas Kettle Campaigns, not being able to deal with all the cash and coin that the public stuffs in to the red buckets that acme Corps have to take entire days off because they cannot keep up with counting all the money or transporting all the loot!

In the Army today we may have “skilled workers” as our Officers—making the important decisions, keeping us afloat financially, directing our effectiveness—these people are appointed by God to fulfill essential tasks. We must never, however, not come to the point were Soldiers are not needed. Because an Army without Soldiers is not an Army at all.

We are all in this fight together. So if you are a Soldier let us apply the example the Israelites set for us in Exodus 36 and go above and beyond what is required of us and overwhelm the skilled workers of the day with our time, talents and treasures for God’s glory.

Process:

Is God challenging you to overwhelm your leaders with help?
take time to discuss with your group different things you can do at your corps or in your community. Discuss ideas you have that could help your corps or the people around you.

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 33-35

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Read: Exodus 33-35

In Exodus 33 we see God’s prescription for healing a broken, burned-out, frustrated Revolutionary. Remember, in chapter 32 Moses ordered that three thousand of his people be wiped out. How does God heal Moses of his pain? Through intimacy.

In verse seven we read this: “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.” I think that this is an incredibly beautiful and important portion of scripture.

When Moses had questions for the Lord or decisions to make or burdens to share he would leave the business and chaos of camp and meet with God in the “tent of meeting.” And God was deliberate in meeting with Moses. So much so that He sent a pillar of cloud to come down and stay at the entrance of the tent when they spoke. The Israelites— finally starting to figure things out—showed respect (v.8 by standing at the entrances of their tents) and worshipped God whenever He showed up in this way (v.10).

It gets better in verse 11: “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” Do you long for that kind of intimacy with God? To speak with God face to face, like friends? It’s absolutely beautiful! And Moses desperately needed this closeness; he was burned out. He questions God (v.12-13) and is desperate to find out what God wants him to do.

The Lord comforts Moses in verse 14: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Are you comforted by that awesome promise? Moses wasn’t, and in verses 15-16 continues to unload on the Lord. And the Lord continues to reassure him: “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (v.17). Then in a beautiful act of desperation Moses—full of boldness—says: “Now show me your glory” (v.18).

Moses’ wounds were deep and God wanted to heal him through intimacy so what does God do? He put Moses in the cleft of a rock and caused His goodness to pass in front of Moses while saying His name, “the LORD.”

Did you catch that? He didn’t sit him on a couch and give Moses advice. He didn’t prescribe medication. He didn’t send him on a vacation or make him read a self-help book (or would it be a self-help scroll?). He didn’t get a group of Moses’ friends together and have an intervention. All God did was walk by and say His name. The LORD.

Process:

Where are the areas in your life that need healing? What are you doing to be deliberate in finding intimacy with God? What are you doing to have a “tent of meeting” experience with God?
Discuss with your group ways you believe you can have personal time with God. Is it Prayer, reading the Bible, going for a walk?

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 31-32

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Read: Exodus 31-32

Things just got really ugly. The Lord was speaking to Moses and was downloading very detailed instructions to his favorite Old Testament Revolutionary. He gave Moses two stone tablets (31:18) and provided a short list of rules to follow. While God was doing this the Israelites got restless. And in doing so they exposed a weak faith and sinned.

Look at 32:1 it says: “When Moses failed to come back down the mountain right away, the people went to Aaron.” The part that is really convicting to me is the “right away” part. These people depended on Moses so much that when he wasn’t immediately instructing them, challenging them or leading them they didn’t know what to do with themselves. They followed Moses, not God.

Their impatience gives birth to disaster and they start blaming Moses for abandoning them. Then Aaron makes a huge mistake. He instructs the people to make an idol, something they can see; a god that will always be with them. Something tangible to lead them. Aaron doesn’t usually act like such a loser (see 32:24!) and he pays for his weakness.

When Moses comes down from the mountain he saw the rebellion that the Lord alerted him to in verses 7-8. Moses reacted in “terrible anger” (v.19) and destroyed the tablets that the Lord wrote with His own hand. So because Moses was frustrated with the Israelites he destroyed the Lord’s work. Do you think Moses sinned in doing this?

He definitely could have responded better and in 32:20 Moses starts to think more clearly and comes up with an awesome punishment; he literally makes the people drink their god. The god they created to be with them forever disappeared down their throats (and probably sat poorly at the bottom of their bladders). Classic.

God is only beginning to punish the Israelites. And it only gets more hardcore from here. Reread 32:25-35. Moses called those who would defend the Lord (the Levites) to kill those who had rebelled in their idolatry. Three thousand people were slain (v.28). And then just to be sure that everyone got the point, God sends a plague (v.35). Do you think this punishment is just? What does this reveal about the nature of God?

Process:

How do you react in the times when you feel that God has disappeared? Think of times in your life where you have been on a ‘lonely road’ how was your relationship with God? What do you do when your leaders are not leading you? How many times have you destroyed the work of the Lord because you were frustrated by the reaction of others? God is sovereign and has the right to do what he wishes. What does this mean to you?

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 26-30

Monday, July 18, 2011
Read: Exodus 26-30

The instructions have continued for a few chapters and are coming down fast and furious to Moses and his people.

In Chapter 30:22-33, Yahweh includes instructions for special anointing oil that is worth discussing. The Holy Spirit is represented by oil throughout Scripture. It would be interesting if you would adapt this premise today: “Man, there’s oil on that song”; “I could feel the oil”; “get deep-fried”; “marinate”; “release the grease”; and so on.

There are three aspects worth discussing:

1. This oil is holy. “Whatever touches them will become holy” (Exodus 30:29). Now, watch this. This is Revolutionary. This kind of holiness was contagious. This oil was put on certain things and whatever touched those certain things (not even the oil directly) became holy. This is outrageous. This switches us from being a group of wimps who are scared to death of losing our holiness and being contaminated, to being robust, confidently holy people who go into darkness to brighten it up and who come alongside sin to make sinners holy. Wow!

2. This oil anoints. Now, the Holy Spirit is very active in our lives. He provides prevenient grace, He convicts, He regenerates, He guides, He leads you into truth, He points to Jesus, and so on. But He also sanctifies and anoints. In sanctification, He crucifies your natural inclination to selfishness and fills you up with a supernatural inclination—a default reaction—to please God. Revolutionary.

But anointing is a little different. Early Salvos called it the third blessing (salvation was first and sanctification was second). We don’t talk about it too much these days but there you go. Holy Spirit comes on you. As with King Saul (who “changed into a different person” see 1 Samuel 10:8-10), Peter, Paul and others in Scripture, when the Holy Spirit comes on you, things change. Often the context is engaging the Enemy and the results are miraculous demonstrations that God exists, cares, and has the power to intervene. As you can imagine, anointing in daily warfare is a Revolutionary resource.

3. This oil is exclusive. Exodus 30:32-33 indicates that it would be disastrous for you to use it for your own purposes. And God wasn’t joking. Nadab and Abihu (Aaron’s sons, whom you’ve come across three times in Exodus) were killed by God for breaking this rule (see Numbers 3:2-4). What does that mean for us? Don’t use the blessing and power of God for our own purposes, to accomplish our own ends, to make us look good, or for our own comfort.

Process:

What aspects of the oil do you need (contagiousness, power, etc.)?

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 25

Sunday, July 17, 2011
Read: Exodus 25

Once you enter covenant with God there is no guarantee that every day is going to be a “gotta facebook this!” experience. The people of God exit the euphoria of dining with Yahweh and get down to the nuts and bolts of Revolution.

It doesn’t sound romantic but there has to be some preparation. Sometimes we get confused and think that, well, we “accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, so let’s preach to thousands and heal the sick and raise the dead.”

Though I’ve read it happening like that, it seems that a few other things have to be in place first. You actually need to get saved, not merely ask Jesus into your life. How? Mark 1:15: Repent and believe the good news! The thing is, it is not about you inviting Jesus into your life. It is about Jesus inviting you into His life. Do you get the distinction? One is all about you, where you’re going, your habits, your lifestyle. The other is about joining Jesus, where He is headed, in a great adventure that promises to impact globally and eternally.

Then you must get some things right in your life so that you can accomplish the things Yahweh has dreamed up for you. Paul took years that you don’t read about in the New Testament preparing himself to do all the exiting stuff you do read about (healing sick, confronting demons, raising dead, changing history).

There are character issues, discipline issues, training and skill issues. You need to cultivate the effective use of your gifts. You need to learn submission and service. You need to catch humility and experience holiness. And all of this is often worked out in the mundane, the monotonous and the trivial.

Tucked away in the detailed instructions for tabernacle and ark and table and lamp stand is a promise that is easy to miss. The Army caught it. In fact, we camp out on it.

The lid of the Ark of the Covenant was called the Mercy Seat (v.25). Now, you might recall the term “Mercy Seat.” It is the main feature of every Salvation Army meeting in every Salvation Army hall around the world. Our whole meetings and our whole meeting theology is centered on the Mercy Seat.

The Mercy Seat covers the covenant and the miraculous power of God. And in verse 22 Yahweh promises to meet with us there, at the Mercy Seat: “There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.” Remember that on Sunday, and test it out.

Process:

What preparation does God want to make in your life this year for Revolution?
Have you really met God at the Mercy Seat (in miraculous, covenant intimacy)? Read the print in bold. Think about it. Talk about it.

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 24

Saturday, July 16, 2011
Read: Exodus 24

The people of God finally decide to accept Yahweh’s covenant offer. Covenant means “to cut.” Covenant is a bloody deal and it always involves sacrifice. Whether it is Abraham and God, or a Junior Soldier swearing in ceremony covenant involves blood and sacrifice.

And it appears that the people of God are up for it. They respond in verse 7 to the conditions with a corporate affirmation: “We will do everything Yahweh has commanded. We will obey.”

True or False: No one has ever seen God and lived.

If you said true, look at verse 11: “And though Israel’s leaders saw God, He did not destroy them. In fact, they shared a meal together in God’s presence!”

What? They saw God? That is enough to blow those people away who say that no one ever saw God. Not only did they see God but the leaders of Israel had supper with Yahweh!

Can you imagine that meal? I can’t. I can’t imagine the menu. I can’t imagine the dinner conversation. I can’t imagine “grace.” I just can’t get my head around it.

And He didn’t destroy them. I don’t know, but it is probably a story that will shake your view of God. It should.

Intimacy is one of the benefits of covenant. God can trust you with some details He normally doesn’t share with everyone else. And the covenant conditions, those things in our lives that we change to align with God’s purposes and characters, allow us to enter into His presence.

If Soldiers around the world got their heads around this, I suspect there’d be a Revolution. Think about it. There are more than a million Senior Soldiers and nearly half a million Junior Soldiers. If 1.5 million Soldiers all fulfilled the conditions of covenant and began enjoying intimacy with Yahweh the effects would be catastrophic to the Enemy and beneficial to the Kingdom. Contagious love and compassion would overflow to hurting people.

The Salvation Army has already “invaded” 111 countries. I suspect this infectious love would spill over into a bunch more. Are you in?

Process:

What have you sacrificed for covenant relationship with God?
What conditions must you fulfill to enjoy intimacy with God?

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 23

Friday, July 15, 2011
Read: Exodus 23

Here are more Revolutionary regulations from Yahweh to the people. They may not look that exciting to you now but you are enjoying the benefits of their practice.

People all over the world would love to read and experience the regulations of these verses. If you were systematically mistreated because you were a foreigner, you’d welcome this chapter. If you were scammed from justice just because you were poor, you’d be thrilled about chapter 23. If you were used to being slandered because of your religious affiliation, you’d fight to see these verses realized in your society. If you had to work seven days a week, you would love verse 12. If you suffered injustice because of bribes, you’d breathe a sigh of relief at this chapter.

God instituted here (and in surrounding chapters) a moral code that has provided a foundation for western civilization. And those of us living in the West are blessed by these verses today.

But you should be challenged to see them implemented in the rest of the world. God’s justice is not just for the West, but for every language, every people, every tribe, and every nation.

Twice in this chapter He explains that we are to take Him the first fruits (vs.16,19). The first fruits belong to Him actually, it all belongs to Him but He demands the first fruits back!

Far too many people are casual about our response to this command of God. The first fruits are to be given back to Him.

What does that mean? A tithe. What is a tithe? 10%. So if your part-time job pays you $100/week, $10 off the top goes straight to God in your cartridge. If you have a full-time job and make $400/week, that’s $40 tithe.

This isn’t anything worthy of praise. It is a command. It is God’s. If you don’t give it to God, you are stealing from Him (check Malachi 1 and 3 if you don’t believe me).

And soldiers are so much above that it isn’t funny. We start at 10% and go up from there. There are some soldiers who live on 10% and give the other 90% back to God!

Getting a cash flow? Give 10%. He blessed you with this income. It is up to you to obey God and bless others with it.

Process:

What can you do to implement Exodus 23 in the rest of the world? Is there a social issue you’re passionate about? Do you tithe? Do what you gotta do, make things right.

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 22

Thursday, July 14, 2011
Read: Exodus 22

“Alright, alright, another list of laws. We get it.” Sure, there were a bunch of rules God laid on the people (again, all for their own good). But what can we learn from examining these laws. Many times people think that Old Testament laws are contradictory to who God is and what Christians Preach. The truth is that these laws reveal a lot about God and what his mission for his people and this world are. Let’s camp out on a few verses near the end:

“Do not oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Do not exploit widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, then I will surely help them. My anger will blaze forth against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Your wives will become widows, and your children will become fatherless.

If you lend money to a fellow Hebrew in need, do not be like a money lender, charging interest. If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge of repayment, you must return it by nightfall. Your neighbor will need it to stay warm during the night. If you do not return it and your neighbor cries out to me for help, then I will hear, for I am very merciful. Do not blaspheme God or curse anyone who rules over you.
(Exodus 22:21-28 NLT).

This is a whole different mindset than our society today. What do you get out of these verses? God loves the poor. God loves the widow and orphan. God loves the aliens.

Now, you might fit into one of those categories. You might have slipped into the country illegally. You might lack parents. You might be poor by North American standards.

But if you’re dead and have a nail through your ear lobe (see yesterday) you need to move on and look beyond yourself. God is looking to demonstrate His compassion through you.

Note that God makes two promises: 1. He hears the oppressed; 2. He will take revenge on those the oppressors. The scary thing is that God has no tolerance for oppressors and you may be an oppressor without even knowing it.

These are not sins of commission, that is, things you do on purpose (like oppressing the poor). These are things that you don’t do (like not helping the poor). The bottom line is that we need to exert ourselves for the aliens (refugees), for orphans and widows, and for the poor.

Process:

How many poor, orphans, widows, and refugees do you know? What can you do to show compassion to them this week? What can you do to show compassion to them outside of BOS?
What kind of ministries could your corps do to reach these kinds of people? Maybe your corps already has some, discuss.

Band of Survivors | RevoDevos | Exodus 21

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Read: Exodus 21

Whew! That’s a huge list of laws (and all of them are for the Israelites’ sake). It is starting to look a bit like the Articles of War!

But look at on in verses 5 and 6. There is a law for the Hebrews that slaves do not serve for life. After six years they are set free. But God slips in a provision for those who don’t want to go free. Why on earth would someone not want to go free? If the slave loves his master.

That’s the exception. Nuts? Well, if that happens, “then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life” (v.6).

A slave with a nail through his ear doesn’t have to be there. He chose to be there. He wants to be a slave. Is that messed up or what?

And yet this is the popular description that Jude, Peter, Epaphras, Timothy, and most of all, Paul use to describe their relationship with Jesus. Yes, they are apostles. Yes, overseers. Yes, super leaders of the Church. Yes to all of those titles. But they seem to really enjoy calling themselves bond-servants, or (as in some translations) “slaves.” They are slaves by choice.

And, of course, what is good for Epaphras and Paul is good for us. Most of us are chomping at the bit to get out of our obligations. We can’t wait to slip out of our Christian responsibilities.

God is looking for a different kind of warrior, a more dangerous breed of revolutionary. He is looking for people who choose to give up their wills, their futures, their prospects, their hopes, and their “rights.” He is looking for people who say, “I love my Master.” He is looking for the ones who will stick their ear lobe on the doorframe and say “swing away.” He is looking for Gospel slaves.

He is looking for you.

Remember, “You can’t make God love you more, but you can let Him trust you more.” Bond-slaves are Revolutionary agents, because they’re dead and Jesus Christ lives through them.

Process:

Are you so in love that you would be willing to serve him for life? What’s keeping you from taking a nail through the earlobe right now? How will your life change if you have the guts to do it?