Learn to Discern

As my five kids got older they each learned to know those things that made me happy and what would disappoint me. They didn’t know it then but they were learning discernment. As children of God we too need to learn to discern.

One Word –

You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses. Leviticus 10:10-11

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 9, 10, 11; Matthew 24

Big Idea –

As followers of Jesus Paul encourages us to “Walk as children of the light” who “try to discern what pleases the LORD” (Eph. 5:8, 10). The path Jesus has set us upon has ample light to see enabling us to clearly discern the footsteps we take. We should always know if the things we do or say are righteous or evil.

A major theme in the book of Leviticus is holiness, or put another way God waned His people to be righteous walking in the light. To do this the LORD instructed Aaron to distinguish or discern between “the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean.” In turn Aaron was to likewise instruct the people so they could walk in the light or obey “all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.” 

Today we are taught many good things in our churches through sermons and bible studies. Like Aaron our pastors are teaching us the statues of the LORD or commands of Jesus. But what is missing in many of our churches is learning how to discern.

The discernment the LORD made known to Aaron (and which he taught the people) is foreign to many of us. However, it is critical for us to learn to discern between “the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean” if we are truly going to “Walk as children of the light.”

The LORD taught Aaron to distinguish between four things. I confess I have always thought there were really only two thinking that holy was synonymous with clean and the common was just another way of saying unclean. I’m glad I wasn’t set in my ways, but was willing to be taught. You see, God has not called us to live clean lives; I imagine like me you can think of some moral or clean people that are not followers of Jesus. As “children of the light” we are called to be holy just as the LORD is holy (see – 1 Pt 1:15-16).

Everything in creation is common (Hebrew chol) also translated as profane and unholy (as opposed to what is holy). Something is common simply because it is of this world or creation. Everything common (chol) is either unclean (tame’), or clean (tahowr). The unclean (tame’) is defiled or polluted; the clean (tahowr) is pure or unmixed. The unclean and clean may apply either chemically (i.e. pure gold), physically, morally or ceremonially. Therefore, whatever we have in our possession, whatever we see or desire, and whatever we say or do can first be thought of as what is common and clean, or common and unclean.

Those things that are holy (qodesh) refers to that which is set apart, separated, consecrated. As such holiness can be applied to God, people, places or things. Ultimately only the LORD, who alone is completely holy can declare or make someone or something holy. For anything to be made holy it must be common and clean; anything that is unclean cannot be made holy unless it can first be cleansed.

Let’s first see how this works with you and me as “children of the light.” We were all born as common or profane humans; we were of this world. However, spiritually we were also unclean being dead in our sins. By the faithfulness of Jesus who died for our sins everyone who believes and confesses Him as LORD is purified of their sin; they are no longer unclean, but clean. Having been cleansed God then sets us apart as holy.

Now if you’re like me, and I’m sure you are, you too struggle with sin even after your salvation. God has declared us holy, a child of God; nevertheless we stumble and fall into sin. Put simply we remain holy, but our sin has made us unclean. However, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9); we are again holy and clean.

I remember as a child thinking that when I sinned an angel would erase my name form the Lamb’s Book of Life, then I would ‘get saved’ all over again and the angel would rewrite my name. In time I was sure that the paper was getting thin; if I sinned again, would the angel even be able to rewrite my name? Through the years I’ve learned that God has not only sanctified or declared me holy by faith in Christ, but the Holy Spirit is helping me to live sanctified or free from sin each day becoming more like Jesus. And so today I can discern God has declared me holy and with my sins forgiven I am clean, but when I stumble and fall God’s declaration remains but I am holy and unclean again in need of cleansing.

Now let’s think for a moment about thing and places. While ultimately God alone sets things apart as holy, the LORD has established that His people whom He has set apart as holy can likewise consecrate things as holy to the LORD. Here again we must understand that we can only dedicate those things that are common and clean; nothing unclean can be set apart as holy.

As an example think about money; it is common or profane because it is of this world. The income I receive can be used for common and clean purposes; I can buy groceries, pay my mortgage and utility bills, or buy a gift for someone’s birthday. However, I could choose to use my money for unclean or impure things; I could use it to satisfy an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, or buy sex and/or pyrography to name just a few. And let’s not forget that Jesus identified money as a rival god, so if my use of money is only for self gratification and pleasure then everything I do with it, even buying groceries, is unclean because my heart is likewise defiled (see – Mat. 6:24; Lk. 16:13).

Yet as a follower of Jesus I can choose to consecrate or set apart money as holy. When I give my tithes and offerings, or if I help provide for the poor, or if I help meet the need of my brothers and sisters in Christ, then what I give becomes holy. In this way Jesus said I can lay up treasures in heaven (see Mat. 6:19-21).

Spurgeon was correct; discerning the right and wrong is easy. We need to learn to discern between the right and almost right. I think that’s why the LROD want us to distinguish between “the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean.” As we learn to apply such discernment in our daily lives, we can be holy and walk the path before us as children of the light.

Exemplify –

I need to continue to use discernment to recognize those things in my life that would make me unclean separating me from God.

Yes to Yield –

LORD Jesus, thank You for Your grace that has saved me cleansing me from all unrighteousness and making me holy. Holy Spirit give me wisdom to discern between things as You see them, to recognize the difference between the holy and common and between the clean and unclean. Help me to daily discern the steps I need to take to remain holy and clean because I can clearly see those things that are unclean and would lead me astray.

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.

A Mouth and Wisdom

How often do we worry more about what to say, rather than trusting Jesus to give us the words to say to those who need to hear?

One Word –

Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. Luke 21:14-15

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 7, 8; Luke 20, 21

Big Idea –

Jesus is talking with the disciples about thing which would happen at the end of the age. I think it is fair to say that we are living in such days, as I often say, “It has never been ‘laster’ than today.” However, it is worth pointing out that Jesus promise to give them words to say with wisdom was fulfilled in the book of Acts. For example, Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, Stephen’s words spoken prior to being stoned to death, or Paul before Felix and King Agrippa. In the same way we will be given words with wisdom when we testify today about Jesus.

Yet how often do we make this difficult? We “meditate” and worry about what we would say, not before kings or others in authority. Instead, we wonder what we should say to family and friends, or others in our community about our faith in Jesus.

Jesus said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit will energize our words. As a witness our responsibility is not to prepare the case (that’s the attorney’s job, or in this case the Holy Spirit); it is simply our responsibility to tell what Jesus has done for us.

Peter encouraged us to make Jesus our LORD ready always to give an answer for the hope within us (see – 1Pt. 3:15). Our preparation is not a crafted well thought out answer to any possible question; our readiness comes by making Jesus the LORD of our lives. Through our daily times of devotion and prayer, joining together with other believers to hear the preaching of the word and to study it together, Jesus is set apart as our LORD. This time is never wasted, but fills our heart with His word that the Holy Spirit can draw out when needed.

Let’s take Jesus at His word believing that He will give us “a mouth and wisdom” whenever and with whomever we make Him known.

Exemplify –

I’m going to focus more on preparing my heart making Jesus my LORD and praying in the Spirit regularly confident that the Holy Spirit will fill my mouth with the words of life for those who need to hear.

Yes to Yield –

LORD Jesus, I believe that when I keep you at the center of my heart, it will overflow naturally with words of life that others need to hear. Forgive me and others in the church for spending more time trying to prepare just the right words to say, rather than going out into our communities believing You will fill our mouths. Holy Spirit, as we pray for people in our circle of influence, give us boldness to speak as You have prepared their hearts to hear.

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.

Letting Others Into My Business

We are quick to justify ourselves and tell others to mind their own business. But if Jesus is our LORD, then isn’t my business their business too?

One Word –

. . . and realizes his guilt, or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat . . . Leviticus 4:22-23, 27-28

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 4, 5, 6; Mark 13

Big Idea –

The LORD is giving instructions for both leaders (i.e. kings, rulers, or religious leaders) and common people. When anyone has sinned unintentionally breaking any of the commandments, he or she is to bring a sin offering for their forgiveness.

But notice, following the individual’s sin and before the bringing of an offering comes an awareness of one’s sin. One’s recognition of sin may have come in one of two ways. First, the individual may ‘asham become guilty. Or a person may have his or her sin yada` made know by someone else. Whether one’s conscience brings conviction and awareness of sin, or if one’s sin is revealed by someone else, a sin offering needs to be presented before the LORD to atone for the sin.

What we may not perceive is how one’s sin impacts the rest of the community in which we live (or the church fellowship we attend). It was not simply one’s conscience that brought guilt to seek out forgivingness. Rather because people lived in relationship with one another sin impacted the entire community. Therefore God encouraged others to come and reveal sin to another (even a leader), so the sin might be atoned for or forgiven, not just for the sake of the individual, but for the community as well.

To a large extent we have lost this awareness of living as members together of a united community through our faith in the LORD. For you and me, our sin is often seen as only a personal matter, and it is not any one else’s business. But if we truly understand what it means being united together in Christ, then my business really is everyone else’s business too. But here’s the problem within many churches; people talk with each other about everyone else’s business(that’s gossip and unhealthy), but few people are willing to talk with the individual about their business.

The prophet Jeremiah warned us that “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9). It is beyond our understanding, but thankfully the LORD searches and knows our hearts. In the end God will reward or punish each of us according to our hearts. Because the LORD does not want to destroy us, I think God will sometimes make known the ugly truth about our hearts to others who are willing to lovingly make our sin known to us.

You see I know myself. Often I’m quick to justify my actions, or should I say ‘MY SIN.’ I compare myself with others and don’t see myself as being guilty. But God knows my heart and wants to transform it. Sometimes I will respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but at other times my heart is hard. It is in these times that I need someone to help me see my sin for what it is and how it affects others.

Yet it is difficult for others to point out sin in another if they have not built a strong relationship first. It is difficult to build trust if the climate within our church or family is to talk ‘about people’ but never ‘with people.’ We need to restore the understanding of community within the church. Our relationships are far deeper than a Sunday only acquaintance. We are brothers and sisters, members together of God’s eternal family.

And it’s not just an idea lost in the pages of the Old Testament that we have developed relationships strong enough to help others deal with sin. Paul makes the same encouragement saying, “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1).

Jesus has offered Himself as our once for all sin offering. Let’s not waste His sacrifice talking with other people about someone else’s sin. Instead, let’s love each other enough to personally go to the one who sinned, and let’s love each other enough to accept those who come to make known the sin that would seek to destroy us.

Exemplify –

I need to allow others to speak into my life with loving rebukes and look carefully for the sin in my life that needs cleansed.

Yes to Yield –

LORD Jesus, forgive me for justifying myself even when I hear the criticism from others. Help me to look for the truth so any sin within me will be exposed and I can come to You for forgiveness. Thank You for bringing people around me that I can trust. May our love for each other continue to grow in You, so we might build each other up in our relationship together with You.

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.

Practice What You Preach

What do we call some one who says one thing but does another? A Hypocrite.

One Word –

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. Matthew 23:2-3

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 1, 2, 3; Matthew 23

Big Idea –

Let me encourage you to stop for a moment and read out loud the two verses above before continuing.

Okay now ask yourself, “Does that really sound like something Jesus would say?” I mean its like saying “Do as I say, not as I do, ” except Jesus is supposedly saying it about the scribes and Pharisees who teach from the seat of Moses. I’m sorry, but I have a hard time imaging Jesus really saying something like that.

Most bible commentaries essentially say “all” does not mean all or everything. The KJV and NASV both essentially translated this passage as Jesus saying “all the scribes and Pharisees say, observe and do.” However, these commentators are quick to say that what Jesus means is to observe and do everything they say consistent or in agreement with the seat of Moses or the Law of Moses. Thus all doesn’t mean all; instead you have to sort through everything they say to find what is true. How many of us are taking the time to read the writings of rabbis in order to observe and do everything they say that agrees with the seat of Moses? – No, I’m not either.

What these commentators failed to point out was that within each local synagogue a an actual seat of Moses was situated in a place where everyone could see and hear. Like pastors today who stand behind a pulpit to preach God’s word, religious leaders sat in a real “seat of Moses” to teach people the meaning of God’s Law and the scriptures. This was a position of authority where those who had given their lives to study the scriptures instructed the people.

Unfortunately, like many pulpits today, many ‘preachers’ sat in the seat of Moses teaching false doctrine. Here in Matthew 23 Jesus would go on to pronounce woes upon the scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses seat but were not teaching or living the things Moses had written. You might remember Jesus telling the disciples,  “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Mat. 16:6). With further encouragement from Jesus the disciples understood that Jesus was warning them to guard against the teachings of these religious leaders. Does it really sound like Jesus would later say, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do?

Jesus is the One Moses said God would send to instruct His people how to live when he said, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen” (Deut. 18:15). If Jesus is a prophet like Moses who had come to make the words of God known to us, if Jesus is the one we are to listen to, then will Jesus really leave it to chance for those listening to His words to shift through the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees? Or will Jesus boldly instruct people in how they are to live? Do you remember how the people responded to Jesus’ teaching? “The crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29). Jesus spoke with authority leaving nothing to chance clearly teaching people how to live their lives in a way pleasing to God.

Thus what is recorded here in Matthew 23 just does not sound like Jesus. Is it possible that He said something else – something clear to understand and with authority? I think so.

The gospel of Matthew found in our English bibles is translated from the Greek. Of all the gospels Matthew is the most Jewish, and many wonder if his gospel was originally  written in Greek or the native language of the Jews, Hebrew. The debate is far from settled, but I think the Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew points the the greater possibility that the gospel was first written in Hebrew and later translated into the Greek we have used for our bibles.

Matthew 23 is one example of how the Hebrew Matthew differs from the Greek. And for me the translation into English from the Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew is more consistent with Jesus’ teaching. It is a statement made with authority and absolute clarity – a characteristic the teaching of Jesus was known for. So what is the record of Jesus’ teaching here according to the Hebrew Matthew?

“Upon the seat of Mosheh the Pharisean faction leaders and the theologians have seated themselves. Now all which he [Mosheh] says to you keep and do, but their ordinances and their works do not do because they quote [Mosheh] and do not.”

The English translation is a little rough, but did you catch the difference in Jesus teaching. Here Jesus does not tell the people to hear and do all the religious leaders say because they sit in Moses’ seat (with the unsaid and unclear meaning to sift through their teaching to obey only what agrees with Moses – a.k.a. the Law). Instead, Jesus plainly tells the people with authority to obey everything Moses has instructed you to do, while rejecting the teaching (ordinances) and works of their religious teachers because they say one thing quoting Moses, but they don’t practice what they preach.

For me this has the ring of truth. It agrees with the character of Jesus and is consistent with Jesus warning against the teaching or “leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Exemplify –

I must be faithful to proclaim the whole counsel of God’s Word in both word and deed practicing what I preach, because for some my words will remain ‘black and white’ with little or no meaning until the ‘living color’ of my day-to day life illustrates the authority and truth of the scriptures by what I say and do.

Yes to Yield –

LORD Jesus, I’m blessed to stand each week behind a pulpit to preach Your word. I pray the Holy Spirit helps me to faithfully make known the faith once delivered to the saints. Empower me to not be an empty vessel without substance, but to practice what I preach living in obedience to Your Word. Give me wisdom to communicate clearly the truth of Your Word – not to speak satisfying itching ears, but in the power of Your Spirit that lives are transformed to be more like Jesus.

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.

It Depends

What does it mean for anything to depend upon something else? Is it contingent upon a choice or outcome? Or is it a dependence that fully relies upon the other, so much so that independence is impossible.

One Word –

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:40

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 39, 40; Matthew 22; Mark 12

Big Idea –

Let’s take a moment to put what is happening within its larger context of the LORD’s appointed times – specifically Passover. Jesus has made what we refer to as His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Riding the colt into the city amid the shouts of “Hosanna!,” Jesus fulfills the shadow picture the Jews had rehearsed for centuries. As our High Priest, Jesus comes into Jerusalem to offer Himself as God’s Passover Lamb.

After the lamb was selected and brought into Jerusalem, it would be brought into the Temple for inspection by the religious leaders. This was to insure that the lamb was perfect without any spot or defect. Matthew 21:23 tells us that Jesus was in the Temple being challenged by the religious leaders and teaching the people in parables. Each time Jesus answered their questions the people marveled at His insight. Finally, they stopped asking Him anymore questions (Mat. 22:46). The inspection of God’s Passover Lamb had concluded; Jesus was perfect. In the end on the morning of the Passover, Pilot would speak the very same words spoken by the High Priest “I find no fault in Him”(Jn. 19:6 KJV).

Now, lets look at the inspection of Jesus regarding the Law. I particularly like how Matthew sets this up. Since the Sadducees were silenced and unable to find fault in Jesus’ response to their question, the Pharisees – experts in the Law – got together to ask Jesus the perfect question. Remember, their intention was for Jesus to show negligence in His words so they would have a reason to accuse Him. So one of them stood and asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law” (v.36)?

We are familiar with Jesus’ response. The greatest commandment is that we love the LORD our God completely, and the second is like it; we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus then says, “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

What does it mean that all the Law and Prophets “depend” upon these two commandments?  From the Greek kremannymi, often translated in modern English versions “depend,” is also translated as “based on.” The idea is that all the Law and Prophets are summed up in these two commandments. Thus we often think that if we love God and our neighbor that’s all we need to do because we have obeyed all God’s commandments.

I think there is a better way of understanding what Jesus is saying. Kremannymi literally means hang (as is the KJV translation). It is the same word used in Acts 5:30 describing how Jesus was killed by “hanging him on a tree.” When understood in this way, Jesus is telling us that everything in the Law and Prophets hang upon these two commandments.

This is a subtle but significant difference in how to understand what Jesus is saying. Rather than being a summation of the commandments fulfilling them all, they are the ‘poles’ upon which everything else written hangs. Without these two greatest commandments all the Law and Prophets fall to the ground broken and  meaningless. Thus the these two commandments support or hold up the rest. Put simply, all the Law and the Prophets cannot stand independently because everything written has no meaning if it is separated from the two greatest commandments.

This helps me begin to make sense of commandments and things in the Old Testament that I though were meaningless or had no application for our lives today. All the Law and Prophets explain or show me how to obey the two greatest commandments. I have no way to knowing how to live a holy life (or God’s expectations of me) until I see that the purpose of what was written down in the Law and Prophets is to teach me how to love God and my neighbor.

Now don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m saying we need to obey the commandments to earn salvation. No, we are saved by grace through faith, it is God’s gift to us. But being saved and knowing God’s immeasurable love for me, I want to respond with loving obedience to Jesus who is my LORD and Savior.

Therefore, one of the simplest ways to begin to understand how everything hangs upon the two greatest commandments is by looking at the Ten Commandments. These are not just random religious and moral laws. Rather they hang or depend upon the greatest commandments teaching me how to love God and my neighbor. The first five commandments hang upon or explain the greatest commandment: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (v. 37). The last five commandments hang upon or explain the second: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (v.39).

By the way, in Mark 12 a Pharisee or “scribe” replied to Jesus’ answer saying, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that He is one, and there is no other besides Him. And to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices (vv. 32-33). When Jesus saw that this one had answered wisely He said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (v. 34). Some believe this may have been the young Saul of Tarsus who was being trained as a Pharisee by Gamaliel.

Exemplify –

I believe all scripture, including the Old Testament, is given to train or teach us how to live righteously through obedience to the greatest commandments. Therefore I want continually allow the Holy Spirit to teach me obedience in spirit and truth to everything that hangs upon those two simple but of utmost significance of commandments.

Yes to Yield –

LORD Jesus, forgive me for the ways in which I have disregarded Your Word by not understanding how the Holy Spirit wanted to use it to teach me how to live a holy and righteous life. I confess some things are still difficult for me to understand. But rather than try to figure everything out, empower me to live in obedience to those commandments I do understand. I want to fully express my love to You and my neighbor, so help me to properly hang Your word upon these greatest of commandments through obedience.

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.

Spotlight or Shadow?

Put simply these were ordinary men given understanding and skill by the LORD for the work God required. Ordinary men doing an extraordinary work because they didn’t steal the spotlight.

One Word –

“Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.” Exodus 36:1

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 36, 37, 38; John 12

Big Idea –

Can I let you in on a little secret? As I read Exodus 36-38 this morning, I struggled to stay awake. I find comfort in knowing that others have dozed off while reading their bible; I’m not alone. Honestly I grew weary reading again and again, “He made. . .” as the work of building everything associated with the Tabernacle.

It should be pointed out that this does not mean that Bezalel personally made all these things; rather he was responsible to instruct and oversee the work of all the craftsmen. As the one in charge of the work Bezalel “made” the Tabernacle and it’s furnishings, but he didn’t do it alone. This should encourage us to know that God will help us to do His work in our churches and communities today. God is not looking for superstars, just those who will work together.

But have you ever stopped to consider where did all these ordinary guys obtain the understanding and skill needed to construct the Tabernacle? Yes, the LORD gave them the talent or giftedness for the work, but how was it developed? I think it is fair to conclude that Bezalel and the other craftsmen developed many of their skills while serving as slaves in Egypt. The Hebrews did more than make bricks; they were building not only the cities, but the places of worship for the Egyptian gods.

If Bezalel and the others developed their skill and knowledge as slaves in Egypt, then this certainly is an example of how the LORD works all things for the good of those He has called. Bezalel and his companions would now construct the place of worship for the LORD, the One true God.

But when you stop to dig a little deeper, there is something more to be found about Bezalel and his special relationship with the LORD that set him apart for this work. First, is an recognize what his name means. Bezalel literally means “in the shadow of God” or being under the protection of God. Bezalel was not distant from the LORD, but walked or lived in God’s shadow.

Are we as close to the LORD that we too are within His shadow? If we’re in God’s shadow, then we are not in the proverbial spotlight; God receives the glory for anything we would accomplish.

Second, the LORD tells Moses, “I have called by name Bezalel” (Ex. 31: 23 also 35:30). For the LORD to call by name (qara’ shem in Hebrew) is uncommon, happening only two other times in the Old Testament. God tells Moses I “will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD,’” literally qara’ shem call out my name; the LORD also speaks through the prophet Isaiah to His people Israel encouraging them to not fear for “I have called you by name [qara’ shem], you are mine.” (Ex 33:19; Is. 43;1). God knows the names of His people just as He knows the number of hairs on each of their heads (see Lk. 12:7), but Bezalel is the only one the LORD specifically called by name.

Yet if like Bezalel we too live in God’s shadow, then we can look forward to a day when the LORD will call us by a new name. Jesus said to all those who repent overcoming this world, “I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17). I’m glad for the name given to me by my parents, but I’m looking forward to receiving the called name of the LORD just for me.

One final deeper thought about Bezalel. Solomon described creation saying, The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. (Prov. 3:19-20). These attributes chokmah, tabuwn, and da`ath in Hebrew are the same qualities the LORD gave Bezalel; “I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge (Ex. 31:3 KJV). In the same way, as we by faith in Jesus live within God’s shadow, the LORD wants to give us wisdom, understanding and knowledge; these gifts of the Spirit are available to us because “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

Ordinary men, like Bezalel and like you and me, can do extraordinary things because we live within the shadow of the LORD our God.

Exemplify –

LORD Jesus, forgive me for those times when I try to stand in the spotlight trying to ‘be somebody.’ Holy Spirit help me to live in God’s shadow, to walk in humility because it is not about me. LORD let my life  bring You glory in all I do and say. Holy Spirit I rely upon You to give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Yes to Yield –

If you’re new to Living It Now, you can find an explanation of the O-B-E-Y journal on the Hearing and Doing page, or the sample post Guard Duty.