But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. (Exodus 11:7)
During the last of the ten plagues, Moses spoke boldly against Pharoah: the Lord will go into the midst of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. This plague was the climax to the story of God’s deliverance of His people, after the Egyptians had undergone lengthy suffering and before Pharoah finally cast the Israelites out of his land in devastation from the loss of his firstborn. At the end, the Lord had gained victory and displayed His majestic powers. The Lord had shown that He does make a difference between the Egyptians and those who He calls His own.
As we read Joseph’s story again, you may realize as you get older that our difficulties are nothing compared to what he went through. But before we get to the turning point of maturity, most of us feel that what we go through is bad, something that no one will understand. But what we have in common with Joseph is that we are all God’s children. If we reflect on Joseph’s life difficulties, we realize God must understand our difficulties and will provide a way out for us in order to overcome. As Joseph’s life was in God’s hand and His salvation plan, so are our lives, are they not?
“So do you have any plans this weekend?” This is a common question we all hear as we get closer to the end of each week. When I was young, after hearing about all the fun and exciting things my friends had planned for the weekend, I would usually answer in a sheepish way, “Uh… no, not really,” and the conversation would move on without me. In reality, I always had something planned for the weekend – every week, my family and I go to church to keep the Sabbath day. But back then, I was afraid of telling my friends about it because I was afraid of being different, of standing out from the crowd. Nowadays though, if you ask me what I’m doing for the weekend, I’ll probably still say, “Nothing much.” But, I’ll also say, “I am going to church though!” What changed my mind?
Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Heb 8:5)
The tabernacle was a sacred place where God met the Israelites during the forty years they wandered in the wilderness. God commanded Moses, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Exodus 25:8-9). To this end, God gave very specific instructions. There was such precision as to the sizes, the colors, and the materials of various parts to be used in the construction of the tabernacle. This was to show God’s authority and holiness, and people could only come to God on God’s terms, not on their own. The Israelites had to follow God’s blueprint not only in the construction of the tabernacle, but also in the way they worshiped.
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Eph 5:18,19)
It may be odd that the apostle Paul contrasts being drunk with wine to being filled with the Spirit. Perhaps one of the similarities between them is for seeking joy and comfort. In days of stress or gloom, people may have a drink to soothe or forget about their problems. However, it can be harmful when we are dependent on alcohol for our inner peace. Drunkenness leads to ruin. As believers in the living God, we can find joy, peace, and comfort by being filled with the Spirit.