In our OT reading the Lord tells Moses to build a sanctuary in which He will dwell. Though God is present everywhere everywhere, He locates His saving presence in the tabernacle, where He has promised to be found. Today, He locates His blessings of salvation for you in the Word and Sacraments of His Church. The Lord speaks to Moses from the mercy seat, the place of the Commandments and the atonement--His Law and His Gospel-mercy. Today, God no longer speaks from Mount Sinai or between the cherubim of the ark. He has spoken in these last days by His Son (Heb 1:2), who came to fulfill the Law for us and atone for all our sin. God sets before His people the bread of His presence. Jesus is "the living bread that came down from heaven" (Jn 6:51). The lampstand serves both practical and symbolic functions, providing the only light in the dark sanctuary and representing the sacred order God established in the daily and weekly services of His house. No wonder "light" and "enlightenment" have come to describe His work among us through the Word we hear at His house, which enlightens our understanding of His ways.
The tabernacle is laid out according to the specifications God gave on the mountain. Worship is not spontaneous or haphazard but is carefully organized to honor the Creator, who set creation in order by carefully arranging space, boundaries, and the passage of time. Today, organized worship, patterned on God's Word and the life of our Savior, honors God's works of creation, redemption, and sanctification, by which He makes us His beloved people.
In our NT reading Paul requests prayer for his missionary work and obedience to what he has commanded them. We are called to listen to those whom God has given to teach and preach the pure Word. The Lord's faithfulness toward us is steadfast; He is an immovable rock. Through the Church (His Body) and her pastors, He will guard us against the attacks of the evil one, the devil, the Antichrist. Those who are idle are to be avoided and even denied fellowship in order that this might cause them to repent, amend their ways, and return to their fellow believers. Laziness is a serious sin against the God who created us and gave us talents and abilities. It is a sin against the Body of Christ, against our brothers and sisters in the Lord, to whom we have been joined and with whom we are to be co-workers. The good news is that this word of the condemning Law is not the last word. The Law shows us our need for the Savior from sin; the Gospel gives us that Savior. Paul concludes his Letter with a prayer for peace and, in his own hand, a blessing of grace. We should imitate Paul in his blessing. We should pray for peace for others, even for our enemies. We should bless, and not curse, even those we do not like, even those who do us harm. Our prayer for God's peace and grace in our lives is no mere wish. We do have peace with God and with one another through the blood of Christ; by the grace of our Lord, this is a peace that passes all understanding and remains steadfast regardless of external assaults by the devil.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:Exodus 27-28; Philemon