I went ice skating tonight.
That was a novel experience. I’ve been once before, with a friend many years ago. Her and I were the only two people on the rink that afternoon so the staff dimmed the lights, put on all their ballads and just let us go. It would have been a sweet and even more memorable time had she been a girlfriend, I guess!
I don’t seem to recall it being that difficult at the time, though. I think I fell over a couple of times, but I recalled being okay with it.
Plus, I was always pretty good at roller blading, and it’s always been my mentality that ice skating and roller blading are basically the same things, except on ice and wheels respectively.
Believe me, that’s not the case.
I fell twice – both times fairly spectacularly. Given that I’m already nursing a cracked rib, I’m now also nursing some bruises on my knees and elbows, and the rib is more painful than it was.
But, it’s just a case of sucking it up. I’m pretty cynical about doctors, and they can’t do anything besides “pain management” anyway, so I’ll just deal.
Ice skating was fun, though.
Later in the evening also came another small breakthrough on the front of those personal relationships. Still a long way to go though.
Well, we had the atonement offering, now we’re on to grain offerings.
Interesting, though. These really seem to be offerings that are there to feed and provide for the priests.
With 600,000-odd Israelite men (let alone women and children), this was a big group. I doubt Aaron and his sons had time to scratch themselves, let alone eat – or actually gather their own food to eat. These guys were probably all day – from sunrise to after sunset – burning offerings to God. How did they eat? Well, God had it organised. Those people who brought grain offerings would provide some of it to the Lord, and then the rest would be given to Aaron and his sons, I’m assuming so that they can actually eat!
But out of curiousity – where did they get the grain from?
These guys were nomads, right? I mean, okay, at this point it’s probably reasonable that they still had some from when they left Egypt, but they’re wandering the desert. It’s not like they can actually wander back and forth, left and right etcetera, when they’ve got grain planted. They were living off manna and quail provided by God. So where did the grain come from?
Perhaps it was just in preparation. The idea wasn’t initially for the Israelites to wander the desert for forty years. The initial idea was to go up to Canaan and they’d enter the land promised to their forefathers.
I do like, though, the title “Memorial Portion” – It’s like deliberately remembering God by giving a memorial portion of what he’s provided to us back to him.
I’m quite terrified about the week ahead.
Work’s been giving me more and more responsibility, basically by the day almost over the past month or two. Which is great, don’t get me wrong about that – but this week is the first conference that I’ve basically done the organisation for by myself; which means, anything that goes wrong is going to be my responsibility to deal with – and my ear that gets chewed by angry people down the phone line.
I mean, I’m reasonably confident that I have everything sorted, and probably just being overly cautious, but I’m worrying about all the things that could go wrong. The whole company is basically relying on me to have got everything set up and organised properly so that their conference is a success. Well, all I can do is hope.
Any prayers that people can offer would be great in the meantime, that all goes smoothly and is successful. Thanks very much.
You know, the introduction to this chapter intrigues me.
The Israelites, day after day after day, kept bringing more and more offerings to help build the tabernacle. They’ve brought so much that the people working on building it have to put down their tools, go up to Moses and tell him that they have too much. Moses then has to go to the Israelites and tell them to stop giving! Stop!
Imagine the impact that there would be on the world, if people gave so much that they had to be asked to stop giving. I’m not just talking about to God and the church, but just in general.
I haven’t ever seen the whole movie Pay It Forward, but I know – and absolutely love – the concept. It’s so brilliant. Just imagine a world where people stopped and thought about someone else. They stopped and just gave something to another person.
Today at church, there was quite a theme that I brought out of it, of generosity, of love, of giving – of having the mindset that I come second, and others come first.
We live in a world that is ruled by “ME”. We’re taught, we encourage each other, we live life with the attitude that we need to look after ourselves first. We can’t give to others, unless we have enough to spare – and enough to spare is enough not only after our necessities, but after all the other bonuses and good things that we want to get for ourselves as well.
Imagine what would happen if we flipped that around. Imagine what would happen if we suddenly decided that we were going to give to others, out of what we don’t have?
Once the Israelites have stopped giving, though, then the workers can get on with building the tabernacle.
Are these the same Israelites? Only a few days or weeks (months maybe?) before, they were whining and complaining. Moses had taken too long on the mountain, so they gave their earrings to Aaron and he popped the gold into a fire, and out came a golden calf. Now, suddenly, they’re all on board with God and the tabernacle.
It’s quite amazing. God doesn’t want us to have idols, or even images that we worship. What he does want, though, is for there to be a place of worship.
Now that doesn’t have to be a tabernacle, or a church – it can be a lounge room with some friends, or a park, or even a car. Wherever is convenient.
However he does emphasise there being a place of worship. A place where humans can come together and be in relationship, not only with God but with each other.
Relationships are good. I have some wonderful friends who just light up my days. It doesn’t take away from my relationship with God, in fact, those people strengthen it, because we can exhort and encourage, as well as pull each other into line if need be.
We’re not meant to walk this life alone. We’re meant to have people around us, and this is one of the purposes God had in ensuring a place of worship was built – to bring us together so that we can build relationships with each other. Our relationships with each other also bring us closer to God.