Together, we serve
to know Christ
and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

25 March 2020

Proverbs 6:1-5

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbour,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbour’s hands:
go – to the point of exhaustion – 
    and give your neighbour no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

This counsel is not forbidding generosity, but rather risk-taking. A friend or family member approaches you to co-sign for a large loan. He appeals to your relationship; he promises that he can be trusted even though the venture is risky and he has not proven himself to carry through on his commitments. Indeed, that is why the co-signing is necessary. He has not shown the discipline necessary to build his own credit.

Understand that you are not doing him good to co-sign. You are enabling him to get into yet another bind, only this time you will have to make good for his promises. Where before you pitied him, now you despise him for getting you into financial trouble.

Do not act against a hesitant instinct. You may be worried that you are not trusting enough or caring enough. It is worthwhile to pray about the matter and seek counsel, but be sure to take these steps before committing yourself especially if others depend on you. A married person with children does not have the freedom to make financially risky commitments; and as stewards of God’s money we all have an obligation to use money wisely.

Whatever you do loan, do so as though you are giving money generously with no expectation of return. But give to what is helpful, not what enables dependency. Should you be more willing to give to family? Yes, but still with an eye on what is for the other person’s good and not to get him off your back.

The generous giver is still to be a wise giver.

Exodus 26-27

26 ‘Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by a skilled worker. All the curtains are to be the same size – twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five. Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and do the same with the end curtain in the other set. Make fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. Then make fifty gold clasps and use them to fasten the curtains together so that the tabernacle is a unit.

‘Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle – eleven altogether. All eleven curtains are to be the same size – thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains together into one set and the other six into another set. Fold the sixth curtain double at the front of the tent. 10 Make fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and also along the edge of the end curtain in the other set. 11 Then make fifty bronze clasps and put them in the loops to fasten the tent together as a unit. 12 As for the additional length of the tent curtains, the half curtain that is left over is to hang down at the rear of the tabernacle. 13 The tent curtains will be a cubit longer on both sides; what is left will hang over the sides of the tabernacle so as to cover it. 14 Make for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of other durable leather.

15 ‘Make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 16 Each frame is to be ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide, 17 with two projections set parallel to each other. Make all the frames of the tabernacle in this way. 18 Make twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle 19 and make forty silver bases to go under them – two bases for each frame, one under each projection. 20 For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, make twenty frames 21 and forty silver bases – two under each frame. 22 Make six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, 23 and make two frames for the corners at the far end. 24 At these two corners they must be double from the bottom all the way to the top and fitted into a single ring; both shall be like that. 25 So there will be eight frames and sixteen silver bases – two under each frame.

26 ‘Also make crossbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, 27 five for those on the other side, and five for the frames on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. 28 The centre crossbar is to extend from end to end at the middle of the frames. 29 Overlay the frames with gold and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. Also overlay the crossbars with gold.

30 ‘Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain.

31 ‘Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. 32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34 Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place. 35 Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle and put the lampstand opposite it on the south side.

36 ‘For the entrance to the tent make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen – the work of an embroiderer. 37 Make gold hooks for this curtain and five posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold. And cast five bronze bases for them.

 

The altar of burnt offering

27 ‘Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze. Make all its utensils of bronze – its pots to remove the ashes, and its shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. Make a grating for it, a bronze network, and make a bronze ring at each of the four corners of the network. Put it under the ledge of the altar so that it is halfway up the altar. Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze. The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried. Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain.

 

The courtyard

‘Make a courtyard for the tabernacle. The south side shall be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains of finely twisted linen, 10 with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 11 The north side shall also be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts.

12 ‘The west end of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits wide and have curtains, with ten posts and ten bases. 13 On the east end, towards the sunrise, the courtyard shall also be fifty cubits wide. 14 Curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on one side of the entrance, with three posts and three bases, 15 and curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on the other side, with three posts and three bases.

16 ‘For the entrance to the courtyard, provide a curtain twenty cubits long, of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen – the work of an embroiderer – with four posts and four bases. 17 All the posts around the courtyard are to have silver bands and hooks, and bronze bases. 18 The courtyard shall be a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide, with curtains of finely twisted linen five cubits high, and with bronze bases. 19 All the other articles used in the service of the tabernacle, whatever their function, including all the tent pegs for it and those for the courtyard, are to be of bronze.

 

Oil for the lampstand

20 ‘Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. 21 In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.