FINALLY! The end of January!! Yes, February is often no better. But it does let us look forward to that special day in March which marks the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring. In January, we had Groundhog Day and Valentine's Day to look forward. Each nice in its own way, but neither a harbinger of warm breezes and flowers. Matter of fact, I just saw a weather forecast for the coming week for the Upper Midwest that used words like "blizzard" in it. Not so good. We are now, finally, showing the "day" part of the 24 hours as being above 10 hours, which is a nice change, and in the right direction. Picking up more than 2 minutes per day, an amount that is increasing slightly, day by day.
I hate Winter.
The Old Testament reading this morning ins chapters 25 and 266 of the Exodus. Preparations for the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant. VERY detailed instructions here. VERY.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,
And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.
And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.
And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof.
And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.
And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.
And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.
Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.
And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.
And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me always.
And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
And in the candlesticks shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.
And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.
Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.
And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.
Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them.
The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.
The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.
And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.
Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; that the loops may take hold one of another.
And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle.
And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make.
The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure.
And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle.
And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second.
And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one.
And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle.
And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle on this side and on that side, to cover it.
And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers' skins.
And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.
Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board.
Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle.
And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward.
And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.
And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards:
And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards.
And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides.
And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners.
And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle,
And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides westward.
And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end.
And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold.
And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount.
And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubim shall it be made:
And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.
And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.
And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework.
And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.
The New Testament reading is verses 1-22 of Matthew 21. Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem just before Passover. Things are about to get intense.
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,
And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.