Happy Friday. I guess.
A bit of snow on the ground, more coming. Not bad, not as things are reckoned in these parts. Have seen much worse. Like, say, a year a go. We've had no sub-zero temps, at least not yet, while last year we had some "high" temps right around the Zero degrees point, and lows well into the sub-zero teens. That being the case, +30 does not seem quite so bad. Still don't like it though, and probably never will.
Dear Wife is going next door soon in order to "watch" beloved Great-Niece as her mom goes to work the 4 pm - 9 pm shift. Daddy should be home around 6:30, so it's not awful. "Watching" the Little One tomorrow as well: mom has a craft show nearby all day, and a 3-year-old is not a great addition to that, and Daddy has a business meeting in Pittsburgh area. A 3-year-old would probably not have been conducive to good order there, either. So great-auntie is called upon once more They both enjoy it, it gives Dear Wife a reason to live, frankly, which is worth something. For all of them -- Wife, child, mom. And perhaps others as well.
I think all of us get the belief that the Lord doesn't know or care what we're going through. Or that we were an afterthought in the Great Scheme of things. Perhaps that what we do isn't noticed, or important, or appreciated, or any of the rest of that. We've all been there, sometimes we're there now. I have, that is true.
Well, it's bogus. We're commanded to do what we do, whatever we do, as unto the Lord. It matters. Often, in ways we don't realize at the time. The words, the gestures, the presence, the work, matters. It honors the Lord, or not, throughout. It affects ourselves, it affects others, and not just at the moment but at points distant in time and space. We recognize the legacies of the great preachers, the Apostles, the great inventors and thinkers, explorers and generals. Sometimes even the teachers we had (or are). But I know of cases where someone in a more lowly station touched lives in many long-lasting ways. Yes, you can pick up the trash to God's glory. Or sweep a floor, or ring a cash register, drive a school bus, deliver a baby, visit a jail, or change a tire or battery. If we make ourselves available to the Lord, He can and He will use that. We may not, in this life, see the results, but that doesn't matter. He does.
Today's reading from the Old Testament, chapters 37 and 38 of the Exodus, recount an example. It was not some sort of coincidence that the right combination of design, material availability, need, and talent, just "happened" to come together. I doubt that Bezaleel (hint: name means "in the shadow of God"; i.e., "under his protection") ever made a tabernacle before. Or after. But here, thousands of years later, his obedience and skill are recorded for all to see. That Tabernacle was used for many years, and people he never met were blessed through his work. That too is worth something.
And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it:
And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about.
And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it.
And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold.
And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark.
And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
And he made two cherubim of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat;
One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubim on the two ends thereof.
And the cherubim spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubim.
And he made the table of shittim wood: two cubits was the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof:
And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made thereunto a crown of gold round about.
Also he made thereunto a border of an handbreadth round about; and made a crown of gold for the border thereof round about.
And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon the four corners that were in the four feet thereof.
Over against the border were the rings, the places for the staves to bear the table.
And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table.
And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes, and his spoons, and his bowls, and his covers to cover withal, of pure gold.
And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same:
And six branches going out of the sides thereof; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof:
Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower; and three bowls made like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower: so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick.
And in the candlestick were four bowls made like almonds, his knops, and his flowers:
And 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 going out of it.
Their knops and their branches were of the same: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold.
And he made his seven lamps, and his snuffers, and his snuffdishes, of pure gold.
Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof.
And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same.
And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about.
And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal.
And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold.
And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary.
And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof.
And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same: and he overlaid it with brass.
And he made all the vessels of the altar, the pots, and the shovels, and the basins, and the fleshhooks, and the firepans: all the vessels thereof made he of brass.
And he made for the altar a brazen grate of network under the compass thereof beneath unto the midst of it.
And he cast four rings for the four ends of the grate of brass, to be places for the staves.
And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with brass.
And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar, to bear it withal; he made the altar hollow with boards.
And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And he made the court: on the south side southward the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, an hundred cubits:
Their pillars were twenty, and their brazen sockets twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver.
And for the north side the hangings were an hundred cubits, their pillars were twenty, and their sockets of brass twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.
And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their pillars ten, and their sockets ten; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.
And for the east side eastward fifty cubits.
The hangings of the one side of the gate were fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three.
And for the other side of the court gate, on this hand and that hand, were hangings of fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three.
All the hangings of the court round about were of fine twined linen.
And the sockets for the pillars were of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver; and the overlaying of their chapiters of silver; and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver.
And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: and twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to the hangings of the court.
And their pillars were four, and their sockets of brass four; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their chapiters and their fillets of silver.
And all the pins of the tabernacle, and of the court round about, were of brass.
This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest.
And Bezaleel the son Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses.
And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.
All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.
And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the vail; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket.
And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them.
And the brass of the offering was seventy talents, and two thousand and four hundred shekels.
And therewith he made the sockets to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the brazen altar, and the brazen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar,
And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about.
The New Testament passage is verses 23-39 of the 23rd chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus teaching, in Holy Week.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.