May 21


Exodus 27-29

We are in the World Stream today reading more about the construction the altar, tabernacle, etc. from the New International Version. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear Lord prepare us for our meeting with you. The beauty of what is coming together in this reading today is simple and intricate and beautiful; beautiful as meeting you daily as we prepare to meet you face to face one day.

27 – Here we find the description of the bronze altar and the court of the Tabernacle. The altar was 15′ X 15′ and 9′ high. The details for the courtyard that would encircle the Tabernacle are many. The court was 150′ X 75′.  The linen curtains and loops and poles and lamps is rather interesting. There are helpful drawings and illustrations if searching then on the internet helps you see it better. “Tabernacle in the wilderness” should take you enough options.

28 – The garments for the priests; Aaron and his sons were of vital importance. The included the ephod (the breastpiece), there were gems within the garments.  The outfits were symbolic, precise, intricate, and beautiful – even inspiring. This was such a significant element of their worship. I may seem hard to grasp for many today when the dresscode has degraded to “hey, wear whatever!”  But Jesus told one parable where those who attended a wedding were expelled from the event for having the wrong outfit on.  This was also illustrative of paradise where those who are clothed in Christ are the only ones allowed to enter. Anyone else with any other outfit is cast into outer darkness.  My husband and I may have a better insight into this as we work in Hollywood and it is crucial that every woman at every event be found in a unique dress. To be seen in any way similar to another woman’s outfit is a perceived nightmare. The opposite rule goes for men – they must all look identical in black tuxedos/white shirt/black bowtie. To be seen in any variance of this is an extreme taboo.  Dressing for God matters FAR more. So it may require some mental effort, but understanding and seeing the priests outfits for the deep meaning that they carried is a rich endeavor.
29 – The consecrating of the Priests was the setting aside these men / their lives unto ministry was a grave matter (deathly serious) <– if we may embrace a tone of such.  They were to have their outfits and to wear them properly.  They were not to be slapped on and then take a dumb stumble into the courtyard for some yaha time with God before the people. Heavens no. This was as serious as the nation’s very existence.  If this stuff didn’t matter, then nothing else mattered…and vice versa.  There were sacrifices to me made and they were to be folllowed to the “T”.  There was food to be prepared and that must be done in a flawless manner also.
 Why all this detail in today’s reading? This is all described here and then it is described again in Exodus 35-40 as they are building it. We may look at this and, putting our thinking today against the mindset in the Sinai, only to be thinking now, “heard that before – got it the first time.”  This repetition only asserts the extreme importance – it is not a laborious repeat.    The TAbernacle was a foreshadow, a “likeness” of something heavenly.  The reminder to look back on this in Hebrews 8:5 is intriguing.  The significance of being right before a glorious God never goes away.  It’s similar to the issue that arrives in construction. Get the blueprints done perfectly, follow them precisely and comprehensively, build it properly and the final product is eternally right.  This matters to all involved in any construction project. and to the occupants that shall reside/and/or work there later? .  How could anything we do be of greater importance that what God wants built. Does precision and beauty and strength and value matter to God. You bet you life it does.  Listen again to the final verse today – God does this “that He might dwell among them for He is the Lord their God.”   Nothing matters more than this!

May 14


Exodus 23-26

We are reading more of the law and the instructions for the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle today. We are reading from the Common English Bible this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord God Almighty, seeing you and experiencing you is why we are alive. Prepare US to meet YOU.  Amen.

23 – The Book of the Covenant (Ex.21-24) continues and we finish that today [23,24] plus read the first two chapters that give directions for the Tabernacle [25,26].  To summarize 23: there will be justice and mercy. do not follow rumors or tell lies or lie as a witness, Justice means no favoritism, follow decency- not sentiment, take no bribes and do not oppress newcomers.  The land needs a Sabbath (ea.7th year), as do you and your slaves (ea.7th day). Follow no other gods. You will have festivals and celebrations in each season and God will be in the middle of them. People may ponder this but of a truth we all know; people either party with God or they will party with the Devil. God is commanding that they keep Him in the middle of their celebrations and He institutes these celebrations to assure the culture be a God-centered culture.      So much can be said about the dietary matters of blood, the yeast, the fat, the cooking process, the prohibition of mixing meat with the milk of that same animal – there is a landmark book titled Purity & Danger by Mary Douglas [1966] that offers a good explanation of the depth of this. It all could be summed up that God wants us to be whole and healthy and well. Many particular meats especially are unsanitary, from disorderly garbage minded-animals, putrid and therein they lend toward insanity and symbolize chaos. They were to avoid them and everything about them.  Each person will bring offerings to God / no one comes empty-handed. God led them via Moses and He was also sending an angel ahead of them (this “Messenger”) This angel would protect against enemies, diseases, displacement, or becoming cowardly. They will have security and must avoid false gods.

24 – The Covenant is confirmed in an over-whelming event of effects and visions and fire and smoke and colors and revelations of God this all let the people know that God is abundantly serious and excited about what He is laying down here! The Israelites pledged to God and the elders proceeded into a venue that was most impressive. In case anyone is wondering, the word “lapis-lazuli tiles” is the light effect of azure-blue or sapphire. It’s a deep sky color one sees when looking upward from an airplane at a high altitude. Here they are seeing God. My heavens! Moses then goes up into the cloud to listen/converse with God. Keep in mind that as we are reading the next 7 chapters (do not get bored amid the details of ch. 25-31!) Moses is IN the cloud getting these matters noted straight from God as He is talking to him. What an experience.  This time OMG means OMG literally!
25 – The offerings for the Tabernacle are to be gathered. This is very precious material being stored up. The instructions for the Ark are given as are the Table and the Lampstand. It may help to see this better by searching “The Tabernacle of Moses”. This opens a series of sketchings. Most impressive is the one with the tall flame above the actual Tabernacle. This is the flame that God brought down along with the cloud that we read of at the end of Exodus 40. This assured that God was with them – that’s all anyone needs to know, really.  But at the present there is alot of preparation yet to do to welcome God into their presence in majesty that will help make an impression on these people they will never forget.
26 – The dimensions of the Tabernacle are given.  The details are many and we may feel belabored by all this, but it matters. It matters to God so it needs to matter to us. [Again, searching Tabernacle photos can be helpful]  This is the place where God is going to appear and show his glory.  No house is built without specifications. Homes/Mansions are built and the more important it is, the more details there are. They were to follow these matters every one. Following this was prerequisite for God to appear. Sloppiness here would not be tolerated.  If they were sloppy here, they would be sloppy with everything. Going through Israeli neighborhoods today, the attention to detail is a marvel. Gates, gardens, fences, edging, etc. They get these notions from here in Exodus and it still shows 3,400 years later.  What are we studying and therefore what are we committed to?

May 7


Exodus 19-22

We are in the Nation Stream today reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Dear God – Thank you for your guiding Law. So many across the earth fall into trouble and sit in the ashes of a ruined life and moan, “how come no one told me?”  Well, you tell us God. You guide and warn and remind and teach and do this to save us heartache and loss, and we thank you. Amen.

19 – The awe-inspiring pre-show to the Law being given happens in this chapter. These 10 Commandments would prove to be the pillars of civil society. And the Israelites are looking up at all the fireworks and smoke and lightning as we read it in ch.19 and it had to be a heart-stopper!  The events of this “preView” to the Ten Commandments and their arrival and delivery to the people were of grave importance. The future of society would hinge upon these coming laws. God had to get their attention prior to the Law. To read the TenCom’s and to shrug and walk away would have been a travesty.  Thus the fire and earthquake and trumpet blast that must have been Gabriel or Michael cutting loose has them at attention!  God also wanted the Israelites to hear God talking to Moses so that they would take Moses seriously throughout his life.  The impressions were made and – here comes the Law.
One note that is of merit: historically, we know that the Israelites were not capable of keeping the Law as no one is. Interesting that we see Elijah right here in this same place centuries later when he is on the run from Ahab/Jezebel. It wasn’t the thunder and lightning and fire that got Elijah’s heart. It was God’s whisper.  See I Kings 19 to review that at your leisure.
20 –  The Contract with God required keeping these Ten Commandments.  They are not 10 SUGGESTIONS that God hopes they hear and adhere to. They are not DEMANDs (is DEMANDMENTS a word? 🙂 as if God would burn them and throw them in hell the instant anyone falters. They were commands. You shall not do this. It could be worded in English today, “you won’t be killing or stealing or swearing/cursing by Me, got it?! …”  This is the way it was going to be.  The first 4 pertained to treatment of God. The last 6 pertained to the treatment of eachother. Very important to reverence eachother too!  ‘Ever been around someone who claims they love God and yet they treat their neighbors like rodents? ‘pretty nauseating isn’t it?
There’s a whole new code and God offered endless support/provision/protection for those who followed His Law.  Those who wouldn’t, well, you made your choice and you’re to get out of my sight.” Don’t anyone get mad because of their disobedience.          All this is delivered in a setting that shook them to the core.  The Israelites had been dwellers in the delta for 400+ years. and they’d never really seen a mountain. And here they were getting a new “life code”, the scenery is colossal and terrifying, trumpets (that they can’t see!) are blasting, the earth is shaking, the mountain is on fire.  WOW.  Get this memo people and obey this Law.
21 – 22 – The first aspect of augmented civil law was that of slavery and how to handle the matter. This is a topic of must passion today, so much so, that a sensible discussion regarding slavery is often thwarted by ignorance, anger, and resentment. The truth is that 80% of the slaves that resided in North America from 1619 to 1865 (at the end of the Civil War) were treated rather kindly as America was a biblically founded government and biblical laws commanding the fair treatment of slaves were abided by.  Granted 20% of slave owners (who dominate the discussion) were cruel and a notable amount of these brutal slave holders were of African descent themselves (which is usually ignored and very carefully so). The argument won’t be put to rest here and we don’t intend to but . . .    Be that as it may, the issue of slaves [a worldwide phenomenon] and their treatment had to be dealt with and God needed to step in and lay out rules. These slaves were humans made in God’s image too. They were not animals that could be kept however or slaughtered and discarded whenever.  The people of God who possessed slaves must treat them honorably; better than the rest of the world did.  God commanded it.   The truth is that there are slaves today being held and driven by masters who are not Believers – and they will not read our Bible. One report gives a conservative estimate that there are in excess of 200Million slaves on earth today. The majority of them brutalized Christians being treated so by Muslims, Communists, Atheists, and Pagans (and the worldwide secular media couldn’t care less).  Other aspects explained pertained to violence, deviant behavior, theft, rape, pets-gone-wild, and negligence resulting in harm,  The details involving disputes arising around animals is pertinent for animals were pets, food, income, tools for labor, etc.  The Hebrews must remember that they were to be upstanding people as a testimony to the world. They were to treat orphans and widows and foreigners/travelers well.  They were not engage in pagan behavior of any kind, and be amenable regarding loan$.  These were the beginning laws that would be the mark of a civil and godly society.  A country’s atmosphere, even today, reflects on whether they adhere to, or disobey, or are ignorant of these laws that are spelled out starting here and running through to the end of Deuteronomy.