Day 18 - Exodus 21-24
How to Live
These four chapters consist of mostly rules and regulations. The reading can seem a bit tedious but we do well to remember that God is teaching His people how to live with one another. For 400 years they have lived in the midst of Egypt. Inevitably they have adopted many of the Egyptian ways in action, mind, and heart. God a very real sense God is dealing with an addict here or maybe even a people with Stockholm syndrome.
Day 19 - Exodus 25-28
How to Worship
In these four chapters we learn of the creation of the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle or Tent where God will dwell, and the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests for the Lord. God has taught them how they must live among one another, now He is teaching them how to worship. For 400 years they have witnessed the Egyptians pray and sacrifice to their many Gods. Many of them were surely attractive to the children of Israel. They may have even witnessed what appeared to be gods working miracles in the lives of their followers. However, like a good father instructing his child, the Lord is teaching them the correct way to pray to Him: how to pray, what to wear, etc,.
Day 20 - Exodus 29-32
Back to Reality
As we move through the first parts of this day's readings we learn how the priests are to be ordained and serve. We learn that the Lord is commanding them to give their very best and to do this perpetually. The Lord knows that removing Egypt from Israel will be no easy task. It is not an instant conversion of His people even after the miracles of the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the Manna from Heaven, and the water from the rock. The Lord wants them to sacrifice and to do so on a regular basis as a constant reminder that they Lord is their God. For us too, daily prayer, sacraments, and reminders are the way to keep the Lord ever before our eyes. Fail to do so and we quickly slip back into the slavery of sin.
These readings, however, quickly bring us back to reality. All of this instruction and mentoring has taken place between God and Moses upon the mountain when Moses appears to the people to have perished after being on the mountain for so long. It is as if the author lulls us into a dream-like state where we see Israel following after God's own heart. We are rudely awakened by chapter 32.
Here the people set free by the Lord return to Egypt in their hearts. Here the gold meant to give God great worship is used to worship a false god. Again we see the great intercession of Moses in this chapter. Before returning to the people and after the calling out of the Levites, Moses stands before the Lord asking for His pardon and mercy.
Day 21 - Exodus 33-36
In chapter 33 we see the resistance of the people. They are happy to be free of Egypt and slavery but they are not quite wholeheartedly following the Lord. They resist His instruction that they will take the land of their enemies. In this chapter too, Moses begs the Lord to stay with them and guide them.
Moses spends more time before the Lord and He reminds Moses of the promises, statutes, and Commandments. This time Moses spends with the Lord transforms his face to the point that the people can't stand to look upon him.
The remainder of this section of reading we see the people actually setting to work on the plans God gave to Moses the first time he was on the mountain.
Day 22 - Exodus 37-40
The Journey Begins in Ernest
The book of Exodus concludes with the creation of the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, all that God has commanded them. It's important to notice that all of these chapters have been focusing on creating the system of worship or the work of worship which is what the word liturgy means. Back when Moses was asking Pharaoh to let the people go, this was what he was requesting, the freedom to take a break from regular work to perform the work of worship. This too is why Sunday is so important for us. It is a time to take a break from the work of everyday life and make it a day filled with the "work" of worship.
The final paragraphs of Exodus show us that the people are following the Lord. They move when He moves. They are beginning to trust the Lord and His plan and promises. The seed of Jesus' family is within this massive group of people, within the tribe of Judah. The blessing of the Lord is upon the tribes of Israel. It's much easier for us to see this now than it was for them. Similarly, it's much easier for us to see God's hand with hindsight. The question for them and us remains, will you trust him?
We now move on to the book of Numbers. Leviticus is skipped because it really isn't a narrative book. It elaborates on the overviews of Exodus on how to treat one another, how to worship, and much more.
For Day 23 read Numbers 1-4
How to get better at prayer.
- Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
- Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go. Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
- Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days. Mark off the days on your calendar. If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
- Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him. I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development. God is the same way. Spend time praying as best you can. Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation. Don't forget to listen
- Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life. It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
- Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer Primer, Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer, Time for God, The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation
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