Exodus 38, John 17, Proverbs 14, Philippians 1

DateVersionReading Plan
@March 27, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Exodus 38

Exodus 38:8 (ESV) 8 He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting.

Much of the chapter is dedicated to describing the construction of the tabernacle and its materials, but the ministering women at the entrance of the tent of meeting is intriguing. Looking at a couple of commentaries, the consensus seems to be that there is little known of the role of these women. The Faithlife Study Bible describes how they are “identified in the Hebrew text in this verse as tsove’oth. Similar language is used to describe Levites in the sense that they are qualified to serve as part of the temple workforce (Num 4:23), so it follows that these women may have worked on behalf of the tabernacle in some capacity. The only other place these women are mentioned is in 1 Sam 2:22, where Eli, the priest, is upset with his sons for sleeping with some of them.”

John 17

John 17:3 (ESV) 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

In Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, He speaks that to know God and His Son whom He sent is eternal life. Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a). Within the pantheon of other gods and religions who claim to know the path to a higher knowledge or plane of existence, Jesus stands entirely apart in saying that He is salvation itself. Salvation is not achieved by following a set of guidelines and parameters set forth by some wise sage. Instead, it comes by way of knowing Christ and of following and abiding in Him. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Proverbs 14

Proverbs 14:4 (ESV) 4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

This reminded me of something Matt Chandler once said: “An overly clean church is like an overly clean barn; not a lot of life.” Sure, you can have a clean manger with no oxen, but neither will you have crops in abundance. Instead of trying to avoid the messiness of life, we need to see how God is doing His amazing work of restoration and redemption within the context of a broken world. Dane Ortland puts well Jesus’ embrace of sin and brokenness in Gentle and Lowly when he said, “[the] crevices of sin are themselves the places where Christ loves us the most. His heart willingly goes there. His heart is most strongly drawn there.”

Philippians 1

Philippians 1:12–14 (ESV) 12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

In antithetical sentiment, Paul speaks of how his imprisonment actually served to advance the gospel. While in prison, Paul was given opportunity to make the gospel known to the imperial guard. Paul knew (as we all should) that God is capable of working through him in every location and circumstance and that he was to proclaim the truth of Christ wherever God had placed him. What’s more, Paul’s imprisonment served to embolden brothers, giving them confidence to speak the word without fear. Both in reaching the lost and inspiring fellow followers of Christ, Paul’s example shows the power of God to turn a seemingly limited ministry into a one that is immensely fruitful.

Carson on John 17

Jesus prays that his disciples will be sanctified by the truth — understanding well that God’s word is truth, and that the very purpose of his own sanctification (i.e., he “sanctifies” himself — sets himself apart for his Father’s holy purposes — by obeying his Father and going to the cross) is that they may be sanctified (17:17–18).

I had never considered before that Jesus sanctified Himself by setting Himself apart for His Father’s holy purposes. Prior to reading this, I would have thought that Jesus—being perfect in every way—would need no sanctification at all. Interestingly, the Believer’s Bible Commentary points out that “To sanctify does not necessarily mean to make holy.” and that “the Lord set Himself apart for the work His Father sent Him to do—that is, His sacrificial death.”