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February 16: Exo 27 | Psa 81-82 | Mark 12

Reading 1 - Exo 27:1

"Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits [about 4 1/2 feet] high; it is to be square, five cubits [about 7 1/2 feet] long and five cubits wide" (Exo 27:1).

The position of the altar of burnt offering, directly in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, teaches plainly that no man may approach unto God except via the shedding of blood, in sacrifice.

The bronze altar symbolizes Christ in sacrificial manifestation: "We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat" (Heb 13:10).

All who touch this altar are made holy (Exo 29:37). Correspondingly, all who touch Christ in baptism -- coming into contact with his blood by being "crucified with him" -- are thereby made holy (Rom 6:1-3).

Reading 2 - Psa 81:16

"With honey from the rock I would satisfy you" (Psa 81:16).

"The wild bee is most common in lonely ravines, where it makes its nests in the clefts of precipitous rocks, often [only] with great difficulty accessible to man" (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible). Here, honey symbolizes wisdom (1Sa 14:27,28; Psa 19:10; 119:103; Pro 24:13; Eze 3:3; Rev 10:9,10). Such wisdom is obtainable only from God the "Rock" (Psa 18:31,46; 28:1; 61:2; 78:35; etc).

Reading 3 - Mark 12:16,17

"They brought the coin, and he asked them, 'Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?' 'Caesar's,' they replied. Then Jesus said to them, 'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.' And they were amazed at him" (Mar 12:16,17).

As Christ held up the Roman coin, and asked his question, he was (by design?) offering a clear alternative to his audience: on the one hand, there was Caesar's coin, with Caesar's image and an identifying superscription -- no doubt about ITS ownership! But on the other hand, there was Christ himself, made in the image of the invisible God (2Co 4:4; Col 1:15; Joh 1:14), and over him a different "superscription": "This is My beloved Son!"

Which "image" and "superscription" will we choose? "Caesar" gives to us the coinage of this world, and we use it as we have need, and return to that "god of this world" a portion thereof, as he requests.

But God has given us the "image" of His Son -- which is of course HIS OWN image! (Gen 1:27) -- which may be imprinted in our hearts and minds. Thus we are remade in that image, from the inside out! Who cares to hoard the pitiful pieces of metal on which are stamped the crude impression of a corrupt and wicked "god"? Give them all back to the "god" from whence they came! But treasure the character, the inner man, which is stamped with the image of the One True God in the person of His Son -- keep that safe and clean, so that it may finally be given back to God Himself: "Here, Father, is my gift, my tribute... Your Son's image engraven upon my life! I give it all to you!"


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