February 17: Finding Sustainment
Exodus 39:1–40:38; John 6:52–71; Song of Solomon 5:5–9
Following Jesus isn’t like developing a crisis-aversion system. So often, it’s tempting to treat our faith in this way—relying on Him when things get tough or when others expect us to do so. But He wants us to rely on Him continually.
After Jesus miraculously fed the crowds, He told them that He was the bread of life. But they were fickle. They wanted evidence—another sign. Instead of feeding their transient desires, Jesus delivered hard teaching: “The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me and I in him” (John 6:54–56).
For the Jews, this teaching would have been shocking and strange—drinking blood was forbidden by Old Testament law, and He was speaking about His own body. They followed Jesus because they wanted a sign, a prophet, or a Messiah. A sacrifice was not part of their plan.
But a sacrifice was exactly what they needed. Forgiveness and eternal life were discarded by some, but not by all. Simon Peter’s simple confession is actually quite stunning in the midst of all the confusion: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68–69). The disciples didn’t put hope in a transient sign—in one meal. And although they didn’t always understand Jesus’ teaching, they recognized that He was the true bread of life, and they relied on Him for sustainment even when His teaching seemed strange to their ears.
How are you challenging yourself to accept all the teachings of Jesus—not just the ones that are easy? How can you put your hope in Christ and look to Him for continual support?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Moreover they made garments of ministration to minister in the Sanctuary of blue silk, and purple, and scarlet: they made also the holy garments for Aaron, as the Lord had commanded Moses. So he made the Ephod of gold, blue silk, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue silk and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with broidered work. For the which they made shoulders to couple together: for it was closed by the two eagles thereof. And the broidered girdle of his Ephod that was upon him, was of the same stuff, and of like work: even of gold, of blue silk, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, as the Lord had commanded Moses. And they wrought two Onyx stones closed in ouches of gold, and graved, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel. And put them onth eshoulders of the Ephod, as stones for a remembrance of the children of Israel, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Also he made the breatplate of broidered work like thework of the Ephod: to wit, of gold, blue silk, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. They made the breast plate double, and it was square an hand breadth long, adn an hand breadth broad: it was also double. And they filled it with four rows of stones. The order was thus, a Ruby, a Topaz, and a Carbuncle in the first row. And in the second row an Emerald, a Sapphire, and a Diamond. Also in the third row a Turquoise, an Agate, and an Hematite: Likewise in the fourth row a Chrysolite, an Onyx, and a Jasper: closed and set in ouches of gold. So the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, even twelve after their names, graven like signets, every one after his name, according to the twelve tribes. After, they made upon the breastplate chains at the ends, of wreathen work and pure gold. They made also two bosses of gold, and two gold rings, and put the two rings, in the two corners of the breastplate. Also the two other ends of the two wreathen chains they fastened in the two bosses, and put them on the shoulders of the Ephod, upon the forefront of it. Likewise they made two rings of gold, and put them in the two other concerns of the breastplate upon the edge of it, which was on the inside of the Ephod. They made also two other golden rings, and put them on the two sides of the Ephod, beneath on the foreside of it, and over against his coupling above the broidered girdle of the Ephod. Then they fastened the breastplate by his rings unto the rings of the Ephod, with a lace of blue silk that it might be fast upon the broidered girdle of the Ephod, and that the breastplate should not be loosed from the Ephod, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moreover he had the robe of the Ephod of woven work, altogether of blue silk. And the hole of the robe was in the midst of it, as the collar of an habergeon, with an edge about the collar, that it should not rent. And they made upon the skirt of the robe pomegranates, of blue silk and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen twined. They made also bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon th skirts of the robe round about between the pomegranates. A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate round about the skirts of the robe to minister in, as the Lord had commanded Moses. After, tehy made coats of fine linen, of women work for Aaron and for his sons. And the mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen. And the girdle of fine twined linen, and of blue silk, and purple, and scarlet, even of needle work, as the Lord that commanded Moses. Finally, they made the plate for the holy crown of fine gold, and wrote upon it a subscription like to the graving of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And they tied unto it a lace of blue silk to fasten it on high upon the mitre, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Thus was all the work of the Tabernacle, even of the Tabernacle of the Congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses: so did they. Afterward they brought the Tabernacle unto Moses, the Tabernacle and all his instruments, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets, And the covering of rams’ skins, dyed red, and the coverings of badgers’ skins, and the covering veil. The Ark of the testimony, and the bars thereof, and the Mercy seat. The Table, with all the instruments thereof, and the Mercy seat. The Table, with all the instruments thereof, and the showbread. The pure Candlestick, the lamps thereof, even the Lamps set in order, and all the instruments thereof, and the oil for light: Also the golden Altar and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging of the Tabernacle door, The brazen Altar with his grate of brass, his bars and all his instruments, the Laver and his foot. The curtains of the court with his pillars, and his sockets, and the hanging to the court gage, and his cords, and his pins, and all the instruments of the service of the Tabernacle, called the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Finally, the ministering garments to serve in the Sanctuary, and the holy garments for Aaron the Priest, and his sons’ garments to minister in the Priest’s office. According to every point that the Lord had commanded moses, so the children of Isrel made all the work. And Moses beheld all the work, and behold they had done it as the Lord had commanded: so had they done: and Moses blessed them. Then the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, In the first day of the first month in the very first of the same month shalt thou set up the Tabernacle, called the Tabernacle of the Congregation: And thou shalt put therein the ark of the Testimony, and cover the ark with the veil. Also thou shalt bring int hetable, adn set it in order as it doth require: thou shlat also bring in the Candlestick, and light his lamps. And thou shalt set the incense Altar of gold before the Ark of the Testimony: and put in the hanging at the door of the tabernacle. Moreover, thou shalt set the burnt offering Altar before the door of the Tabernacle, called the Tabernacle of the Congregation. And thou shalt set the Laver between the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the Altar, and put water therein. Then thou shalt appoint the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate. After, thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the Tabernacle, and all that is therein, and hallow it with all the instruments threof, that it may be holy. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his instruments thereof, that it may be holy. And thou shalt anoint the Altar of the burnt offering, and all his instruments, and shalt sanctify the Altar, that it may be an altar most holy. Also thou shalt anoint the Laver, and his foot, and shalt sanctify it. Then thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and shalt anoint him, and sanctify him, that he may minister unto me in the Priest’s office. Thou shalt also bring his sons and clothe them with garments. And shalt anoint them as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the Priest’s office: for their anointing shall be a sign, that the Priesthood shall be everlasting unto them throughout their generations. So Moses did according to all that the Lord had commanded him; so did he. Thus was the Tabernacle reared up the first day of the month in the second year. Then Moses reared up the Tabernacle and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars of it, and reared up his pillars. And he spread the covering over the Tabernacle, and put hte covering of that covering on high above it, as the Lord had commanded Moses. And he took and put hte Testimony in the Ark, and put he bars in the rings of the Ark, and set the Mercy seat on high upon the Ark. He brought also the Ark into the Tabernacle, and hanged up the covering veil, and covered the Ark of the Testimony, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Furthermore he put the Table in the Tabernacle of the Congregation in the North side of the Tabernacle, without the veil. And set the bread in order before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Also he put hte Candlestick in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, over against the Talbe toward the South side of the Tabernacle. And he lighted the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moreover, he set the olden Altar inthe Tabernacle of the Congregation before th eveil, And burnt sweet incense thereon, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Also he hanged up the veil at the door of the Tabernacle. After, he set the burnt offering Altar without the door of the Tabernacle, called the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and offered the burnt offering and the sacrifice thereon, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Likewise he set the Laver between the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the Altar, and poured water therein to wash with. So Moses and Aaron, and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat. When they went into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and when they approached to the Altar, they washed, as the Lord had commanded Noses. Finally, he reared up the court round about the Tabernacle of the Altar, and hanged up the veil at the court gate: so Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. So Moses could not enter into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Now when the cloud ascended up from the Tabernacle, the children of Israel went forward in all their journeys. But if the cloud ascended not, then they journeyed not till the day that it was ascended. For the cloud of the Lord was upn the Tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. Exodus 39:1–40:38
- Then the Jews strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As that living Father hath sent me, so live I by the Father, and he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers ahve eaten manna, and are dead. He that eateth of this bread, shall live forever. These things spake he in the Synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples (when they heard this), said unto him, Doth this offend you? What then if ye should see that Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quicketh: the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, are spirit and life. But there are some of you that believe not: for Jesus knew from the beginning, which they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of my Father. From that time, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered, him, Master, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life: And we believe and know that thou art that Christ that Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil. Now he spake it of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, though he was one of the twelve. John 6:52–71
- I rose up to open to my well-beloved, and mine hands did drop down myrrh, and my fingers pure myrrh upon the handles of the bar. I opened to my well-beloved: but my well-beloved was gone and past: mine heart was gone when he did speak: I sought him, but I could not find him: I called him, but he answered me not. The watchmen that were about the the city, found me: they smote me, and wounded me: the watchmen of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my well-beloved, that you tell him that I am sick of love. O the fairest among women, what is thy well-beloved more than other well-beloved? what is thy well-beloved more than another lover, that thou dost so charge us? Song of Solomon 5:5–9