Tezavveh & Zakhor
For the week of March 3, 2012 / 9 Adar 5772
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 27:20 - 30:10;
Devarim / Deuteronomy 25:17-19
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 15:2-34


Intentional Design

You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. (Shemot / Exodus 30:9; ESV)

I have become rather passionate about the subject of Biblical worldview. Worldview is a way to describe how individuals and communities understand life. When an athlete wears the same undergarment during a long championship series, believing that not to wear it would undermine his success, he is living out a superstitious worldview. When in movie after movie, brave champions win the day having not first committed themselves and their endeavors to God in prayer; we encounter Hollywood's secular-humanist worldview. Every time someone says "truth is whatever you make it to be", they are espousing a post-modern worldview. Doing whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, as long as it feels good is a hedonistic worldview.

Countries such as Canada and the United States that at one time officially embraced and promoted a biblical worldview now aggressively pursue opposing worldviews to the point of even denying the place the Bible once had in our societies. At the same time without realizing it we continue to enjoy the blessings of a way of living derived from Scripture. Yet if we continue neglecting God's ways these blessings will eventually be lost.

One aspect of a biblical worldview is the understanding that the universe is intentionally designed. The universe is not the result of meaningless random chance. There are many people today intrigued by the concept of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design purports that the evidence of science points to an intelligent being who designed the universe. This is in agreement with the teaching of Scripture, but it's not the whole truth. Intelligence doesn't necessarily imply intentionality. The existence of an object in and of itself doesn't dictate an intended use. I may be intrigued by its complexity and ponder its origins, but its existence doesn't by itself determine its purpose.

The Bible provides us with more than just a claim to the origins of the universe. It also informs us as to the intended uses of the things we encounter within it. The importance of determining the intended use of things is illustrated for us in God's directives for the various elements of the Mishkan (English: Tabernacle). It was in and through the Mishkan that Israel encountered the very presence of God. God was very precise in his directions to Moses regarding the Mishkan's details. For example, as we read at the beginning, the altar of incense was for the burning of incense only. It was not to be used for any other purpose.

Through this we learn that God is very particular about how things are used. This flies in the face of today's technological worldview that declares "If it can be done, it should be done." From genetic engineering and other medical technologies, from communications to entertainment, human beings are being presented with ever increasing opportunities to explore solutions and experiences never thought possible before. The prevailing worldview does not tolerate the biblical perspective that how we live life, including the use of new technologies, should be directed by God's Word, not by the grand promises of big companies, governments, peers, and self.

Speaking of self, we also need to determine our personal purpose. For once that is established, we will find it easier to determine what our relationship is to all the things we encounter in life. You and I do not exist by chance and for no expressed purpose. God intentionally caused you to be born as his representative on earth to accomplish his will in whatever unique way he has determined for your life. You are not to be used for just any old thing. Determining exactly what you are for may not be a simple task; it might be a life-long quest, but a worthwhile one. On the other hand you may have a pretty clear grasp on what your purpose is. If so, don't sell yourself short. Live for that purpose - intentionally!

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