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18 To 24 Inches
by Rick Stephenson
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I was listening to a country song recently entitled 18 Inches that talked about the distance between a personís head and heart. This sparked my curiosity and so I did a little digging but couldnít find anything specific enough to substantiate this claim. I suppose this is due to the fact that not everyone is the same height, width or build. Nonetheless, I did get hit with another thought that on average: this distance for most of us would indeed fall between 18 to 24 inches. Why is this important? I believe it is because of the following thoughts that also hit me.

According to the Bible, when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt into the desert to worship God, it says that God instructed Moses to build a meeting place or a tabernacle for Him to interact with the people. God was very specific in the details He gave to Moses for the building of this tabernacle. Once built and dedicated, it was the primary place of worship for the Israelites to come and meet with their God. Of course, in the desert, this tabernacle was made to be easily transportable and so it was basically an elaborate tent, hence it was often called the ďtent of meetingĒ. However, once God led the Israelites into their promised land and they developed a more permanent residence for themselves, they also decided to build God a more permanent one as well to replace the tent and this became known as the temple in Jerusalem, which was built upon the same design of the original tabernacle.

Please bear with me as itís important to understand these basics as we now move forward. You see when God was providing the details on how to build this tabernacle/temple, He told Moses to use the measurement of a ďcubitĒ when building both the actual tabernacle and all itís contents. Today, we donít use the measurement of a cubit but rather feet or meters, so over time we have lost the sense of what a cubit measurement is. However, the best scientists, archeologists, and historians agree it must have measured most likely either 18 or 24 inches in terms of our equivalent measurements today. The cubit was established by the measurement of the distance between the tip of the middle finger to the elbow, which is the expanse of the forearm.

All right, thanks for your patience now letís get to the meat and potatoes of the issue. Everything God does, He does for a reason, in other words there is nothing left to chance or for guessing on our part. We are clearly told in scripture that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and that we are made in His image (Genesis 7:27). Yet who can see a spirit or alone see God? (John 1:18) But, we are physical human beings who can see each other, therefore, the image God spoke of must reside within us not on the outside. However, since God is a Spirit and we are physical there must be something to connect the two so that we in our fleshly form can recognize the Spirit of God. I am happy to tell you that there is! It is the combination of our head and our heart!

What do I mean, you ask. Well, the answer is in the process and the pattern given to us. You see when God gave the instructions for the tabernacle/temple He told Moses it was only a pattern of things to come. (Exodus 25:9) So what is a pattern? According to the dictionary, it is a regular or repetitive form, order or arrangement, a predictable behavior or design, a plan or model used as a guide for making something, a prototype. Hence, the tabernacle/temple was provided as a guide to reveal or point us to the original design and the only way to comprehend what the original design is, is to understand the process for the pattern. Therefore, if the tabernacle enabled a process of worship of the Israelites for their God then the clues found within the pattern must point us to not only to who that God is but also about how God must be worshipped.

Now hereís the connection, if God was so specific about the use of a cubit in the building of the tabernacle/temple and we understand that it is roughly 18 to 24 inches, which matches the average length between a personís head to heart, then there must be something vitally important to understand in this relationship. I believe it is this; that true worship of God must involve both! Itís that simple!

When God gave the tabernacle plan to Moses He was starting with the head as this is where knowledge of God must start. This is why God gave us the Ten Commandments, the moral, judicial and ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. God had to teach man about Himself and get into manís thoughts, however, it couldnít end there because then there would only be knowledge without wisdom. Knowledge is simply knowing facts or figures but wisdom is understanding what to do with the knowledge. So then, God had to establish a connection between the head and the heart so He covered Himself (His Spirit) with flesh and came to us in the form of Jesus Christ so we could see Him and relate to Him in the physical. Jesus then taught us wisdom of how to have a heart for God and not just a head knowledge, which had led the religious leaders of the day (Pharisees and Sadducees) into legalism and formality but they lacked relationship. Godís greatest desire therefore must be relationship or a connection between the head and the heart.

After Jesusí death and resurrection, which paved the way for our reconciliation to God from the flesh back to the spirit, He spoke through His apostles and so Paul said that when we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior inviting Him to have control over both our heads and hearts that then we have become the temple of God. (1-Corinthians 3:16) But, we must also keep in mind that if all we have is a heart for God without a strong knowledge as to the purpose or pattern, then we become fanatical (just look around our world today and see the truth of that statement).

It takes both to balance us out and to help us connect to each other. Another significant fact is that in the measuring of a cubit it involved as we said previously the tip of the middle finger to the elbow, which has some relevance to Godís plan as well. You see we can use either our religion or relationship with God to help or offend others. We use the uplifted middle finger to offend others and if all we have is uplifted head knowledge of God, we can think we are better than they are and push them away. Or, we can bend at the elbow and show grace by submitting ourselves in humility and even though it might be painful (as in when your funny bone is struck) we can relate to the needs others have, which brings about joy when they discover God as we have.

What can keep all of this in balance? Another 18 to 24 inches from our knees to the floor! I would encourage you to seek out both the knowledge and wisdom of God by reaching for Him in prayer. Please donít let only a matter of 18 to 24 inches keep you from eternity!

God Bless - Rick


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