My Two-Minute Summary of Today's Bible Reading

  

"Put your nose into the Bible every day. It is your spiritual food. And then share it. Make a vow not to be a lukewarm Christian." -Kirk Cameron

 
  

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February 1 (Exodus and 1 Chronicles)

Today we begin reading the book of Exodus. The beginning time line is either 1526 or 1360 BC. God had blessed the Israelite population and the arrogant Egyptians began to fear their developing strength in numbers. So they enslaved the Israelis in an attempt to slow down their reproduction. When that plan failed Pharaoh ordered that the infant boys were to be killed; first by the midwives at birth then later (when that plan failed); by drowning them in the Nile. Here we find the first event of righteous civil disobedience mentioned in Scripture. It was during this time that Moses was born, then raised in Pharaoh's palace by his daughter, and eventually he fled Egypt as a fugitive murderer.

In Midian near Mt. Sinai, after shepherding for 40 years, God commissioned him from the burning bush. Can you name all three signs of authenticity that God gave him to prove his divinely given authority?*

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*1-staff that turned into a snake and back again,

2-hand in cloak that turned diseased then healthy again,

3-water from the Nile poured out turned into blood on the ground.

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February 2 (Exodus)

80 year old Moses returned to Egypt to confront Pharaoh, but instead of instantly becoming a hero he was hated by the Israelites because instead of bringing relief he caused Pharaoh to increase their stress. In reply to Moses' expressed disappointment, God stated that although the patriarchs knew His name as Yahweh, He had not yet revealed the essence of His name, which He was about to demonstrate to the world through the Exodus events: of His personal claim of the Israelite clan, the overwhelming plagues He would inflict on their captors, the Israelites' deliverance, Moses' presentation of the Law, and the conquest of the Promised Land as their reward.

One of God's main objectives repeated throughout Scripture is stated in 7:5. Finally, in response to Pharaoh's demand for Moses to produce a miracle, Aaron's staff turned into a snake and ate up all the magicians' staffs that they had also turned into snakes. (7:10-13).

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February 3 (Exodus)

Today's reading begins with the 10 great plagues against Pharaoh of Egypt. The purpose was a redemptive one for all humanity. God said, "You will know that there is not one like Me in all the earth, ... to show you My power and to spread My fame throughout the earth." (NLT)

The sequence of the plagues at first may appear by some to be a natural result of the former plague, however this paradigm cannot logically apply to all ten so they are each an individual miracle of God's judgment and are not linked.

The first plague was the turning all the above ground water into blood. The second was to produce innumerable frogs. The third was to produce gnats. The fourth plague was different because God began here to protect the Israelites and inflict only the Egyptians. The fifth plague was against the livestock. The sixth was the plague of boils. The seventh plague was of hail that destroyed everything in the open air.

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February 4 (Exodus)

God reiterated that the purpose of the plagues was so that (to the Israelis in particular) it would be known that God is the LORD. The eighth plague was that of the destruction by the locusts. The Egyptian officials complain that Pharaoh is allowing Moses to hold the country hostage by refusing to release the Israelis. The penultimate plague was that of total darkness. (Watch out for the Nile crocodiles!)

Finally, the great Exodus from Egypt occurred following the tenth plague (of death to all the first born males of every home without the prescribed blood on the door frames).

This was a major historical event that is rich in theological significance. God started the Hebrew calendar at this time, commemorating the event. How interesting that the current world yearly count began with another great Passover event (the year of our Lord [Jesus]).

What especially distressed the Egyptians was the fact that their boys had no time to be ritually embalmed because there were too many of them (Numbers.33:4,  3/10's reading.)

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February 5 (Exodus)

God did not lead the Israelites along the shorter and more established route to Canaan. Instead He directed them to go through the wilderness. God's plan was to demonstrate to the Egyptians "that [He] is the LORD!" Because of their apparent impending slaughter by the Egyptian army, the Israelites begged to be returned to Egypt. God delivered the Israelites by drowning the entire Egyptian army. God commanded that those who were saved to give a testimony of "what the Lord did for me." (Ex. 13:8) and to "Remember it forever." (13:3). Joseph's final prediction was finally fulfilled (13:19). All the people praised the Lord. Moses' sister played the tambourine while singing and dancing. Finally, God (like He said after the flood event) promised not to punish His people as He did the Egyptians " if they continued to follow Him loyally, demonstrating that He was both the God that can inflict punishment and the God that can grant blessings to whomever He chooses.

Finally, after the Lord purified the bitter water in Marah, the Israelites traveled to and settled at the oasis of Elim where they found 12 springs and seventy palm trees.

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February 6 (Exodus)

Just like they will do later in history (in I Samuel 8:7), the people rejected God by rejecting His chosen leader; accusing Moses and Aaron of going through all trouble of the former events just so that they could starve the people to death in the wilderness (16:7-8). God answered them with the introduction of the Manna (that they continued to eat for 40 years) and the proper gathering of it demonstrated their obedience to the first observance of the Sabbath day's rest.

Next, the people accused Moses again of try to kill them with dehydration and God answered with water from a rock. Then Moses' father-in-law taught him how to administrate better.

Finally, the mortal conflict between Amalek (a descendant of Esau and the ancestor of King Agag and Haman) and God began. God revealed Himself to Moses and announced His objective that would ultimately be fulfilled in the New Testament, (Compare Ex. 19:6 & Rev. 1:6). I wonder if Ex. 19:13 is a precursor to I Cor. 15:52 and I Thessalonians. 4:16, where the sound of the trumpet allows the people to "Come up?"

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February 7 (Exodus)

God gave the Ten Commandments followed by some societal rules on what was considered "justice" in those days. I doubt that in contemporary western society that kids who hit their parents or those who kidnap would ever suffer capital punishment today. These are sins of misbehavior between humans and their consequences may have changed, but the sins against God are still in full effect because regardless of the societal paradigm shifts, the relationship between The Creator and His creation has never changed. Thank God for His all-encompassing forgiveness through the eternally atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Moses tried to get the people to move from fearing the overwhelming power of God (of which can incinerate diamonds in a split second) to realizing the awesome authoritative capability of God to discipline even the intentions of their innermost secret thoughts and desires, so that they would not sin against Him. He stated that this was the reason that God gave them these Exodus experiences (Ex. 20:20).

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February 8 (Exodus)

God gives further instructions on how to treat people, ensure justice for all, and for them to celebrate three annual festivals in His honor. There are several behaviors listed that require capital punishment. In addition, He guaranteed the benefits of His constant presence before them (through the preincarnate Christ, MacArthur, 2005, p118) and Israel accepted the LORD's covenant by speaking in unison, "We will do everything the LORD has commanded. We will obey!"

After confirming the covenant with blood from the altar, Moses and the leaders partially ascended the Mountain of God. Next, Moses and Joshua separated from them to climb higher. Then after seven days God called Moses to the summit alone where God appeared as a consuming fire and Moses remained there for 40 days/nights.

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February 9 (Exodus)

God listed the acceptable items for the construction of His Tabernacle, that those "who were so moved" were to offer to the Lord. God referred to a "pattern" that He had shown to Moses as a blueprint (if-you-will) from which to build. The importance of its perfection was equal to its eternally monumental objective: "... I can live among them." God stated the exact specifications for the construction of: the Ark, table lamp stand, tabernacle, Altar, courtyard, priests' clothing, ephod, and the chest piece to Moses; to be completed with "great skill and care" by only the most gifted of craftsman. Our lack of understanding may tempt us to diminish the importance of these intricate details, but we must not ever discount the infinite value of its eternal significance.

God set the priests apart as "HOLY TO THE LORD." This attribution was the greatest of all honors that He could bestow upon them, but that position also came with critical requirements that would result in very dire consequences if ignored. (Compare: Leviticus 10; II Chronicles. 26:18; I Sam. 13; Luke 12:48; I Peter 4:17; Matt. 24:45-51; James 3:1)

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February 10 (Exodus)

God gave instructions in great detail of how to properly dedicate the Priests and how to consecrate the place of worship so that God can live among His beloved people and that they would know that He is the Lord, the One who brought them out of Egypt, He is their God. He further instructed them on how to construct the Incense Altar and other various items to be used for worship (money, washbasin, anointing oil, incense, etc.). Interesting note about the incense, is that one ingredient is mollusk shell. There are actually five species of mollusks that can be found in the Sinai Peninsula.)

God named Bezalel and Oholiab as the men to whom He specifically gifted with outstanding skill and wisdom to (along with their apprentices, see 35:34) construct all the items listed. Next, God confirmed the sanctity of the weekly seventh day as the Holy Sabbath to be a demonstration to the nations from generation to generation of the covenant relationship that God had incorporated with the Israelites. Finally, God handed Moses the stone tablets carved by the very finger of God.

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February 11 (Exodus)

Aaron's apparent lack of strong leadership skills enabled the Israelites to create and worship a golden calf. Their sin was especially heinous because not only were they worshiping an idol, but they were also attributing God's miraculous salvation to a lifeless idol, and celebrating it with unrestrained sensuality. God was prepared to destroy them, but He relented when Moses reminded Him that the nations were watching and that His reputation as the greatest Savior and Promise keeper would be tarnished. Moses destroyed the first copy of the Ten Commandments. Aaron refused to admit his responsibility and the Levites ordained themselves as Moses' disciplinarians. (I am glad that contemporary ordination services do not follow their service agenda.) Moses confessed, "Your presence among us sets [us] apart from all other people on the earth." How true. God rewrote the Ten Commandments and promised to protect the Israelites from their enemies. God identified Himself as "Yahweh" and "Jealous" of His worshipers' devotion to any other. He also declared that, "No one may see My face and live..." and "No one may appear before me without an offering."

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February 12 (Exodus)

Again Moses taught the people the importance of honoring the Sabbath day's rest. Then to prepare materials for the Tabernacle, he called for a sacred offering from "All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved." (Ex. 35:21). The people were eager to generously support the Lord's construction of the Tabernacle, but then after some time, such a large amount was being piled up that Moses had to command them to stop giving. (I wonder, "Does that problem ever happen in contemporary Christianity.) The women who were skilled in sewing and spinning made yarn and linen cloth. Finally, with all the materials donated, precise observation and care was employed to record the step-by-step creative production of Bezalel and Oholiab in detail. Interesting: "Teaching" was listed as an ability that is given by God (Ex. 35:34).

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February 13 (Exodus)

Bezalel, his assistant, Oholiab, and other skilled craftsmen whom they had trained, made the Ark, table, lamp stand, incense altar, altar of burnt offering, washbasin, courtyard, clothing for the priests, ephod, and the chest piece enabled by the exceptional talent and wisdom bestowed on them from God. Repeatedly it is recorded that they employed "Great skill and care." Understandably, it would take this to flatten out gold sheets then cut them into threads that could be sewn into the finely woven material.

An inventory of all the money and materials was compiled and maintained by the Levites and the Priests recorded this data.

Finally, the sacred medallion that was the badge of holiness was made of pure gold. It was engraved with the words, "HOLY TO THE LORD," and attached to Aaron's turban with a blue cord. Note: We probably could never imagine how attractive the workmanship and colors must have seemed to the ancient Hebrews, being that it was so rare to see such in those days.

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February 14 (Exodus and Numbers)

Moses inspected and approved all the parts of the Tabernacle. Then God instructed Moses to assemble the Tabernacle and put each object in a specific location within it. He placed the Ark of the Covenant in the midst of the Most Holy Place along with the accompanying items. Then after anointing the Tabernacle and all its furnishings along with Aaron and his sons, the cloud/fire of the Lord's glory covered and filled the Tabernacle so heavily that Moses was unable to enter into it.

From this moment forward, the Israelites would begin the practice of moving and settling as directed by God's presence. Whatever His cloud/fire did (lifted up or settled down) the Israelites would follow suit.

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February 15 (Numbers)

After Moses anointed all the Tabernacle furnishings and the Altar with its utensils, the tribal leaders presented the oxen and carts to be used by the Levites for transporting everything to do with the Tabernacle, except for the sacred objects. These were to be carried on the Kohathites' shoulders. They were a division of the Levites.

Beginning with the Tribe of Judah (Compare: Numbers 7:12; Judges 20:18; Revelation 7:5, significant?), a leader representing his respective tribe  (of Israel's 12 tribes) dedicated an identical offering to the Lord. God spoke to Moses from between the two cherubim above the Ark's cover. Interesting: the miracle of sound created without the use of any physical matter (7:89). As a musician, I have always been fascinated by timbre and wondered if there is any instrument that could produce a sound without it. I assume that God's divine voice would be a unique sound.

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February 16 (Numbers and Leviticus)

The Levites were forever dedicated to serving the Lord as His own special possession. All the firstborn Israelites belong to the Lord, but the Lord traded them as substitutes for the men in the Tribe of Levi.

Two weeks after the Tabernacle was finished, the Israelites celebrated their second annual Passover celebration. God stipulated the directions on burnt, grain, and peace offerings, including instructions on the procedures for slaughtering the animals.

A few interesting details:  The "Levites" careers were from ages 25-50 only," Never burn yeast or honey in offerings to the Lord," "Always season offerings with salt," and to "Never eat fat or Blood."

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February 17 (Leviticus)

The main subject in this portion informed the Israelites about how to find forgiveness for unintentional sins committed by the high priest, the Israelite community, Israel's leaders, and any of the common people. Even if the sin was not deliberate the Lord said the sinner would still be guilty. The sacrificial directions given by God were specific for each type of violator.

God gave the directions and procedures for the sin offering, guilt offering, burnt offering, grain offering, and the ordination offering. Restitution for committing fraud or theft is full repayment to the victim plus 20%.

While "in Christ" Christians are free of all these sacrificial procedures, it is important to muse on how much freedom our faith in the sufficiency of His all encompassing sacrifice affords us. Praise Him!

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February 18 (Leviticus)

God gave Moses instructions about the guilt offering (it was most holy) and peace offering. He forbade the eating of blood and/or fat. He stipulated that the breast and right thigh of the peace offering was reserved for the priests, and Aaron and his descendants. God said that this was their rightful share. (Is this where the idea of "rights" came from?)

Moses ordained the priests by first washing them. (Does this also remind you of Jesus and His disciples in John 13:1-17).

Moses said, "Everything we have done today was commanded by the LORD in order to purify you, making you right with Him. Now stay at the entrance of the Tabernacle day and night for seven days, for this is what the LORD has commanded." (Leviticus 8:35). How would you feel if you were told to stay at church that long? 

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February 19 (Leviticus)

Moses prepared the people for the Lord's appearance. After Aaron completed all the sacrifices and blessed the people the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community with fire that blazed forth and consumed the entire sacrifice. In response, the people shouted for joy and fell face down on the ground in worship. (Elijah had a similar experience on Mt. Carmel.) In spite of this display of God's holy power, two of Aaron's sons fearlessly disrespected God's instructions and were instantly burned to death. Moses pretty much said to Aaron, "I told you so." He instructed Aaron not to mourn for them or else he too would die because he had the Lord's anointing. On 2/21 we will learn that at this time God also warned Aaron to not just stroll into the Holy of Holies or it would cost him his life.

Next, without any mention of the tragedy that just occurred, the Lord continued to instruct that consuming alcohol before worship would result in death. Then Moses instructed the people of what was forbidden for food (includes: no eating roaches, bats, or vultures, ugh! I am good with that rule).

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February 20 (Leviticus)

We learn about the importance of cleanliness among the ancient people as it relates to childbirth, skin diseases, mildew, and contaminated materials. The Lord gave instructions to Moses about how to ceremonially purify a person who has been cured of a skin disease. (Jesus acted in obedience to this when He sent the lepers to the priests in Luke 17:11-17.)

Observe how even today an individual believer's spiritual condition can affect the congregation's general health. The pretension of a person's purity does not neutralize the effects of his/her spiritual depravity. When was the last time we, or anybody, cried out, with our mouth covered and our hair disheveled, "Unclean! Unclean!" ? (Leviticus 13:45). I realize that the salvation of Jesus cleanses us from all sins. However, I fear that we may focus so intently on the security of enjoying perpetual forgiveness through salvation, that we discount the painful consequences of our disobedience and the Lord's resulting discipline (I Cor. 11:30; Heb. 12:6).

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February 21 (Leviticus)

We learn the precise directions for cleanliness that may appear to contemporary readers to be some sort of "Hocus Pocus" nonsense (such as: dipping a stick of cedar, some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch and sprinkling the blood here and there, and setting a bird free in the open field), but it was a very serious lesson in which God was teaching reverence for His Holiness expressed by the worshiper's personal purity (physically and spiritually) a concept that few professing Christians seem to fully grasp.

The first mention in Scripture of a "scapegoat" taking away the sins of the people is a most important precursor of Jesus' ultimate role in taking away the sins "once and for all time." (Hebrews 9:11-10:10).

There is also included an acknowledgment of procreative relations that do not require a sacrificial offering (= no shame). Finally, the Day of Atonement is the only annual event where a fast is required.

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February 22 (Leviticus)

Because the pagan Canaanites sacrificed to their hunting gods wherever they made a kill, God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice only at the door of the Tabernacle or be guilty of murder. This would become a factor in the Jewish people's disdain for the Samaritans 1,000 years later. God instituted strict laws concerning how to treat the blood of animals because "its life is in the blood." This "life blood" concept is also a precursor to the coming infinite value of the sacrificial blood of Jesus. God condemned all sexual perversion (anything other than a lifelong relationship of one man and one unrelated woman) and God commanded holiness on each person's individual conduct. "You must be holy because I the Lord your God, am holy." (Leviticus 19:2). God demanded that everyone must show great respect for his/her parents, the Sabbath day, and to love one's neighbor as himself/herself.  The objective of God's remaining variety of instructions given in chapter 19 was to keep His people from looking and acting like the pagans of the surrounding lands. Finally, God advertised that worshipers would find blessings (temporal and eternal) in His word (Leviticus.18:4-5).

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February 23 (Leviticus)

Today we read how serious God is about not committing the sins of sacrificing children to Molech, consulting mediums, dishonoring parents, adultery, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, and prostitution by demanding that the guilty ones suffer capital punishment.

The priests were required to live a squeaky-clean life and would suffer painful consequences for disobeying this requirement. God required that only ceremonially clean men who have no physical defects may approach the sacred offerings and that they must be careful to treat them as holy. God also instructed that each sacrificial animal must be in perfect health for Him to accept it.

He recapitulated the paramount importance of obedience to all these regulations so that He can display Holiness among the Israelites (Leviticus 22:31-33).

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February 24 (Leviticus)

God appointed annual parties to celebrate His rescue of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, His provision of productive harvests, and the forgiveness of sins. Was God preparing for Ruth with the instructions He gave in Leviticus 23:22?

Examples of justified punishment were given (this is where we got the "eye-for-eye", tooth-for-tooth" phrase, Leviticus 24:10-13). A blasphemer was stoned to death. And the first mention of "The Year of Jubilee" is made. How we treat other humans indicates at what amount we reverence God (Leviticus 17:19).

Finally, God made a promise to His covenant nation of Israel that may serve as a warning to the USA (who is not a covenant nation, but who could benefit from this promise), "If you want to live securely in the land, follow My decrees and obey My regulations." (25:18).

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February 25 (Leviticus)

We read that the decrees, regulations, and instructions that God gave through Moses were to serve as evidence of the special relationship that the Israelis had with God. To protect them from suffering personal economic hardship, He made rules for redeeming property and people (slavery: God identified their status as "property," but they were to be treated as "family").

God promised blessings of abundant harvests, good health, and victory over enemies for obedience and a graduation of punishments for continual rebellion against Him. Again, as stated earlier, while the USA is not a covenant nation, she can learn the essence of His character here and choose more wisely than she has thus far.

Finally, God assured the Israelites that He would be waiting to accept them when after suffering His punishments they finally come to their senses and repent of their sins.

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February 26 (Leviticus and Numbers)

God stipulated various prices for redeeming people, animals, and land that had been dedicated to the Lord, but the first born are automatically dedicated to the Lord so they cannot be dedicated a second time. And no one can redeem a thing, person, or property that has been set apart for destruction (Leviticus 27:29). Sadly, we will see this put into practice in Joshua 7 (in the 3/24 reading). So mark this in your Bible. The only mention of tithe in Leviticus is in 27:30.

Finally, one year after the great Exodus from Egypt, and one month after the Tabernacle was completed, the first census of the people over the age of 20 was taken. The total number of soldiers was calculated to be 603,550. The Levites were exempt from the census because they belonged to the Lord. Their job was to surround the Tabernacle as a shield to protect the common people from the lethality of profaning God's holiness.

These events occurred either in 1445 or 1279 BC.

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February 27 (Numbers)

We read that God organized Israel's camp by tribes and responsibilities. Whenever they broke camp Judah (whose name means "praise") was instructed to go first. Three tribes were specifically assigned to settle on each of the four sides of the Tabernacle. The Levites were appointed for service as the Lord's portion in the place of all the first born males in the other tribes and were required to walk in the middle with six tribes before and six behind them. I know: 6 + 1 + 6 = 13 tribes. Recall that the patriarch Joseph's position was divided into two tribes when his sons were adopted by his father Jacob in Genesis 48:5.

Several times God warned, "Anyone other than a Priest or Levite that goes too near the Sanctuary was to be put to death." God gave the leaders gave a solemn responsibility to protect the worship from any form of corruption.

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February 28 (Numbers)

We read how God assigned specific duties to certain clans with strict warnings that any man who does not remain within his assigned boundaries and specific responsibilities will die. This will appear to be unreasonable only to those who hold an erroneous view of the power of God's divine holiness. The camp was purged of all who were diseased or ceremoniously unclean. God equated a man's sin again another man as a sin against God Himself. Finally, because adultery was one of the most secretive of sins, a very public test was prescribed to determine the marital fidelity (or guilt) of the wife of a jealous husband.

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Silhouette of Child Sitting Behind a Tree at Sunset,  Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

February