Exodus 38-40

Today’s reading begins with the description of the crafting of additional furnishings for the Tabernacle and concludes with the erecting of the Tabernacle for the first time.

The bulk of today’s reading focuses on the crafting and assembling of the remaining portions of the Tabernacle that would be used by the Israelites in their worship of the LORD. What’s interesting about the narrative that originates with God giving Moses instructions for the Tabernacle is that Moses records both the instruction from God and then the full description of the obedience to those commands. For every command that God gave regarding how and with what materials the Tabernacle is to be built, Aaron and his sons clothed, Aaron and his sons ordained; Moses records the fulfillment of the command.

Obviously, Moses doesn’t need to record the obedience to the commands for God’s sake, He already knew that Moses obeyed the commands. God moved Moses to record both the instruction and subsequent obedience for a different reason. God knows His reasons, but it seems to me that He wanted the world to know for all time that in the constructing of His place of worship that each detail was put into place just as He desired.

The closing verses of Exodus reveal God’s pleasure with the final result:

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on 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 40:34-38

God dwelt among His people in visible form for all of their journey. How is it even possible that the people turned their backs in disobedience? I think the answer to that lies in the record of our individual disobedience. Certainly most of us haven’t seen the kind of miraculous presence of God, but as an American I live in one of the most blessed nations ever to exist. Unfortunately it’s an easy thing to forget that the privileges I take for granted are blessings from God’s hand and not results of my own hard work.

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