Just As The Lord Had Commanded (Exodus 36-40)

“Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.” (Exodus 40:16)

As we read through the final five chapters of Exodus, we notice something very familiar about all of the details recorded. The reason being is that we have just read the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle back in Chapters 25-30. Now we are reading the actual fulfillment of those instructions.

For the purposes of this website, it seems unnecessary to go back through the minutiae of the specifications for the Tabernacle again since I wrote at great length back in the earlier chapters regarding the significance contained within the details. And even the most meticulous of commentaries often do little more at this point in the narrative than refresh the readers’ memory with a virtual repetition of earlier observations. Nevertheless, perhaps a few factors should be considered in these closing chapters.

One frequently repeated phrase, in one form or another, that we see sprinkled throughout the end of Exodus is the statement that Moses and the Hebrews were doing “Just as the Lord had commanded.” Although the modern reader can easily become bogged down in the very specific particulars of the properties related to the Tabernacle, this simple little phrase reminds us again and again of why all of these details were given and why the people were carrying them out so attentively.

First, we are reminded of James’ admonition:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22 KJV)

What if the Hebrews had completely disregarded the instructions of the Lord by never constructing the Tabernacle at all? Would they have not been mere hearers of the Word and not doers? Would simply listening to God’s Word and even agreeing with it have been enough? What if they had received the instructions for the Tabernacle and had immediately set out to form a committee and schedule meetings and conferences and started planning how they were going to add this to their agenda? Their intentions would have never made a suitable substitution for action. So often our own response to God’s Word is to plan, strategize, discuss, debate, meet, and organize to the point where we never get our “plans” off the ground. Yet if we were asked we would insist that we were obeying God even though we had nothing to actually show for all of our efforts.

Or suppose that the Book of Exodus concluded with the 35th chapter? If we were given no information about the actual construction of the Tabernacle we could, of course, assume that the Hebrews fulfilled the commands of the Lord exactly. After all, we know from subsequent books of the Bible that the Tabernacle did, in fact, come to exist. But such assumptions are never prudent when it comes to obeying the Word of God. When we ourselves begin to assume that we are in the will of God and are obeying Him faithfully, is it not easy to begin to overlook those seemingly minor details and, before long, discover that our footsteps have been slowly leading us away from the Lord rather than toward Him?

It is not enough to obey God in most of the areas of our lives, we are to obey Him in all the areas of our lives. Consider the incident in Moses’ own walk where he was met with anger by the Lord as he was travelling because he had failed to circumcise his own son (Exodus 4:24-26). Immediately before this we see that Moses was seemingly in the will of God in every way, we never would have guessed that he had been living in disobedience to the commandment given to every Israelite through Abraham. We assumed that he was in complete obedience to God from the Burning Bush up to this point. Yet he had overlooked one simple but crucial detail in God’s commandments.

Finally, there is the importance of the fact that the Hebrews were following the instructions that the Lord had given. The Egyptians had constructed wondrous pyramids for the glory of their Pharaohs according to blueprints composed by the prideful mind of man. The Canaanites fashioned idols of wood, stone, and precious metals in their own image for the gratification of their own sinful desires. But the Hebrews built the Tabernacle according to God’s design and for the purposes of His glory.  As we read again about the materials, the properties, the measurements, and the handiwork that went into the Tabernacle’s construction, we are reminded that not one single detail originated in the vanity or conceit of man, but every single aspect was completed: “Just as the Lord had commanded…”

I want to close this post by saying thank you to everyone who joined me on this journey through the Book of Exodus. Thanks to all of you who remember me and this website in your prayers, I am truly grateful. Next time, Lord willing, I intend to return to the New Testament with a study in the Gospel of Mark.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]

A Stirring In The Heart (Exodus 35)

“Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments.” (Exodus 35:21)

The Hebrews, while enslaved in Egypt, worked for their cruel taskmasters because they were forced to do so. They “gave” to their Egyptian slave-drivers because they had no other choice. But now they were free people, slaves to no one. In the Wilderness of Sinai, the Children of Israel were now servants of the Most High God. Yet their new Master was nothing like their old. God called His people then, just as He calls them now, to serve Him voluntarily.

Those whom the Lord had gifted for the construction of the Tabernacle were called to make all that the Lord had commanded (Ex. 35:10). There was no crack of a whip or striking with a rod, but a stirring of the heart and a moving of the spirit which compelled both the workers to work and the people to contribute to the work.

“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

God has never wanted those who serve Him to do so passionlessly or out of a sense of duty. Neither does He wish for those who contribute materially and financially to His service to give half-heartedly or out of guilt and obligation. God wants us to serve and to give to His service cheerfully, passionately, and without grumbling. The Lord desires for us to serve Him with a glad and grateful heart compelled not by necessity but by love.

“So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it.” (Exodus 36:6-7)

When was the last time your church turned away financial offerings or volunteers for service? I wonder what would happen if we all really listened to that stirring in our hearts and gave cheerfully and generously to the work 0f the Lord. It seems nowadays budgets go unmet, volunteer positions remain vacant, and there is never enough money or workers to accomplish everything we set out to do for the Gospel. But it was not so in the construction of the Tabernacle. They had more than was needed.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]

Who May Worship? — Part 3 (Exodus 30)

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.” (Exodus 30:17-18)

Yesterday, we looked at the first prerequisite for worship: Redemption. Today, we will consider the second: Cleansing or, Sanctification.

Not only must we come to God in the name of Jesus Christ, redeemed by His blood and trusting in Him for Salvation, but we must also come before God with clean hands and pure hearts. We are washed in the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and it is this which saves us. But in order to enjoy fellowship with the Lord, that is, in order to worship Him, we must be washed clean by the waters of the Bronze Laver.

All of our sin debt was paid in full at the Cross and we are saved based on that. But as long as we continue to live in this world, we are going to become soiled by the stain of sin. This doesn’t mean that we must become saved again every time we sin, but we do need to confess our sin to the Lord and allow Him to wash us clean in order to restore broken fellowship. This is what the Bronze Laver is a picture of: the washing of sin’s stains from a heart which has already been redeemed. The priest approaching the Altar of Incense did not need to go back out to the Altar of Burnt Offering again before lighting the incense, but he did need to be cleansed in the Bronze Laver.

“Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean…” (John 13:8-10)

This is what the Lord Jesus was teaching the disciples when He washed their feet. We have been bathed by the blood of Christ, but our feet are going to pick up some of the dirt and filth of this world for as long as we continue to walk through the world. The Apostle John later reflected on this lesson when he wrote,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

As long as we continue to confess our sins, the Lord will continue to cleanse us from them. Reading through the Pentateuch, we see how often ceremonial washing and cleansing was to be practiced before the worship or ministry of the Lord could be carried out. This stresses the importance of being in right-standing with God before we can worship Him in a way which He can accept and be glorified in.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]