Friday, October 28, 2022

2022.10.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 25:10–22

Read Exodus 25:10–22

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the first tabernacle furnishing about which Yahweh gives Moses instruction (Exodus 25:10)? How long is it? How wide? How tall? With what must it be overlayed (Exodus 25:11)? On which surfaces? What other gold will be added? Where? What shall be cast for it in Exodus 25:12? How many? To put where? Arranged how? What else shall they make (Exodus 25:13)? Overlayed with what? To put where (Exodus 25:14)? For what purpose? Where must the poles be (Exodus 25:15)? What mustn’t be done to them? What must Moses put into the ark (Exodus 25:16)? What else shall be made for the ark (Exodus 25:17)? Out of what substance? What length? What width? What else must be made (Exodus 25:18)? How many? Out of what? With what technique? Where? What parts of this instruction are repeated in Exodus 25:19? What is their relation to the mercy seat? What will the cherubim stretch out (Exodus 25:20)? To do what to the mercy seat? What shall they face? In order to face what else? Where will they put the mercy seat (Exodus 25:21)? What instruction is repeated here? What will happen there (Exodus 25:22)? What will Yahweh do? From where? How else does He describe this place? About what will the Lord speak to him? 

What is the most important furniture of the tabernacle? Exodus 25:10–22 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the most important furnishing of the tabernacle is a box, and especially its “atonement-cover.”

The instructions for building the tabernacle work their way from the holy of holies out. The first item to be built, then, is the ark of the testimony. This is a very rare word. So far, we’ve seen only Noah’s ark in the flood and baby Moses’s ark on the river. Here now is a third ark of safety—safety from the wrath of God for Moses and all Israel. 

The Lord is going to be in the midst of them in His holiness? The Lord is going to be engaged to them by covenanted contract? How will they survive?! The ark will have the testimony inside it, but between it and God’s throne above will be an atonement-cover (a more literal translation than “mercy seat.”) 

God prescribes His people’s safety. Every aspect of this construction is very specifically detailed by God. On the one hand, this conveys His interest and intentionality in their safety. On the other, this conveys how very unsafe it is to deviate from His instructions or add man’s own ideas.

God’s portable presence. Considering the significance of the box, it’s pretty amazing that it’s only 3'9"x2'3"x2'3". But we must remember that it is going in a tent and will be carried on poles (cf. Exodus 25:12-15). It is meant to be a portable presence.

God’s enduring presence. With that in mind, the specification of acacia wood is important. It is a very heavy wood. But, it is also a very hard, durable word, and an antimicrobial wood that won’t develop fungal or bacterial rot. The ark may be built to move, but it’s also built to last.

God’s heavenly presence. The priority on portability also draws attention to overlaying things in gold. We are instructed by the willingness to take on that weight in order to make the display of heavenliness in having everything covered with gold. No wood will be visible on the ark.

God’s covenantal presence. The instruction to put the Testimony in the ark (Exodus 25:16) is repeated in Exodus 25:21. Then Exodus 25:22 calls it by the name “the ark of the Testimony.” Not only will it have the original documents inside, but it will be there that Yahweh speak with Moses “about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” God maintains His relationship with His people by His Word, which they must hear and heed.

God’s merciful, royal presence. With the document in the box, how can it dwell among a sinful people, or how can a sinner come near? Exodus 25:17-21 detail the construction and placement of the “atonement-cover.” The importance of this lid is heightened by its being solid gold.  The cherubim signify the throne of the Lord Who rules over all heaven and earth (cf. Numbers 7:89; 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:1). But that throne is “hammered work of one piece” with the atonement-cover. It communicates a reality on earth that will be realized when Christ takes His seat in heaven: even in light of His heart-exposing Word, God’s throne is unto us a throne of grace (cf. Hebrews 4:12Hebrews 4:16)! Christ is our mercy seat!

How constantly aware are you of God’s presence? How aware of its mercy and glory in Christ? 

Sample prayer: Lord, we thank You and praise You for making Christ the One in Whom You come near to us and bring us near to Yourself. Make us continually aware of both how merciful and how glorious that presence is in Him, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH332 “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”

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