Friday, January 27, 2023

2023.01.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 30:11–16

Read Exodus 30:11–16

Questions from the Scripture text: How does this passage begin, for the first time since Exodus 25:1 (Exodus 30:11)? What is he to take of the people (Exodus 30:12)? What must every man give, when he is counted? What will happen if every numbered man does not give the ransom price? How much must every counted man give (Exodus 30:13)? What does this half-shekel become? Which males, specifically, are to be numbered (Exodus 30:14)? Who are not to give more (Exodus 30:15)? Who are not to give less? What does this ransom offering do for them? What are the priests to use the ransom money for (Exodus 30:16)? What would putting it into the tabernacle service do?

What is the most important way to muster the men of Israel? Exodus 31:11–16 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when the men were numbered for census, it was not so much that they could be mustered for war as to be memorialized before the Lord; Israel would be protected by atonement, not by military size. 

Dangerous business. Census-taking is risky. When Yahweh is angry with Israel in 2 Samuel 24, He provokes David to number the people. In the passage before us, we see the danger involved. It requires a ransom (Exodus 30:12). It may induce a plague (verse 12). It requires an offering (Exodus 30:13). It requires an offering (Exodus 30:14). It requires making atonement (Exodus 30:15). The money is atonement money (Exodus 30:16). To make atonement for yourselves (verse 16).

Indeed, all of this atonement and ransom language isn’t new. The redemption of the firstborn taught this in Exodus 13:11–16. All of the sacrifices and furniture and atonement/ordination in the priesthood have communicated this. But why such danger associated with a census? 

The word translated "number" in Exodus 30:12-13 is derived from the lifting up of heads and has military connotations —a headcount of mustered troops. Exodus 30:14 corroborates this; it is only males over 20 whose heads are counted. 

Israel needed safety from her enemies, but it would be the Lord Who is her protection. Even when He uses her fighting men, it is still He Who gives victory. And, as we see throughout the history of Israel, He does not even need to use them to give victory! But before she needs safety from her enemies, Israel needs safety from her God. His holiness among her is dangerous. And the tabernacle is the presence of that holiness.

All God’s people, equally invested and equally safe in Christ. The amount of the atonement could never be high enough. (indeed, we know that eventually the amount of the atonement must be Christ). The Lord sets it low enough that even the poor can afford it to communicate that the same atonement is necessary for every single man. For women and children, there would be a man through whom that fellowship was covenantally represented, but they would know that God was their God and had protected them through their man. And by taking this census at the beginning of the tabernacle project, the Lord communicates to the people that each of them is equally invested in the Lord and in His presence among the people. The rich are not more invested, and the poor are not less invested.

God’s presence among us a reminder of the payment of our atonement. Exodus 30:16 calls this investing of the census money in the tabernacle service “a memorial for the children of Israel before Yahweh.” Every single man of military age, rich or poor, would know that he has an equal share in that atonement, an equal share in that presence. And he would know that the Lord wanted him to know. There isn’t just safety here, there is fellowship.

God doesn’t just give His people safety in Christ. He gives us fellowship with Himself in the knowledge of that safety in Christ. He is our strength and protection from all enemies, and from His own wrath. Even more, He means for us to remember the cost of that atonement every time we know His presence to us in Christ.

When do you see or know God’s presence to you in Christ? What did that presence cost? Why? What habit have you made of remembering this?

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for being our alimghty shield and infinitely great reward. And thank You for atoning for us by Christ, so that we could have You as our prize and our projection. And thank You for bringing us into Your presence always through Christ, so that we might remember the glorious cost of our atonement. Grant that Your Spirit would continually bring these home to our hearts, we ask in Christ’s Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP141A “I Call You, Lord” or TPH522 “Behold, the Throne of Grace!”

No comments:

Post a Comment