Friday, May 26, 2023

2023.05.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 36:8–38

Read Exodus 36:8–38

Questions from the Scripture text: What did the artisans make in Exodus 36:8-38? How do these verses compare to Exodus 26:1–37? Why would assembly instructions like Exodus 26:9b, Exodus 26:12-13 be left out in the context of the current passage? Why would Exodus 26:33–35 be absent from this passage but in Exodus 40:20–22 instead? What point is being made by how close these passages are to the instructions in chapter 26?

What does this passage show about the construction of the tabernacle? Exodus 36:8–38 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-one verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the construction of the tabernacle was according to the Word of the Lord, because it was sustained by the grace of the Lord, to fulfill the purposes of the Lord. 

According to the Word of the Lord. This passage is a nearly word-for-word adaptation of Exodus 26:1–37, with the omission of a couple verses that had to do not with the preparation of the materials but with the actual assembly. This demonstrates that Moses was, after all, faithful to write down all the instruction that had been given to him on the mountain (cf. Exodus 34:27). More impressively, it demonstrates that the people heeded the words that Moses had written down. Much has been made of the skill that they had for artistic work, but this was a much more important skill: careful obedience.

Sustained by the grace of the Lord. Of course, careful obedience is not natural to wilderness-generation Israelites (or 21st century Americans!). If they needed the Spirit of God for wisdom and understanding for knowledge and workmanship (cf. Exodus 35:31), how much more His Spirit was needed for obedience!

We have seen the grace of the Lord to give them His Word. We have seen the grace of the Lord to give them a prophet who would teach them His Word. We have seen the grace of the Lord to keep their prophet faithful. We have seen the grace of the Lord to make their prophet’s face shine in order to instill in them reverence for the Word. We have seen the grace of the Lord to give them willingness in the giving for the materials of the tabernacle.

But more grace is needed for persistent, laborious obedience. And that is the grace that we see here (and in following, similar passages). The Lord graciously sustained the obedience of the Israelites so that their worship would be constructed exactly according to His Word.  The Lord continues to give this sort of grace to His people. As the apostle says, “let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably” (Hebrews 12:28). 

To fulfill the purposes of the Lord. Back in chapter 26, we considered many of the things that the Lord was teaching by constructing His worship like this. The ceiling curtains and roof curtains of Exodus 36:8-19 convey mobility of a tent, with the modularity of rapid setup and takedown, the majesty of the heavenly appearance from inside, and multi-layered plan to indicate graded degrees of holiness and insulation from the elements of the outside world. The boards, hardware, and bars of Exodus 36:20-34 conveyed strength by the primary materials and construction, and glory by the use of silver and overlaying with gold. The veil and screen of Exodus 36:35-38 conveyed how sin had sealed off access to the holy God, but that He had made a way through.

But all of these pointed forward to Christ. Christ, Who leads worship wherever His people are. Christ, Who is infinitely stronger and more glorious than any material. Christ, Who is our way through the curtain and into heaven itself. All of God’s commandments for our worship have this aim: that we would come only through Christ. 

How ought we to worship? How can we be sustained in this meticulously careful obedience?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for telling us how to gather to You in worship through Christ. Sustain us by Your grace to carefully follow all of Your commands, so that we would only draw near in the way that You have said—through Christ—in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH152 “Safely through Another Week”

No comments:

Post a Comment