Friday, June 23, 2023

2023.06.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 39:32–43

Read Exodus 39:32–43

Questions from the Scripture text: How much of what work was finished (Exodus 39:32)? According to what specifications had they done this? To whom did they bring it (Exodus 39:33)? How many of its parts? Which 33 parts are specifically named in Exodus 39:33-40? And what other things in Exodus 39:41? According to what specifications had who done how much of what (Exodus 39:42)? Who looks it over in Exodus 39:43? What did he behold? How had they done it? How does Moses respond?

What does the inspection of the tabernacle construction work teach us? Exodus 39:32–43 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twelve verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God completes, reviews, and blesses the work that He does—even the work that He does in and by His people.

The Lord finishes His work (even through His people). The Lord had given very specific commandments for the design of the tabernacle. “According to all that Yahweh had commanded” (Exodus 39:32), “According to all that Yahweh had commanded” (Exodus 39:42), “as Yahweh had commanded” (Exodus 39:43). In between the giving of the design and the construction according to that design, we had seen how necessary such detailed commandment was. The incident with the golden calf showed just how dangerous it is for sinners to be in the presence of God. 

How could they be in His presence safely? The ultimate answer is that it will be through Jesus Christ! And the very specific, very detailed commandments for worship are all ultimately bound up in who Christ is, what He would accomplish in His atoning work, and what He would accomplish in His intercession/mediation that continues upon the basis of that work.

So, the “was finished” of Exodus 39:32 finds echoes backward and forward in Scripture. “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished” (Genesis 2:1). “He said, ‘It is finished!’” (John 19:30). “It is done!” (Revelation 21:6). God finishes what He starts—in this case, what He was doing through His people, in anticipation of the work of Christ to make the tabernacling of God with man: “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). 

Israel desperately needed atonement, intercession, and mediation in order to have the presence of God safely and blessedly. And God had provided not only commandments, but the merciful and powerful sustaining work of His Spirit for the keeping of His commandments and the finishing of His work. For us today, who have a conscious union with Christ, we may be all the more sure that His Spirit is sustaining us in the part of God’s plan that is being carried out in our lives.

The Lord reviews His work. In Exodus 39:33, they begin presenting everything to Moses. What a list it is of things that were to be presented! And Moses, as God’s emissary to them, “looked over all the work.” This too is reminiscent of the creation account: Genesis 1:31, immediately preceding the “thus it was finished” of Genesis 2:1, says, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” 

God is a continual reviewer and approver of His work—particularly as it connects to His Son. It was the Son Who created all things, and through Whom they were created (cf. John 1:1–3; Colossians 1:15–16; Hebrews 1:2); and, God reviews the work and says, “very good!” At the beginning and end of Jesus’s public ministry, at His baptism and transfiguration, God declares His revies: “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well-pleased!” And the resurrection itself was a special declaration that Jesus is the well-pleasing, eternally-begotten Son (cf. Romans 1:3; Acts 13:33).

This should warn us off of doing anything in ourselves, anything from our flesh, anything at all apart from faith in Jesus Christ and dependence upon His Spirit. He is reviewing the work!

The Lord approves His work. Here we come to our passage’s parallels to “indeed it was very good” (cf. Genesis 2:1) and “with Whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5; cf. Isaiah 42:1). “So they did” (Exodus 39:32). “So the children of Israel did all the work” (Exodus 39:42). “indeed they had done it… just so the had done it” (Exodus 39:43). And the ultimate, with Moses standing and speaking as God’s emissary, “And Moses blessed them” (verse 43). Here is a great motivator to coming to the Lord in the way that He has commanded, in dependence upon His Spirit. When we come this way, we come through the Son, and the Lord is well pleased with Him and blesses us for His sake. What a glorious thing is the public worship of God’s people, with which God is well-pleased in Jesus and blesses them for His sake!

What should we do in public worship? How should you approach your part in it? What joy does this passage teach you to take in it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for bringing us near to Yourself through Jesus Christ. Help us, to come to You in detailed, diligent obedience to Your Word, and depending upon Your Spirit, knowing that to come this way is to come through Christ. Please review and approve us in Him, and our worship in Him, and be well pleased with us and bless us, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH354 “Not All the Blood of Beasts”

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