Friday, June 30, 2023

2023.06.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 40:1-33

Read Exodus 40:1-33

Questions from the Scripture text: Who spoke to whom in Exodus 40:1? To what day does He refer (Exodus 40:2)? What is Moses to do on that day? Where is he to put what (Exodus 40:3-8)? Then what is he to do to everything (Exodus 40:9-11)? Then what is he to do to whom (Exodus 40:12-15)? For how long are they to be priests (Exodus 40:15)? What is Exodus 40:16’s summary of Moses’s response to this (verse 16)? How does Exodus 40:17 start showing this (cf. Exodus 40:2)? How many times is the end of Exodus 40:19 repeated (cf. Exodus 40:21Exodus 40:22Exodus 40:25Exodus 40:27Exodus 40:29Exodus 40:32)? How does the end of Exodus 40:33 conclude the chapter?

What does the Lord emphasize to us in the setup of the tabernacle? Exodus 40:1–33 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in the setup of the tabernacle, Moses was a faithful servant in all Christ’s house. 

As the Holy Spirit took us through the construction of the tabernacle items (Exodus 36:1–39:31), some details from chapters 25–30 had been left out, especially details about setup and usage. Those details hadn’t  been necessary for construction, and now God’s commands about them are repeated in the first half of our passage today. This puts the commands about setup and usage (Exodus 40:1-15) in immediate juxtaposition to Moses’s obedience to those commands.

Moses’s obedience. The obedience itself is strongly highlighted. Not only do statements of the obedience bookend the second half in Exodus 40:16 and the end of Exodus 40:33, but the refrain “as Yahweh had commanded Moses” appears seven times. We’re familiar with that as the number of completeness and finishing, ever since the creation. In order for it to appear that many times in such a small space, it reads as if the point of the listing isn’t so much all of the individual pieces and their positions as the emphasis upon how God’s Word was fulfilled, and God’s servant was faithful. 

And he was faithful. This is highlighted in another place, when Hebrews 3:1–6  talks about Christ’s faithfulness over His own house as a Son. Until He came as the Son, the administration of the house had been in Moses’s hands, and Moses had been faithful in all God’s house as a servant.

Christ’s greater obedience to come. The fact that Hebrews refers to Israel as Christ’s house is important, especially in light of Exodus 40:15’s statement about Aaron’s house, “that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” The book of Hebrews teaches that there was a day coming when those generations would be fulfilled, and the priesthood of Aaron’s house and Levi’s tribe would be superseded with the eternal, Melchizedekian priesthood of Christ (chapters 5–10). Now that day has come. The infinitely greater obedience of the infinitely greater Son takes what we see here in our passage and multiplies it by… well, infinity (!) … in our behalf.

A greater (and greatest) Passover. Speaking of days, the day that all of this is done is very important. A year prior, it was the day that the Lord came upon Egypt in a night of dreadful visitation of His presence, and the firstborn died in every home that was not covered by the blood of the lamb. Now, God is about to come not in a moment of visitation but in a persistent presence. The anniversary of the Passover comes with an even greater one—not just the blood of the lamb on one house for one night, but a tent-house with God’s presence and the blood sacrifices that would continually look forward to the once-for all blood of the Lamb Himself. The erection of the tabernacle is a greater Passover, looking forward to God’s tabernacling among us in Christ, and the shedding of His own blood to make us safe in that tabernacling. 

Because God’s plan was to tabernacle among His people in favor and blessing, an atonement and safety as big as God Himself was needed. Moses the servant in the house was not that, but his faithfulness was a picture of that of the Son over the house, Who is God Himself. The tabernacle was not as big as God Himself, but its persistent and favorable presence among God’s people was a picture of Him Who is the tabernacling of God among us. 

Why is it dangerous for you to be in the presence of God? But in Whose intense presence will you be for unending ages? How can you be safe in His communicated presence now? How can you be safe in His presence then? How faithful did Christ have to be for His people?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for the Lord Jesus’s obedience in our behalf as a Son over His own house. Give us to rest upon Him, rejoice in Him, and always to come to You through Him, just as we shall dwell in Your intense presence in Him forever, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

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

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