Category Archives: Exodus

Just As The Lord Had Commanded (Exodus 36-40)

“Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.” (Exodus 40:16)

As we read through the final five chapters of Exodus, we notice something very familiar about all of the details recorded. The reason being is that we have just read the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle back in Chapters 25-30. Now we are reading the actual fulfillment of those instructions.

For the purposes of this website, it seems unnecessary to go back through the minutiae of the specifications for the Tabernacle again since I wrote at great length back in the earlier chapters regarding the significance contained within the details. And even the most meticulous of commentaries often do little more at this point in the narrative than refresh the readers’ memory with a virtual repetition of earlier observations. Nevertheless, perhaps a few factors should be considered in these closing chapters.

One frequently repeated phrase, in one form or another, that we see sprinkled throughout the end of Exodus is the statement that Moses and the Hebrews were doing “Just as the Lord had commanded.” Although the modern reader can easily become bogged down in the very specific particulars of the properties related to the Tabernacle, this simple little phrase reminds us again and again of why all of these details were given and why the people were carrying them out so attentively.

First, we are reminded of James’ admonition:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22 KJV)

What if the Hebrews had completely disregarded the instructions of the Lord by never constructing the Tabernacle at all? Would they have not been mere hearers of the Word and not doers? Would simply listening to God’s Word and even agreeing with it have been enough? What if they had received the instructions for the Tabernacle and had immediately set out to form a committee and schedule meetings and conferences and started planning how they were going to add this to their agenda? Their intentions would have never made a suitable substitution for action. So often our own response to God’s Word is to plan, strategize, discuss, debate, meet, and organize to the point where we never get our “plans” off the ground. Yet if we were asked we would insist that we were obeying God even though we had nothing to actually show for all of our efforts.

Or suppose that the Book of Exodus concluded with the 35th chapter? If we were given no information about the actual construction of the Tabernacle we could, of course, assume that the Hebrews fulfilled the commands of the Lord exactly. After all, we know from subsequent books of the Bible that the Tabernacle did, in fact, come to exist. But such assumptions are never prudent when it comes to obeying the Word of God. When we ourselves begin to assume that we are in the will of God and are obeying Him faithfully, is it not easy to begin to overlook those seemingly minor details and, before long, discover that our footsteps have been slowly leading us away from the Lord rather than toward Him?

It is not enough to obey God in most of the areas of our lives, we are to obey Him in all the areas of our lives. Consider the incident in Moses’ own walk where he was met with anger by the Lord as he was travelling because he had failed to circumcise his own son (Exodus 4:24-26). Immediately before this we see that Moses was seemingly in the will of God in every way, we never would have guessed that he had been living in disobedience to the commandment given to every Israelite through Abraham. We assumed that he was in complete obedience to God from the Burning Bush up to this point. Yet he had overlooked one simple but crucial detail in God’s commandments.

Finally, there is the importance of the fact that the Hebrews were following the instructions that the Lord had given. The Egyptians had constructed wondrous pyramids for the glory of their Pharaohs according to blueprints composed by the prideful mind of man. The Canaanites fashioned idols of wood, stone, and precious metals in their own image for the gratification of their own sinful desires. But the Hebrews built the Tabernacle according to God’s design and for the purposes of His glory.  As we read again about the materials, the properties, the measurements, and the handiwork that went into the Tabernacle’s construction, we are reminded that not one single detail originated in the vanity or conceit of man, but every single aspect was completed: “Just as the Lord had commanded…”

I want to close this post by saying thank you to everyone who joined me on this journey through the Book of Exodus. Thanks to all of you who remember me and this website in your prayers, I am truly grateful. Next time, Lord willing, I intend to return to the New Testament with a study in the Gospel of Mark.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]

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A Stirring In The Heart (Exodus 35)

“Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments.” (Exodus 35:21)

The Hebrews, while enslaved in Egypt, worked for their cruel taskmasters because they were forced to do so. They “gave” to their Egyptian slave-drivers because they had no other choice. But now they were free people, slaves to no one. In the Wilderness of Sinai, the Children of Israel were now servants of the Most High God. Yet their new Master was nothing like their old. God called His people then, just as He calls them now, to serve Him voluntarily.

Those whom the Lord had gifted for the construction of the Tabernacle were called to make all that the Lord had commanded (Ex. 35:10). There was no crack of a whip or striking with a rod, but a stirring of the heart and a moving of the spirit which compelled both the workers to work and the people to contribute to the work.

“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

God has never wanted those who serve Him to do so passionlessly or out of a sense of duty. Neither does He wish for those who contribute materially and financially to His service to give half-heartedly or out of guilt and obligation. God wants us to serve and to give to His service cheerfully, passionately, and without grumbling. The Lord desires for us to serve Him with a glad and grateful heart compelled not by necessity but by love.

“So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it.” (Exodus 36:6-7)

When was the last time your church turned away financial offerings or volunteers for service? I wonder what would happen if we all really listened to that stirring in our hearts and gave cheerfully and generously to the work 0f the Lord. It seems nowadays budgets go unmet, volunteer positions remain vacant, and there is never enough money or workers to accomplish everything we set out to do for the Gospel. But it was not so in the construction of the Tabernacle. They had more than was needed.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]

Offering The Blood Of Sacrifice With Leaven (Exodus 34)

“You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread, nor is the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover to be left over until morning.” (Exodus 34:25)

This verse is similar to instructions already given by the Lord to Moses back in Exodus 23:18, yet its slight variance in wording suggests that the commands were actually repeated by God rather than merely rewritten by Moses. Much that the Lord commanded in the Pentateuch is repeated again and again which, although it may seem boring and superfluous, reminds us that repetition is not only the surest method of retaining information, but is also vital in underscoring the seriousness and importance of the information being repeated.

In this passage of Scripture, several commands of God for Israel are given again. I would like to lift out this one phrase, “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread“, because of its pertinence for us today. While the direct context of the verse refers to the blood of animal sacrifice for purposes of atonement under the Mosaic system and the “leavened bread” means exactly that, we have on the authority of other passages of Scripture the basis for finding symbol and foreshadow in the two elements.

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14)

The Ninth Chapter of the Book of Hebrews compares the Blood of Christ with the sacrificial blood of animals under the Mosaic system, showing the Blood of our Lord to be a fulfillment of the things which the animal blood was a foreshadow and symbol.

“And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees…Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6, 12)

Leaven, whether used in the New Testament or the Old, usually symbolizes evil or that which corrupts. It is a force which insidiously infiltrates and defiles that which is pure, holy, and undefiled. The teachings and doctrines of the Pharisees were not entirely erroneous and without merit, but enough “leaven of hypocrisy” had entered into their teachings to cause the Lord Jesus to caution His disciples concerning them. Thus leaven is something introduced by man into something otherwise holy and God-inspired. It is an agent with the potential to spoil the entire “loaf.”

Considering these symbols and metaphors, the instructions to not offer the blood of sacrifice with leaven reminds us that the Blood of Jesus Christ is efficacious in itself for Salvation. The Grace of God is found in the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ Whose sacrifice on the Cross is all which may be offered to God for our Redemption. We cannot add the leaven of our own works nor mingle any other doctrine with the Blood of Jesus.

Leaven makes bread more palatable to the natural man and it is the tendency of our flesh to want to add something to the bitter bread of Christ’s sacrifice. Unleavened bread has a taste which the tongue does not savor much as the Blood of Christ lends to the flesh of man nothing in which we may glory or boast. Yet it is precisely the Blood undiluted by the works and deeds of man which God accepts for the remission of sin.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]

Why Is God Called A “Jealous” God? (Exodus 34)

“But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—” (Exodus 34:13-14)

There are two statements in Exodus 34 which absolutely delight the skeptic and the Bible critic. The first of these I would like to address is God’s self-description as a “Jealous” God in Verse 14. In his documentary “Religulous“, a tirade against Christianity and organized religion in general, outspoken agnostic Bill Maher tells a Christian:

“But your God is jealous? That seems so un-godlike, that God would have such a petty human emotion…I know people who have gotten over jealousy, let alone God”

But is the Bible really saying that God possesses a “petty human emotion” and is given to emotional outbursts of envy? First of all, let us consider if it is really even possible for God to be jealous in the way that we understand jealousy.

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.” (Isaiah 44:6)

The website “Dictionary.reference.com” gives 5 definitions for the adjective jealous.  Four of those pertain to a feeling of resentment because of the success or advantages of another. It is in this context that we normally think of jealousy and all of the “pettiness” that it entails. But how can a God Who has no equal be jealous of anyone in that sense? Is there anyone who has more success or advantage than the Creator of the Universe? Of course not. Anyone or anything else which might be called a “god” or idol is but a very poor substitution for the Living God. In fact, the idols worshipped by the pagans neighboring the Hebrews were nothing more than representations of fictitious deities dreamed up in man’s imagination. Would the true God really be jealous of these?

The fifth definition from the above mentioned website gives us a better idea of what Scripture is really telling us here:

“Solicitous or vigilant in maintaining or guarding something: The American people are jealous of their freedom.”

God is jealous of His people, not because “competing” deities are a threat to Him, but rather because He does not want His people to follow after imaginary idols. He is jealous because He loves His people and does not wish for them to be deceived. Verse 12 of Exodus 34 warns that making a covenant with the pagans living in Canaan would prove to be a snare to the Israelites. Part of making a covenant with them would involve recognizing and accepting their idols and worshipping them as their own. Anything which takes a person’s focus away from the true and living God and places it on an idol inevitably leads to that person’s destruction.

The Hebrew term rendered jealous can also mean excited, heated, or zealous.  In other words, God is passionate in His love for His people and desires for them to live and not be destroyed by their own idolatry. I, for one, am grateful that God is a “jealous” God.

Visiting Iniquity On Succeeding Generations

“[The Lord] keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:7)

The second verse I would like to look at is Verse 7. For many skeptics, the phrase about God visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and grandchildren screams of injustice and tyranny. The image of God ruthlessly punishing little children for their parent’s and grandparent’s sins seems so unfair! But is that what the Scripture is actually saying?

First of all, let us consider that there are many verses which completely contradict the notion that God will punish anyone for someone else’s sin. Specifically, both Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:20 plainly state that a son will not bear the punishment for his father’s sins. Ezekiel 18:4 says that it is the soul who sins that will die.

It is the guilty soul that will not be left unpunished, not the innocent. So then why is God visiting iniquity on the children and grandchildren? Because they’re guilty of the same sins! When a parent delves into idolatry, they will raise their children to be idolaters either through their direct teachings or their example. The succeeding generations will grow up and commit the very same sins that their parents were guilty of. And God will hold them accountable for their own actions just as He held their parents.

A contemporary example can be found in the tragedy of alcoholism. So often, children of alcoholics will grow up and become alcoholics themselves. Through a combination of genetic predisposition and poor behavior models, many children will grow up and become captive to the very same addictions which bound their parents. And even though their parents bear much of the blame, they are in no way innocent of the choices they themselves make which lead them down the path of destruction.

God will deal fairly and justly with every individual and no one will be condemned for the sins of others; though we often suffer consequences for the bad decisions others make. Even so, we should never entertain the idea that any of us are innocent and guiltless before a just and holy God. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and we are all in need of a Savior.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]

 

The God Of Second Chances (Exodus 34)

“Now the Lord said to Moses, “Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.” (Exodus 34:1)

After the incident with the Golden Calf back in Exodus 32, God could very easily have wiped out the Hebrew nation and started all over again with Moses. In fact, the Lord would have been justified in doing so. God had given His Law to the people and the people had agreed to its terms and pledged to obey it at all points (Exodus 19:8). Yet the first time Moses went away from the people in order to meet with the Lord they broke their promise and violated the Covenant they had been given.

But this is not where the story ends! God had mercy on the Israelites and did not destroy them all when they sinned. The Lord gave the people another chance and restored His Law to them even though they had broken it.

One of the most wonderful attributes of our God is that He is a God of Second Chances. In actuality, He is a God of many chances. If the Lord were to deal “fairly” with us, He would have blotted us out long ago. If the Lord dealt with us based upon our own behavior, we would all be doomed. Thankfully, He does not.

At the sight of the Hebrews descent into depravity, Moses reacted by casting down the Tablets of the Law, shattering them to pieces (Exodus 32:19). This served as a physical breaking of a Law which the people had figuratively broken. It has been suggested that, not only was Moses’ response one of anger, but of fear and pity for the people. Moses was one of the only people among them who truly understood the reality of how terrible it would be to fall into the hands of the Living God! Were it that this Law in his hands be shattered into pieces rather than the Lord God carry out His judgments for violating it!

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,” (Jonah 3:1)

Jonah 3:1 is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. The Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. How did Jonah respond when the Word of the Lord came to him the first time? He ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction! But the Lord was not finished with Jonah after the first time he rebelled against Him any more than He was finished with Israel when they abandoned Him for the Golden Calf. He is the God of Second Chances and His Word will return even to the heart which has turned against Him.

Where are you today? Have you rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the point where you are not sure if any hope remains for you? Or are you a child of God who has backslidden time and time again and are wondering if you may have exhausted the patience of the Lord? If you have blown your first, second, or ten thousandth chance, God is not through with you. Even if you have turned away from Him, He has not given up on you. His Word is coming to you again. Behold, He stands knocking at the door (Revelation 3:20). Will you hear His voice and let Him in?

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible  (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]

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