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Tag Archives: Moses

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?”]

The Glory Moses Beheld (Exodus 33)

“Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;” (Exodus 33:21)

God granted to Moses his heartfelt petition, “Show me your glory!” Moses had walked a long time in obedience to God and knew somewhat of His Presence, yet he recognized that there was more to beholding the glory of God than what he had seen. As all who have tasted of the goodness of God, Moses, the great lawgiver, knew no deeper longing than to behold his Lord through unveiled eyes. The heart which has caught a glimpse of God’s glory is not satisfied in seeing the glorious Presence of the Lord in reflections or shadows.

But to look upon the face of God is something not permitted to those living on this Earth (verse 20), even such a one as Moses. For our sin-stained mortal flesh to look upon the full glory of God would result in our being consumed by it. Therefore, God provided two “filters” whereby Moses could look upon His glory.

First, God told Moses that He would cover him as He passed by and would allow Moses to see, not His face, but His back. God would allow Moses to see a partial glory, or representation of His glory after He had passed by. Though we may not know as much from looking upon someone’s back as we would by seeing their face, it is still possible to recognize someone that way. What we have here is an image of God’s glory; Moses saw the glory of God, but not in its fullness.

“[Jesus] being the brightness of [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:” (Hebrews 1:3 KJV)

“For in [Christ] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9)

Jesus Christ is the express Image of God the Father’s glory and we see a foreshadowing of this in the Glory which Moses beheld. For just as both the Face and the Back belong to the same God, so does the second Person of the Trinity belong to the same “Body” as God the Father. Moses did not behold the Face (the Father) of the Godhead, but he did behold the Back (the Son). Moses looked upon a physical manifestation or Theophany of God and this is exactly what we find in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, God told Moses: “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock.” Moses could behold the glory of God only so long as he was standing on the Rock. Fortunately, what a Rock symbolizes throughout much of the Old Testament we are not left to guess at. Paul, in Romans 9:33, refers to Jesus Christ in his quotation of Isaiah 28:16 and says of our Lord:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

Again, in 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul declares Christ to be the Rock from which the Hebrews drank in the Wilderness. Peter, in 1 Peter 2:6-8, also identifies Jesus as the Rock to Whom Isaiah’s prophecy refers. Moses himself identifies God as The Rock in his great song of Deuteronomy 32. This gives the instructions of the Lord to Moses to “Stand on the Rock” great significance. Behold, there is a Place by Me, that is, Christ Who is seated beside the Father, and you shall stand on the Rock, that is, it is through the Person of Jesus Christ that we may behold the glory of God.

Not only is it through Christ that we behold the glory of God, Christ is the glory which we behold. We may be satisfied in beholding that glory because the glory of Christ is the glory of God.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 KJV)

To Jesus Christ, the express Image of God’s eternal glory, goes all glory both now and forever,

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?”]

Show Me Your Glory (Exodus 33)

Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” (Exodus 33:18)

Caught a glimpse of Your splendor In the corner of my eye

The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen

And it was like a flash of lightning

Reflected off the sky And I know I’ll never be the same

Show me Your glory

Send down Your presence I wanna see Your face

Show me Your glory

Majesty shines about You I can’t go on without You, Lord” (From the song, “Show Me Your Glory”*)

The closing conversation between God and Moses in Exodus 33 is, to me, one of the most remarkable in the entire Old Testament if not in the entire Bible. Here we have the greatest, the noblest, the most admirable desire that a human being can have: the desire to see the glory of God. In a single moment of time, we step aside from focusing on what God is doing in order to perhaps catch but a glimpse of Who God is.

Moses has interceded on behalf of the Children of Israel, he has negotiated with God Almighty, pleading that He would continue to lead them by the Spirit of His Presence into the Land of Promise. And now, he can contain the deepest desire of his heart no longer. “I want to see Your glory!”, he implores. I am not satisfied with that which is in Your hands, Oh God, let me behold Your face!

When we look at the history of the Church, we see those few people who only come along every once in a while and who share this same sentiment which Moses held. Sure, every child of God has at least some desire to come closer to God, but this is not quite the same thing. This is a burning passion, an all-consuming hunger which originates in the very depths of the soul, a thirst to drink deeply of the Presence of Jesus Christ and to look upon God’s glory through unveiled eyes. This is the heartfelt cry of that rare individual who is willing to totally set aside every single personal ambition and desire so that they might fulfill this one longing which chokes out every other competing aspiration.

It is echoed in the words of David who declared,

 “Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57:11)

And in the silence of Job who, in his shame, said to the Lord:

“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.

 Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more.” (Job 40:4-5)

It is the glory which terrified the Apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:6) and caused John to fall at the feet of Jesus like a dead man (Revelation 1:17). Yet it is also the glory which comforted Stephen as he testified before the Sanhedrin, beholding the glory of God right before he was put to death (Acts 7:55-60), strengthening him and giving him the power to pray that the sins of his tormentors not be charged against them. It is the glory which blinded the Apostle Paul on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9), but compelled him, even after walking with the Lord for many years, to later remark that his heart’s desire was:

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Philippians 3:10 KJV)

The glory of God is a peculiar thing in that it is the one pursuit wherein a man may be both satisfied and yet ever long for more. It is a thirst which is quenched but always remains, and the more of it we drink in the more that we want. David caught glimpses of God’s glory throughout his life and he compared himself to a deer panting for brooks of flowing water in his pursuit of God’s glory (Psalm 42:1).

Where are you at today, dear Christian, in your own relationship with the Lord? Have you come to the place in your walk where nothing else matters but to see the glory of God? Are you seeking to see His face or are your eyes still fixed upon His hands, looking only for the blessings He can bring you? Every great movement of the Spirit of God throughout the history of the Church has been preceded by certain of God’s people catching but a glimpse of His glory and setting out in prayerful pursuit of more. The world has yet to see what our God can do if we, as His people, would only set the pursuit and exaltation of His glory above all else.

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.

* “Show Me Your Glory” (Songwriters LEE, MARK D. / ANDERSON, SAMUEL TAI / AVERY, BRADLEY B. C. / CARR, DAVID / POWELL, JOHNNY MAC / BYRD, MARC)

Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Read more:  Third Day – Show Me Your Glory Lyrics | MetroLyrics

[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?”]

Sin Separates Us (Exodus 33)

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.” (Exodus 33:1-2)

It seems that there was a space of time in the interval between Exodus 32:35 and Exodus 33:1. We are told in the last verse of Exodus 32 that, “The Lord smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made.” In short, God judged their sin. Scripture does not give us the details of what God did, but we might surmise that God sent some sort of plague upon the people. How long this took to transpire we can only speculate.

In the first verse of Chapter 35, God repeats that He will send His Angel before them to drive out the inhabitants of the land. I find it interesting that so many of the commentaries I have read regarding this passage paint the words of the Lord in a positive light. That God was promising to send His Angel before them was interpreted as a reassurance of His continued Divine guidance. But whether or not this was good news to the people receiving the promise should be considered only in the context of what kind of guidance they had been given up to this point. After all, verse 4 calls the Lord’s message to Moses here a sad word.

“The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” (Exodus 13:21-22)

Before the incident of the Golden Calf, God had always led the people by His direct Presence going with them. Now, He was declaring that His Presence would be going along ahead of them. He would go forward and accomplish His purposes, clearing the path for the Israelites, but His Presence would no longer be visible or perceptible to them. What a vast difference this would be! Consider, the entire reason for the construction of the Golden Calf and the Children of Israel’s fall into idolatry was because they wanted a more visible manifestation of the Divine Presence of God among them. Now they were being told that they would have to get along with even less than before.

“Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.” (Exodus 33:3)

This is a very real consequence of sin, whether for the Hebrews in the Wilderness or for the modern Christian. Sin separates the people of God from the Presence of God. God’s holiness and righteousness compels Him to either separate Himself from sin or else judge it. He will not abide with someone who will not be cleansed from unrighteousness. God’s anger over the Golden Calf had passed, He had already judged the people for it. But what about the next time they fell into grave sin? The Lord’s proposition was that He would remain separated from the people lest He destroy more of them along the way to Canaan. Fortunately, Moses again intervened on behalf of the Israelites and God relented of withdrawing His Presence from the people.

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God,
and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

One thing that is greatly underemphasized in our modern doctrines is the concept that sin will break fellowship with God. We find blessed assurance in the fact that sin will not forfeit our Salvation secured by faith in Jesus Christ, but we often forget that God still withdraws His Presence from sin and that our transgressions, though forgiven in Christ, will still cause us to fall out of fellowship with the Lord. Until we bring our sins to Christ, confessing them and letting Him cleanse us, we will not enjoy the closeness with God that He desires for us to have.

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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