Maybe the Beatles were onto something (or on something?) when they wrote All You Need Is Love. But, the love they were referring to wasn't the agape--or unconditional love--our Savior drenches us in. As we conclude the final chapter in Exodus (hooray!) and forge our way towards the Christmas season, there's no more ideal time than this to pause and be steeped in His love.
Setting up the Tabernacle
Then the Lord said to Moses: 2 “Set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month.3 Place the ark of the covenant law in it and shield the ark with the curtain. 4 Bring in the table and set out what belongs on it. Then bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. 5 Place the gold altar of incense in front of the ark of the covenant law and put the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle.
- Just as there was order to the materials and the tabernacle, there was direction and order to the construction. It was important that the tabernacle be erected on the first day of the first month. It was to mark not only a new beginning of a year, but also a new way of life. The month of Nisan was the same month that the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt.
6 “Place the altar of burnt offering in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting; 7 place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it. 8 Set up the courtyard around it and put the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard.
9 “Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. 10 Then anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar, and it will be most holy.11 Anoint the basin and its stand and consecrate them.
- The furnishings and utensils that were made were not crafted to be used in every day affairs, but yet to be set apart, or holy, for the work of the Lord. Live your day so you're set apart for Him.
12 “Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water. 13 Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest. 14 Bring his sons and dress them in tunics. 15 Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations.” 16 Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him.
- The first priests were established through the line of Aaron. Aaron serving as the High Priest and his four sons under him. Notice that it says, “that they may serve Me as priests.” God was not only providing a tabernacle for the people, He was providing the means by which to maintain it. How many times in your life has the Lord given you something, and then instead of relying upon Him for the maintenance of it, you tried to do the upkeep by ways of the flesh?
17 So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year. 18 When Moses set up the tabernacle, he put the bases in place, erected the frames, inserted the crossbars and set up the posts. 19 Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering over the tent, as the Lord commanded him.
20 He took the tablets of the covenant law and placed them in the ark, attached the poles to the ark and put the atonement cover over it. 21 Then he brought the ark into the tabernacle and hung the shielding curtain and shielded the ark of the covenant law, as the Lord commanded him.
22 Moses placed the table in the tent of meeting on the north side of the tabernacle outside the curtain 23 and set out the bread on it before the Lord, as the Lord commanded him.
24 He placed the lampstand in the tent of meeting opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle 25 and set up the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord commanded him.
26 Moses placed the gold altar in the tent of meeting in front of the curtain 27 and burned fragrant incense on it, as the Lord commanded him.
28 Then he put up the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. 29 He set the altar of burnt offering near the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, and offered on it burnt offerings and grain offerings, as the Lord commanded him.
30 He placed the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing, 31 and Moses and Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and feet. 32 They washed whenever they entered the tent of meeting or approached the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses.
33 Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.
- I’m reminded of an old saying my dad used to tell me growing up. “There’s a place for everything, and everything goes in its place.” The same is true of the tabernacle, the courtyard, and all the furnishings. Everything had a place – nothing was to be out of order or disorganized because God had a purpose for the smallest ring and every tiny drop of incense. That’s reassuring, isn’t it? Every item that was made had a purpose, and we know the same is true for us, too.
- You can’t read Exodus without catching two of its major themes: deliverance and unity. We’ve talked much about both over the last 40 weeks. If you’re still wandering in the wilderness or sense the dryness, turn to Proverbs 19:22 (NIV). “What a person desires is unfailing love.” Beloved, the Lord knows your deepest desire (even if you don’t): love. If you are struggling with depression, guilt, substance-related strongholds -- whatever it may be -- remember that the core of your being desires love. And that love you desire can only be satisfied in Christ Jesus. No fashion runway, no friend, no man or woman, and no amount of money will ever compare to the love Christ desires for you to experience.
The Glory of the Lord
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
36 In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; 37 but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. 38 So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.
- The cloud was the same cloud that went before the Israelites out of Egypt. It now not only filled the most holy place but the holy place as well. It was so thick and divine that Moses himself could not enter.
- It’s nearly incomprehensible to picture this. To have a tabernacle where a cloud during the day and a fire at night burned and when the cloud lifted, the Israelites moved with it. Even though this is completely amazing, what’s even more astounding is that this very Presence became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14). God in us is much better than God with us. Does He dwell in you today? Does His very presence fill every inch of your being, just as the glory filled the temple? Are there rooms, crevices, or furnishing where you don’t allow Him to take up residence? Prayerfully ponder that today…whether or not He has full right and fill to your heart. And congratulations on completing Exodus! May the Lord richly bless you as you seek to know Him better. Amen!