Exodus 36: From Prep to Action

“And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded.”

-        This verse actually would flow a bit better if it were in the previous chapter, which ended like this: “He has equipped them to do all kinds of work done by an engraver, designer, embroider in blue, purple and scarlet material and in fine linen, or as a weaver. They were able to do all kinds of work and were skilled designers.” However, it was tacked on the front end of Exodus 36 and it's a solid reminder about what we learned last week and how restfulness and willingness of heart are necessary skills to do God's work. 

2 Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdomeveryone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work3 And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. 4 Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, 5 and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

-        Not only was a one-time offering received for the tabernacle, but a daily offering was brought. Isn’t it reassuring to know that Christ’s sacrifice was a once-and-for-all offering, but each day He still meets with us and desires to bring us more than enough? Friends, are you receiving more than enough from Him? Or are you simply sitting long enough to just take a swig and move on to your next task? Allow Him to fill you today completely!

-        2 Corinthians 12:9 says that Jesus’ grace is sufficient. That word sufficient actually means enough. There’s a favorite song of mine that was written by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio. It’s entitled Enough and it's worthy to Google and listen to.

6 So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.

-        There’s that word sufficient in verse seven. Indeed, our Savior offers us enough, yet how much of what He offers do we receive? Later, as the Israelites step into the Promised Land and are commanded to conquer surrounding areas, they fall short of taking all God had promised them.   

8 Then all the gifted artisans among them who worked on the tabernacle made ten curtains woven of fine linen, and of blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim they made them.9 The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the curtains were all the same size. 10 And he coupled five curtains to one another, and the other five curtains he coupled to one another. 11 He made loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set; likewise he did on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set. 12 Fifty loops he made on one curtain, and fifty loops he made on the edge of the curtain on the end of the second set; the loops held one curtain to another. 13 And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains to one another with the clasps, that it might be one tabernacle.

-        Let us build, let us build, let us build for Him! After days and days of instruction from God to Moses, it is finally time for action. Isn’t it awesome to think about all the preparation that went into this one task? That is how it is in our lives, too. We can’t always see it, but God is actively preparing us for something wonderful. He will provide the vision, the material, and the resources necessary to accomplish that which He desires to do.

14 He made curtains of goats’ hair for the tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains. 15 The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the eleven curtains were the same size. 16 He coupled five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves. 17 And he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in one set, and fifty loops he made on the edge of the curtain of the second set. 18 He also made fifty bronze clasps to couple the tent together, that it might be one. 19 Then he made a covering for the tent of ram skins dyed red, and a covering of badger skins above that.

-        Okay, so we’re still talking about the coverings that create the roof of the tabernacle right now. The first layer of the “roof” or tent covering (which are curtains, clasped together) was white linen with elaborate cherub designs (a picture of heaven!). It’s not described in this chapter, but it is in Exodus 26. To even see this layer of the tent, you had to actually be inside. As followers, we are called to “dwell in the secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1) and we will see heaven one day.

-        The second layer was of goat hair, which is described in verse 14. It was to go on top of the white linen layer. Although the instructions for the sacrificial system had not been given yet, the goat was a proper sacrifice for a sin offering.

-        The third layer was dyed red. This could very well symbolize the blood of Christ Jesus, who was the perfect sacrifice and covered man’s sin. 

-        Finally, the fourth layer was durable leather (also mentioned in Exodus 26). This helped protect the tent from wear and weather. I love how Psalm 61:3 speaks of how God is our shelter; a strong tower from the enemy.

20 For the tabernacle he made boards of acacia wood, standing upright. 21 The length of each board was ten cubits, and the width of each board a cubit and a half. 22 Each board had two tenons for binding one to another. Thus he made for all the boards of the tabernacle. 23 And he made boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards for the south side. 24 Forty sockets of silver he made to go under the twenty boards: two sockets under each of the boards for its two tenons. 25 And for the other side of the tabernacle, the north side, he made twenty boards 26 and their forty sockets of silver: two sockets under each of the boards. 27 For the west side of the tabernacle he made six boards. 28 He also made two boards for the two back corners of the tabernacle. 29 And they were coupled at the bottom and coupled together at the top by one ring. Thus he made both of them for the two corners. 30 So there were eight boards and their sockets—sixteen sockets of silver—two sockets under each of the boards.

-        As we talked about in Exodus 26, did these boards stand up alone? No, they were fastened together and had crossbars in place to help support them. There is always to be unity within the body of Christ. Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 2:2 when he says, “…fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” We are supported by one another and reinforced through the Word of God.

31 And he made bars of acacia wood: five for the boards on one side of the tabernacle, 32 five bars for the boards on the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle on the far side westward. 33 And he made the middle bar to pass through the boards from one end to the other. 34 He overlaid the boards with gold, made their rings of gold to be holders for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

-        Do you remember the significance behind acacia wood? Here’s an excerpt from Exodus 25 when this type of wood was introduced:  Acacia wood is a thorny tree (“…and then they twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head” Matthew 27:29.) that is known for its strong fragrance (“…Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” John 12:3.).

-        The wood represented the humanity of Christ. Each board was to be overlaid with gold, which represents Christ’s deity. Did these boards stand up alone? No, they were fastened together and had crossbars in place to help support them. There always has to be a framework on which we build our relationship with God, and that framework must be Christ!

35 And he made a veil of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen; it was worked with an artistic design of cherubim. 36 He made for it four pillars of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold, with their hooks of gold; and he cast four sockets of silver for them.

-        We talked about the veil in depth in Exodus 26, but it’s definitely a point worth repeating. The curtain was made of blue, purple, and scarlet material. Blue represents heaven, purple represents royalty, and scarlet symbolizes the sufferings of Christ. This wasn’t just a sheer curtain dividing the two areas – the Jews say the veil was four fingers breadth in thickness. How perfect it was that this veil was torn when Christ yielded His spirit to death. Matthew 27:52 tells us, “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split…” How was the veil torn? From top to bottom. The veil was the divider between God and His people, and it was torn by God, for His people. Hebrews 10:19-22 goes on to say, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Do you see the parallel between the Old Testament priests and sacrificial requirements and what was told to us in Hebrews 10? Nothing short of awesomeness.

37 He also made a screen for the tabernacle door, of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver, 38 and its five pillars with their hooks. And he overlaid their capitals and their rings with gold, but their five sockets were bronze.

-        There is always an entrance into any dwelling place. If the tabernacle was meant for priests to enter and worship, and now we are His priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:10), then we must remember to go through the entrance and worship our King. Friends, how often do you worship your King? Is it only once or twice a week? Let's truly dwell in Him and make our home with Him. Amen.