Exodus 35-38 Chapter Study
Okay – this is it, we’re into the home stretch in our study in Exodus.
All that’s really left is the construction of the tabernacle; that tent-like structure which will serve as the center of the nation for the next 39 years as the Children of Israel wander through the wilderness after their failure to enter the Land of Promise.
after they enter Canaan – for the next 400 years, the tabernacle will serve as
the center of the nation when it’s installed at the city of
As we come to chapter 35,
Moses had returned to the camp of
You’ll remember that when he returned the first time, after receiving the Ten Commandments and plans for building the tabernacle, he’d found the Children of Israel riotously worshipping the golden calf and had hurled the Stone tablets containing the law to the ground.
After cleaning house of the idolaters, God called Moses to cut out two new tablets of stone and re-ascend the mount where He would once again inscribe the law on them.
Moses did so, and God then granted Moses’ earnest request to see God’s glory.
The experience was so overwhelming, that even though Moses really only saw the afterglow of God’s presence, it caused his face to glow so that when he came down form the mount, back to the camp of Israel, he donned a veil.
Thus, with glowing face – Moses tells the people the time has come to erect a place of worship so they can meet with God formally.
worship of God, which to this
This path and pattern is essential because it all becomes prophetic of the Person and Work of the Messiah, the Savior who will come in fulfillment of the promise of Redemption given as far back as Genesis 3 when man fell into sin.
1Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said to them, “These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do: 2Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. 3You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”
After this, the next 6 chapters are devoted to describing the construction of the tabernacle.
But Moses begins with a
solemn reminder that no matter how worthy the work on the tabernacle may be, it
must not be seen as higher or more im
From the start, God intended the Sabbath to be a blessing to man, not the heavy duty and obligation it later became under the elaborate traditions of the rabbis.
Saturday, the Sabbath day, was meant to be a time for rest, relaxation, and a time to enjoy the benefits of being the covenant people of God.
It was a weekly time of renewal; when men and women would remember their lives depended on the faithfulness of their Lord.
Now that they were about to embark on a massive building project directed by God Himself, Moses reminded them they needed to keep first things first – building and maintaining their personal relationship with the Lord precedes any external work they might do for Him.
There are other examples of this in scripture.
We think of Martha and her busyness in the kitchen as she prepared a meal for Jesus and the disciples.
Martha became all worked up because while she was busy cooking and preparing, her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, hanging on His every word with rapt attention.
Martha became so upset with Mary, it spilled over into being a tad upset with Jesus for letting Mary get away with her seeming indolence.
gently reminded Martha that Mary had chosen the more im
It wasn't that what Martha was doing was wrong in wanting to serve Him, it’s just that the service was ill-timed!
Jesus is in your living room imparting pearls of heavenly wisdom, the best
place is at His feet, not in the kitchen banging
First things must be kept in first place.
we think of Jesus’ message to the church at
This was a church that was super-busy and faithful in terms of doctrine.
But it was all more religious energy and dead-orthodoxy than a living, vibrant love for Christ.
And Jesus said if they didn’t quickly return to the primacy of intimate fellowship with Him, then they stood in danger of becoming nothing more than an empty religious enterprise.
First things must be kept in first place.
Or how about the time when the Bible was lost in the temple?
In 2 Kings 22 we read the interesting yet tragic story of how King Josiah ordered a restoration of the temple which had fallen into terrible disrepair.
As the workers were clearing out the decades of refuse which had there, in a back room they found a single copy of the Law of Moses.
When they found it, they were stunned to realize that it was the only copy of the book of the Law in existence, and it had been lost in the temple!
When they read it, they realized that the very reason for the temple, the priesthood, and even the nation itself all owed their existence to the Lord God and His Word.
They were dumbstruck at the reality that the Word of God had been lost in the House of God!
The king and the priests all gave themselves to a profound time of repentance and seeking the Lord’s face and favor.
They determined to keep first things first.
It’s easy to get so caught up in serving the Lord that we in fact end up neglecting Him.
The work takes center stage and takes on a life of its own.
We immerse ourselves in the task, and neglect the One to Whom we originally intended it to be unto.
How many men & women give themselves to their careers?
They begin with a desire to provide well for their family.
But it isn’t long before the family is neglected in favor of the job.
How many people take on some remodeling task in their house so as to provide a safe and comfortable environment for their family?
But once the original task it finished, they move on to another, and another until so much time is spent in working on the house, the home is neglected and the relationships languish.
And how many people sense a call from the Lord to take on some ministry in the church, and they begin well, doing it as a humble and loving service of the Lord.
The Lord blesses, and they attain a measure of recognition from others for the success of their ministry.
they invest more time, more of themselves, and pretty soon, it becomes routine
and more of a ritual than a simple
The ministry takes on a life of it’s own that begins to consume the person, and by which he/she identifies him/herself.
We must keep first things first! Jesus is the first thing!
Serving Him, in whatever capacity must flow from loving Him; and that love, that attention must never be eclipsed by anything.
Those who find they’ve lost Jesus in their service of Him ought not neglect or discontinue their service – they ought to simply return to the right motive.
Jesus didn’t tell the Ephesians to stop all their faithful service or orthodoxy; He told them to return to their first love and do all they did from a right motive.
4And Moses s
The first step in building the tabernacle will be the offering of the materials needed.
So Moses calls for the people to bring them.
It’s interesting to me, that while the offering is to be from those with willing hearts, God commanded Moses to “Take an offering.”
While the giving of the people was to be qualified by willingness, the receiving by the leaders was commanded by the Lord. Look at v. 4 –
And Moses s
While our individual giving to the Lord must be marked by a ready and willing cheerfulness, leaders among God’s people are commanded to make such giving by the people of God available; they are to “take” the offering, ensuring that it is then used in the service of the Lord.
6 Times in this passage we find the offering being referred to as an “offering to Yahweh.”
It just so happens that it will be used in building the tabernacle – but the gift is to God.
It’s crucial when we give to make our gift as to the Lord.
It’s not to this or that church; to this or that ministry. It’s to the Lord.
give is something we ought to take careful thought to in terms of what’s the
best investment in the
Where is the Lord directing me to give – after all, it’s to and for Him, so where does He want me to put it?
The offering the people of
They didn’t bring just money, but the raw materials needed to make the tabernacle itself.
Actually, there was little money in circulation among the Children of Israel at this time. Most of their economy was barter-based.
The raw materials were in abundant supply among them – all that was needed was a willingness to give them and the materials would be amply supplied.
Moses said -
10‘All who are gifted artisans among you
shall come and make all that the Lord
has commanded: 11the tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps,
its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12the ark and
What God had announced earlier to Moses is now spelled out by him to the people.
Like any great and effective leader, what Moses is doing here is “casting the vision.”
He’s drawing a mental picture of the people of the task that lies before them and making the call for those who will step forward to occupy themselves with the task of building.
Moses urges those who sense the call and gifting of the Lord to step forward and take hold of the project.
This is ever the way of good and godly leadership.
A man or woman is raised by the Lord to undertake some task of leadership.
Step one is vision – a mental image of a better future.
Step two is communicating that vision to those the leader is called to lead.
God then stirs the spirit of specific individuals in that group who He wants to take an active role in assisting the leader move toward that future.
This would be a good time for me to apply this to Calvary Chapel of Oxnard.
God has called us to this time and this place.
I have recently come to a renewed awareness of the Providence of God and how He ordains, not only the rise and fall of nations, but of individuals.
and I are here, now for a specific pur
God created you and me, when He did – for a special reason.
He’s worked in such a way as to have us right here in
I am not just speaking in grandiose or exaggerated terms right now – I mean this with every ounce of my being.
You and I are people of destiny with a glory and calling that is unique to all of history.
A great battle in being waged – it has been since the dawn of time, and now, as we approach the grand climax of the War, we are called to play a crucial and critical part in the defeat of the enemy.
God has called us, as a
church-family, to play an im
have a vision, and as that vision becomes increasingly clear with the passage
of time, the Spirit will do among us what He did in the camp of
Is the Lord calling you?
Has the Lord called you to step forward to assist in the worship ministry; ushering, greeting, working with the youth or children, tending to the needs of the little ones?
Is there some other ministry that we’re not even doing, and yet you know the Lord has called you to begin?
Step out in faith and offer yourself to the Lord.
20And all the congregation of the children of
Now we read of the res
As we read these verses, take note of how often we find the words, everyone, all, and so on . . .
21Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the Lord. 23And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them. 24Everyone who offered an offering of silver or bronze brought the Lord’s offering. And everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. 26And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair. 27The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate, 28and spices and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.
There are 3 things here the
Holy Spirit seems to emphasize – that the res
The people gave different gifts, each according to his/her capacity and gifting.
The way the offering is described it seems that the question people asked themselves was, “What can I give? What do I have the Lord has called for?”
They didn’t give merely what was convenient or easy, but what was a true investment of who they were and what they had.
For some that meant precious metal, for others, jewelry, for others cloth, and others the craft and work of their hands.
These were more than gifts – they were investments, expressions of the one who gave, and meant to be a part of what the Lord was doing.
We tend to connect best with those endeavors we’ve invested most significantly in.
The person who rarely gives in the church he/she attends will not feel the same kind of connection and participation as the one who’s committed to giving there.
And I don’t mean just financially – I mean the giving of one’s self; time, effort, relational intimacy.
As we compare the modern
church with the Church we find in the Book of acts, the thing that stands out
as the single most im
The Church in Acts was a family – a true spiritual community of brothers and sisters who loved and were devoted to one another; in fact, this became the thing they were most uniquely noted for by the pagan world.
“See how they love one another,” was the remark of the world when they referred to the Christians.
Where is that sense of community today?
Rather, what we see is the Church divided into warring camps, fighting and bickering with one another.
And if it isn’t one local congregation against another, then it’s the members of a single church at odds with each other in a scandal the world watches from the sidelines.
As I said earlier, right now we are locked in a cosmic battle over the fate of the human race.
How effective are we going to be in battling the devil and his minions when we’re at war with one another in the Body of Christ?!?
We must see ourselves as members of the Body of Christ – fingers, hands, ears, feet.
We must realize that we are parts of one another, that we belong to one another.
I have a vested interest in you and you in me – so I will invest in you and expect you to invest in me.
Now – I know what some of you are thinking – “I don’t have time for that! “
Or – “I don’t need that.” • You’re far more comfortable just coming to Bible study or church, arriving just before service starts and bolting for the doors as soon as it’s over.
I totally understand that because that is exactly hoe I spent my time at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.
I loved listening to Pastor Chuck teach – but dashed for the door as soon as service was over, got in my isolation cage called my car, and drove home to Anaheim.
I heard the frequent calls to get involved in a small group but shunned and refused them.
But the entire time, I had a deep inner longing for fellowship and intimacy with others.
It wasn’t until I moved to the Bay area and stepped out of my usual mode and comfort zone and began attending a small group that I saw my spiritual growth really take off.
The seeds of truth so well planted by Pastor Chuck for 3 years finally began to grow as they were watered by Christian fellowship and the loving challenge of some older brothers and sisters in the Lord.
The people of Israel gathered
round the task of building the tabernacle, a central structure which would
become the focal
They each invested in it, and so connected with it.
As the tabernacle stood at the center of the camp of Israel, and when they traveled went out in front of them, carried on the shoulders of the priests, each of those who gave to its construction would have a sense of identity and union with it and with the entire nation which looked to it as the heart and center of their nation.
Even more, on the day when the tabernacle was dedicated and the glory of the Lord entered it, there would be a profound sense of connection to the Lord, which is the essence of what it means to be in covenant with Him.
30And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, 32to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. 34“And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.
Here’s an example of where the men who inserted the chapter breaks goofed – v. 1 of ch. 36 ought to be a part of this . . .
1“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.”
As God had told Moses on the Mount, Bezalel was to oversee the project; he was the “Head Contractor” or “Superintendent” and Aholiab was his chief assistant or foreman.
2Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work. 3And 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.
It’s one thing to ap
Bezalel and Aholiab could not have performed their work if Moses had not given them the materials they needed.
Moses was following through here on how the Lord works.
When the Lord calls someone to something He also gives that person what they need to get the job done: Where God guides – He provides.
As many of you who work know, there is little more frustrating than to be given a task and not also given the training or resources to do it.
is not in the business of frustrating His servants – when He calls and ap
4Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the
work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, 5and
6So 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, 7for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.
You have to love this!
Moses didn’t plead for the people to give or send out
heart-wrenching letters with res
He didn’t offer love-gifts for offerings of 10 shekels or more.
He didn’t promise wild returns if people would give their “seed gift.”
He didn’t make a sign with a thermometer on it showing the goal and the current level of gifts.
didn’t resort to any of the slick appeals for sup
He simply said, “Here’s what the Lord has called us to do. Who wants to be a part?” and then told the people what was needed.
He made the need known and then left it to the Spirit of God to stir the hearts of the people. (35:21)
you know what – the res
Moses didn’t say, “Wow, okay, let’s build two tabernacles.”
They didn’t take the extra and add more to the original plans.
Folks, we are just now embarking on a new building project – and it will be our last.
We’re going to be having a special service on the 26th of October to do what Moses did in 35:4-9.
In that service we’re going to cast the vision for what the Lord has shown us we’re to be about as a church ministering at this time and in this place.
Any further growth will be channeled in other directions besides just building larger and larger facilities.
You see, we’re not interested in amassing more and more land and buildings.
Our only concern is building The Body of Christ, not a local church.
So while God has shown us what He intends Calvary Chapel of Oxnard to be in terms of our facilities, beyond that we’re called to plant other churches and be a blessing to those churches which already exist in the County.
Yes, we will share what the Lord has shown us, and yes, we will ask people to bring their gifts.
Then, having done that, we will leave it to the Spirit of God to stir the hearts of His people and move them to invest in the work.
I fully expect that we’ll see a repeat of what we see here; that what is needed to do the work will come in and we’ll be able to say, “Okay, that’s enough!”
God is faithful – and where He guides, He provides.
We don’t need to resort to some fund-raising specialists coming in and doing a special “stewardship campaign.”
Our God can stir the hearts of His people, so that all the glory goes to Him and the world will have to stand back and say – “That has to be God!”
Okay – this is it, now the construction of the tabernacle begins.
Rather than read through these chapters, since we read virtually these same words when the plans for the tabernacle were being given to Moses by God, let’s consider how the tabernacle foreshadows the Person and work of Jesus.
In John 1:14 we read this –
And the Word became 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.
The word “dwelt” is literally, “tabernacled.”
In the Jewish mind, the tabernacle was the dwelling place of God and it was in the tabernacle that the presence of Yahweh was realized among the people.
When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to Joseph, he told him the child would be named Immanuel, which means “God with us.”
Since the earliest days of
the Church, Bible students have understood that the tabernacle, and later the
temple which replaced it, were object lessons God was giving the people to
This is why God was so careful to tell Moses to build it exactly after the pattern he’d seen when on the mount.
The tabernacle as a whole speaks of the Incarnation.
that the word ‘tabernacle’ means tent,
and a tent is a tem
In the Incarnation, Jesus took on a human body and traveled among us for some 30 years.
As it says in Philippians 2 – He laid aside His heavenly glory and wrapped Himself in the form of a humble man.
But in the midst of that humble appearance dwelt the reality of His deity – unveiled at the Transfiguration for Peter, James, and John to see – just as the Shekinah glory of God indwelt the inner room of the tabernacle.
As the children of Israel looked at the tabernacle, they saw the outer fence which was pierced by only one gate.
This was God’s way of saying that all the people, not matter who they were, had to enter the same way – ONE way.
We cannot come to God any old way we want; we must come by the One way He has proscribed – just as Jesus said in John 14 – that He is the Way, and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
In John 10:9, Jesus said He is the door, the One by whom we enter into salvation.
interesting that the gate into the tabernacle courtyard was hung from 4
The gate also was woven of four colors of thread: blue, speaking of the heavenly origin of Christ, purple, referring to His royalty as the Messianic King, red, speaking of His blood by which atonement is made, and fine white, speaking of His holiness.
As soon as one entered the courtyard, the first thing he would encounter was the bronze altar where the burnt sacrifices were made.
Our whole approach to God begins with our admission and confession of our sin and the sufficiency of Christ’s substitutionary atonement on our behalf.
Next comes the laver, that massive bronze basin from which the priests would wash themselves as they prepared to enter the holy place.
The laver pictures the cleansing work of Christ who speaks His word to us and we are cleansed from the effects of sin.
bronze altar speaks of our deliverance from the penalty of sin, while the laver speaks of our deliverance from the
refers in Eph. 5 to the
15 Jesus said that the disciples were clean through the Word He’d s
All of this is pictured by the laver.
Next comes the holy place which speaks to us about the three-fold ministry of Christ in life, witness, and intercession.
On the right was the table of showbread which speaks of life, but not mere life – it pictured the sweetness of mutual or communal life.
On the table was bread which symbolized the 12 tribes of Israel dwelling together before the presence of God.
Jesus said that He is the Bread of life in John 6.
Bread was understood in the ancient world as the staple of life and when Jesus referred to Himself as the bread of life, He meant us to understand that just as physical bread is the staple of physical life, He is the means to spiritual life.
But as the table of showbread was 12 loaves dwelling together, the life He gives is a life of intimacy with one another, before the presence of God. (John 17:22-23)
On the left was the golden lampstand which gave light by the sacred oil to the holy place.
Jesus is the light of the world as it says in John 8:12 & 9:5.
Then immediately in front of the veil that separated the holy place from the Holy of holies was the golden altar of incense which speaks of the prayers of God’s people ascending before His throne.
Hebrews 7:25 & Romans 8:34 tell us Jesus sits in the Father’s presence and ever lives to make intercession for us.
Finally we enter the Holy of holies, the inner sanctum where the very presence of God was revealed.
But first we have to go through veil that divides the two rooms of the tabernacle.
was that veil which was torn in two from top to bottom when Jesus died u
we’re confronted with the Ark of the Covenant, the gold-covered wooden box
which held the law of God and was covered by the solid gold mercy seat u
The ark itself speaks of the perfect humanity of Christ, who though He lived in a body of flesh, symbolized by the wood, lived a sinless life, pictured by the pure gold.
Just as the ark held the law of God, so the law framed the heart of Christ; the word of the Lord dwelt in Him richly, as it says in Colossians.
The solid gold mercy seat, which is the place of atonement, speaks of the perfection of Christ’s work on our behalf.
In fact, in Heb 2:17, Romans 3:25, and 1 John 2:2 & 4:10, Jesus is called “our mercy-seat”; in our English Bibles it’s translated as propitiation but the actual words is the same as “mercy-seat.”
It was at on the mercy seat that the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the atonement sacrifices once a year.
Beneath the mercy seat was the law, while above was the glowing cloud of God’s presence.
It was the blood which covered the law and provided atonement so that God and man could meet and have fellowship.
Christ is the meeting place of God and man – not only in His own being, but in our relationship with the Father.
We are only able to come to the Father through the Son.
And believe it or not, this is just a brief summary of the way in which the tabernacle pictures the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
We didn’t look at the curtains, or the boards or their bases and sockets.
Even those speak to us in more specific ways of the Messiah.