God’s Glory Comes
Lord, teach me to appreciate how Your tabernacle applies to Your people today.
Read EXODUS 40:1–16,34–38
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.
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.
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.
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns’” (Psa. 96:9,10).
As our Exodus readings conclude, everything is set up for God’s dwelling, including Aaron and his sons as priests. The drumbeat of “as the Lord commanded” comes to a quickening climax. Just as God “finished the work” of creation (Gen. 2:2), “so Moses finishes the work” God has given him (33), preparing God’s dwelling “exactly like the pattern I will show you” (25:8,9). God approves, as “the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (34,35). The warning after the golden-calf incident, namely, “if I were to go with you even for a moment” (33:5), is replaced by his presence “during all their travels” (40:38). The tabernacle signifies the renewal of the “walking” in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:8; cf. Lev. 26:12; 2 Sam. 7:6,7). “That the Lord desires to dwell among his people in the tabernacle, then, suggests a restoration of the purpose for which he created humanity… [but] there must be a mechanism whereby he could simultaneously be present and yet protect the people from his holiness” (W. Ross Blackburn, The God Who Makes Himself Known, 147). Entry into the inner sanctuary is restricted (even “Moses could not enter”; 35) and the altar has been set up.
Centuries later, we rejoice as “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory” (John 1:14). The veil has been torn in two (Matt. 27:51), and “we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus” (Heb. 10:19). The narrative we have been reading over the past two weeks helps us to reflect on the tendency of human rebellion that so easily turns us from the one Lord and the grace of God who forgives and who himself makes the way to dwell with us. It is his glory, now given to be both with and in us, that is to be made known in all the world (John 17:22,23).
How do you see the journey from the golden calf to God’s glory being present relating to your own experience?
Lord, as Moses finished the work You gave him to do, give me the grace to finish mine.