Exodus – God’s Way Out
God is Holy. Everything about God is Holy. God can only come into dedicated Holy places that are designed, dedicated and committed for His Presence. God is instructing the people to follow his detailed design so that He can come and dwell/live among them.
As we read this next passage of specific instructions from God about The Dwelling, let us remember that today, because of Christ’s cleansing and forgiveness (atonement) of our sins, WE are His Sanctuary. We are His walking and talking “dwelling” that lives and moves among other people who believe in Him or not. What does our Sanctuary look like from the inside out?
I wonder if we listen to all that He wants (instructions for living) from us?
Do we ask the Lord daily to give us specific instructions to prepare our inner sanctuary for His Presence?
We are not holy unless God makes us holy. Do we ask daily for Him to make us holy?
We cannot make ourselves holy just by doing good for we are an unholy people. Only in Christ are we made holy, set apart for Him to dwell and guide us by His Holy Spirit.
I am reminded of the words of Peter, Jesus “rock” who would build His church,
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16).
What “Be Holy” Means
What’s meant by “holy” according to Peter? The word translated “holy” means sacred, morally blameless, consecrated, saint. God is looking for some people who are consecrated or set apart for His use. And He knows who those holy ones should be because He chose us (Ephesians 1:4) and called us to be holy for His purpose (2 Timothy 1:9).
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4).
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:9).
We are not perfect but we are perfectly forgiven to behave as forgiven, redeemed, holy people who seek God in all we are and in all we do. The King James Version of 1 Peter 1:15 uses the word “conversation.” The word translated “conversation” means behavior. The verse is saying our manner of life or behavior, should reflect holiness because God is holy.
Exodus 25, The Message
Instructions on the Mountain: The Offerings
1-9 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites that they are to set aside offerings for me. Receive the offerings from everyone who is willing to give. These are the offerings I want you to receive from them: gold, silver, bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet material; fine linen; goats’ hair; tanned rams’ skins; dolphin skins; acacia wood; lamp oil; spices for anointing oils and for fragrant incense; onyx stones and other stones for setting in the Ephod and the Breastpiece. Let them construct a Sanctuary for me so that I can live among them. You are to construct it following the plans I’ve given you, the design for The Dwelling and the design for all its furnishings.
10-15 “First let them make a Chest using acacia wood: make it three and three-quarters feet long and two and one-quarter feet wide and deep. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold inside and out and make a molding of gold all around it. Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Make poles from acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold and insert them into the rings on the sides of the Chest for carrying the Chest. The poles are to stay in the rings; they must not be removed.
16 “Place The Testimony that I give you in the Chest.
17 “Now make a lid of pure gold for the Chest, an Atonement-Cover, three and three-quarters feet long and two and one-quarter feet wide.
18-22 “Sculpt two winged angels out of hammered gold for either end of the Atonement-Cover, one angel at one end, one angel at the other. Make them of one piece with the Atonement-Cover. Make the angels with their wings spread, hovering over the Atonement-Cover, facing one another but looking down on it. Set the Atonement-Cover as a lid over the Chest and place in the Chest The Testimony that I will give you. I will meet you there at set times and speak with you from above the Atonement-Cover and from between the angel-figures that are on it, speaking the commands that I have for the Israelites.
23-28 “Next make a Table from acacia wood. Make it three feet long, one and one-half feet wide and two and one-quarter feet high. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold. Make a molding all around it of gold. Make the border a handbreadth wide all around it and a rim of gold for the border. Make four rings of gold and attach the rings to the four legs parallel to the tabletop. They will serve as holders for the poles used to carry the Table. Make the poles of acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold. They will be used to carry the Table.
29 “Make plates, bowls, jars, and jugs for pouring out offerings. Make them of pure gold.
30 “Always keep fresh Bread of the Presence on the Table before me.
31-36 “Make a Lampstand of pure hammered gold. Make its stem and branches, cups, calyxes, and petals all of one piece. Give it six branches, three from one side and three from the other; put three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on one branch, three on the next, and so on—the same for all six branches. On the main stem of the Lampstand, make four cups shaped like almonds, with calyx and petals, a calyx extending from under each pair of the six branches, the entire Lampstand fashioned from one piece of hammered pure gold.
37-38 “Make seven of these lamps for the Table. Arrange the lamps so they throw their light out in front. Make the candle snuffers and trays out of pure gold.
39-40 “Use a seventy-five-pound brick of pure gold to make the Lampstand and its accessories. Study the design you were given on the mountain and make everything accordingly.”
GOING DEEPER STILL…
God is teaching His people to be set apart for Him. “I am your God and you will be My people” is the mantra on the journey from their past life in worship of many gods in the land of Egypt to a new way of life with Him as the One and Only God.
God is pulling all their attention from that life to a life where He will dwell among them. This is not the lifestyle they are accustomed to living. So God must teach them in specific ways, taking them from what knew to what they now need to understand about Him.
God’s Holy Spirit does that for us as soon as we accept Jesus as our Savior. His Holy Spirit moves in and begins to teach us to live more holy lives. We leave our past life for a new life with Him.
God’s plans for his residence among his people take into account a number of factors relating to our human condition. We need some tangible means of recognizing and celebrating God’s presence; we need beauty and majesty; we need a sense of dignity and worth that genuine involvement in a great undertaking can bring; we need to feel that each one’s gifts and abilities have significance.
In wonderful ways the tabernacle and its equipment served these purposes while also providing a valuable teaching aid for the whole theology of salvation.
First, people voluntarily bring what they have to build what God has design for them. Immediately following come the instructions for the ark/gold box that will hold the covenant “Testimony” between God and His people.
This box would sit in the innermost room of the tabernacle, in the place where the idol would stand in a pagan temple. But it was not a representation of God. Rather, it served to remind the Israelites of their covenant with the transcendent God who had redeemed them in a historic event and had committed Himself to them.
In it was the “Testimony”, the two tablets of the law that testified to the commitment made to the covenant by both parties. On its top was the atonement cover. The Hebrew word kipporet may mean simply “cover” or “lid,” but the verb “to cover” is also used with a theological meaning: to atone for (cover up) sin.
God is not the ark nor in it nor even on it. He is other than anything earthly. But because of his covenant, he will manifest himself in connection with the ark.
For us, The Testimony is God’s Word to us. We agree to do what God says to us from His Word. We do not worship His Word or even the place where we keep it (Ark) but we worship the Author of the Word.
The table held the bread of the Presence. These twelve loaves of bread were not for the purpose of feeding God, as in pagan temples, but rather represented God’s caring for his people’s need. There was a loaf for each tribe.
The lampstand was shaped like an almond tree with six branches and one central stem. “Arrange the lamps so they throw their light out in front”. God’s Sanctuary provided Light in an otherwise dark place.
Are we beginning to realize all the similarities of God’s Dwelling among His people and ourselves, saved by grace, being a Holy Sanctuary in which He can abide in us?
As redeemed people, we are to be holy and behave in ways that reflect the Light of Christ in us.
Sing with me…
Lord prepare me
To be a sanctuary
Pure and holy
Tried and true
And with thanksgiving
I’ll be a living
Sanctuary, all for You
In Jesus Name and By His power in us, Amen