Exodus – God’s Way Out!
Great leaders look around constantly for those God has empowered and equipped with special gifts needed to do what God has given them to be and do.
We watched Moses’ father-in-law help him in this leadership skill and God is still giving Moses who he needs to do what He has asked Moses to accomplish for the Tent of Meeting and all that goes with it, right to the setting of the stones.
Our passage opens with God telling Moses, “See what I’ve done, I’ve personally chosen…” Great leaders go to God and ask for help with expectancy and awareness, for God will indeed answer with just the right persons for what is needed.
The words here in Hebrew are not just words for skilled labor but for divinely gifted craftsman so the work will be done beyond regular human skills. God always takes what we have and takes it to a higher level than we ever imagined or thought possible. That’s why we still pray Paul’s prayer of praise to God,
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20
NOW ABOUT THE SABBATH…
Israel’s keeping of the Sabbath was a reminder of her very identity as a people liberated from slavery to the Egyptians and for a special role in the cosmic drama of human salvation.
As such it was a cherished gift of God, “a sign between me and you for generations to come” ( Exodus 31:12-17 ), testifying of God’s faithfulness to his covenant throughout the generations.
The covenant relationship demands Israel’s sanctification (be made holy by God), and by keeping the Sabbath holy Israel is reminded continually that the God who sanctified the seventh day also sanctifies her.
How important is all of this? It was written in stone by God Himself!
Exodus 31, The Message
Bezalel and Oholiab
1-5 God spoke to Moses: “See what I’ve done; I’ve personally chosen Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him skill and know-how and expertise in every kind of craft to create designs and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to cut and set gemstones; to carve wood—he’s an all-around craftsman.
6-11 “Not only that, but I’ve given him Oholiab, son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan, to work with him. And to all who have an aptitude for crafts I’ve given the skills to make all the things I’ve commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the Chest of The Testimony and its Atonement-Cover, all the implements for the Tent, the Table and its implements, the pure Lampstand and all its implements, the Altar of Incense, the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering and all its implements, the Washbasin and its base, the official vestments, the holy vestments for Aaron the priest and his sons in their priestly duties, the anointing oil, and the aromatic incense for the Holy Place—they’ll make everything just the way I’ve commanded you.”
12-17 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, ‘Above all, keep my Sabbaths, the sign between me and you, generation after generation, to keep the knowledge alive that I am the God who makes you holy. Keep the Sabbath; it’s holy to you. Whoever profanes it will most certainly be put to death. Whoever works on it will be excommunicated from the people. There are six days for work but the seventh day is Sabbath, pure rest, holy to God. Anyone who works on the Sabbath will most certainly be put to death. The Israelites will keep the Sabbath, observe Sabbath-keeping down through the generations, as a standing covenant. It’s a fixed sign between me and the Israelites. Yes, because in six days God made the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day he stopped and took a long, deep breath.’”
18 When he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, he gave Moses two tablets of Testimony, slabs of stone, written with the finger of God.
As the Sabbath is the only ceremonial observance mentioned in the Ten Commandments, it is the only one mentioned here in connection with the tabernacle instructions (31:12-17). Surely this is not accidental but speaks to the special significance of this observance.
Refusal to work on one day in seven represented not only the Israelite’s commitment to “I AM the God who makes you holy” (v.17) and a commitment to be a chosen people (v.13), but also a recognition that it was not their work but God’s providence that provided their needs. It’s all about God.
To KNOW that God is the LORD (31:13) it is necessary not only to experience his power and providence, but also to live in a state of covenant obedience with him. That truth is expressed here in the specifics of Sabbath obedience. The harshness of the punishment for Sabbath-breaking reflects the extreme importance of the lessons being taught here. It is important to God to remember Him and the love he has for them (us).
How shall we find peace with a holy God?
By establishing our way and asking God to conform to it? That is no more possible than is our redefining the laws of physical science to our liking. Yet human sinfulness continues to insist upon its own way. Somehow the Hebrews had to recognize that it was God’s way or no way.
The find the best way out it must be God’s Way, the Way is Jesus for us.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” –Jesus
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the new covenant, fulfilled by Jesus, between you and those who believe. I believe. There is no one like you. Life is all about You. The Way is Jesus who is the Truth. Thank you, Lord. May we never forget. Make us holy on this Sabbath day.
In Jesus Name, Amen