Part of my work in my past was to plan large events of worship and learning for a denomination of representatives who would come from all parts of the world. It took months of planning, building, arranging, meetings, and negotiating with gifted people who would help make it happen. In the days just before all the people arrived, we would rearrange furniture, map out where people would stay, make sure the food service was on board with scheduling, and check in once more with speakers and musicians who were to come and teach, lead worship, and provide a service. And then I would walk the campus with a friend or by myself and pray, asking God to anoint this place for his purposes, to lead people to really hear Him, for the lost to find Him with hearts ready to follow Him.
When the day of arrival finally came and all people were checked in and settled, the work God gave me to do was almost complete. When the first song was sung to begin worship, it was at that moment that I could finally relax and enjoy what I knew God was going to do in and through all of us at the event. I remember thanking God for bringing us to this point, being in all the details, and completing the work through all of us as I sang that first song of worship with others each year.
It was God who worked to provide all we needed in resources and people, God who gave us wisdom, God who told us the best way to accommodate large numbers of people and it was God who prepared that place for us to worship Him and be taught by His Holy Spirit speaking through men and women yielded to God. I prayed that participants would then carry home God’s teaching and pass it on to others in their parts of the world at the close of each event.
Our work is only finished, done and complete when God says it is. “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
The work of building, constructing, weaving, sewing, molding and shaping has been accomplished by God’s Chosen for His Tent of Meeting, the place where God will meet with His representatives, Aaron and his sons, to hear the prayers of His people, redeem them of their sins through the sacrifice of animals who will take on their sin and then lead God’s Chosen in worship to God for all He has done.
Yes, the work assigned to gifted people is complete, what is next is the anointing and waiting on God…
Exodus 40, The Message
“Moses Finished the Work”
1-3 God spoke to Moses: “On the first day of the first month, set up The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting. Place the Chest of The Testimony in it and screen the Chest with the curtain.
4 “Bring in the Table and set it, arranging its Lampstand and lamps.
5 “Place the Gold Altar of Incense before the Chest of The Testimony and hang the curtain at the door of The Dwelling.
6 “Place the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering at the door of The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting.
7 “Place the Washbasin between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar and fill it with water.
8 “Set up the Courtyard on all sides and hang the curtain at the entrance to the Courtyard.
9-11 “Then take the anointing oil and anoint The Dwelling and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings so that it becomes holy. Anoint the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering and all its utensils, consecrating the Altar so that it is completely holy. Anoint the Washbasin and its base: consecrate it.
12-15 “Finally, bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. Dress Aaron in the sacred vestments. Anoint him. Set him apart to serve me as priest. Bring his sons and put tunics on them. Anoint them, just as you anointed their father, to serve me as priests. Their anointing will bring them into a perpetual priesthood, down through the generations.”
16 Moses did everything God commanded. He did it all.
17-19 On the first day of the first month of the second year, The Dwelling was set up. Moses set it up: He laid its bases, erected the frames, placed the crossbars, set the posts, spread the tent over The Dwelling, and put the covering over the tent, just as God had commanded Moses.
20-21 He placed The Testimony in the Chest, inserted the poles for carrying the Chest, and placed the lid, the Atonement-Cover, on it. He brought the Chest into The Dwelling and set up the curtain, screening off the Chest of The Testimony, just as God had commanded Moses.
22-23 He placed the Table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of The Dwelling, outside the curtain, and arranged the Bread there before God, just as God had commanded him.
24-25 He placed the Lampstand in the Tent of Meeting opposite the Table on the south side of The Dwelling and set up the lamps before God, just as God had commanded him.
26-27 Moses placed the Gold Altar in the Tent of Meeting in front of the curtain and burned fragrant incense on it, just as God had commanded him.
28 He placed the screen at the entrance to The Dwelling.
29 He set the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering at the door of The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting, and offered up the Whole-Burnt-Offerings and the Grain-Offerings, just as God had commanded Moses.
30-32 He placed the Washbasin between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar, and filled it with water for washing. Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and feet there. When they entered the Tent of Meeting and when they served at the Altar, they washed, just as God had commanded Moses.
33 Finally, he erected the Courtyard all around The Dwelling and the Altar, and put up the screen for the Courtyard entrance.
Moses finished the work.
34-35 The Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling. Moses couldn’t enter the Tent of Meeting because the Cloud was upon it, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling.
36-38 Whenever the Cloud lifted from The Dwelling, the People of Israel set out on their travels, but if the Cloud did not lift, they wouldn’t set out until it did lift. The Cloud of God was over The Dwelling during the day and the fire was in it at night, visible to all the Israelites in all their travels.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
KNOW GOD—KNOW TO WHOM YOU BELONG
The tabernacle identified Israel as the people of God and set them apart from the other nations, for the tabernacle was consecrated by the glory of God. Other nations had sacred buildings, but they were empty. The tabernacle of Israel was blessed with the presence of the glory of God.
LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO LISTEN AND OBEY GOD
The people of Israel had no idea what Moses had experienced on the mountain and how close they had come to being rejected by God and destroyed. Never underestimate the spiritual power of a dedicated man or woman who knows how to intercede with God. One of our greatest needs today is for intercessors who can lay hold of God’s promises and trust God to work in mighty power (Is. 59:16; 62:1; 64:1–7).
EMBRACE GOD’S GLORY!
The glory of God filled the tabernacle and abided there. The Hebrew word translated “filled” in v. 35 is sometimes transliterated shekinah in English, “the abiding presence of God.” So powerful was the presence of God’s glory that Moses wasn’t able to enter the tabernacle!
JESUS, GOD’S GLORY ON EARTH!
Bible Scholar, Warren Wiersbe writes, “The next time the glory of God came to earth was in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), the word for “rested” in Exodus 40:35 is the Greek word used in Luke 1:35 and translated “overshadowed.” Mary’s virgin womb was a Most Holy Place, where the glory of God dwelt in the person of God’s Son. What did the world do with this glory? Nailed it to a cross!”
“God today doesn’t live in buildings. Buildings are dedicated to God to be used as tools for His work and His worship. But God does dwell in His people, and it’s our responsibility to glorify God individually (1 Cor. 6:20) and collectively (1 Cor. 14:23–25). What a tragedy it would be if the glory departed and we had to write “Ichabod” (“Where is the glory?”) on our buildings (1 Sam. 4:21). How much better it would be if, like Moses, we did everything according to the heavenly pattern, so that God’s glory would feel at home in our midst.”
Jesus was our supreme example of serving, loving, and obeying God. He is the One and Only who redeemed us once and for all when he said, “It is finished.” What we learn from Jesus is that our “work”, assigned to us by God, is for His glory and for helping others see Him through us. His glory shines in those who really believe that what God says is really real. Look for those people. Be one of those people whom God has called to join Him in his work to save the world. We pray, listen and obey. Jesus saves.
Yes, indeed, “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Jesus IS coming back, you know…
Your Word, coupled with your Holy Spirit, teaches us who you are again today! You also teach us what you expect from us. If we love, we know you. To know you is to love like you love us. Forgive us our sins as we forgive others. Lead us not into temptations to think like the world that leads to behaving like the world. Deliver us from this evil and other selfish desires. I give you my life again today. Use me for your purpose in ways that give you glory, no matter the task.
And Lord, I praise you for your servants who work all week long to set up and anoint places of worship so others will know you, learn from you and leave with minds set to follow you. Truly bless them, Lord.
In Jesus Name, Amen