1:1-2:10 – Things were difficult for Israel yet ‘the more they were oppressed the more they multiplied’ (12). Difficult times can be the making of God’s people! Pharaoh (and Satan!) is murderously anxious about the growth of God’s people (15-16; John 10:10). God is about to move in saving power – His ‘midwives’ are preparing for the ‘birth’ of His redeemed people (17,20). Moses was preserved in ‘a basket made of bulrushes’ (2:3). Born again, we are preserved through God’s Word and Spirit – ‘the living and abiding Word of God’ (1 Peter 1:23). Moses was drawn out of the water (2:10). Israel was drawn out of the bondage in Egypt (6:6-8). Like Israel, we have been redeemed by blood (12:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Redeemed by the Lord, we are to be consecrated to Him. In 20:1-2, ‘the Ten Commandments’ are introduced by a declaration of God’s salvation. Our obedience to God is to be grounded in this: He has redeemed us!
2:11-3:22 – Salvation, service, personal faith, life among God’s people – God has much to teach us. Moses sins (2:12). God graciously forgives (Micah 7:18-19) – this is salvation. His sin forgiven, Moses is called to service. He is called by the eternal God, the God who draws near to His people (3:14-15). Saved by Christ, we are called to serve Him, the eternal ‘God’ who ‘became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:1-14). Saved, we belong to God’s people (1 Peter 2:10). Serving, we play our part within the ‘one body’ of Christ (Romans 12:4-5). Moses was to serve God’s people, the people whose prayer God answered – delivering them from bondage and leading them on to great blessing (2:23-25; 3:8). Moses was a key figure, but he did not stand alone. The work of God made progress because the people of God went forward together. In God’s work, we are to be participators – not spectators!
4:1-31 – Two great obstacles had to be overcome – Moses’ sense of inadequacy and Pharaoh’s stubborn resistance. Moses had to learn that ‘our competence comes from God’ (2 Corinthians 3:5). Part of God’s provision for Moses was Aaron (14-16). We are not called to go it alone. What encouragement there is in the support of our fellow-believers. Weak believers need strengthening. Stubborn unbelief (Pharaoh) is ready to overwhelm us. We need strength if we are to ‘attempt great things for God’ and ‘expect great things from God’ (William Carey). Concerning Pharaoh, God says, ‘I will harden his heart’ (21). This was also Pharaoh’s own choice – ‘Pharaoh hardened his heart’ (8:15,32; 9:34). God sent circumstances into Pharaoh’s life which led him to harden his own heart by rejecting God’s Word. Pharaoh’s resistance did not hinder God’s salvation – he was ‘compelled by a mighty hand’ (3:19). God is at work – make sure you don’t miss out on His blessing!
5:1-6:13 – In 4:29-31, we see Moses, the elders and the people worshipping God. Pharaoh opposes them – ‘Who is the Lord, that I should heed His voice…?’ (5:2) – , and ‘the foremen of the people of Israel’ start complaining (19-21). What does Moses do ? – He prays. Notice the honesty of his prayer – he asks the ‘Why ?’ question, and he protests, ‘You have not rescued Your people at all’ (22-23). God gives His answer – redemption will be given (6:1,6-8). Redemption – this is God’s answer to our suffering. He gave His Son to suffer for our sins. Through Christ, we receive salvation. Moses had to learn to wait for the fulfilment of God’s promise. God’s own people were not listening to him. How could he expect the unbelieving Pharaoh to listen to him (6:9,12)? It was not easy. Nevertheless, this ‘charge’ had been given – ‘bring the people out’. It shall be done!
6:14-7:24 – This list of names emphasizes that God is concerned with the ‘little people’, and not only ‘the big names’ like Moses. Gifted individuals have their important place in carrying forward God’s purpose. Such individuals are used by God for the blessing of the whole people of God. The forward movement of God’s work is often preceded by great difficulties. We must ‘walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7). Adverse circumstances must not defeat us. The Lord is calling us on to greater faith. God’s purpose of grace moves forward according to His power and not our weakness. Moses spoke ‘with faltering lips’ (30). God worked miracles (8-24). Turning to ‘sorcerers’ and ‘magicians’, Pharaoh, the servant of Satan, ‘would not listen’ to God’s servants (11,13;7:22). ‘Our God is marching on’ – to glorious victory (Church Hymnary, 318)!
7:25-8:32 – God’s work is ‘in the midst of the earth’. He claims His own people for Himself (22-23). To ‘all the ends of the earth’, He says, ‘Turn to Me and be saved’. Concerning His own people, He says, ‘In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory’ (Isaiah 45:22,25). In the plagues, we see God’s power and Pharaoh’s pride. There is a conflict between the reality of God and Pharaoh’s fantasy. Conflict is God’s training ground for spiritual growth. We take our stand on the reality of God. Those who oppose God live in a fantasy world, imagining that they can successfully oppose the mighty God of salvation – ‘To pluck from His hand the weakest, trembling soul, it never, never can be done’ (Sacred Songs and Solos. 508). Pharaoh was neither the first nor the last to oppose God – and fail! Put to death by men, Christ was raised by God (Acts 2:23-24) – Hallelujah!
9:1-35 – Today, we highlight three lessons: The importance of trusting Christ as your Saviour, the folly of refusing Christ’s salvation and the danger of professing conversion without really meaning it. Each of us must choose: Will you step into Christ or remain outside of Him? Will you flee to Him and take refuge in Him or will you neglect Him and remain under judgment? ‘Flee from the wrath to come’. ‘How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?’ (20-21; Luke 3:7; Hebrews 2:3). You can enter into salvation through faith in Christ or you can, in unbelief, remain outside of Christ (Hebrews 4:2-3). Pharaoh ‘confessed’ his sin, but didn’t really mean it. He had had ‘enough’ of God’s interference. That was his ‘reason’ for admitting his sin. This was not real repentance – only a dislike for suffering! Make your decision for Christ, and make it real!
10:1-29 – The conflict between God and Pharaoh is a conflict between light and darkness. We are to shine as lights – for God, the ‘Light’ in whom there is ‘no darkness at all’ (Matthew 5:16; 1 John 1:5). God’s purpose is moving forward. Pharaoh becomes more determined in his rebellion. Pharaoh’s stubborn unbelief becomes his own undoing. Pharaoh doesn’t want God. God confirms him in his unbelief (28-29). God says, ‘You can go your own way, but you will be spiritually dead’ (Psalm 106:13-15). God says, ‘Do not harden your heart. You may be very close to the point of no return’ (Hebrews 3:8; Proverbs 29:1). Before you lose all inclination to return to the Lord, let Christ’s love touch your heart. Only His love can ‘create in you a clean heart’. Only His love can ‘put a new and right Spirit within you’ (Psalm 51:10).
11:1-12:28 – Here, we focus attention on two verses which emphasize the importance of being saved by the Lord and going on to live for Him: ‘when I see the blood, I will pass over you… you must eat unleavened bread’ (13,20). In verse 13, we are directed beyond the Passover to Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins (John 1:29; 1 John1:7). In verse 20, we have the call to holy living. In 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and Galatians 5:7-9, Paul uses ‘leaven’ as a symbol of ‘sin’, which holds us back from ‘running a good race’. We are to live as a new creation, who feast on ‘the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’. Forgiveness of sins and holy living belong together. We are not to rejoice in God’s forgiveness and then gloss over His call to holy living: ‘justified by faith’, we are to ‘walk in newness of life’ (Romans 5:1; 6:4)
12:29-13:16 – God delivered His people from their bondage (3,14,16). There is, in the Exodus, a great picture of the Gospel, which sets us free. Christ sets us free. He does this by His Word of ‘truth’ (John 8:32,36). The Gospel says, ‘Sin will have no dominion over you… You have been set free from sin’ (Romans 6:14,18,22). Through ‘the Spirit of God’, we have received ‘not… the spirit of slavery… but… the spirit of sonship’ (Romans 8:14-15). Israel’s deliverance from the land of bondage was also deliverance for a new life in ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (5). We look back in grateful remembrance. We look forward in eager anticipation. We have received ‘the first fruits of the Spirit’. There is more to come – ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God… the redemption of our bodies’ (Romans 8:21-23).
13:17-14:31 – Sin may be ‘near’, but God never leads His people into it (13:17, James 1:13). Following Christ means walking a narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14). We are surrounded by many temptations. Pray that your feet will not slip (Psalm 37:31; 17:5; 44:18). Sometimes, the Lord leads us ‘by way of the wilderness’ – a way of apparent fruitlessness. Why? – So that ‘equipped for battle’, we might learn to serve Him better (13:18). The Lord does not leave His people in the wilderness. Pursued by their enemies (the Egyptians), they were guided by the ‘cloud’ and ‘fire’ (13:21-22). God was with them, and He was about to reveal His saving power in a mighty way (13-14). There is judgment as well as salvation (30). Looking to neither the ‘right’ nor the ‘left’, we must look to the Lord (14:21-22). Rejoicing in ‘the great work’ He has done, our faith ‘in the Lord’ grows strong (31).
15:1-21 – This is a song of redemption – God has redeemed His people; a song of thanksgiving – we give thanks for God’s redemption; and a song of hope – we look forward to the complete fulfilment of God’s redemption. This is not only a ‘song of God’s people’. It is also the song of Moses, a personal song. This is worship – not a mere formality, but worship which arises from the depths of Moses’ heart. Deeply moved by the grace and glory of God, Moses pours his heart out to God in worship: (i) He praises the God of grace – ‘my strength… my song… my salvation’ (2). (ii) He praises the God of glory – God triumphs ‘gloriously’ (1). His ‘glorious’ power is demonstrated in His ‘glorious’ deeds (6,11). (iii) Worshipping this God of grace – the redeeming God (13) – and glory – the reigning God (18) – , we say, ‘You are my God, and I will praise You’ (Psalm 118:28). Let us worship God – personally as well as publicly.
15:22-16:36 – God allows His people to suffer difficulties. Why? – To strengthen our faith (15:25; 16:4; Deuteronomy 8:2,16; 1 Peter 1:6-7). He chastens us, to teach us repentance (Revelation 3:19). Don’t forget God’s love. He is faithful: ‘He didn’t bring us this far to leave us’. He shows us His glory (7). He assures us that He is God (12). He provides us with ‘daily bread’ (4). Yesterday’s ‘bread’ is insufficient for today’s challenges (19-20). ‘Morning by morning’, the ‘bread’ is to be gathered (21; Lamentations 3:22-23). Jesus is the Living Bread (John 6:32-35,48-51). Feed on Him each day. Don’t invite spiritual starvation by missing days. If you miss some days, don’t let it continue. Remember: ‘Seven days without prayer makes one weak’! ‘How long has it been since you talked with the Lord?’ Too long? It is time to pray and feed on Jesus!
17:1-18:27 – Worldly people create problems (17:3). Moses asks, ‘What shall I do…?’ (17:4). Indecision asks, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’ (17:7). He gives victory (17:8-9,13). Joshua is being equipped for special service – ‘in the ears of Joshua’ (17:14). God’s great concern is that His people move forward together. The work is not to be left to the few (18). God is looking to faithful servants who will ‘bear the burden’ together (21-22). There is much to be done, but we must never forget this: ‘prayer and the ministry of the Word’ (Acts 6:1-4). You may not be a Moses or a Joshua, but you can play your part. We rejoice in who God is and what He has done for us. Assured of His presence with us, let us worship Him: ‘Blessed be the Lord…’ (18:10-11).
19:1-25 – Before law, there is Gospel – what God has done for us (4). We are to obey in the Spirit of grace, as those who have been redeemed by His mercy (5-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10). God’s Word is not only for the leader. It is for the whole people of God (3,7,9,11). God speaks to us concerning possession, consecration and reverence. Possession – We are His ‘own possession’ (5). In love, He has claimed us for Himself. We belong to Him. Consecration – God is holy. We are to be holy (10,14; 1 Peter 1:15-16). Reverence – Don’t rush into God’s presence, presuming on His blessing. We must not take God’s blessing for granted. That would be arrogance (21-22). We must come to Him with this humble confidence: God will bless those who truly call upon Him (2 Chronicles 7:14-16). May God help us to say, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do’ (8).
20:1-20 – God does not want to see sin in us (20). He wants to see Himself in us. Sin robs us of His great blessing. He wants to fill us with love (Mark 12:28-31; Galatians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13). Before our love for Him, there is His love for us. He is the God of redemption. He has redeemed us. We are His people. This is His doing. All the glory belongs to Him (1-2). We are to live as His people. He is to have first place in our lives (3). The ‘law’ is ‘holy’ and ‘good’, but it cannot make us holy and good – without ‘the new life of the Spirit’ (Romans 7:12,6: 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:3). ‘Moses’ cannot save! There is only one Saviour – Jesus! Not under law, we yield ourselves to the God of salvation (Romans 6:13-14). Our obedience comes from faith in Christ – not legalism (Romans 1:5-6)! Our holiness comes from the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
20:21-21:32 – So many instructions – Don’t get bogged down in details. Remember this: We do not live by an ethic of legalism. This is an ethic of redemption (20:1-2). Forget the God of redemption, and you have nothing but a lot of rules and regulations. Become obsessed with rules and regulations, and there will be no room for the Redeemer and His redemption. ‘Earmarked’ for Jesus, we are to ‘serve Him for life’ (6). No turning back! We are bound to Him by love – not law! What love He has for us! Verse 30 speaks of ‘ransom’ and ‘redemption’: What great words of the Gospel (Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 1:18-19)! ‘Eye for eye…’ (24) – This limits vengeance. Remember: Love is the answer – not vengeance (Leviticus 19:18)! Let Christ’s love give you strength – to keep on serving Him (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:6).
21:33-22:31 – We travel from grace to glory – from ‘Egypt’ to ‘the promised land’. In the wilderness there are many pitfalls. We can become careless in our obedience to Christ. Do not ‘leave a pit open’ – you may cause a brother to stumble (33; Romans 14:13). Restitution (1-17) – Be faithful in practical matters (Luke 19:8; 3:10-14). Read of ‘the thief’ (8). Think of the Lord – and be ready for His return (1 Thessalonians 5:2; Matthew 6:19-21). All our human problems are to be brought ‘before God’. Never forget Him (8-9,11). God is ‘compassionate’ (27). We are to be ‘consecrated’ (31). God loves us. Will we continue to live as those who have never known His love? – ‘God forbid! How can we who died to sin still live in it?’ (Romans 6:2).
23:1-33 – God is love: He loves ‘the stranger’ (9). God is holy: He ‘will not acquit the wicked’ (7). He wants to reproduce His love and holiness – in us. Not holiness without love: that is self-righteous legalism. Not love without holiness: that is spineless sentimentalism. To Israel, He sent ‘an angel…’ (20). To us, He has sent Christ: He is the Way to the place prepared for us (John 14:2-3,6). Through the Holy Spirit, Christ continues His ministry among us (John 14:25-26). ‘Pay attention’ to the words of Christ. ‘Listen’ for the voice of the Holy Spirit (21). Do not ‘quench’ or ‘grieve’ the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). It may take time – ‘little by little’ (30) – but God will work through his obedient people – ‘I will… you shall…’ (30-31).
24:1-18 – Moses was alone with the Lord – receiving the Word of the Lord (1-2). Moses went to the people – speaking the Word of the Lord (3). There was also a written ministry of the Word (4). At the heart of our worship, there is ‘the blood of the covenant’ (8; 12:13; John 1:29; Hebrews 9:22; 10:4; 9:13-14; 1 John 1:7). Moses worshipped on ‘the mountain of God’ (12-18). We worship ‘in spirit and truth’ (John 4:19-24). We come to the Father through Christ and in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:18). We come on the basis of Christ’s blood shed for us (Hebrews 10:19-22). We come as those to whom the Spirit has been given (John 1:33; 3:34). With ‘the Spirit of God’ living in us and helping us as we pray, let us feast on Christ, the Truth, the living Word, to whom the written and spoken words point us (Romans 8:9,26; John 14:6; 1:1,14; 17:17).
25:1-40 – This is full of Christ! We don’t ‘read into’ the Old Testament things which aren’t really there. We read this part of Scripture in the light of the full revelation of God. We see Christ as the Central Theme. Above everything else and everyone else, there is Jesus Christ our Saviour. God dwells among His people (8). Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27). God is merciful to us (17-22; Psalm 103:8-12; Micah 7:18-19). Through Christ, we have received ‘mercy’ (Ephesians 2:4-7; Titus 3:4-7). From ‘mercy’ we move on to ‘testimony’ (18). The two are vitally related (1 Timothy 1:12-17). The ‘bread of the Presence’ (30) turns our thoughts to the Cross. The ‘lampstand of pure gold’ calls us to shine brightly for Christ, who ‘came… to save sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15).
26:1-37 – From the outside, it was a ‘tent’. On the inside, the tabernacle was a place of great beauty. Many look at Christ, and see ‘no beauty that we should desire Him’ (Isaiah 53:2). The believer looks at Christ, and says, ‘You are beautiful beyond description, too marvellous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard’ (Mission Praise, 788).The ‘veil’ has been removed (2 Corinthians 4:3-4,6). Our sin had separated us from God, hiding His face from us (Isaiah 59:2). When Christ died, ‘the curtain of the temple was torn in two…’ (Mark 15:37-38). He has changed everything (Hebrews 9:7-8,11-12). Once, we were ‘separated… alienated… strangers… far off’. Now, we are ‘in Christ Jesus’ – ‘brought near in the blood of Christ’ (Ephesians 2:12-13; Hebrews 10:19-22).
27:1-19 – We highlight two interesting phrases – (a) ‘as you were shown on the mountain’ (8); (b) ‘towards the sunrise’ (13, New International Version). We need both ‘the Scriptures’ and ‘the power of God’ (Mark 12:24). Our faith is based on divine revelation – ‘according to the Scriptures’ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We are ‘not’ to ‘go beyond what is written’ (1 Corinthians 4:6). Face the risen Son – We may not always be facing the rising sun, but we should always be facing the risen Son! The revelation, the resurrection, the Scriptures, the Son – these are the great focal-points of our Christian Faith: God has revealed Himself, Christ has risen. Encouraged by the Scriptures, and empowered by the Son, we face the risen Son and we say, ‘I will proclaim the glory of the risen Lord’ (Romans 15:4; Matthew 28:18-20; Mission Praise, 14).
27:20-29:9 – The ‘lamp’ was ‘set up to burn continually’ (27:20) – ‘May we be a shining light… Let the flame burn brighter…’ (Songs of Fellowship 389; Mission Praise, 743). A ‘royal priesthood’, we have been called by God – to let His light shine (1 Peter 2:9). He has called us to serve Him (28:1 John 15:16; Acts 20:28; 13:2; 9:15; Hebrews 5:4). The divine call is accompanied by a divine empowering – ‘the Holy Spirit sent from heaven’ (1 Peter 1:12). We are precious to God – Our ‘names’ are written on His heart (9-12,21,29-30; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; John 10:3). In Christ we are cleansed (29:4 1 John 1:7), anointed (29:7; 1 John 2:27) and robed (29:5-6,8-9; Isaiah 61:10). In Christ, we have ‘the best robe’ (28:2; Luke 15:22; Revelation 7:9-10,13-14). In Him, we are ‘consecrated’ by the Word and ‘anointed’ by the Spirit (28:3,41; John 17:17; 14:16-17, 26; 16:13-14).
29:10-46 – There is a great contrast between the many sacrifices of the Old Testament and the one sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9:25-28; 10:1-4, 10-14). Looking to Christ, we focus attention on verses 42-46. For God’s people, ‘the tent of meeting’ was a special place concerning which God said, ‘I will meet with you, to speak there to you. There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by My glory’ (42-43). Let us pray that, in both the pulpit and the pew, there will be the glory of God. Aaron and his sons were ‘consecrated to serve’ (44). We look beyond them to Christ who ‘came… to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45). He dwells among us (45; John 1:14). He has provided for us a ‘better’ redemption than the redemption of Israel from Egypt – He is ‘much more excellent’ (46; Hebrews 8:6; 9:23-24).
30:1-38 – The Word of God (‘the testimony’) declares the mercy of God, leading to our meeting with God (6). We highlight several features of our worship: (a) ‘the blood of the sin offering of atonement’ (10) – This points to the ‘how much more’ sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for us (Hebrews 9:13-14); (b) ‘washing’ (18) – Christ ‘has washed us from our sins in His blood’ (Revelation 1:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-6); (c) ‘holy anointing oil’ (25) – We are to be ‘consecrated’, ‘most holy’, servants of the Lord, ‘making holiness perfect in the fear of God’, living in the power of the Holy Spirit (29-30; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Zechariah 4:6); (d) ‘incense’ (35) – We are to be ‘the aroma of Christ’, spreading His ‘fragrance’ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Christlike living is grounded in prayer (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4; Luke 18:1; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
31:1-32:14 – ‘Called’ by God and ‘filled’ with His Spirit (31:1-3), Bezalel had the support of Oholiab and ‘all able men’ (31:6). Few may be called and equipped to lead, but many are required for God’s work to be done – effectively (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). ‘All’ of us receive our strength from the ‘Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:11). We offer ourselves in service with this faith, ‘Jesus is Lord’. Faith is God’s gift: ‘no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’. There are many gifts. They are varied expressions of one gift – the faith which confesses that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). The people fell into idolatry and immorality (32:6): a ‘warning’ to us (1 Corinthians 10:6-12). We have God’s help – to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10: 13). Moses sets for us a godly example: he spent time with God, hearing His voice and prevailing in prayer (32:1,7-14).
32:15-33:23 – In Moses, we see the holiness and love of God: a deep hatred of sin (32:19), an intense longing for sinners to be forgiven (32). Filled with ‘the fear of the Lord’, Moses was fearless before men. God’s Word to sinners is clear: He warns them (Proverbs 29:1); He calls them to repent (Acts 2:38); He invites them to return to Him (Hosea 6:1). Moses’ faithful and fearless preaching emerged from his closeness to God: ‘The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’ (11). Moses prayed; God heard; God answered (33:17). Moses prayed for a revelation of God’s glory (33:18). God revealed Himself as the good God, the God of grace and mercy (33:19). Let us go up to God and bring down all that is needed to build the Body of Christ that God may take pleasure in it and that He may appear in His glory (Haggai 1:8).
34:1-35 – God gives His promise (33:19). God keeps His promise (5-7). The glory of Christ is revealed to those who are learning to love Him (John 14:21). We are not yet ready for the full glory (33:20). When Christ returns, ‘we shall see Him as He is’ (1 John 3:2). There is to be ‘no other god’ but the Lord (14). We are not to be squeezed into the world’s mould (Romans 12:2). ‘No molten gods’, ‘no graven image’ – We are to be remoulded by God, ‘conformed to the image of His Son’ (17; 20:4; Romans 12:2; 8:29). Moses’ face was shining – Other people noticed (29)! Let others see Christ in you. Never take pride in your own spirituality – ‘If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not know (the Lord) as he ought to know (Him)’ (1 Corinthians 8:2). Keep your eyes on Jesus. The glory comes from Him. No glory for me – All glory to Him (2 Corinthians 3:18)!
35:1-36:7 – The work of God is shared by many different people with many different gifts. The work is done according to (a) the Lord’s command (35:1,4,10; 36:1,5); (b) heartfelt obedience (21; 36:3,5-7); (c) the God-given abilities (24-25; 36:2,4,8). There is something for ‘everyone’ to do – everyone ‘whose heart is stirred whose spirit is moved’ (21). Many gifts are needed (31-35). Underlying them all, there is this: ‘filled with the Spirit of God’ (31). In God’s work, there is to be ‘full’ obedience. When we are fully obedient, there will be ‘an overflowing blessing’ (Malachi 3:10). ‘The people bring much more than enough…’. There ‘was sufficient to do all the work, and more’ (36:5,7). God is ready to bless. Are we ready to obey? ‘If my people… I will…’(2 Chronicles 7:14). ‘Always abounding in the work of the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 15:58)!
36:8-38 – Moses may have been the leader among God’s people, but he could not do all the work by himself! Two of his helpers – Bezalel and Oholiab – are named (1-2). Most – ‘all the able men’ – remain anonymous (8). Anonymous yet indispensable – Without them, the work of God would have been left undone! To those who are full of their own importance, God says, ‘No-one is indispensable. I will find someone else to do My work’. To those who, without fuss, get on with doing His work, God says, ‘You are my servants, through whom My work will make good progress’. Building Christ’s Church is a long process, involving suffering and disappointments as well as hard-fought victories. In so many ways, the tabernacle pointed to Christ: ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). May God help us to lead many people to Christ!
37:1-29 – Pure gold (2,6,11,16-17,22-24, 26); Jesus Christ is ‘pure gold’. He is ‘God with us’. His body was broken for us. We feed on Him, the living Bread. His light is shining. He spreads the fragrance of His holiness, and the aroma of His love (Matthew 1:23; Luke 22:19; John 6:35; 8:12; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Read about the ark, the mercy seat, the table, the lampstand, the altar of incense, the holy anointing oil… Think of Christ: He is the ‘mercy seat of pure gold’ (6). ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious…’: In mercy, He withholds His judgment from us – He is ‘slow to anger’. In grace, He pours His blessing on us – He is ‘abounding in steadfast love’ (Psalm 103:8). We deserve judgment. We receive salvation. Why? Christ took our judgment that we might receive His salvation. This is the Gospel – and it is ‘pure gold’!
38:1-31 – We read, in verse 8, of ‘the ministering women…’. See also 35:25-26,29 – ‘all women … all the women… All the men and women…’. Male and female – We need each other. We are ‘one in Christ Jesus’. In Him, ‘there is neither male nor female’ (Galatians 3:28). There should never be a competitive spirit. We are to complement each other. In verse 25, we read of ‘the silver from those of the congregation’. God’s work does not depend entirely on those who have been called to be leaders. Each of us must play our part. There should be no pulling in different directions. We belong together. We are to work together. Let’s pull together, pooling our resources, pulling our weight. Among God’s people, there is ‘gold’ – but it must be ‘used for the work’ (24). Will you be worth your weight in gold – for God?
39:1-43 – ‘As the Lord had commanded…’ (1,5,7,21,26,29,31-32,42-43): Obedience to God – this is the most important thing. ‘And Moses blessed them’ (43): Where there is obedience, there is blessing – there’s a vital connection between the two. In Jesus, we see perfect obedience: ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work’ (John 4:34). Jesus was fully obedient to the Father’s will: ‘He became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross’ (Philippians 2:8). Through His obedience, there is blessing for us: ‘by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous’ (Romans 5:19). We look beyond the Old Testament priesthood to Christ, the ‘High Priest of the good things that have come’ – By ‘His own blood’, He has secured for us ‘an eternal redemption’ (Hebrews 9:11-12).
40:1-38 – Here, we highlight three lessons: (a) The work of God begins with the Word of God: ‘The Lord said to Moses…’ (1). Before we can do anything for God, we must be taught by God. (b) The work of God must proceed in the way of God: ‘Thus did Moses; according to all that the Lord commanded him, so he did’ (16). If we are to accomplish anything for God, we must do God’s work in God’s way. (c) The work of God must lead to the worship of God: ‘The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle’ (34). If we are really seeking to work for God, we must seek to give Him the glory for all that is accomplished. Making these our priorities – the Word, way and worship of God – , we will look for ‘the cloud and fire’, the presence and power of God among us: He will be our Guide ‘throughout all our journeys’ (38).