Scripture Read: Exodus 40
Title: The tabernacle is constructed
(H) Highlight verse: "Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." Ex. 40:34
(E) Explain: All of the materials have been crafted for the tabernacle and the contents that go inside. God gave specific directions for Moses to erect the tabernacle on the first day of the first month. Moses was obedient and did all the LORD had commanded him. Once the tabernacle was complete a cloud covers the tent. This cloud and fire represents the presence and the glory of the LORD. If the cloud would move, then the people would follow the cloud by day. If the cloud stayed, then the people would stay. The cloud would guide by day and the fire by night. Since the cloud and fire represented the presence of guide, we see that as the Israelites traveled in the wilderness they depended on the guidance of God pertaining to where they should reside or journey to.
(A) Application: Unfortunately, we do not have a physical and visible cloud or fire in our lives to give us direction. However, we do have something greater and that is the Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus we no longer need to have physical signs and wonders to guide us through life, because now we have his Spirit residing in us. We depend on the Spirit in us to give us direction in life, to convict us of sin, and give us wisdom in our faith journeys. I know there are days that I wish I had the physical presence of God guiding me, because my faith can be weak at times, but I know his presence is with me and I need to be in communication with Him as I seek to walk in His ways throughout my life. I am constantly assured and reminded that just because I can't see God, does not mean He is not with me. He is ALWAYS with me and He is always with you.
(R) Respond: As I walk through life Lord, may I seek your guidance? May I depend on your Spirit to point me in your ways? God strengthen my faith when it is weak, and help me to ALWAYS know you are with me, even when I don't see you.
Scripture Read: Exodus 34 - 36:1
Title: Moses' face shines after being in the presence of the LORD
(H) Highlight verse: "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God." Ex. 34:29
(E) Explain: Earlier when Moses came upon the Israelites worshiping the golden calf he destroyed the stone tablets containing the law on them that God wrote for them. Because of God's enduring love, grace and mercy he calls Moses back up to the mountain to give to him the law once again. When Moses meets with God, He makes a covenant with Moses and this covenant speaks of the mighty works He will do for the people of Israel.
When God finished giving Moses instructions, he went down the mountain and he was unaware that his face was shining brightly. He face shone because he was in the presence of God. Apparently is was so bright, Moses had to put a veil over his face.
Once he came to the people Moses re-iterated the Sabbath instructions and made a call to the people to make donations of gold, silver, fabrics, etc. for the tabernacle. He also called for skilled craftsmen to make all the items God told Moses to have made for the tabernacle. God commissions Bezalel and Oholiab to oversee the craftsmen.
(A) Application: The bright shining face of Moses was evidence that he was in the presence of God. Moses could not hide the fact that he was with God. This truth really resonates with me and I think teaches us a truth about God. This truth is, when you are walking and talking with God, the evidence will be crystal clear. I have often said and I firmly believe that whenever someone encounters God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit he will never be the same. When you meet with God your life is changed forever. When you encounter God you will treat people differently, you will speak differently, you will live your life differently than the rest of the world. Your actions and deeds will be evidence of your encounter with God. Now, I can't guarantee that your face will shine so bright you will need to wear a veil over your face, but I think ultimately your face will be a reflection of an encounter with God. You will have a look of joy, peace, happiness, contentment and love that will be evident to those around you.
(R) Respond: LORD, may my actions, words and deeds reflect your presence in my life May people see the joy of the LORD in me and may my face shine brightly your peace, joy, love, happiness and contentment and may it be contagious.
Scripture Read: Exodus 32 - 33
Title: Israel worships a golden calf
(H) Highlight verse: "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." Ex. 32:1b
(E) Explain: While Moses is up on Mount Sinai receiving instructions from God the Israelites grew restless and demand that Aaron make an image of the god who delivered them from Egypt. Moses, apparently was gone for a while and probably thought he had either abandoned them or died. Their need for an image of a god drove them to commit one of the greatest sins the nation of Israel has ever seen.
Aaron listened to the people and fashioned a golden calf that was made from gold earrings of the people. Once the golden calf was completed the people worshiped this idol and attributed it as the god who delivered them from Egypt. Aaron also built an altar and proclaimed the next day as a feast to the LORD.
God tells Moses to go down the mountain and because the people have turned to idolatry. God's anger burned hot and He declared that He was going to destroy the Israelite people. Moses interceded for the nation and God relented.
Mose came down the mountain and rebuked the people. He called them to repentance and God punished the people. The following day Moses went back up the mountain to make atonement for the sins of the people.
(A) Application: What is an idol? I believe an idol is anything that is placed in higher reverence that God. This could include money, possessions, relationships, power, religion, sacred relics, etc. Whenever we place anything above God in our lives, that thing becomes an idol. The people of Israel were obviously religious people. They had seen the power of God first-hand. they were recipients of his divine provisions. They were declared to be His people. The problem for them was, they had never seen God and they had the inclination to give God a face and body. In the process they attribute to this idol the power that did not belong to it. They gave their allegiance to an object that had no power and this was idolatry. God is a jealous God. He does not share the spotlight with others. He alone deserves our worship and praise. Let us be careful as to what we allow to have precedence in our lives. Idols are not always as blatant as being a statue or object, often times the idols we have in our lives are more subtle. What idols do you have in your life that you need to deal with?
(R) Respond: Ask God to check your heart today. Have you placed anything or anyone over him in your life? Allow him to examine and convict you as you allow him to search your heart for any idolatrous inclinations
Scripture Read: Exodus 30 - 31
Title: The Importance of Rest
(H) Highlight verse: "It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed." Ex. 31:17
(E) Explain: The people of Israel were commanded to take a Sabbath day, and this day shall be observed above all the days. The Sabbath was created to show people throughout the generations that God has set Israel apart from all nations. The Sabbath was a holy day and was designed to be a day of rest and no work should be done on this day. God gave strict and specific instructions to the people of Israel that they must keep. Disobedience resulted in death. Rest was very important, so much so that even God rested and was refreshed on the seventh day.
(A) Application: Rest is something that I have great difficulty doing. I think many Americans struggle with getting the proper rest that they need to refresh themselves. Some think that if you take the time to rest or relax that you are being lazy and unproductive. This couldn't be further fro the truth. I actually believe that in order to be productive in life that rest must be a key component. I do believe rest is very important since God gave us the command to rest. Rest may come hard for me, but I know it is important. If God, the Creator of ALL things, needed to take a break to refresh, then I am certain I must rest from the menial, earthly toils and struggles i face everyday.
(R) Respond: LORD, help me to rest. Help me to understand that you have given me the gift of rest and I need to utilize this gift more often. Help me to step back from everyday life and learn to rest in you.
Scripture Read: Exodus 28 - 29
Title: Instructions on making the garments of the priests and consecrating the priests.
(H) Highlight verse: "And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother for glory and beauty." Ex. 28:2
(E) Explain: We are at the place where many people start dropping off like flies when reading through the Bible. This and the next few chapters are filled with specific details instructions on creating various items for the Tabernacle and for worship.
In today's passage we read the instructions on how to make Aaron (Moses' brother) the High Priest's garments. At first reading this whole process can be monotonous and boring. However, when I read this a little deeper I see there is a lot of significance to the details of this priestly garb. The stones on the shoulder with the names of the sons of Israel as a sign of remembrance. The breastpiece of judgment shows that Aaron will bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart regularly. The robe with the bell and pomegranates shall be on Aaron when he ministers in the Most Holy Place so that the people outside will know that he is still alive in the presence of the LORD. The turban is a sign of of consecration of holy things before God.
All of these details show two things... 1. The matter of worshiping God is a serious thing. He is not to be approached casually or irreverently. He is to be approached by the one who is consecrated by Him and as a representative of the people to God. 2. God wants and deserves the best in worship. He doesn't want the left overs or the useless things. He wants and deserves the best.
(A) Application: Today, we approach and worship God very differently than the Israelites of old. This is both good and bad. It is good because we no longer need someone else to go before God to represent us, we can go before Him on our own and because of Jesus Christ. We don't have to keep all these specific rules and dress in order to worship Him. I see this as a beautiful gift.
I do believe though, that in our casual worship and approach to God does causes us to forget about the true holiness of God. Personally, I would like to be more reverent in my worship with God. I sometimes take for granted the grace and mercy of God and I fail to approach a holy God in awe and in reverence.
I think we need to approach God in a balanced way. We need to know that we have access to Him any time of the day. We don't need to dress a certain way or have someone go before God for us. However, we also need to be reminded of God's holiness and we should enter our time of worship with him in awe, reverence and a good perspective on who He is.
(R) Respond: Thank you that the only advocate I need to enter into worship with you God is Jesus. Thank you that you do not require me to dress a specific way or worship in a certain way, you want me to worship with a pure heart and reverent spirit. Help me to do this daily.
Scripture Read: Exodus 26 - 27
Title: God Gives Instructions for the Tabernacle
(H) Highlight verse: "And you shall hang the veil from the clasps, and bring the ark of the testimony in there within the veil. And the veil shall separate for you the Holy Place from the Most Holy." Ex. 26:33
(E) Explain: In this passage Moses receives instructions on how to build and erect the Tabernacle from God. The Tabernacle served as God's dwelling place among the Israelites. In the previous chapter God tells Moses very specifically to make an ark with a mercy seat on top. God informs him that He will meet with His people from above the mercy seat. This ark was important for worship and meeting with God.
In chapter 27 God gives detailed instructions in how to build the Tabernacle. God details specifically the material they should use all the way down to how the rings and clasps should be made. God certainly is in the the details.
God speaks of making a room in the Tabernacle called the Most Holy Place. This room was where the ark would be placed. This room came to represent the physical dwelling place of God. It was a curtained off area. It was an area designated only for specific people and priests. This curtain separated God from the people. His holiness was so vast that He needed to be separate from people.
(A) Application: God's holiness is so vast that we cannot even fathom. I think sometimes we forget or don't realize how privileged we are as followers of Jesus the post-resurrection age. Before Jesus, access to God was limited to the High Priest in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle or Temple. God could not be approached casually. In the 6th century B.C. the ark of the covenant was lost and the physical presence of God no longer dwelt in the Temple. However the Most Holy Place remained and Nobody could enter the room casually either. The point that, should be made is that before the death of Jesus God was separated from His people. The Most Holy Place was not approachable by "ordinary people." However, we read that after Jesus died on the cross in the Gospel of Mark 15:38 says, "And the curtain of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." This tearing of the curtain signifies that through Jesus God is no longer separate from His children. Through Jesus we may, BOLDLY, approach the Throne of God and worship without restraint. Jesus gave us access to the Most Holy Place. We are indeed privileged.
(R) Respond: Thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you that through His death the curtain was torn and we now have access to the Most Holy God. We no longer need to perform rituals or services to worship you, we now have the freedom to approach You in the boldness and confidence of Jesus Christ.
However, may I never the Throne of Grace casually or irreverently. You are still holy and your presence will not be profaned.
Scripture Read: Exodus 24 - 25
Title: God and Israel Confirm Their Covenant
(H) Highlight verse: "Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel." Ex. 24 - 25
(E) Explain: Moses is told to come alone and receive the Word of God. The people were explicitly told not to go with him. Moses then gives the instructions of the LORD to the people and they with one voice agreed to be obedient. Moses wrote down the instructions and built an altar and confirmed the covenant between God and His people by throwing blood on the altar and then throwing it on the people. This was done as a sign of the covenant the LORD made with Israel. Moses, his brother Aaron and his two sons plus seventy elders all saw the God of Israel and after seeing him they ate and drank. Moses is then called up to the top of Sinai and he dwelt on the mountain for forty days as he received instructions from the LORD concerning the building of the Tabernacle and the contents of the Tabernacle that are designed to worship God.
(A) Application: What an awesome thing to be able to see God. Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders all saw God and lived to tell about it. I wonder if they knew the privilege they had of being in the physical presence of the LORD? This reminds me that today, we have this privilege to enter the dwelling place of God and meet with Him all because of Jesus. God spent forty day giving Moses detailed instructions on how, where and when to worship Him. The Tabernacle was designed to be a dwelling place for God and a sign of God being with His people. This Tabernacle will travel with the Israelites through the wilderness until they make their home in the Promised Land. The Tabernacle was essential for worship. But for us today, we no longer need a Tabernacle or specific and detailed rules on how, when and where to worship God. Because of Jesus we can worship God anywhere, anytime and anyway that may draw us near to Him. God no longer needs a Tabernacle to dwell in, because He know abides in His people through His Spirit.
(R) Respond: Thank God for Jesus. Help me to never take for granted your presence in my life. We are fortunate to
Scripture Read: Exodus 19 -20
Title: God Meets Moses on Mt. Sinai
(H) Highlight verse: "Now, therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession amidst all people, for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Ex. 19:5 - 6a
(E) Explain: The Israelites have spent some time wandering in the desert and now they come to the foot of Mt. Sinai. It is here where God calls Moses up to him and speaks and begins to give him rules or commandments that Israel is called to agree to and keep. God makes a conditional promise to Moses, He says that if the Israelites will be faithful in keeping God's covenant and obey His voice, then He will make this nation his treasured possession.
Moses ascends to the top of the mountain to meet God and receive the Ten Commandments.
(A) Application: We often hear about God's unconditional love. This means that God loves us without conditions. I believe this to be true. However, our relationship with God is not unconditional. We sometimes mix up God's unconditional love and think this means we have God's commands. We are not free to live as we please, and we cannot live our lives without conditions. In the Bible God often says something like this, "If you do this, I will do that." This is a conditional promise. God calls us to be obedient to His voice and to His commands. You and I are commissioned to pursue holiness daily, not so God will love us more, but because we love him and want to receive His blessings abundantly.
Yes, I believe God loves you unconditionally; rejoice in this, and celebrate this truth, but seek to live your life as a blessing to God and you will experience his abundant blessings in your life.
(R) Respond: God, I thank you for your commands. I pray that I will be obedient to both your commands and your voice. May I constantly be reminded of your promises and that I will will daily pursue holiness as I seek to live a life that is pleasing to you.
Scripture Read: Exodus 16 - 17
Title: The LORD provides
(H) Highlight verse: "I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.""" Ex. 16:12
(E) Explain: It doesn't take long for the Israelites to start complaining again. As they were moving along in the wilderness they started complaining that they had no food. This was a legitimate concern, but I think it is put in this account to show that the people did not trust God to provide for them. They began to remember how they had plenty of food in Egypt (meat pots and endless supply of bread) and they forgot about how poorly they were treated by the Egyptians.
Moses, addresses their complaints and brings them before God. As always God provides. God provides plenty of meat (quail) during the evening and a bread like substance that they called manna in the morning. God gave specific instructions as to how they are to gather the manna and He expected the people to follow these rules. For forty years the people of Israel ate manna for food.
As the people journeyed again they came to a place where there was no water. Once again the people complained and once again Moses went to the LORD and once again the LORD provided water, from out of a rock no less.
(A) Application: There is a lesson to be learned in today's passages that should be blatantly obvious... God takes care of our needs. No matter how much we bellyache, or complain God knows our needs and He provides. So often I catch myself complaining, worrying or grumbling against God because I feel like He has left me to fend for myself on a certain issue, but EVERY SINGLE TIME God provides. Sometimes He provides in a conventional way, other times he provides in unconventional ways and sometimes He provides in abundance. Sometimes I think it will take me a lifetime to fully understand and believe that God knows my needs and He will always provide according to His will.
(R) Respond: LORD, I grumble, complain and worry often. Help me to believe and trust that you will always meet my needs, no matter what. You have never let me down and you won't ever let me down.
Scripture Read: Exodus 13:- 14
Title: Crossing of the Red Sea
(H) Highlight verse: "Fear not, stand firm , and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you only have to be silent."" Ex. 14:13 - 14
(E) Explain: The people of Israel have now been liberated. They are fleeing to the wilderness. Interestingly, God does not lead them by the most convenient or easiest way, which would be through the land of the Philistines, but he leads them in the opposite direction. This other direction entails a massive sea that they must cross, but God has a plan and He does not want to make the journey back to Egypt easy. If there is a large sea between you and the land of Egypt, it makes it more difficult to go back.
God's plan was perfect. He sent them away and then we read that Pharaoh's heart is hardened again. He pursues the people of Israel with a large army. As the army approaches the people of Israel begin to complain and panic, for they see this body of water before them. Moses assures the people that they need to trust God. He brought them to this place and He will deliver them. It is at this moment that Moses tells the people that this is God's battle, He will do the fighting and the people just need to be silent and allow Him to fight.
The people see the power of God displayed as he parts the Red Sea so the people can cross to the other side. They also see God's power as he allows the waters to recede and engulf the Egyptian army. This display of power resulted in the people fearing the LORD and strengthened their faith in God and their they trusted Moses as their leader.
(A) Application: The crossing of the Red Sea is probably one of the best known biblical stories. The story is great fodder for and exciting read and major motion picture. So, I am not going to spend time recounting the whole event. Instead I want to highlight verse 14 "The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."
Often God calls us to action so that He may be glorified and our faith can be enhanced. However, there are a few times in the Bible where God basically says, "Step aside and be quiet. This is my fight, I don't need your assistance on this one." Actually I think God says this to us more often than we like to acknowledge. You see, often we see things happening that we don't like or we think is wrong. We want to engage in the battle for righteousness and God's sake, and we often don't hear God saying, "This is my battle, I got this." We want to fight and be noble, but God wants us to step aside and be silent.
This reminds of a child who wants to be helpful to his parents, and often the parent will give the child a trivial or minor duty so the child feels like he is helping. There are times though, when the parent is working on something that is dangerous and needs to say to the child, "I need you to step back because I don't want you to get hurt. I got this. I appreciate the help, but please step aside." This is how I image God during the panic at the Red Sea. This can be a constant reminder that if we are following God as He leads us, we need to trust that there will be times when we need to be silent and let God do the fighting, and He ALWAYS wins.
(R) Respond: LORD, help me to trust you in the midst of turmoil and conflict. May I know when the right time us to step aside and let you fight the battle and when you need me to be available to you. You are a big God and you are more than capable of fighting your battles.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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