Command-Fulfillment Pattern

June 28, 2016 at 11:04 am | Posted in Exodus | 5 Comments
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The repetition in Exodus 35-38 is an example of the “command-fulfillment” pattern. The Holy Spirit could have inspired Moses to write, “They did everything the LORD told them to do” or “and so it was done,” but, instead, He restates the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle. This command-fulfillment pattern was also used in the description by God to Moses of what would happen in Egypt with the plagues, and then the recitation of the fulfillment of it exactly as He said.

One reason for the use of the command-fulfillment pattern was to illustrate externally what was happening internally. The commandment against coveting, for example, is difficult to document and verify, but the command to sew a scarlet and blue and gold curtain was not. Therefore, the pattern demonstrates a verification of the people’s obedience.

Another reason was that this would be a teaching tool for the priests to use later in instructing future generations of priests and people in how to worship Yahweh. It is intended for learning by repetition.

A third reason is that it would remind people that worship of God is supposed to be sacrificial, not “easy” – especially with them going into a land where an idol would be hanging from every tree and standing in every field. It would serve as a safeguard against lazy idolatry by reminding the people that the real God deserves attention and sacrifice.

A fourth reason was that preparing to worship is itself worship. This would be a good reminder that everything is an act of worship.

A fifth reason was that God graciously allows willing participation. The structure of the commands told them they needed to “think” and “act” in obedience. This would teach the people to obey God in what He has specifically said, but to also use their brains and their backs to honor Him with the freedom He allows. Free obedience seems contradictory, but it is really a beautiful paradox found only in true worship of the true God.

Sixth, spotting minor changes between the commands and the fulfillment reminds us not to “skim” – not to take for granted any passages of Scripture. Every jot and tittle is important to God. It also teaches us the importance of how, as children of God, we are to exercise precision in how we speak. For example, Christians shouldn’t say that they are “proud” of their kids. They shouldn’t “thank their lucky stars.”

All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.

Exodus 38:24

That’s between 2000 and 2200 pounds of gold.

And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.

Exodus 38:25-26

That’s about 7545 pounds of silver.

After they finished all the furnishings and the priests’ garments, they brought everything to Moses to inspect:

Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they. And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his furniture, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets,

Exodus 39:32-33

And he did inspect it thoroughly:

According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.

Exodus 39:42-43

The idea is not that Moses gave a cursory look-see. Remember, he had seen these things in a vision in the glory cloud on Mt. Sinai. He knew how God wanted them to look and function, and he did a very careful and thorough inspection. It is noteworthy that such a project was accomplished, but it is truly remarkable that it was done “as the LORD had commanded.”

Now it needed to be set up.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.

Exodus 40:1-2

Up to Spec

June 8, 2016 at 10:46 am | Posted in Common Expressions, Exodus | 4 Comments
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And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;

Exodus 35:30-31

After the people had given abundantly towards the materials to be used in constructing the Tabernacle, the Lord “super-charged” Bezalel’s already-existing (and already God-given) talents. There are some things at which you are naturally very skilled, but the Lord can make you even better at them once they are consecrated to His service.

And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made; And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.

Exodus 36:4-7

Moses gave a commandment saying don’t bring any more stuff, rather than telling the people to just keep building or making it more elaborate, because what had been given was to be used for a specific work which the Lord had commanded to be done in a very specific way (“up to spec” or “to certain specifications,” we might say).

And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make.

Exodus 36:5

God wouldn’t be impressed with their ideas. He would be pleased with obedience.

And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it: And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about.

Exodus 37:1-2

The command to build the Ark had come earlier in the description of what to build (Exodus 25:10-15), but the actual building of it came much later in the order of construction. This was so that the Ark – the holiest of all the Tabernacle furnishings – wouldn’t be left lying out in the open for everyone to gaze upon. The curtains of the inner sanctum – the Holy of Holies – and even the curtains in which it was to be wrapped for traveling – needed to be manufactured first to protect and shield it.

And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Exodus 38:8

The laver was for purifying and washing. It was to be made of brass (most likely an alloy of tin and copper in those days, probably the purest brass they had). This brass would have come from their mirrors. As a father of four daughters, this is one of the ways I know that the Israelite people were really excited and willing about obeying and giving: The women gave up their mirrors! Seriously, though, it does make a good object lesson. They got their eyes off themselves and onto God. There’s a reason why they call a mirror you can sit down in front of a “vanity.”


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