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.”

Unveiled Glory and Unguarded Giving

May 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Exodus, II Corinthians | 5 Comments
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God’s people in Canaan would not just be different for the sake of being different. Having different laws, different clothes, different habits and customs, different worship, and being monotheistic, they would stand out as being a people who worshiped an unseen God rather than visible idols. They would also be a people with a God Whose reputation was mighty.

And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

Exodus 34:10

The Lord reinstituted the covenant they had broken. His people would have the comfort and joy and privilege of seeing Him do things that were unlike anything that had been seen before, but the pagans would see, too, and it would be evidence that the God worshiped by the Israelites was the real God. It would also be evidence to show that those who worshiped Him would be blessed.

I previously discussed Moses’s glowing face, and the veil which he wore to shield it from the people so they could come near him.

And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.

Exodus 34:33

The other reason for this veil was that it would serve for an illustration in the New Testament.

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

II Corinthians 3:7

“The ministration of death” means that death comes upon all who sin, and the Law was given to show us our sin. It was written and engraved on stones, and it was glorious. It revealed the nature of God, but the Law’s glory had a built-in expiration date. It faded away, just as eventually the light of Moses’s countenance began to fade after his encounters with God.

How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

II Corinthians 3:8

The stone-engraved law was glorious, but the ministry of the Holy Spirit Himself is greater.

For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

II Corinthians 3:9

The Law showed the problem, but it didn’t offer a solution. It condemned for lack of righteousness, but it could not reproduce its own righteousness in fallen human beings.

For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

II Corinthians 3:10

So great is the glory of Christ-imputed righteousness that it makes the brilliant glory of the Law seem dim.

For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

II Corinthians 3:11

This glory was always there, but it is now more fully given.

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

II Corinthians 3:12

A veil over a person’s face obscures his words when he speaks.

And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

II Corinthians 3:13

The people could see their need for righteousness, but the Savior Who would abolish the Law through its fulfillment was shadowy – not yet fully visible.

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

II Corinthians 3:14

Most of the Jewish people in the Apostle Paul’s day still wanted the veil of Moses in place. If the better-than-Moses wouldn’t wear a veil, they wanted it over their own eyes instead of His face.

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

II Corinthians 3:15-16

Jesus will – and He must if we are to see truth – come rip away the veil for those who admit their sin and their need for the Savior and call upon Him.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

II Corinthians 3:17-18

The change from Law to Gospel was glorious. It was a change from lesser to greater glory, but there are higher gradations (“from glory to glory”) yet to come in your sanctification, if you are in Christ Jesus.

In Exodus 35 there is a repetition of the commandments and instructions concerning construction of the Tabernacle and its furnishings that had been stated before, and the account of their fulfillment.

And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass,

Exodus 35:4-5

And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD.

Exodus 35:20-22

The people had given their possessions willingly to be used in their idolatry, but now they gave even more willingly in true worship. Their preparation for worship was in itself an act of worship. Think of what you spend willingly on, and think about what it would be like to spend just as joyfully on the work of the Lord. Let’s pray that we don’t have to drink our defiled possessions and suffer a plague or some severe chastening before we recognize the peace of joyful giving.

The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses. 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 35:29-31

The True Consecration

August 27, 2015 at 11:33 am | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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The consecration ceremony for the Levitical priests lasted seven days.

And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.

Exodus 29:35

And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.

Exodus 30:7-9

The burning of the incense represents prayer, and many Christians have adopted the discipline of dedicated prayer times in the morning and the evening, although we can, and should, certainly pray throughout the day, as we are no longer separated from God by priests or a veil or the external requirement of burning incense. As New Testament Christians we meet with God in prayer – open communication – in Christ our High Priest Who has torn the veil and brought us into the Most Holy Place.

Hebrews Chapter 9 reveals to us that the Tabernacle furnishings and practices were meant to be temporary, and were earthly symbols of the Heavenly reality. Christ accomplished the fulfillment of the temporary types by being a “better:”
-Moses
-Covenant
-Tabernacle
-Priest
-High Priest
-Laver
-Lampstand
-Sacrifice
-Holy Place
-Most Holy Place
-Promise (Under the Old Covenant God visited His people here on earth, but under the New Covenant He also brings us to Himself in Heaven.)
-Destination (No longer merely Canaan, but a place of true spiritual rest where we will experience the peace and joy and fulfillment of what we were really meant to be.)

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

Exodus 31:13-14

The consecration of the New Covenant is Christ’s Own blood on the real mercy seat, where He applied His shed blood once for all on the Law of God – on the Justice of God – fulfilling it, satisfying it. Is it any wonder that cherubim are pictured staring with awe over the mercy seat atop the Ark of the Covenant?

What grace and mercy to simply be set free from Egypt and left to wander! But no, even better! To be sent with directions to a fertile land of their own! But no, even better still! To be made like angels, the servants of a kind master! But no, better yet still! We are to be ever in the arms and gracious love of God Almighty Himself – His blood-bought children!

Stop thinking of yourself as lucky or proud or deserving or an object of pity or obscurity. Let’s think of ourselves as those who know the true God, and who know why He made us and for what He made us.


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