Torah: Exodus 38:21–40:38
PROPHETS: 1 Kings 7:51–8:21
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Hebrews 8:1–13
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Just as a CEO can call for an audit of his company’s finances, Moses calls for an audit of all materials given as a t’rumah (offering) from the Israelites to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle). This accounting of materials is led by Aaron’s fourth son, Ithamar (cf. 6:23).
There is over a ton of gold (v. 24), a little over 3 ¾ tons of silver (vv. 25–28), and about 2 ½ tons of bronze (vv. 29–31) from which the Tabernacle will be built.
The colored materials will be used to make the holy garments.
Pay close attention to the phrase: “as the Lord [had] commanded Moses.” Highlight this phrase, since it serves to punctuate exacting obedience as a type of re-creation in the process of re-demption!
Chapter 28 provided the instructions for making priestly garments that are now carried out here in Chapter 39.
The ephod along with its onyx–stoned shoulder pieces are made first.
Next, the multi–stoned breastpiece is made exactly as God commanded Moses.
Through God’s exacting instructions and Israel’s exacting obedience, Moses is leading the way to make intimate relationship with God possible. As Messiah’s own, you are now a priest of God Most High (cf. Revelation 1:6; 5:10) with access to Him even now (cf. Ephesians 3:12)! Draw near to Him now and He will draw near to you (James 4:8)! If sitting quietly at His feet (through prayer before His word) is difficult for you, seek creative ways to carve out time to spend with your Redeemer (cf. Luke 10:39 and 42)!
Torah 3 & 4
Finishing the Vestments
While Moses is the leader, Bezalel is the one who ensures exacting obedience to God’s commands (cf. 38:22). He makes Aaron’s robe (vv. 22–26) the tunic, turban and sash for Aaron and his sons (vv. 27–29), and the golden frontlet to be placed on Aaron’s turban (vv. 30–31).
Verse 32 records Israel’s exacting obedience, though in Hebrew the phrase is slightly different that the one mentioned in yesterday’s reading. How many times did you identify the exact phrase: “as the Lord [had] commanded Moses”? How many times does God speak creation into being—including the day when “rest” reigns (cf. Genesis 2:2)? How does Moses’ exacting obedience in making holy garments for Israel’s priestly representative overcome barred access to God after Eden’s exile?
All Parts Complete
After the audit comes the inspection. The people bring all the constructed parts of the Tabernacle, all the holy furniture and all the holy garments before Moses to inspect. Moses must do the inspection because only he was shown the heavenly pattern to be reflected on earth (cf. Exodus 25:40 and Hebrews 8:5).
When Moses sees that they have done all that God has commanded, he blesses them. Moses’ blessing after the Tabernacle construction is like an echo of God’s proclamation, “it is good”, after His creation acts.
Have you ever played hopscotch? Each jump takes you further along in the game. Consider God’s acts of redemption after the Fall to be hopscotch “jumps.” How many of these “jumps” can you think of? Consider Noah’s Ark as being like the first big “jump” in that it housed a redeemed humanity being saved from a flood. Another “jump” occurred when waters threatened again, this time baby boys being drowned in Egypt. Here, God used another ark (same Hebrew word as Noah’s vessel) to save Israel’s leader and redeemer. Moses’ Ark (the word for this ark is different the previous two waterproof vessels) for the Mishkan is like another big “jump” in that it housed tablets of a redeeming covenant. This covenant’s “renewal” by Messiah opened the floodgates for Gentiles to fully “come in” without first becoming Jews. Furthermore, Messiah Yeshua’s priestly service on our behalf has triumphantly overcome barred access to God once and for all! Enjoy that access now by spending some quality time with Him. Set apart your day for “exacting obedience” to do what will bring God the most glory. What does “exacting obedience” look like in your daily routine today (cf. 2 John 6)?
torah 5 & 6
Order to Set Up
After the audit and inspection, Moses is given final instructions to erect (vv. 1–8) and anoint (vv. 9–11) the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and install the kohanim (priests, vv. 12–15).
As usual, Moses obeys. What was “conceived” on Mt. Sinai through revelation is now given “birth” exactly 9 months after arriving at the mountain (cf. 40:1, 17 and 19:1).
The Mishkan Raised
Moses now erects the Mishkan. Here again, watch for and count the number of times exacting obedience is punctuated by the same phrase: “as the Lord [had] commanded Moses.”
The Tent structure is erected (vv. 18–19) and then filled, just as a house is built and then furniture is moved in. The Most Holy Place is filled first (vv. 20–21) followed by the Holy Place’s Table with Bread (vv. 22–23), Menorah with light (vv. 24–25), and Golden Altar with incense (vv. 26–27).
Today’s reading focuses on the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting) whereas tomorrow’s reading focuses on the surrounding courtyard and the resulting revelation of God’s manifest Presence! Consider the implications for a house that has food on the table and a light on. Doesn’t it usually signal that someone is home? God’s dwelling place reflects this reality of God’s abiding presence. Consider the Table and Menorah within the Holy Place. What are some of the implications of Yeshua’s words in John 6:35 and 8:12.
torah 7 &
The Final Curtain
The Mishkan Tent entrance screen is erected which closes off the Ohel Moed in the center of the Mishkan.
Next the Bronze Altar for animal and grain offerings is set up (v. 29) along with the Bronze Laver for washing (vv. 30–32).
Finally, the courtyard is established by setting up the surrounding screens and this redeeming seven-step process of raising the Mishkan is complete (v. 33; each “step” punctuated by the phrase “as the Lord [had] commanded Moses.”
These “steps” of erecting the Mishkan mirror the seven-step process of making the priestly garments. Each event further redeems the Fall by preparing a place for God to dwell amongst His creation in a unique way as well as by equipping a representative human to approach His holy Presence).
Ithamar’s audit accounted for the people’s gifts, and Moses’ inspection ensured that construction had conformed to God’s designs. Moses strictly follows all God’s instructions to erect and prepare the Mishkan and its priestly servants.
Now for my favorite part! God descends and His glory fills the Mishkan (v. 34)! Imagine the utter shock and awe of the people! What God does visibly in the Mishkan He does in the lives of His faithful followers! Though God’s indwelling of believers is permanent and complete, the visibility of this transformation is progressive (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18). How visible is your spiritual growth in your own eyes? How perceptible is it to those around you (cf. Matthew 5:16; 13:43)?
1 Kings 7:51–8:21
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 204:
“God’s Spirit punctuates the dedication of the first temple with the same dynamic witnessed at the dedication of the Mishkan. This time, the cloud fills the house, and the kohanim (priests) cannot stand to minister the service (1 Kings 8:10–11). Then, the k’vod ADONAI (glory of the LORD) fills the house of the LORD. This spectacular event is witnessed by all the people. Next, Shlomo (Solomon) thanks the LORD for fulfilling His word that David’s son would build a house and sit upon the throne (1 Kings 8:20). The concluding verse makes the interesting comment that Shlomo has ‘made a place for the ark containing the covenant of ADONAI’ (1 Kings 8:21). Long ago, Moshe once spread the curtains to make the tent, and then followed up by bringing the ark with the tablets into the Holy of Holies (Exodus 40:17, 19, cf. Exodus 26:33). Now Shlomo walks the same walk, with the same result! Read John 14:2–3, 23. Ultimately, the LORD Himself builds the house, but it is within the sanctuary of the human heart. What place does Yeshua prepare for His priests? What home does He make in the midst of believers?”
Priesthood in Heaven
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 205:
“Labeling the covenant as ‘old’ has led some to label Judaism as anachronistic. Actually, the content and aims of the ‘new’ covenant have not changed! The ‘new’ covenant is still made with the House of Yisra’el, not the church (Hebrews 8:8, 10); and its goal is still, ‘I will be their God, and they will be my people’ (Hebrews 8:10; Exodus 6:7). The first covenant had faults, because the people failed to stay wholehearted [faith-fully loving God, cf. Deuteronomy 6:5] in relating to God and God responded by withdrawing His Presence (Hebrews 8:7–9). The ‘crowning affirmation’ of the B’rit Chadashah (Hebrews 8:1) is Messiah’s entry into heaven as our Kohen Gadol. His entry provides believers with unlimited access to God’s holy Presence! To grant access, God says, ‘I will be merciful toward their wickednesses and remember their sins no more’ (Hebrews 8:12). He helps overcome weakness in the flesh of those being sanctified. Read Hebrews 8:12, Matthew 16:22. Peter said, ‘Heaven be merciful’ when he hears that Yeshua must die. For this plea, Yeshua calls him Satan! How does Peter’s plea for mercy contrast with God’s mercy to believers’ ‘wickedness?’”
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.