Torah: Exodus 25:1–27:19
PROPHETS: 1 Kings 5:12 [26 Heb]–6:13
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: 2 Corinthians 9:1–15
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Heartfelt Gifts To God (Ark)
God’s covenant invitation (19:4–6) culminates in a covenant ceremony (24:3–8) that forever seals and cements God’s covenant relationship with Israel as His firstborn nation among the nations of the world whom He is redeeming from the Fall. Since our relationship with God was disrupted by the Fall, God has been restoring that relationship by providing a way whereby His Presence moves from heavenly dwellings (cf. Psalm 33:13–14 and 1 Kings 8:27) back into earthly ones (Mt. Sinai: Exodus 24:16; Mishkan/Tabernacle: Exodus 40:34 and Leviticus 9:23–24; Temple: 1 Chronicles 7:1–3 and 1 Kings 8:10–11; God’s desire expressed: Ezekiel 37:26–27; with beginning fulfillment: 2 Corinthians 6:16–18; and final goal: Revelation 21:3). Probably during the 40 days and nights on Mount Sinai (24:18), God instructs Moses to call for t’rumah (offering, contribution, gift) for the purpose of building the first such “earthly dwelling,” the moveable Tabernacle.
According to 25:2, what motive does God require for the offerings to be acceptable (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:7)?
What light does 25:8 shed on God’s (loving and initiative taking pursuit of) relationship with us (cf. 1 John 4:10)? “Offerings” to God today are still called for to support the work of God’s loving pursuit of relationship with His people. How do you express and act on your commitment to this work (i.e. your time, talents, and treasure, etc.)? In Matthew 6:10, this work is described in terms of praying for this earth to be restored to its Eden-like, Kingdom-of-God reality.
The remainder of this portion involves instructions for building the Tabernacle and filling it with its holy furniture. The first pieces of furniture are the golden Ark (vv. 10–16)…
Enabling Relationship with God
(Kapporet & Cherubim; Table & Bread)
…with its “Mercy Seat” Cover (vv. 17–22, Kapporet) in the Most Holy Place and the golden Table in the adjoining Holy Place. These two chambers together make up the Mishkan (Tabernacle proper), which is the actual “tent” within the larger Tabernacle complex. Now, imagine a man sitting in a raised up chair with his feet planted on a footrest. God’s Ark, with its cherubim adorned Kapporet (covering), functions as a holy Throne (Psalm 80:1; 99:1) and earthly Footstool (1 Chronicles 28:2) connecting heaven and earth (cf. Jacob’s ladder, Yeshua, and now you!).
Read Exodus 25:9 and Hebrews 9:24. Where is the original Tabernacle from which Moses’ tabernacle is “patterned” and into which Yeshua entered to make atonement for us? How can fixing your eyes on this heavenly dwelling help you become a vessel of grace today while dwelling on the earth (Colossians 3:1–4)?
Torah 3 & 4
The Menorah Illuminates Holy Space
(Menorah & Four-Layer Tent Coverings)
Besides the Table with the Bread of Presence on it, the Holy Place also housed a pure-gold Menorah. This 7–branched candelabrum is different than the 9–branched one used to celebrate Hanukkah. This 7–branched Menorah has become the emblem of the modern state of Israel. Why do you think they chose this symbol representing divine light?
The Holy and Most Holy Place (comprising the actual “Tent of Meeting”) were covered by four tarp-like layers of materials, thus creating this “tent” in the middle of a larger courtyard complex. The four layers began with the lowest layer of linen (26:1–6), a 2nd layer of curtains made out of goat’s hair (vv. 7–13), followed by a 3rd layer of ram’s skins (v. 14a) and the outermost 4th layer of skin of an animal variously interpreted to be porpoise, dolphin or sea cow (v. 14b).
Read Hebrews 9:1–5. What piece of furniture is mentioned in Hebrews that is absent thus far in the Exodus instructions (cf. Exodus 35:15)? Read Luke 1:5–13. What meaning did this piece of furniture have for the priestly father of John the Immerser/Baptizer?
Golden Planks Frame Holy Space
(Gold Covered Wooden Boards & Bars)
The frame of this Tent of Meeting is constructed out of wooden planks: twenty planks standing upright on the north and south sides with eight planks on the western side, which made the back wall of the Most Holy Place. The eastern side is the entrance and thus there are no planks to block the way. There are two curtains/screens/veils that block the entrances into both the Holy and the Most Holy Places, but these are described in tomorrow’s reading.
Read Ephesians 5:8–14. How can you become like God’s “Menorah” today (cf. Matthew 5:14–16)?
torah 5 & 6
Veiled Access To God
(outer & inner curtains of Mishkan)
The Mishkan (Tabernacle proper) is only accessible to anointed priests, descendants from the Levitical household of Aaron. A priest would enter the Mishkan from the east and pass through the outer curtain (26:36–37) into the Holy Place. Moving on past the Table (on the right, north) and the Menorah (on the left, south) only the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) could go further, beyond the smoking altar of incense, and through parochet (vv. 31–35, inner curtain; cf. Matthew 27:51). Cherubim are woven onto the parochet (v. 31). Where do cherubim show up (cf. 26:1, 31) and how do cherubim limit access to God (Genesis 3:23–24) or enable such access (Exodus 25:18–22 & Numbers 7:89) for authorized approach of the Holy One of Israel?
Approaching God His Way (outer bronze altar of olah)
The “common” (non–Levitical) Israelite is allowed to approach the Presence of the Lord only as far as the “outer” altar made of bronze, used for animal sacrifices (27:1–8). Passing beyond this altar into the Holy Space beyond is forbidden except by the “holy” Levites (Numbers 8:6, 14–15, 19). Actually passing into the Mishkanis reserved only for the anointed priests from Aaron’s descendents. This “altar of burnt offering” located out in the Tabernacle courtyard is still designated “Most Holy” (29:36–37), despite its distance from the “inner chamber of the Mishkan.
Recognizing the various “levels” of holiness are vital to an accurate understanding of the nature of God’s holiness and how we, as unholy people, are set apart and purified so as to stand in His Presence and not fry! How can you “approach God’s throne” today according to Hebrews 4:14–16? Where do you desire most to “hang out” if you could choose? In front of a TV or movie screen…with friends or family…alone…or in the Holy Presence of God where there is fullness of joy (cf. Psalm 16:11; 84:10)? He has made a way for us to be with Him forever, and forever begins now! Draw near now in prayer and receive what He has for you today (cf. James 4:8).
torah 7 &
Tabernacle Courtyard Enclosed
To picture a scaled-down model of the Tabernacle complex, imagine a tennis court. Moving outward from the net, a serve in tennis only counts when it falls within one of the two squares enclosed by white tapelines. Continuing outward, beyond these two small squares is one large square enclosed in the back by the base line. Picture the place on each side of the net where all three squares touch. It would be in the middle of each half of the court. If this tennis court model represents the Tabernacle complex, the center of the net would be the entrance into the actual Mishkan, housing the Holy and Most Holy Places with all their furniture. The two center-spots in the middle of each half then represent the two “Most Holy” places. On the west side center-spot of the court would be the exact spot where the Ark of the Covenant rested in the heart of the Most Holy Place (covered by the 4 layer covering extending toward the “net”). This is the spot where God approaches man. The eastern side center-spot of the court would be the exact spot where the bronze altar resided for animal sacrifices. This is the spot where (common) man approaches God.
These Tabernacle instructions began in the Holy of Holies, and we have been working our way outward. Today we read about the outer perimeter of curtains that are about 7½ feet high enclosing about 11,250 square feet! Just as an Israelite would have entered the Tabernacle by coming into the courtyard and gazing upon the altar and the Tent of Meeting, so too why don’t you spend a moment now, after reading about the enclosed courtyard, looking back upon the increasingly holy Space where God established Himself among an unholy people. Read Hebrews 10:19–25 and apply God’s word to your faith-walk today.
1 Kings 5:12[26 Heb]–6:13
Quoted from Walk Exodus by J. Feinberg:
“Building a sanctuary dominates both the parashah and the Haftarah. In both instances, the purpose is the same: that God may dwell among His people. Most glaring is the contrast between the Lord’s way of receiving t’rumah (an elevation offering) from willing hearts and Solomon’s way of conscripting forced labor (1 Kings 5:13 [27 Heb]). Hertz [p. 336] observes that King Solomon’s ways finally tear the kingdom apart! The Lord’s words to Shlomo still ring true today: ‘…if you will live according to My regulations, follow My rulings and observe all My mitzvot [commandments, traditionally referred to as “good deeds”] and live by them, then I will establish with you My promise…I will live…among the people of Israel, and I will not abandon My people Israel’ (6:12–13)” (Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! 1999, p.132).
This “obedience” can only come as a result of saving faith and Holy Spirit empowerment. What “obedience of faith” (cf. Romans 1:5) is God calling you to, today? What “requirements” is He calling you to fulfill that His glory might become more real to you and more visible to others (cf. Romans 13:9–10)?
2 Corinthians 9:1–15
Quoted from Walk Exodus by J. Feinberg:
“Cheerful giving ‘overflows into the thanks that people give to God’ (v. 12). Not only are the needs of God’s people being met, but the gift multiplies the praises God receives when the recipients of such gifts return glory to God! Paul urges the Corinthians to give to the poor in Jerusalem, but not grudgingly or with compulsion (v. 7a). He reminds the Corinthians that their mere pledge to the Jerusalem Fund stirred up the poor of Macedonia to give generously and beyond their means (8:3–4). Indeed, the Macedonians gave more than money—they gave of themselves (8:5). Paul insists that the importance of generous giving is two–fold: God will supply the means (vv. 6–10; cf. Deuteronomy 8:7–10), and the results of generosity resound to the Glory of God (vv. 11–15). The humble person who exalts the Lord will be lifted up. The Septuagint [Greek translation of Hebrew Tanakh (TaNaKh is an acronym for Torah, N’v’im [Prophets], and Kh’tuvim [Writings] that collectively make up the Hebrew Bible, cf. Luke 24:44)] translates Proverbs 22:9a as, ‘God blesses a cheerful and giving man’ (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:7b). Explain how cheerful giving can stimulate others to glorify God. Relate cheerful giving to the concept of T’rumah” (Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! p. 133).
When we really “get” that God owns everything and we are merely the stewards of His stuff for a short time, our hearts are freed to give cheerfully. To whatever degree you give, how cheerful is it? What is God teaching you and how is God leading you in this important area of your faith-walk with Him? Why not try expanding your giving and turn your heart toward a God–honoring cheerfulness?
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.