“And He Assembled”
Torah: Exodus 35:1–38:20
PROPHETS: 1 Kings 7:13–26, 40–50
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Hebrews 9:1–10
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Where are we in the story of Exodus ? God delivers His people (Exodus 1–18) so He can enter into covenant relationship (Exodus 19–24). He then gives instructions to build a sanctuary so that His people can maintain intimate fellowship with Him dwelling in the midst of them (Exodus 25–31). The rebellion of the golden calf was sin that threatened this relationship thus requiring intercession (Exodus 32–34). Moses intercedes and God renews His covenant with Israel. Now, construction can begin on God’s sanctuary. Notice Exodus 35:1 where the community is gathered together before Moses and 35:20 where they withdraw from Moses. These two verses serve as “bookends” for Moses’ message. He gives instructions regarding the central issue of receiving an offering in order that they can build the Mishkan (Tabernacle; vv. 4–19).
As central as this is, there is yet a more primary purpose that Moses begins with in vv. 2–3. In one sense, Moses commands Shabbat observance to allow the people to rest during Tabernacle construction. In another sense, however, Sabbath rest is only possible through intimate relationship with God and God’s Tabernacle allows this relationship to develop.
How does Revelation 21:3–4 paint a picture of the Sabbath rest promised for God’s people among whom He dwells (cf. Hebrews 4:1–11)? Fix the eyes of your heart on this promised future! Revel in it and hope for it! God will make it more and more your reality today especially if you are downtrodden and losing heart (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:2)! What one verse in today’s reading describes the holy furniture of the Most Holy Place (cf. Numbers 4:4–6)? What three verses in today’s reading describe the furniture of the Holy Place (cf. Numbers 4:7–11)?
After the assembly is dispersed, only willing hearts return to give toward the building of God’s dwelling place (vv. 21, 22, 26, 29). God desires willing hearts today to give toward building His kingdom. This giving includes not only the money we give out of our dwindling checking accounts but also the time we give out of our busy schedules and the love we give out of our yielded hearts. Read Hebrews 12:2–3 and commit your day to following the One who gave everything for you!
Torah 3 & 4
Bezalel, along with Oholiab, are distinguished as master craftsmen who are Spirit-filled to build God’s dwelling place. Not only are they gifted to do the construction God’s way, but they are also gifted to teach others how to do it God’s way. As Messiah’s disciple, you are Spirit–filled not only to “be” His disciple but also to “make” disciples. Who has God put in your life that He wants you to invest in to help build up as a fellow–follower?
If you feel inadequate for the task of making disciples, learn a lesson from 36:2–7: God never calls for that which He does not also equip. In other words, He always provides what is needed to do that which He instructs us to do! Just as God moved His people to give an overabundance of materials to build His dwelling place, He will provide what you need to build up someone else in their faith as you step out with a willing heart!
Tabernacle construction now commences! You will no doubt notice significant repetition from the previous instructions God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Here the focus is a bit different. Earlier the instructions started with the furniture (Exodus 25:10ff) and then described the structure into which the furniture would go. Here, however, the order is reversed because the focus is on the actual construction. And who ever built furniture before building the house into which the furniture would go?
The first things made are the four “tarp–like” layers that cover the actual Tent of Meeting. The lowest layer constitutes the “roof” that the kohanimsee from inside the tent.
Over this cherubim–laden layer is the slightly larger layer made of goat’s hair.
The ram’s skin comes next follows lastly by the outer most layer providing waterproof protection.
During transport, each piece of holy furniture is individually wrapped in this waterproof layer of skin (cf. Numbers 4:5–15). All but one of the pieces of furniture inside the Tent of Meeting are wrapped in blue underneath a similar waterproof outer layer. From the passage in Numbers 4:5–15, which piece of furniture is wrapped in scarlet over the blue? Is there any connection between the blood–colored covering and the substance underneath (cf. John 6:48, 53)? What is the “shadow” and what is the “substance”?
torah 5 & 6
Now the Mishkan frame goes up. The gold-covered wooden planks stand roughly 15 feet high and about 2.75 feet wide, are lined with crossbars and are set into silver bases.
Separating the Holy from the Most Holy Place, the innermost curtain/veil/screen (called “parochet”) hangs from golden beams set in silver bases (cf. Matthew 27:51).
The outer–curtain hangs on golden beams set in bronze bases creating the “entrance” to the Tent of Meeting.
Once this “house” is built, now furniture construction begins: first for the Most Holy Place (vv. 1–9) and then for the Holy Place (vv. 10–28).
The anointing oil and fragrant incense are made next since they are used in the ministry under the Tent.
Do these details seem tedious? God’s heavenly abode reflects heavenly detail that God wants us to see and understand. Read Hebrews 9:1–14. What effect of God’s detailed plan of redemption is described in verses 9 and 14 (cf. Titus 1:15)? How can you walk in this conscience cleansing and soul sanctifying power today (cf. Philippians 4:8–9)?
torah 7 &
Once the Tent of Meeting is completed, the courtyard is filled with both the bronze altar (vv. 1–7) and the bronze laver (v. 8) and then finally enclosed (vv. 9–20).
“Outermost details for finishing the construction of the mishkan (dwelling) and the precincts of its courtyard are spelled out, right down to the very last bronze tent peg! The work of ministry can be mundane (a word Webster’s dictionary describes as ‘characterized by the practical, transitory, and ordinary: having no concern for the ideal of the heavenly,’ p. 557). Ironically, the exact opposite reality is transpiring, the driving of the final tent peg touches upon a dream of Abraham, who tented the perimeter of the Land and staked his claim in faith (Genesis 12:8; 13:3, 18: 18:1; Hebrews11:8–9). Now, the sons of Abraham are en route to the Land. The Lord has commanded construction of a celestial abode upon which He rests His very Presence, and the details of constructing this mishkan are fulfilled, right down to the very last bronze tent peg! The dream goes full circle!” (Feinberg, p. 185).
Just as Abraham believed God and obeyed Him, and just as Moses and his followers believed and obeyed God in constructing the Mishkan His way, what specifically is God calling you to obey through faith in your life? Pray about it, step out in faith, and watch God work wonderful things!
Finishing the Work
1 Kings 7:13–26, 40–50
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 186:
“Hiram finishes the work of building the Lord’s dwelling in Jerusalem. The account follows the form of archival records, and in fact ends with words mirroring God’s creative activity on day six of the creation account (‘So Hiram finished all the work,’ 1 Kings 7:40b, JPS). Hiram, like Bezalel, is commissioned to represent his people (2 Chronicles 2:12–13 [13–14 TaNaCh], cf. Exodus 31:2–5). Indeed, he is “filled” with wisdom for the appointed task (1 Kings 7:14, cf. Exodus 36:1). Interestingly, the Haftarah halts abruptly, just before verse 51, when King David’s gold, the spoils of war, is added to the temple treasury. Seized gold is not used in the temple. Rather, the temple is constructed solely from pure gold of the t’rumot (elevation offerings) of King Solomon. Like the mishkan which preceded it, this temple houses a holy God who dwells amidst only the purest of offerings. Read Exodus 32:2–4, 20; 35:5, 20, 22; 1 Kings 7:48–51. Explain the reasons why God excluded the gold from the golden calf and from David in building vessels for the Most Holy Place? What is your purest offering, that you can give God?”
The Limits of Pure Gold
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 169:
“In effect, the mishkan introduced a system of barriers (Hebrews 9:2–5) which limited the access of worshippers to the Sh’chiniah (Presence). Only priests could enter the Holy Place (Hebrews 9:6), and only the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) could enter the Most Holy Place—and that was only once a year, subject to formal ritual procedures. Blood is always required to effect cleansing (Leviticus 16:15–16) in order to enter the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:7). The author of Hebrews comments that this arrangement shows the way into the mishkan (dwelling) in heaven had not yet been disclosed (Hebrews 9:8). Thus, direct access to God was not available, and approaching God could take place only through chosen representatives, the kohanim and the Kohen Gadol (priests and High Priest). God would have to ‘reshape the whole structure’ to open up direct access to His glorious Presence (Hebrews 9:10). Read Hebrews 9:7. Explain why blood entry was always required, when the Kohen Gadol entered the Most Holy Place. What is Ruach HaKodesh really telling us about entering the holy ground of God’s abiding Presence?”
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.