Exodus: Week 19 Study Guide

In week 19 of our study through the Book of Exodus, we’ll learn about the Tabernacle—the place where God’s presence would live among His people—and discover how it points to the coming of Jesus!


Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to consider, questions to personally reflect on and/or discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, and some action points for the week. 

Memory Verse of the Week: Exodus 27:21 (NIV)

“In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.”

Offerings of a Grateful Heart

READ: Exodus 25:1–9

It’s so easy to see sections like these in Scripture and completely gloss over them or bypass them altogether, but there’s so much here we pray isn’t lost on you! In Exodus 25:1–2, God tells Moses to call for an offering from His children. But this wasn’t a sin offering or a peace offering or anything tied to a specific need. Instead, this was about the heart! 

Before even telling Moses the purpose of this offering, God simply tells him to instruct the people to bring the offering. You see, God wanted His people to be motivated by a willing, grateful heart more than by a specific need. Why? Because our giving must be an outpouring of a generous, grateful, devoted heart unto the Lord. While yes, we should give to meet needs and give when a need arises, the true driving force of our generosity must be the overflow of our relationship with Jesus, who has been so generous, merciful, gracious, and kind to us!

God wanted the offerings of the willing and grateful, not those who felt pressured, coerced, manipulated, or who were doing it for show. This idea is seen clearly in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV), which says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” When it’s not, we’re putting ourselves in a dangerous place where giving can become a duty or chore we dread, performance based to earn the favor of God, or performative for the praise of others. Our giving and service must come from the overflow of the grace, love, and character of Christ being poured into us generously by the Holy Spirit and from our obedience to the Spirit at work in us.

So, what was the offering and what was it for? It was various materials for the tabernacle of God, the dwelling place of God amongst His people, where His presence would reside. Now, this doesn’t mean God exclusively lived in that place, but that it was the specific place where He would meet with His people. And the coolest part is the pattern of the tabernacle was based on a heavenly reality. It was a “copy and shadow of what is in heaven” (Hebrews 8:5 NIV). And because of this, it had to be made according to exact dimensions, being somewhat of a “scale model” of the area around God’s throne in heaven. How cool is that?

But do you want to see something even cooler? The tabernacle, which was this beautiful, ornate “Tent of Meeting,” has been replaced! First, it was replaced 2,000 years ago when “the virgin conceived and gave birth to a son, and they then called Him Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23); when God Himself, the Son Jesus Christ, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14 NIV). 

But it didn’t stop there, because Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again, thereby conquering sin and death and allowing us to enter into right relationship with God through faith in Him. And when that happens, He who made His dwelling among us, who tabernacled with us, now makes His dwelling in us! The Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, that delivered the people from Egypt, provided bread from heaven, guided the people with a pillar of smoke and fire, and whose presence dwelled in the tabernacle is now making His home in our hearts, leading and guiding us into all truth, conforming us to the image of the Son, and using us to take the gospel to the lost.

Discussion Question 1: What is the difference between giving because of need and giving out of overflow? 

Discussion Question 2: What are some ways you can be more generous and give offerings to the Lord simply out of gratitude to Him and all He’s done and is doing?

Majestic, Beautiful, Intentional

READ: Exodus 26

Even though the chapters in Exodus describe in detail the creation and placement of every element in the tabernacle from the outer courts to the inmost chamber, it can still be hard to imagine what the tabernacle actually looked like. In all of these details, there are significant symbols. The use of gold, one of the most expensive and valuable elements of that day, signified the holiness and majesty of God. The symmetry of everything within the tabernacle showcased God’s intentionality and orderliness as the Creator. The use of blue, purple, and scarlet linens to make the curtain that separated the Most Holy Place and the ark of the covenant from everything else also represented the holiness and royalty of God, yet the scarlet also represented the blood sacrifice that would be made within the Most Holy Place on behalf of the people.

Ultimately, the tabernacle stood to make a way for the presence of God to reside in the midst of His people despite their sinfulness. Even though God cannot be in the presence of sin or evil, He still made a way to be with His people because that is also who God is. He is merciful and loving!

The use of the tabernacle, high priesthood, and sacrifices all were part of His gracious plan in allowing His people to be close to Him. This plan; however, was always intended to be temporary because it still restricted many people from truly engaging in the presence of God. God’s greater plan involved sending Jesus, the holy son of God and God made manifest, to fulfill what the tabernacle temporarily acted as.

Right outside of the curtain stood the table of showbread and the lamp stand as seen in the previous chapter. The priests were to set it up every Sabbath and then were able to eat it in the presence of the Lord (Leviticus 24:4–9). The lamp stand had seven lamps on it which the priests were also to tend to so it would always be lit. When Jesus came, He called Himself both the “bread of life” (John 6:35) and the “light of the world” (John 8:12). When saying His final words and breathing His last breath on the cross, this veil that separated the Most Holy Place was torn in two because the blood of Christ had finally been shed for all the sins of the world. There was no more need for any other sacrifice on the ark of the covenant as His blood was sufficient.

Again, while reading through these chapters in Exodus may seem tedious at times, the details of them are infinitely important and beautiful. We can be reminded of God’s intelligent design and holy character through them, yet we’re also reminded of how Christ fulfilled the role of these elements once and for all. May we continually praise God for His majestic beauty, intentional redemption, and faithful pursuit of His people!

Discussion Question 3: Take a moment to reflect on the beauty of the tabernacle. Imagine what all its elements may have looked like. Think about the beauty of God’s intentional design in the tabernacle and then His plan for Jesus to come fulfill it. How has He also intentionally brought you into His presence?

Deep Truth in the Details

READ: Exodus 27

In Exodus 27, we see more of God’s plans for the tabernacle laid out. Here, the description for the altar of burnt offering is given, as well as the courtyard for the tabernacle and the instructions regarding the supplying of oil for the lamp stand in the tent of meeting. So, what do we make of this? Well, a few things . . .

The Altar of Burnt Offering

Did you know the idea behind the Hebrew word for altar is pretty much killing place? It’s the place where the sins of the Israelites would be paid for by a substitute—a bull, goat, or lamb. Why did this need to happen? Because “the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11 NIV). Why was death needed? Because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NIV).

Now, it’s important we understand that these sacrifices served two important purposes: 1) They covered their sins for a time and, more importantly, 2) pointed to the work God would do in the future through His promised Messiah. You see, our altar—our “killing place”—is the cross where Jesus’ blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins; where He died in our place to redeem us and bring us into right relationship with God.

The Courtyard

The courtyard of the tabernacle—and later the temple—is an important theme in the Old Testament. Why? Because the tabernacle itself was inaccessible to most, except some key priests. The rest of the people met the Lord in the court. But in Christ, all who believe can directly come into His presence, boldly into the throne room of God (Hebrews 4:16).  

The Oil

The oil for the lamps, the only light in the tabernacle, came from pressed, not beaten olives. Check this out: Like these olives, we may be “pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed” (2 Corinthians 4:8 NLT), and God uses our times of pressing for His glory!

In addition, God commanded that the lamps never lose their fire. It was only through the continual supply of oil and trimming of the wicks that they could keep the fire burning. In the same way, you and I can only continue to burn bright as lights of the world if we are continually supplied with the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit and are trimmed through sanctification by God to shine brighter.

I hope you see that these seemingly extraneous chapters carry a significant amount of deep, rich truth and should never be glossed over!

Discussion Question 4: Why is it important to never gloss over sections of Scripture?

Discussion Question 5: How does this understanding of Exodus 25–27 change your approach to engaging with the Word of God?


In Christ, our sin no longer separates us from the presence of God! This week, come before the Lord boldly with a grateful and repentant heart. Each day, bring before Him praise, thanksgiving, and your requests.


Who can stand before God? In our next study, we’ll explore Exodus 28–31 and discover what it means to be holy, how we receive right standing with God, and how God equips us with gifts, passions, and situations to do His work in the world!

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.