Exodus: Week 20 Study Guide

Who can stand before God? In part 20 of our study through the Book of Exodus, we discover what holiness is all about, what it means to be a messenger of the message of God to those around us, and how God equips us with gifts, passions, and situations to do His work in the world!


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 29:44–46 (NIV)

“So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.”

Jesus Bears Our Names

READ: Exodus 28

Have you ever had someone represent you or stand up for you? Perhaps you quite literally had a lawyer represent you in court, or maybe your best friend in elementary school defended you on the playground. Perhaps your sibling or spouse stood by your side in a difficult decision or moment, or maybe your family wore shirts with your name and face on it at your graduation.

Something the high priest would do in the Old Testament was wear the stones with the names of the sons of Israel on them as he entered the tabernacle to perform his sacrificial duties. The names of the sons of Israel, which were the twelve tribes of Israel, represented all of God’s people. Aaron, the first high priest, would wear these in order to be reminded of his responsibility in bearing the Israelites’ names in his heart before the Lord as he made sacrifices and decisions on their behalf. He stood in the middle so God could be with His people and His people could live pleasing lives for their God. 

Not only did he bear these stones, but he wore other specific “priestly garments” that all of Exodus 28 further details. These garments would resemble the details of the tabernacle and the holiness of God. They served as part of the priest’s consecration from the rest of the people. Consecration is an act of setting something apart for holiness in obedience and worship to the Lord (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible). The consecration of the priests was essential for them to be able to righteously bear the names of the Israelites and make sacrifices on their behalf.

When Jesus came to the earth, He became the final high priest and the final sacrifice. However, He didn’t just come for the Israelites, He came for all the world (John 3:16)! He came to bear our names before the Lord so we could have access to Him. He was fully consecrated on His own because He was the Son of God! Because of Him, we can also be rightfully consecrated for the Lord in the way we live our lives as new creations. Because Jesus chose to bear our sin and shame before God, we can enter a personal relationship with Him that is like no other! 

Discussion Question 1: Why would the names of the 12 tribes be inscribed on the stones? What effect would this have on Aaron? What effect should it have on us?

Consecration of Our Lives

READ: Exodus 29

Consecration: An act of setting something apart for holiness in obedience and worship to the Lord (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible).

Exodus 29 talks about the consecration of the priests through more sacrifices and offerings. At the end, we find these verses that relate the consecration and service of the tabernacle, the altar, and the priests to the abiding presence of God among the Israelites. There’s something beautiful about the connection between God’s holy presence and the consecration of His people. 

As we’ve continually seen through these chapters of Exodus on the tabernacle, the purposes of every element within the tabernacle have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ! He has served as the final high priest and the ultimate sacrifice, yet we must not forget that because of this He has also made a way for us to be consecrated unto the Lord. 

Just because Jesus fulfilled these things for us doesn’t mean we have the right nor the ability to continue willfully living in sin. Because of Christ, we now have the beautiful opportunity to consecrate our own lives to God in the way we surrender to Him daily! Paul puts it like this in Romans 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” In the same way the priests offered themselves in a way as a sacrifice for the people, we can offer our lives as a living sacrifice for God to worship Him in all we say and do. Not only do our lives become a sacrifice to God in this way, but we also become a part of the priesthood ourselves! 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 

We are a royal priesthood because we now have direct access to God through Christ Jesus just like the priests did in the Old Testament! The end of 1 Peter 2:9 contains important information as to what we can do as a result of this new identity: We are to declare God’s praises! We sacrifice our lives as true and proper worship to the one who saved us! We proclaim who He is and what He has done in every small and big way through every word and deed because He is worthy and He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Discussion Question 2: How have you considered offering yourself as a living sacrifice to God? How have you consecrated your life for Him?  

Holy and Clean

READ: Exodus 30

There’s so much important information in these verses and so many details that it can be easy to want to skip over it or get overwhelmed in wanting to learn and understand the why of each and every detail! Or maybe, all that sticks out to you are all the “you shall” and “you shall not” statements which may have you thinking that God is too bossy and you just don’t see the point of following all these “orders.” Our Almighty God doesn’t do anything haphazardly. So, let’s talk a bit more about these elements in Exodus 30.

In verses 1–10, God speaks about the altar of incense they were to build. And in verses 33–38, He shares about the type of incense they were to offer. In Scripture, incense (which here was to be offered continually) is often associated with prayer (which God desires to hear continually). God considers the prayers of believers to be like a sweet smell of incense (Revelation 5:8, 8:3). 

Verses 11–16 speak about the ransom money each Israelite aged 20 and older was to give. It was a set amount (a half-shekel) because it was not a tithe. A preacher named G.C. Morgan put it this way, “The half-shekel was not a gift in the sense of a free-will offering. It was a recognition of redemption, a sign of atonement, made and received. Here the rich and the poor stood upon a perfect equality.”

Then we move on to the bronze laver (a bowl to wash in) in verses 17–21. The priests needed to wash their hands and feet there regularly after offering sacrifices. If we aren’t cleansed, we can’t have fellowship with the Lord. Jesus also displayed this when He washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1–15), just as we must regularly be cleansed from the dirt of this world by Jesus, the one who gives living water (Jeremiah 2:13; John 7:38). 

God then gave instruction on how to make a holy anointing oil to anoint the priests and some of the items that were to be used by them. In verse 33, He gives clear instruction that if anyone were to make any like it for other purposes, they were to be cut off from His people. He gives a similar instruction for the holy incense in verse 38.

God’s main desire for His people is for them to be holy (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 1:16) and consecrated to Him (Leviticus 20:7, 21:8). He set up these laws as “guardrails” for our protection because He knew we were going to need guidance though He gave us free will. However, these rituals that were required ended up showing us that they were not enough to make us right with God. He doesn’t just want ritual gestures, He wants our hearts. That doesn’t mean that these verses are not important and that we’re ok just skipping over them. If we do, we may miss how God’s heart was and has always been for His people from the beginning. 

Discussion Question 3: What does it mean to be consecrated to God?

Holy Purpose and Heavenly Gifts 

READ: Exodus 31

Can you think back to your favorite class in elementary school? Maybe it was art, P.E., music, or science. What is it that you most loved about that subject? I loved art class growing up. The excitement of putting a fresh coat of paint onto a canvas is something that is still life-giving for me today. 

If you don’t consider yourself artistic or creative, today’s passage definitely argues against it. We read that God Himself tells Moses who will be in charge of creating the tabernacle. God chooses Bezalel, saying He has “filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills” (Exodus 31:3 NIV). How profound is that? God has filled a craftsman with His Spirit in order to carry out His holy purpose. God is still at work today, imparting us with His Spirit in order for us to wisely and skillfully complete the work He has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). 

Maybe you’ve never stopped to think about the gifts and talents God has given you. Yet, this passage makes it clear that God indeed bestows us with every skill, talent, and ability we have. Whether it’s working with numbers or people, or having creative or administrative skills, we’ve all been given something from the Lord in order to carry out His divine purpose and reveal His glory to this world. 

Friend, you’ve been made for a holy purpose, and God desires for you to walk in your giftings in order to bless others. We’ve all been given something, so we all have work to do! 

This Scripture doesn’t just remind us of our gifts. God commands the Israelites to observe the Sabbath and to keep it holy. Since God is the giver of our gifts, He also determines how they must be used. God has given us work, but He has also given us a command to rest. As God’s chosen people, we ought to remember, and daily acknowledge, that our talents are given by Him. We must also remember that our work is not what sustains us. God is the one who sustains us. Therefore, we can and need to rest from the work He has given us as a reminder of who He is and who we are. 

God has made each one of us uniquely with skills and abilities He designed for a purpose. Let us work unto the Lord and rest in His finished work for us!

Discussion Question 4: What are your gifts and talents? What has God equipped you with doing? How can you use these gifts to glorify Him?


If you don’t know your gifts or talents, take some time to take this spiritual gifts test. Once you know your gifts, use them to do one small act to bless someone this week. 


What does idolatry look like today and how do I know if I’m struggling with it? In our next study, we’ll study Exodus 32 and the Israelites construction of a golden calf idol while Moses was away. Discover the key to avoiding the idols that vie for our attention.

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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.