February 5, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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Don’t you sometimes wish you had a simple blueprint for life? In part 25 of our study through the Book of Exodus, we break down Exodus 37–39. In this section, we’ll learn how the details in the tabernacle point us toward a greater reality, explore God’s provision and redemption, and discover how to live on mission bringing the presence of Christ with us wherever we go!
Memory Verse of the Week: Exodus 39:32–43 (NIV)
“So all the work on the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses. . . . Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.”
READ: Exodus 37–38
God desires His people to live their lives as His special people, set apart from the world. Their lives shouldn’t be shaped by the patterns of this world, but formed by and through the Lord. In the same way these priests were meant to stick out among the people, so should all of God’s people.
But wait . . . we aren’t priests, are we?
Actually, according to God we are! God’s original desire in calling His people out of Egypt was to make them into an entire kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:1–6). The priestly institution was only needed because sin still separated mankind from their heavenly Father. At one point in history, we needed priests to be a mediator between us and God, but now, through Jesus, we have direct access to God. This isn’t God doing away with the old covenant, but renewing it and making it better. Same God, same mission.
In the new covenant, Jesus is not only our truer and better High Priest, but He also invites us to share in His priesthood. In Hebrews 10, the author shows how Jesus is the ultimate High Priest who not only intercedes on behalf of His people, but actually removes sins and brings restoration to the people of God!
Discussion Question 1: What two spiritual truths do the ark and the golden table represent for the believer in Christ?
Discussion Question 2: What do the different elements of the tabernacle teach us about the character and work of God?
Discussion Question 3: Knowing that Jesus made the perfect sacrifice for all your sins, how might that gospel truth impact the way you approach God?
READ: Exodus 39
Exodus 37–39 details the completion of the tabernacle, the “tent of meeting.” We’re told the Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded. They didn’t freelance, improvise, or revise; they simply obeyed all of the Lord’s instruction. And the result of their obedience was this beautiful place where the presence of God would reside with them!
When they brought everything they had completed before Moses to inspect, he was pleased to see they had followed the Lord’s instructions. So, he blessed their work.
The presence of the Lord dwelling among them was their reward! There’s no greater treasure, blessing, or gift humanity can possibly hope to enjoy than to have God dwell with us. But guess what? We don’t need a tent or building to meet with God. You see, the tabernacle itself was an emblem of the Lord Jesus! In the same way, the Lord dwelt in the tent among His people. Colossians 2:9 (NIV) says, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” But not only that, because of the atoning work of Christ on the cross to rescue and redeem us, Colossians 2:10 (NIV) declares, “In Christ you have been brought to fullness.”
So, the tabernacle was then also a symbol of every person who is in Christ. In the heart of every Christ follower, God dwells and rules as the object of all worship and the author of every blessing. But in this case, we didn’t do the work—He did!
Christ did all the work on our behalf. He was perfect in His obedience to the work the Father gave Him. He conquered sin and death and made a way for us to dwell with the Lord forever. And when we receive Him as Lord, Peter says we become “like living stones . . . being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5 ESV). By His blood, the Lord makes our heart His home, dwells with us, and we get to enjoy the results of His work every day and live in relationship with Him!
Discussion Question 4: What does Exodus 39 teach us about Scripture and the way the Lord wove all of history to bring us to the cross of Jesus?
What other symbols and appearances of Jesus do we see in the Old Testament? Spend some time this week researching the various instances in which the Lord foreshadowed the coming of Jesus and the work of Jesus throughout the Old Testament.
In week 26, we’ll conclude our study through the Book of Exodus as we break down Exodus 40.
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.