Exodus 35:20-35 (Offerings and Artisans)

Exodus 35:20-35
Offerings and Artisans

If you travel around America, especially in the older sections where people moved to and settled, there is one thing you will find of particular note. Normally, right in the center of the original town that was settled, there is a church building. It is where everything else radiates out from.

Further, this is usually the oldest building in the town, or it was built right at the same time as the other oldest buildings. In other words, the people came together to form a community, and while they were either building their own houses, or while they were still living in wagons or tents, they set about to build the house of God where they could meet, worship, marry, bury their dead, and be instructed by the man designated or elected by them to lead them in the pursuit of God.

In ancient Israel, Moses was that man. The people have come out of Egypt and are on their way to the Land of Promise. However, before they arrive there, they are already set to build the place where the Lord will reside. It will be the spot where they come for meeting with Him. It will be right in their midst, and everything else will radiate out from that spot.

When the people finally get to the land of promise, the tabernacle will be set up and it will be the focal point of the land for many years, even until the time of David. He will begin to prepare for the building of a temple, and his son Solomon will be the one to build it. But until then, this tabernacle will be the continuous reminder of the Presence of the Lord living among them.

It’s a sad thought that we no longer set out to establish new communities with a central focus on the Lord. We might build a new town around a Walmart or a factory, but the churches are spread out, away from the town’s center. Quite often, they are missing altogether.

Text Verse: “Thus says the Lord:
‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the Lord of hosts,
The Holy Mountain.’ Zechariah 8:3

In the Gentile world, people are still coming to Christ in great numbers. New groups are hearing of the Lord and are building a place where they can go and worship Him. This is so even in the remotest parts of the earth. But for the most part, the more populous places of the earth are moving in the opposite direction.

Their worship is directed to false gods, or to no God at all. While this is occurring, Israel is being prepared for the building of their third temple. It will be where they go to honor the Lord of their past, but not yet in the way that He has determined acceptable. They will go through the tribulation period and at the end of it, He will return to them and dwell in their midst.

He must long for this day, as we all should. The dwelling of the Lord among His chosen people Israel is not something to be taken lightly. It is a sign that He is the covenant keeping Lord who will never fail to keep His promises to them, despite their failures in His presence. The true beginning of the dwelling of the Lord among His people is pictured in His dwelling among Israel in the tabernacle.

The actual beginning of the process of constructing this wonderful edifice is detailed in today’s verses. What a marvelous thing it must have been for these people to anticipate, especially after what they had done with the golden calf. Peace was restored, and the Lord would dwell among them after all.

And so it will be once again after the tribulation period. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Willing Offering to the Lord (verses 20-29)

20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.

In the first half of this chapter, three specific divisions were made by the mouth of Moses as directed by the Lord. The first was applicable to all people and came in the form of a command. This was in verses 1-3, and which comprised the law of the Sabbath as pertained to the congregation.

The second was a request from all of the congregation concerning the offering to the Lord. However, it was qualified with the words, “Whoever is of a willing heart.” Within this, there would be divisions as well. Those with a willing heart, do not necessarily mean they have something needed that they could give. Those who had something to give, may not have had a willing heart to give it. And then there are those that both had needed items, and they also had the heart to give.

And finally, the last division spoke to the “gifted artisans” among the people. Those who had an ability for the making of the sacred things were petitioned to come and assist in the work. With these commands, petitions, and instructions now imparted to the people, they are said to have “departed from the presence of Moses.”

They will have to consider the command of the Sabbath, search their goods and their hearts for offerings, and determine if their skills are acceptable for assisting in the making of the things required by the Lord. As they are in the wilderness, time is not a consideration. Rather, there is simply a need for willingness to step forward and demonstrate obedience in the three areas specified.

21 Then everyone came whose heart was stirred,

In Exodus 25:2, when the original call for materials was made to Moses while with the Lord on Sinai, it said, kal ish asher yidevenu libbow, literally “…of every man whose heart impels him.” Now a completely different word is used. It says, kal ish asher nesaow libbow, or basically, “everyone whose heart was lifted up.” Instead of the word nadav, or “impel,” it says nasa or “lift.”

There is then the sense of the removal of a weight which had burdened them. As a congregation, they had departed from the Lord and fashioned a golden calf. The covenant was annulled in Moses’ breaking of the original tablets, and there was the removal of the Lord from the midst of the people.

Instead, He had met with Moses a far distance from the camp. There was no surety as to what their fate would be as Moses once again ascended the mountain and stayed for a second forty-day period petitioning the Lord and being instructed concerning the people. They didn’t even know if He would go with them or not.

Now Moses has returned and given them the news. A tabernacle will be built, and He will be in their midst. He will dwell among His people Israel. The hearts are lifted now in gratitude to that fact.

21 (con’t) and everyone whose spirit was willing,

Only now is the term nadav used. It says, v’kol asher nadevah ruakhow otow – “and everyone whose spirit in him was impelled.” This is the second of eighteen times it will be seen. It means to incite or to impel. It is the kind of willingness that would impel a person to volunteer as a soldier after their country was attacked.

It would also be the type of offering someone would make when a great need arose in a community or a church. They would see the need and their heart would impel them forward to meet the need. This is exactly what the Lord is looking for. With their hearts lifted because of the grace and mercy of the Lord, their spirits are now impelled forward in an act of giving.

It is the same sentiment that Paul uses in the New Testament concerning one’s giving in church for any reason. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he gives one of only two specific verses concerning giving in our dispensation of grace. There he wrote –

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

There was to be nothing forced upon the people for this most sacred of habitations. Rather, the bestowal of the offerings was solely up to how their heart urged them on.

21 (con’t) and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.

Note for your Bible, it says here ohel moed, or “tent of meeting.” The translation should say “tent,” not “tabernacle.” Despite this, the people whose hearts were lifted and whose spirits impelled them are now said to come forward with their offerings.

The word used for offering is terumah. It indicates an offering for sacred use which is lifted up as if exalted. The people probably came, lifted the gift above their heads as a note of devotion to the Lord, and then bowed to place it among the piles of things which were being offered.

One can see in this the contrast between the offering now made to the Lord and that which was made for the golden calf. At that time, Aaron told the people to break off their earrings using a word which implied near violence. Now they humbly bring a terumah which is accompanied by a lifted heart and a willing soul.

22 They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart,

Now in this verse, the heart is described as nadav or “impelled to give.” They first needed to have their hearts lifted. When the heart was lifted, the soul was willing, and now from that the heart is made willing as well. The words show us the process of what is going on. And it is the same as what occurs in us today. When we are dispirited, giving isn’t the first thing on our mind, but when our hearts are lifted up, then our souls will be willing to give, and from that springs forth a willing heart.

The wording of this verse is debated. It says, v’yabou ha’anashim al hannashim – “and they came the men over and above the women.” What it appears to be saying is that the women were the first and prominent givers in the process, and only then the men came forward and gave of their things. If so, it would follow the normal pattern of the ladies being more disposed to such things than men, but their example prompts the men on to giving as well.

22 (con’t) and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the Lord.

There are five things which are mentioned here. The first is khakh. It is the first of 7 times it will be seen. The word comes from khoakh which indicates a thorn. That is derived from a root meaning to pierce, as a thorn would pierce. Thus, this is some type of thing which pierces, such as an earring, a nose ring, a hook, or the like. It is used in Ezekiel 38 in this way –

“I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.” Ezekiel 38:4

The next is nezem. These are the same as the earrings mentioned in Exodus 32 when Aaron asked the people to break off their earrings and give them to him for the golden calf.

Next are tabbaath or “rings.” This comes from another word, taba, which means “to sink.” This then gives the idea of a signet which is sunk into clay or wax in order to make a seal. From this comes the idea of any ring. It is the same word used to describe the rings on the Ark, Table of Showbread, and the other things to be made.

Next is mentioned kumaz. This is the first of two times it will be seen. It isn’t sure what it means, but maybe a golden ornament, or perhaps a bracelet. It comes from an unused root meaning “to store away,” and so it is probably some type of jewelry or item that is kept stored away, or that is used to store something away.

And finally is mentioned keli. It is a general word that is widely translated as utensil, implement, article, vessel, and the like. All of these precious gold items were brought forward and waved as a wave offering by the people; an offering of gold to Yehovah. The gold of these items will be used to signify the deity of Christ as well as His kingly authority.

23 And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them.

The one major note of disagreement with this verse as far as translation is the word tekhashim, which is translated here as “badger skins.” This is not likely. Rather it is the skins of a sea animal like a seal, porpoise, or a manatee. Older versions made a guess as to what tekhashim meant, and it was not a good guess.

Each of these was previously mentioned and each detail of them was precisely seen to picture the Person and work of Christ. The blue signifies the law; the purple royalty, scarlet pictures war, blood, and/or judgment; fine linen symbolizes righteousness, goats hair signifies an awareness of sin and that it will be punished; the ram skins died red reveal Christ’s atoning blood covering our sin; and the skin of the marine animal pictures Christ’s order and harmony covering us from chaos and confusion

24 Everyone who offered an offering of silver or bronze brought the Lord’s offering.

Again, the call was made for these articles, and the people are found to be obedient in bringing them as well. The silver symbolizes redemption and the bronze judgment. These were brought as an offering lifted up before the Lord.

The silver which is specifically to be used in the tabernacle itself will actually come from a mandatory redemption tax, but this silver may have been used for some unnamed articles for the service of the Lord.

24 (con’t) And everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it.

The acacia wood represents the incorruptible nature of Christ’s humanity. This was brought forward for the meleket abodah, or work of labor. It is a fitting choice of words considering what it symbolizes – the work of labor of those items which picture the humanity of the Lord by which He accomplished His earthly work.

25 All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands,

v’kal ishah khakmat lev b’yadeha tavu – “And all the women who were wise of  heart with their hands spun.” Their skill is said to be a skill which is reflected in a wise heart. The word for “spun” is tavah. It will only be used here and in the next verse in the entire Bible. It comes from a root which means “to spin” and thus it simply means, “spun.” The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is said to do this type of labor. There it says –

“She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.” Proverbs 31:19

25 (con’t) and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

The process of making yarn would be very simple, just as described in the Proverbs. It was probably done by the use of a wheel and a spindle and either with or without a distaff. Once the yarn was spun of the various dyes, or simply made into white fine linen, then it was brought forward as their offering.

26 And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair.

This verse is translated one of two ways. Either it is “the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats hair,” or it is “the women whose heart stirred them up, in wisdom, spun goats hair.” The word for “stirred” is the same as that which was used in verse 21, nasa, or “lifted,” rather than nadav, or impelled.”

Either way, what appears to be the case is that the goats hair took a special skill, or more laborious effort than that which went beyond the normal spinning of the other mentioned items. Thus, the different word for the prompting of the heart is used.

And more, as goat’s hair pictures an awareness of sin, the Bible is highlighting this specifically. It shows that these women’s hearts were impelled forward concerning the sin-debt in their lives.

27 The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate,

Now are mentioned the nasiim or “rulers.” They are the ones to bring the special stones which would be used on Aaron’s shoulder pieces and on the breastplate of judgment. What we have here has been an order of offerings. The first were ornaments worn on the body, then after that were the special treasures or the possessions of the people, the offering of the labors of the females, and finally the offerings of the rulers which consist of the princely jewels.

28 and spices and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.

The rulers also brought the spices and the oil for the light, and those for the special anointing oil and incense as well. It would be expected that the rulers would have such items on hand, whereas the common people would be less likely to have them in their possession. It is no different today where some have Rolex watches and diamond earrings, but the common people have tee shirts and blue jeans. However, in the end, every need that was named is filled by the various people.

29 The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.

This verse is translated in a surprising number of ways, and yet most of them get the general sense of what is being said. The people, both men and women, whose hearts had been willing, are the ones who brought, for every kind of work, the things that Yehovah commanded to be done, by the hand of Moses, which were to be brought by the children of Israel as a willing offering to Yehovah. Concerning all of the previous details since verse 21, Matthew Henry states –

“Without a willing mind, costly offerings would be abhorred; with it, the smallest will be accepted. Our hearts are willing, when we cheerfully assist in promoting the cause of God. Those who are diligent and contented in employments considered mean, are as much accepted of God as those engaged in splendid services. The women who spun the goats’ hair were wise-hearted, because they did it heartily to the Lord. Thus the labourer, mechanic, or servant who attends to his work in the faith and fear of God, may be as wise, for his place, as the most useful minister, and he equally accepted of the Lord. Our wisdom and duty consist in giving God the glory and use of our talents, be they many or few.” Matthew Henry

He is correct in this, and what is implied in both verse 22 and in this verse, is that there were some whose hearts weren’t stirred up. They were neither lifted up, nor were they impelled, to give of their goods in the service of the Lord. They are the same people today who will gladly sit on the sidelines and let nothing change their demeanor, even when something is hoped for or needed.

And of course, there were certainly some who came forward hoping everyone would see that they were giving, even though their hearts didn’t give a hoot about the cause. Jesus addressed those types in Matthew 6.

In the end, the Lord is looking on the heart, and He is looking for those who have their hearts lifted up towards Him, and who are willing to give without expecting anything in return. For Israel, they would be given the honor of having Him dwell in their presence in a magnificent edifice. What more reward could they ask for?

How much can I give Lord; from You I have received so much
I know that what I give is never enough
I have been blessed with Your salvation, grace, mercy, and such
My life is abundantly blessed when it once was so rough

Now, even the worst of times is filled with joy
I have a hope which transcends the troubles of this world
How much can I give Lord, for others to employ
Let my heart be appreciative of the wonders You have unfurled

Help me to never be tight-fisted or to turn away from a need
Grant me the heart to respond in turn as You have blessed me
When I see a lack that needs filling, may I fill it with speed
May my heart be willing to share, and to do so joyfully

II. Bezalel and Aholiab (verses 30-35)

30 And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;

Bezalel was specifically named by the Lord in Exodus 31. These verses now are exceedingly similar to those of Exodus 31:1-6. Moses simply repeats the words of Yehovah to the people, and the only substantial differences in them are to be found in the additional words of verses 34 and 35.

The name Betsalel is formed of three parts. The el at the end means “God.” The “b” at the beginning signifies “in.” and the middle part comes from the noun tsel, meaning shadow. Thus his name means “In the Shadow of God.” As shade is considered a protection, like the tabernacle, his name is a metaphor for “In the Protection of God.”

He is the son of Uri, which means something like either “My Light” or “Light of Yehovah.” The name of Uri’s father is Hur which means “White.” And Judah means Praise. It is Bezalel who will be the chief artificer for the construction of the tabernacle and everything associated with it. This is because of the next words…

31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God,

The term male or “fill” gives the idea of being set apart or consecrated for a specific task. In this case, he is said to be filled with the ruakh elohim or “Spirit of God.” This means that his work will be acceptable concerning the things which are required for him to accomplish. In this case, he is said to be specifically filled in four particular ways…

31 (con’t) in wisdom

The word is khokmah. It signifies wisdom in a good sense. It is a common word, but it is used a great deal the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. It refers to understanding which is rightly applied in a wise, prudent, or beneficial way.

31 (con’t) and understanding,

The word is tebunah. It indicates discretion, reason, skillfulness, understanding, and wisdom. Again, it is mostly used in Proverbs and it indicates an ability to comprehend. A man may see a storm coming and say, “Gee, it’s going to rain,” but he may not understand that the lightening in the storm can reach out beyond the storm itself and kill him before the storm even arrives. Having a knowledge of something does not mean that there is an understanding of the thing.

31 (con’t) in knowledge

The word is daath. It was first seen in Genesis 2:9 when speaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It indicates knowledge in the general sense. One is either aware of something or they are not. If they are, then they can use that for understanding or even in wisdom. In this we can think of empirical, experimental, or experiential knowledge.

Therefore, we can rightly assume that Bezalel was probably already able to accomplish the things necessary for the work to be done. He had empirical knowledge, experimental knowledge, and experiential knowledge, all of which comprised who he was based on what he had already learned.

31 (con’t) and all manner of workmanship,

The word is melakah. It is the same as the word malak, or angel, and so it signifies employment in a task or job, but never in a servile way. Rather it would be in an industry or occupation. Just as an angel or a messenger has his duty to carry out, this indicates the ability to accomplish the task at hand by employing the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom one possesses.

In every aspect – in his name, in the name of his father and grandfather, in the tribe he descends from, and in his skills and abilities – in each of these he makes a marvelous picture of Christ. If you missed the sermon where he was introduced, it would be worth the time to go back and see how intricately each of these aspects of him points to the coming Christ.

In just his aspects of workmanship, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, he is seen as a marvelous type of Christ who possesses the Holy Spirit without measure, and “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

32 to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze,

All of the tasks and designs for the sanctuary had been laid out in minute detail by the Lord to Moses. It would be Bezalel who would be in charge of carrying out the work. The designs which needed to be made, the gold that needed to be shaped, the silver which needed to be refined and poured into molds or beaten into implements, and the bronze which needed to be formed as necessary – all of it required the work of a master craftsman.

Bezalel was selected for the task, and he was capable of seeing it to its completion. The Lord knew him and his capabilities, and he was selected as the perfect artificer for the job, and the perfect picture of Christ to come. But the tasks thus far mentioned are not the total of his abilities. He could do even more…

33 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.

The word for both cutting and carving is the same. In other words, the stones to be cut and the wood to be carved uses this same rare word, kharosheth. In this noun form, it is found only here and in Exodus 31:5 when Bezalel was first introduced. It indicates mechanical work such as carved or cut, and it is actually a noun, but it is almost exclusively translated as a verb.

34 “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach,

These words are not a part of what was recorded in Exodus 31. Not only would Bezalel have the abilities to form everything necessary to build the edifice and implements, but he would also have the ability to teach. What he could do was not to be limited to him, but he would be an instructor of others who would participate in the process until completion. And this is true with another person…

34 (con’t) in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.

Another person who would have the gift of teaching would be Aholiab. The name Aholiab comes from av, which means “father,” and ohel, which means “tent.” Therefore, the name means “Father’s Tent,” just as the tabernacle pictures the Father’s Tent. He is the son of Ahisamach which means “My Brother has Supported.” And finally, he is from the tribe of Dan which means “Judge.” Again, like Bezalel, everything about him points to Christ.

*35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.

The passage and the chapter end today with these words. Several categories of workmen are specified – the kharash, or the engraver, would more aptly be called an artificer. He would be skilled in cutting stone as well as engraving it. The word also means a person who might be a skilled cutter of wood, or an iron worker, etc.

The next is the “designer.” The verb used to describe him indicates “to consider,” and so he who would “count and calculate the threads in weaving figures after the manner of tapestry or carpet. His work was chiefly used in the curtains and veil of the tabernacle, in the ephod and the breastplate” (Albert Barnes).

The next is the “tapestry maker” who works in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and in fine linen. The verb describes a weaver, and so he would work with a needle, weaving and embroidering the materials for the entrance curtains of the tent and of the court. He was also the one who fashioned the sash of the high priest.

And then the weaver is mentioned with the qualifying words “who do every work and those who design artistic works.” This would probably be the person who worked on the loom. The things he made would have been then used for the robe of the ephod, along with its binding, and also for the garments of the priests.

What is seemingly certain to me is that these people were folks already capable and able to accomplish these tasks. If further instruction was necessary, they had the direction of Bezalel and Aholiab to guide them.

And the same is true with us. We already have abilities when we come to Christ. What we need to do is to direct them towards our new calling in Him. We certainly don’t need to look for an external zapping of the Spirit to make us qualified to do the Lord’s work. What we need to do is to take what we have and apply it in a wise and considered way.

Another thing that we can see in the gathering together and formation of this tabernacle by the work of the people is that it leads us to a marvelous picture of Christ. God created the heavens and the earth. He has directed the course of nations and by His hand each thing happens so that redemptive history continues on as it should.

Each earthquake, or each war is used in His plan. Each person who is born or dies is known to Him. Some are raised by Him to be kings, while others die in obscurity. He is sovereign over all that happens. With this understanding, we come to the obvious thought that He could have simply caused the tabernacle to come into being and then moved in.

But instead, He went to the people to receive the materials from them. He then had them take those materials and fashion them according to the plan that He had laid down. The people who did the work were already known to Him and were used by Him to bring the thing into existence in the form that He determined.

And this is exactly how Christ came about as well, at least His humanity. God chose the selected form, and directed the materials that would form the Man. There was Adam, and there was Methuselah. Along came Abraham and Sarah as well as Lot and both of His daughters. Israel and Judah and Tamar were all brought forward.

Ruth, David, and Solomon were directed into this genealogy along without countless others, some named, but many completely unknown to us. Each life was a part of the weaving together of the fabric of the Man who would come.

Just as the Tabernacle was used of materials from God’s creation, but which passed through humanity in order to be returned to Him to build this sanctuary, each and every detail of which points to Christ, so the materials of which these people were comprised passed through humanity in order to be returned to Him to form the human aspect of Christ.

And as the ruakh elohim, or “Spirit of God” endowed these men with the ability to form that which came into their hands, the Spirit of God also formed in Christ to erect the more perfect edifice which is the humanity of our Lord; an edifice where the Spirit of God is found without measure.

But on top of this, these men were also given the ability to teach. And this is one of the great titles of the Lord Jesus, Teacher. Time and again, the title is used of Him in the gospels. From there, we deduce that if there is a Teacher, then He must have students who would carry out the work with and for Him.

That is where disciples and apostles came in. They were taught by the Lord how to form the various parts of the great edifice which God is building, of which we are a part. This is seen in the writings of the New Testament. As Peter and Paul and the others are not with us now, then we must have something from them that tells us how we are to be shaped so that we too will properly fit into this marvelous building… and we do.

It is the Holy Bible. Christ is, in fact, the great Artificer. And He is also the great Teacher. He then instructed others who have written down what He expects of us, the materials of this house of God which are continuing to be brought forth for His workmanship even today.

It should not be enough to say, “I am a living stone which will be placed in God’s temple.” Rather, it should be our goal to be the most perfect living stone possible. We have all of the instructions necessary to be just that if we will only avail ourselves of them.

Today and every day, I would hope that you would continue to perfect yourself though first an understanding of God’s word, and then secondly to a right application of it. If you do these things, then you will be a prominent part of the magnificent thing which God is erecting as His eternal dwelling.

Please don’t waste the few moments you have here on earth in chasing after the wind. Look unto Christ, pursue Christ, and endeavor to be more Christ-like in all ways and at all times. Before you know it, the life you are living will be over and your eternity will begin. It is an eternity which will be based on a very, very short span of time. Use it well.

And if you have never taken the time to first call out to Christ to begin this process, today is the day. You cannot be a part of God’s building if you are not the redeemed of the Lord. His cross is what makes that possible and it is what You need for it to come about…

Closing Verse: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Next Week: Exodus 36:1-38 Every need will be met in this proffering… (The People’s Offering) (99th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Offerings and Artisans

And all the congregation of the children of Israel
Departed from the presence of Moses, after the things he did tell

Then everyone came whose heart was stirred
And everyone whose spirit was willing, not as if competing
And they brought the LORD’s offering
For the work of the tabernacle of meeting

For all its service, and for the holy garments too
Fulfilling each need as requested to do

They came, both men and women
As many as had a willing heart
And brought earrings and nose rings
Rings and necklaces, this was a great start

All jewelry of gold, that is, according to this word
Every man who made an offering of gold to the LORD

And every man, with whom was found
Blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Fine linen, and goats’ hair, which did abound
Red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them as is said

Everyone who offered an offering
Of silver or bronze brought the LORD’s offering
And everyone with whom was found acacia wood
For any work of the service, brought it as their proferring

All the women who were gifted artisans
Spun yarn with their hands

And brought what they had spun
Of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen
They brought the work that they had done

And all the women whose hearts stirred
With wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair, according to the word

The rulers brought onyx stones, as was right
And the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate
And spices and oil for the light
For the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense
The offering was great

The children of Israel brought
A freewill offering to the LORD
All the men and women whose hearts were willing
To bring material for all kinds of work, according to the word

Which the LORD, by Moses’ hand
Was to be done at His command

And Moses said to the children of Israel
“See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel

The son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah
And He has filled him with the Spirit of God
In wisdom and understanding
In knowledge and all manner of workmanship, ability so broad

To design artistic works, as was understood
To work in gold and silver and bronze too
In cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood
And to work in all manner of artistic workmanship they were to do

And He has put in his heart the ability to teach each man
In him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan

He has filled them to do all manner with skill
Of work of the engraver and the designer
And the tapestry maker, according to His will

In blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And fine linen, and of the weaver as well
Those who do every work
And those who design artistic works, as the account does tell

Lord God, help us to learn from Your word
May we give willingly of ourselves and of what we possess
Let us be thankful and thus glorify our Lord
Who has beautifully fashioned what was once such a mess

May the lives that we lead be comparable to what He has done
May we live for Him following in the life He lived for us
His perfect life was lived and through it victory was won
Help us, O God, to emulate our marvelous Lord Jesus

Yes, O God, and to You we shall forever sing out our praise
And to You we shall come with these offerings for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…


Exodus 35:1-19 (A Call to Service)

Exodus 35:1-19
A Call to Service

In today’s passage, as with next week’s as well, we will have a significant amount of repetition. However, it is repetition which stems from passages going all the way back through all of the instructions for the construction of the sanctuary.

If you remember more than 1% of what we talked about in those sermons, you have an excuse to nap while we review. However, I’m going to hand out a proficiency test to make sure you qualify before your nap is approved.

In all honesty, as I was reviewing these verses and getting things prepared, I was astonished at how much I didn’t retain. Going back over those 22 sermons, I couldn’t believe the amount of detail we covered. The symbolism of Christ in each of the things described to Moses is overwhelming.

If you missed those sermons, you missed a great deal and I would encourage you to take the time and listen to them. For now, what was presented to Moses will be restated to the people, calling them to holiness in life and holiness in conduct.

The call to holiness in life will be by a short explanation of the Law of the Sabbath. The calling to holiness in conduct will come by a request for offerings of material and service from the people. Now think about that from our perspective today. Is it any different?

We have been called to holiness by resting in Christ – what He has accomplished. That is our first obligation. After that, we have been called to holiness by giving of our possessions in the service of Christ, and then of the giving of ourselves in a more complete service to Christ.

I am going to repeat this thought in just a few minutes during the sermon in hopes that it will sink in through the repetition. What Israel did is the same thing that we are asked to do.

Text Verse: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2

The only difference between Israel and us is that they worked and then rested. We rest and then we work. They gave of their goods, they gave of their lives, and then they rested in anticipation of the Messiah’s promised rest which was yet ahead.

We rest in that which they looked forward to. In this completion of His work, we then are given the chance to give of our goods and then of our lives. Please though, do not think of this as a call for you to give to the Superior Word. That has never been something we have done, nor will it ever be. And yet the Lord has always provided.

It is up to you where you give your tangible gifts and your gifts of service, but you are to give. You can’t be a living sacrifice if you aren’t sacrificing. The animal on the altar which was presented by the people to God died there by the altar.

We on the other hand died on the altar with Christ, and now we are to live for Christ as that gift being offered to God. In whatever way you determine, and as the Lord prospers you, so you should return yourself to the Lord.

The call is made today by Moses. It is a call which contrasts a shameful act of giving not long passed. After the call is made, work on the Lord’s dwelling place can begin. And you, the call was made and you responded. Now, you should be actively working on being a more perfect part of that more perfect temple which the Lord is building.

Types and shadows of the reality we now live in Christ are seen in today’s passage. So let’s get into it. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Law of the Sabbath (verses 1-3)

Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together,

The word “gathered” here comes from the verb qahal, which means “to gather as an assembly.” It comes from the more common noun qahal, which is the assembly itself. It was first used in this verb form in Exodus 32:1 when the people “gathered together to Aaron” in order to demand the making of a golden calf.

Now it is used for the second time in complete contrast to that. Instead of gathering together for disobedience to the Lord and His commands, they are being called together for honoring Him. He has spared them despite their rebellion, and because of His mercy, Moses is calling them together as a people to come and learn the way of holiness.

In today’s verses, we will see three separate sections by which they will learn this way. Each step is carefully positioned and methodically presented in order for the people to understand this way of holiness.

He will begin with the external display of how they are expected to live in this manner by repeating the Sabbath requirement to them once again. He will then continue with this in asking them for donations of articles in order to build the sanctuary which will stand in their midst, and from which, their means of interacting with Him in holiness will come about.

After this, he will then ask for those who have the abilities to make the things mandated out of those same offerings. In this, they will learn of the sanctification of the people by the Lord for sacred purposes.

Each step in its own order is a reflection of the process of sanctification of the people. They must first be given the law which reflects their sign as a people. This is done in the repetition of the Sabbath law. The next is a giving of what one possessed in honor of the Lord. And the third is the giving of oneself in the service of the Lord.

In the church, there are those who are saved and who are given the sign of that salvation, baptism. This reflects the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was received upon belief in Christ. There are next those who are obedient in the giving of their possessions to build and sustain the ministry of the Lord. And then there are those who are set apart to minister to the Lord with their lives, and according to their abilities. This is what we are seeing reflected in these verses today.

1 (con’t) and said to them, “These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do:

These words should rightfully have been placed after Exodus 31:18, a full eight sermons ago. This was when the Lord handed the first two tablets of stone to Moses. He should have simply received them, turned down the mountain, and found the people respectfully and obediently awaiting his return with the word of the Lord for the future conduct of their lives.

Instead, chapter 32 introduced the sin of the golden calf and all that occurred after that. Instead of a joyous regathering of Moses to the people, there was wrath, indignation, and death associated with his return. Because of that incident, a new direction in the law came about as well.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that none of those things were unknown to God, and they were ultimately a part of His unfolding plan. However, it doesn’t change the nature of the catastrophe which came upon the people. Nor does it change the many variations in direction which resulted in the occurrences of those intervening chapters.

Moses’ shining face was given as a permanent reminder to the people of this. And when I say permanent, it is a reminder which continues to this day. Only in Christ is the veil taken away and the glory of God revealed in a new and marvelous way. As you can see, everything occurred as it should.

The intervening eight chapters have formed an integral part of the unfolding plan of the ages. Understanding that, we now return to where the account left off. The last thing before the giving of the original tablets of the commandments to Moses was that of the Law of the Sabbath.

As I said, the giving of the Sabbath law to the people in connection with the building of the tabernacle was for the purpose of tying it into the sanctuary. The sanctuary is where the Lord is to reside. It signifies that He is dwelling among the people.

Once again, the reason for the Sabbath’s inclusion here is because it, like every other detail which has been given concerning the tabernacle ultimately points to Christ – His Person and His work, for us. That physical manifestation of the tabernacle being among the people is now realized in the giving of the Spirit to the believer in His finished work.

This is why the Sabbath is no longer required. The rest which was anticipated for God’s people is realized in His completion of the work of the law. And this is why Hebrews 4:3 now says that we who have believed, do enter that rest.

In the Old Covenant, man worked and then rested. In the New Covenant, man rests and then works. A picture is made of the process of salvation in the two dispensations. Israel worked six days and then rested on the Sabbath. It was an anticipation of the time of rest which lay ahead when all things would be restored.

We rest in Christ and then do works for Christ, not for salvation, but for our walk in Christ and in anticipation of our heavenly rewards. This is all reflected first in the law of the Sabbath, and then in the fulfillment of it in Christ. Now, that law is briefly summarized for the people to hear…

Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord.

The Law of the Sabbath was given in Exodus 31:12-17. However, this first spoken mandate by Moses to the people actually parallels only verse 15. Although not a direct quote, it carries all of the substance of that verse. Also, he has abbreviated the substance of the words that were given to him, but the main point of the instruction is carefully repeated here to the people.

They are to work six days and then have a shabbath shabbaton, or a Sabbath of rest to the Lord as a holy day. The instructions for the building of the tabernacle lie just ahead. Its construction though was not to take precedence over the Sabbath. Rather, they were to rest each week from their work. Of the words of this verse, Joseph Benson says –

“Work for the tabernacle, but on the seventh day they must not strike a stroke, no, not at the tabernacle work; the honour of the sabbath was above that of the sanctuary.” Joseph Benson

This is not correct. The Sabbath has no more honor than the sanctuary. As we have seen and will see again, every detail of the sanctuary points to Christ. The Sabbath rest also points to Christ. It simply would make no sense to work for Christ on a day which points to Christ. In fact, in Leviticus 26:2, the Sabbath and reverence for the sanctuary are tied together in one thought –

“You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary:
I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:2

Though the Israelites didn’t realize these things, we now do. What was given in type and shadow is realized in the marvelous Lord who fulfilled those same types and shadows. The Sabbath was to be a day the people heeded according to the word of the Lord. If they didn’t heed, the penalty is now repeated from chapter 31 –

2 (con’t) Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

These words here also reflect the substance of Exodus 31:15. The Sabbath looked forward to the coming “rest of God” which was lost when man was cast out of Eden. When Adam disobeyed the word of the Lord, his punishment was –

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19

Man was destined to work in order to survive, implying that this was not previously the case. During my sermon on the Law of the Sabbath, one person – obviously caught up in the legalism of either the 7th Day Adventists, or some Hebrew Roots movement, argued that the Sabbath was God’s standard for man all along; it was an eternal edict.

Not only can that not be inferred in Scripture at all, it is completely false. I directed him back to the original giving of the Sabbath in Exodus 16 where it was first presented to man. One has to remember that Genesis 2 was not recorded until the time of Moses. Here is what Genesis 2:1-3 says –

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

After that, nothing is mentioned of the seventh day for rest until Exodus 16. And the words that were used in that sermon were very specific, showing that it was now a new aspect of God’s dealings with man. Further, it was a new aspect which dealt solely with the people of Israel.

The heresy of Sabbath observance as a necessary requirement in today’s church is truly sad. All the information we need for salvation is found in Paul’s epistles. He, as the apostle to the Gentiles, defines clearly and precisely what we need to do to be saved; what we need to do in order to be pleasing to God; and how to also instruct others in meeting those same goals.

Nowhere in his writings does he ever indicate anything concerning the Sabbath, except to argue against it as an observance. This is especially so in Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16, 17, but it is implicitly true in everything he writes.

What part of the concept of “grace” these heretics don’t understand is hard to grasp. It is a simple word with a simple meaning, as is the concept of a gift. One does not work in order to receive a gift. And though the Sabbath is a day of not actively working, it is a day of spiritual work in order to not physically work. That is realized in the next verse…

You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

One must do something in order to not actively do something. Along with all the other things that the people have already been instructed to not do on the Sabbath day, a new requirement is now added in. No fire is to be kindled in any dwelling on the Sabbath. This thought can be taken as an addendum to what was stated in Exodus 16:23 –

Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” Exodus 16:23

No manna was provided on the Sabbath and so they were to prepare their food a day in advance of the Sabbath. As a further restraint, they were told to not even kindle a fire. To kindle a fire was a laborious process of work. As food wasn’t cooked, they were not to consider making a fire for any other reason as well. As John Lange says about this –

“The addition, prohibiting the kindling of fire, indicates that the law of the Sabbath is made more rigorous in the matter of abstinence.” John Lange

The Israelites were to actively abstain from work in every possible way. Now in Christ, we are given a different aspect of the same precept. We are not told to actively abstain from every work in order to attempt to merit God’s favor. Instead, we are to rest in the finished work of Christ. In the end, whether before the cross or after, it is all done in relation to Christ.

Another great scholar of times past, Matthew Henry, does a terrible job of his analysis of these two Sabbath verses. He says –

“The mild and easy yoke of Christ has made our sabbath duties more delightful, and our sabbath restraints less irksome, than those of the Jews; but we are the more guilty by neglecting them. Surely God’s wisdom in giving us the sabbath, with all the mercy of its purposes, are sinfully disregarded. Is it nothing to pour contempt upon the blessed day, which a bounteous God has given to us for our growth in grace with the church below, and to prepare us for happiness with the church above?” Henry

Matthew Henry errs in his analysis like many others in moving the Saturday Sabbath to a Sunday Sabbath. There is no such thing as a Sunday Sabbath. The Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh day of the week. In its fulfillment, it ended.

Again, if one departs from Paul’s doctrine for the church age, there is no doctrine for the church age. All theology thus becomes a pick and choose path to God. As we close out this section, let us remember a few key points. The Sabbath is a part of the law; the law is fulfilled in Christ and annulled. Salvation is a gift which comes by grace. A gift cannot be earned; grace is unmerited favor.

Attempting to be justified before God through works sets aside both the notion of receiving a gift as well as the granting of grace. Rest in Christ, trust in Christ, and be pleased to be reconciled to God solely by the work of Christ. Thank God for Jesus Christ.

I am the Lord who sanctifies you
In Me you shall find your rest
What I look for is faith that is true
And in this, I shall put you to the test

I am the Lord, pay heed unto Me
For I will give you a Day of rest
If you will simply trust, you will see
That in My presence you will be eternally blessed

Come unto Me, you who are weary
And in My presence there will be peaceful rest
Come unto Me, leave your life so dreary
If the land of Paradise-restored is your hope-filled quest

II. An Offering to the Lord (verses 4-9)

And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying:

These words begin the second and final major section of the chapter which will be divided into four smaller sections. Moses will first recount the substance of Exodus 25:2-7 which concerns the offering of the people for the construction of the sanctuary.

The Hebrew reads zeh haddavar asher tsivah Yehovah. “This the word that commanded, Yehovah.” It is to be remembered that it was not long before that the incident with the golden calf had occurred. At that time, the people has said this to Aaron –

“Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Exodus 32:1

In response to that, it says –

“And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’” Exodus 32:2

Once the calf was fashioned, Aaron indicated it was a representation of Yehovah. The people had willingly given their treasure for a false god. Now, Moses would ask something of them as directed by the true God…

‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord.

This is to be an offering “to Yehovah.” It is thus infinitely more worthy than for the false idol to which they willingly broke off their earrings. Everything that is needed can be expected to be obtained from this offering.

It would make no sense for the Lord to plan on the construction of it without knowing in advance that each and every thing that was necessary for its completion would be available. Understanding this, it will still require the stirring of the hearts of the people to give what they possess. However, there would be no “breaking off” or “tearing away” their prized possessions like Aaron asked of them. Instead, they were asked to let their hearts guide them…

5 (con’t) Whoever is of a willing heart,

A new word is introduced here, nadiv. It is an adjective which comes from the verb nadav which means willing. Nadiv means “free” or “liberal” or even a noble or a prince. The idea is that a noble person would be a charitable giver. This is what the Lord is asking for concerning the materials for the sanctuary; giving with a charitable heart.

5 (con’t) let him bring it as an offering to the Lord:

The offering, or terumah, is something which is “lifted up” to the Lord. It is an acknowledgment of His exalted status, and thus the offering is to be lifted up as an oblation to Him. This is set in complete contrast to that which was given for the making of the golden calf. The difference could not be any more distinct.

The requesting of these materials, and the direction for the construction of the sanctuary, is an understood proclamation that the covenant relationship has been restored, and that the Lord has agreed to be Israel’s God and to dwell among them in that capacity. And so the materials are now named. Each was described in minute detail in the past as to their symbolism in Christ. Here we will just briefly look at each…

5 (con’t) gold, silver, and bronze;

zahav, or gold, is the finest of the biblical metals. It symbolizes purity and holiness, royalty, and divinity. keseph, or silver is another precious metal which is associated with redemption. nekhosheth, or bronze, mainly symbolizes judgment, but also endurance. The judgment can be negative, such as in punishment, or it can be of judgment in purification and justification.

blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair;

tekeleth, or blue, is associated with the law, especially the keeping of the law. argaman, or purple is a purple or blue/red. It speaks of royalty or that which pertains to or belongs to a king. It is a mixture of blue and red, and so it is a combination of what those two colors mean – the law for blue; and war, blood, and/or judgment for red.

towlaat shani, or literally, red worms. Together, the words are translated as “scarlet,” but implying the scarlet which comes from the towla or crimson-grub worm. This scarlet, or red, pictures war, blood, and/or judgment. shesh, or fine linen symbolizes righteousness. izzim, or goat hair symbolizes awareness of sin and that it will be punished.

ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood;

orot elim me’addamim, or skins of rams dyed red, symbolize power and protection in the skins, and of atonement for sin in the dyed red color. orot tekhashim, does not indicate badger skins. Rather, it indicates skins of porpoise or a sea cow. The sea is representative of the world of chaos, confusion and rebellion. Thus these skins symbolize protection from that. Within, there is order, harmony, and peace. atse shittim, or wood acacias, symbolize humanity, but more, humanity which is incorruptible. Therefore, it symbolizes Christ’s humanity.

oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense;

shemen la’maor, or oil for lighting, symbolizes the presence of the Spirit, which is for spiritual understanding; specifically that which provides illumination. besamim l’shemen ha’miskhah, or spice for anointing oil, symbolizes the anointing of the Holy Spirit first for Christ’s work, and then that which is given to us through Christ’s work.

liqtoreth ha’sammim , or incense fragrant, symbolizes prayer to God, but specifically acceptable prayers to God.

onyx stones,

avne shoham , or stones onyx, are mentioned in addition to those to be used in the shoulder piece of the ephod on the high priest. Because of this, they are probably specifically to be for the Urim and Thummim. If this is so, and it is likely, then they signify intercession on behalf of the people.

9 (con’t) and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.

avne milluim la’ephod v’lakhoshen, or “stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.” Exodus 28:9 tells us that the stones for the shoulder piece of the ephod are to be onyx stones. Thus they symbolize the bearing of the burden of the people in a mediatorial role.

The other stones which are to be used in the breastplate of judgment are specifically named in Exodus 28:17-20. The exact identity of many of these stones is unknown, but because they are in the breastplate of judgment, they symbolize the judgment rendered for God’s people through the work of Christ.

Hints of Christ in every detail of the book
Waiting for us to study and show ourselves approved
What a marvel when we open it up and look
How our souls are stirred! How our hearts are moved

Christ is there, it all speaks of Him and His work
What He has done for us was all told in advance
Let us not fail to look for Him, let us not this obligation shirk
Each discovery is like joining in a heavenly dance

Thank You for this marvel, Your precious superior word
It is filled with wonder! It is beautiful and marvelous
Christ is there in every detail; it’s all about our Lord
Yes, every single verse tells us of our Lord Jesus

III. The Lord’s To-Do List (verse 10-19)

10 ‘All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded:

The call is now made from the general of the previous section – meaning all who had a willing heart, to the specific of this section – meaning all who are gifted artisans. Those specifically for the work of this section who were mentioned before were Bezalel and Aholiab in Exodus 31:2-10, and the others in Exodus 28:3 for making of garments.

Those whom the Lord already knew are now being called for the service of making this marvelous dwelling place for the Lord God. In it, there is a logical order to what we will see next. First, the tabernacle is mentioned. This is followed up immediately with those things by which it will be constructed.

After this, will come the contents of the tabernacle. First for the Most Holy Place, then the Holy Place, and then the furniture which is outside of the tabernacle in the courtyard. After that, those things which comprise the courtyard itself. Then the pegs are mentioned, first for the tabernacle and then for the court – with their cords. Finally the garments for each aspect of the ministry are given.

We will go over them without any detail because all of the details have already been given in the past.

11 the tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets;

In this verse, two separate words are used – ha’mishkan, or “the tabernacle,” and “aholow” or “its tent.” The two are distinct things and are not to be confused. Each of the items mentioned in this verse perfectly and beautifully prefigure Christ.

12 the ark and its poles, with the mercy seat, and the veil of the covering;

The ark and its mercy seat is mentioned in Exodus 25:10-22. The veil is detailed in Exodus 26:31-33. In this verse, the term paroketh ha’masak, or “veil of the covering” is now used instead of simply the paroketh, or veil. It is still speaking specifically of the veil which divides the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place, but a fuller name is given here.

The ark symbolizes Christ, the embodiment of, and thus the fulfillment of, the law. The mercy seat is Christ our satisfaction of the law through His shed blood. The veil represents Christ’s body through which we have restored access to God.

13 the table and its poles, all its utensils, and the showbread;

This is speaking of the table of showbread which was mentioned in Exodus 25:23-30. It, in short, details Christ our Bread, and thus our source and sustenance of life.

14 also the lampstand for the light, its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light;

The menorah and its associated articles are mentioned in Exodus 25:31-40. It was an amazing study, every detail of which pointed to Christ – the Servant, our Messiah, our Light, our Wise Counselor, our Word of God, our Giver of the dispensations of time, and so much more. The symbolism of the menorah is so exceptional that we will never fully realize everything it portrays.

15 the incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense,

The incense altar was detailed much later in the instructions provided to Moses. It wasn’t until Exodus 30:1-10 that it was named. The anointing oil and the sweet incense came later in that same chapter. They were detailed in order from verse 22-38.

The incense altar pointed to Christ’s intercessory work for us. The anointing oil minutely detailed Christ’s work which was accomplished for us, and the sweet incense symbolizes His ongoing work for us as our Mediator and Intercessor.

15 (con’t) and the screen for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle;

This screen door was the covering entranceway into the tabernacle itself. It is described in Exodus 26:26, 27. It symbolized the work of Christ for us which allows us access once again into the heavenly realms. In short, it pictures Christ, our Door to salvation.

16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, all its utensils,

This altar is detailed in Exodus 27:1-8. In short, it symbolizes Christ, our judgment on sin and thus our Justifier.

16 (con’t) and the laver and its base;

This item was mentioned seemingly out of place as a few others were, in Exodus 30:17-21. However, as we saw, it was actually perfectly placed. In short, it signifies among other things Christ, our Sanctifier and Purifier.

17 the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court;

These things were detailed in order in Exodus 27:9-19. They symbolize those things which Christ accomplished in His ministry and which are open and visible to all who are willing to simply look. They portray the evident Christ who is on display to the world, but who is also limited in effect to only those who enter through Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which is seen in the gate for the court. He is the expectant Christ, open and available to all who will simply come.

18 the pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords;

The pegs were all to be made of bronze. They speak of judgment rendered. As they are what hold the tabernacle and the court hangings up by being firmly planted in the ground, they speak of permanency. The cords are the tie between the two.

Surprisingly, the methar, or cords have never been mentioned until now. The word comes from the verb yathar, meaning left over, or abundant, or to preserve. They then signify the ability of Christ’s judgment to preserve us and tie us to all of the other aspects of His work, binding us to what He has done and abundantly keeping us for the great day of salvation which lies ahead.

19 the garments of ministry, for ministering in the holy place

These bigde ha’serad, or “cloths of service,” are lumped in here by the NKJV with the garments of Aaron and his sons. However, they were described in Exodus 31:10 where they were noted, most probably, as the cloths which cover the sacred articles of the sanctuary as they were transported from place to place.

They thus reflect Christ concealed. His actual Person and work are covered and not viewable to the people of the world. We are to trust in the work of Christ, and thus they symbolize our faith in His work, which is – other than as recorded in Scripture – completely unseen to us.

*19 (fin) the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”

The garments for the priesthood, along with the things the high priest wore on his garments, comprise all of chapter 28. The garments in particular point to the ministry of Christ – His nature, His attributes, and His work. The garments for Aaron’s sons pictured Christ’s work on our behalf, covering us in His righteousness.

As I said at the beginning of our passage today, there was a lot of repetition from 22 previous sermons. But I bet quite a bit of what we looked at brought back some great reminders of the magnificent pictures of what those sermons detailed.

And as we have highlighted the giving of the people in their goods and in their service, I would like to mention one way of giving which you may not have thought of. If you have just popped into this sermon and haven’t seen what all of those chapters on the anticipated construction of the sanctuary and all of its implements actually detail, you could give the Lord of your time and go back and watch them.

If you’re really brave, you could go back and start watching from Genesis 1:1 as several people have done, and offer your time to the Lord in learning His word. Time is the fire in which we burn, and it is a candle which is quickly being consumed. But time is also the school in which we learn. Therefore, a wise use of your time is one of the greatest things you could offer to the Lord.

I would put learning His word right up at the top of what you can offer to Him. But no matter what you choose to do, what you choose to give, or what services you decide to offer – do it all for the glory of God which is found in Christ Jesus the Lord. And under the odd possibility that you are here not knowing Christ the Lord, well… you’d better get that squared away right now.

Closing Verse: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:7, 8

Next Week: Exodus 35:20-35 Fifteen verses it spans… (Offerings and Artisans) (98th Exodus sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Call to Service

Then Moses gathered all the congregation
Of the children of Israel
Together, and said to them, to the whole nation
These are the words he did tell

These are the words which the Lord
Has commanded you to do; according to His word

Work shall be done for six days
But the seventh day shall be a holy day for you
A Sabbath of rest to the Lord
Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death, so shall you do

You shall kindle no fire, as I now say
Throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day

And Moses spoke to all the congregation
Of the children of Israel, saying
This is the thing which the Lord commanded
This is the saying; these the words he was relaying

Take from among you an offering to the Lord
Whoever is of a willing heart
Let him bring it as an offering to the Lord:
Gold, silver, and bronze, but this is just the start

Blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Fine linen, and goats’ hair as well
Ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood
Such are needed as to you I now tell

Oil for the light
And spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense too
Onyx stones, and stones to be set just right
In the ephod and in the breastplate are needed from you

All who are gifted artisans among you
Shall come and as the Lord has commanded shall make all
The tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps
Its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets, according to His call

The ark and its poles, with the mercy seat
And the veil of the covering; as He did relay
The table and its poles
All its utensils, and the showbread, as the word does say

Also the lampstand for the light
Its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light as well
The incense altar, its poles
The anointing oil, the sweet incense; so I now tell

And the screen for the door
At the entrance of the tabernacle, in that place
The altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating
Its poles, all its utensils, and the laver and its base

The hangings of the court
Its pillars, their sockets, according to these words
And the screen for the gate of the court
The pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords

The garments of ministry
For ministering in the holy place
The holy garments for Aaron the priest
And the garments of his sons, to minister as priests before My face

We have been called to follow a process in the Lord
First to rest in Him and what He has done for us
We come to do this through hearing His word
And then showing faith in the Lord Jesus

After that, we are asked for what we have to give
The things which we possess as our offering to God
With a willing heart in this life that we live
And without compulsion in this walk that we trod

And then if we have been given even more
If we possess a special ability or a skill
We should use that for the Lord, yes let us open that door
And use it for His glory with all of our will

In this, the Lord is surely pleased, we know
And so let us not hold back from Him these things
Serve the Lord with all your heart as you grow
As faithful Christians, in all that title brings

Hallelujah and Amen…




Exodus 34:10-26 (Behold, I am Making a Covenant)

Exodus 34:10-26
Behold, I am Making a Covenant

There is a lot going on in these verses today, and some of them seem entirely disconnected from the other verses, but that really is not the case. The Lord has shown grace to Israel rather than destroying them. Now, He is further refining many of the laws that He previously gave them. He is also repeating, in part or in whole, some of them as well.

At one point in the passage the people are forbidden from making a covenant with the people of the land, sacrificing to their gods, or intermingling with them through marriage. This is actually called harlotry. The reason for this is that in doing any of these things, their hearts will be torn away from worshipping the true God.

The rest of the Old Testament shows us continual violations of this, and the results were exactly as prophesied. We, as a species, have a perverse spot in our hearts where we want to flagrantly disobey God and turn from Him. Edgar Allan Poe would call it “The Imp of the Perverse.”

We are prone to doing something which is self-destructive simply because it takes hold of us and impels us to do it. Although his words are large, often difficult, and at times obsolete from our modern tongue, what he says well reflects the attitude we have. Listen to how he describes our often hell-bent nature –

“We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss — we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain. By slow degrees our sickness and dizziness and horror become merged in a cloud of unnamable feeling. By gradations, still more imperceptible, this cloud assumes shape, as did the vapor from the bottle out of which arose the genius in the Arabian Nights. But out of this our cloud upon the precipice’s edge, there grows into palpability, a shape, far more terrible than any genius or any demon of a tale, and yet it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bones with the fierceness of the delight of its horror. It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height. And this fall — this rushing annihilation — for the very reason that it involves that one most ghastly and loathsome of all the most ghastly and loathsome images of death and suffering which have ever presented themselves to our imagination — for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire it. And because our reason violently deters us from the brink, therefore do we the most impetuously approach it. There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him who, shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a Plunge. To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost; for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot. If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed.”

Poe’s character was consumed with the Imp of the Perverse. A thought entered his mind which would surely condemn him if he spoke it, and yet, speak it he did. He tried walking quickly from it, then running, but it over took him. He could no more constrain himself than a balloon could keep from bursting when over-filled.

Poe understood human nature better than almost any. Outside of the Bible itself, I know of no source that peers so deeply into the human soul. We all carry with us the Imp and it will tear us away from what we should most cherish – Life.

But the Bible also gives us a cure from being consumed by the Imp. It is to hide God’s word in our heart and to hold fast to it, remembering it, and reciting it. It is the safety for our soul and the protection from the eternal curse…

Text Verse: “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:4-6

Each word of today’s passage is connected because they are given as a safeguard from the onslaught of the Imp. The people are being reminded in law, and the law contains reminders in life. The rite of the firstborn, the calling to the feasts, even not boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk.

It is all given to ward off the Imp and to have the people fix their eyes on the Lord. This is what we are asked to do as well. To “fix our eyes on Jesus,” to “fix our thoughts on Jesus,” and to meditate on God’s laws day and night. These things have value because they will keep us from the Imp, and they will keep us from the Lake of Fire where the Imp calls us from. Our lessons are all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Lord Whose Name is Jealous (verses 10-17)

10 And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant.

The last words of Moses in the previous verse said, “Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” The words now coming will confirm that this request is granted. Israel will be made into the Lord’s inheritance.

This is implied in the words, Hinneh anoki koret berit – “Behold, I am cutting a covenant.” It confirms that the covenant will be worked out. Israel had broken it and it could have been annulled in its entirety. If so, they would have been susceptible to the entire weight of the penalty of death, pictured in the original shedding of the blood of the animals. But they had found grace.

Moses had interceded for the people, and the Lord had relented from fulfilling the terrifying terms of the covenant which they had violated. Now, it is God that makes, or “cuts,” the covenant. It is one sided and therefore, “…if there be quarrels, we must bear all the blame; if there be peace, God must have all the glory” (Joseph Benson).

The action here doesn’t mean that the original covenant is reinstated. Nor does it mean that there is a “new covenant.” The grace of God in forgiving the transgressions of the people “describes rather His future rule as a constant, continuous establishment of a covenant” (Lange).

Therefore, the entire time of His dealing with Israel under this covenant is a transitional phase which will be in anticipation of a New Covenant. This is confirmed many hundreds of years later in the words of Jeremiah –

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

The word of the Lord through Jeremiah points back to the covenant which was broken by Israel after being brought out by the Lord. Thus, what is being renewed here is a transitional phase of God’s redemptive workings, and it only anticipates a New Covenant at some point in the future.

10 (con’t) Before all your people I will do marvels

The word “before” is neged. It gives the idea of right in front of, or in view of all. It is the same word used in the 23rd Psalm when speaking of the Lord’s provision being provided right before the eyes of David’s enemies with the words, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (v. 5)

This promise of marvels is said to be before “your people,” meaning the people of Israel. They will personally behold what the Lord will do. In this, it will bring about a two-fold aspect for them to consider.

First, it will be that their faith in God should be strengthened as they see the marvels He does, but it will also actually bring about a more terrifying culpability when the people stray. Having personally seen the work of the Lord, they will thus be more accountable should they reject Him.

10 (con’t) such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation;

The words “have been done” here are from a single verb, bara. When used in relation to God, it signifies His creative effort. It is the word which was used in Genesis 1:1 concerning the creation of the heavens and the earth. The next time it will be used in Scripture will be in Numbers 16, confirming the word of the Lord now spoken –

“By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord.” Numbers 16:28-30

The Lord created a new thing in the destruction of those who rebelled against Him. This is the type of marvel that He would work in and among the people with whom this covenant was being made. Their eyes would behold marvels never before conceived of.

10 (con’t) and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord.

In verse 9, Moses said to the Lord, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”

The Lord now uses the same term, among, but He contrasts the words “go among us” with “among whom you are.” What this means is that Moses is the one who interceded for the people. He is considered the administrator of the law. And so even after his death, it will be recognized that the great marvels of the Lord will be among the people of Moses.

Jesus confirms this thought with words from Matthew 23:2 which say, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.” The law is called the “Law of Moses.” The authority of the law is called “Moses’s seat.” Thus the great deeds of the Lord will be before “all the people among whom you are,” meaning Moses.

Therefore, the “marvels” which are spoken of here are not just constrained to the lifetime of Moses, but they are all the marvels which will occur during the time of the law, culminating in the greatest works of all under the law, those of Christ – to include the fulfillment of the Law of Moses itself.

10 (con’t) For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

The word translated here as “awesome” is yare – it is a noun which means “fright” or a “terrible act,” but it includes the thought of being placed in a state of fearful reverence. The work which will be accomplished by the Lord will be a terror. It will be a terror to the enemies of Israel, as they are destroyed for the sake of Israel, and it will be a terror to the people of Israel as they are destroyed for violating the covenant which is set before them.

The world will behold the might, power, and majesty of the Lord in both contexts, a work which continues on to this day as He continues to bring the terror which was promised 3500 years ago.

And again, the Lord says that this will be a thing “that I will do with you.” He uses Moses as the cause of the terror which will proceed from the Lord. As I said, this continues on until this day. But how can that be if the Law of Moses is annulled in Christ? It is because Daniel 9:24-27 promises 7 more years to the people of Israel to come into the New Covenant through the work of Christ.

This is why, even to this day, the terror of the Lord as described in these verses applies to all who witness what He will do to and through Israel. When we think of the ultimate terror, that of the Tribulation Period, we can see the immensity of the words spoken at this time to Moses. He probably had no idea the scope of what he was being told. For Israel, the terror will be realized in its fullness by the words –

“Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7

For the world at large, the terror will be realized in the words of Revelation –

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:16, 17

11 Observe what I command you this day.

This is spoken to Moses personally. He will be given a set of commands, most of which are positive in nature. The admonition here is to ensure that the people, typified by Moses, were to adhere to the commands. But the Lord doesn’t immediately give the commands. Before doing so, he makes a promise on which the commands are actually dependent…

11 (con’t) Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

These words both form one of the wonders the Lord promises He will do, and they form the basis on which the subsequent commands will be given. He promises that it will be by His power, not Israel’s, that the nations would be driven out. That Israel was used in the process does not negate His having accomplished it. Rather, Israel was a part of His arsenal in making it come about. That this is one of the coming wonders He will perform is seen many years later in the words of David –

“And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land—before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? 24 For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, Lord, have become their God.” 2 Samuel 7:23, 24

David spoke both of the redemption of the people from Egypt, but also from the nations, meaning many of the nations mentioned here in this verse. The Lord promised He would do this, and He fulfilled His promise. But just as importantly as this, the driving out of these nations is necessary because it will provide Israel the basis for the laws which He will now pronounce…

12 Take heed to yourself,

These words are an imperative. The heart is prone to wander and the flesh is weak. Moses is being instructed now that a positive mindset and action is required in order to keep from failing. And lest we think we are exempted from this while living in the dispensation of grace, Paul warns us in the church otherwise –

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13

12 (con’t) lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.

The nations of the land were to be driven out for a specific set of reasons. First, they had become so perverse and ungodly that the judgment of God was due them. This is seen in Leviticus 18 –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled).” Leviticus 18:26, 27

Secondly, it was promised to Abraham and his chosen descendants. Israel was that select line and the time of the fulfillment of that promise was rapidly approaching –

“Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:15, 16

And the third reason is that if they did stay, and Israel made a covenant with them, the Lord now says that such an action would become “a snare in your midst.” This is a close repeat of the words of Exodus 23. There it said –

“You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

A covenant with the people would imply a covenant with their gods. Such an action would be sin against the Lord. Making alliances with those who worship other gods will inevitably result in a weakening of the true faith. It is as a snare by which one is caught. It is as if one is walking along, and without even seeing it lying there, they step in it and are set on a path to destruction.

This is the end for all who mingle the true faith with that which is false. Unfortunately, Israel failed to heed. Even today, 3500 years later, they continue to fail in this regard.

13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images

In Exodus 23, the people were told to break down the sacred pillars of the inhabitants. The Lord adds onto that here. First, they are to destroy their altars. The word nathats, or “destroy” is introduced here. It gives the idea of breaking down, and thus to destroy. The Lord had mandated what type of altar was acceptable to use before Him. These were pagan altars which were to be utterly removed from the land.

Next, they were to “break down their sacred pillars.” The false gods were identified with the images which represented them. They were to be utterly broken down. They were to be crushed, burned, and left as nothing more than refuse.

It was the practice of conquering forces to take the idols of the vanquished nations and keep them as trophies of victory. However, this was not to be condoned in Israel. They were false, they couldn’t save their own people, and they could only entice Israel to eventually look to them for what they could never provide. The wicked king Amaziah actually did exactly this –

 Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. 15 Therefore the anger of the Lord was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?” 2 Chronicles 25:14, 15

Thirdly, they were to “cut down their wooden images.” These images, or Asherah are introduced into Scripture here. They were based on a goddess of the same name found in Phoenicia, Assyria, Canaan, and the like. They will be noted throughout the Old Testament as being worshipped by Israel. Exactly as the Lord warned, they became a snare to the people.

14 (for you shall worship no other god,

Each of these things that was instructed to be broken down was because it represented a false god. Hence the term ki or “for” is given. The plural “other gods” of the first commandment is made singular – “…you shall worship no other god.” The Lord is being explicit because the people had already done this on their own, fashioning a false god, erecting an altar to it, and sacrificing to it.

In His hot displeasure, He was prepared to destroy the people. Now, He is explicitly stating that as the people of the land were to be destroyed, so should their false religious implements be so destroyed. He has promised to take care of the inhabitants, and He expects Israel to take care of what they leave behind. These things served no other purpose but that of false worship and idolatry.

14 (con’t) for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

It is an unpopular set of words for many. People find the thought of jealousy being ascribed to God as something unworthy of His divine nature. But this is absurd for several reasons. First, He claims the title to Himself. Thus challenging the attribute is a challenge against Him.

Secondly, if God was not jealous of Himself and His own honor, it would mean that idolatry was unimportant to Him. If this were true, then it would mean He cared nothing for His creatures. Idolatry includes many moral negatives – adultery, self-flagellation, even human sacrifice.

Thus, it would be contrary to the nature of God for Him to not be jealous. Thus, the Lord’s name and his character answer one to the other. The Lord’s name is Qanna, and el qanna hu – “A jealous God is He.”

Further, in Proverbs 6:34, jealousy is called a husband’s fury. This is what is seen here. The covenant between the Lord and the people of Israel was a type of marriage contract. In the worship of other gods, the fury of their Husband, His righteous displeasure, would be brought out of Him.

Finally, this type of jealousy doesn’t indicate jealously of success in another. It speaks of a defense of His honor and glory. When one bows to another god, the Lord isn’t jealous of that false god receiving worship. His jealousy is having been deprived of what He is justly due. His words in Isaiah show the thought well –

“I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.” Isaiah 42:8

As Matthew Henry states about this verse, “Those cannot worship God aright, who do not worship him only.”

15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice,

The idea of verses 15 & 16 is, “One thing leads to another.” If the people were to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, they would then be joined in a familiar way with them. But the Lord has promised to drive them out of the land. A covenant would imply that they receive safe harbor within the land.

This would be contrary to the work of the Lord in expelling them. Now, with their safe harbor, they would continue to “play the harlot” with their gods. This is the first time this word, zanah, or harlot, is used in a spiritual sense in the Bible, and it is used of Gentile people in relation to their gods.

The Lord is their Creator too, and yet they sacrifice to that which is not God. In these words, His jealousy is as evident as in that which He proclaims towards Israel. But they are not His redeemed people and so they are to be destroyed. But, with safe harbor, they instead sacrifice to their own gods and they will even invite Israel to join them. The covenant brothers will now be brothers in worship also.

16 and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.

Brothers in worship will inevitably become brothers by blood. The relations will become deeply rooted in family. In joining in marriage, there will be a joining in false worship, and the sons and daughters of Israel would soon “play the harlot” with false gods.

Here the thought of the marriage tie between the Lord and Israel is seen in its full sense. A covenant was made with the Lord, resembling the rite of marriage. Just as when a woman who goes out from her husband to another man is considered adultery (well, it used to be), so is the worship of other gods by the people of the Lord. This is the idea which is conveyed here concerning sacrificing to, and worshipping of, other gods.

It is a lesson Israel failed to heed, and they were swept up in idolatry, from the least even to the greatest. Kings as great as Solomon intermarried, and they left the Lord in order to worship the gods of their wives.

17 “You shall make no molded gods for yourselves.

This verse ends the long chiasm which started all the way back at verse 32:1. The chiasm opened with an example of idolatry in the making of the golden calf; we have now been given warnings against idolatry in these commands of the re-worked and continually reworking covenant of the Lord. Here as a final warning, He commands explicitly against what they had done by using the words elohe masekah, or “molded gods.” The word “molded” was first used when speaking of the molten calf which Aaron made, now it is warned against explicitly in any type, shape, or form. No.molded.gods!

I am a God of grace, longsuffering and kind
I am a God of mercy, forgiving transgression and sin
But I am a jealous God; to harlotry I am not blind
And in your harlotry, you will find yourself done in

If you go a-whoring after other gods, away from Me
Your heart will be led completely astray
My fury will rise against you, most assuredly
And I will destroy you and your wicked way

Cling to Me! Let Me be your only God
Follow Me and I will give you life and love
Pursue Me always in this life you trod
And I will shower you with blessings, yes blessings from above

II. Close Fellowship With the Lord (verses 18-26)

18 “The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

In what seems an abrupt change in commands, a feast of the Lord is suddenly introduced. It will be followed up with the other two pilgrim feasts. There is actually nothing abrupt about this. Rather, it is a logical progression of thought. The people are warned against idolatry, and then they are admonished to keep the precepts which acknowledged them as the people of the Lord.

As the Lord’s people, they would fellowship with Him intimately through these feasts. Instead of sacrificing to other gods, they would be sacrificing to Him. One must ask why, though, the double feast of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is simply called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The reason is that they had been redeemed. The Passover, though observed annually, was commemorative in nature. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instructive in nature. It signified being separated from the heathen world. They were to commemorate this annually to show their set-apart status. Every year at ha’aviv, or the time of fresh young ears of grain, they were to observe the feast.

19 “All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.

The term peter or “open” was introduced into the Bible in Exodus 13. It was used 5 times where the “Law of the Firstborn” was given in great detail. Now it is mentioned again, three times in verses 19 & 20. As this mandate was given before the giving of the law, it is now brought into the law itself. It is not an option, but rather a command which must be adhered to.

This claim on the firstborn is an assertion by the Lord that all born to Israel – man or beast – were His, but the firstborn was taken as representative of that fact. The people were set apart to Him and the clean animals were His.

20 But the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem.

The donkey is representative of all unclean animals. They were not to be offered to the Lord, and so they had to either be redeemed by a clean animal, or they were to be killed. A picture is made here. The donkey, symbolic of unclean Gentiles, was to be redeemed with a lamb or have its neck broken. In picture, the Gentile had never been redeemed by Christ. Instead, his neck remained turned in defiance to Him. This is why the breaking of the neck is chosen.

Human sacrifice was unacceptable, and so all human sons of Israel were required to be redeemed.

20 (con’t) “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.

The word “empty-handed” is reqam. It gives the sense of something being vain. The word was used was in Exodus 3:21 when the Lord promised that Israel would not come out of Egypt empty-handed –

“So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.” Exodus 3:20, 21

The intent here is that, “Just as I brought you out of Egypt with hands that were not empty, so you shall come before Me with hands that are not empty. To do so would be a vain thing.” The Lord provided for Israel; Israel was to acknowledge that.

21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest;

The mandate of the Sabbath rest has already been seen at the time of the giving of Manna in Exodus 16. It was brought in as the fourth of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. It was reiterated in the Book of the Covenant in Exodus 23. And it was again given as an appendix in the directions for the construction of the Sanctuary in Exodus 31. It is given again now for the following reason which is tied into the annual harvest feasts…

21 (con’t) in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

The word kharish, or “plowing” is rather rare, being used only three times in the Bible. Normally the Bible speaks of seedtime and harvest, but here it speaks of plowing. This is set in contrast to reaping then. The times where hard physical work was required, it was still to be stopped on each Sabbath day.

This is especially so because if the weather was bad all week, these tasks may have been urgently needed. However, the Lord may provide a marvelously beautiful day on the Sabbath. The obvious thought might be, “The Lord has given us this beautiful day to plow so that we will be fruitful.” But rather, they are being told now that this was not the case. The Sabbath was not to be violated.

22 “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,

Khag Shavuot, or the “Feast of Weeks,” gets its name from a seven-week period which started at the bringing of the Firstfruits to the Lord. This is detailed in Leviticus 23:10, 11. In Exodus 23, this same feast was call ha’qatsiyr, or “the harvest.” The feast in Greek and in the New Testament is called “Pentecost” meaning “fiftieth.”

This grain harvest, which began fifty days earlier, was now considered finished. As the feast of harvest, it was a celebration of the blessing of labor in the field.

22 (con’t) and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.

Khag ha’asiph, or Feast [of] the Ingathering is the final of the three mandatory pilgrim feasts. It is only called by this name here and Exodus 23:16. When the feast is mentioned elsewhere, it is called Sukkoth, or Tabernacles. It is referring to the ending of the harvest season when the labors of the people are gathered in from the field.

The dating for this feast will later be fixed as the 15th day of the seventh month and it will last for seven days. This corresponds to around October on our calendar. There are various crops that grow in Israel throughout the summer months and by this time, they are almost all harvested.

Generally, the last crops to be gathered in are the grapes, figs, pomegranates, almonds, and olives. At the time when these harvests were accomplished, the people were to celebrate this feast of their labors, as it says “at the year’s end.”

The Hebrew term for “end” here is tequphah. It is a noun used for the first of just four times. It means a coming round or circuit, and it comes from the verb naqaph – to circle or go around. At this point of turning, the cycle of the agricultural life they lived would be ready to start once again.

23 “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel.

This verse is almost a repeat of Exodus 23:17. The only difference is that it includes the words elohe yisrael or “the God of Israel” at the end of it. The Lord Yehovah is specifically said to be “the Lord Yehovah, the God of Israel.”

24 For I will cast out the nations before you

The Lord has promised to do this, though the people did not fully obey the Lord concerning making covenants with the inhabitants, nor did they fully obey in driving out all of the people, the nations were essentially driven out from the land. Israel ruled the land of Canaan as was originally promised to Abraham in Genesis 12.

24 (con’t) and enlarge your borders;

Later in Genesis 15, the Lord promised Abraham an enlargement of the borders originally promised. That is repeated now, and it was fulfilled at the time of David and leading into the rule of Solomon. Though they only possessed this larger expanse of land for a short time, the promise was fulfilled.

24 (con’t) neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year

These words are found nowhere else in Scripture, but they are so memorable that no other recording of them is needed. Even though every male of Israel was to present himself before the Lord, leaving every city and town with only women and children, the Lord made a promise that they would never need to fear during these feasts, even with no protection at all in a country larger than the state of New Jersey. With its increased borders at the time of Solomon, it was far, far larger than that. It is an amazing promise, but it was a promise based on the obedience of the people.

25 “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.

With but a few differences, this verse is almost the same as Exodus 23:18. In both verses, the blood is the object of what is offered instead of the sacrifice – “You shall not offer the blood.” As the Bible says that the life is in the blood, and because grain offerings were considered separate offerings than sacrifices, it is referring only to the Passover, which is a type of Christ’s cross. Thus it is called, “My sacrifice.”

Leaven was to be completely purged from the home prior to the slaughtering of the Passover. Thus it is a picture of the sinless Christ who shed His blood for us. There was no sin to be found in Him, just as there was no leaven to be found in the homes of those who partook of the Passover. There was to be nothing left of the lamb by morning time. This was explained in Exodus 12 –

“You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.” Exodus 12:10

*26 “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Verse 26 is identical to Exodus 23:19, word for word. For that reason, I’ll send you there either via my written sermon, or YouTube for you to get all of the exciting details. Suffice it to say that every word of this verse points to the work of Christ. His resurrection, and all the way through to the end times.

In fact, each of the precepts that we have looked at today picture Christ intimately. If you missed those previous sermons, go back and watch them to get a full appreciation for all that is entailed in them. There is truly marvel to be seen in how Christ is so beautifully revealed. Today, I simply took the time to highlight the changes from previous passages, and to explain any additions. But be sure that it is all about Christ.

The Old Testament was given to show us what lay ahead in Him. Without Him, we are all lost. We follow the Imp of the Perverse and we turn our hearts away from God, but with Christ, we are given the ability to focus our thoughts anew and to redirect our hearts and our lives to a state which God finds good and pleasing.

And it is all based on our faith and His grace. If you have never received the good news of Jesus Christ, please do it today. He died so that we can live. Through the blood of His cross, we are reconciled to God and brought near to Him once again.

Closing Verse: “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:23, 24

Next Week: Exodus 34:27-35 Don’t think this title at all odd… (The Refulgency of God) (96th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Covenant Continues

And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant
Before all your people, of every station
I will do marvels such as have not been done
In all the earth, nor in any nation

And all the people among whom you are
Shall see the work of the Lord
For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you
The guarantee is my word

Observe what I command you this day
Behold, I am driving out from before you, as I determine is right
The Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite
And the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite

Take heed to yourself
Lest a covenant with the inhabitants you make
Of the land where you are going
Lest it be a snare in your midst, this warning do take

But you shall destroy their altars
Break their sacred pillars too
And cut down their wooden images
For no other god shall be worshipped by you

For the Lord, whose name is Jealous
Is a jealous God, and for His name He is zealous

Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land
And they play the harlot with their gods, a terrible vice
And make sacrifice to their gods
And one of them invites you, and you eat of his sacrifice

And you take of his daughters for your sons
And his daughters the harlot with their gods play
And make your sons play the harlot with their gods
You shall make no molded gods for yourselves; this you shall obey

The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread
As I commanded you
In the appointed time of the month of Abib; just as I have said

For in the month of Abib out from Egypt you came
And so the nations heard of my great name

All that open the womb are Mine
And every male firstborn among your livestock
Whether ox or sheep
Animals of the herd or of the flock

But the firstborn of a donkey
You shall redeem with a lamb for My name’s sake
And if you will not redeem him
Then his neck you shall break

All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem, I have commanded
And none shall appear before Me empty-handed

Six days you shall work
But on the seventh day you shall rest
In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest
Do not disobey and thus put me to the test

And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks
Of the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat
And the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end
When the harvest cycle is complete

Three times in the year all your men
Shall appear before the Lord
The Lord God of Israel
This according to my word

For I will cast out the nations before you, so understand
And enlarge your borders, so will it be – have no fear
Neither will any man covet your land
When you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven
This I state to you as a warning
Nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover
Be left until morning

The first of the firstfruits of your land
You shall bring to the house of the Lord your God
You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk
You shall not so defile the land upon which you trod

Lord God, You gave good laws to Israel
But as a people, they failed You time after time
They turned their necks to you, and raised their fists as well
But through it all, You have claimed, “This people is Mine”

And the people of Your church have likewise turned away
We have shunned Your grace and gone after works of our own
But still You hold out nailed-scarred hands, even to this day
Great mercies to Your wayward people you have shown

Help us Lord to turn our hearts to You
Help us to be like Christ, ever faithful and true

And as we walk upon this world, let us ever give You praise
Yes, for the duration of our lives, whatever number be our days

For You are worthy, O God – Yes, faithful and true
And so we shall in heaven’s majestic home, ever be praising You

Hallelujah and Amen…

Exodus 33:12-23 (My Presence Will Go With You, And I Will Give You Rest)

Exodus 33:12-23
My Presence Will Go With You, And I Will Give You Rest

Today we will come to the center verses of the lengthy chiasm which comprises this and the surrounding chapters. We’ll also start heading back down the other side of it towards its completion. The verses which surround the center verse speak of God’s grace.

Moses has been told that he has found grace in the eyes of the Lord, but he is unsure as to how far that actually extends. Does it include his beloved people Israel? He asks that it would, and he goes into great length to ensure that the message he is given is perfectly understood and without any ambiguity.

It is not that he doesn’t trust the Lord, it is that he doesn’t trust the people. They are prone to error and they are stiff-necked towards the Lord. And so he will methodically work to make sure that the grace he has been given will also be grace for them.

Text Verse:  Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness—
Israel, when I went to give him rest.” Jeremiah 31:2

Israel has a long history of disobedience and falling away from the Lord, and yet if you talk to many Jews today, they are under the assumption that they are somehow deserving of God’s favor. They have an attitude that because of who they are as a people, they are exempt from the very laws that established them as a people.

It’s often hard to have a dialogue with a Jew about righteousness, because they feel they already inherently possess it. It is as if the grace that was bestowed on them was a once-for-all-time thing. It is as if to them God stamped them with a seal of approval, declared them righteous, and that is that.

As long as they have this impression, they have no need of Jesus. What good is imputed righteousness when you already have your own inherent righteousness? But one of the verses today is used by Paul to show us the folly of this type of thinking on their part.

And not to get too down on the Jews, there are oodles and buckets full of people who think they are inherently righteous before God on their own merits. There are others who think they are righteous because of what they have done for their church, or even more – simply because of the church they attend.

But the lesson of the Bible is that all need grace. If one needs grace, it means that they have a lack which needs to be filled. One cannot merit grace. And so if that grace is lacking, then there is no other way to replace it.

On the other hand, there are those who know they have a problem and what they seek is mercy. However, one must know where God’s mercy is derived from. How do you not get what you do deserve? That is the question and it leads right back to the grace. If the grace is lacking, the mercy cannot be provided because the mercy is the result of grace.

It’s a horrible cycle for much of the world and it is something that all people need to ponder and to rectify. For corporate Israel, Moses secured the grace, but for individual Israelites, there is still a need for what God offers. Moses did His part, each Jew must do his part, and every one of us needs to do our part as well. Let us seek the Lord while He may be found.

He has offered us a Rock of refuge and a place of safety. The Bible tells us all the details if we will simply search them out. Yes, it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Show Me Your Way (verses 12-14)

12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me.

In the last passage, the people had stripped off their ornamentation in a sign of remorse. They further had been shown that the Lord was no longer to dwell in their midst, but a far distance off from them. They had to go outside the camp to seek Him. Those in the camp simply worshiped from afar.

Their acts of self-humiliation now lead to Moses beginning a discourse, petitioning the Lord for His favor and to once again allow the honor of having His glory dwell in their midst. Without His divine Presence, there would be a notable fracture between Him and the people of Israel.

In verse 11 it said, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” He is using this familiarity to draw out from the Lord His divine favor. He is looking for clarification of what it means when He said that He would send “an angel” before them. What angel? He wants the same assurance which came back in Exodus 23 with the words “My Angel.”

In the previous passage, I noted the extremely complicated nature of the chronology of theses verses. Scholars have struggled to determine when things were said and how they fit together. But we learned that the details which we are looking at in Chapter 33 and through until verse 9 of chapter 34, chronologically belong between verses 33 and 34 of Chapter 32.

In Exodus 23:30, the Angel of the Lord was promised to go up with them. In Exodus 33:7, which chronologically belongs between Exodus 32:33 and 32:34, “an angel” has been determined to go before them, but who it is isn’t known. Now Moses is questioning that. “Just who is it that will go before us?”

This is a clue that we are still in the middle of those verses now. Only when we come to verse 34:10 will we once again be moving forward from that point. I believe the reason for this is to show us the chiasm which spans these chapters. It is showing the logical nature of what is spoken for us to understand what is going on.

I know it is complicated, and it may seem to make little difference in the overall scheme of things, but this is a detailed and important part of the redemptive narrative. Will the Lord remain among His people or not? Moses is working to determine He that will be.

He has been told to bring the people up to Canaan, but unless it is the Lord who leads them, he thinks it is unwise to move an inch. What he is doing now is establishing to Israel that without the Lord in their midst, they have no security, no surety, and are just like all the other people of the earth.

12 (con’t) Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name,

This has not been specifically recorded in the past. However, the Lord called to Moses by name from the burning bush. He has been called by name from the midst of the cloud as well. Such an act implies the greatest sense of divine favor.

Those whom He favors in an intimate way are said to be known by name. It is the same as a king in a kingdom. All are subjects, but those who are known by name are those who have special access to the king. To the Lord, the name signifies the being and thus the special election to which one is called. This is seen elsewhere in Scripture, such as at the calling of Cyrus, the king of Persia –

“For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4

It is also what Jesus did when Peter first encountered Him –

One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). John 1:40-42

12 (con’t) and you have also found grace in My sight.’

Again, this hasn’t been recorded in Scripture. However, it has been implied in several ways. In the last chapter, the Lord’s anger was evident when He said He would destroy Israel and make Moses’ name great instead. After Moses petitioned Him on Israel’s behalf, the Lord relented for his sake. In both instances, he found grace in the Lord’s sight. At the same time, Israel was granted mercy.

13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way,

This verse brings in the full picture of Moses acting as a mediator on behalf of Israel. He is thus a picture of Christ who ever lives to intercede for His people before the Father. Because of the grace which he has been given, he submits his request, but first by restating the fact that he has already been given grace – “…if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way.”

If, in fact, he has found grace in the sight of the Lord, then he would like to know what the plans of the Lord are for the conduct of the people. How will they be led? By whom will they be led? To Moses, proof of his having found grace is tied up in whether the Lord will be with His people or not.

13 (con’t) that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.

This is similar to Jacob’s wrestling with the Lord by the Jabbok River. He is struggling with the Lord and will not let Him go without first receiving a blessing. However, this blessing is not for himself, but for Israel. Just as the Lord blessed Israel by the River, Moses seeks a blessing for Israel while in the wilderness. To Moses, grace to him implies also grace towards the people. If they are given good and sure promises, then Moses will feel satisfied that he has, in fact, found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

13 (con’t) And consider that this nation is Your people.”

Moses here looks back to Exodus 32:7 where the Lord said, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.” As he did then, he again reminds Himthat they are His people and they bear His name. He had acknowledged this time and again before Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. “I have seen the affliction of My people.” “Let My people go.” And on and on, He had claimed them as His people. Moses asks Him to consider this yet again.

14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

panai yeleku va’hanikhoti lakh – “My face shall go, and I will give rest to you.” The face of the Lord is the Lord. His face indicates His Presence. This is reflected in the words of Isaiah 63 –

“In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9

This verse ends the upward climb of the chiasm which spans these many verses. The Lord has spoken; the wrestling match seems to have ended; Moses appears to have received his blessing. The Lord Himself will be present and it will be He who assures that rest is given, meaning the Land of Promise. However, Moses still senses a note of ambiguity.

The words, “with you” are inserted into this verse. The coming verses will show us that he is still concerned that this may only be a personal promise from the Lord to him. What he desires is that it will be a renewal of what was previously promised to the congregation as a whole.

Show me Your way, O Lord, this I pray
Reveal to me that which I need to know
Show me what You have in store for me this day
And reveal to me the path on which I should go

Here in Your word I come to seek Your face
And here in Your word do I come each day
It guides me in life from place to place
Show me Your way, O Lord, this I pray

Open my eyes to the glory set before me
Show me Your way, O Lord, this I pray
Lead me to the still waters and to the glassy sea
Be with me as I open this word to read, each and every day

II. Show Me Your Glory (verses 15-18)

15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.

This verse here forms the center of the long and detailed chiasm. It is a verse which reflects Moses’ adamant desire that Israel as a people be considered sacred to the Lord. Moses again ties the people in with himself. The previous verse said that Moses would be given rest, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the congregation would receive it with him. For this reason, he reiterates the request.

What would happen if the people rebelled again. What would the Lord do if they fell into national sin? Would the Lord again reject them? Moses is looking for the highest assurance that Israel will be led to its place of rest. No matter what they do, he is asking for the guarantee that as a people, they will continue to receive the grace of His presence. As John Lange comments concerning this verse –

“Better to die in the wilderness than to reach his goal without that guidance.”

16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us?

This is an obvious question. Grace is unmerited favor. How can one know that they have received unmerited favor unless they have a knowledge of that favor? If they made it to Canaan and completely subdued the land, would it have been the favor of the Lord, or would it maybe have been the lesser gods of time and chance? Isaiah later speaks of such things –

“But you are those who forsake the Lord,
Who forget My holy mountain,
Who prepare a table for Gad [fortune],
And who furnish a drink offering for Meni [destiny].” Isaiah 65:11

Or could it be the greatness of Israel as a people apart from the Lord? History has spoken of this belief time and again, as recorded in the Bible and in the history of the people throughout the ages –

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’” Judges 7:2

Just as the Lord cherished His honor in both of those instances, Moses desires that the people receive the Lord’s grace now. His divine Presence among them is the guarantee of this grace that he seeks. Without it, there would be no indication that they were different from any of the other nations of the earth. In short, being the Lord’s people would mean nothing more than being the people of any pagan god.

16 (con’t) So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”

By the guarantee of the divine Presence among them, a distinction will be evident. The word translated here as “so we shall be separated” is palah. This is fourth of only seven times it will be seen in the Bible. It is found only in Exodus and the psalms. It comes from a primitive root meaning, “to distinguish.” In Psalm 139, it is used in its more precise sense –

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14

The intent of Moses’ words are that the presence of the Lord will indicate that they are “marvelously separated” from all of the people on the face of the earth. For the Christian, it would be the sealing of the Holy Spirit who “marvelously separates” us unto God from all other people.

17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken;

ha’davar hazzeh asher dibarta e-e-seh – “The word this that you have spoken, I will do.” At last, the full and complete response which Moses sought has been realized. He has displayed amazing persistence towards the Lord, having taken full advantage of the face to face friendship previously mentioned.

In his diligence, he has now been rewarded. The words are in response to the petition of the previous verse, but they are also inclusive of the entire request presented by Moses, as is evidenced in the substance of the corresponding branches of the chiasm. Those words comprise verse 13 which said –

“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”

The Lord promised to not only make them His people, but that they would remain His people. They would not be cut off from this state even if they were to erringly fall away individually or nationally. Punishment would come, but He would – for once and forever – consider this nation His people.

In an astonishing understanding of this precept, Adam Clarke wrote the following concerning the promise of this verse. As I read what he says, remember that he lived from 1762 until 1832. Even at that point in time, he realized that God was still, even then, saving Israel for something marvelous in his future –

“…from the day in which he brought them out of Egypt to the present day, he has kept them a distinct, unmixed people! Who can account for this on any principle but that of a continual especial providence, and a constant Divine interference? The Jews have ever been a people fond of money; had they been mingled with the people of the earth among whom they have been scattered, their secular interests would have been greatly promoted by it; and they who have sacrificed every thing besides to their love of money, on this point have been incorruptible! They chose in every part of their dispersions rather to be a poor, despised, persecuted people, and continue separate from all the people of the earth, than to enjoy ease and affluence by becoming mixed with the nations. For what great purposes must God be preserving this people! for it does not appear that any moral principle binds them together – they seem lost to this; and yet in opposition to their interests, for which in other respects they would sacrifice every thing, they are still kept distinct from all the people of the earth: for this an especial providence alone can account.”

Even at such an early date, long before any possible restoration of Israel to their land was conceived, Clarke looked at this promise of the Lord and knew it had future implications for them as a people.

The Lord has granted Moses’ request, to include everything since verse 12, but without having the chiastic structure highlighted, the verses seem difficult to grasp and to follow; but with it available, the entire passage comes into clear focus. The requests of Moses are granted. And so, it validates the truth of the next words…

17 (con’t) for you have found grace in My sight,

What was unspoken in the pages of the Bible thus far, but which is implied as having been said because of Moses’ words of verse 12, is now spoken in an outright manner. Because of Moses’ intercession on behalf of his people, the Lord explicitly states, “…you have found grace in My sight.”

Now stop and think on this from a New Covenant perspective. If Moses was given such great and enduring promises from the Lord at a time when all of Israel had failed, and considering Moses’ state as a mere human mediator, how much more assured should we be of the greater and more eternal promises of Christ who is our Mediator! He is the God/Man who is there before the throne of His Father, interceding for us moment by moment as we fail to live up to His absolute perfection. Paul may have been thinking of this passage when he wrote these words from Romans –

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

17 (con’t) and I know you by name.”

The chiasm is quickly racing in the opposite direction now. These words correspond to verse 12 which started our verses today. Moses was favored by the Lord; known to Him by name. Because of this, he could mediate out such a weighty and marvelous promise from Him. How much more then can we anticipate from the mediation of Christ!

He, the Son of the Father, is known in the most intimate way of all and He speaks on our behalf, ever-petitioning for us. Because of Christ, we each are intimately known by name. There could be no greater assurance in all of heaven or earth of that which we possess because of Him.

Stepping back to Moses for a moment, what is ironic is that his petition for the Lord’s Presence to be with the people until they received their rest will actually come back to bite him personally. He will die outside of the Land of Canaan for having not hallowed Him “in the midst of the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:51).

Though judgment will come upon the offenders of the idolatry of the golden calf, and judgment will come upon many more – including Moses – before the wilderness wanderings are ended, the people as a whole would never have the divine Presence of God removed from them. Moses actually ended by taking the guilt of the people upon himself. Another marvelous picture of Christ in the countless thousands already seen.

The tabernacle will be built after all. The Presence will reside in their midst, and the people will be marvelously separated from the nations of the world. Like his forefather Jacob, Moses has struggled with God and men and he has prevailed. Because of this, he has a personal request of the Lord…

18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Moses could have requested this at any previous time, but he only does so after he has secured the restoration of His people. This is amazingly similar to Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17. Only after having completed the work on behalf of His people did Jesus ask to again share in the glory with His Father –

“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:4, 5

Now that the destiny of Israel is secure, the desires of Moses need to be quenched. He had experienced fellowship with God beyond anything any man since Adam had experienced, and yet everything he had seen to this point has only made him desirous of more. He wanted to fill himself up with the goodness of the Lord and so he asks hareni na eth kebodekha – “Show me, I pray, Your glory.”

Exactly what he is requesting is debated, but if one assumes that Moses was already aware of the Genesis account, then he is asking to see what Adam saw. He is asking to see the visible representation of the Lord who walked in perfect fellowship and harmony with our first father.

Before sin clouded man’s mind, he walked in fellowship with His Creator, but when sin entered Adam, he hid from Him and stood in fear of Him. Moses is asking that this division be ended and that a more perfect fellowship – the glory of God – be revealed to him. He has seen numerous and marvelous manifestations of God, but they concealed more than they revealed. Moses desires that to end.

Show me Your glory, O Lord, this I pray
Reveal to me that which I most desire to know
Let me see Your goodness set before me, here on this day
And reveal to me the path on which I should go

Here in Your word I come to seek Your face
And here in Your word do I come each day
It guides me in life from place to place
Show me Your glory, O Lord, this I pray

Open my eyes to the majesty set before me
Show me Your glory, O Lord, this I pray
And there I shall sing praises to You by the glassy sea
Until then I will seek You in Your word, day unto day

III. Here is a Place by Me (verse 19-23)

19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you,

This promise is fulfilled in the words of Chapter 34 verses 5-7. He promises a special revelation of Himself to Moses where He will reveal all of His goodness before him. The word for “goodness,” tuv, is one which indicates beauty, gladness, welfare, and the like.

This goodness is certainly not a physical brilliance so much as it is the ethical reality of who the Lord is, represented elsewhere by the physical brilliance. This is the infinite ethical purity of God which transcends anything a human could ever grasp.

Further, the attributes of God are many, and they are all good, but some of them carry a negative connotation – justice for example carries the connotation of judgment on sin. As Moses is a fallen man, he could not bear to see His infinite purity in this manner. What Moses will behold is the merciful, gracious, compassionate Creator in a manner that he could assimilate. And as He so passes by, the Lord says that He will do something extra…

19 (cont’) and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you.

The noun here is used for the pronoun. This is something common in Scripture. To proclaim a name is to proclaim the essence of the being which the name represents. The name will be proclaimed, or “called out” as the word implies, for Moses’ sake. He will be neither surprised and thus terrified, nor will he blink and miss his chance at the unique revelation of the Lord.

Yehovah will proclaim His coming as an exceptional act of grace to his trusted servant. It is something unmerited, and yet it is something which defines who He is. He is the God of all grace…

19 (cont’) I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

The Lord is notifying Moses that He will, in fact be gracious towards him, and thus towards the people on whose behalf he is petitioning, but He is not doing this to curry their favor. Rather, there are some who will be punished in light ways, and some who will be punished with a heavy hand.

Others will be pardoned and receive mercy. However, this doesn’t mean that they are better or more righteous than those who receive punishment, but because of His own sovereign will in His workings in redemptive history. His grace and compassion are neither arbitrary, nor are they to curry favor or to show vindictiveness.

Instead, He is sovereign. His judgments are righteous and His ways are perfect. What He does is a result of who He is and what He has determined. Paul uses this very verse in Romans 9 to upturn the self-righteous attitude of the Jews –

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” Romans 9:14-16

The Lord was not obligated to forgive Israel, nor was He bound to show His goodness to Moses. He was gracious because Moses found grace in His eyes. Grace is getting what one doesn’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what one does deserve. The person who receives either can’t boast of what he has received, and the person who doesn’t receive cannot find fault in what he has not received.

20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”

These words have to be taken in the greater context of the Bible. It is not an inability to see God, but it is an inability to see the particular sight to which He refers. God revealed Himself to Jacob as Genesis 32:30 points out.

“So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: ‘For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.’” Genesis 32:30

The name Peniel means “Face of God.” And so he saw that sight which God chose to reveal. However, he did not see the fullness of God, represented by His face. Even in our eternal state, we will not see the fullness of God, nor could we. God is infinite in His being. For us to see God in His face, or in His infinite nature would mean that we would need to be infinite as well; able to comprehend all of who He is. For us to do so would mean that we would be God. But there is one God and only one. In Revelation 22, it says this –

“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” Revelation 22:3, 4

We will behold the Lamb. We shall see His face as He endlessly, ceaselessly reveals the infinite Father to us. There will never be a time when we will have seen all of God, even until the ages of ages. There will always be more to know. This is why Moses could not see the face of the Lord. He could not behold all that God is.

21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.

Here we have a picture being developed for us. The Lord has a specific place in mind which is near to Him. He asks Moses to stand al ha’tsur, or “on the rock.” There is a definite article in front of rock, it is not “a” rock, but “the rock.” This is where Moses is to position himself. Matthew Henry rightly states –

“The rock in Horeb was typical of Christ the Rock; the Rock of refuge, salvation, and strength. Happy are they who stand upon this Rock.”

When the glory of the Lord passes by, Moses will be at this place of refuge. He will see this marvelous vision, but he will be kept safe while there. The reason is explained in the next verse…

22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock,

The Lord says as His glory passes by, He will take Moses and place him in the cleft of the rock. The word is neqarah and is used only twice in the Bible, here and in Isaiah 2:21. It indicates that which is dug or gouged out, thus a cleft.

The question is, why didn’t He just tell Moses to go hide in the cleft of the rock? Instead he says He will place him there. The answer is that it is God who places us in Christ. It is we who choose to stand upon the Rock, but only God places us into Christ. It is a picture of being saved from the complete destructive power of God in relation to sinful man.

One is either in Christ and secure from what must happen when man faces the infinitely holy God, or they are not in Christ and can only make a futile attempt to hide themselves. As I said, the word for “cleft,” neqarah, is only used twice. The other time shows the futility of the man who attempts to hide from the Lord –

“In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver
And his idols of gold,
Which they made, each for himself to worship,
To the moles and bats,
21 To go into the clefts of the rocks,
And into the crags of the rugged rocks,
From the terror of the Lord
And the glory of His majesty,
When He arises to shake the earth mightily.
22 Sever yourselves from such a man,
Whose breath is in his nostrils;
For of what account is he?” Isaiah 2:20-22

22 (con’t) and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.

Moses will not just be hidden in the Rock, but the Lord will also cover him from His splendor. Thus He will be both concealed and protected when the perfections of love, grace, mercy, justice, truth, righteousness, holiness, wisdom, and the like are revealed. Without such a covering, Moses would be destroyed. But hidden in the Rock, he will be spared from that fate. The words of this verse are reflective of the truth spoken by Paul in Colossians 3 –

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4

Our lives are hidden in Christ, the Rock. At the same time we are protected from the wrath of God. His perfections, which we fail to meet in our fallen selves, are kept from us by the covering of Christ, God’s right hand of power. However, the glory that was hidden from Moses will be revealed to us in the future. It will be an eternity of God revealing His goodness to us, moment by moment without ceasing, and without an instant of anything less than awed wonder.

23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back;

The verses are filled with anthropomorphisms – hand, face, back are all human attributes which are being used for us to understand, in a limited way, what we are intended to know. And yet, at the same time, there is a hint of what God would do in the future through Christ.

The term for “back” is akhorai – My back. The word means more than just the back. It is used to indicate “west.” When looking towards the Lord in the tabernacle or temple, His face would be towards us, looking east. Thus His back would be west. It is the direction which we aspire to go towards – ever towards His face.

It is used to indicate the hereafter in Isaiah 41. In other words, things that are yet future. Thus, the Rock is Christ, our safe Refuge. The Hand is Christ, our Protector. The Face is Christ, the Revealer of God. And the Back is Christ, the One who is to come.  What Moses saw was the glory of Christ as He would come afterwards in human flesh, revealing the Father to us. This is what John 1:14 is referring to –

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Moses saw the revelation of what God was doing in the stream of time in order to bring us back to Himself. This is why later, in the Song of Moses, he wrote these words –

“For I proclaim the name of the Lord:
Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:3, 4

He understood that Yehovah was the Rock. The symbolism was revealed to Him and thus God showed him His glory.

*23 (fin) but My face shall not be seen.”

To close out our verses, Moses was reminded that the face of God, was not to be seen. But as we already know, Jacob saw His face by the river Jabbok. Abraham saw His face as He traveled towards the destruction of Sodom. Joshua will see His face as He stands as the Commander of the Lord’s army.

Gideon, the parents of Samson, and others as well encountered the Man who moves through time because He is from outside of time. Each saw the Man while not seeing the full essence of the Lord. And we too shall see His face as the glory of God streams from Him for an infinite number of days.

We are hidden in Christ, and thus God will allow us to look west towards Him as He looks east towards us, forever revealing the goodness which Moses merely tasted for a moment in time. If you want a part of that marvelous goodness which God offers; if you seek Him but aren’t sure if you have sought Him in the right manner, today is the day of good news for you.

He has His hands out and is waiting for you to stand upon the Rock and to be protected by the covering of Christ, the power of God for all who believe. Let me take just another minute to tell you about Jesus and how you can be right with God through Him…

Closing Verse: “The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Next Week: Exodus 34:1-9 Moses asks, “Set for us this precedence… (Take Us as Your Inheritance) (94th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Safe in the Cleft of the Rock

Then Moses said to the Lord
“See, ‘Bring up this people.’ So You say to me
But You have not let me know
Whom You will send with me; who will it be?

Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name; which is right
And you have also found grace in My sight

Now therefore, I pray
If I have found grace in Your sight
Show me now Your way
That I may know You, alright?

And that I may in Your sight find grace
And consider that this nation is Your people; here in this place

And He said, “My Presence will go with you
And I will give you rest, what I have spoken is true

Then he said to Him
“If Your Presence with us does not go
Do not bring us up from here
It would be better that we stayed here, even so

For how then will it be known
That Your people and I have found grace in Your sight
Except You go with us
Surely then we would see that in us You delight

So we shall be separate, Your people and I, as if a new birth
From all the people who are upon the face of the earth

So the Lord said to Moses
“I will also do this thing that you have spoken
For you have found grace in My sight
And I know you by name, this word shall not be broken

And he said, “Please, show me Your glory”
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you
And I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you
So this is the thing that I shall do

Gracious to whom I will be gracious will I be
And I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion
Thus it is, as you now see

But He said, “You cannot see My face, this word I give
For no man shall see Me, and live
And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me
And you shall stand on the rock, and you shall see

So it shall be, while My glory passes by
That in the cleft of the rock I will put you
And will cover you with My hand
While I pass by; this I will do

Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back
But My face shall not be seen; this sight you shall lack

Heavenly Father, how good it is to know
That there is a place of safety both in and from Your majesty
Jesus does to us Your majesty show
And Jesus also reveals it slowly, for all eternity

And so we are not consumed by Your glory
Instead we can revel in it, seeking out Your face
This is the marvel of the Gospel story
This is why we come to gather in this place

Thank You, O God, that for the ages we will glory in You
Because of what Jesus Christ for us alone does do

And so in His name we give You all of our praise
And we shall do so for all the ages, even for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…




Exodus 33:1-11 (Everyone Who Sought the Lord)

Exodus 33:1-11
Everyone Who Sought the Lord

The chiasm which spans all of chapter 32 and through most of chapter 34 continues on in this passage. It is bringing us closer to the anchor verse which will come in just one more sermon. Until then, the structure of the chiasm appears to reveal to us the proper placement of the verses which we will look at today.

However, the verses today aren’t just a set of verses that need to be properly aligned chronologically into the on-going narrative. They are also verses which show us a snapshot of Israel at several points throughout their history. The people disobey the Lord, the Lord distances Himself from them, but He also makes Himself available to them, at least individually, even if collectively they are out of His favor.

Today’s verses show a separation between the Lord and Israel. Today’s world shows the same. They are still under the promises of one covenant, while out of the favor of another one. As long as people can understand this, then it makes sense as to why they have remained a people despite their immense disobedience towards Him, and even their outright rejection of Him.

If He were to completely reject them, then His promises to their father’s would be voided. This will never happen. An oath of God will never, never fail.

When we see Christians being killed around the world, and especially for those Christians who are facing such persecution, it might seem that God’s promises have failed for us. That is, if we look at this world as our promised inheritance. Way too many Christians seem to look at it in that regard.

But there are no enduring promises that we won’t face a lifetime full of trouble, pain, persecution, or misery. This is why the Bible notes we live by faith, not by sight. If this world were our true reward, then we might have reason to feel that way. But it is not.

We have a true inheritance that can never be taken away from us. God has spoken this, and it is true. When we get feeling like we may have been forgotten, all we really need to do is look at Israel. They have actively rejected the Lord, and yet He has remained faithful to them because of His former promises.

We have called on Christ, and His word says that because of that we have an eternal inheritance. Just as He has been faithful to unfaithful Israel, He will surely demonstrate the same faithfulness to us because of the sure promises found in Christ.

Text Verse:  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:11-14

These are the verses I send people to, time and again, when they are filled with bad doctrine concerning our inheritance. There is an entire camp of people out there who look at the salvation granted to us as a conditional thing; something we can lose.

However, if there is something that we can do (or not do) in order to lose our salvation, then it is not of grace at all – and it never was. Whether leading up to our salvation or following along after it, if there is something that is required by us, then it is not of grace, but of works.

Further, if we trusted in Christ, believed the word of truth which is the gospel of our salvation, and then were sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee, then what has happened must be eternal. If it was not, then that was 1) a rather crummy guarantee, and 2) God made a mistake.

Such things call into question the workings of God. Let us never presume to do that, even internally as we struggle and doubt our salvation. Today’s passage continues to show us that the Lord was still there for Israel. He may have distanced Himself from them, but He has not left them, nor forsaken them. Neither will He do this to you. These are truths which are found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Stiff-necked People (verses 1-3)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here,

John Lange says, “This is one of the most mysterious chapters in all the three books of the covenant.” He is right. It is extremely hard to follow what is going on, and where the words belong in the narrative. However, it is not impossible to determine.

The words of chapter 33 and part of 34 are an expansion of what was said when Moses went back up the mountain after the narrative of the golden calf. This is similar, for example, to Genesis 2 being an insert into the sixth day record of Genesis 1. After the debacle of the golden calf, Moses ascended the mountain again where we read this –

Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! 32 Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”
33 And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. 34 Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.”

The details which we are seeing in Chapter 33, through verse 9 of chapter 34, chronologically belong between verses 33 and 34 of Chapter 32. The Lord said to Moses that He would blot out of His book the one who sinned against him. This account follows, and then the promise of the final verses of the chapter next are given. Confusing, yes. But it appears logical and orderly when laid out.

For now, Moses is told to “Depart and go up from here” with the abrupt words lek aleh mizzeh.

What appears to be the case is that everything promised to Moses on Mount Sinai which encompass all of the details of the construction of the tabernacle, and everything associated with it, was suspended. Moses was given all of those instructions with the anticipation that it would be built, and that the Lord would dwell in their midst as they traveled.

However, now they are being directed to simply go up from their place of encampment. This is based on a completely different covenant made at a completely different time, meaning at the time of Abraham. As for the covenant which was just made since their arrival at Sinai, that was to be disregarded; it was voided by the golden calf.

1 (con’t) you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt,

The words again reflect the sentiment that they are not the covenant people. The Lord says, as He did in verse 32:7, that they are the people Moses brought out of the land of Egypt. The Lord has distanced Himself from the people due to their disgraceful conduct.

1 (con’t) to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’

Regardless of the status of the covenant between the Lord and the people, the issue of the inheritance of the land does not change. It was firmly resolved while Moses was on Mt. Sinai with the Lord the previous time. When the matter of the covenant violation arose, the following exchange came about between the two –

And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
11 Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people. Exodus 32:9-14

The people, despite their rebellion would be the particular line of descendants who would receive the promises made to their fathers before them.

And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

This is the same general promise as in Exodus 23:23 which said –

“For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.”

This same promise concerning these inhabitants will be repeated in Exodus 34:11. All three are under the same context. However, the order of the names varies in all three. The Canaanite group moves within each verse, but the other four – the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites stay in the same order. No idea why, just thought I would share that with you.

Amorites Hittites Perizzites Canaanites Hivites Jebusites.
Canaanite Amorite Hittite Perizzite Hivite Jebusite.
Amorite Canaanite Hittite Perizzite Hivite Jebusite.

Also, the Hebrew does not say “My Angel.” Instead it simply says “angel.” The word “my” is inserted by the translators. This then leaves in doubt who exactly is going to lead them.

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey;

This is the fourth of 20 times that this expression will be used in the Bible. The last time will be in Ezekiel 20 where it is also called “the glory of all lands.” A land flowing with milk and honey implies richness and fertility.

Milk comes from cows and so it means there will be abundant pasture lands. Honey comes from bees which pollinate flowers and so it implies all sorts of fruit trees, herbs, and flowers.

Further the term “a land flowing with milk and honey” has a spiritual connotation. It isn’t just speaking of the physical abundance but also of spiritual abundance. It is the land of God’s word and the people through whom that word has come.

The word of God is said to be sweeter than honey. It is also equated with milk which nourishes. Thus, this is a reference to that as well. The land would literally flow with milk and honey for sustaining Israel’s physical lives. It would also flow with milk and honey for sustaining their spiritual lives.

At this time, they do not know this, and with the covenant broken, only the first can be assumed. Only in looking back after the fact can we see that both the physical and spiritual aspects of this verse have come about in Israel.

For now, the words are certainly given to shame the people for their ingratitude towards the already abundant provision of the Lord. He has given them Manna and water from the rock. He has given them meat. He has protected them and made a covenant with them.

Despite all of this, and so much more, they rejected Him. And yet he directs them to go up to the land, flowing with milk and honey, which was set apart for them.

3 (con’t) for I will not go up in your midst,

This verse doesn’t say that the Lord will not go up with them. It says the He will not go up b’qirbekha, or “in the middle of you.” The word qerev gives the idea of the inward part. The fact that He just said, “I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite” shows that He intended to go ahead of them, just not among them. And there is a reason why He intends to not go in their midst…

3 (con’t) lest I consume you on the way,

Elsewhere, the Lord is called a consuming fire. That which He does not purify with His presence is burnt up in it. The Lord says that He would not go up in their midst because if He did, it would be catastrophic for them. And the reason is expressly given…

3 (con’t) for you are a stiff-necked people.”

This is now the second time that this term, “stiff-necked” is used in the Bible. It is a metaphor which is normally explained as being obstinate, but it is more than that. It defines a perverse people who want to behave in a way which is both unacceptable and unreasonable, even in spite of the consequences they will face.

You want a home, a place where you can stay
Go up there and make it ready on your own
I shall not be with you lest I consume you on the way
Don’t weep to Me; nor to Me shall you moan

You have forgotten Me and so now I have let go of you
There will be a distance between the two of us
There is nothing more that You can do
Unless You call upon My Son; upon the Lord Jesus

You want a home, and it is waiting there for you
One that He alone has made and can endow
If You call on Him, He is faithful and He is true
You can come home through Him, this I do avow

II. From Mount Horeb (verses 4-6)

And when the people heard this bad news, they mourned,

What is implied is that Moses went back down the mountain at this time. The events are still a part of the insert between verses 33 and 34 of the previous chapter, and they will continue to be so throughout chapter 33. Like I said, this is an insert chapter which fills in details which bring about a resulting action. It is the same as the details of Genesis 2 filling in what was missing in Genesis 1 and which led to a resulting action.

Having gone down to the people, he told them what the Lord had said. In His rejection of them because of the violation of the covenant, and His words that He would not go in their midst, it brought about a great sense of mourning. The word used is abal. It is only the second time that it has been used in the Bible.

To get the sense of their state, we can go to the first use of the word. It was in Genesis 37 when Jacob heard of the death of Joseph –

And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days.

The grieving of Israel was profound over the bad news they had been given. It is a pattern which will be seen again in their history. Only when the knowledge of their sin is highlighted do they realize their horrible plight and mourn over their actions. An account, not too distant in their future will indicate the same type of mourning.

The people will refuse to enter Canaan when the twelve spies return with a bad report about the land. They will face the Lord’s sentence concerning their punishment and the same type of mourning will be mentioned.

4 (con’t) and no one put on his ornaments.

As a sign of their mourning, the people refrained from adorning themselves. The Hebrew reads “and no man put on his ornaments.” The masculine would include all people. The word for ornaments is introduced into the Bible here, adi. It is from the verb adah which means “to adorn.” The ornaments could indicate finery, an outfit, something worn on the head, etc.

Wearing ornaments today is no different than back then. They bring attention to oneself. They highlight and intensify the perception of a person. In not wearing ornaments then, it is a sign that a person wants no such attention and is thus in a state of grief. This is seen, for example, in the book of Jonah –

“So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.” Jonah 3:5, 6

For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people.

The tense of the words of this verse isn’t completely clear. Some scholars see this as a statement which followed, rather than preceded, the people’s repentance. The dolts at Cambridge find another answer by saying that –

“The people are here told to do what they have already done” which is “a clear proof that two narratives have been combined.”

In other words, they say that there are multiple authors who have been combined into one narrative. Were that so, they would have made a clearer, not a less clear transition.

It is probably correct that these words follow the people’s repentance. Because of this, the next clause is not a threat of destruction, but a repetition of what has already been said as an explanation as to why He would not be in the midst of them…

5 (con’t) I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you.

Were the Lord to come into their midst, even for a moment, He might be inclined to consume them. The word rega, or “moment” is introduced here. It is from the verb raga which gives the idea of suddenness. It thus indicates the wink of an eye or something instantaneous. It is used twice in a affectionate passage from Isaiah when speaking of the Lord’s tenderness towards Israel –

“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:7, 8

5 (con’t) Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.’”

If the first clause came after the repentance of the people, then the words here would naturally follow in that same vein. And so instead of these words being a command to take off their ornaments, they are a command to lay them aside altogether.

The word is yarad and it means “down.” Therefore, it is an admonition to leave the ornaments off entirely. In obedience to this, and in that humbled state, the Lord would decide what He would do with the people. This is likely from the next verse…

So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.

The words here say that they stripped off their ornaments “from Mount Horeb.” John Lange says this means, “on account of.” But even more fully than that is that the people stripped off their ornaments from that time on. Because of what occurred, they left them off entirely and kept them off. They remained in a perpetual state of penitence.

What is most interesting is that the term Horeb has not been used since Exodus 17:6. Since then, the term Sinai has been used eight times. Then, the term Horeb won’t be used again until Deuteronomy 1:2, but the term Sinai will be used numerous times by then.

Although they are used almost synonymously, because Horeb and Sinai are used to indicate the same place, the words are selected to be used for different reasons when they are, in fact, used. Horeb means “Arid” or “Desert.” Sinai means “Bush of the Thorn.”

The different names are used to show different aspects of what is going on. When Sinai is used, it is normally referring to the on-going redemptive workings of God for His people. When Horeb is used, it indicates the total dependence of the people on the provision of the Lord, or it indicates that which has been accomplished by Him already.

Here in the desert, the people need the Lord to sustain them. They have fallen out of favor with Him, and so Horeb is the right and proper term to use for their needy condition. From Horeb on, they have put away their ornaments in seeking the favor of the Lord.

The Lord is righteous, and it is we who have strayed
He gave us laws with which to guide our ways
But we turned from them and our hearts were swayed
And now we live out saddened, miserable days

Return to us, O Lord, heal our erring ways
Grants us again Your presence in our midst
Where we can lavish upon You all of our praise
Let go of Your anger, and loosen your terrible fist

Lord God, to You our eyes are turned
And to You our hearts shall be directed always
For closeness with You our desire has burned
It shall never be quenched, even for eternal days

III. The Tent of Meeting (verses 7-11)

Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp,

This verse now explains the separation of the Lord from the people. He would not dwell in their midst at this time, but rather a far distance from them in order to not consume them in His wrath. The Hebrew says ha’ohel, or “the tent.” The definite article is thus believed to indicate Moses’ personal tent. Moses’ tent was probably the finest in the camp and thus he moved it out from the camp in order to meet with the Lord.

7 (con’t) far from the camp,

The term “far from the camp” implies quite a distance. When the Ark went before the people as they crossed into the Land of Promise in Joshua 3, the distance between the people and the ark was 2000 cubits, or 3000 feet. It is quite a distance, and is probably comparable to the distance Moses was from the camp itself.

7 (con’t) and called it the tabernacle of meeting.

As has been typical with the KJV and the NKJV, they incorrectly call this “the tabernacle of meeting” instead of the “tent of meeting.” It is the same word as was just used at the beginning of the verse – ohel. It means “tent.” The word for “tabernacle” is mishkan. The KJV gets two demerits and the NKJV gets one.

7 (con’t) And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.

The Lord was not in their midst, but He was not altogether unavailable to the people. They could venture out of the camp to meet with Him if they chose to do so. This precept is similar to the words of Hebrews 13 concerning those who would come to Christ. If the people want to meet with the Lord, they must be willing to do it on His terms –

“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” Hebrews 13:12, 13

This separation was to be a reminder to them that they were not in favor with the Lord. In order to seek Him, they had to come to Him. The covenant was nullified through their actions and thus it was up to them to come humbly out of the camp, bearing the reproach of their actions in order to seek His face once again.

What is of note is that the words “everyone who sought the Lord” implies that not everyone sought the Lord. Some did and some did not. Those who did had to go to where the Lord would meet with Moses, or “He who draws out,” as his name means.

It is to be remembered that these verses are an insert into the ending of Chapter 32. Once the insert is finished, the narrative continued to the end of Chapter 32 with these words –

Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.”
35 So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made. Exodus 32:34, 35

A time of  punishment lies ahead. However, the Lord offers grace before that time comes. He has given grace by leaving their midst and not destroying them. He has given grace by allowing them to come out of the camp to Him. And He has given grace by allowing restoration for those who do seek Him. Thus we see the truth found in Romans 5 –

“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Romans 5:20

And so in this narrative, we actually have a picture of Israel after their collective rejection of Jesus. They had forsaken the Lord and He no longer dwells in their midst. But He has still offered them individual grace before the time of punishment comes, meaning the tribulation period. Any who choose to do so can come outside the camp, bearing His reproach in order to be reconciled to Him.

So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.

This is an obvious sign of respect that is being portrayed here. The tent was not so far off that it could not be seen when Moses entered into it, but it was far off enough so that the people were reminded that the Lord was no longer in their midst.

As he passed through them, they would rise, and during the intervening time until his arrival, they would stand at the door of their tent watching the amazing scene of close and personal fellowship of which they were now denied.

The pethakh, or door, is that place which provides access. There seems to be a hint of symbolism here. As the people watched Moses walk towards the Tent of Meeting, they waited and watched at their own door. It was as if they were inviting the Lord to come to them if He so chose.

They were apart from Him and estranged from Him, but they still held out hope that He would make a change and come to them. Their ornaments were put aside and their hearts were being molded for a time of restoration.

And so they waited “until” Moses went into the tent. It was as if they had hoped that maybe he would turn around and rejoin them in the camp. If so, maybe the Lord would come into their midst instead of being separate from them.

Again, it is as if a picture of Israel after Christ’s first advent is being seen here. They rejected the Lord, went out after gods of gold, and found that they had lost His favor. Individually, they could come out to Him, but collectively, He is not there for them.

For the people at Sinai, it will not be until the sanctuary is built that the Lord will again reside in their midst. And it will not be until the time that Christ comes to His temple in Jerusalem that He will once again be in the midst of Israel. The words of Ecclesiastes shout out to us of the repetitive patterns of history –

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Nothing is new. Each thing that comes about is already something that has occurred. God does this so that we can call the past to remembrance and be confident of what the proper course for our future should be.

And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle,

Only when Moses was within the tent would the pillar descend and stand at the pethakh, or door. The place of access is where the meeting between the two would take place. The divine presence descending there for the people to see was an assertion of the authority of Moses.

Where they were set off from the Lord and considered unacceptable to fellowship with, Moses was given the Lord’s approval that his actions retained the Lord’s favor. By coming in this way, and after Moses was within the door of the tent, there could be no possibility of deception.

The cloud moved according to its own design and apart from any possibility of Moses’ having been behind its movement. Although unstated, it can be inferred that this was a regular occurrence.

Instead of the cloud coming and staying after Moses’ first visit, it was what occurred each time Moses went to the tent. When the meeting was over, the cloud probably went back to the top of Sinai. Interestingly, the term “pillar,” when speaking of this cloud, has not been seen since Exodus 14:24.

The cloud has been mentioned several times as having been atop the mountain, but the term pillar has not accompanied it since then. The ammud, or pillar, comes from the word amad, or stand. Thus, in this we get the idea that the standing cloud stood at the door of the tent.

9 (con’t) and the Lord talked with Moses.

Once there, it says, “…and talked with Moses.” The words “the Lord” are inserted by the translators. The standing cloud is the subject of the verb. It is directly equated with the presence of the Lord. It is how the Lord has manifested Himself to Moses and in the sight of the people.

A cloud is that which covers or conceals a thing. Throughout Scripture, the cloud is used to signify the coming and going of the presence of the Lord. It is this display which the Lord chose to come to Moses in the sight of the people, reminding them that just as He had delivered through the Red Sea and led them in the wilderness to Sinai, He was still there.

They had forgotten Him, even though His presence was in full sight atop Sinai, and now they had to see His presence from a distance as Moses talked and intimately fellowshipped with Him.

10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.

This verse leads us to the notion that the cloud didn’t just suddenly appear as soon as Moses went into the tent. Instead, the people stood all the time that Moses walked to the tent. Then the people would sit down and wait for the next great thing to occur, the appearing of the cloud.

Once the cloud appeared, the people would rise again and worship, as it says, “each man in his tent door.” For the fourth time in just three verses, the pethakh or door is mentioned. It is as if a stress is being laid on the door of the people to show that they wished that the Lord would come into them.

They worshipped him not in groups, but individually. It was a sign that they would gladly welcome Him in and have Him fellowship with them as well. They had lost His favor and this was their way of begging for that favor to be restored to them once again. For them, that time was gone, but for Moses, it continued on uninterrupted…

11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face,

These words are to be taken in the sense of familiarity as they will next be described. The Lord at this time came in the pillar, without discernable face or mouth. Rather, the term panim el panim, or “face to face,” means that they had open and free discussion without anything to hinder their words. In essence, the Lord has allowed Moses to speak to Him personally intimately, even…

11 (con’t) as a man speaks to his friend.

When a man speaks to his friend, titles and formalities are set aside. Instead, there is a warmth and a closeness that permeates the conversation. It is the highest note of the character of Moses and the bond between him and his Lord. It is something that very few in the Old Testament ever attained the honor of knowing, even remotely, in comparison to Moses.

*11 (fin) And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.

When Moses’s time at the Tent of Meeting was done, he would make the trek back to the camp. This is expected as he would carry the messages of the Lord back, and he would also be needed in the camp for advice and direction over a host of matters. But once again, the enigmatic Joshua shows up out of the blue as he has already done a few times. He is identified in three ways.

  • He is Moses’ servant.
  • He is the son of Nun.
  • He is a young man.

The word for servant means a to minster or serve. He is the one who tends to the needs of Moses as a general’s aide would tend to the needs of his superior. His father’s name, Nun, is introduced into the Bible here. The name comes from the verb nun which means to propagate or increase. It is used only once in the Bible, in a messianic psalm when speaking of the reign of the King –

“His name shall endure forever;
His name shall continue as long as the sun.
And men shall be blessed in Him;
All nations shall call Him blessed.” Psalm 72:17

And he is lastly noted as a young man. This despite the fact that it says this in Joshua 14:10 –

“And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old.”

This means that Joshua is now about 38 or 39 years old. Therefore, the term na’ar, or young man, is probably being used either in relation to Moses who is over 80, or it is referring to his years of service to the Lord, he being a young man in his time of duties.

The name Joshua, or Yehoshua, is a contraction of Yehovah and yasha. Thus his name means “Yehovah is salvation.” In this final verse of the day is a picture of the work of the Lord. Moses, or He who draws out” is the one who draws out from the Lord that which is for the people, and from the people that which is for the Lord.

Yehoshua, or the “Lord is Salvation,” remains outside the camp, there at the place where the Lord meets with either the people or the people’s mediator. Either way, the people must come to where he is at. Isaiah 59 tells the people that –

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.”

The sins of the people had, in fact, separated them from their God. He was there and willing to save, but the people had to come to Him to be restored to Him. This is the state of Israel today. Most still have not come outside the camp to Him, nor have they come through His Mediator to Him. Instead, they sit at their doors worshipping from afar and are not in His presence.

For the people at Sinai, their time of restoration lies ahead. And for Israel collectively, the same is true. The Lord’s hand is not shortened, but the people’s unwillingness to allow the outstretched hand to heal them remains an impassable obstacle to their restoration.

Today as we close, I would ask you to remember Israel in your prayers. They will be restored, but of them, who, how, and when is not known to us. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to pray for them, just as any lost souls. They need Jesus and they need to come outside their camp, to where He is, in order to find Him.

And the same may be true of you. Maybe you’re listening today and have never raised yourself up and acknowledged Him in your life. If so, you are no closer to God than the worst heathen. But you can get that corrected by a simple acknowledgment of your state and His ability to fix it. Let me explain that to you…

Closing Verse: “Jacob shall not now be ashamed,
Nor shall his face now grow pale;
23 But when he sees his children,
The work of My hands, in his midst,
They will hallow My name,
And hallow the Holy One of Jacob,
And fear the God of Israel.
24 These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding,
And those who complained will learn doctrine.” Isaiah 29:22-24

Next Week: Exodus 33:12-23 The news is great, in fact for them it will be the best… (My Presence Will Go With You, And I Will Give You Rest) (93rd Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Everyone Who Sought the Lord

Then the Lord said to Moses
Depart and go up from here, He did command
You and the people whom
You have brought out of Egypt the land

To the land of which I swore to Abraham
Isaac, and Jacob, saying
“To your descendants I will give it
So to you I am relaying

And I will send My Angel before you
And I will drive out the Canaanite, that’s right
And the Amorite and the Hittite too
And the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey
For I will not in your midst go up with you
Lest I consume you on the way
For you are a stiff-necked people, it is true

And when the people heard this bad news, there at their tents
They mourned, and no one put on his ornaments

For the Lord had said to Moses
“Say to the children of Israel
‘You are a stiff-necked people
And you know this very well

I could come up into your midst in one moment
And consume you, so could I do
Now therefore, take off your ornaments
That I may know what to do to you

So, stripped themselves did the children of Israel
Of their ornaments by Mount Horeb, as the record does tell

Moses took his tent and pitched it
Outside the camp, far from the camp he went
And called it the tabernacle of meeting
Yes, this is the name he called this tent

And it came to pass that everyone
Who sought the Lord, so we know
Went out to the tabernacle of meeting
Which was outside the camp, there they did go

So it was, whenever Moses went out
To the tabernacle, that all the people rose
And each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses
Until he had gone into the tabernacle, before they again did repose

And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle
That the pillar of cloud descended, him to meet
And stood at the door of the tabernacle
And the Lord talked with Moses, in fellowship sweet

All the people saw the pillar of cloud
Standing at the tabernacle door, as we know
And all the people rose and worshiped
Each man in his tent door, it is so

So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face
As a man speaks to his friend, there in that place

And he would return to the camp
But his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man as we know
Did not depart from the tabernacle
He stayed at the tent, even so

Lord God, You are there still
Waiting for Your people to come to You
For each and every one that will
You have promised them something new

No longer will we be estranged and living apart
No longer will we be far from Your place
Instead ahead will be a brand new start
When we come to fellowship with you face to face

Thank You, O God, for Jesus who makes all things new
Thank You for our Lord who is ever faithful and true

Hallelujah and Amen…