Summary of passage: Moses is alone with God on the top of Mt. Sinai in a cloud. God tells Moses offerings the people are to bring to Him that include gold, silver, bronze, yard, linen, wood, olive oil, spices, and more. Then the Israelites are to build God a tabernacle where He will dwell among them. God tells Moses to build an ark of gold for a holding for the Testimony (laws) and how to build it. Here, He will meet with Moses and give all of His commands for the Israelites.
3a) The people’s hearts should “prompt them to give.”
b) Personal Question. My answer: Pray for a giving heart. Give even if your heart is not quit there yet because just the act can lead to the heart change.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Well, the passages say to offer a sacrifice that costs you something. To offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, as a spiritual act of worship. Give as much as you are able and beyond. Give yourself. Basically, God wants all of us and every aspect of our lives: money, worship, work, talents, and a living testimony to the indwelt Holy Spirit, leading a Godly-life. I believe God wants me to fulfill the purpose He has for my life–writing something that will convert others to Him. That is my gift beyond the others mentioned here.
4a) As a dwelling place for Him where men could come and meet with God.
b) From Creation, God created man as a companion to Him and as one who was meant to be with Him always. Since the Fall, sin has separated us. So God sends His son, Jesus, Immanuel, to be with us physically. God’s Word was given to us to be closer to us. When we accept Jesus as your Savior, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, which is God within. Then finally at Jesus’ Second Coming, Jesus will inhabit the earth with us together at last both physically and spiritually. God will live among us and we will be together as God has meant it to be.
c) In order to be with God, we must be cleansed of our sins for God cannot be near sin. Hence, the atonement cover was provided as a way for His people to be near Him. God appeared in the cloud over the atonement cover in the Most Holy place; hence, you had to be clean in order to be in the presence of God. This allowed us to be with God as He has always meant us to.
Conclusions: I don’t know which is harder: one long passage of many chapters or a relatively short passage to read but with a bunch of reference passages. Both are time consuming and challenging in their own right. I was thinking this would be an easy day, but it wasn’t with all the look-ups.
The emphasis here is the importance of worshipping God and being near Him as we were meant to be and this passage shows how God is doing this for the Israelites in their new land.
End Notes: Note how the Israelites 400 years ago were unskilled nomads. After being in Egypt, they became skilled laborers, capable of crafting a beautiful tabernacle for God and an ark to hold the Testimony and for Him to dwell in.
Note the offering is not out of need nor is it us asking God for anything. The willing heart gives–here is what God wants. Us to freely worship and give to Him out of love and desire and because He gave everything (Jesus) to us.
The offerings listed were all of the finest and most expensive materials around–the hardest to procure and make.
The ark, or Ark of the Covenant, was described first as it was the most important offering in the tabernacle. Scholars say it is modeled after God’s own throne.
Note the ark had wooden poles to carry it by. The ark was too sacred to be touched by man and as Uzzah found out (2 Samuel 6:6-7) if you disobeyed this command, the penalty was death.
Note how God wants the the ark built before all the laws are even given.
The atonement cover is the lid of the ark. Presumably, God must have made some provision for the priests to touch the lid in order to put the items inside of it. I’m assuming we will read this later in our study.
If you picture God looking down from heaven, then the atonement cover and the passages given will make sense. So God is looking down on the ark, which contains His laws. The ark is then covered with sacrificial blood, atoning for and covering up man’s sins and our breaking of the law. Hence, God could now forgive our sins and come down to be with us.
Even before the law was given, God knew we’d break it so He made appropriate provisions for us. What a loving God!
Our mercy seat/atonement cover is now Jesus. God is great!
Reading this passage got me confused exactly when did Moses receive the written commandments from God. Not yet. Exodus 24:12 has God calling Moses up to receive them but he stays for 47 days and nights so is about to receive them. The next chapters in Exodus covers all that God told Moses (at least what Moses recorded cause I’m sure in that amount of time there would be a ton to talk about) and then he will receive the commandments to carry down off the mountain (Exodus 32:15-16). Great website with timeline of the tablets summarized and a cool link to listen to the Ten Commandments read in Hebrew:
Fun Fact: The word “tabernacle” appears for the first time here and it is mentioned 139 times in the Old Testament. It means ‘tent’ and just like a tent was moveable. God does not permanently dwell in the tabernacle but comes when man does.