This morning, I was reading the story in Exodus of God instructing Moses on how to build the tabernacle, how to offer sacrifices, how to construct the area surrounding the tabernacle, and even how to sew and create the clothes that God would require his people to wear when they enter the tabernacle.
For those that haven’t read this passage, it can be found in Exodus 25 to Exodus 32. All throughout these pages, we see God give extremely specific instructions to Moses–even specific measurements, materials, and recipes for oils that God commanded his people to use. Upon first glance, this story is hard to read: it is long, full of numbers, packed with words that aren’t familiar to us today, and there is very little that actually happens other than God talking to Moses. However, after reading this and taking my time with it, I noticed a few things that really opened my eyes and made these chapters special. These three things stand out among the rest of the passage: God’s desire, his attention to detail, and his design and calling. Over the next few days, we will go through each of these and establish why they are great news for us. No matter the circumstance. First, God’s desire.
Let me ask you something: why does God do the things he does? What is his end goal and his desired outcome? If we were to open up the Bible and turn to any random page, it wouldn’t take us too long to find an answer this pretty tough question. All throughout this story of Moses and God on the mountain, God makes it clear why he is desiring so much from the Israelites and why he is doing the things he is doing:
“And they will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” -Exodus 29:46
When God sent the ten plagues on Egypt, he did it with one goal in mind: “I will take you as my people and I will be your God. You will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians.” (Ex. 6:7). God’s desire is to make himself known and to bring his people to himself. God doesn’t send the plagues just because he wants to show his power. He sends the plagues so he can show his power AND bring his people out of slavery and back to himself.
God doesn’t ask Moses to do all of these complicated, precise, and incredibly time-consuming things just to make Moses and the Israelites miserable. He asks these things of them so that he can “dwell among them.” That is huge!
Does it make things that the Egyptians or the Israelites went through any easier or more comfortable? No. But does it make it worth while for the Israelites? Absolutely. God’s desire is always to reconcile his people to himself and to dwell among us.
What about now?
So what bearing does this have on our lives right now. I mean, this was thousands of years ago, right?! While circumstances and settings may change, our God does not. That means his goals and his desires are the same now as they were when the Israelites were in slavery.
In light of that, we can trust that while our current circumstances are not ideal and they aren’t very comfortable, God is still working. He is working to bring us the best thing he could ever give us: himself! So rather than getting bogged down in news, fear, or anxiety–all of these things are human and completely understandable, by the way–we can fall into the promises of God and rest in the fact that he seeks to dwell among us.
God is faithful (Philippians 1:6); he is able (Ephesians 3:20); and he is working to bring you closer to himself (Exodus 29:46). We can trust that he is in control and that he is far more capable than we are, so rather than focusing on things beyond our control, we can fix our eyes on the only person who controls everything: our heavenly Father who seeks to have a relationship with us.
“6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” -2 Timothy 1:6-7