Learning from God's Word: Exodus 35-40
The work of God requires the work of a large number of people who pool their resources together to see that God’s work is done. When there is this willing spirit among God’s people, God’s work moves forward. This willing spirit comes from the Lord Himself – ‘The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God.’
Through the Spirit of God, we receive gifts which are put to good use in the service of God (35:31). We are to use these gifts in the service of the Lord (35:34). When God’s work is done in God’s way – ‘as the Lord has commanded’ (36:1) - , there will be God’s blessing: ‘The people are bringing much more than we need for doing the work the Lord has commanded us to do’ (36:5).
Many times over, we read the word, ‘gold’. Beyond the gold, there is the great God, the God of glory, the God who is worthy of all praise. We look beyond the furnishings of the place of worship to the God, who is worshipped. In our hearts, we say, ‘My God, how wonderful You are.’
Many people place great value on gold, but they do not worship God. They make much of the glory of gold, but they do not give glory to God. How sad it is that so many people value the things of this world yet they do not acknowledge the greatness of the god who created our world.
We must learn to look beyond this world. We must learn to say, in our hearts, ‘I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold. I’d rather have Jesus than riches untold.’
The Lord must always be more important to us than anyone or anything else. We must not let ‘gold’ become our ‘god’. We must look beyond the ‘gold’. We must look to our God.
All of this may seem so strange to us. There is one thing – among all the many details – which we must not miss. They ‘made everything that the Lord commanded’. They ‘followed the Lord’s instructions’ (38:26, 29, 31-32, 42-43).
God’s people are called to be obedient to Him. We are not to do what we want. We are to do what He commands. We are to follow His instructions. There can be no ‘anointing’ if there is no obedience. The two go together – obedience and anointing. We are to do everything the Lord commands us. We are to follow His instructions (40:16, 19).
Such obedience to God will involve putting His Word at the centre of our lives. His Word is not so much a Word of demand as a Word of ‘promise’. It is not so much a Word of law as a Word of ‘mercy’ (40:20). Our obedience to God is grounded in our experience of His ‘promise’ of ‘mercy’. Having received the ‘mercy’ of God, promised to us in Jesus Christ, we follow the Lord’s instructions (30:21, 23, 27, 29, 32).
When we have ‘finished the work’ God has given us to do, we must look to Him to send His blessing – ‘the glory of the Lord filled the tent’ (40:34-35).
In all the strangeness of the world of Old Testament worship, there are deep, spiritual lessons for us. There are lessons which enable us to go on with the Lord. We receive His mercy. We obey His Word. We experience His glory.
God is good to us. He shows His mercy to us. He puts a new Spirit within us. He gives to us the Spirit of obedience. He sends His glory so that we might rejoice in His presence and be strengthened by His presence.