God’s people had been slaves for decades trapped in a place that had saved Israel’s children 300 years earlier their numbers and heartache increasing. 3 months before this passage they were rescued and have been on a rollercoaster ride, delivered from slavery, learning to be dependent children not oppressed victims. We’ve had a series of chapters of instructions from God but as the tabernacle is constructed, we watch another opportunity for God’s people to respond with obedience.
God’s people are given something very specific to do and it suits them, no longer slaves they choose to lavishly contribute to the amazing tabernacle project and no longer sweating in the sun making straw-free bricks they put all their skills into following God’s exact instructions. So generous and keen to help they had to be told to stop! And when God’s precise tabernacle plan is completed first with the offerings of specific raw materials, then the skills, then the final completed work is brought to Moses who sets it all up (everything according to God’s command and count the times the word ‘willing’ is used in these final chapters), what happens? His GLORY appears, but not just appears, HIS GLORY stays.
And anyone reading this who is involved in any work for Him will be struck by this and their obedience and willingness challenged. Obedience and lavish giving, carrying out His instructions brings Him glory, brings us to a place of seeing His glory.
All the richness of the tabernacle comes from that Passover night: the booty they took from Egypt, thrust at them by those who had seen God’s judgement power fall on them through the death of their babies, relatives and animals that first Passover night. Imagine those scenes! God transforms and sanctifies the goods of the Egyptians, who had 300 years earlier been the rescuers of God’s people but then their oppressors: the landscape can change, people of God!
So keeping close and obedient results in the glorious presence of God. Following his precise instructions and also His lead: while He is still (though never slumbering or sleeping) we are still.
Would we be popping out of our tents every hour to see if it was time to go yet? Is that cloud moving? No, “stay here,” says Jesus, “keep watch, abide HERE, wait for me.” So they gave everything and didn’t stop until they were told to. They carried out the instructions precisely, every little bit. They were willing. They waited.
And the result, the presence of the God of everything. Everything had come from Him in the first place, the deliverance, the materials, the plan.
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Lord, let your glory fall, as on that ancient day! May we choose obedience to you, Jesus.