What does it say?
The skilled workers finish making the priests’ clothing (Exo 39). This completes the work on the tabernacle (39:32), and the scripture records that they did everything just as they were supposed to do it. Each of the various parts of the tabernacle and its contents are listed yet again, as though to underscore its importance, and the workers deliver everything into Moses’ hands.
A year after leaving Egypt, and nine months after camping in Sinai, the tabernacle is erected and consecrated (Exo 40). Seven times Moses states that everything has been done exactly as God commanded. Following all the ceremonial instructions God gave, Moses, Aaron and his sons carefully place all the tabernacle’s furnishings and light the lamps. God’s glory fills the tabernacle to the extent that not even Moses can enter.
What does it mean?
This is a high moment in Israel’s history. Despite the murmurings and lapses of faith, this reading shows us how much can be accomplished when God’s people give generously and work together toward the common cause. God told them what to do, and they did exactly what he told them.
They finished the work on the tabernacle and put everything in its proper place, yet there is still something missing. God’s glory falls on the tabernacle just as promised. However, no one, not even Moses, can enter into God’s presence. They were able to put everything in place, but when God moved in they could not enter. Why?
Leviticus is the next book of Moses and answers the question as to why no one could enter into the presence of God. We will see that God dwells in the most holy place and no one can approach him without shedding the blood of the burnt offering.
How will I respond?
Congratulations! You have completed three of the larger books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Job and Exodus. If you’ve made it this far, there is no reason you can’t finish the entire Bible.
It’s time for reflection. What is the most important personal lesson you have learned in reading through Exodus? Don’t make it hard; just list the first important lesson that comes to mind. Now, what is the one step that you can take right now to grow in your understanding of God, yourself and the mission?