What does it say?

God places the altar of incense before entry into the holiest place as a meeting point (Exo 30). Every man is to ransom his soul with an identical offering of silver, and a cleansing basin separates the outer court and the holy place. The tabernacle is to have special anointing oils and fragrances.

God appoints Bezaleel to oversee the skilled artisans that will execute the details of these plans and patterns (Exo31). The Lord also makes clear that the observance of Sabbath rest is a special sign of the covenant between God and Israel.

Time must have stood still for Moses on the mount, but the people below grow impatient and rebellious, fashioning idolatrous golden calves from their earrings (Exo 32). Informed by God about what was happening, Moses prays a remarkably bold prayer of intercession for the people. Infuriated by what he sees when he comes off the mount, Moses breaks the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments and calls the people to repentance. Moses’ emotional prayer for his people moves us still today(32:30-32).

What does it mean?

The altar of incense symbolizes prayer, our meeting place with God, and even after the sacrifice for our sin, we need cleansing to approach God as symbolized by the basin. Every single individual must be redeemed from sin and the price is the same, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that Judas valued as 20 pieces of silver.

Moses and Aaron are the stars, yet as we think of the construction of the tabernacle, its furnishings, the priestly clothing, oils, fragrances and everything else, we remember the many other people like Bezaleel, artists, artisans, chemists, skilled workers in skins, fabrics, wood, metals and common laborers were absolutely necessary to get the job done. God’s mission is not just for those we commonly have called missionaries or pastors. In God’s mission there is need for everyone with the skills and talents that God has given them.

How will I respond?

What are the best skills and talents that you have? Are you using them for the mission? What one skill or talent can you use this week to advance God’s kingdom in some way?

Seeing the example of Moses’ intercession for his people, for whom will I pray right now? Has God placed someone in my life that needs the touch of his love? Can I pray for some local or global partner of my church facing special challenges?