We come to the end of our reading in the Book of Exodus. God has delivered Israel from the hands of Pharaoh. He has delivered them as a nation (not yet mighty) of as many as 2,000,000 souls. He has shown them miracles the like that has never been seen before. He has spoken to them from the mountain and made his presence known in the cloud of smoke and the pillar of fire that leads and protects them. He has given them the law (10 commandments) and now he instructs them in building him a place in which he will reside in their midst and they can worship.
It is estimated by biblical historians that the work on the tabernacle began about 6 months into their wilderness journey and took about 6 months to complete. This passage is written about the activities that occurred about 1 year into their sojourn. Building the tabernacle and the altar and the lamp stands and the priestly garments and all of the ornaments would have been a time consuming job, but God was with them and they were eager to do his work and it was accomplished in a remarkably short time.
It is further estimated that the amount of gold used in this production was nearly 1 ton and that nearly 3 3/4 tons of silver was used. You do the math.....this might have been the most generous offering in the history of the church!!! And all of it was given them by the nation that had once enslaved them.....don't you think this was an offering given with great joy? Certainly we should give joyfully that which God has provided for his work and his glory!
The consecration of Aaron as the high Priest reminds us that the priestly line was appointed to the tribe of Levi (one of Jacob's 12 sons). They would not receive land in the place that they were going. The Priesthood was their inheritance. The office of high priest would exist throughout the history of Israel right down to the days of Jesus crucifixion. For the Christian, Jesus became our High Priest and that office had no purpose once Jesus had made the perfect sacrifice.
The tabernacle was placed near the center of the camp and the 12 tribes camped around it. When the cloud of God's presence descended upon the tabernacle it was a sign of God's presence and approval. The Glory of God was with them. We, too, seek God's presence and approval and long for the times when we will see God's Glory made manifest in us and around us and through us.
Tomorrow we begin Leviticus. These are some of the more difficult readings. Stay with us....I am convinced that God will bless you and the church because of you faithfulness.
It is supposed to be 75 degrees here in Palm Desert California today. I think Patty and I will try to lose a few more golf balls today. Thank you for the blessing of being with me in this reading and this blog. See you soon.