The Cross: God's Work Done God's Way
Even oversupply, if truth be told.
Moses finally returned from his many sojourns on the holy mountain of Sinai. Instructions were complete and he set to work to build the Tabernacle as God has told him. But where to find the materials to build such a structure?
Word was sent out to the camp that anyone willing to contribute any of the many materials required should do so. “Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the Tent of Meeting, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike…” (Exodus 35:20-22). The people added their particular skills to crafting what was necessary. It is interesting that no one was commanded or “guilted” into giving or making.
The result was that so much came into the treasury that, “…Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work” (36:6, 7).
What follows until the end of the book of Exodus is a description of what Moses did with the resources. At the end of Exodus 39 it is recorded, “The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them” (vss. 42, 43). The buck stopped at Moses’ desk for any flaws in the execution of the plan. He had received the instructions. He passed on the instructions. He inspected to make sure the instructions were carried out. He personally was responsible for setting up the Tabernacle with the materials that had been prepared (40:1, 2, 12, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 29, 30, 33).
Hudson Taylor was right. If we do things as God wants them done, blessing is assured.
But the final approval came from the Lord, He who would show His presence in this place set aside for His worship. The end of the book describes that moment this way: “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (40:34, 35).
What a moment!
In the Scriptures there are a few places where the glory of the Lord descending is described. In 2 Chronicles, as Solomon’s Temple is dedicated, the Scriptures say: “…the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and have thanks to the Lord…” (7:1-3).
John records: “The Word began flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The glory of God the Father is seen in Jesus, hidden for a while under the cloak of humanity, but still there. John was one of those privileged to catch a glimpse of it on the mountain as Jesus prayed.
“As he was praying, the appearance of the his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem…they [Peter, John and James] saw his glory and the two men standing with him” (Luke 9:29-32).
Moses had seen God’s glory before, and not just over the Tabernacle. Moses had asked to see God’s glory (Exodus 33:18). Full exposure was not possible then but God granted him a glimpse (33:21-23). But Exodus 34 records that, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord” (vs. 29). The glory of being in God's presence rubbed off.
Now, in Jesus, we too get a glimpse of God’s glory—and mercy—and it rubs off at the cross.
How excited Moses must have been to talk to Jesus about what was about to happen—the end of what must have seemed to him as endless, and pointless, sacrifices for sin made since the time he had built that Tabernacle. The altar was never free from the blood, nor the priests ever released from their duties. Now the end was finally in sight.
“When Christ came as high priest…he did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption…now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:11,12, 26).
This is “the reason for the season.” This was God’s work done in God’s way with God's supply, and it continues to bless us all. Worship well.