In Exodus 25:23-26:37, God gives instructions to the Israelites on how to construct a mobile temple, emphasizing the importance of holiness and reverence. This includes the use of gold and other materials to create a space of worship that is inspiring and reminds the people of God’s abundance and power. It is a good reminder, even today, that discipleship happens more often in the day-to-day worship of God than in mountaintop spiritual experiences.
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00:00:01:04 – 00:00:29:02
Hey, everybody. Welcome back. Thanks for being with us today. We continue to kind of grind our way through this part of exodus and to be honest, we’re going to move pretty quickly the next couple of days on the assumption that if you’re interested in things like the table for the bread and the lamp stand and the framework and the curtains, you can certainly read these and get all the details.
00:00:29:02 – 00:00:55:24
You can get the measurements, you can get the the construction methods. I think, you know, by and large, Michael, this continues our discussion from yesterday that these things were significant for the people and they represent a I think, a turning point in many ways, a change of reality for the people. They now are a nation. They have a god.
00:00:55:24 – 00:01:22:26
They have a it’s a mobile temple. They don’t call it a temple tabernacle, but they are forming the basis of their religion or that is being formed for them. The practice, they’ve had faith. They’ve had the knowledge of God. A relationship is being formed with God, but now they begin. In this section we begin to see the formation of their kind of practice of the faith.
00:01:22:26 – 00:01:39:25
And, you know, this goes all the way. If you skip forward a couple of chapters to the vestments of the priests and what the priests, where and how they do the sacrifices. And I, I think, you know, by and large, if we’re going to be honest, most of this stuff just isn’t interesting. Not in a not in a devotional way.
00:01:39:25 – 00:02:11:04
Maybe it’s interesting that they carried around the tabernacle. Maybe, you know, when we talk about the tabernacle and there’s ten or 11 curtains and that they’re large and they’re heavy, you know, that’d be a kind of discussion that might be interested. The idea of separation. But I think rather than go through these things piece by piece, we probably are better served talking about some of the major themes that kind of run through out these various parts.
00:02:11:22 – 00:02:36:12
And the first, I think we broached on it yesterday, but it’s kind of the idea of what I would call separation, the idea that, you know, God goes to the mountain and says, don’t let anybody touch the mountain. God goes in the tabernacle and says, and make sure you section off this place. God comes down in the cloud and says, Make sure nobody looks upon it.
00:02:36:37 – 00:03:04:28
There is this idea of holiness woven so deeply into the Israelite faith that that I think we really could call it foundational. And I think that’s one of the benefits of stories like this, of sections like this, though there slog is the reminder. We I think we said this in a previous Bible study, Christians have spent so much time emphasizing that God is approachable.
00:03:05:33 – 00:03:18:23
We have sort of lost the idea that God is also formidable, even terrifying, in a properly understood manner. And I think some of this helps capture that.
00:03:18:36 – 00:03:43:51
Yeah, I think it does. Absolutely. I think it shows us the fact that there is a real God who lives actually outside of time and place, that that God is worthy of reverence. And that that reverence causes us a certain kind of ordering of the world. And certainly for a group of people who are nomadic, who are moving, who have to literally pick up their stuff every time they go somewhere, it has to be carried.
00:03:44:06 – 00:04:05:54
The idea that they’re carrying around these heavy linens that they’re carrying around this gold laden sort of worship instruments, the fact that they’re going through all of this work is also, I think, in a way, a sign of their investment. It’s not just the kind of separation that they create with this this tent that they put up this tabernacle.
00:04:05:54 – 00:04:30:23
But it’s also the kind of separation that happens as they are the only ones to have this. It separates them as a people from those who are not called by God. And so I think that there’s also an identity aspect to this, and there are details here at the end of verse 30 here in chapter 25, there’s a quote you’ll just set you shall set the bread of the presence on the table before me.
00:04:30:23 – 00:04:53:29
Always you got to remember are Jesus himself. Actually, there are stories in the New Testament of him coming into the temple there being arguments about the disciples. Well, there’s a story of David and of eating the the bread that is sort of symbolized later on in the worshiping life of the people of Israel. Jesus himself calls himself the breath of life.
00:04:54:01 – 00:05:14:04
We pray in the Lord’s Prayer, you know, give us this day our daily bread. I think there’s a beautiful historic connection to this idea that on this table, God doesn’t need bread. We know that, right? We know that God doesn’t need human sustenance. But so a reminder for the people that God is giving us the gifts that we need, that God has given us such abundance that we can put bread on the table.
00:05:14:04 – 00:05:28:58
We’re not going to eat. It’s only there for a reminder of the abundance that God has given us. It’s things like that that you might find in these stories. Little hooks that remind you of the God that is being pointed to by all these religious signs.
00:05:29:04 – 00:06:17:34
Yeah, I would say the other thing that we see, you know, it’s surprising how much of this at God’s direction is to be made of gold. In fact, more than that, you shall make it of pure gold. There is something to be said of purity. And again, we kind of broached this conversation yesterday, this balance between offering God the very best and then making something sort of ostentatious or self-referential and the the middle ground, the sweet spot in between those two things, so that God says to the people, I, I want this to be when you look into this time, pinnacle, when you come in here, I want you to understand that this is a
00:06:17:34 – 00:06:50:25
holy place, that this is a sacred place. And if you’ve ever visited, you know, several years ago, I had the opportunity to be in New York City, in Saint Patrick’s and in Saint John of the Divine. And I, you know, whatever you feel about the resources in the stewardship of those kind of places, there really is no denying that when you walk in and you see those arches and the marble and the sound, I mean, they are majestic kind of places.
00:06:50:25 – 00:07:20:56
They really convey a sense of lifting your eyes and a sense of awesome ness. And I think that’s part of the idea here that, you know, God has very specific instructions. I want things that are made of gold. I want things that are made well. I want things that are ornate in some instances. And it’s probably easy to read some of that or maybe see some of that in our experience is overdone.
00:07:21:23 – 00:07:51:01
But that’s part of the role of this space of worship for the people is to remind them of who God is and to impress them. It is to be inspiring. And, you know, we live in an era where you know that that’s come under interesting discussion. So many churches now are in strip malls, are playing building. There’s been a movement away from ornate and a movement toward simple.
00:07:51:01 – 00:08:12:57
And there’s a lot to be said for simple, but there is also something to be said for a space that has no other purpose. It has no practicality, it has no value. Other than to remind us that we are in the presence of God when we’re there. And I think I see a lot of that in these stories.
00:08:13:15 – 00:08:30:03
Yeah, I agree completely. In fact, some of these things that we might just read by quickly and it not have a whole lot of meaning for us would be like chapter 26 here, verse one. You might read the Blue Purple Crimson Yarns and you might think to yourself, Yeah, you go to Hobby Lobby and you buy the purple, right?
00:08:30:03 – 00:08:56:29
And we forget that these are signs of royalty in the reasons for which they are assigned. That is because of the fact of how difficult it is, how expensive the process of getting those colors would be. So I just would invite you to imagine with me, what if the only time in the week that you saw a manmade thing that was blue or purple was in church?
00:08:56:37 – 00:09:32:16
What if the only time you saw gold in the whole course of a month was in the process in place of worship? I think our imaginations are impoverished a little bit because of the kind of access that we have, both to commodities type things, the stuff of the world, but also experiences the fact, Clint, that you can speak of going and seeing multiple places is for the majority of humanity and certainly also the case for these nomadic people outside the span of any common persons, life span.
00:09:32:16 – 00:09:59:13
I mean, just this place was special and we’ve already talked about. So I’m not going to repeat the dangers of that. I mean, it comes with its own difficult spots where people make the place more holy than the God it calls them to. But there is a kind of beauty of that thing that is set apart, set aside a thing that has clear boundaries from that the common life lived out of them and the sacred life that you’re called to within them.
00:09:59:36 – 00:10:30:00
And of course, Jesus in the Book of Hebrews is cast in language that is very, very fitting to this section of Exodus or Clayton, you know, where we’re told about the fact that he’s the great high priest and we’re told about sacrifices. And and the writer of Hebrews imagines Jesus to in many ways fulfill what God began and in a provisional way here, Jesus finishing in an ultimate spiritual way in his own life and revelation.
00:10:30:00 – 00:11:01:17
And I think if we could as Christians, spin this away from the color of the fabric and the size of the building, we could fire our imaginations a little bit. We might see that we’re called to Jesus to be that person for us, the one who is outside the trauma of our experience, the one who, when we turn to him in prayer and in reading and in service and in fellowship and worship, that these are moments in which we actually discover the ultimate and complete God.
00:11:01:17 – 00:11:07:37
And that I think, you know, maybe that helps us along the way of understanding the importance of the text or the force of the text.
00:11:07:51 – 00:11:35:34
Yeah, And there are several things that are, I think, fascinating. You know, you mentioned the lamp stand. The lamp stand is £70 of gold. I mean, this is imagine the idea that a a church I, I don’t know what a pound of gold is worth right now. I don’t know. Let’s call it $300 an hour. I mean, you’re talking thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars and you know, that doesn’t work to evaluate it for them.
00:11:35:34 – 00:12:07:33
But but again, this is extravagant. The idea here is that this is literally fit for God. This curtain, by the way, and I don’t mean this is the same curtain, but this is the curtain that we know from the story of the crucifixion. When the curtain is ripped from top to bottom, that is the curtain that separates the rest of the tabernacle or later years, the temple from the holy of holies, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept.
00:12:07:51 – 00:12:40:46
And there are extensive instructions for how that curtain is to be in. And we think, curtain. You think, you know, like your curtains at home. This thing weighs several hundred pounds, hundreds of pounds, and it’s thick and it’s heavy and it’s made of hair. And the idea is it’s a near permanent kind of wall, and it is a barrier between that dangerous holiness of God and the sin and the distraction and the stiff neck.
00:12:41:00 – 00:13:06:03
This to use exodus language of the people. And, you know, again, the other thing that I think is interesting about this, Michael, is if you read these instructions, they didn’t knock this out in a week. They knocked this out in a couple of days, just like the book of Exodus being the metaphor of journey. This is an ongoing process.
00:13:06:20 – 00:13:31:31
This is something they’re working on. It is. It’s not just something they did and got over with. It’s something they commit themselves to and they continue to do. They continue to live it out. And I think there’s something really powerful in that imagery that it is ongoing because any practice of faith doesn’t have an end point. It doesn’t have a done.
00:13:31:31 – 00:13:43:06
You’re in, you’re never finished trying to be faithful. You are always working on your discipleship. And this is literally physically true in regard to the tabernacle.
00:13:43:17 – 00:14:11:45
You know, I think it’s interesting you say that because everything that they build here has to be maintained and we sometimes forget of the drudgery that would be involved in attacks like this because somebody had to take these animal skins and turn them into one of these huge, huge walls, movable walls. Right. And we might sort of pass by that and miss that.
00:14:12:00 – 00:14:31:53
The sheer amount of talent and artistry it would take to have the ability to do this. But think about the economic cost, as you mentioned, with the goal. But then you also think of just the sheer amount of time invested by the people in the thing that did not contribute to them eating that night or to them being safer from either predator or from enemy.
00:14:32:16 – 00:14:52:04
Right. This is above and beyond the subsistence kind of living that happens in the middle of the wilderness. And I think it’s worth noting that as the people do this, it enables them in the midst of that work to continue to live out their faith, to be called to this thing that’s bigger than they are. And I do think that has practical import.
00:14:52:35 – 00:15:35:15
You know, that kind of stuff happens in churches today. Clint Stuff that’s not particularly religious, but stuff that needs done. Things need cleaned up. You know, hymnals need organized or new things need put into bullet it. There’s so much stuff that you might not think of as faith work or gospel work that is still a reflection of the people offering their talent, offering their time, and even those what we might call small things, I do think have a power in when they come together in worship, when they come together in community, when people find brother and sister in the midst of that kind of process, I do think there is a kind of upward pointing
00:15:35:15 – 00:15:38:45
nature to that work, and I think it’s certainly reflective here as well.
00:15:39:07 – 00:16:30:25
Yeah, I agree. You know, I think to some extent what we see here becomes normative for churches. The idea of balance, the idea of practicality, balanced with extravagance, the idea of of stained glass, the idea of, you know, investing money and time and energy into something and making right decisions about what that is, the idea of it being a work in progress, you know, that I just think and we’ve mentioned this before, Michael, but it’s it is interesting how some of these things that are such a blessing in this moment are going to be temptations and and literally things that God is going to criticize the people for.
00:16:30:28 – 00:16:30:47
00:16:30:55 – 00:17:03:27
Later in the Old Testament. And so there’s just a wonderful challenge here of balancing the way in which we glorify God with not overemphasizing or putting too much value on the things that we use to do, that the things are wonderful, but when the things become primary, then we find ourselves likely having issues, likely having problems. So, yeah, again, we we apologize.
00:17:03:27 – 00:17:28:10
I mean, I don’t mean apologize. We know that. We acknowledge that just isn’t a real exciting part of the book. But nevertheless, I think there are some themes in it that are helpful, some things that we can see in it that are thought provoking. And we hope there’s something that at some level speaks to you as we kind of rush through it, breeze our way past it, some of it.
00:17:28:20 – 00:17:50:02
Well said. Maybe another way of saying that is we’re not in the crossing through the red Sea part of the story, the high, high, the mountaintop, the delivery. We’re in the other side where it’s wandering around in the wilderness and and going through all of the time backbreaking effort to make and to preserve a place of worship to the most high.
00:17:50:02 – 00:18:07:51
And lots of us find ourselves at that place in life right now. So hopefully you’re encouraged by the fact that God is with us, even in the midst of the common, the normal, the the the sort of regular living that happens as being human. And we continue to seek to learn as we continue along together.
00:18:08:00 – 00:18:18:45
Yeah, we’ll start there tomorrow. Thanks to everybody.