Exodus 39-40: God’s glory (Feb 12)

Priestly garments.  Not a commentary on how we are supposed to dress in church, just to be clear.  Don’t come to PEMC next Sunday expecting me to be wearing a robe and a turban topped with a diadem.  The only comment I want to make about the priestly garments is to point out how much of it is intended to remind the priests and the Israelites of what God has done for them.  The engraving of the names of the tribes on the stones in the ephod and the breastpiece.  The bells on the hem of the robe.  The inscription on the diadem.

The thing I really want to comment on is the last five verses of chapter 40.  Moses sets up the Tabernacle as God directed him and then God’s glory fills the place.  It is God’s presence that directs Israel about when to move and when to stay.  Two comments grow out of this.

First, the thing we should always crave when we enter into worship (whether corporately or individually) is to experience the presence of God in his glory.  I do not believe that what is described here at the end of Exodus is impossible for today.  I believe that God wants to display his glory as much today as he did during those days in the Tabernacle.  What an exciting experience that is and what a time of worship we would have if we invited God to appear in that way every Sunday!

The second comment I would make is about how dependent the Israelites were on God’s direction.  Mind you, they were a nation on the move with no idea where they were going.  But if you think about it, are we any different?  We are part of God’s holy nation according to Paul, and we are journeying toward our own promised land.  We really should be as aware of God’s presence as the Israelites were, and we really should be as dependent on his guidance as they were.  Yet I get the impression from most modern Christians that they believe God is along for the ride instead of dictating the itinerary.  I know I fall into that pattern very easily.  I like to be in control.  I like to determine the route, decide when to stop for coffee, when to sleep or when to push forward.  It is often after I have made a decision that I think to check in with God.  When that happens, I find myself not asking God for his direction but asking him to put his stamp of approval on my decision.  The two are not the same.

Both of these thoughts really centre on needing more of God’s presence in our everyday.  His presence inspires us to worship and his presence dictates the direction of our lives.

Happy reading.

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  •  What was new from this piece of scripture?  What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  •  How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  •  What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 1-4

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