Exodus 40: The Tabernacle and the Glory

Exodus 40:33–Thus Moses finished the work.

Explanation: In this passage, the LORD, Yahweh, God of Israel speaks to Moses and tells him, “Arrange everything in the Tabernacle just as I have instructed.” Vss. 1-15. Then in vss. 16-33 Moses does what the LORD says. Vs. 33 says, “Thus Moses Finished the work.” The amount of detail that went into Exodus 25-31 where the Tabernacle instructions are given, and then from Exodus 35-39 where the instructions are carried out sounds redundant in that they are so similar. And once “Moses had finished the work” then the glory of God filled the Tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting.

Principalization: There is a pattern to the spiritual principle of life which seems evident in multiple Scriptures– a natural order in which God works.

  • In Genesis 2:7– When God made man, it said, he formed man out of the dust, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And Man became a living soul.
  • In Genesis 7:1-15– Noah did everything according to what God commanded, And in vs. 16, Yahweh closed the door of the ark behind him.
  • In Genesis 14 and 15, it was after Abraham refused the reward of Sodom that God deepened His covenant relationship with him.
  • In Joshua 1-6, God’s directions were followed precisely, and God miraculously brought down the walls of Jericho.
  • In 1 Chronicles 28:11-19, the Temple instruction was passed from David to Solomon, and once the temple is completed in 2 Chronicles 7 the Glory of God comes down.

The order that seems to be shown in these passages is this:

  1. God gives a commandment.
  2. His servant obeys.
  3. His servant finishes the work.
  4. God’s glory and power show forth.

If there is any lack of even one of these first three elements the fourth cannot be. A complete obedience to the God who commands is the prerequisite for God’s glory and power showing forth.

Interrogation: In light of this pattern– First all on earth must be arranged; then Heaven comes down, the question I posit here is the same question Phineas’ wife asked in 1 Samuel 4:21 when she named her son after she heard the Ark of the Covenant was taken and Eli the High priest died:

Where is the glory?

In Exodus 40:38 the writer said, “Throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD as on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.”  If we are in a time of spiritual day, where is the cloud? If we are in a time of spiritual night, where is the fire?

If Jesus came to be Immanuel, God with us, and promised that he would never leave us or forsake us, where is the presence of God which shattered fortified walls? Where is the breath of life in the body of Christ? Where is the power from on high with which the first church was clothed in the upper room at Pentecost? Where are the tongues of flame that melted all languages barriers back into one people like before Babylon?

When I as a citizen of America attend the local assemblies here in my hometown of Ocala, FL my answer is this:

Wherever it is, it is not here.

My father once told me there is a very fine distinction between faith and presumption. I believe that in these passages I recognize that the difference between faith and presumption in the following stories:

In 1 Samuel, King Saul lost God’s precious anointing for Kingship, because he disobeyed God. Samuel rebuked him and said, “Has Yahweh as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For Rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.” Saul lacked faithful obedience.

In Isaiah 1, The Kingdom of Israel was mocking God by worshiping Him while living a disobedient life. God’s response was, “I hate your worship! Clean up yourselves!” and he gave them the key to their redemption in vs. 27. “Zion will be redeemed with Justice, and her repentant ones with righteousness.” What the people lacked in societal obedience, the Lord would restore them through their obedience.

In Matthew 9, Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners, and the Pharisees said, “How dare you?” But Jesus said, “Go learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.'” He then goes on to work Miraculous wonders in the community by raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead. What Jesus did have was the obedience, relationship, and love of His father.

From these examples, I can see that the difference between presumption and faith is something that combines righteousness, justice, love, and obedience together:

Humble devotion to God.

Exhortation: I weep with Paul as he recounts the scriptures, “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.” Who has a heart after God? Who seeks Him, and Him alone? Who wishes only to know Him, yea still to be known by Him? Such a man will pursue The Lord with prayer. Such a man will refuse the bribe of the rich, such a man will despise public fame. Such a man will hate any allegiance or alliance with Evil. Such a man will often walk alone, yet not alone. Such a man will be poor in worldly esteem, but in Christ will know true contentment. God is looking for just one man who will seek Him. One man who will stay with Him. One man who will obey, who will follow, who will weep with Him, and rejoice with Him. One man who will do as he sees his father doing. One man. That’s all He needs. With such a man, the glory of God will rest in his heart, like a seed in the earth. With such a man, the power of God will work in his weakness. With such a man, the holy Spirit will smell of God on him, and he will be that aroma of life to life, and death to death.

Where is the glory? The hope of it is Christ in you.

 

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Woe to Babylon

Based on Revelation 18, Genesis 11, Psalm 2, Isaiah 54:11, and a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.
 
Woe, Babylon, O Babylon!
You build your towers tall
Your boasting blocks the wind of Heaven
You slowly die behind your wall.
 
Your sin from Genesis to Revelation
Has piled up before the God of Heaven
Your plans amuse Him; then His fierce indignation
Only the New Jerusalem will be safe.
 
“Come out of her, my people!”
And understand this Tale of Two Cities:
One will rise and fall without memory
The other will fall and rise set in antimony.

Before the Ships Came to Take Them Inland

His kindness never bade them stay for long.
Their welcome was not worn by his being weary.
Instead he gave them hope with every stroke
Though sinking himself into the darkness where they trembled.

The master fixed his own light house
Securely upon truth-rocks carpeted with love
Treasures of the deep rose to see the light
Even if only for a moment to feel the beams of hope it gave.

The island coasted by a sea of trouble
Bid ships on their way pass merrily, warily by
They did not need his light except to know
His rocks nearby could sink them or capsize

The sea creatures knew this lighthouse well
The mermaids frequented the rocks nearby
He gave them music and wonder and joy
And they were gladdened by this caring reminder of sunlight.

Only after basking for a little while, to dive at length
Far from the reaches of his beams of grace
Down into the hole which they could not escape
Where their dark safety was promised in frigid under-water caves

The lighthouse sometimes guided the merpeople
To cast off their fins and scales from their lives
And walk on two legs on the island of Hope
But they even then did not stay long,

Before the ships came by to take them inland.

Ships with sails and steam and steering wheels
Ships that carried cargoes precious to cross the bar
Ships that wheeled their world-wide way
Ships that felt the light, but could not touch the house

The house that kept its lenses burning bright
The house that ocean brine had crusted green
The house that learned the value of its light
By staying on that lonely island of hope.

The island small but never sinking
The island seeing all and never blinking
The island choosing good and not despairing
The island swept by waves of tears and caring.

O that dark clouds may part and let sunshine come out
So the hope of many wanderers may be refreshed
By the light and the warmth of the sun dancing on calm seas
Which is the only comfort this light-bearing soul breathes!

And yet, one day, the hope remains
That the island of hope may have room for two
For two houses to shine yea in two-streamed directions
Kept warm by the fire of the other’s undivided heart.

For now the island of hope is shadowed by grey clouds
The mockery of lightning’s torturous and cold subtlety.
Who will warm the lighthouse and scrub him clean
So the thunder rolling will not cause his own brick to quake?

The Grey Room

I am nobody. Life is hollow shell around me. An eggshell with no fluid around a solid embryo. The walls of my room are a prison. My body is listless of the soul that moves it. And yet, here I am.

The grey walls around me aren’t pretty. Cracks in the concrete made long ago, seem to belong there. I fill the spaces of the cracks with toys and clothes so the bitter cold does not reach me, but the heat of my own body is not enough to comfort my existence here. The window offers a white tunnel to make the ugliness of my situation more obvious. I pull my knees up close to my heart, and the dampening fog cast from my lips first warms my kneecaps, then chills them. I rock my back off and on a hard wall, and grow careless of the cold stone as I soothe myself, the way my mother never did. Do mothers do this? I bet mine is pretty.

What is happiness? A dream I had last night was warm. I played in the loving afternoon sun outside. The children all played nicely and laughed. I just woke up and it was cold. Can I go back to sleep now?