It is easier for us to grasp and remember what we see and experience. For example, if you watch a chef on television prepare a cake, or better yet if you actually get out the ingredients, bake it yourself, and eat it, you have a greater appreciation for the food than if you just read a recipe. The tabernacle is God's picture of Christ, His ministry, and our home in heaven. Let's continue our careful study of Exodus, beginning in chapter 30, and uncover the significant truths revealed in the furnishings of the tabernacle.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
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Hebrew terms: כִּפֻּרִים; kippur - to cover
Cross References: Numbers 1:2; 1 Kings 7; Psalm 37:4-5; Psalm 141:2; Proverbs 14:12; Isaiah 59:1-2; Matthew 7:14; Matthew 17:24-27; Luke 1; John 1:1; John 1:14; John 4:24; John 6:35; John 8:12; John 10:9; John 13:6-11; John 14:6; John 15:5; Acts 8; Romans 1:16; Romans 12:6; Romans 15:4; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 4:6; Revelation 8:3-4;
Can you smell the incense? Okay so, then you'd say, "Boy, I think it'd be cool to have incense." Ta-da! You are looking at the Altar of Incense. This is actually the one that -- no, I'm just kidding. This is a replica of course and we have incense in it and as I'm smelling it, it's really potent. So, we'll see how I do tonight. If I act a little loopy or something, you'll know it's the incense.
I love Wednesday nights. Turn in your Bibles, yes. Turn in your Bibles to Exodus Chapter 30 tonight. Just a little FYI, when we're done with the Book of Exodus which is soon, we're going to cover Chapter 31 tonight, we're -- next week, seeing Moses come down the mountain after receiving the instructions.
When we're done with Exodus, what I'm going to do is what I did last time. I went through the Bible verse-by-verse like this and that is going to skip to the New Testament. So, we've done Genesis, Exodus and can I get a couple of precept(ph) here? Maybe just to move this slightly, like, right over here so that -- thank you. Oh, look at this priest. I don't know that priest actually wore Hawaiian shirts, but -- yeah, right over here, right? That's good, right over by where Ryan is going to stand later. Thank you. Very good. I appreciate it. God bless you priest.
So, we're going to finish the Book of Exodus, then we're going to go to the Gospel of Matthew, then we're going to go to Leviticus, back to Leviticus, then to the Gospel of Mark. That's how we did it last time. It will break it up a little bit and especially in some of these long tedious books. It's fun to kind of go back, revisit it and staggered a little bit. We went through the whole Bible twice that way before and so, once again as we go through this time, we'll be doing that next time.
We're going to pray in just a moment. And after our prayer, we're going to have a Bible study that is going to last until 8:30. So, that's almost an hour. We make no apologies for doing that by the way. We do that every week. We go through the Bible verse-by-verse, line upon line. It's been our legacy. It's been our history. We're into equipping people with God's truth, Old and New Testament.
If that's too much for you to handle, I would appreciate it and we would appreciate it if rather than in the middle of the study you are thinking, "I don't want to hear about the Tabernacle." And you decide to get up so that all eyes are on you as you leave that you would make that decision as we bow our heads so that nobody could see you hightail toward the back. I'm sorry I have to make that announcement. I feel like I make it a lot, but I also noticed the times I don't make it that it happens, and so rather than moving around, we really place a priority on the teaching of the Word and making it a sacred time where we can all pay attention to the text itself.
Let's pray. Thank you Father. Thank you that your plan to redeem the world included choosing us. We have been redeemed. We have been given our freedom, our Exodus from the bondage of the past into a brand new life. Lord, as we're praying now and we're smelling some of us the incense that is rising, how typical that is of our prayers in your nostrils, how sweet that is to you. Lord, I thank you that you delight to hear your children. You delight when we come to you whether it's one person or a group of us.
Lord, you know our needs and you know what we need and where we're at on this Wednesday night in the middle of this week, at this time in our lives. You know what we're facing financially, relationally, emotionally, spiritually. Lord, I believe you are present to meet that need. I pray Lord that you would give that confirmation to each one of us as we seek you tonight. In Jesus' name, Amen.
I've told you before that when my son was quite young, we used to do devotions almost every night but a few times a week with Nate and it's something I called Say, Play and Pray. We would say the scripture, that is we will read a text.
We would then play or act out the scripture. I mean putting towels on our heads if we were shepherds and putting on costumes and actually acting the biblical scene out and then we would pray. We would pray about the lessons that emerged out of the story we read. So say, play and pray. And I discovered as I watch my son grow up that acting it out formed a picture in his mind that he would never forget. So, I marvel today at his grasp of scripture and a lot of that I can trace back to those early Bible lessons as he saw something acted out in say, play and pray.
I want you to think of the Tabernacle as God's picture of Jesus or acting out the ministry of Jesus in the Old Testament. It's a good way to picture that. So we're not surprised when we get to the Gospel of John as we have been studying and we read in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God and we skip down and we read in Verse 14, and the word "Tabernacle" literally pitched his tent among us and we beheld him.
So, we come to the Tabernacle and we approach the Tabernacle, this long narrow 150-foot courtyard that has one solitary entrance, one gate. And we remember that Jesus said, "The way is narrow that leads to life and I am the door." And as we get in to the courtyard, we see the first article of furniture, an altar, a brass or bronze altar of sacrifice that the only means to approach God is with a sacrifice. And Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life, no man comes to the Father except by me." We move a little closer and we come to the next article in that big courtyard, a big tub, bronze, wash basin called the laver as the priest would wash. And we remember that Paul said that Jesus to the church washes us with the washing of the water by the Word. If we were a priest and we could penetrate the first curtain and go on to the Holy Place on our right-hand side, we would see a little short altar with bread on top, The Showbread. And we remember that Jesus said, "I am the bread of life."
To the left, we would see candelabra. We remember Jesus said, "I am the light of the world," and also he said, "I am the vine and you are the branches." So, just like there was one main stem of that candelabra and three and then three in either side, the vine and the branches. Directly in front of a veil that separated that room, the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, this veil that separated the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat where atonement was made by the priest, high priest once a year.
We remember that the veil was torn when Jesus died on the cross. The veil in the temple was torn giving up until now, there had been no access and now total and immediate access to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. So we see that Jesus fulfills the meaning of the Tabernacle. Jesus fulfills all of the sacrifices that we have been and we'll be touching on.
And my mind goes to that study that I would have love to have been there to listen to in Luke Chapter 24 when Jesus comes alongside of the man on the way to Emmaus and it says, "Beginning at Moses, he expounded to them all things in the scripture concerning himself." Notice the word "expound" in that text. Wouldn't you have loved to hear Jesus Christ given expositional sermon?
To expound at the Old Testament beginning at Moses, what would you have told them? Probably many of the things we just mentioned but a whole lot better than I explained them, right from the lips of Jesus himself.
Now, tonight in Chapter 30, the scene opens for us with this altar. In the Holy Place was a golden altar made out of wood overlaid with gold called the Altar of Incense. Now remember, there are two altars in the Tabernacle. The outer one, in the courtyard is made out of bronze. The inner one is made out of gold.
The one in the courtyard, the bronze altar speaks of approaching God by sacrifice. This altar speaks of approaching God and worship. You can't get to the second altar until you go to the first altar. You can't worship God and pray to God unless your sins have been atoned for. To have relationship, to have worship, there must first be a sacrifice, the shedding of blood, innocent blood on your behalf.
Now for us, here's the principle in the New Testament. Sometimes, our sin even as Christians hinders our fellowship with God. If we deliberately sin like it says in 1 John, then, we must confess our sin. We confess our sin, fellowship is restored. We're always children of God. It's not like we were a child of God 10 minutes ago then we sin now, I'm not. You're always child of God but we don't always enjoy the intimacy as children of God, so there must be confession.
And I like to take my mornings and my evenings as I think we'll see this pattern here, and talk to the Lord about areas in my life where I failed as I meditate and I confess and I asked and claimed for forgiveness. Again, 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanses from all in righteousness."
So we begin Chapter 30 Verse 1. Oh, by the way, these two altars and we're going to talk just about one. We've talked about the other last time. These two altars, I also believe speak of the work of Christ. The bronze altar in the courtyard speaks of what Jesus did for us on the cross or did for us while he was on the earth. The golden altar and the Holy Place speaks of what Jesus does for us in heaven, did for us on earth, does for us in heaven.
He ever lives to make intercession for us. Now both of those speak of his work. Verse 1, "You shall make an altar to burn incense on. You shall make it of acacia wood. A cubit shall be its length, a cubit its width. It shall be square and two cubits shall be its height. Its horn shall be of one piece with it." So, you're looking at 18 inches by 18 inches by 36 inches, rings on either side, poles on either side so that two priests like the ones you saw approach the stage a little bit ago could carry that through the wilderness.
Go down to the Verse 7, "Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense." Can you start smelling it by now? Was it filling the room? Is it okay for you? You're not like you're having anaphylactic shock or anything, right? Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning when he tense the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generation morning and evening devotion. I love it. The day began with God. The day ends with God. I love this pattern. I love to wake up in the morning and spend time with the Lord. I like my closing thoughts before I go to sleep, some scripture, some story in the Word, some thought that I can rest my head on the pillow and my devotion can be the beginning of my day and the end of my day.
And so, in the Holy Place right before the veil, I was asked this question two weeks ago, somebody emailed me and said, "Now, where was this Altar of Incense placed?" It was in the room called the Holy Place right in front of a veil that nobody could go to the other side of except the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement. And that's where this altar stood. So, I love the fact that in the Tabernacle, all of your senses were engaged. And certainly, we're thinking now of our sense of smell.
First of all, what would it be like to encamp around the Tabernacle as they're roasting animals on that large pit? "Man, roasted lamb? Come on. Oh, that smells so good." And then the smell of the incense if you were close enough and certainly the priest could smell them. Verse 9, "You shall offer no or not offer strange incense on it or a burnt offering or a grain offering, nor shall you pour a drink offering on it."
Get the picture? Only incense, no animal sacrifices and only a certain type of incense and God will give the exact recipe for that incense beginning in Verse 34. Here's the lesson I don't want you to miss. The worship that God accepts is the worship that God prescribes. He doesn't let people wing it. He doesn't let people say, "Well, I saw a picture of God like this and I think it would be okay if we did that." The worship that God accepts is not the worship that man invents but the worship that God prescribes.
When Jesus went to Samaria, there was a temple in Samaria, a rival temple to the temple in Jerusalem. And the Samaritan woman was basically saying, "What's the big deal? Our Father's worship right here on this mountain. You Jews say Jerusalem is the place to worship." They made up their own approach. They made up their own system. They invented their own deal. Jesus said, "True worshipers worship in spirit and in truth. It has to be based upon God's revealed truth." And yet, it never seizes to amaze me how in the realm of spirituality any way is okay. That is the idea of most people. Any way is okay. You have your way, I have my way. All paths lead to God.
I say I find this interesting because I don't find it in other areas of life. If you were to go to your doctor and you had paralysis on your left side, what would it be like if your doctor said, "Oh, just go home and follow your heart. Find your own path, all paths lead to health. It doesn't matter, as long as you're sincere and it's your own deal." And in so many other areas of life, that is not tolerated, but when it comes to God and spirituality, it seems to be well tolerated.
In fact, if you believe there is a single truth, you are called intolerant. And in our culture, I've discovered that's the worst sin one can commit, but the worship that God accepts is the worship that God prescribes.
Tuck this away in your mind. Proverbs 4 says, "There is a way that seems right into every man, but the end thereof is the way of death." Sir, you can pick your own way. You can pick your own road. It just ends up in death, everlasting eternal death. Jesus offers life. Verse 10, "And Aaron shall make atonement." Stop. Atonement is a great word. It's typically described in familiar terms to explain it. We would say, "If you break the word apart, you get the idea of it. Atonement, at-one-ment. If you want to be at one with God, you make atonement. Atonement makes you at one with God, it's at-one-ment.
That's good. It's a wonderful explanation but now let me tell you what it literally means from the Hebrew. The word "atonement" literally means to cover, to cover something. The Hebrew word here for atonement is "kippur". And once a year was the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, the day of covering where sins were covered because blood covered two places, the horns of this altar and I'm sorry, we didn't really make adequate horns. But if you could just picture little protrusions on all four corners and then blood sprinkled upon the mercy seat just on the other side of that veil, that intersection where God met with man, you have that idea.
"Aaron shall make atonement or covering upon its horns once a year with a blood of the sin offering of atonement. And once a year, he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord."
Now, this Altar of Incense will come to symbolize as history moves on the prayers of God's people, the prayers of God's people. As God's people are praying to him, it is like the smell of sweet incense in the nostrils and you go, "Oh, yeah." When we pray to God, when we come to him in the name of Jesus, it's like God goes, "Yeah." He loves to hear from us.
And so, in Psalm 141, David says, "Let my prayer come before you as incense and the raising of my hands as the evening sacrifice." In the New Testament, remember John the Baptist's dad, Zacharias? He was a priest. He was officiating in the temple in the evening and he was standing in front of this, the Altar of Incense when the angel spoke to him and said, "Your wife is pregnant man." And he thought, "That's impossible. She is an old lady." And so, he was unable to speak until the pregnancy was over. John was born and it all took place here at the Altar of Incense.
Something else, I always like to tie dots or ends together and connect the dots. I've told you before based on a two passages in the Book of Hebrews that the Tabernacle is a picture of what else, besides Christ, heaven. It's a picture a heaven that in some manner, what the Tabernacle was like in approach, in layout, it is actually like that in reality in the courts of heaven.
So, in the Book of Revelation, listen to what we read. I'm quoting out of Revelation 8. "Then another angel having a golden censor came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all of the saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of all the saints ascended before God from the angel's hands."
So that's the first article. In the next few verses, we get into the personal involvement. When I was reading this, it didn't seem to quite make sense in terms of flow, but I kind of get a better handle on it now. How do you involve a couple of million people in this process, this Covenant that God makes with them? Verse 11, "The Lord spoke to Moses saying, 'When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord when you number them that there may be no plaque among them when you number them." So, when you number them, when will they number them? It's going to be in the Book of Numbers. You've got it.
The Book of Numbers Chapter 1 opens up by God saying, "Take a census of the congregation of Israel." Now, God says to do it. But here's what I find interesting and I won't belabor this, but it seems that counting people is a privilege for God and God doesn't want his people doing it unless it's by direct command like in Numbers Chapter 1. But later on, David will number the people and get into trouble because of it. It seems to be a prerogative for God so that instead of kings taking a census so they know how much money they're going to get for their budget or so they know how many army men they have to march, that their trust would be in the Lord rather than in the numbers of the people.
But God is setting this up now, when you a take a census of the people, when you number them. Verse 13 tells you how much, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary. Shekel, it equals to 1/5 of an ounce of silver. In the modern economy, that would be about $8.25. Silver goes for about $36.00 an ounce. Every person has to pay $8.25.
Verse 14 tells you that it's from 20 years old and above. That's the age you get into the military when you are 20. Something else about the age of 20, it seems to be the age of accountability in the wilderness. I know a lot of people ask, "When is the age of accountability because a child is bar mitzvah at age 13, so he's brought into the adult community. But in the wilderness march, everyone who is 20 years old and above died." But those 20 years and younger, because they weren't part of that generation that complained were all spared. God didn't hold them accountable for that. So, if you were 19 and a half, you were spared. But at 20, there was a different kind of accountability and God held that generation responsible.
Verse 15, "The rich shall not give more than the poor, shall not give less than a half of shekel when you give an offering to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves. And you shall take the atonement money of the Children of Israel and shall appoint it for the service of the Tabernacle of meeting that it may be a memorial for the Children of Israel before the Lord to make atonement for yourselves."
Now, this will become the basis of something collected every single year, half a shekel of silver every single year for the upkeep of the Tabernacle. That's why everybody was involved personally. They had to be counted in the census, but not just counted, they had to pay. They had to have their whole selves invested in the call and then the work of God.
So today, it's not -- it was just like, "We're counted. I'm part of the number." No, we're called upon in discipleship to give our time, our talent, our treasure unto the Lord for his purpose.
Okay so, this temple tax, let me just connect another dot. This temple tax that begins here is what we read about in Matthew Chapter 17. I'll tell you the story and you'll remember it. A couple of people come up to Peter and they say in Capernaum, "Does your master," that is Jesus, "Pay the temple tax or doesn't he?" Peter said, "Oh yeah, he pays the temple tax."
And so Peter said, "The IRS is here. They're asking about the temple tax." And so, I love what Jesus said. "Peter, go down to the sea, cast in a hook and the first fish you get, you'll find enough money in its mouth to pay for both you and I. I'm picking up your tab this year." Handy guy to have around. That is the temple tax that begins right here where everybody among the people of Israel are involved.
Beginning in Verse 17, we have this laver, this wash basin I told you about, this bronze laver. The Lord spoke to Moses saying, "You shall also make a laver of bronze," picture a large basin, "With its base also of bronze for washing, you shall put it between the Tabernacle of Meeting," that is the tent, "And the altar, that is the bronze altar." So, it's in the outer courtyard. "And you shall put water in it." Verse 19, "It's for Aaron and his sons. They're to wash their hands and their feet."
So, before this priest with offer a sacrifice and in between the sacrifices, they had to wash. It was this ceremonial washing that spoke of purification. Something about the laver. No dimensions are given to it. We know that this is 18 inches by 18 inches by 36 inches, but not the laver. There is no dimensions given to it.
So, by the time we get to the temple being built under King Solomon, 1 Kings Chapter 7, he goes nuts. He builds this huge several thousand gallon laver and it sits on a pedestal with 12 oxen, three oxen facing in one direction, three in another, so it's facing in all four directions. It's just massive. This massive, it's called The Molten Sea, from a little laver to now a Molten Sea during the time of Solomon.
Something else that you may find fascinating. The bronze to make this laver, guess where it came from. By the time we get to Chapter 38, we're told that the women were to gather at the door of the Tabernacle and bring their bronze mirrors. And their mirrors were taken away and they were melted down to make the laver.
Now, I'm going to refrain from making a sermon on that one, but it would seem that God is more interested in purity than he is in vanity, would you agree? Because these were going to be used for now a special purpose. The priest then had to wash between each of the sacrifices. Even though they had already gone through ordination, we saw that last week. Even though they had washed with water and sprinkled with anointing oil, they still had to be regularly cleansed.
Now, do you find that you and I have to do the same? I do. I know that I'm a child of God. I know that my sins are washed away but as I walk in this world, I get polluted. It's filthy. It's dirty, the things that are said, the values that are espoused, what people do, what I see, what I hear. And by the end of every day, I feel like many times I've just walked in the muck depending on where I've been.
And so, that brings up a story when Jesus was in the upper room with his disciples and they were gathered around and they started to wash their feet and he got to Peter and Peter said, "No, no Lord. You're not going to wash my feet. I'm better than the rest these guys."
And Jesus said, "Peter, if I don't wash, you will have no part with me." And Peter said, "Lord, just give me a bath, shower, just wash every part of me." Jesus said, "No Peter. He that is cleansed doesn't need to take a bath but just to have his feet washed." So this principle of you're already clean but you need to get regularly, daily, confession and cleansing from the Lord to open up that channel of communication.
Isaiah the Prophet put it this way. Here's God speaking through Isaiah, "My ear isn't heavy that it cannot hear. My hand isn't short that it cannot say, but your sins have separated between you and your God." And so, I find that daily need like here for cleansing.
We mentioned and I'm coming back to it again that the Tabernacle is a picture of what you're going to find in heaven. We find it certainly in Revelation Chapter 4, 5, and 8, etcetera. So, by the time we get to Revelation, we see the throne of God, not the Ark of the Covenant that God dwelled in between the cherubim. We see the actual throne of God and God seated on it. And we see instead of two fake cherubim, we see four living creatures in heaven.
We also see an Altar of Incense that I mentioned in Chapter 8. We also see in Chapter 4 and 5, seven lighted lamps before the throne of God which are the seven spirits of God. We also find in heaven a laver, a molten sea like in Solomon's Day except, it's not liquid. John said, "I saw, I looked and I saw a sea like glass, clear as crystal and you could walk on that sea in heaven."
Now, why it is that it was liquid in the Old Testament and the New Testament temple but in heaven, it's solid, it's clear because in heaven, there is no need for cleansing from sin. We stand upon the finished work completed so only a replica of past cleansing clear, crystal, hardened, finished work of Jesus Christ do we see in heaven.
Verse 22: The anointing oil. Moreover the Lord spoke to Moses saying, "Also take for yourself quality spices, 500 shekels of liquid myrrh." Did you know that myrrh is a little bit of sap that exudes from a tiny shrub that was prevalent in that Sinai Desert? "Half as much sweet smelling cinnamon, 250 shekels of sweet smelling cane, 500 shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary and a hin of olive oil," about a gallon of olive oil, a little bit more than a gallon.
Now, I mentioned cassia. Cassia was a green tree with yellow flowers and an aromatic bark. And it's funny, I did a lot of research on this and there is some discrepancy but one expert says that the aromatic bark, the cassia smells like -- are you ready? Buttered popcorn. Come on. Roasted lamb, incense, buttered popcorn? I want to be a priest.
Now, they take this mixture and they'll sprinkle it on the tent. They'll sprinkle it on the articles, the furniture. They'll sprinkle it on in the utensils. But it was forbidden for personal use, down in Verse 33. "Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider that is somebody who is not a priest, you're just going to make some cool cologne for yourself shall be cut-off from his people."
This is the anointing oil for the spirits' work. There is to be no counterfeit anointing. No imitation of the spirits' work. No imitation anointing. It's God's anointing as the priests were anointed by God. I believe that I have seen counterfeit anointing where people -- well, it will be a self-imposed anointing. It's not really a clear evident gift or anointing from God, but they'll make up for the lack of real anointing by an imitation anointing.
They'll yell or they'll suck a lot of air and a lot of wind instead of just the pure simplicity, the ease, the supernatural naturalness that comes with the anointing of God. My mind goes to Acts Chapter 8. There was a man in Samaria called Simon Magus. He was a magician. He could duplicate many of the miracles that the apostles were doing. And when he saw that the laying out of hands brought the Holy Spirit's power. He offered the apostles money. "Hey, here's some money because I'd like to have this special power too." That's when Peter said, "Your money perish with you because you think the gift of God can be bought off." And this was real annoying and God didn't want any counterfeit.
Verse 34, it's the recipe I told you about, the recipe for the incense. The Lord said to Mosses, "Take sweet spices." Now here they are; stacte which is little droplets of a resin. Now all of these you're going to read about that make the incense, all of these are exudations or emissions from plants, and because they're oil-based, there's a vegetable oil in each one. They will burn quite readily, that's why they could make incense out of it. They could grind it up. It would harden even like in a little rock form but it would always burn because of that oil in it.
And onycha, which is a mollusk that gives a musky kind of a smell and galbanum which is an aromatic gum or resin, and pure frankincense. Now frankincense is actually sap from a tree called a Boswellia tree. I don't have a Boswellia tree at my house nor do we have any around the church otherwise I'd point to that tree, but in that part of that world again, in Arabia, in the desert parts of Sinai, then you'd find it.
Verse 36, "And you shall beat some of it very fine and put some of it before the testimony in the Tabernacle of Meeting where I will meet with you, it will be most holy to you.
We've been texted a question and so we'll put it up on the screen and we'll look at it. It says, "Skip, was the water in the laver holy water?" Well yes it was, but not holy water in a sense like some of you or the one perhaps writing the question might think of it. Like in my Roman Catholic upbringing, we had holy water when we would enter the church and we would dip ourselves in it and cross ourselves. But this water was only to be used for the priest. The people had no part of it. It was for the daily ablutions or the cleansing between and before the sacrifices that the priest would make. It was symbolic that even God's own servants had to be cleansed. They weren't perfect. They had to be cleansed not only by sacrifice animals but also this water that was especially used for them and them only.
Now when you see the word, "Holy", don't get too tripped up by it. It simply means set apart or different. You're holy. The Bible calls you saints in the New Testament. You're a saint. If your name is Mary, you're Saint Mary. If your name is Joe, you're Saint Joe. Saint Skip, I know didn't quite have a ring to it but from a biblical perspective, you, I, we're God's holy people. We're set apart. We're to be different. We're to be different but god regards us already as different. Holy, special, set apart for his purpose just like the water was set apart for the purpose of the priest.
So back to the recipe for the incense in Verse 37 and 38, "You shall not make any for yourselves. It is to be holy for the Lord. Now why couldn't they take some of this incense and bring it home? In fact why couldn't they sell it outside the Tabernacle, have a little taste of the Tabernacle, take some home with your for four shekels. Burn it at home and you'll get what the priest smell when they go inside.
I believe God did not want to lower the worship of God or put it this way, relegate it to merely pleasure for personal use. God's worship was not meant for personal pleasure or to appeal to the natural man. And I think there's a very important lesson in that because in many places of worship, in many houses of God, in many churches, the goal becomes by the leadership team.
Let's make church more exciting, less boring. Let's figure out ways that we can keep it from becoming dull. So, let's resort to some gimmicks. Let's bring a car on stage. Guys will dig that. Let's bring an army tank on stage or if you're teaching about the Song of Solomon, bring a bed on stage and teach from a bed. All sorts of gimmicks, because what they're saying is that churches become too dull, we have to give people what they want.
If the unchurched, they say, don't like biblical preaching, then let's not give them biblical preaching. Let's give them whatever they want. In fact, true stories here, many churches will do a market analysis to find out what people who don't go to church would want if they came to church. And you know what they'd want, "Well we don't want the Bible, we don't want much preaching. We don't like a whole lot of talk about Jesus. We like some secular songs." Okay, we'll give that to you.
So now, the worship of God has been lowered to a marketing strategy. "Oh, but we're meeting felt needs." Now you're meeting what people say their need is, that's what a felt need is. "I feel like I need this," that's a felt need. That may not be what they really do need. I see God knows what we need. And God gives us what we need and what he knows we need is better than what we want. And so he gives it to us in his word and God says, "Don't tamper with it."
Paul said, "I am not ashamed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, I'm afraid many churches are." I'm not down on different styles, I think styles are great but when you take God off His throne and He becomes our puppet which art in heaven, you've got a problem.
So God says, "This is to be special." You don't take this home for personal pleasure. That's Exodus Chapter 30. Now, Chapter 31 and look, you'll see it's a short chapter. We can make it through, no problem. And I dedicate this to all my artist friends. I love this chapter, I really do. Let me tell you why. Up to this point, the main characters have been Moses, Pharaoh. Moses and Pharaoh are highlighted in the beginning of the book. Aaron comes on the scene, Moses and Aaron are highlighted. Miriam comes on the scene. She's mentioned and highlighted. Seventy elders, they have their part. Miriam, I mentioned her.
But now we come to a guy who's highlighted that aren't any of those previous people. He's an artist. His name is Bezalel and God ordains and anoints him naturally because he's already been gifted in the work of art, but also supernaturally to do it for his glory in the Tabernacle.
Now before we begin reading, let me ask you a question. What do you like to do? I don't want you to answer that out loud like shout it up but I want you to think about it though. What do you like to do? What do you want to do for God's glory? I asked you that question because we often have a wrong idea of what real ministry is. Begin with this, what do I want to do? What would I like to do for God's glory? What does God equip me to do?
And start with your desire. It may not be the place you end but it's a good place to begin, here's why, Psalm 37 says, "Delight yourself on the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I don't believe that means he'll give you every little thing your heart desires. I think it actually means he will give you the desire itself. He'll give you the desire so that you will want what he wants. I remember having a desire to read the Bible when I came to Christ. I never had that desire in my whole life before that. I had a desire to come to church all the time. I never had that desire before I came to Christ. I had the desire to pray in the fellowship and the witness I'm thinking, "Why do I like this?"
I mean, I used to run from that stuff. God placed new desires in me. Have you found that to be true? So that's a good place to start. What do you want to do for God's glory? What would you like to do? Verse 1, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, "See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah." Notice it's a personal calling, called by name.
And then, here's a question, why does he say "I've called by name Bezalel, the son of this guy whose grandpa is this guy." It wasn't just to be exact, but also to show that God's calling predated his birth, just like you and I were chosen in Christ from before the foundations of the world. This is God's choice of Bezalel. "And I have filled him with the spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship."
According to Jewish tradition and I'm quoting now, "God never gives gifts unless he has already given natural endowments in that skill." I believe that Bezalel was already a skilled craftsman. There was a natural ability and he probably really dug making stuff with his hands. Now comes a supernatural calling and empowering, enablement. Because, here's the principle, God's callings are his enabling. If God calls you to do something, he'll enable you to do it. He'll give you a desire to do it and the enabling to do it.
I've talked to people who said, "Yeah, yeah I told God I'd never wanted to do that or I better be careful saying that I don't want to do that because that's exactly what God will make me do." Like God is some sort of an ogre. "Yeah, I never want to go to Africa ever. Boy, God will probably end up sending me to Africa." I think God will give you a desire and an aptitude. I think it will be supernatural but I think it operates very, very naturally.
Now notice the words "wisdom" and "understanding", "I have filled them with the spirit of God in wisdom and understanding." I am amazed at the maturity I have seen that accompanies the gift of God, young and old alike. I've seen very young, physically speaking believers who exude wisdom and adept far beyond their years, because it's a gift of God. He gives them wisdom. He gives them understanding. God's calling is -- he's enabling. Makes sense doesn't it?
If you are to join the armed services, let's say the Marines would they say, "Well, we're glad that you joined the Marines but you have to buy your own gun, your own bullets and your own tank." Now I think they would supply you with the equipment, don't you? Or if you were to join the Air Force would they say, "We have F-18s on sale for $20 million this week." They would supply what you are being trained and called by them to do, so it is in the body of Christ.
If God calls you to be a pastor, he'll give you the gift of teaching. If God calls you to be an evangelist, he'll give you the ability to hang out with people, the gift of gab and the ability to reach inside of a heart by your words and lead them to Christ.
Verse 4, "To design artistic works, work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, to work in all manner of workmanship." Notice the words "art, jewel or jewelry" and then "carpentry" is described. Art, jewelry, carpentry, by now you're wondering, "Well, where is his ministry?" That is it. Art, jewelry, carpentry, that's his ministry. We get the ministry so wrong. "I want to be in ministry," we say. You are in ministry. "Well no, I'm not, I'm an executive." By the grace and calling of God perhaps. "Well I'm a doctor." By the grace and calling and gifting of God, God has you able to speak to people, "Hey listen" -- I know a doctor, I see her sitting, she works in the emergency room, what a strategic place to minister to people.
I have a friend who's an executive. He owns 35 restaurants in California, also ran one of the largest Christian organizations. Aside from that, on top of these restaurants and is involved on boards of other large Christian ministries and is effective at all of them. God's gifting, God's calling, God's ministry.
When I was going to school in radiology and I was working at hospitals in Orange County, I remember one person because she saw I had a Bible and she said, "Hey, have you every thought about going into the ministry?" And I said, "With all due respect, I am in the ministry, right here talking to you." So I just kept talking to her and told her about the Lord and she was convinced that I was called in the ministry and she didn't want to hear anything about it after that.
Verse 6, "And I indeed, I have appointed with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamakh of the tribe of Dan and I put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans that they may make all that I have commanded. Now, there's something that matters I don't want you to miss because it's repeated four times and then is emphasized in this last time. You noticed in Verse 2, God says, "See, I have called by name."
Verse 3, "And I have filled him with the spirit of God." And verse 6, "And I, indeed I have appointed with him this other one." The repetition of I, God is saying, "My calling comes with my anointing or my enabling." So he's emphasizing, this comes from God, it's not nothing that you have to manufacture, it's something that God is doing.
Verse 7, "The Tabernacle, meaning the Ark of the Testimony, the mercy seat that is on it and all the furniture of the Tabernacle and those furnishings are listed in the next few verses." So we have so far Moses, Aaron, Miriam, 70 elders and an artist named Bezalel, all working together in different ministries, different callings, all performing the work of the glory of God. That's a team.
I hope you don't get the idea that Exodus is all about Moses, because Moses would say, "Not about me, I'm sure glad Aaron is here because I'm a chicken, didn't even want to talk to Pharaoh." And then his father-in-law Jethro would say, "Boy I'm glad you got those 70 elders because I saw him being overworked, he needed a team." And now the team is enlarged with artisans. I love this concept.
When you fly somewhere, how do you get there? When you fly somewhere, you take an airplane. Who's responsible for getting you there? Okay, I heard the word pilot, that's not the full picture, yes the pilot and the stewardess and people in the tower, air traffic control, and the ground crew and those in security, etcetera. So it takes a team to get you there. And when you're blasting your minister too, it's because not just there's a pastor but there's assistant pastors and counselors, disciplers, worship leaders, people that work up in the video booth and in the sound and ushers and security all working together like here to do ministry. It's a team and I love the team concept and I thank God for the team members that I have here at this fellowship.
Verse 12, "And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, "Speak also to the Children of Israel saying surely my Sabbaths you shall keep for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you." What was the sign of the Noahic Covenant, the covenant God made with Noah? It's a rainbow. And what was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant? Circumcision. And what is the sign of the Mosaic Covenant? The Sabbath. These are all outward signs of this people group under that covenant that's why under the new covenant, we are not bound by that same outward restriction of the Sabbath and that's why Paul slackens on his use of that in the new covenant, as do all of the early church leaders seen in the book of Acts and in the epistles and we've covered that at length.
But, go down to Verse 17, after the Sabbath is described and specified, "It is a sign between me and everybody else who believes?" No, "Me and the children of Israel, these are Jewish people forever. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the Earth, on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.
I have a question; God already addressed the Sabbath in Chapter 16 and in Chapter 20 of the Ten Commandments, why does he do it here again? I don't know. I'm going to guess though. I'm going to conjecture. Notice in Verse 13, it says, "Speak to the children of Israel saying, surely," a better translation, a more literal translation would be, "Nevertheless my Sabbaths you shall keep."
Perhaps, I'm just guessing, the artist thought they were exempt, since they're working on the Tabernacle and this job has to get done and they're doing it for the Lord, that they as ministers in the Tabernacle that they're somehow exempt as artists from keeping the Sabbath. God would say, "You are not exempt. Nevertheless keep my Sabbaths."
It could be. I mean I can just picture the artist, "You know, Friday nights dude, I'm just up really late, you know, and I just like -- I do my best thinking and creative energy is -- you know, midnight Friday." Well, the Sabbath has started, can't do that, nobody is exempted from it. This is none of God's servants, pastors, lay leaders, counselors are exempt from the moral, biblical standards that we teach others.
Verse 18, "And when he made an end of speaking with him on Mt. Sinai, he gave Moses two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone written with the finger of God." Wow! God touched stone and wrote commandments, the law. They won't last long. Moses has an anger issue. We'll see that next week. Chapter 32 is the "uh-oh" chapter as he throws them down, breaks them and it's actually a pretty fun chapter. And we'll see ourselves in it.
This concludes the 40 days of Moses on Mt. Sinai. He's gotten the law from God, the Ten Commandments and the blueprints to the Tabernacle, all of its recipes, all of its specifications, all of its measurements and now he descends on Mt. Sinai.
I'm going to close with a promise from the New Testament. In Romans 15 it says, "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." If your faith has at all been uplifted during the series on the book of Exodus, it says, "Direct result of the promise that God made in Romans Chapter 15." I just love to bring that out. Those were written for our edification.
Let's pray together. Lord we do have hope. As Paul said, "See the patience", exemplified in the scripture, the patience that you had for your people, who promised to keep the covenant that they broke. Patience for a leader named Moses whose anger got the best of him on a few occasions, a man who was imperfect as was his brother, Aaron and sister Miriam. Lord, thank you too that our view of ministry has hopefully been expanded to include an unlimited variety of men and women with natural abilities along with supernatural capabilities that woven together blend a beautiful garment called The Body of Christ, one that we love. As imperfect as we are, each one here tonight as well as those who are listening are gifted called with specific gifts, enabled supernaturally.Now Lord I pray that you'd give us the measure of faith that Paul said is required to enact to those gifts and to see them live in our lives. I pray this week Lord that we might step out with perhaps a desire you have placed within our heart, an inclination, an idea that you have put there. As we step out, we see it blossom and we discover, "Wow! God was in that." Nothing more exciting Lord than that. In Jesus' name, Amen.