This week we finish Exodus and begin Leviticus. I will finish my notes on Exodus in this post.
The Israelites have escaped slavery. They have food and drink. God has proven that He will provide for them – and now it’s time to get back to serious worship. God sets rules for regular worship, including a regulation for contribution to the work of the church. Each man was to give an equal amount. It didn’t matter what the man’s financial condition – all were to give equally. (I wonder what would happen in our churches if everyone gave equally every week? Or what would happen if everyone would give something every week?)
God also reiterates the need for a Sabbath of complete rest and dedication to Him. Do you take a complete Sabbath every week? Do you make time for God and rest one day out of seven? Or is your Sunday just as busy as every other day, with chores, shopping, sports… oh yeah, and church? How would your life change if you took a day of Sabbath rest?
Moses is still up on the mountain with God. He’s been there for less than 40 days – and in that time, the people become restless and worry that they won’t see Moses again. They demand Aaron help make a physical representation of a “god”. Aaron agrees, and the people give up some of their gold to make a golden calf. The real God is not amused and He threatens Israel with disaster. Moses reminds God of His promises, and God relents. Moses is so angry that he breaks the tablets which God has given to the people. Moses asks Aaron what happened and Aaron tells a partial truth.
Moses asks the people to declare their loyalty to God. Those who were not loyal – about 3,000 – were killed! God does send punishment for the people’s sins – a plague.
Next, God tells the people that He will send an angel ahead to conquer their enemies, but He will not go because they are “stiffnecked”. God still speaks to Moses (wow!). God tells the people to refrain from making treaties with the people they meet, because the people will become a snare. He reminds the people to tear down all the idols of any people they meet. This reminds me that I need to be in the world, but not of the world. I am to remain holy and pure to God. God also reiterates the need to celebrate the three festivals He has instituted, and promises that as long as those festivals are celebrated, no one would covet the land.
Moses goes up to the mountain for another 40 days. His face becomes radiant after speaking with God, and because of that he must wear a veil over his face. Does my face become radiant when I speak of God? Do I have joy and peace from my Christian walk that is evident on my face? How about you?
And one of my favorite stories…
It’s time to build the tabernacle. Moses tells the people to donate whatever they want. The people respond – and it’s the only time recorded that people were told to stop giving!
And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they wrought. 5 And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which Jehovah commanded to make. 6 And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. 7 For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much. Ex 36:4-7 (ASV)
Wow! The people were so grateful that they gave too much. Can you imagine a pastor saying that today? Of course not. Most people don’t even give a tithe (10%), much less enough to be sufficient for all the work.
The next time you go to a restaurant and leave a tip, think of this… that tip is probably more, percentage-wise, than the “tip” you leave in the offering plate every week. If you can tip a waitress 15-20%, why can’t you give God at least 10%?
The end of Exodus astounds me. Look at the number of men wandering in the wilderness – 603,550. Add the women and children. This tribe of Israel is a huge group of people!
As a metal artist, I marvel at the designs that are discussed. I know what it takes to form bronze, silver and gold pieces with our current technology and can’t imagine trying to do it without electricity and modern kilns. But adding to that wonder is the sheer volume of the work:
2,193 pounds of gold
7,544 pounds of silver
5,310 pounds of bronze
Not only did they lovingly craft an entire worship center without once plugging in to an outlet, they then had to carry 15,000 pounds of metal around every time God moved them. And then there was the wood, the cloth, the …
(and we complain when we have to pack up our air conditioned car to go to church on Sunday?)
I’m amazed at the sheer volume of the Exodus. But more than that, I’m in awe of the magnificent God who was able and willing to fulfill a centuries old promise and bring His people, His UN-faithful and UN-grateful people, out of bondage and toward the land He promised to them.
Tomorrow we begin Leviticus. I will try to post a little every day to encourage you to stick with it. It will take eight days to read through the book – and you will be surprised, I think, with what you’ll find!
We can read the Bible through in a year – together!