Just As the Lord Commanded

Think of those who walked out of Egypt behind Moses and, most often, you think of those who stumbled in the wilderness. Not much to show from that generation when they entered the promised land. In fact, not much of that generation to show as only two of those twenty years and older would cross the finish line (or the starting line, depending on how you look at it) into Canaan.

But as I wrap up Exodus this morning, a phrase repeated again and again reminds me that what they did get right was the tabernacle.

The Israelites had done all the work according to everything the Lord had commanded Moses.  Moses inspected all the work they had accomplished. They had done just as the Lord commanded. Then Moses blessed them.

(Exodus 39:42-43 CSB)

Just as the Lord commanded. Or, just as the Lord had commanded. It rings out 17 times in the closing chapters of Exodus. A ton of gold, 7.5 tons of silver, over 5 tons of bronze, all fashioned into a portable dwelling where the glory of God would be seen. Specially woven garments fit not just for a king, but for the priests of heaven’s King, fashioned according to spec so that set apart men might be arrayed in holy garments befitting their holy duty.

While they may have missed the mark in so many other ways, when it came to the tabernacle and the priestly garments, if there’s anything the Spirit wants us to know, it’s that they had done just as the Lord commanded.

How come? To offset all the times and all the ways they didn’t do as the Lord commanded? So that they might have some lasting legacy from their wilderness experience? So they had something to boast in? I don’t think so.

I’m thinking it might have something to do with how important the tabernacle would become in atoning for their failure. How vital that a man could enter the holy of holies and spread the blood needed to cleanse a people of their transgressions. How essential it would be that God would have a place set apart in order to be the holy, holy, holy God who could dwell in their unholy midst. Getting this right, would, quite literally, cover a multitude of sin. Not because they did the work of building it, but because, by God’s grace, it would be used of God to do the work of redeeming them.

And most importantly, because it would point to something greater that would provide a greater redemption.

A better tabernacle in which God would be with us. A better High Priest to go before God for us. A better sacrifice to be offered, once forever, to God in place of us.

Jesus came, just as the Lord commanded.

God knew the wilderness provision could never be the final provision, but He wanted it to point to the One who would be.

“Moses finished the work” (Ex. 40:33), just as God had commanded, and it provided a picture of something to come. Christ, the better Moses, Himself became the fulfillment of that picture in the wilderness. And He too, through the cross of Calvary, would finish a work, just as God had commanded. Making the way of redemption and eternal life available for all you believe.

And believe we must in order to be saved. Just as the Lord commanded.

By His grace. For His glory.

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