We are in the World Stream as God continue to give Moses instructions. We are reading from the Modern English Version this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord Jesus, there is such a disturbing disparity between your glory and your desire for us against the behavior we witness at the first sign that people feel discouraged or bored or perplexed. Let us be like Moses who wants you and to know you and to be with you more than life itself. Amen.
The directions involved for the Tabernacle and the articles within continue here. What started five chapters back is still going on. If it helps to keep oriented, the Directions for the Tabernacle encompass ch’s. 25-31 of Exodus. The orders are all given, it’s time for Moses to return to the people and guess what is going on . . .
30 – The description resumes today with the Altar of Incense. Keeping the big picture, we are inside the Holy Place; a 30′ X 15′ sectioned off area that is inside the “courtyard” of the entire 150′ X 75″ area that has a 12′ high curtain of goat hair surrounding everything. Back in this Holy Place are four items: the Altar of Incense, the Golden Table, on that is the Bread of the Presence (of the Lord), and the Golden Lampstand. The Altar of Incense was most holy to the Lord and incense was to be burning on it continually and for all generations. The insinuation was that the Lord is sweet to us and He is always here.
-a 1/2 shekel offering was to be made by all unto God for atonement. Everyone 20 and older must take part in this.
-a large Bronze Basin was to be built, placed and filled with water. Aaron and his sons were to wash hands and feet before coming into the tent or near the altar. Coming in dirty meant death – so this is a memo they best adhere to … along with the rest of them!
-As for the anointing oil, here it is in our terminology: it is 12+1/2 lbs. of Myrrh, 6+1/4 lbs. of cinnamon, 6+1/4 lbs. of cane, 12+1/2 lbs. of cassia, mixed together with a gallon of pure olive oil. Pardon the crass visual but a 5-gallon bucket is not big enough to mix this in. Imagine the aroma as this is expertly mixed and then dabbed upon the tent, the fabrics, the ark, the utensils, the altars and the basins. ‘Ever walk into a place and react, “wow, it stinks in here!” Well, entering the House of God had the opposite effect. All inhaled and thought, “wow, I love this place!” This and the Incense that was compounded with frankincense and ground and them placed in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting was a very sacred commodity. All research even today shows that an aroma is the greatest trigger of memory. They were to associate this overwhelming sweet savor with the presence of God, and to never forget how sweet it is to be with God
31 – Two men, Bezalel and his “right hand man” Oholiab, are to lead in the building of everything that has been prescribed for building and making in this last five chapters. They were the chief artisans for the Tabernacle and everything was to be made exactly according the “blueprints” that God has been giving to Moses for much of the last 40 days since Moses was called into God’s presence to note all this.
-The stern reminder to remember the Sabbath is laid down. And God is not doing this to be a bully-to-fools-who-stacks-up-rules. He wants people to be refreshed and rested not always working themselves into a stupor and then living in a stupor. This pleases no one; not even the workaholic who can’t get himself to pull away and rest a bit.
32 – This golden calf scene is a mess! The people are wondering where Moses is as he is on Sinai in a cloud, surrounded by fire and taking notes. Moses was in a VERY intense lecture series! But when it approaches 40 days with Moses away, the people revert and dive right back into worship of “the cow”. The ‘bull’ was the principle god of Egypt, names “Apis”. This was also the illicitly instituted false god of the northern kingdom 4-5 centuries later from 930 – 722 B.C. Egypt worshiped the cow because it gave beef, bones for tools, milk, fertilizer, horns for decoration, leather, and the cow provided strength for plowing. This was what Israel was immersed in for 400 years in Egypt. Some muse that the Israelites can’t be blamed for being oriented as such, but honestly! -after seeing the dozens of miracles since the plagues, the Exodus, the water, the fire, the cloud, the manna, the quail – this rebellion is inexcusable. They were carrying on like a alcohol party gone amok after midnight on a weekend in a pagan university town where stolen furniture was thrown into heap and burned and all the kooks are half-dressed and dancing in circles around it. Aaron’s explanation is as preposterous as their behavior! Moses’ plea with God [both times] is admirable; the mark of a true leader. Nonetheless there is punishment to be administered and 3,000 Israelites die for this shameful pagan revelry.
33 – After all this, it’s time to move on. God gives assurance of destiny, family security, victory, provision and blessing BUT their attitude must be dealt with first. There must be complete repentance.
-The Lord would meet with Moses the way any true-hearted Believer ought desire to speak with God. Face-to-face, [look again at Exo. 33:11]. This is virtually the most astonishing verse in the whole Old Testament from Creation in Genesis 1 to Malachi 4 written some 3600 years later!. God and Moses had a most endearing and historical conversation and assured him that He would be with him wherever he traversed. Moses revered the Presence of God most of all. Moses would go when God moved. Moses would not move on alone; with Him only. How about us???