Devotions

Inconvenienced

Tabernacle | Devotion 5: Inconvenienced
Jen Combs

By now, you have read all of the other devotions on how the tabernacle was constructed. This devotion covers the last chapter dealing with the construction. There were all of those final little details to wrap up. I had recently read through Exodus and very distinctly remembered this chapter, so I had to chuckle when it was assigned it to me. I remember thinking how weird and strange all of those priestly outfits had sounded (and then pictured my husband wearing one! HA!). I actually went into Josh’s library of study books so I could get a visual of the description in chapter 39. Yes, it was still just as strange as I was thinking in my head. An Ephod is a sleeveless garment worn by priests. During that time, in particular, it was worn by Aaron and his sons.

I want to go back to the tabernacle getting finished. Exodus 39:32 says, “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, (this is the statement that keeps sticking out to me) and all the people of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did.” This statement is made about nine times throughout the chapter. My very favorite time is at the end of the chapter, “According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work. And Moses saw all of the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them” (verses 42-43).

Moses saw all of the work. How many times do we see work that needs to be done and avoid it? Whether that is “in church” or outside of it, when we hear the Lord clearly tell us to “get to work,” do we just brush it off or make excuses? Most of the time the Lord wants to use us, it is not convenient at all. Are you hearing me? It is not convenient at all.

The Lord needed me to help out today in a way I was desperately trying to avoid. Do you want to know why? I was able to be in a hotel room all by myself for a few hours, get some writing done, relax, have a cup of tea, maybe catch an episode of Fixer Upper and move at a slow pace, which I have not been able to do in a while. Oh, I saw the need, but I was hoping that I would be forgotten about and would not be challenged by God. So, what happened? I was called on, had an attitude, changed it (after some grumbling; you are going to want to try and skip that part) and was able to help feed about 30 guys that volunteered on one of our prison trips. I love to host and feed people; it is like one of my favorite things to do. However, in this instance, it was not in my plan (remember that convenient part?). We need to be more like Moses. We need to see the work and do it. Do not avoid it. You will be blessed.

Reflection

Tabernacle | Devotion 4: Reflection
Pastor Gareth Volz

In the first eight verses of Exodus chapter 38, we are told about the construction of the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Bronze Laver – two important items in the courtyard of the Tabernacle of God. Back in Exodus chapter 36, God gave Moses instructions on how to build His Tabernacle. Moses relayed these instructions to the people. While some gave materials required by God for His dwelling place, others were given skills to build what God mandated.

We are told in Exodus 36:2 that God put skill in the mind of Bezalel of the tribe of Judah, a craftsman whose heart was stirred to heed the call to build God’s Tabernacle. In Exodus chapter 38, we are told how he built the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Bronze Laver to God’s specifications. These two items were very important in the worship of God, and a study of them reminds us of what we need to do before we can truly worship our God.

I want to first look at the Altar of Burnt Offering. He made the altar out of acacia wood and covered in with bronze (verses 1-2); he made all the utensils for the altar out of bronze (verse 3); he built the grating for the altar out of bronze (verse 4); and he built rings and poles of acacia wood covered with bronze to be used in transporting the altar when the people moved from place to place (verses 5-7). Then he built a laver (basin) out of bronze, and its stand was also made out of bronze (verse 8).

A cursory reading of this passage may seem monotonous. Why did God go into such detail in describing these two pieces of bronze in the courtyard of His Tabernacle? I believe it is because they teach us some important lessons of how we need to prepare to worship our Holy, Righteous God.

First of all, before a priest could enter the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence dwelt in the Ark of the Covenant, he had to offer a sacrifice for the sins he and the people had committed, and this sacrifice was made on the Altar of Burnt Offering. The priest did not offer any animal, but a lamb or dove without blemish. Sacrifice cost something because God cannot be in the presence of sin – He is holy. It cost the lamb or the dove its life. It cost Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, His life to pay the penalty for your sin and mine. Once the sacrifice had been offered, the priest could enter the presence of our Holy God. We can enter the presence of our Holy God because Jesus was our sacrifice.

Yet there was still one more thing the priest had to do before he could enter the Holy of Holies and worship and fellowship with God; he had to cleanse himself at the Bronze Laver. If you and I are to enter God’s presence in worship and have fellowship with Him, we must have a clean lifestyle. The sacrifice of Christ meant that we were no longer slaves to sin, but we must choose each day to live in a way that pleases God. Only then can we truly have fellowship with Him and worship Him in a way that brings glory to His name.

Preparation for true worship requires sacrifice and cleansing. Jesus provided our sacrifice. The Laver in the tabernacle was made to reflect the image of the priest as he washed. We need to reflect on our character, our lifestyle, and see what changes we need to make so we can offer our God in proper worship and have fellowship with Him. This should be a daily occurrence in the life of the believer. We need to prepare ourselves to offer God the worship He deserves.

Identify the Need

Tabernacle | Devotion 3: Identify the Need
Roger Allen

With the explosion of non-profits over the last thirty years, grant writing has become a sought after skill. Because of this, many colleges now offer certificate programs in this very employment field. Each year billions of dollars are given out to successful grant writers. In order to be approved, there are few absolutes that must be accomplished. First, identify the need and then build your proposal from there. However, what should be the first consideration typically gets overlooked. Paying special attention to the grants specific requests is paramount to being successful. Following them would seem to be the logical step, but for whatever reason, many writers seem to fail, and billions are left at the table. For such a relatively easy task like following the rules, many seem to drop the ball.

Exodus 40:16 says, “This Moses did; according to all that the Lord commanded him, so he did.”   

In the making of the Ark of the Covenant, Moses was given a specific set of instructions to follow. From the wood to the overlay, everything used in the making of the Ark was asked for by God. Even the decorative work on the lampstand was done to perfection by craftsman that were handpicked by the Lord Himself. As we see, Bezalel was called by name, in Exodus 35:30, to be the lead builder for the construction of the Tabernacle. Moses attended to each minute detail as the Lord had instructed. As we read about Moses, it becomes abundantly clear he is obedient. Through the whole story of his life, we find him following God’s leading. When he was called to shepherd the people out of Egypt, he obeyed. Through all the griping, hardship, and lack of faith on the peoples part, Moses continued in obedience. When we study the life of Moses, we see in him as a prophet, one who through obedience, intercedes for the people. While not perfect, we see him as a foreshadow of Jesus. He was the giver of the law that the people should follow. He was a man worthy of being heard and obeyed. He was a prophet who would be a liaison between the people and the Lord. He led by example as a servant and a leader. Yet, in one swift act of disobedience, he was denied entrance to the promised land.

Numbers 20:12 (NCV) adds, “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe me, and because you did not honor me as holy before the people, you will not lead them into the land I will give them.’”

How has an act of disobedience cost you? What was the penalty for your breaking of the covenant between God and yourself? As we see in Moses’ life, one act cost him dearly. Imagine now, you have lived a good and upright life, yet in the end, you fail and falter, what will be the outcome? You see, as much as we may try, we will never be able to fulfill the Law completely. Just like Moses before us, at some point, we will fail the Lord miserably. The Good News is, if you have received Jesus as your Lord and have repented, you will receive forgiveness. With Him, we have a picture of grace so freely given to us by the Father. He gave us the perfect sacrifice in His Son, and by doing so, the Law was fulfilled completely. We are found guiltless, without condemnation, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and this should produce in us a desire to live a righteous life by grace alone.

Finally, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

“You Have Skills”

Tabernacle • Devotion 2: “You Have Skills”
Taylor McCullough

If I were to ask you to build a house completely by yourself, even though I offered to provide you with some of the tools you would need, but not all of them, you would probably call me crazy. You are one person, being asked to complete a job that requires many, and you are not provided with everything needed. How successful would you be?

In Exodus chapter 36, we read about the construction of the sanctuary, which was a place to worship and meet with God.

Exodus 36:2 says, “And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.”

The Lord placed individual and unique skills into each person, so they could work together for a great purpose. He did not give all the necessary skills to one person. Not one person was asked to build this alone. Not one person was more significant than the other. Hearts were stirred, and people willingly obeyed and took action.

In chapter 39, we read that the people of Israel accomplished what the Lord had commanded.

Exodus 39:43 says, “And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them.”

Their willingness to work and utilize their God-given skills resulted in accomplishing what God had commanded. God equips each one of us with different tools and skills for a purpose. Be willing to seek and use what He has placed in you, to serve the Lord, and obey His commands.

As a worship leader, playing instruments and singing are tools that I use to worship the Lord. I am blessed to be involved in this ministry, connect with others, and serve the Lord while doing so. Joining other voices and instruments, to lead others into worship is amazing and important, but there are other ministries of equal importance. There is the children’s ministry, recovery ministry, outreach programs, and a host of others. God has placed different callings, skills, and interests in each person. How incredible is that? The next time you feel like you are of less importance because you are not successful or do not feel called in a certain area of ministry, remember that He did not create you to do it all.

We are not called to do it all, but we are all called to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Locate your God-given skills and use them.

Ephesians 4:1-7 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

Servants of the Lord

Tabernacle | Devotion 1: Servants of the Lord
Max Sinclair

I never truly understood the Church, or the Christian way of life till I was 22 years old. I had grown up here at our Waterford location when it was still Faith Baptist, I remember having Pastor Josh as the Children’s Pastor, and he would take us to Ceasarland to have fun. I remember going through Pastor Jayson’s Youth Group and leadership. I remember going to Church. I remember these things, but I never truly understood them; I never truly got the point. For a while, I thought that it was something you needed to do, and you needed to go to, but as I got older, I fell away from that. I knew the stories of the Bible; I understood some passages of Scripture. I had an elementary grasp of the concept of salvation and the other “Christianese” words, but to say I understood the Church, I would be lying if I said that I did. It came to a head when I realized truly what salvation is, and why it is so important. Finally, I realized I had done nothing to earn eternal life, but it was given to me by God’s infinite mercy and grace. The price of my sin was paid for by another, and because of that, I am indebted to Him with my life or as the apostle Paul would say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). At this point, as I cried on the floor of a bathroom 2,376 miles away, I truly understood what the Church is.

As we have studied the book of Exodus and the life of Moses, we start to come to the end. God has given His people the Law and the rules in which they are to worship Him. In Exodus chapter 35, we have at first the command of the holy day and recognition of the Sabbath; then God tells Moses how to build the tabernacle. Now for many, this word is foreign, and it was for me too, but tabernacle in Hebrew means “dwelling-place.” This was to be the portable house of the Lord and a place for the people to meet with and worship Him as they wandered in the wilderness. Moses is told by the Lord on how it is to be built, much like how God told Noah how to build the Ark. Specific things were required for its construction, and Moses listened and relayed this information to the children of Israel.

After they had heard what Moses had said, Exodus 35:21 (CSB) says, “Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting for all its services, and [to make] the holy garments.” At this moment, the people of the Lord were moved in such a way that they went forth and did what the Lord had commanded. That is what we, as the Church, are to do. Too many times, I see people who walk into the doors of our location, week after week, and I see them sit in the same seats talk to the same people, but they never serve. As the church, we are to give back. Jesus did not say, “Go and sit in a seat on Sunday, have Christian radio presets in your car, and pray before your meals if you can remember to do so.” No, He said to go and make disciples of all nations. As a church, we are not to be encouraged on Sunday, and that is it, we are to go and bear fruit, go and be moved by the Spirit and bring forth offerings to Him. We are to offer our lives up in service to Him. We need to stop just being with Church people, and truly become servants of the Lord.



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