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Jason L. Kortering is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Grandville, Michigan.

We are busy outlining the section of Exodus that deals with the covenant broken at Sinai by the worship of the golden calf and how God renews His covenant (Ex. 31:18-35:3). Moses interceded for the people’s sins, asking that his name be blotted out. God replied that each one must bear his own sin. Moses was to lead Israel to Canaan in the presence of the Angel (Ex. 32:30-35). The Lord assured Moses He would give the land of Canaan to Israel, but the people must first be disciplined for their sin. He instructed the people to take off their ornaments as the tabernacle was removed from among the people (Ex. 33:1-7). Moses went out to the tabernacle and God came down in a cloud to talk with him. Moses talked with ‘God and told Him that without His presence, represented by the cloud, there would be no point in continuing their journey. God assured him His presence would go with them. Jehovah passed by while Moses was in the “clift of the rock” (Ex. 33:8-23). God instructed Moses to prepare two new tables of stone and to come up into the mount. Moses did this and the Lord came down in the cloud. Moses spent forty days and forty nights in the presence of Jehovah. While God renewed the covenant with him, He also warned Moses that His covenant excluded the Canaanites. They must be destroyed or driven out completely. He reminded Moses to observe the ceremonies, the feasts of unleavened bread, the redemption of the firstborn, the sabbath, the feast of firstfruits, the passover (Ex. 34:1-28). Moses returned to the people, his face shone as the light, a reflection of being in God’s presence. He gave the people all the laws which God gave him (Ex. 34:29-35:3).

12. The preparation, construction, and activities associated with the tabernacle (Ex. 35:4-40:38). Moses instructed the people to contribute of their jewels and possessions for the tabernacle (Ex. 35:4-19). The people were stirred in their hearts and contributed willingly of their possessions. The women spun the cloths of purple, scarlet, and fine linen; the rulers contributed precious stones and spices (Ex. 35:20-29). Bezaleel and Aholiab were instructed to supervise the actual construction of the tabernacle (Ex. 35:30-36:3). The people were finally restrained from contributing any more, since there was sufficient (Ex. 36:4-7). The making of each part is described: the supports, curtains, coverups, and veil (Ex. 36:8-38), the ark with the staves, mercy seat, cherubims (Ex. 37:1-9), the table of shewbread with its vessels (Ex. 37:10-16), the golden candlestick (Ex. 37:17-24), the altar of incense with the oil (Ex. 37:25-29), the altar of burnt offering (Ex. 38:1-8), the courts with their hangings (Ex. 38:9-20). In all they used up twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels of gold, and one hundred talents and one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels of silver (Ex. 38:21-31). The cloth which the women spun was used for the making of the holy garments. These were described as the ephod (Ex. 39:1-7), the breastplate (Ex. 39:8-21), the robe of the ephod (Ex. 39:22-26), the various coats (Ex. 39:27-29), the golden crown with the words inscribed, “Holiness unto the Lord” (Ex. 39:30-32). Moses inspected all the finished products as they had been made and he blessed them (Ex. 39:33-43). The Lord instructed Moses to set up the completed tabernacle on the first month and place each part in its proper place and to anoint it with holy oil (Ex. 40:1-16). Moses did this and afterwards the tabernacle was spread before Jehovah in the presence of the congregation (Ex. 40:17-33). The cloud of Jehovah came down upon the court and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. The cloud will now continue to lead Israel through their wilderness journey, being light by night and cloud by day (Ex. 40:34-38).

Questions for Reflection

1. Why did God want to make a great nation of the family of Jacob? What is the importance of the history of Israel as a nation? Is the application of the typical significance of Israel’s national history, political or ecclesiastical for us?

2. The parents and mid-wives refused to kill the sons born to the Israelites. May we conclude from this that the government of Egypt overstepped its boundary when it legislated their death? How would this be applied today?

3. The history of the Exodus sets forth Moses as mediator, a type of Christ. Make a list of the ways, recorded in Exodus, in which he acted in this capacity.

4. Explain the relationship between Exodus 7:3, 4, 14, “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened,” Exodus 8:15, “he hardened his heart,” and Exodus 9:12, “The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh.”

5. What do the ten plagues upon Pharaoh and Egypt tell us about God’s attitude toward the wicked? Show how the doctrine of common grace, “God’s attitude of favor toward the reprobate wicked” can be refuted by this history.

6. What lessons concerning God’s love for His people are given to us in the wilderness sojourn (Ex. 12:37-19:6).

7. How did the external display of divine power at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19) demonstrate the antithetical character of Gods law. Prove that the same law (10 commandments) are to be enforced today.

8. What was the spiritual significance of the tabernacle? What was the relationship between the law and the tabernacle?

9. How did the idolatry of the golden calf at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 32) serve to demonstrate the need for Christ? Did Moses over-react? How could we be guilty of worshiping the golden calf?

10. The details of the tabernacle which are given in Exodus tell us that the tabernacle was very beautiful. Describe some of this beauty. Why did God place so much emphasis on external things: gold, silver, linen? Wasn’t that wasteful? Can we use this to justify beautiful church buildings today?