Exodus 25:1-9 Believers must be holy, so that the world may see God’s glory and be saved
Exodus 25:1-9 Believers must be holy, so that the world may see God’s glory and be saved
1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. 3 This is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, 4 blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, 5 rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, 6 oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. 8 Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.
The tabernacle is a sanctuary in which God dwells and manifests His glory. It is by the presence of the tabernacle that Israel conquered Canaan and established God’s kingdom. God’s glory was also manifested through Moses as he set himself apart to be holy. In the gospels, Jesus, the Holy One was the tabernacle, who destroyed Satan’s dominion. When Jesus ascended to God’s right hand, we become the tabernacle called to manifest God’s glory to the world. Today’s devotion teaches: Believers must be holy, so that the world may see God’s glory and be saved.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution.
The tabernacle is a divine initiative. It was not a state project proposed by the king. The materials needed are provided spontaneously by every individual as a free-will offering. This is important as God will not force Himself on any person. Even as God desires to dwell among the people, He will only come to a people who love Him.
Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.
The tabernacle was constructed so that God may dwell among them (“I will be your God and you shall be my people” – Leviticus 26:13). At Sinai, God’s glory manifested in the cloud, thunder and lightning flashes terrified the people (see Exodus 20:18). The tabernacle provided a sanctuary for God’s presence so that His glory may not break forth upon the people (see Exodus 19:24). In this way, God can dwell among the people in a sustained manner. Moreover, the tabernacle comprises the priestly order and sacrificial system through which the people may approach God. After the tabernacle was built, what happened at Sinai was continued in the tabernacle. At its inauguration, the cloud covered the tabernacle, and the glory of God filled it (see Exodus 40:34).
According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.
God showed Moses the physical form of the tabernacle with its materials, textures and measurements. However, the essence of it is not in the physical form, but the substance. For every detail and specification of the structure carries a spiritual significance. As the form is inseparable from the substance, Moses received the physical design of the tabernacle together with its spiritual meaning. Over the period when Moses was on the mountain, God spoke while Moses internalised the truth of the tabernacle; the holy attributes of God. Later on, Moses caught a glimpse of God’s attributes by His virtues and righteousness (see Exodus 34:6-7). Moses was changed by His encounter with God, and he began to manifest the truth of the tabernacle. The glory that was once on the mountain, and then in the tabernacle, is now residing within Moses (see Exodus 34:29).
Believers must be holy so that the world may see God’s glory and be saved.
Divine glory draws people to God.
The tabernacle was established in preparation for God to demonstrate His glory; His power and righteousness to the world. Before the people are willing to turn to God, they must see His glory. During the time of Joshua, the people of Jericho heard how God had opened the Red Sea and destroyed the Amorite cities for the sake of Israel. The news of Israel approaching the city melted the hearts of the people. However, that convicted a prostitute, Rahab to believe in God and risked her life to help the spies escape (see Joshua 2:8-14). Later on, God displayed His power through the ark by stopping the flow of the Jordan river so that Israel could cross over to conquer the land. And as Israel carried the ark to the battlefield, God’s power crumbled the city walls of Jericho (see Joshua 6:3-4).
By the time of the gospels, Jesus became that tabernacle through which God dwells (see John 1:14). Jesus spoke of His body as being the temple (see John 2:19, 21). He displayed divine power that broke curses, healed the sick and rose the dead. It is God’s glory and power working in Jesus that destroyed Satan and establish God’s rule.
After Jesus resurrected, believers become that tabernacle. And those who believe Him will preach the gospel and work miracles as Jesus did. Jesus commanded His followers,
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptised shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Mark 16:15-18
Believers must be holy as God is holy.
As the tabernacle is God’s dwelling place, it must be treated as holy and set apart from the world. Likewise, for God to dwell in the church, believers must separate themselves to be holy and righteous. The Apostle Paul said concerning the church,
For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be MY people.
“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
“And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:16b-18
Even as God has promised to be a father to us, why do so many of us feel so distant from God? For many cannot converse with God face to face or work miracles as Moses or Jesus did. The reason is that our desires, opinions and lifestyle are not holy; they are misaligned with God. Our desires are misaligned – we are obsessed with things that have no eternal value. We do not have the same level of conviction to love people as God has. Our opinions are misaligned – our presupposition of what is of God and what is not are wrong. We look at signs and popular views instead of looking to His word. We listen to celebrity preachers and ministers of megachurches instead of listening to Jesus. In ignorance, we concur with them and vouch for lawless leaders. Our lifestyle is misaligned – Our flesh craves for entertainment and forbidden pleasures. Because we have touched the unclean, we become insensitive to that which is clean.
In the days of Jesus, not all who went to the temple manifested the glory and signs, but only those who followed Him. Similarly, we do not see the glory accompany all churchgoers today. The glory is manifested only by those who follow in Jesus’s footsteps. And especially by those who are discipled by the ministers who followed Christ. Such will be God’s tabernacle through which God’s glory manifests.
How do believers become holy?
We become holy by following in Jesus’s footsteps; to know Him, to be like Him, and to live like Him. Jesus is referred to in the Bible as the Holy One (see Isaiah 1:4, 12:6, 41:14). Peter confessed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” – John 6:68-69. As Jesus is holy, those who follow Him will likewise be holy. Subsequently, Jesus imparted divine authority to His followers to work His miracles (see Luke 9:1;10:1,17). How do we follow Jesus today? By reading the Bible systematically and obeying His instructions daily. Reading the Bible and conversing with God must be the centrepiece of our waking hours. Many listen to the teachings of famous people supposing they can acquire divine authority quickly. They did not want to study the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter and book by book because it is too tedious. Such are like those who follow Jesus from a distance but never intimately because it is inconvenient to do so. Indeed, those who follow Jesus will perform signs so that the world may see and be saved.
Do you follow Jesus half-heartedly because it is inconvenient to do so? Take steps to align your desires with God. By reading the Bible, you align your mind with God. By conversing with Him, you align your journey and your daily activities with God. As you are found faithful in smaller things, God will anoint you with power for greater things.
Dear Lord, I am determined to be a holy tabernacle to glorify you. Align my desires, thinking and lifestyle according to your holiness. Allow me to experience you more through spiritual signs so that my mind may be opened to your revelations. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.