Day 44: Exodus 40:16-38

Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him. So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year. When Moses set up the tabernacle, he put the bases in place, erected the frames, inserted the crossbars and set up the posts.Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering over the tent, as the Lord commanded him.

He took the tablets of the covenant law and placed them in the ark,attached the poles to the ark and put the atonement cover over it.Then he brought the ark into the tabernacle and hung the shielding curtain and shielded the ark of the covenant law, as the Lord commanded him.

Moses placed the table in the tent of meeting on the north side of the tabernacle outside the curtain and set out the bread on it before the Lord, as the Lord commanded him. He placed the lampstand in the tent of meeting opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle and set up the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord commanded him. Moses placed the gold altar in the tent of meeting in front of the curtain and burned fragrant incense on it, as the Lord commanded him.

Then he put up the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. He set the altar of burnt offering near the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, and offered on it burnt offerings and grain offerings, as the Lord commanded him. He placed the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing, and Moses and Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and feet. They washed whenever they entered the tent of meeting or approached the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

There was a video game I loved to play in college. (I probably spent a little more time on it than I should have, which may have been reflected in my grades!) I remember one level in particular, where the character had to approach a statue in a museum, but if the character walked on the wrong sequence of floor tiles to get there, the alarm would sound and you would fail the mission. And this was before there was YouTube, where I could just go and watch someone else complete the mission so I would know how!

In this passage describing the construction of the tabernacle, we might be fooled into thinking Moses is trying to solve this sort of puzzle. If you put the lampstand in just the right spot, and arrange the bread in the right order, and hang the screen just so, then the glory of God will come.

Based on the theme we see emerge in this passage, though, it doesn’t seem to be that Moses is trying to solve a puzzle. Instead, over and over again – eight times in this passage and a total of 18 times throughout the previous chapters – Moses did “as the Lord commanded him.” And on the heels of Moses doing as the Lord commanded him, the glory of God came and filled the tabernacle.

Could it be that, like Moses, our consistent obedience might allow for the manifest presence of God with us?

Brad Taylor | Executive Pastor

Amy Tabler