Thursday, October 11, 2018

Setting Up the Tabernacle

“And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.”  (Exodus  40:17)

Israel had eaten the first Passover meal at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month.  One year later, on the first day of the month, they had finished the Tabernacle and set it up.  Exodus 40:18-33 describes the process.  “And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars.  And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the LORD commanded Moses.  And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark: And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD commanded Moses.

And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the veil.  And he set the bread in order upon it before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses.  And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward.  And he lighted the lamps before the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.  And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the veil:  And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the LORD commanded Moses.

And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle.  And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the LORD commanded Moses.  And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal.  And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses.  And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.”

This was the first time they had set up the entire tabernacle.  It was done in a very organized manner which would be followed from that time on.  Everything came together exactly as planned. And the work was finished.  When everything was complete, the leaders of the different tribes offered special offerings on behalf of their tribes, according to Numbers 7:1-11.  “And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them; That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered: And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.  And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.  Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service: And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.  But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.  And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.  And the LORD said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of the altar.” 

The people demonstrated their pleasure in the Tabernacle by donating six large wagons to move the framework and the coverings and.  God demonstrated his approval of the work in Exodus 40:34-35, by placing the pillar of cloud that had led them through the wilderness upon the Tabernacle.  “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”

According to Numbers 10:11-12, Israel remained at Mount Sinai, until the twentieth of the following month.  “And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony.  And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.”  During that period, Exodus 33:7-11 tells us those who really cared about the Lord spent time in the Tabernacle with him.  “And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.

And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.  And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.  And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.  And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.”

While all the people had the opportunity of spending time with God, Moses had developed a special relationship, which was apparent to all the people as they saw the cloud descend when Moses went to talk to God.  It was the kind of relationship with God that every Pastor needs to have.   Because of that relationship, Moses was able to come back and share what God had told him.  Desiring a similar relationship, Joshua stayed in the Tabernacle even when Moses went out to share with the people.  Forty years later, when Joshua assumed the leadership, God promised to be with him just as he had been with Moses, in Joshua 1:5-8.  “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”  This promise was dependent on his following God’s word completely. He would never have been given such a promise if he had not shown such a desire to know the Lord.  Unfortunately, most people settle for knowing about the Lord and never make the effort to get to know him personally. 

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