John 14:23 (NIV) – Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
Our lives are now God’s tabernacle. Just as all the details for the physical tabernacle were important to the Lord, so all the details of our lives are important. It matters how we live. It’s about what the Lord wants to do and build, both in our individual lives and as a church.
“Disciple (mathētēs) says we are people who spend our lives apprenticed to our master, Jesus Christ. We are in a growing-learning relationship, always. A disciple is a learner, but not in the academic setting of a schoolroom, rather at the work site of a craftsman. We do not acquire information about God but skills in faith. Pilgrim (parepidēmos) tells us we are people who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, and whose path for getting there is the way, Jesus Christ.” [Peterson, E. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]
Let’s pray for our campuses/missional groups/church: that we would grow as disciples who listen and learn from him, and as pilgrims who move forward with his plans. Let’s worship to the song, “Fall Afresh” by The Belonging Co. and pray that God’s dwelling may be experienced among all those with us.
Matthew 17:1-5 (NIV) – After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
What’s obvious here is that we no longer have to build a physical tabernacle like the Israelites did to experience God’s incredible presence. We have a greater revelation of God in Jesus Christ! Yet, what’s not so obvious is how well we listen to Christ. Sometimes we can have selective hearing, assume we know what we’re doing, or aren’t open to certain changes. Peter might have had good intentions with building these shelters/tabernacles, but they weren’t needed. Likewise, it is good to listen to Christ. Today, ask the Lord for a heart that is attentive and open. Pray about a particular area/concern and listen to his voice, and follow through on his leading.
Exodus 40:34-38 (NIV) – 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.
“Exodus ends on a very positive note by reporting the erection of the portable sanctuary and YHWH’s [Lord’s] coming to dwell within it, but the contents of ch. 40 signal that this is not the end of the story… with the erection of the tent of meeting a highly significant development occurs, building on the newly established covenant relationship between YHWH and the Israelites. As they journey onward, YHWH will go with the people, dwelling among them.” [Alexander, T.D. Exodus, p.673].
Faithfully following and simply doing what the Lord commands leads to something totally greater and beyond ourselves, which means it’s also not the end of our story. Let’s pray for God’s presence to lead our lives onward (individually/corporately). Today, worship the Lord in his glory – his majesty, love, truth, justice, beauty, righteousness… God’s glory fills us with hope.
Exodus 39:42 (NIV) – The Israelites had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“Doing everything that one is commanded to do, not skipping anything and not taking shortcuts, can be a long and tiresome job. But it is the right thing to do – especially when the commands come from God… The methodical account of the building of the tent complex contrasts with the rapid construction of the golden calf and its altar and with the subsequent chaos of pagan worship… Their [Israelites] obedience was characterized by diligence and generosity, but it was also an exact counterpart to the enthusiasm they displayed in their sin.” [Garrett, D. Exodus, p.701]
Our obedience matters when it comes to worship of God. True and proper worship takes everything and often stands in contrast to how our culture lives, but God is worthy. In view of God’s mercy, pray for this heart of obedience and for God to be at the center of our lives. Let’s worship to the song, “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman.
Exodus 35:29, 36:2 (ESV) – All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD… 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.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV) – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
“To make a holy dwelling for God, the Israelites had to have the right materials. Exodus 35 tells how they gathered what they needed for this huge building project. They all had a contribution to make, and from their example we learn what it means to have a heart for giving – offering what we have and what we do for the glorious work of God.” [Ryken, Philip. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory, p.1026]
The Israelites were given a chance to build the tabernacle for God’s dwelling, something unprecedented at the time. What an incredible blessing that God is willing to involve us in his kingdom and work. Let’s worship to the song, “Build My Life” by Housefires. With hearts stirred by God, pray/sow generously and cheerfully for God’s kingdom to come where you are.